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Comment Re:use water (Score 2) 283

The halving-thickness of lead is approximately 1 cm. That is, it will block 50% of gamma radiation. A nice 10 cm lead plate will reduce your exposure to 1/1024th the original. Now let's try that with water, which has a halving-thickness of 18 cm. You'd need 180 cm of water to afford the same protection. I'll leave it to you to calculate the volume required to shield your craft. Once you've figured out how many thousands of liters are required, calculate the cost of lofting it into geosynchronous transfer orbit -- say $18,000 per kg. Once you've spent the equivalent of Denmark's GDP to launch your swimming pool, you'll have a few technical difficulties to resolve because space is really, really cold and water has a nasty habit of expanding when frozen. By about 9%, in fact. So either you have to keep your liquid shield from freezing and bursting the ship's hull, or you have to come up with extremely clever expansion tanks that ensure an even layer of ice around your vessel.

Comment Re:Hand wring much? (Score 2) 474

They closed the Kitsilano Coast Guard station which provided coverage on Vancouver harbour and English Bay, handling a few hundred distress calls a year. The nearest active station is Sea Island, which has slowed response by about half an hour. Lives will eventually be lost because of the closure of this "downtown" coast guard station.

Comment Re:Hahahaha! (Score 2) 564

You seem a bit confused. Netflix decides what platforms they wish to support and are responsible for writing their own apps. They chose not to support the Playbook because the installed user base was extremely small compared to the Android and iOS ecosystems, not because RIM was "clueless." I suppose RIM could have paid a number of key developers (Instagram, Netflix, Skype) to release apps for the platform, but that sets a dangerous precedent and probably wouldn't have helped the product's sales. It's interesting to note that both Skype and Instagram are already supported by the new Blackberry BB10 phones.

Comment Re: bets? (Score 1) 319

Microsoft was recently charging OEMs $30 for Windows 8 and office on sub-10.8" touchscreen machines, and there were rumors of $20 licenses for touchscreen notebooks with 11.6" and smaller screens. However, $20 is a significant cost when you're trying to retail an inexpensive machine. It could force manufacturers to offer $279 windows machines with the same hardware specs as $199 android units.

Comment Re:Kobo (Score 4, Interesting) 132

In Canada, Kobo has a much higher profile because their ereaders and tablets are marketed by Chapters Indigo, a major brick and mortar book chain. Kindle has made limited inroads here, and B&N doesnt have a physical presence to sell Nooks. The Kobo Arc tablet starts at $175 and is actually quite good (got my wife one for Christmas). The Kobo Glo and Kobo Mini ereaders were popular last Christmas, too. I don't think the company bought coverage, as others here suggest. I think they're just making an aggressive play to improve their ereaders for this fall.

Comment Expensive when you're not in the USA... (Score 1) 363

I still receive the paper version of IEEE Spectrum. As a kid, I used to love reading Popular Science and Omni in the school library. My parents subscribed to a variety of magazines, but I didn't follow in their footsteps primarily because I lived in Canada, and subscriptions to American magazines cost more than twice as much as in the US. The discrepancy still exists today. Pop Sci costs $12/year in the US and $26 in Canada. The logical part of me understands that Canada doesn't have a heavily subsidized magazine postage rate, but the emotional side just gets angry when asked to pay twice as much for exactly the same product. That said, if prices were the same, I suspect I'd have let my subscription lapse years ago, anyway. Even though a well researched paper article is fun to read, nothing beats the immediacy of the web.

Comment Here's an article on the sorry state of Bolex SA (Score 2) 112

I spent a few years as a contributing editor and translator for Berlin-based smallformat (the English version of schmalfilm). It was extremely sad to see how the European movie camera manufacturers had been completely unable to competitively shift manufacturing to Asia when the electronic revolution started to take hold in the early 1980s - we basically lost AGFA (Germany) Eumig (Austria), Beaulieu (France) and even the once-might Bolex SA ended up as little more than a repair shop occupying a small part of their old office tower. Here's an article about a melancholy visit to Bolex in early 2005 (originally in German): http://schmalfilm-shop.schiele-schoen.de/115/8170/smf2050748/WHERE_THE_BOSS_OPENS_THE_DOOR.html

Comment Re:Not the technology (Score 4, Insightful) 369

Having experienced a runway overshoot, the issue is that things tend to go flying around the cabin in a really nasty way, I don't want my teeth knocked out by the tablet that was previously sitting in the lap of the kid three rows in front of me. I don't want you to sit in the aisle seat in confusion because you missed the cabin crew's instructions while listening to your iPod at full volume. Stow your crap and clear your ears during the most dangerous part of the flight and make sure you know how many rows away the emergency exits are.

Comment Re:the 90s are over, dad... (Score 1) 502

Windows didn't hit its stride until the 2000s. Windows XP was released in October 2001, with great commercial success. As of last month, it was estimated to be running on almost 39% of PCs. That's a critical problem that Microsoft faced - instead of dutifully upgrading every couple of years, many people and businesses stayed on XP. Each subsequent release has tried to up the whizz-bang factor of the UI.

Comment Re:Of course it serves a purpose (Score 1) 466

You've missed the point completely. The purpose of Earth Hour is to make us realize how absolutely reliant on technology we are. No electric lights, no computers or phones and no television is a jarring shift for most urbanites. Turning your lights off isn't about raising awareness in others, it's about raising *your* awareness. Hopefully you do a little thinking and realize that (a) an emergency preparedness kit with food, flashlights, water and a few days worth of essential supplies is a very sharp idea in case of a disaster, (b) your house/apartment probably doesn't have an effective secondary heating system. Fix that. And, finally, (c) that we're bloody wasteful and should do something about it. Chances are that you won't get far with (c) because it's bloody hard to wean ourselves from our energy addiction, but you stand a reasonable chance of succeeding with (a) and (b).

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