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Comment Beta tester (Score 1) 466

I've eaten (I won't say where) some earlier versions of Beyond Meat. While not as chewy as the real thing, they had a lot in common with meat; I could quite easily have believed they were the flesh of some animal I had not yet tasted. With good use of sauces or spices they should be able to compete with meat. Can anyone tell me if McDonalds has yet trademarked "BeyondBurger"? I mean, a plant-based patty that tastes better than their beef ought not to be difficult at all.

Comment Re:Creepy libertarianism (Score 1) 80

it's not that the market doesn't exist, it's that practically none of the enabling technologies exist (for the case or the phone) and that someone lacks the capital to create them let alone even the foggiest clue what they actually are.

We know how to get to an asteroid, and we have some idea how to detect what it's made of. If you look, you'll see that these mining wannabees are working on the next few enabling technologies. The goal is to reduce one of the nastiest barriers to exploration and development of space for humans: the high cost of breathing, eating, and drinking. I'm glad we have machines like Curiosity that don't need to breathe, eat, or drink, but some day I'd like to go out there myself. A space civilization that gets its air, water, and food from Earth will never be independent (no matter what your political inclination) and is unlikely to even be viable, unless you count a few millionaire tourists as a civilization.

In its way, this is like the long-forgotten effort to invent and produce clothing, which made it possibly for humans to spread outside of the tropics.


Submission + - The Long Reach Of US Extradition (

CuteSteveJobs writes: The New Matilda reports how the US is now able to extradite people for minor offences, and asks why foreign governments so willingly give up their nationals to the US to 'face justice' over minor crimes committed outside US borders? Lawyer Kellie Tranter writes "the long arm of the Government is using criminal enforcement powers to enforce commercial interests at the behest of corporations and their lobbyists." A Former NSW Chief Judge said it was bizarre "that people are being extradited to the US to face criminal charges when they have never been to the US and the alleged act occurred wholly outside the US". He said although copyright violations are a great problem, a country "must protect its nationals from being removed from their homeland to a foreign country merely because the commercial interests of that foreign country." Australia recently "streamlined" its laws to make extradition to the US even easier.

Submission + - Goldbach's Conjecture Proved ( 1

kruhft writes: "Goldbach's Conjecture, a classic problem in Number Theory where every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two primes, has recently been proved by the mathematician Agostino PrÂastaro at the University of Rome. Can anyone on Slashdot provide some insight into whether this proof is correct? And if so, why have we not heard of this sooner?"

Comment Re:So what happens... (Score 1) 319

As Freeman Dyson points out it's very easy to over-use the "do no harm" argument. Given the way ocean waters mix and move over time, I tend to doubt that anything smaller in scale would give us data, and indeed this may not. I'm sad to say that real scientists will now feel pressure either to refrain from studying this "natural experiment" or to report only the negative effects (of which there probably will be one or two) and play down the positive.

Comment arithmetic (Score 1) 717

The question that makes most of the others irrelevant is, what are they averaging? Miles per gallon, or gallons per mile? Let me explain.

Averaging mpg, if they sell five 10 mpg vehicles and five 100 mpg vehicles, then (10+100)/2=55 mpg and they can say they're ahead of the average. But driving each of those vehicles 100 miles will consume 55 gallons (for an average of 0.055 gpm that equates to about 18 mpg), whereas driving ten 55 mpg vehicles 100 miles will consume 1000/55=18.18... gallons. Biiiiiiiig difference.

Averaging gpm, well, 54.5 mpg is about 0.01835 gpm, and a company that sells just one vehicle getting 0.1 gpm will have to sell roughly ten vehicles at 0.01gpm to get an average of, hmm, 0.01818... gpm and beat the average. If you drove each of those cars 100 miles, you would get roughly the same total consumption as driving eleven cars that got 0.01835 gpm.

I'm fairly sure I know which averaging method the US is using.

Comment Re:Interesting questions (Score 1) 112

Note that XCOR (disclosure: I own shares in it) is also developing a suborbital craft and plans to make it available for science missions, at prices substantially lower than what scientists now pay for expendable rockets. The kind of science you can do with a few minutes up around 100km is not as glamourous as the Hubble, but still useful. NASA will pay for some of it: in fact, NASA will even pay for science missions aboard SpaceShip Two.

Comment Re:still... (Score 1) 463

... except for the people who vote for the Congresscritters who pass laws that prevent all but a tiny amount of legal immigration (other than by people who already have family ties in the US).

Given that those laws are actually on the books, that must be a hefty number of voters.

Comment Re:Ownership may fade in the short term (Score 1) 390

Before deciding that a song is worth owning, I want to hear it, in full, several times. Streaming services like (no, I don't work for them) let me do that easily and cheaply. I've wasted far more money on music that turned out not to be worth owning than I shall spend in several years' worth of streaming. What's not to like?

Comment Re:Query (Score 4, Interesting) 57

Actually the existing pioneers, including Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR, and some others of whom you (should) have heard, are already working with the FAA and they report that the experience has not been too painful. I can't help worrying when NASA wants to get in on the act, though. NASA's main product is paper, with a few space vehicles as unintentional by-products, and they won't want to disappoint anyone ....

Comment Re:Tutoring not as lucrative as you think... (Score 1) 416

Then there are pension benefits. As in: you actually have a real pension. Usually they are defined benefit, meaning you will know how much you are going to get when you retire.

Unless the aforementioned lousy administrators have underfunded the pension plan. Which roughly everyone has done.

+1 for teaching at private schools. The school where my kids go has recently hired a part-time math specialist, and I've been filling in myself, volunteering one lesson a week. Any discipline problems, I just sic my elder boy on them :-)

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