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Comment Better way to spend money... (Score 1) 134

Here's an idea: instead of spending all this money now to launch probes from Earth, why not spend it instead on building a base with launch infrastructure on the Moon? No atmosphere, no environment to worry about, lesser gravity well...the list of advantages is quite large. The only disadvantage is it would take a while to get going. But the same could be said for the space industry 50 years ago. So we could spend a lot of money on a lunar base now and get huge payoffs later, or keep spending almost as much on Earth-launched probes for the next several decades and advance the human presence in space not one whit.

NASA still hasn't figured this out. The public is not *interested* in these pure science missions, regardless of how beneficial they are to scientists and engineers. The public wants the glory, grandeur, and *adventure* of Apollo. And without public backing, NASA's budget gets whacked again and again and again. NASA needs to come up with things that capture the public's imagination like the glory days of the 1960's. Then they'll get the money and political clout to do big things. I'm sure most American's don't give two damns about a mission to Uranus or Neptune.

Comment All Could Be Going Away (Score 1) 116

Given the furious pace of technological change, there's no reason to assume any current distribution model will last 50 years. Maybe not even 20.

The following used to be important distribution channels or outlets:

  • American News Company
  • Blockbuster
  • Borders
  • B. Dalton
  • Walden Books
  • Drive-in movie theaters
  • Hastings
  • Newsweek
  • The American Mercury
  • The Houston Post
  • The Chicago Daily News
  • Tower Records
  • Newstands
  • AM Radio
  • FM Radio

Where are they now? Dead or dying.

Push the timescale out long enough, and the future of Apple, Amazon, YouTube, Time Warner/Comcast, NPR, The New York Times, and broadcast TV are no more assured.

Will they be replaced by Kickstarter? They'll probably be replaced by the thing that replaces the things that replaces Kickstarter...

Comment Re:Control vs. Prosperity (Score 2) 119

It's hard to know anymore what anyone really means when they use the terms "communist" and "socialist".

Marx used both of them to refer to societies where the means of production were collectively owned, where socialism was a transitional period before full communism.

In practice, collective ownership has meant state ownership.

Are you suggesting that it's the form of state ownership that distinguishes socialism from communism?


How Russia Transformed a Subtropical Beach Resort To Host the Winter Olympics 359

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Duncan Geere reports at The Verge that Russian resort as Sochi, on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, is humid and subtropical with temperatures averaging about 52 degrees Fahrenheit (12 C) in the winter, and 75 degrees (24 C) in the summer. "There is almost no snow here — at the moment it's raining," says Olga Mironova, a local resident. It's estimated that the cost of staging the Olympics in Sochi has been greater than the previous three Winter Games combined — ballooning to a whopping $51 billion including the cost of implementing an extensive system of safeguards to ensure there'll be sufficient snow in Sochi for the games including the cost of implementing one of the largest snowmaking systems in Europe. The system includes two huge water reservoirs that feed 400 snow cannons installed along the slopes that can generate snow in temperatures of up to 60 degrees fahrenheit (16 C). If that snow isn't enough, then the authorities will fall back on 710,000 cubic meters of snow collected during the winters of previous years leading up to the games. To keep it from melting in the region's hot summers, 10 separate stockpiles have been kept packed tight under insulating covers high up in the mountains, safe from the sun's rays. Down in Sochi itself the other half of the games will be held in five indoor arenas that will host figure skating, speed skating, hockey, and curling, and an additional outdoor area will host the opening and closing ceremonies. In each of these indoor arenas, underfloor cooling systems are installed so that the ice stays frozen above it using propylene glycol, which doesn't freeze until temperatures reach 8.6 F (-13 C). Climatologists predict that even under a best-case scenario, almost half the venues that have hosted the Winter Olympics over the last century would be unable to do so by 2080 without resorting to extensive and expensive artificial snowmaking techniques.""

Comment Re:A "clipped" audio signal is still a valid signa (Score 0) 526

Because the clipped waveform has more area underneath it than the smaller unclipped waveform, the amplifier produces more power than its rated (sine wave) output when it is clipping.

Which is why a designer shouldn't assume the amplifier is going to just produce a sine wave.

Comment Re:bad engineering? (Score 4, Insightful) 526

I personally don't do this sort of engineering, but I can see the reasoning. And if you are trying to push high volumes out of your laptop speaker, you probably should be carrying external speakers. There are physical limitations to systems designed to be portable.

The trouble is that the audio chipset hardware is by design meant to output arbitrary waveforms, including squarewaves, which is what VLC produces in the most extreme form of clipping.

A wave file can hold the very same signal.

Neither the user nor software is responsible for trying to figure out what waveforms are a problem on a system where the built in amp can destroy the built in speaker. It's the responsibility of the maker to limit the output of their own amp so that it doesn't cause damage. They put the amp in there in the first place. There's nothing about putting in a proper amp that in any way would affect portability.

Comment Deception? (Score 3, Insightful) 157

If you are going to whip out the credit card to spend a little money, take a little time to read all the text on the page. It was in large type that it was a donation to defeat the candidate. How many times in the past have we seen cute, cleaver and obscene assaults on congressional candidates on the Internet? Just google Santorum.

If you like your fake congressional candidate website, you can keep your fake congressional candidate website. Its political speech.

Submission + - Bad news: Bertha is damaged (

mc6809e writes: Officials on Friday announced the seal assembly is damaged. Bertha may be shut down for several more weeks as workers fix damaged seals that protect the drive system that spins the giant cutter. The revelation comes two months after the drill failed to grind ahead and operators shut it down. The machine known as Bertha tweeted in December that she was doing fine, just facing an obstruction. An 11-day inspection in January found no big obstacles, turning engineers’ attention inward. The ongoing investigation — which includes an influx of staff from drill maker Hitachi-Zosen — could take up to two weeks before the Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) contracting team issues a strategy to repair and restart the machine.

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