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Comment Re:Inflation (Score 1) 1205

I wish I could give you a +ve vote (none available to me at the moment). I've had this kind of runaround on Slashdot too (see here and here). The education level of the Slashdot crowd must be higher than average. If so, the quality of fiscal and economic education in the schools must be correspondingly abysmal.

Just as a side note: at the time of my Slashdot discussion (see links), gold was around $1350/Toz. It is now, 13 months later, around $1700/Toz. The gold isn't that much more "valuable". The $US is that much less valuable (along with other currencies).

Comment Re:Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (Score 4, Insightful) 182

What is the absurdity of the fear that a model airplane that can fly thousands of miles by itself could be used to deliver something hazardous?

It is akin to worrying about general aviation (all those "uncontrolled" airplanes in the sky - in the hands of terrorists, etc.) while ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room - Ryder trucks. Only more so.

Further, as has been demonstrated repeatedly, a car bomb is a horrifyingly effective terrorist weapon (cheap, fast, inconspicuous, readily available, large payload). As an example, the use of just one such device ended up with US forces leaving Beirut.

Thus far, no model airplanes have been used in any terrorist attack (long distance or otherwise). If we are to worry about model airplane terrorist attacks, then we are no longer able to prioritize and are fearful to the point of collapse.

Comment Re:Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (Score 1) 182

In form, yes. But I have seen repeatedly model aircraft designers using techniques & technology that only sometime later appeared (publicly, at least) on military UAVs. Also, only relatively recently have military UAVs become so small - falling into the realm of model aircraft. And now that the difference is blurring, at what point will a model airplane be considered an ITAR "munition"?

Comment Perhaps tangential, but a worry nevertheless... (Score 4, Interesting) 182

... these UAVs are becoming more and more like amateur model aircraft. In this current climate (fear, terror, control), I believe the model aircraft crowd are therefore likely to be increasingly regulated. It has happened already to the high power rocketry crowd (they pushed back - with some limited success).

An anecdote: a few years ago, a group flew a model airplane across the Atlantic (link). I found this quite interesting and told a few friends. One reacted with horror, postulating that terrorists would be able to use such a thing to deliver all sorts of nasty. No counterargument convinced him of the absurdity of his fear.

Submission + - Tevatron data doesn't match predictions (

Asmodae writes: Top and Anti-Top quark events in the Tevatron have some unpredicted behavior that might need a new explanation. From the article: "A number of theoretical papers suggest interesting new physics mechanisms," the authors note, "including axigluons, diquarks, new weak bosons, and extra-dimensions that can all produce forward-backward top-antitop asymmetries."

Submission + - An Artist Captures CRT Televisions Turning Off (

An anonymous reader writes: Not necessarily tech-related in the most conventional of senses, but cool nonetheless. Stephan Tillmans, a Berlin-based artist, recently set to work capturing television screens the exact second they had been turned off. Each abstract system, according to Ignant, a German design, art and photography blog, is like a fingerprint. Unique to the moment of release, the duration of exposure and the device type, each of Tillmans' photographs is one-of-a-kind. Tillmans explains on his personal website: "The television picture is no longer visible — instead, a structure of light, which in a fraction of a second, disappears in the picture tube and collapses."

Submission + - Robots Help Out In Fukushima Nuclear Disaster ( 1

RedEaredSlider writes: The team working to contain the partial meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant got some help from a robot, allowing workers to observe the site at a safe distance, according to Asahi Shimbun.

Called Monirobo, for "Monitoring Robot," the machine was loaned out by Japan's Nuclear Safety Technology Center. About 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) long and 1.5 meters high, it is equipped with a radiation detector, temperature and humidity sensors, and a 3D camera system. It can also collect samples and can be remotely operated from a kilometer away.


Submission + - Does RSA SecurID have a US authorized back door? (

coondoggie writes: "Does the RSA SecurID two-token authentication system include a back door that was built in at the request of the U.S. government in exchange for letting RSA export SecurID? Does the RSA SecurID two-token authentication system include a back door that was built in at the request of the U.S. government in exchange for letting RSA export SecurID?"

Comment Re:OK, maybe I'm a bit grumpy today. (Score 1) 226

Aren't Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong more inspiring? To bring it even closer to this crowd, how about John Carmack? He's working his way up from first principles - developing real hardware. It surprises me that the technical people ostensibly filling this discussion site are apparently more interested in wildly inaccurate space opera.

Comment OK, maybe I'm a bit grumpy today. (Score 5, Interesting) 226

Why is it every time there's an article posted in connection with some soap opera in space, so many /. denizens are all over it with 100's of posts. Yet whenever there's an article on the real thing (space probes, man in space, deep space observation, etc.), either there are only a few tens of posts (many frivolous), and/or there's actual opposition (waste of money, rich bastards in space, etc.).

Fun and entertaining as he is (and indeed, happy birthday to the man), Shatner is an actor. Neil Armstrong, Wernher von Braun, Burt Rutan, Carl Sagan are/were the real deal - scientists, engineers, astronauts.

Of course, I might be jumping the gun. Perhaps this article will garner few posts.

Why is my karma going up in smoke? :-)

Submission + - GLOBE at Night Aims to Map Global Light Pollution ( 1

Kilrah_il writes: Light pollution is a big problem this days, affecting not only astronomers and wild life, but also everyone else because of wasted energy. GLOBE at Night aims to raise awareness by urging people to go outside and find out how much light pollution there is in their area. "The campaign is easy and fun to do. First, you match the appearance of the constellation Orion in the first campaign (and Leo or Crux in the second campaign) with simple star maps of progressively fainter stars found. Then you submit your measurements, including the date, time, and location of your comparison. After all the campaign’s observations are submitted, the project’s organizers release a map of light-pollution levels worldwide."

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