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Comment Venus might still have life (Score 1) 125

Venus could still have life like this life on Earth, which can survive any surface conditions.

A Princeton-led research group has discovered an isolated community of bacteria nearly two miles underground that derives all of its energy from the decay of radioactive rocks rather than from sunlight. According to members of the team, the finding suggests life might exist in similarly extreme conditions even on other worlds.

Comment Life of Pi algae island (Score 1) 220

Yann Martel's book, Life of Pi, and the movie based on it feature a puzzling algae island .

The algae island might be the second weirdest part of the book. (Second only to Pi's conversation with the blind Frenchman.) It's an island made entirely of seaweed, full of meerkats and freshwater ponds. It gets even stranger: dead fish rise to the surface of the ponds at night and disappear by morning


Maybe the island is made of plastic.

Comment First site to perform a service. (Score 1) 136

My site, , set up in 1995, may well be the first site to use then then-new file upoad facility. It performed a service, translating email address books from one format to another, such as Eudora to Pine, rather than just displaying information.

Does anyone know of a earlier site that used file uploads?

Comment Filter our telemarketers (Score 3, Interesting) 88

Sign up for It's free service that blocks telemarketers

From their website

Nomorobo uses a feature known as "Simultaneous Ring". When simultaneous ring is enabled, your phone will ring on more than one number at the same time. The first device to pick it up gets the call and the other phones stop ringing.

So, when the Nomorobo number is enabled as a simultaneous ring number it is the first number to screen the call. If it’s a legitimate call, the call goes through to your number. If the call is an illegal robocaller, Nomorobo intercepts the call and hangs up for you. Your phone will ring once letting you know that the robocall has been answered and stopped.

Comment Re:Bit of a fail (Score 1) 47

The first computer I worked on in 1960, an IBM 1620, was the size of an office desk. It cost ten times more than the value of my parents' house and had 40k decimal digits of memory ( With a 10ms memory cycle time), just enough to support a Fortran II compiler.

It was the physics department's computer and we did a lot with it. It was light years better than our mechanical Frieden calculators.

Comment Re:Fusion energy is impractical (Score 1) 98

The core fusion plasma must not actually touch the first wall.
ITER and many other current and projected fusion experiments, particularly those of the tokamak and stellarator designs, use intense magnetic fields in an attempt to achieve this, although plasma instability problems remain.
Even with stable plasma confinement, however, the first wall material would be exposed to a neutron flux higher than in any current nuclear power reactor, which leads to two key problems in selecting the material:
It must withstand this neutron flux for a sufficient period of time to be economically viable.
It must not become sufficiently radioactive so as to produce unacceptable amounts of nuclear waste when lining replacement or plant decommissioning eventually occurs.

Comment Fusion energy is impractical (Score 3, Informative) 98

As a former program officer for the Office of Fusion Energy, US Department of Energy I can assure you even if the Stellarator "works", it will not be a practical source of power. The complex engineering and cost make harvesting energy from fusion impractical.

I could fill a page on enumerating them. For one -- fast neutrons can destroy any material known. No one has come up with a design for the the first wall that captures the neutrons and energy.

The old quip is "Fusion has been 25 years in the future for the last 50 years.

Comment Re:End anonymity for cash (Score 4, Interesting) 158

The largest bill is now $100. This is equivalent to $10 in 1948 according to the CPI inflation indicator. .

As time goes on, I doubt ( barring runaway inflation ), the US will print larger bills, so the $100 will become less and less.

During the Iraq war, the US airlifted $12 billion of $100 bills, which weighed in at 363 tons. This shows that cash is no longer useful for large transactions already.

As a side note: most of it was untracked, and melted away. I know of a distant relative who worded as contractor and returned home to Turkey with suitcases full of cash.

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