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Comment Re:Oh great, more orbital shooting gallery! (Score 1) 178

Actually, its possible to shoot satellites as they're about to make a re-entry and be certain that any debris ends up hitting the earth within one orbital period. That's what the US did in the Burnt Frost test.

Its still perfectly possible for flying debris to hit another satellite before hitting atmosphere and burning out, but that's very unlikely compared to the risks of other methods of testing ASAT weapons.

Comment Taking beliefs seriously (Score 1) 736

Engineering, at its root, is the practice of taking abstract reasoning into physical form. Nobody might have ever seen a certain kind of widget before, but if you know the right equations and do the math right you can make that widget and know what it will do. This leads to a tendency to take beliefs seriously and to apply them consistently that can be dangerous when mixed with the wrong kinds of beliefs.

People are good at wearing beliefs like clothing to impress others and not really acting on them. Christians might believe "Its good to give all your money to the poor" without actually believing that they should give all their money to the poor. We're taught one thing explicitly, but by watching how other people act we learn to do something else implicitly. Its non-trivial to learn to be an engineer and take explicit ideas seriously in your professional life while not doing so in your religious life, but we as a culture have generally learned how this is possible and Christian engineering students grow up with lots of good role models showing them how to compartmentalize their beliefs. Sometimes it doesn't work, though, and the student becomes Bible literalists.

Muslims studying engineering in other countries, however, don't have the advantage of role models in how to continue believing-but-not-believing and so its far easier than it would be in the West for someone to come along and persuade them that they have to take their religion seriously.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 155

Freedom of speech means sometimes being offended. The fact that some people are offended by four letter words doesn't mean you can't use them, but by the same rules the fact that you are offended when others write censoring software doesn't mean that they can't do that either.

Comment Re:Idle? (Score 1) 388

It might not protect that much against high explosives, but the main danger facing military personel sitting in rooms on bases is mortar or artillery fire. Those mostly kill through shrapnel which I presume this wallpaper would stop rather effectivly.

Comment Re:Pithy (Score 1) 944

More that I think that the one good thing about capitalism is that it works so well. If it gets beaten in some special circumstances (like the production of non-rivalrous goods) then I'm not going to be shedding any tears despite the fact that I might call myself a Libertarian. Free markets, on the other hand, _are_ something I'd attach moral significance to.

Comment Power vs Speed (Score 3, Interesting) 259

It seems to me that rather than the identity and timeframe for the different technology nodes (which anyone who knows Moore's law could have given in advance) the interesting thing from that slide is what it says about delay scaling and energy scaling. Whenever you shrink your process you have a certain amount of gain that can go into either making the chip faster or making the chip more power efficient. For a long time back in the day people wanted to stay at 5 volts to preserve compatibility, so everyone just kept putting it into going faster. Nowadays chipmakers try to go for a more balanced strategy.

But here, on this chart, Intel is saying that they're going to a delay scaling of "~1", staying at pretty much the same speed. And they're looking to increase their energy scaling from "~.5" to ">.5". So it looks like we really have topped out in terms of GHz.

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