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Comment Re:Wrong math (Score 1) 90

Exactly. That's like saying a 1.3hp compressor can't run a nail gun, operating on the assumption that you're constantly shooting nails out of it. Most hand work involves periods of activity mixed with periods of rest in-between.Depending on the task, a few seconds to a few minutes of buffer is usually enough. Even if we assume 10 minutes buffer, at an average of 4.5W that's 0.75Wh. If we assume a low li-ion energy density of 100Wh/kg (laptop cells are more like 200Wh/kg), that's a 7.6 gram battery. Is that really unrealistic?

Still, I don't know why someone would design a gun like that which relies on heat and cooling. Why not UV-hardened epoxy?

Comment Re:Re-release of 2004 turkey? (Score 1) 93

The reboot Star Trek movies, particularly the last one, are just plain baffling films. The quick cuts, the brainless dialog that serves no other purpose than to push the plot along, they rob the franchise of its soul. Watch the interactions between Kirk, Spock and Bones in ToS or the ToS films, and you have rather incredible chemistry (I'd argue that Star Trek would have died around 1967 if it hadn't been for Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley's onscreen chemistry). Now watch Pine, Quinto and Urban, and while they might do a reasonable facsimile of Kirk, Spock and Bones (Quinto, in particular, is pretty darned good), they just don't jell.

Even in ToS episodes and films that were pretty shaky affairs (cough.. Star Trek V cough...), you at least had the three stars' chemistry to rely on. Without that, you just have what feel like amateurishly written and filmed movies, with crap cinematography that actually makes the 1960s series seem like a high point of production values.

Comment Re:Won't work ... (Score 1) 272

That's pushing a popular misconception, though. Yes, the US did rely heavily on German scientists for its rocket program. Most Americans think that Russia did too, but this simply isn't true. The US got almost all of the high-level German rocket scientists under Operation Paperclip, plus most of the rockets. The Soviets only got a handful of scientists and lower-level line workers. Various research and manufacturing facilities were studied by both sides. While the US incorporated the Germans deeply into their programs, the Soviet side didn't. Most were merely debriefed over the course of a few months. Even the highest-level German scientists that they did get were completely shut out of the program by 1951.

The Soviet rocket program was by and large domestic. German technology and data helped, no question, but it wasn't at all like in the US.

Comment Re:Fat Chance (Score 1) 272

It's easy to think about it that way, but try to put yourself in the average American situation at the beginning of the space race: Russia was shooting up satellites full of god-knows what capabilities flying straight over American cities half a dozen times a day and could launch weapons at the US from the other side of the world in under an hour, and the US had no response. Can you imagine how helpless many people felt about that and how strongly they wanted to change the situation? The obvious US responses - playing down Soviet capabilities (including the truth... the early sputniks were rather pathetic) simply made each new report out of Russia of greatly improved launch capabilities all the more concerning and drove the need even more for a US response.

Of course, eventually the tables evened out, the addition of newer capabilities stopped being as big of an issue, etc. The moon race was sort of the jumping the shark moment. I mean, it's not like people were going to start shooting Saturn Vs or N1s at each other.

Comment Re: Fat Chance (Score 3, Interesting) 272

Reminds me of a translation of a sign I saw in Ukraine: "If you become part of Russia, you won't be speaking Russian - you'll be silent in Russian."

A large portion of the problem is Putin's crackdown on the press. As bad as the state of a free press often seems in the west, it's nothing compared to Russia where pretty much all opposition to Putin has been eliminated. They're now ranked 148th in world press freedom, worse than half of Africa.

Whatever is the current propaganda message, it gets echoed relentlessly. Just the other day they had the same Ukranian guy (Andrey Petkov) on three different stations, but they didn't even bother to give him the same story on each. On NTV, he was a German spy smuggling money to support the anti-Russian protesters. On Rossiya 1, he was a repentent pro-Ukraine extremest who converted to the pro-Russian side after having been savagely beaten by fellow protesters. In yet another segment he was a neo-Nazi surgeon supporting the new Ukranian government.

Probably the funniest bit of propaganda was after an attack on a pro-Russian checkpoint. They all broadcast images of the two totally burned-out cars which they said that members of Right Sector drove up in to attack it. They then presented piles of American money, satellite images, and a business card with the name of the leader of Right Sector on it, among a bunch of other stuff. Just ignoring the absurdity of right-wing assault groups roaming around carrying business cards of their leader (with a fake phone number on them), the funny part was that everything that they presented was pristine - not only unburned, but altogether undamaged. Whatever material Right Sector makes their leaders' business cards out of that can survive a car-gutting fire, please, disclose it immediately so we can use it for fireproofing! It's gotten lots of coverage; the card now has its own Know Your Meme entry ;)

As funny as it is, a large portion of the Russian public just takes this sort of stuff at face value. The media keeps repeating the same mantra: "Ukranian neo-nazi extremists overthrew the government and are assaulting innocent Russians". So when international reporters first-hand witness the "little green men" throwing molotov cocktails at a peace rally full of children, it doesn't matter, it gets reported in Russia as "rival protest groups clashed" or even "pro-Russian protesters repel an attack", and there's nobody on the airwaves to say otherwise.

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