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Comment Article is overblown (Score 3, Informative) 163

Moscow Subway doesn't plan to "read data on passangers' phones". They are simply setting up femtocells to report if a phone with a flagged number comes close. So if someone steals a phone from you on the subway (happens all the time :( ) you simply need to inform station personnel and police would have a chance to catch a thief.

Technically, it can be used for tracking. But why bother? Cell phone companies must provide tracking records to law enforcement on request anyway.

Comment Re:Have they studied physics? (Score 1) 438

I don't doubt that solid state electronics might survive such G-forces. I very much doubt that rocket engines can, especially liquid fueled attitude control engines. As for acceleration - it WILL be strange. The centrifugal acceleration will be directed towards the center of the slingatron but its magnitude will be growing if linear acceleration is kept steady. So it'll have a slowly rotating acceleration vector, unless they use non-uniform linear acceleration to compensate for this.

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 5, Informative) 42

I'm reading the paper - they found a clever way to make sure that DNA doesn't hybridize across the SNP. That ensures that in an equilibrium solution it'll be present at much smaller concentration than a fully-hybridized DNA. That is really a neat trick, but hardly a groundbreaking achievement that will revolutionize everything.

Comment Re:Have they studied physics? (Score 1) 438

Yes, I did glance on it. I don't see how they're planning to address these points. I'm aware of electronics in cannon shells, and that even guided cannon rounds exist. However, all of them don't even reach the tenth of the required orbital velocity. A "Slingatron" shell would be subjected to higher acceleration and jerk, with really strange vectors (centrifugal plus linear acceleration).

A large railgun would be much simpler and its projectiles would be subjected to less G forces. Also, the angle of firing should be as low as possible to make orbital insertion simpler, so railgun wins here. And finally, we already have linear accelerators that can reach suborbital speeds with small payloads. Scaling them is a matter of cost.

Comment Have they studied physics? (Score 4, Interesting) 438

Have they actually studied physics? This project is so bogus on multiple levels:
1) It's much easier to use a linear accelerator. It won't have to deal with tremendous loads from centrifugal forces, for one thing.
2) Acceleration will be murderous for anything that's not a solid material.
3) And finally, it still won't work even if a payload is accelerated to orbital speed. That's because the payload would re-enter the atmosphere and return to the point where it left the accelerator at the end of its first orbit - that's simple freaking orbital mechanics. And you need quite a bit of delta-v to lift the perigee high enough to avoid it, which requires a rocket with an engine, see 2) why it's not feasible.

Comment Re:Stroke for stroke copy ~= $500 (Score 1) 74

Yes, I have several reproductions (clearly marked as such) of well-known pictures and I refuse to buy original art except for works of no-name artists. Good reproductions are expensive and still are not perfect. Besides, most artists prefer to paint not the exact replicas but something "in style of" them.

I believe, that creating a system that can analyze the precise colors (using a spectroscope) and a robot that can mix pigments to produce the desired reflection spectrum is absolutely feasible. It'll be expensive but its reproductions would cost next to nothing.

And it'll open some new possibilities. For example, I'd really like to tweak colors _just_ a little bit on some of the paintings - it'll make them much more vivid. And some paintings (Leonardo's artwork, for example) by now look really bleak and could use some creative refactoring.

Comment Re:Mimicing does not make art (Score 0) 74

A lot of "creativity" is overrated. Just wait before this robot can replicated that "just a bit more smile"...

And what I'd like the best is the ability to reproduce paintings. I really like art, but I can't stand the 'artsy' types that claim that the original paintings are somehow magical. Sure, photographic reproductions are total shit but if this robot can be taught to make stroke-for-stroke reproductions - it'd be priceless.

Comment Re:nature and consumers (Score 2) 358

There is a BIG fucking difference between looking at a row of plants and choosing which one looks the best or tastes the best and growing that next year versus making a frankenstein monster of starfish, grasshopper, and tomato.

How about taking a row of plants, irradiating them with high doses of radiation or watering them with potent chemical mutagens and then selecting the best mutants? Cause that's how the modern cultivars are made!

Oh, and in this case you don't even need to test them - just make sure that seeds don't glow in the dark and you can sell them. With whatever induced genetic defects - like lowered protein content (modern wheat) of almost dysfunctional fat-producing genes (corn). Oh, and during these manipulations your plants sometimes might acquire foreign genes from bacteria, close-related plants, viruses, etc. Hope that's OK.

Comment Re:nature and consumers (Score 1) 358

Yes, "within a year" is a bit of hyperbole. In your case wild plants simply didn't have time to outcompete them, but if you'd just let your field to overgrow with weeds - even these plants would have died pretty soon.

I've actually read a paper about 5 years ago about the abandoned cultivated lands. Basically, all of the crop plants die out within a couple of years. Some recently-domesticated plants like raspberry can survive much longer by abandoning human-selected adaptations. Spice plants (mustard, dill, spearmint, peppers) fare the best.

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