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Comment Re:The universe. (Score 1) 127

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:Money (Score 1) 383

Except that Apple has a presence in multiple European countries, and there's no reason to believe that they saved much money by doing their accouning and money storage in one country instead of several, if you take the tax break out of the picture. It may be that Ireland got exactly as much as they otherwise would have, and that most of the taxes would have been paid in their Munich or Paris offices instead. If so, Ireland got those jobs in return for taking money out of the coffers of other countries—effectively free from their perspective.

Comment Re:Studies also show more productivity under 40 ho (Score 1) 124

Personally, I'd be fine with that however I don't see how you could do 10 minutes at places that require you to leave your desk for lunch for sanitary reasons.

Before I retired, I preferred working as a contractor (as long as the wage was comparable after paying my own benefits).

If I worked 5 hours, I got paid for 5 hours. If I needed to work 15 hours, I got paid for 15 hours.

And mainly, when I walked out the door they knew I wasn't being paid and it changed their attitude.

Comment Re:Studies also show more productivity under 40 ho (Score 1) 124

EXACTLY.

Companies asked for more hours at work and a larger slice of your personal time, so you use your smart phone at work to pay your bills, keep up with your personal life, and deal with emergencies.

Companies want to have it both ways. They can try, but we shouldn't let them.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 127

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!)

Comment Re:Studies also show more productivity under 40 ho (Score 3, Interesting) 124

You know... people did all those things before cell phones right?

Your business has a land line in every office if it requires no smart phones.

Combined with RFID tags, you don't even have to log into the phones.

I have friends who work for the government and they have no access to any kind of cell phones during the day and they do not appear to have stable locations while at work (swapping between lab, office, and a lab/plane).

My point was, companies ask for 65 hours a week of your time and then require you check email and be available for on-call 24/7 via your smart phone.

If they are going to cut your smart phone then they need to return you to normal working hours and stop calling you at 11pm.

Comment Studies also show more productivity under 40 hours (Score 5, Insightful) 124

I wouldn't mind if we combine

a) Taking a way smart phones during working hours.
b) Working hours are limited to 35 hours a week (40 hour week with an hour for lunch & breaks each day).
c) Any employee not allowed to use a smart phone during work can't be required to use a smart phone for work outside of working hours.

Comment Re:Taxonomy and location (Score 1) 127

So it's up to the planetary scientists to do something about it if they think it makes little sense

Do what? They make up less than 20% of the membership of the IAU. It's a bunch of astronomers. What do you want them to do, file a lawsuit?

They're doing the main thing that they can, which is complain about the "definition" foisted upon them, as Stern was doing above. Something you apparently find fault with.

All I hear is a bunch of bitching about it but no serious counter proposals.

That's your fault if you don't pay attention to the debate, because there have been tons of alternate proposals.

If the IAU decision wasn't scientifically useful then it will be ignored anyway.

And hence a giant stink that lowered the discourse for nothing.

How do you see this as even remotely similar? If you take a shrew from Ohio and you place it in Nepal, does it cease being a shrew and become a dwarf shrew that no longer counts as a shrew?

Actually biologists do stuff like that all the time.

No, they don't.

There are species that are considered different based almost entirely based on location

No, there aren't.

but it does happen and it's not irrational.

No, it doesn't, and yes, it is.

Seriously, you're going to cast doubt on the guy who came up with the Stern-Levison parameter that's used to make that distinction?

When he says something igorant, yes I am.

Right. Got it. The guy who co-invented the Stern-Levison parameter doesn't know how to calculate a Stern-Levison parameter. But you do. Thank you! I take it your name is Harold Levison?

Pluto is absolutely not "much like" "big rocks", and the fact that you'd make this claim is a profound expression of ignorance on the topic.

You are seriously arguing that Pluto is nothing like other "dwarf planets" or other large rocky/icy objects in our solar system?

Pluto is more like Mars than it is Ceres, at the very least. As for other dwarf planets... we have no idea, we've never even been there. Going by things that would be counted as dwarf planets if they were free orbiting, there's a massive range of properties. What's the universal property (apart from size / hydrostatic equilibrium / general terrestrial nature) between Pluto, Luna, Ceres, Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, Io, Titan and Triton? Answer: not a damn thing. They're all radically different environments. Some are more similar to each other than others, but they're anything but a logical "group" distinct from the terrestrial planets.

Versus "big rocks", however, the comparison is even more ridiculous. There is literally nothing beyond "they're both made of solid matter" in common between Pluto and a typical large asteroid. Including, for starters, Pluto isn't made of rock. It has some unknown percentage of rock in its interior, but it's overall made of ices, with a thin gas atmosphere (not all that different, structurally, from the ice giants Neptune and Uranus, although the latter two are obviously on a much larger scale and reach much higher pressures in the gaseous state before transitioning to the ice states).

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