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Comment There's other things besides Lithium Ion (Score 3, Interesting) 325

I'd prefer an EESU from EESTOR (if that ever happens), since it would be cheaper on a buck-per-Joule level and it would last for a very, very long time. Second to that, nickel-iron batteries, which are heavy and inefficient, but survive much abuse and have working lifetimes far longer than that of most other batteries. Pity they are no longer made in the United States; much of their price is presumably in just shipping them here.


Aussie Scientists Find Coconut-Carrying Octopus 205

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from an AP report: "Australian scientists have discovered an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells for shelter — unusually sophisticated behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool use in an invertebrate animal. The scientists filmed the veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, selecting halved coconut shells from the sea floor, emptying them out, carrying them under their bodies up to 65 feet (20 meters), and assembling two shells together to make a spherical hiding spot. ... 'I was gobsmacked,' said Finn, a research biologist at the museum who specializes in cephalopods. 'I mean, I've seen a lot of octopuses hiding in shells, but I've never seen one that grabs it up and jogs across the sea floor. I was trying hard not to laugh.'"

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Comment Re:First Lesson in Relativity... (Score 1) 392

I see plenty to be excited about. For one, you're not having to chuck stuff out the back. With a rocket, you are carrying your reaction mass along with you. You're not only having to accelerate your ship, you're having to accelerate the stuff you'd just gonna throw out the rear a few minutes from now. It means that ships are very heavy and inefficient.

With this, you're just concerned about your energy. Without it, you're concerned about your energy, and the extra mass you have to carry along with you, and that makes the energy required go up. No dragging along big tanks of propellant with you. It might be quite liberating.


Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next Screenshot-sm 193

ColdWetDog writes "Wired is running a story on DARPA's effort to stave off battlefield casualties by turning injured soldiers into zombies by injecting them with a cocktail of one chemical or another (details to be announced). From the article, 'Dr. Fossum predicts that each soldier will carry a syringe into combat zones or remote areas, and medic teams will be equipped with several. A single injection will minimize metabolic needs, de-animating injured troops by shutting down brain and heart function. Once treatment can be carried out, they'll be "re-animated" and — hopefully — as good as new.' If it doesn't pan out we can at least get zombie bacon and spam."

Comment Techdirt and "Business Model." (Score 0) 242

Ah, Techdirt: Free is good! Non-Free will die! Now, if it doesn't work out for you, your business model sucks. Every time you read "business model" on Techdirt, pretend it says "Plan $X for Getting Money." And we don't know what $X is. Neither do they.

Aside from variations on the hostage model, they have yet to suggest a business model that does not succumb to the things they propose in the first place. Example: Discs will be pirated. Solution: Make additional content available to people who buy your discs. Problem: additional content gets pirated ...

Basically, you have to tour if you're a musician. Don't count on T-shirts, because anyone can replicate your T-shirts, cheaper. Sign books if you're an author.


Comment Re:Firefox's Ping Attribute: Useful AND Spyware (Score 1) 575

Here I was kinda hoping that Mozilla would be focusing more on the issue of not making my browser crash all the freakin' time. I have gone through numerous versions of Mozilla/Firefox, upgrading constantly, sending in the Quality Feedback Agent, and I continue to crash my browser.

This is a very Microsoft-like behavior in that they aren't making things work, but they are happy to implement some sketchy new feature that will sure to be a boon to Big Business. Didn't Slashdot dogpile Microsoft a few years back for a similar stunt?

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