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Comment Re:Caffeine is a drug.. (Score 4, Insightful) 212

Well, technically each of these sugars is metabolized somewhat differently, and uses up different amounts of B vitamins in the enzyme conversion chain. IANA biochemist but it takes, IIRC, two molecules of B-something to assist in the splitting of a sucrose molecule to its constituent frucose and glucose molecules, and so forth. I forget which vitamins are used where. So again, different people will be affected differently depending on your vitamin levels as well as your phenotype.

Funny how these things go, it wasn't that long ago that you could buy fructose at the health food store, as a 'healthy alternative' to sucrose - coming from fruit and all.

Comment Re:No specs? (Score 1) 200

The odd thing is that IIRC Boeing and Lockheed were among the first to design machines (airplanes in their case) entirely in CAD with 3D modeling of the entire plane, including part fitting, wiring, ducting, etc. I would have thought that they would have provided that capability as part of the outsourcing agreements. This problem need not have happened even with the outsourcers doing the part design, if they could also test fit the parts into the 3D design. Perhaps there were proprietary and/or security interests involved that prevented Boeing from allowing that access.

Comment Re:Space craft parts not good enough for FAA (Score 1) 163

IANA A+P mechanic, but I think the differences are not that simple. Space-qualified equipment has to handle much higher acceleration and shock and IIRC wider temperature range and atmospheric environment. FAA may require more paperwork, and probably a longer testing regime? But aside from the weight, especially since the various Shuttle problems, I suspect NASA requirements have become much stricter, even taking into account the weight considerations. Weight is a factor in aviation as well, although not as much as space. But I dunno, really.

SpaceX batteries are used in the Dragon, which is now man-rated, which means it has to pass NASA standards and inspections.

Having said all that, I am befuddled as to why Boeing would go for Lithium Cobalt instead of LiFePh. LiCo is always one glitch short of catching fire, and requires lots of control systems to keep it from doing so. LiFePh is heavier and larger, and takes longer to charge, but that's a reasonable price for the difference in safety. Interestingly, the weight consideration goes against your argument - weight is a factor in aviation as well as in space.

Comment Re:Publicity stunt (Score 1) 163

In any case yesterday I believe Japanese investigators announced that no fault whatsoever was found with the battery, and instead they were looking into the electronics.

I would take this with a grain of salt. Japanese investigators have been found to whitewash problems in other situations - Fukushima, for example. The culture is apparently so attuned to avoiding loss of face that it's hard to actually criticize one's own, in this case the maker of the batteries. IMHO the conclusion that the batteries were not at fault was remarkably quick.


Submission + - Would you support National Space Society videos on the importance of space? ( 1

garyebickford writes: "I didn't know where to put this (it's not really science, where most space stuff goes), but I think it's important so I'm asking Slashdot: how important is space development in your opinion? How would you tell people about it? National Space Society wants to produce several videos about the importance, and the potential, of commercial space development.

I think space development could be the most important subject today. The potential of space industry for relieving various resource issues on Earth (including even possible 'climate change' and other ecological concerns) could make many of the contentious issues of the day moot. Just as the 'discovery' of the New World and sudden availability of large amounts of various resources disrupted the economic and political systems of the entire world, so also space could completely change the game on Earth again. I think this is not only overall a good thing, I think it is inevitable and we should be planning for it"

Comment Re:In a word: no (Score 1) 223

The interesting thing is that, if predictions pan out, it will be difficult for any one organization to establish a monopoly (of the sort now maintained by DeBeers), with regard to any particular resource. As such, your plan won't work for long. It would be too easy for someone to go out there and find another 1000-ton asteroid filled with 1% platinum, or whatever, and no reason for them to participate in a cartel.

Caveat: the real monopoly may be various resources required for those wanting to get out to the asteroids, mining them, and delivering them back to near-earth. I expect that the early players are going to work very hard to establish monopoly power by lobbying for exclusivity with the UN, and proceed with rent-seeking. The most likely argument will be the need to limit vehicle re-entry to licensed paths, and 'volunteering' to provide that traffic control for free (and optimizing for one organization's traffic). I hope that they fail in that.

Therefore I hope that an internationally-chartered body is established (perhaps descended or merged from the various national satellite tracking organizations, and/or from the national air traffic control organizations) to provide near-earth orbital traffic control, without favoritism to particular entities.

Shameless plug, which is relevant: Support the National Space Society's Kickstarter project! Our Future in Space to produce several videos that demonstrate the opportunities and the need for space development, with award-winning production team.

Open Source

Submission + - Why a Linux user is using Windows 3.1 ( 1

colinneagle writes: About two weeks back, I was using my Android tablet and looking for a good graphics editor. I wanted something with layers and good text drawing tools. That’s when it hit me. We already have that.

