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Comment TV size vs. refresh rate (Score 4, Insightful) 401

I find this statement to be true more for computer monitors than for television screens. Too many people end up with TV screens so large that the individual pixels become annoyingly visible. HD mitigates this, but most channels still use SD.

Pick a TV screen size that's appropriate for your viewing distance, instead of the bigger == better fallacy.

Comment Re:NASA and the USA (Score 1) 139

Whoa there. There was no bashing going on in my comment.

GP said "...the massive foresight it must have taken at launch time to make them relevant decades later". I thought GP was referring to Gravity Probe B. GP was launched 7 years ago, not decades. Its equipment was developed specifically for this mission. Development took a long time, but the ultimate goal was always clear, in other words Gravity Probe B's results are due to proper planning. Not 'foresight'.

Foresight is defined as "The ability to predict ... what will happen or be needed in the future". In this context, I assumed that GP meant 'a probe was launched decades ago with some instruments on board that we, decades later, figured out to be useful for confirming Einstein's predictions'.

Comment Re:NASA and the USA (Score 1) 139

the massive foresight it must have taken at launch time to make them relevant decades later,

The satellite we're talking about here was launched in 2004. The project ran for much longer, that time was spent developing the technology. FTFA:

Decades of research and testing led to groundbreaking technologies to control environmental disturbances that could affect the spacecraft, such as aerodynamic drag, magnetic fields and thermal variations. Furthermore, the mission's star tracker and gyroscopes were the most precise ever designed and produced.

Very impressive research, yes. 'Massive foresight', not so much.

Comment Re:AIBO is dead? (Score 1) 245

Beta vs VHS -> Sony collected royalties for over two decades on Beta in the form of Betacam recording and the professional TV industry (where image quality did in fact matter more).

The only thing Betacam and Betamax have in common is the physical tape cassette. Betacam ran at ~6x the speed of Betamax and used a different recording format to achieve much higher quality.

DAT vs standard audiotape vs CD Audio -> DAT was actually very popular in Europe and Asia for a good while. Licensing restrictions and "piracy worries" kept it mostly out of the US thanks to the MafiAA.

DAT was popular in the professional audio industry as it was the first relatively affordable digital recording medium. Still, the technology used meant it was much more expensive initially than the analogue cassettes it replaced. The digital copy protection imposed by the *AA was an issue in Europe as much as the USA. Lack of sales volume kept the price high.


Submission + - 'Royal Star' of Charles II May Have Been Supernova (ibtimes.com)

RedEaredSlider writes: A supernova remnant may be evidence that a star visible in daylight coincided with the birth of King Charles II of England.

Cassiopeia A is the remains of a star that exploded about 11,000 years ago. It is one of the brightest radio sources in the sky and when the star that produced it blew up, it should have been visible — and quite spectacular.

Martin Lunn, former curator of astronomy at the Yorkshire Museum in England, and Lila Rakoczy, an independent scholar, say that the supernova might have been the 'royal star' that marked the birth of Britain's Charles II in 1630. During Charles II's reign, propagandists for the Stuarts spoke of the new star and the parallel with the Christ story was obvious. But for centuries most historians had assumed it was just that, propaganda.

Other novae and supernovae in the same period are well-documented. A nova in 1572 was recorded by Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and another appeared in 1604, known as Kepler's Supernova. But there are no similarly concrete charts of the royal star.

Comment Trivia (Score 2) 244

After the Chernobyl accident, the team that had created the Lunokhod rovers was asked to build remote-controlled vehicles (RCV) to help clean up. The RCV's first task was to remove reactor debris (chunks of graphite from the core) from a roof, by pushing it off the edge of the roof. The RCVs worked well; eventually though they failed due to the radiation. This despite them being rad-hardened, as the original Lunokhods had been powered by an RTG.

Comment Meh (Score 1, Interesting) 87

And another remote that tries to confine a computer UI into the classic TV remote. Granted, adding the keyboard is a nice touch, but it's still too limited.

I've been using a mediacenter computer for a few years now. The remote control solution I use:
- keyboard
- mouse
- Griffin Powermate

1. a mouse makes for a much better pointing device than a four-way button
2. the keyboard and VLC's configurability gives me dedicated buttons for VLC's functions, like very short jump/short jump/medium jump/long jump; crop/aspect ratio; subtitles. Much better than the buttons on this remote which are straight copies from a VCR UI.
3. the best way to control volume is a rotary knob. The Powermate is ideal for this. I never want to go back to the incredibly annoying +/- buttons on a remote.

Comment Re:Hope for Smithsonian (Score 1) 129

That's incorrect. The Buran program included a number of airframes. One of them, OK-GLI, was an atmospheric test bed. It featured four jet engines so it could take off under its own power. It was used to test the glide characteristics of the airframe.
OK-GLI is now on display in Speyer.
Maybe your confusion stems from the fact that both the program and the first shuttle in that program to be used for an orbital flight (OK-1K1) were named Buran.

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