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Comment Re:Why return mission? (Score 1) 182

"Pioneers used to do that sort of thing all the time in the new world" " The new world (the Americas) had a lot of advantages that Mars does not:

Breathable atmosphere Climate suitable for growing stuff Fertile soil with plants and animals already there turkeys, cranberries and mashed potato for dinner (and locals to tell the colonists how to cook them) Trees for making wooden structures out of fresh water mineral resources etc

The Americas also had by some estimates 90 million humans living there already http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_history_of_indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas - who taught the 'pioneers' about the local flora and fauna - who bred with them and so on. The Americas had humans living here for somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 years - probably much longer, just not in the numbers needed to leave behind obvious signs of habitation.

Comment Re:Incredibly slanted article (Score 5, Insightful) 215

...these labs don't exist for the pleasure of working there. And nerds clearly still don't have a clue of how they are perceived by the rest of society.

In a real sense they do exist for the pleasure of working there; because the primary societal goals for which the labs were created can only be accomplished by people who are motivated by the pleasure of their work. The motivations of people like Oppenheimer, Feynman, Hasslacher, et al. are not generally money, they are motivated to understand nature, to work with similarly talented people, and to be recognized within that peer group for their work. Acknowledgment outside the peer group is largely unimportant, which means even if they spent the time to consider how they are perceived by the rest of society, they would not especially care. These are not easy people to manage towards goals other than their own, and it takes someone like Oppenheimer who was both in the peer group and an excellent manager to do so. It may also take an existential situation like was faced in WWII.

Comment Re:Fond memories (Score 1) 359

I assume you rolled it? I bought an Rx2 for $50 with the bad roof, and an ok frame from my cousin. He'd overheated it and blown a radiator hose, which in turn crushed a rotor housing and caused exhaust to bubble out the radiator. I rebuilt the engine - could just about lift it out of the car bar handed. Drove it for a few thousand miles - could not resist running it up to 10,000 RPM - and wouldn't you know blew a radiator hose. Left the thing in a friend's back yard. He cut it up with a torch. Good times!

Comment Metrics on McAffe Pain ??? (Score 1) 213

I have the McAfee slows me down argument with IT once or twice a year, but it has been easier to move to OS X and Linux than to get McAfee off my Windows machine. What I would like is an effective way to measure the pain. IT always points out that McAfee is only taking 5% or whatever of my CPU - but I know it is I/O bound as it scans every file opened and that is not reflected in CPU use ( can I argue 1-CPU use is the right metric ?). And I suspect it scans the whole file even if the whole file is not read. Opening Eclipse or doing anything with a few hundred Meg of svn files is quite painful.

Anyone know how to capture metrics on the time spent waiting for McAfee to unblock my I/O? I've poked around SysInternals for the right tool, and I've done some Google searches but patching windows FS calls for metrics is not my area of interest. If this was a OS X problem I'd learn enough DTrace to figure it out.

I also occasionally see build script failures where a file or directory can not be deleted, and I suspect McAfee is holding on to it - anyone have proof McAfee is bad for builds?

Thanks in advance.

Comment Re:How do they cool them that much? (Score 1) 309

You might want to check your 2nd law again. A thermoelectric cooler is just one side of a thermoelectric heat pump - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_cooling. It moves heat from one side of the device to the other, and it takes work to do this, work which ends up depositing more heat into the hot side than is moved from the cold side; so they do generate heat in the unit.

Comment off topic (Score 1) 289

I remember hearing or reading about an idea that involved identifying a leaker by seeding different people with documents that contained juicy, unique phrases to tempt journalists into quoting them directly, thereby identifying the source of the document.

Infocom did similar with review copies of games. Someone was posting their review copy on a BBS. We made custom copies for each reviewer with a modified room description for one of the rooms. It was posted, and that reviewer was caught.

Comment MTW - GRAVITATION (Score 2) 358

This was the book on General Relativity when I was at Caltech.
From the preface:

This is a textbook on gravitation physics (Einstein's "general relativity" or "geometrodynamics"). It supplies two tracks through the subject. The first track is focused on the key physical ideas. It assumes, as a mathematical prerequisite, only vector analysis and simple partial-differential equations.

It is a really fun book to read at the first track level; especially if you are not on the hook for the homework.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 1) 77

I have to wonder what the masses did the first guy who brought home fire.

I'd have to guess that they bound him to a rock and had a giant eagle eat his liver.

The gods did that, not the masses.

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