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Comment Re:Staged chute deployment - how's that work? (Score 1) 91

The Cirrus CAPS system has a similar deployment pattern (it's an emergency parachute for a light aircraft). It works by a sliding collar on the risers (the strings) which starts near the bottom of the canopy, and is pulled down the strings towards the plane as the canopy inflates, making the whole deployment more gradual.

Comment Innovation is more than tools (Score 5, Insightful) 143

It's unlikely that SAS is the root cause of a lack of innovation, so it's unlikely that introducing a new tools by itself will make a difference. The fact that you work for a 'huge company' is more likely the problem. Does senior management agree that innovation is a priority? Are they willing to make the changes to encourage it (which usually means breaking down fiefdoms, giving up power, and lots of things that senior managers hate doing)? The choice of language is kinda irrelevant absent the right environment.

Comment Differing incentives (Score 1) 216

Having spent lots of time around bankers, it's no surprise to me that one would view money as incentive to solve an interesting mathematical problem. I doubt Andrew Wiles spent all that time in his attic hoping to get rich, and I wonder whether other mathematicians with the chops to solve this challenge will be influenced to try harder or change focus for something as cheap as money.

Comment My approach (Score 1) 671

...our company's laptops are very locked down, all internet request go through proxies, and they bar access to personal email sites, social networking etc (I work in a highly regulated industry). So I carry an external hard drive and just boot from that into Linux - the internal drive is encrypted and the two OSs never know the other exists. Works great.

Comment Re:Maxwell Equations (Score 1) 249

Div.B=0 That '0' explicitly says that magnetic monopoles don't exist. So Maxwell's equations DO claim that they don't. Now, those equations are based on experimental observation, so really it's saying that "we've never seen one" rather than expressing any deep underlying reason that they shouldn't exist.

Comment Not convinced... (Score 1) 465

First, you can use anything (flexible or not) to connect from the copper pipe to wherever in the house you're going...so the arguments about being locked in one place don't...ahem..hold water. But...while the concrete slab is going to be a nice big thermal anchor, you also have to look at how quickly heat will disperse through the slab. You might end up with a hot core around the pipe that dissipates more slowly than you'd like. It will show up as the water slowly heats up on you. Not that hard to calculate...look up the thermal conductivity of concrete, and calculate the thermal gradient you're going to get for a given power input...will fall off like r^2 for a 1-d pipe.

Comment Don't focus on installing the OS (Score 1) 1089

Lots of comments here are (rightly) skeptical that individuals will download a new OS. But that's probably not Google's main intended audience. Running on PCs is a happy (if necessary) side effect of the Intel-dominant world. The most basic and original function of an OS is to mediate access to the hardware. Windows got where it is today by 'owning' the hardware ecosystem, from the original IBM PC through all the gazillion peripherals, Intel iterations etc etc. Then they cemented leadership by pushing the app suite (Office) that is the de-facto standard for business. If you want to challenge Windows you have to tackle the hardware problem. It's only recently that open-source has had the critical mass to address this. And it's in the past 12-24 months that new classes of hardware have begun to emerge to challenge the PC. So my guess is that Google sees the planets aligning, and are aiming NOT at displacing Windows on the classic PC platform, but creating a free and viable alternative for all the new classes of hardware they hope we'll be migrating to...netbooks, tablets, uber-phones, embedded, whatever. Disruption! Love it.

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley