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Comment Re:Classic Sci-Fi Books .. but why just novels? (Score 1) 175


<quote><p>I loved the book The Martian, which has a lot of technology in it (the movie was a bit dumbed down compared to the book, but not entirely).</p></quote>

<p>My only problem with "The Martian" is that the premise for him being marooned on Mars (at least in the film) is completely bogus. Mars has 1% of the atmospheric pressure of earth, there's absolutely no way that a dust storm could cause anything like the effects it had in the movie. It certainly could not lift rocks, never mind knocking over a rocket.</p></quote>

Yet the story acknowledges the very thin atmosphere when Watney removes the front nose cover of the Ares 4 MAV to shed weight and puts a tarp over the hole.

Comment Any one else read the actual press release? (Score 1) 175

I thought this was an odd statement:

"While the P100D Ludicrous is obviously an expensive vehicle, we want to emphasize that every sale helps pay for the smaller and much more affordable Tesla Model 3 that is in development. Without customers willing to buy the expensive Model S and X, we would be unable to fund the smaller, more affordable Model 3 development."

Given Tesla's history of missed dates and missed production numbers, should we be concerned about the Model 3 viability and timeliness given this statement?

Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 315

You can compare pointer addresses in C. The signature uses void pointers so that any pointer type can be passed. In the function they are cast as a byte type so the arithmetic works(the third argument is the length in bytes). e.g.

void memmove(void * d, void * s, int len)
   char * src = (char*) s;
   char * dst = (char*) d;

   if (src < dst)
      for(int i = 0; i < len; ++i)
         dst[i] = src[i];
   else if (src > dst)
         dst[len] = src[len];

Comment Re:Telecommuting FTW (Score 1) 163

I've been telecommuting for the past two years, for a virtual company, and I hope I never need to give it up.

There are some things I miss, in particular (a) my wife not needing to keep our kids somewhat quiet during school vacations, and (b) having a ready-made social life due to being cooped up with coworkers.

But after working out some of the kinks, and with a just a little extra self-discipline, it's so, so worth it.

Even if an employer needs to pay and $5k/year to cover telecommute-specific costs (such as decent video conference equipment, etc.), it seems it must be a win-win for just about everyone involved. (At least for software development jobs. Not sure about other kinds.)

$5k/year for telecommute costs? Maintaining a VPN and having decent conferencing equipment shouldn't cost that much. And if it does, the savings in office space(have you seen what SV office space costs?) more than makes up for it.

Comment Re: Intellectual property is the only hope left (Score 1) 126

Not really. At this point Russia has the ability to deliver a crippling first strike on the entire west and they will do everything possible to maintain this position. You can think of the US as a toxic parasite nailed to a table. It can of course still spew forth toxines, when injured but there are so many antidotes to its products in place, it can be slowly killed without fear of retaliation. We can choke it off economically by trading without dollars, we are in absolute control of it militarily.

The US, as well as other countries, have second strike capability with its nuclear subs.

Comment Still need a rocket for a satellite (Score 1) 132

"The practical application of that is you could fly long distances over the Earth very, very quickly but also that it's very useful as an alternative to a rocket for putting satellites into space," Smart said.

You'd still need a rocket engine to get it up to speed to where a scramjet can start working, unless it was a hybrid design similar to how the SR71 worked, where at full speed most intake air bypassed the J-58 compressor and it operated closer to a ramjet.

Then the rocket would be needed again when reaching an altitude where there's not enough atmospheric oxygen to finally put the satellite into LEO. However, hopefully the craft will not have to carry nearly as much oxidizer to do it.

Comment Is it that difficult? (Score 4, Interesting) 170

Is it that difficult to make a low-power 80x86 ISA chip to compete with ARM manufacturers? I know the legacy instruction decoding is always going to take space, but I thought at this point the transistor count compared to the rest of the chip was small. I figured Intel with their leading edge fabs would be able to pull it off.

Submission + - What Would You Say to a Principal Who Shows Your Kid a $1,639.88 Laptop? 3

theodp writes: "If you ever show my girl a ring like that again," said Sylvester Stallone to a jewelry store clerk in The Lords of Flatbush, "you know what's gonna be written on your tombstone? 'I was dumb enough to show Frannie Malincanico a $1600 ring,' ya got that?" So, what would you have to say to a Principal who shows your kid a $1,639.88 school laptop? That's the price tag on the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 recommended by the Lakeside School (Bill Gates' Alma Mater) for the 2015-2016 school year. Microsoft-suggested school devices have a wide range of prices — laptops go anywhere from $149 for a Lenovo ideapad 100S to $1,499 for a Dell XPS 15 (Touch). So, how much is too much for a kid's school laptop?

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