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Comment Doesn't thermal inertia work both ways? (Score 1) 270

So, they're relying on thermal inertia, right? The salt stays hot even after the heat's turned off. So it can be used after the sun goes down.

Next time the sun comes, up, the salt's all cooled down, right? So, can they start generating right away, or do they have to wait for the salt to heat up again?

I mean, what keeps it from just shifting the generation time from "sunup to sundown" to "(sunup to sundown) + N hours"?

Comment Tourists prolly brought 'em (Score 1) 221

How many such microbes normally roam the north atlantic, searching for ships to eat, I wonder.

My guess is some of the visitors to the wreck brought them from warmer climes. Some of those submersibles have probably visited other wrecks and/or sites where such iron-eating microbes are hard at work, and had a little colony of their own.

Space

Submission + - Tora! Tora! Tora! II? (www.jaxa.jp) 1

aGuyNamedJoe writes: The Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" shifted its attitude at 7:50 a.m. on December 6 to be ready for Venus orbit insertion at 8:49 a.m. on December 7.

Those are JST, but when I saw it, the date and time December 7, 7:49am was automagically linked in my head. Different timezone and year, of course, but it seemed an interesting near coincidence historically.

Even more interesting, of course, should be the technical aspects. If I'm not mistaken, it's now Dec 8 in Japan, though, so is this already done?

Comment Re:Unless (Score 1) 348

the first one is provably larger than the second, while both are infinite quantities. (In fact, the second is a provable subset of the first.)

Wrong. In fact, they are provably the same size -- there is a 1-1 correspondence between the elements of the two sets. if x is an even number, 2x is divisible by 4. Similarly if y is divisible by 4, y/2 is an even number. Thus, you could "line them up" side by side:

      2 _ 4
      4 _ 8
      6 _ 12
      8 _ 16 ...

Science

Immaculate Conception In a Boa Constrictor 478

crudmonkey writes "Researchers have discovered a biological shocker: female boa constrictors are capable of giving birth asexually. But the surprise doesn't end there. The study in Biology Letters found that boa babies produced through this asexual reproduction — also known as parthenogenesis — sport a chromosomal oddity that researchers thought was impossible in reptiles. While researchers admit that the female in the study may have been a genetic freak, they say the findings should press researchers to re-think reptile reproduction. Virgin birth among reptiles, especially primitive ones like boas, they argue may be far commoner than ever expected."

Comment Re:Jobs isn't a dork. (Score 1) 417

If you watch the celebrity chefs on TV, you should recognize the similarities with Jobs & Apple.

Charlie Trotter (in Chicago) could be dissed because his food is all elitist and you can't even get a good hamburger -- but he's not trying to compete with MacDonalds. I will guarantee you, you can get just as nutritious a meal at MacDonalds, far cheaper. Somehow, I don't think that bothers Mr. Trotter. He's an artist, with food as his medium. He has a staff of cooks that work with him -- but it's His responsibility to decide what's served. Don't be surprised if he's a control freak, or that most of his employees love working there and his customers are thrilled -- syncophants, even.

Some people prefer McDonald's to Charlie Trotters. That doesn't mean anyone involved is wrong.

Jobs is also an artist, with techno gadgets as his medium. He hires good people to work with him and realize his vision. His customers and employees are quite happy about it. No doubt, many will agree the man's a jerk , but they still like being associated with the company and its products.

Comment Re:Control (Score 1) 417

The sequential / random access metaphor is interesting, but I believe a better explanation I've seen is that CLI systems require the user to RECALL the proper command -- they can read the manpage to see how to use it, if they can remember what its name is. (Trust me, even after almost 40 years as a Unix programmer, I still have trouble remembering what that command is called that does xxx).
GUI systems, on the other hand, allow the user to RECOGNIZE the proper command -- by looking through menus and applications (or even help remember it for them).

I was just teaching my wife (non-techie) who learned to use the CLI on CP/M and DOS how she can just look at the menus and recognize what to do, instead of trying to recall it.

I've been addicted to the CLI for so long, I ran into a problem where I had trouble communicating with grad students using Linux, because I did everything from the command line, and didn't know how to do some things (like create a symbolic link) from the GUI, and they had no understanding of the command line, except how to type what they were told.

I love OSX because it works well both ways.

Comment Re:There is a thriving home-built plane community (Score 1) 417

you don't have to buy a "coding" license to write hello world on a Mac box

...Unless it was for iPhone development.

I'm not trying to develop for iOS, so haven't looked at the details for that, but I have registered enough to get XCode for both MacOS X and iOS, and haven't paid a cent.

Registering as an Apple developer is every bit as difficult and expensive as registering on SourceForge. Fill out a web form. The only cost is time, unless you want more than to be able to download tools etc.

Comment Re:Ok...But let's not blame the mouse. (Score 1) 391

Don't bother arguing with the part of his misstatement that wasn't his point. You have to keep track of the input cursor (which he called the mouse arrow).

One of the problems I'm having as I type with a trackpad between my palms and emacs keystrokes is having the cursor suddenly jump somewhere else. Probably at least one cause is hitting the control/meta key when I meant to hit the shift key and then the letter causes the leaping cursor -- but whatever the cause, it totally disrupts the flow of text from my fingers when I notice it.

I suspect ed's not that much better than vi(m) for his purposes, but I will attest to ed's greatness. (As an ed then emacs user, I only ever learned to drive vi by making heavy use to the colon to escape to ed).

Government

NSA Chief Wants Internet Partitioned For Government, 'Critical' Industries 258

GovTechGuy writes "NSA chief Keith Alexander, also the head of the US Cyber Command, told reporters that he would like to see the creation of a secure zone on the Internet for government and critical private sector industries such as utility companies and the financial sector. Alexander has repeatedly emphasized the dramatic nature of the cyber threat facing American networks and his comments were a further sign that the Pentagon does not think the war against foreign hackers can be won. Alexander denied the military has any role in safeguarding civilian networks currently, but didn't rule out the option in the future."

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