Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 1) 71

The profit (a minority of their profit, it should be added) is coming from saving taxpayers money. What the heck is your problem with that?

If they were making some amount of launches cheaper - sure - but that's not the case.

Yes, it is the case; they cost vastly less than ULA.

Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 1) 71

What I *do* have a problem with is him parlaying this success into a full blown cult of personality

I'm sorry, I must have missed the speech where Musk announced that he is the savior of humanity and its new lord and master.

I'm sorry it gets under your skin that people appreciate the man and what he's doing, but that's hardly something he's been actively "parlaying this success into".

Comment Re:Maybe I'm missing something. . . (Score 1) 71

Most of SpaceX's launches are for private companies. And their real profit plan is satellite internet; these random couple dozen launches per year for the government and private companies is nothing compared to the value of being able to provide cheap high speed internet access everywhere on Earth without having to lay wires. But that requires thousands of satellites to be launched.

Interestingly enough, this also appears to be Blue Origin's profit plan, via their work with OneWeb.

Comment Re:The actual real problem with Mars... (Score 4, Insightful) 71

What's the problem with SpaceX getting government launch contracts? No, seriously. They're charging less than ULA and thus saving the government a ton of money. What's your huge problem with saving money and having the money that is spent go to a company that's focused on great things rather than some conglomerate of huge military-industrial giants?

I've never understood this animosity.

Comment Re:think of the children! (Score 3, Interesting) 143

Actually yes. Scientific or not, a list short enough for kids to learn in grade school is a damn good idea

Well, then, it's time to start teaching that there's only 8 rivers in the world, and all others are dwarf rivers and don't count as rivers. And 8 bones in the human body, the rest being dwarf bones that aren't really bones. And 8 particles in physics, and all others dwarf particles and don't count as particles. And 8 galaxies in the universe.... you get the picture.

. And for fuck's sake, Pluto and the other KBOs ARE DIFFERENT ENOUGH from the asteroids

Since we're apparently going into shouting mode, Pluto IS FAR MORE LIKE THE TERRESTRIAL PLANETS THAN THE TERRESTRIAL PLANETS ARE LIKE THE GAS GIANTS. If anything should be kicked out of the planet club, it's the gas giants.

The issue isn't whether KBOs should have their own classification. They do: KBOs. The question is whether it makes sense to group dissimilar objects (terrestrial planets and gas giants) but artificially exclude other objects in hydrostatic equilibrium, objects with active geology, internal differentiation, fluids, and all of the other hallmarks we associate with planets. Nature has given us a very clear dividing line: objects in hydrostatic equilibrium are where you go to see tectonics, mineralization, fluids, search for life, etc, while objects not in hydrostatic equilibrium are where you go to learn about the formation of the solar system, find its building blocks, learn about what life was built from, etc. Nature rarely gives us such meaningful dividing lines, but in this case, it has, and we should respect it.

Comment Re:No (Score 2) 143

Well, the current definition is "cleared the neighborhood" (despite how much that they like to pretend that it actually says "gravitationally dominant"). And Earth most definitely has not cleared its moon. So....

Actually, by that definition, Earth isn't a moon, either, as it doesn't orbit something defined as a planet. Earth would be a "small solar system body".

Comment Re:The devil needed an escape route (Score 1) 285

I apparently missed where the Falcons got declared Superbowl champs by being several points down at the end of the game but being declared the winner by an arcane system that values points scored in the last quarter at several times the value of points scored in the other quarters - an arcane system created because the Founding Fathers of American Football didn't trust referees.

But honestly I don't say it to complain about your crazy rules. I say it because I think it's hilarious how much it ticks him off that a majority of Americans who voted didn't vote for him, to the degree that he went into full Alex Jones Conspiracy mode trying to find some reason why he didn't actually lose the popular vote ;) I've never before seen such a fragile snowflake in charge of a major power. The not being able to get over the fact that his inauguration crowd was so much smaller than Obama's was the funniest part, to the point of ordering the parks service to try to find more pictures to try to prove that it wasn't. "Dude: Let It Go Seriously." It's like saying "We won the football match, but they didn't declare me MVP, it's a conspiracy!" Dude, you won, what the hell are you complaining about? Go put a pen in your tiny hand and sign all those bills you've been wanting to sign and indulge in the moment. How can you be complaining about winning? How on earth is your victory walk an angry time? Yeah, a lot of people don't like you. Golly gee wilickers, I can't figure out why! Toughen up, buttercup, you're the f'ing president.

