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Comment Re:I call Band-Aid (Score 1) 184

Don't bring Chernobyl into this. The Chernobyl reactor design was considered unsafe fifty years and three design generations ago, and nobody in the West was building those designs even then. What caused the disaster was that the managers decided to remove multiple layers of safety devices and controls to run unscheduled and unapproved tests, and when the plant caught fire, the response teams had no protective gear, and little equipment to put the fire out. Had the same disaster occurred in the West (assuming that the NRC had approved a basically unsafe reactor design in the first place), the personnel and equipment available to the response personnel would have allowed them to put the fire out without the huge radiation dispersal that occurred at Chernobyl. Additionally, were you to visit the area today, you would see that the area has recovered from what damage was done, and that the local flora and fauna have long since returned to their original state (no more mutant trees or critters than could be statistically expected in most of the world). If I said something empirically wrong, please provide references to research from reputable sources (such as UN science groups) based directly on data.

Comment Re:It's a fanstastic subject (Score 1) 238

Another reason to go to Mars is just to explore it. There's no way to know what's there until men start exploring the surface and subsurface of Mars. A distinct possibility exists that certain metals that are rare on Earth could be found on Mars in such forms as to make mining for those metals and shipping them back to Earth profitable.

Comment Re:I hate to burst their bubble but (Score 1) 115

True. My college freshman engineering class sent a balloon up 110,000 feet and recovered it, all for less than 250 USD. What would be newsworthy would be if the group built the equipment for a low cost, or achieved an extraordinary altitude. However, I am glad to see high school students taking an interest in engineering and science. Having worked on a similar project myself, I can say that pulling off this kind of project requires significant planning and teamwork, and I congratulate the students for their successful effort.

Comment Re:And here I was, (Score 1) 116

The problem with creating such a device is not the technological factors, but rather the ergonomic factors. The reason a mouse-keyboard combo gives you such control is that your desk it at just the right height to work at. It is harder to work with controls if they are at waist height instead of mid-torso height.

Comment Progress (Score 1) 628

Obsolescence is the result of progress. How many carriage manufacturers still exist? When automobiles were first introduced, they were direct competitors to carriages. However, since automobiles have proven themselves to be better than carriages, the carriages have become obsolete, and therefore are no longer produced, except as historical replicas. The carriage manufacturers all went out of business or converted to building automobiles. When a new technology replaces an old technology, businesses must adapt, or go out of business. Please not that a few companies still produce carriages. Physical media will always have a special place. Everyday reading may become increasingly digital, but digitizing ordinary books allows special books to have prominence on the physical bookshelf.

Submission + - China Aims to Build Largest Rocket (

hackingbear writes: Back in march, China revealed it is studying the feasibility of designing the most powerful carrier rocket in history for making a manned moon landing and exploring deep space, according to Liang Xiaohong, vice head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The rocket is envisaged to have a payload of 130 tonnes, five times larger than that of China's current largest rocket. This rocket, if built, will eclipse the 53 tonne capacity of the planned Falcon 9 Heavy from SpaceX. It will even surpass the largest rocket ever built, the 119-tonne Saturn V. China's next generation rocket Long March 5, currently scheduled to debut in 2014, has a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to LEO.

Submission + - New Spin on Graphene Makes It Magnetic (

intellitech writes: A team led by Professor Andre Geim, a recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize for graphene, has shown that electric current can magnetize graphene. The researchers found a new way to interconnect spin and charge by applying a relatively weak magnetic field to graphene and found that this causes a flow of spins in the direction perpendicular to electric current, making a graphene sheet magnetised.

Submission + - Best. Geek. Wedding. Invitation. Ever. (

kfogel writes: "Karen Sandler (a lawyer at the Software Freedom Law Center) and Mike Tarantino (a professional musician) are getting married in May. They've sent out the coolest wedding invitation ever: a beautifully packaged flexidisc record where the invitation itself is the record player. That's right: It's paper! And it plays a record! The song itself was written by Mike, is performed by Karen and Mike together, and FTW is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. The person who designed the invitations — a friend of the couple's — has blogged about it. It's also made Make Magazine, Mashable, and"

Submission + - Web of Trust sued for community ratings (

An anonymous reader writes: A group of 10 Florida companies have sued Web of Trust (myWOT) over community ratings of their companies. The lawsuit has been filed in Florida, although the company itself is based in Finland.

The companies involved include Career Network Inc, Three Stars Media and the Internet Company apparently owned by one Alec Difrawi who has attempted to sue several people in the past over critical comments on blogs.

It would seem that the suit would fall foul of CDA 230 immunity and the fact that Helsinki is a long way from Orlando, but it could shape up to be a significant test of community based rating systems.


Submission + - No Windows for Tablets Until Late 2012 (

Stoobalou writes: Microsoft initially made some encouraging noises about breaking into the tablet market, and is known to be tweaking its Windows 7 operating system for use on proddable PCs, but some are suggesting that Microsoft won't be ready to make a move into the tablet market until the fourth quarter of 2012.

Submission + - Does GPS tracking violate the 4th amendment? (

bradley13 writes: "Last year, college student Yasir Afifi discovered a GPS tracking device that had been attached to his car. After he discovered it, the FBi showed up and demanded that he hand it over. They told him that they would make his life difficult if he did not cooperate by giving the device back. The FBI had no warrant or court order allowing surveillance.

Now Yasar Afifi is filing suit, hoping to get a ruling that installing tracking devices without a warrant violates the fourth amendment. Unfortunately, his local federal district court is the 9th circuit, which has already decided two similar cases, coming down in favor of tracking.

The key part of the reasoning in the previous cases is this: "attaching the tracking device ... did not constitute a 'search' cognizable under the Fourth Amendment because '[t]he undercarriage is part of the car's exterior, and as such, is not afforded a reasonable expectation of privacy.'” Very strained reasoning indeed, since the point of the tracking device is not a search of the undercarriage, but rather a search of a person's movements."

Submission + - Suing Facebook Because You Didn't Get Elected (

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is showing up in lots of lawsuits these days, sometimes for entirely frivolous reasons. Take, for example, this latest lawsuit involving a politician who lost (by a wide wide margin) his attempt to get elected to Congress. He's now suing Facebook, blaming the company for his loss, because it shut down his Facebook account after it showed patterns similar to spamming. The guy, Majed Moughni, insists that he really would have won if only that Facebook page remained. Of course, if he actually knew the law he was hoping to have a part in making in Congress, he would know that Facebook is protected against such lawsuits by Section 230 of the CDA.

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