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Comment Re:Bullshit! (Score 1) 577

Apple are just too expensive, elitist, and closed off. ... If Apple don't rediscover their own roots (and I think it's almost certainly too late now) then Apple will have just become another corporate peddling cans of baked beans and handed the industry to Microsoft. Again.

I must agree. Apple is doing so badly that no matter what they do, they can't sell the crap they make any faster than they can make 'em.

Nobody buys an iPad / iPhone / iPod / MacbookPro anymore -- the demand is so low one has to wait weeks to get one.

Comment What's that bird? (Score 1) 34

I've never seen a bird rolling around on the ground playing with something before. What kind of bird is that?

Is that the same kind of bird as the group that's grooming each other later in the video?

Oh -- and am I correct that the lights streaking across the night view at various points are aircraft, and not meteors?

Comment Re:7 Deadly Sins... (Score 1) 87

Presumably things could be learned that have practical applications for powered aircraft.

How far is it from human powered to solar powered? Probably a lot closer than from internal combustion powered to solar powered... Didn't we just see an example of "perpetual flight" that used that result for fixed wing flight?

So, imagine a solar powered predator helicopter hovering silently over your home, just waiting... hmmm... I wonder if the size of the solar array might cause a noticeable shadow at ground level? Probably wouldn't have to be much larger than the afore-mentioned football field...

Just thinkin...

Comment Re:Fukushima plant was hit by an enormous disaster (Score 1) 1148

I was trained as an officer in the US nuclear submarine force, some years ago. I've always been a fan of nuclear power and considered it safe. I chose "slightly less safe", largely because of the problems we've seen after the accidents that have happened. The difficulties in maintaining water over the core has resulted in significant hydrogen generation as the zirconium cladding overheats, and they don't seem to have adequate systems to vent it without generating an explosive mixture inside the containment building. Also these problems getting water to the spent fuel storage pools -- Seems like they need to pay more attention to "common" failure scenarios after the worst happens.

I'm actually pretty impressed with the robustness of the design. The plants withstood a 9.0 earthquake basically undamaged followed by a loss of coolant almost immediately after shutdown from full power. That's got to be very close to the design accident. However, there's definiately something totally wrong about having a tsunami short out the backup power system when the plant is located at the ocean -- can't expect a major earthquake and forget the tsunami -- however, perhaps it's due to being designed in the US, probably far from the ocean...

However, the fears of the radiation are far out of proportion to the risks. I'd much rather be living near a nuclear plant in a 9.0 Earthquake than downstream from a hydroelectric plant.

Relavent article Beware of Nuclear .... Fear

Comment Re:Philosophy... (Score 2) 630

One key fact of what is necessary for one scientific paradigm to replace another, which many non-scientist seem not to understand, is that the new version must match the old (within experimental error) in at least those areas where the old has been tested. Furthermore, both versions must be able to match "reality" in appropriate ranges.

It was not pure imagination that allowed engineers / scientists to land instruments on the surface of Titan and to record transmissions from the lander. That is an amazing accomplishment.

It was a discussion of this kind that led Prof. Kefatos (Physics) and Prof. Nadeau (English) to write The Conscious Universe: Parts and Wholes in Physical Reality. (I'm not sure they didn't go off the rails there, but at least in the first edition their explanation of how Kefatos helped Nadeau to recognize the difference between physics theories and arbitrary whimsy was very good.)

It always surprises me how badly Humanists have misinterpreted Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Comment Doesn't thermal inertia work both ways? (Score 1) 270

So, they're relying on thermal inertia, right? The salt stays hot even after the heat's turned off. So it can be used after the sun goes down.

Next time the sun comes, up, the salt's all cooled down, right? So, can they start generating right away, or do they have to wait for the salt to heat up again?

I mean, what keeps it from just shifting the generation time from "sunup to sundown" to "(sunup to sundown) + N hours"?

Comment Tourists prolly brought 'em (Score 1) 221

How many such microbes normally roam the north atlantic, searching for ships to eat, I wonder.

My guess is some of the visitors to the wreck brought them from warmer climes. Some of those submersibles have probably visited other wrecks and/or sites where such iron-eating microbes are hard at work, and had a little colony of their own.


Submission + - Tora! Tora! Tora! II? (www.jaxa.jp) 1

aGuyNamedJoe writes: The Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" shifted its attitude at 7:50 a.m. on December 6 to be ready for Venus orbit insertion at 8:49 a.m. on December 7.

Those are JST, but when I saw it, the date and time December 7, 7:49am was automagically linked in my head. Different timezone and year, of course, but it seemed an interesting near coincidence historically.

Even more interesting, of course, should be the technical aspects. If I'm not mistaken, it's now Dec 8 in Japan, though, so is this already done?

Comment Re:Unless (Score 1) 348

the first one is provably larger than the second, while both are infinite quantities. (In fact, the second is a provable subset of the first.)

Wrong. In fact, they are provably the same size -- there is a 1-1 correspondence between the elements of the two sets. if x is an even number, 2x is divisible by 4. Similarly if y is divisible by 4, y/2 is an even number. Thus, you could "line them up" side by side:

      2 _ 4
      4 _ 8
      6 _ 12
      8 _ 16 ...


Immaculate Conception In a Boa Constrictor 478

crudmonkey writes "Researchers have discovered a biological shocker: female boa constrictors are capable of giving birth asexually. But the surprise doesn't end there. The study in Biology Letters found that boa babies produced through this asexual reproduction — also known as parthenogenesis — sport a chromosomal oddity that researchers thought was impossible in reptiles. While researchers admit that the female in the study may have been a genetic freak, they say the findings should press researchers to re-think reptile reproduction. Virgin birth among reptiles, especially primitive ones like boas, they argue may be far commoner than ever expected."

Comment Re:Jobs isn't a dork. (Score 1) 417

If you watch the celebrity chefs on TV, you should recognize the similarities with Jobs & Apple.

Charlie Trotter (in Chicago) could be dissed because his food is all elitist and you can't even get a good hamburger -- but he's not trying to compete with MacDonalds. I will guarantee you, you can get just as nutritious a meal at MacDonalds, far cheaper. Somehow, I don't think that bothers Mr. Trotter. He's an artist, with food as his medium. He has a staff of cooks that work with him -- but it's His responsibility to decide what's served. Don't be surprised if he's a control freak, or that most of his employees love working there and his customers are thrilled -- syncophants, even.

Some people prefer McDonald's to Charlie Trotters. That doesn't mean anyone involved is wrong.

Jobs is also an artist, with techno gadgets as his medium. He hires good people to work with him and realize his vision. His customers and employees are quite happy about it. No doubt, many will agree the man's a jerk , but they still like being associated with the company and its products.

Comment Re:Control (Score 1) 417

The sequential / random access metaphor is interesting, but I believe a better explanation I've seen is that CLI systems require the user to RECALL the proper command -- they can read the manpage to see how to use it, if they can remember what its name is. (Trust me, even after almost 40 years as a Unix programmer, I still have trouble remembering what that command is called that does xxx).
GUI systems, on the other hand, allow the user to RECOGNIZE the proper command -- by looking through menus and applications (or even help remember it for them).

I was just teaching my wife (non-techie) who learned to use the CLI on CP/M and DOS how she can just look at the menus and recognize what to do, instead of trying to recall it.

I've been addicted to the CLI for so long, I ran into a problem where I had trouble communicating with grad students using Linux, because I did everything from the command line, and didn't know how to do some things (like create a symbolic link) from the GUI, and they had no understanding of the command line, except how to type what they were told.

I love OSX because it works well both ways.

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