Photoshop used to run on Windows 3.1. And Windows 3.1 runs great under both DOSBox and QEMU, both of which are Open Source emulators available for Android and every other platform under the sun.

So I promptly set to work digging up an old copy of Photoshop. The last version released for Windows 3.1 was back in 1996. And finding a working copy proved to be...challenging. Luckily, the good folks at Adobe dug around in their vaults and managed to get me up and running.

And, after a bit of tweaking, I ended up with an astoundingly functional copy of Photoshop that I can now run on absolutely every device I own. And the entire environment (fonts, working files and all) are automatically backed up to the cloud and synced between systems.

But what other applications (and, potentially, games) does this give me access to? How far can I take this?


Submission + - Acer Sees Success in Chrome; Windows Fails to Drive Sales (

Dupple writes: Acer Inc. the Taiwanese computer maker that’s suffered two consecutive annual losses, posted strong sales of notebooks using Google Chrome platform after the release of Microsoft Windows 8 failed to ignite the market.

Chrome-based models accounted for 5 percent to 10 percent of Acer’s U.S. shipments since being released there in November, President Jim Wong said in an interview at the Taipei-based company’s headquarters. That ratio is expected to be sustainable in the long term and the company is considering offering Chrome models in other developed markets, he said.

“Windows 8 itself is still not successful,” said Wong, whose company posted a 28 percent drop in fourth-quarter shipments from a year earlier. “The whole market didn’t come back to growth after the Windows 8 launch, that’s a simple way to judge if it is successful or not.”


Submission + - 58,000 Security Camera Systems Critically Vulnerable To Hackers ( 1

Sparrowvsrevolution writes: Eighteen brands of security camera digital video recorders are vulnerable to an attack that would allow a hacker to remotely gain control of the devices to watch, copy, delete or alter video streams at will, as well as to use the machines as jumping-off points to access other computers behind a company's firewall, according to tests by two security researchers. And 58,000 of the hackable video boxes, all of which use firmware provided by the Guangdong, China-based firm Ray Sharp, are accessible via the Internet.

Early last week a hacker who uses the handle someLuser found that commands sent to a Swann DVR via port 9000 were accepted without any authentication. That trick would allow anyone to retrieve the login credentials for the DVR's web-based control panel. To compound the problem, the DVRs automatically make themselves visible to external connections using a protocol known as Universal Plug And Play, (UPNP) which maps the devices' location to any local router that has UPNP enabled--a common default setting. That feature, designed to allow users to remotely access their video files via remote PC or phone, effectively cuts a hole in any firewall that would expose the device to attackers, too. And security researcher H.D. Moore has been able to show that the flawed architecture isn't just used Swann, but instead effects every company that uses Ray Sharp's firmware. Neither Ray Sharp nor any of the eighteen firms have yet released a firmware fix.

Comment Re:Mititant metric user (Score 1) 177

I think there's at least two standard ounces: the Troy ounce (used for gold and other precious metals, = 31.1034768 g) and the Avoirdupois ounce (the 'common' ounce, = 28.349523125 g). Also there is a liquid measure, the fluid ounce, but that's another topic. And TIL that avoirupois is from Old French, meaning "goods of weight".

There are also less-used ounces, including the Apothecaries' ounce, the Maria Theresa ounce, the Spanish ounce, and a couple of different metric ounces. And the ounce-force, and the areal density ounce for fabric ("8 oz. denim"), ... fun with Wikipedia! :D

Comment Re:Yep there goes our civilization (Score 1) 143

How about fixing the general case, not giving special perks to those with lobbyists?

While I agree with this sentiment in general, I'm not sure it applies strongly here. Private commercial space development is a new industry, and as such many things having to do with the legal structure are poorly defined or not defined at all. One of the areas that must be filled in is how to handle liability related to activities on the way to space, and in space (outside the gravity well of Earth, let's say for the purposes of argument). Some of this is certainly covered by existing US law and regulations regarding commercial satellite launches, etc. But just as the rise of the Internet has required a substantial body of new law to cover things not previously anticipated, space development is going to require a similar effort.

As one example, there is presently no legal basis for private ownership of objects such as asteroids. There is a treaty (The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, IIRC - see Wikipedia) that no governments (that are signatories of the treaty) can assert sovereign rights. This theoretically would prevent a repeat of the European colonial process 'put a flag on it and you own it, at least until somebody bigger comes along' for nations. But depending on interpretation, this may or may not have anything to say about a private entity.

At present most everyone concerned appears to be trying to work within the existing body of international and national laws, treaties and precedent, making analogies from, for instance, the historical maritime traditions. Those analogies will eventually be embodied in new law by new precedent and/or legislation.

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