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Comment Titan airplane concept is a lot more interesting (Score 1) 152

There's been some talk about the possibility of sending an airplane to Titan, the Saturn's biggest moon and I it sounds a lot more interesting and practical than a plane on mars.

For one, Mars's atmosphere is very thin, making flying in there very hard. You're going to need big wings to stay in the air and controlling it is going to be delicate. Titan, on the other hand, has a very thick and dense atmosphere, allowing for a lot smaller craft and easier manouverability. That also lowers the power requirements for the propulsion, so it could be quite feasibly be powered by a ASRG giving it a flight time of years.

There are a lot of other very good points, too, but instead of writing about them myself, I'll just post a link to a cool blog that explains most of it quite well: http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2010/06/aviatr-titan-plane-details.html

Here's a very informative presentation about it, too http://vimeo.com/11432536

Comment Re:Digital Download games (Score 1) 276

I've been living with only a 380kbps cellular internet connection for the last couple of months and I don't have the luxury of downloading multiple gigabytes accidentally. Just some hours ago, I decided to spend the evening painstakingly downloading 150MB worth of Arch Linux updates over the connection.

(... Only to reboot the machine after the update and realizing that the crappy internet didn't work anymore. Took couple of hours to get it fixed. Another exciting day in Linux land)

But besides huge downloads, I can generally get by with a slow connection like this, even these days. Online banking, news, messaging and so on are no problem.

Comment Re:Hahaha! (Score 1) 248

I think you're right. Low temperatures and air pressure, radiation and dust storms would make it practically impossible to go outside the well-shielded martian underground bunker. Now where on earth would you find people willing to live their lives without sunlight inside dark basem^H^H^H^H^Hbunkers?

Comment Re:Some NEOs also head out to Mars and the Asteroi (Score 1) 112

Well that was an intreguing piece of writing :)

Ceres does appear to be an interesting place indeed. I guess that's why we've got the Dawn spacecraft on the way there. 5 more years and we'll know a lot more about the place than before. If 5 years sound too far away, it'll also be studing Vesta, another interesting large asteroid belt object, next year.

Comment Re:Direct response to Meego (Score 1) 47

My thoughts exactly. These Linaro guys will focus on getting the the low level kernel stuff patched up and fixed for the all the new ARM platforms as they are released. MeeGo develelopers can use that, they won't have to worry about the low level stuff as much and they can focus on the user experience and all the other special stuff that makes MeeGo different. Same goes for all the other linux-based mobile operating systems. I guess that would include Android, too.

That the way I understood it, at least.

Comment Re:Why?? (Score 3, Funny) 753

I sense a grand future for car-loving open source enthusiasts!

I, for one, can't wait to download the new Carbuntu 25.4. I hear they've moved the steering wheel to the other side to open some space for future widgets and the brakes don't seem to work with the radio on, but the new color scheme is beautiful!

Also, they removed reverse to streamline the user experience

Comment Re:But... But... My soul! My free will! (Score 1) 586

"How can magnets impact my moral choices? Isn't my soul supposed to do that?"

Humans have known for a large part of their history that certain chemicals and diseases can affect the behaviour of humans. Now we know magnets can do that, too. It's a great find in a scientific sense, but it doesn't really pose any new moral questions that haven't been asked before. Replace "magnets" in your question with alcohol, drugs, brain diseases or medication and you might see that people have been asking the same question ever since religion was invented.

Comment Re:More like a flaw in statistics (Score 1) 437

Cancer survival rates aren't that easy to compare.

The higher cancer survival rates are partly thanks to the fact that the American heath care system loves frequent check-ups with lots of tests.They're a relatively risk-free form of income for a doctor and insurance companies. So, Americans get tested for cancers that are very unlikely to be a problem for anyone. National health care systems don't bother, because the testing would be costly and wouldn't really save that many lives.

Thanks to this, Americans get tested positive for relatively harmless cancers more often. After five years, a person like that is counted as a cancer survivalist. In Europe etc, a person with similiar cancer would probably die of old age without ever knowing that he had a harmless cancer somewhere and would not count as a cancer survivalist, as no-one knew he had one.

That skews the statistics in your favor, even if your methods against fighting cancer weren't any better.

Granted, I have no sources available, so take it with a grain of salt.

Comment Re:Photos in public (Score 1) 300

At least the pictures taken in Finland are taken from pretty high. Over two meters. Just some random view from finland that should show the height pretty well: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=26+Vallg%C3%A5rdsv%C3%A4gen,+Helsinki&sll=60.19206,24.958191&sspn=1.144169,3.56781&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Vallg%C3%A5rdsv%C3%A4gen+26,+00510+Helsinki,+Finland&ll=60.192049,24.959178&spn=0.008896,0.027874&z=16&layer=c&cbll=60.192028,24.959137&panoid=Eg0jHqKLALGQTLZd_3WJQw&cbp=12,164.69,,0,10.47

That particular view isn't bad, but if the fence is around two meters and it's close to the road, a camera like that could very easily peek over the fence. It doesn't help that the google car mapped very thoroughly even the smallest and very infrequently used small roads around many areas here in Finland.

Comment Preventing cheating is easy (Score 2, Interesting) 684

In the university of applied sciences that I study at, it would be very hard to cheat during most programming courses.

I especially liked the first two Java courses that I took. They consisted of weekly coding assignments and two exams.

You had to show the finished assignments personally and the teacher would usually ask questions about the code. Why did you do it like this? What does this do? etc. It would become obvious if you didn't understand your own code

Then there were the two exams, one in the middle of the course, one in the end. They were done on paper. They included around five partially done programs that you had to finish. For example, in a course teaching object-oriented programming, there might be a small card game that you had to finish. The game logic would be there, but you'd have to write all the object-oriented code and a main function where you make it all work. The exam would also include printouts of the relevant API documentation.

Cheating would have been hard. Not everyone passed the course, but those that passed, with good grades, really did know how to program.

This all requires a very good teacher who actually cares how his students are doing, though.

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