Comment Re:Stop discussing vaporware (Score 1) 244

In this particular case, when we are discussing something with immediate consumer applications

Not in the slightest. It takes many years to turn a lab battery tech into a commercial product. Li-ions took over a decade.

Yes, I get it, it is vaporware.

No, it's a lab demonstration. You embarrass yourself by not knowing the difference.

There may be 10-20 people in the world, who are sufficiently well-versed in the topic.

Nonsense, there are tens of thousands of people actively researching advanced batteries, and orders of magnitude who are otherwise well versed in the topic.

So, why is he doing a press release?

He's not "doing a press release". He published a peer reviewed paper (sent in October, accepted in December). Peer reviewed - read: reviewed by people knowledgeable in the field. Published in a respectable journal. All of this is exactly what scientists are supposed to do. The university he worked for made a press release about the publication of his paper, which is what Universities do constantly. There is literally nothing about this that is unusual.

Whether or not we comprehend the theory of it — or whether the theory will even be published.

I've ceased being interested in this paper and am now far more fascinated with the device you're using to post on Slashdot from the past.

Comment Re: Stop discussing vaporware (Score 1) 244

It's a nice snarky response, but not appropriate for lab technologies. Lab prototypes are not exactly like commercial cells; they tend to be heavy and/or require a lot of supporting hardware and/or are sensitive to their operating conditions and/or other issues. The potential of a technology that's been researched in the lab requires analysis; turning it into finished commercial products takes money. You can't just say "send me a working battery" as if things pop straight from lab tech to some sealed product that blows refined commercial products off the market.

Thankfully, at least from reading the paper, the tech being utilized here doesn't sound particularly complicated to build. Hopefully there will be some outside attempts to reproduce it soon. If outside attempts confirm the results, then it can start to come time to think about making it into actual battery products. Although they're going to need to have a firm understanding of exactly what's going on in order to be able to optimize it. If outside attempts can't reproduce it? Then there's a good chance it'll go down the cold fusion route.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 3, Informative) 244

The argument is that when charged you have lithium metal on the anode and nothing on the cathode; when discharged you have the same lithium metal coated onto the cathode, but the cathode being otherwise unchanged (no reaction); and therefore you've just moved the lithium and not done any work.

It'd be a valid argument, but only if they can prove that there is no work needed to strip the lithium from the cathode. If there is a charge gradient providing a force that has to be resisted to remove the lithium, then it takes work to remove it, and there's no thermodynamic argument.

I personally don't feel qualified to assess whether there's any merit to either side.

Comment Re:Stop discussing vaporware (Score 2) 244

Science does not work by "sale". Science works by other labs reproducing or being unable to reproduce his findings. Right now we're not to that point; this is new.

I'm still trying to parse the paper (ignore the stuff about no dendrites forming on the anode, there's nothing unusual about the physics of that aspect, they're just using the solid electrolyte to suppress that). The interesting part is what's going on at the cathode. As the critics have noted, this is neither intercalation nor reaction; metal is plating out on the cathode side. So the critics' argument seems to be, you have plated metal on one side, plated metal on the other side, where did the energy come from? If you were just to move the metal back from the cathode side to the anode side, you could do it again and get more energy.

However, the argument is also clearly not that simple because you can't just assume that you can move the metal for free. If I were to take the plates of a parallel plate capacitor and pull them apart, the capacitor would be storing more energy, but only because I did work on it. For the "thermodynamics argument" against this battery to hold, they need to be able to show that no work is needed to remove the lithium from the cathode and bring it back to the anode. The paper appears to be making the argument that the charge storage is a capacitive phenomenon; if so, that would invalidate the argument.

But I'm not well enough versed in the topic to be able to assess better the quality of the arguments at hand. Capacitance in general gets weird when you're dealing with tiny structures because of the quantization of charge (there was some work a while back to build a super-powerful "quantum capacitor" based on this).

Slashdot Top Deals

The decision doesn't have to be logical; it was unanimous.