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Comment All Energy in our Universe is Nuclear. (Score 2) 232

This Universe only has one basic source of power and it is Nuclear. Stars fuse lightweight elements into slightly heavier elements and supernovas fuse those atoms into all the rest of the naturally occurring elements of the periodic chart. The heavier elements clump together (gravity) and create gradients which give rise to potential energy from gravity, but it was the mass generated by stars that allow that. Gravitational stress heats the mantel of the Earth and allows us to harvest some geothermal power. Other geothermal power is directly harvested from the temperature difference between the Earth's Sun warmed surface and the constant temperature layer of soil several meters down. Solar,wind, and hydro power are indirect methods of harvesting the fusion power of the Sun. Burning coal, oil, gas, alcohol, or other biomass is simply using the Sun's power that was harvested by plants and stored as hydrocarbons. And then there are our feeble attempts at nuclear power using fission.

As we ween ourselves from carbon based fuels we need to keep in mind that none of the so called 'renewable' sources of energy actually are renewable: they all depend on the continuous output of that nuclear furnace we call the Sun.

Comment Ownership should come by Homesteading. (Score 1) 239

You, the prospective owner, have to physically go there; occupy the asteroid; make improvements (build housing, plant crops, produce O2, . . .); and mingle your labor and brainpower with the local resources to produce enough wealth to support yourself and anyone else you take with you. After x number of years you get clear title to the rock(s) that you've occupied.

Comment Re:I don't mind driving (Score 1) 307

I was thinking more like an air ferry. I ride in the pressurized cabin and the car travels as semi-intelligent luggage that can find me when we land instead of me having to stand around in the baggage claim area and then going to a car rental lot. Make both the plane and the car light weight and fuel efficient enough and it's not unreasonable.

Comment I don't mind driving (Score 2) 307

but it would really be nice if I could get out of the car at the Mall entrance and let the car go find a parking place on its own. Then, when I'm ready to leave, have it meet me at the closest exit.

I'd be really impressed if I could get out of the car at one airport, leave the luggage in the trunk, and have the car meet me wherever I landed.

Comment 1986-87 Sun WorkStations. (Score 1) 204

The VAR for which I was the Tech Support Department became a reseller for SUN, NOVEL, and AutoCAD during one busy six month growth spurt. Most of my training consisted of "here's the manual, read it and explain it to us tomorrow". When they handed me the document crate [ about 10,000 pages ] for UNIX and the Sun system I suggested that a bit of formal training might be in order. I got a 4 day System Admin class from SUN that included an afternoon on the X-window system.

By 1988 we were networking PCs and Sparcstations using PCNFS and running X11 clients on the PCs using Hummingbird software. That allowed us to move the workstation out of the engineers office and into the server room where no one person could horde the physical machine by virtue of it being located on his/her desktop. It was a giant step backward for personal computing but a leap forward in productivity since the grunts didn't have to wait for the boss to leave for lunch in order to get into his office to use the decent computer.

Comment Re:What about flat cards? (Score 1) 142

I also have one of the flat, credit union issued debit cards. Not only can it not be imprinted, it plainly states, in bold red letters across the top of the back of the card," FOR ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS ONLY". If you don't swipe the card, submit, and get approval at the point and time of purchase, you aren't getting paid.

Comment Those are side-mounted REAR VIEW mirrors. (Score 1) 496

I've been driving for over 50 years and I have never seen a vehicle with a sideview mirror. It's no wonder we're going to have to require backup cameras on every vehicle what with all you idoits aiming your mirrors to see sideways.

I was reared on a farm and learned to drive on tractors and large trucks. In a farm truck, when you look in the center mounted rear view mirror all you see is the livestock staring back at you from the bed of the truck, or the bed of the truck itself if you're hauling grain. You learn to backup using the outside rearview mirrors. They're aimed down the side of the vehicle and give you at least the idea of where the rear wheels are even if you don't actually see them. You draw an immaginary line for those wheels to follow and stear the truck along it. But you never look back, only in the mirror. With a 30 foot long vehicle the front end can swing 20 feet to either side while you're lining the backend up to a loading dock or the barn door. After you run over a few outbuildings and your favorite motorcycle because you weren't looking where the front end was going you learn to pay attention to both ends. You NEVER face backward to back up a vehicle.

So what's with this thing about sideview mirrors? Yes, I know about those little round convex stick on things that let you see the people who insist on driving in your blind spot and who deserve to get run over when somebody bigger than them changes lanes. I have them. They came with the aftermarket turn signals mounted on my mirrors. The only thing I hate worse than having to share the road with idiot drivers is having to fill out insurance claims after I run over one of them. Would I like to have a camera to replace the blind spot mirrors. NO. What I'd like is some type of short range collision avoidance system that, when I turn on my blinker, it checks for a clear path, and gives me a verbal OK or tells me to WAIT. I don't need anything that distracts my eyes while I'm trying to navigate a path between vehicles moving at different speeds of upwards of 80 miles an hour.

Comment A Free copy of Windows is still way too expensive. (Score 1) 392

If Microsoft wants me to ever run anything windows on any of my computers EVER again they will have to pay for the priviledge. I had no choice but to deal with their monopoly for twenty years when I was employed but, now that I'm retired, I don't have to put up with them anymore. I'll build my next computer from discrete transistors if I have to before I buy another machine pre-installed with windows and all the OEM bloatware that comes with them these days.

Comment Old News. (Score 1) 161

I studied Physics and Chemistry in the College of Science at the University of Southern Mississippi from 1969 to 1973. Our degree requirements called for passing either a proficiency test in one of several 'scientifically' relevant foreign languages or passing one in FORTRAN. I took one semester of FORTRAN and passed the test. I went on to minor in computer science.

In 15 years of formal education in the English language no one ever mentioned the word 'syntax'. We diagrammed sentences and conjugated verbs and identified parts of speech but no one ever explained the mechanics of what or why we were doing it. It was just English and it was necessary. Two weeks into computer programming and I knew WHY it was necessary. Understanding the structure of language, be it a computer language or a human one, I'm better equiped to learn new ones of either type.

Are learning to program and learning a foreign language equlivant? NO. We talk to machines: we communicate in a foreign language.

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