Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×

Comment Re:a very large planet, 15 times the Earth (Score 1) 135

And something basically to that effect was for a period at the IAU conference the definition being haggled over. A lot of people went home at that point thinking that either that would get voted in as the definition, or there would be no definition, and were fine with either outcome. The committee however changed the proposal before the vote came up.

Comment Re:The universe. (Score 1) 135

These are what the IAU came up with, in a vote that was very controversial among its membership. An association dominated by astronomers, not planetary scientists, who were by and large against the decision. And a set of terminology that you can often find flatly ignored in scientific papers. Example. In short, the only group that the IAU is able to bludgeon into using their term is the general public (using the "We're scientists, if you don't use our term you're wrong and ignorant" gambit), not the scientific community itself.

Comment Re:We have these (Score 1) 136

There's this technology called "version control". It's rather nice.

Back in the day when sane people still used CVS, I put together a doc store based on CVS with a nice Windows plug-in. Word has a diff viewer, so you could present version diffs as if they used Word change tracking. Would be trivial to do that with SVN today.

Also, folders can have a "readme.txt" in them with all the annotations you want, but that's far too straightforward for anyone who would use Sharepoint.

Comment Good Cars (Score 1) 195

It used to be all of the desirable cars were named with a bunch of numbers and letters (mostly German and Japanese). This was probably due to those manufactures spending more resources designing cars than marketing them.

It makes perfect sense for a new brand to follow the strategy that is well established in people's brain.

Comment Re:Moronic Subject for an Article (Score 1) 209

I wouldn't hold my breath on MS going away, but it really seems to be on the "Novell arc" now. It could go for a decade or more on its existing customer base (many of which will move to Azure, so revenue will keep going up), but that's different from getting new customers.

Startups tend to do everything in the cloud these days, and not with expensive MS products. Mac is taking over the end-user workplace where it's not already entrenched MS. I'm not sure what could drive new MS enterprise customer acquisition in the years to come.

Comment Re:Yeah (Score 1) 195

Oh, no, you never hide the price of a status symbol! That's why the number associated with most luxury cars goes up with the price.* If your neighbor also gets a luxury car of the same brand, you can immediately see which is most expensive just by comparing the number on the back. Audi is the odd duck there as they don't decorate their model number with fine-grained pricing information.

*Tuner sports models are the exception.

Comment Re:What Authority ... (Score 1) 445

That was contingency planning for Greece. They didn't expect a country with a real economy to leave. Bit of a furor over Brexit, after all, and talk of punishing Britain or adding incentives for other nations to stay. I won't be surprised if they just take the option off the table instead.

Comment Re:hybrid vigor (Score 1) 57

Maintain enough presence in each provider to provide resiliency, and a big enough stick to push down pricing.

Microsoft and Google are definitely selling at a loss right now. Everyone was surprised that AWS was profitable as the same prices.

Currently Google cloud stuff is a rounding error next to Azure and AWS (the pie chart is mostly AWS, a slice of Azure, and a sliver of "other" right now). I'd be very nervous using them, given Google's history of abandoning projects that aren't getting traction, but OP had good advice there - just make sure you can move.

Of course, once you start using all the other cloud services beyond server rentals (file stores, DBs, queues, etc) then you're basically stuck, as there's very little in common there, so again maybe not Google.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 2) 135

Stop feeding the troll ;) If a person can't handle an argument without name calling, they're not worth your time.

For what anyone not trolling :) There is nothing magical about existing on Earth that allows a nuclear reactor to run. Earth does provide a few conveniences, mind you - your mass budgets are unlimited, and cooling is easier. But nothing about either bulk nor mass prevents nuclear reactors from operating in space, by any stretch, and the two main things limiting their use have been a lack of need and NIMBY (the former being little applicable in the former USSR, they used them quite a bit, although they still lacked a need for high powers and so generally kept them fairly small; in the US, NIMBY limited the US to just one launch, although the US developed a number of other systems, some to flight-ready status, on the ground).

The typical mass balance for a in-solar system fission fragment rocket (measured simply by MWt, not MWe, since thrust is direct) is about 20% payload, 20% structural, 35% reactor, and most of the rest toward various aspects of cooling. The nuclear fuel makes up only about 2% of the total mass (figures from the Callisto baseline). For an interstellar mission, however, the fuel would make up the a large minority or the majority of the mass, trading significantly reduced acceleration for significantly longer acceleration times. On an in-solar-system version, power density is about 6kWt per kilogram of reactor mass (that 35% figure above). This is actually quite low by large-space-reactor standards; many modern multi-megawatt reactor research projects for NEP and defense purposes (example) often deal with density figures of 50-100 kWe per kilogram, including cooling. But a fission fragment reactor has a sparse core and has to rely extensively on moderation / reflection to keep up a sufficient neutron flux; higher core density is prohibited because then the fragments would thermalize.

One thing that's neat about a fission fragment reactor is that, like systems like VASIMR, it can operate in various output modes, trading ISP for thrust as needed. In pure fission fragment mode it's ISP is is ridiculously high, nearly 1m sec; your thrust is purely the relativistic fission fragments from each reaction, carrying the majority of the reaction's energy away. However, you can inject gas into the stream as reaction mass, limited only by the density to which your magnetic nozzle can keep the stream confined. So where higher thrust maneuvers are needed, you can use the same engine (up to the aforementioned extent, of course; you're not going to take off from a planet with a FFRE!)

Slashdot Top Deals

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer