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Comment Re:Prepare to be (Score 1) 374

If it manages to violate conservation of momentum and that stands up to the inevitable scientific pig pile that follows, I'll be impressed.

Conservation of momentum is what makes most of the universe inaccessible to us in practical terms. If it is only a rule of thumb rather than an absolute law, then perhaps more of the universe is within our reach than soberly critical thinking people currently believe. Obviously not with this device, but at least in principle.

But I don't expect any results to survive the pile on. I hope they do, but what I hope and what I expect are two different things.

Comment heat (Score 1) 374

While there may be no mass escaping from this device, it absolutely is consuming energy. Where does that go?

In most of the mundane pursuits we understand, it goes to producing heat. In physics, one fairly valid viewpoint is that heat is motion, in that a "hotter" result has more motion activity going on at the particle level.

One of the reasons that perpetual motion is impossible is that within a closed system, we can't make anything 100% efficient. Typically the lost percentage wanders off in some fairly easily identifiable thermal guise.

The first thing to keep in mind is that not all energy expended does useful work.

But that's not really the problem here. the problem is that motion in space, as we understand it, depends entirely on imparting momentum to something. The only way we have practically been able to do that is to send stuff out one end of a spacecraft, which causes, due to the equal and opposite rule of newtonian physics, the spacecraft to go in the opposite direction.

But it's not really about "where does the energy go." This thing is being sold as "doesn't send stuff out one end of spacecraft" and "imparts momentum." The physics folks are looking at that claim very dubiously, because so far, there's no generally accepted science that could account for such a thing.

If it turns out to be a real effect (and I'm not saying it will), then we're going to have some new science to learn.

Comment science fiction, fantasy, etc (Score 2) 374

...science fiction I read when I was young ... violates laws of physics big-time.

Then you were reading (very likely mislabeled) fantasy. The whole point of science fiction is to embed a story within the context of plausible science. Nothing wrong with fantasy, but it isn't, and never has been, science fiction.

Between the "speculative fiction" rendering down of that specific distinction, and the marketing-driven labeling of fantasy as science fiction, and the tendency of bookstores for decades to lump fantasy and science fiction together, your experience is the rule, rather than the exception.

But there's still science fiction being written. The trick is finding it.

Comment Re:Reference devices? (Score 4, Interesting) 174

I'm inclined to disbelieve the story because of this. Developers use Nexuses (Nexi?) as a reference platform, and manufacturers know that if their device doesn't run something a Nexus does, then the fault lies with them.

Completely eradicating Nexus and the concept of a base platform (contrary to myth, the Nexus doesn't run "Stock Android", but "Stock Android with Google's recommended extensions") would make many of the issues Google has been trying to fix a major headache again.

It's possible that Google intends to release the G branded phones in parallel to the Nexus devices, or that the G branded phones will be reference platforms after all. But the story as written seems improbable.


Comment Here's the only relevant bit (Score 1) 93

While middle-aged and older Facebook users don't like seeing news in their feeds, those aged 18-29 were much more interested and excited to see even more news articles on Facebook.

This is the segment marketers and advertisers covet the most. The early years of independent adulthood is when habits that will endure for decades are formed. The party a young person votes for in his first two or three elections becomes the party he will vote for for the rest of his life. If he buys ACME brand rocket roller skates, chances are he'll never buy another brand of rocket roller skates.

Comment Re:Stop with the hysteria (Score 2) 185

I think you're missing the wood for the trees here. The argument isn't "Who's the most evilist?", or "Should we ban guns?", it's"Is ISIL even in the ballpark on a list of the biggest threat to (American) lives?" Suicides, etc, absolutely do factor into that.

ISXYZ is a terrible organization, and needs to be stopped, but in the same way as Ted Bundy needed to be stopped. The entire country was not shut down to catch Bundy, and nobody felt the need to hamper channels of discussion and political discourse in order to ensure one serial killer was brought to justice.

Comment Re:Could you gush a little more? (Score 4, Interesting) 346

I've been debugging and rewriting a lot of legacy C# code recently, and I have to say that it's a breath of fresh air. I used to advocate Java, before Oracle went crazy, but after using C# I never want to touch that bureaucratic pile of over engineered crap and its litigious nutcase "owner" again.

Google: please, please, consider switching. You could even piss Oracle off by porting over the official JVM to Android, writing a Dalvik to Java byte code convertor, and letting legacy Java Android apps run at 10% of the speed they're supposed to, just to simultaneously encourage developers to move to C# and to end the lawsuit with Oracle completely unable to do anything about it.

Comment Re:fill in the blanks (Score 2) 159

Companies Are ______ With Fewer ______.

Put me down for "wasting time and money" and "people who know what they're talking about to catch mistakes early", please.

The best example of this I've seen so far was an exercise in futility developing a simple in-house process automation system, essentially a glorified database with a bit of e-mail integration and a pretty browser-based interface.

There were literally months of discussions among a team dominated by middle managers. Along the way, they spent approximately a mid-level developer's annual salary just on external consulting about using someone's workflow automation software, and IIRC that consultation eventually produced a single page of documentation that was basically an ugly diagram of a simple database schema. Finally, one of the few real developers on the team gave up in disgust and just built a basic version in about one day. Which the rest of the team then almost completely ignored, because these things need to be managed and showing initiative to solve the actual problems is a rookie mistake.

It's easy to see why these tools are attractive for companies that don't generally do software development or web development or whatever it might be, but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Those of us who remember the joys of Microsoft Access databases and drag-and-drop "rapid application development" tools from the 90s have seen this all before. But now it's in the cloud, with convenient subscription-based pricing! There's a saying about those who don't learn from history...

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