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User Journal

Journal Journal: Gone Again!

As always, if slashdot has borked the text, just go here.
She was gone again, shortly before my elderly cat died. I refer to my muse, of course.
I looked everywhere I could think of, to no avail. Stolen again? I went for a walk, on the lookout for that aged black aged Lincoln with that blonde and that brun

Comment Carrier comparison (Score 2) 207

Many who comment here will have a reason that they chose one carrier over one other carrier. They may have switched carriers. I always found that the latest carrier plan was better than the competition, and that it would go back and forth or be too confusing to come up with one clear answer. I actually have iPhones and aPhones on 5 carriers. I also travel the world quite a bit. Domestically, all the carriers are good for most unless you live in an area not covered by some. I remember times when Verizon was faster but now it seems that AT&T is faster for me, most of the time. I remember when you could buy international data from Verizon that covered 200 countries, while the AT&T list was only about 50 countries. That affected me in places like Russia and South Africa, back then. T-Mobile has incredible data plans for here and away but they don't seem as fast as claimed unless I'm in the store. Sprint has gone far out of their way to help me with issues, including a stolen phone number. Right now I believe that the best carrier I have, for my own needs, is Google Project Fi because the plan works in over 100 countries. You can even order a free data-only SIM for free, without even a shipping charge, to use it on iPads and the like. I would never say that anyone's choice of plan is bad in any way though.

Submission + - Light Sail propulsion could reach Sirius sooner than Alpha Centauri (arxiv.org)

RockDoctor writes: A recent proposition to launch probes to other star systems driven by lasers which remain in the Solar system has garnered considerable attention. But recently published work suggests that there are unexpected complexities to the system.

One would think that the closest star systems would be the easiest to reach. But unless you are content with a fly-by examination of the star system, with much reduced science returns, you will need to decelerate the probe at the far end, without any infrastructure to assist with the braking.

By combining both light-pressure braking and gravitational slingshots, a team of German, French and Chilean astronomers discover that the brightness of the destination star can significantly increase deceleration, and thus travel time (because higher flight velocities can be used. Sling-shotting around a companion star to lengthen deceleration times can help shed flight velocity to allow capture into a stable orbit.

The 4.37 light year distant binary stars Alpha Centauri A and B could be reached in 75 years from Earth. Covering the 0.24 light year distance to Proxima Centauri depends on arriving at the correct relative orientations of Alpha Centauri A and B in their mutual 80 year orbit for the sling shot to work. Without a companion star, Proxima Centauri can only absorb a final leg velocity of about 1280km/s, so that leg of the trip would take an additional 46 years.

Using the same performance characteristics for the light sail the corresponding duration for an approach to the Sirius system, almost twice as far away (8.58ly), is a mere 68.9 years, making it (and it's white dwarf companion) possibly a more attractive target.

Of course, none of this addresses the question of how to get any data from there to here. Or, indeed, how to manage a project that will last longer than a working lifetime. There are also issues of aiming — the motion of the Alpha Centauri system isn't well-enough known at the moment to achieve the precise manoeuvring needed without course corrections (and so, data transmission from there to here) en route.

Comment Re:Schneider/Amstrad CPC 6128 (Score 1) 857

Finally, I had to read thousands of posts just to find that hardly anyone had an Amstrad!

I got my CPC 464 in 1986, with green screen and built-in tape deck.

The taoe deck had azimuth problems throughout it's lifetime, constantly drifting and needing to be re-adjusted - I remember Gauntlet being very troublesome to load!

When I was 14 I bought a 286 Compaq Laptop with hard-earned paper delivery money, it had a lovely sharp B&W VGA screen, and pirated Windows 3.1, motivated by games like Midwinter 2 and Day of the Tentacle!

I also used Borland tools a lot on this machine, especially later when doing my Computing A-Level. Borland C++ and Borland Turbo Pascal are still valuable teaching tools today, even on this old old (sic) silicon.

Comment Re:No. (Score 5, Informative) 198

A whole interview rarely carries over. I was asked if I thought Apple would be around in 100 years. My reply even referred to IBM, along the lines of what you can do and how many restarts you can get when you are that big. I facetiously jabbed at the idea of Trump seeking advice from today's huge internet companies by telling the reporter that they would all ask for lower taxes and become larger yet.

Submission + - SeqBox - Container format that can survive total loss of file system structures (github.com)

MarcoPon writes: SeqBox let you encode a file in such a way that, even if the file system become completely toasted, partition info are lost, and so on, it's still possible to reconstruct the SBX container just by looking at the raw sectors themselves.
The tools have been tested in a variety of platform and with different file systems.

Standard disclaimer: I'm the author.

Comment Re:The 3 Laws (Score 1) 7

I should have it posted in a day or two. Both translations will be there (the Australian one is better, but still not good enough as it has a fax, which wouldn't be invented for decades).

Comment Re:As opposed to? (Score 1) 47

He's cut funding for the State Department, making the entire world less safe. He's cut the EPA budget to the bone, and I remember rolling up the windows in 95F degree heat when driving past Monsanto because the air burned your lungs. I remember rivers catching fire. I remember leaded gasoline and paint.

Trump is destroying the US.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rossum's Universal Robots 7

Slashdot has probably borked the text although it looks fine in preview. A non-borked version is at my blog.
Half a century ago I was reading a book by Isaac Asimov. I don’t remember what book, but I know it wasn’t I, Robot because I looked last night and it wasn’t in that book. But in the book, whichever one it was, Dr. Asimov wrote about the origin of the word “robot”; a story by K

Comment Re:Editors, you stripped the original title (Score 1) 642

I posted the comment you are all replying to without clicking "Preview", and I'm doing the same now. The only caveat is that Slashdot shows you your comment and says "If you see a mistake, you should have clicked Preview" or similar.

Requires Positive Karma, I reckon... (clicks Submit, to the right of Preview)

Comment Re:Editors, you stripped the original title (Score 1) 642

Exactly, and if you saw that, you also saw my post regarding real and imaginary threats...

Back on topic, the lunar lander didn't have,massive rockets, or a lot of fuel, so it's not as outlandish an idea as some people who claim to be experts in physics are claiming it is...

Comment Re:Dropped from the moon? (Score 1) 2

How about "fired from the moon"? Would that be a problem for us?

Also, another of the points made, about the moon being strategically very important, is an accurate one.

Publish this, please, with harsh mistress headline intact, it's an excellent discussion topic, and you can all war over your fears of scary trannies armed with moon-based impellors (and then I can cherry-pick quotes which destroy both the left and the right, at my leisure, by bringing up the difference between transphobia and islamophobia - hint, one's based in observable reality...)

Submission + - Brianna Wu Is A Harsh Mistress (washingtontimes.com) 2

Applehu Akbar writes: A transgender-issues activist and Democratic candidate for Congress says the advent of the space tourism industry could give private corporations a “frightening amount of power” to destroy the Earth with rocks because of the Moon’s military importance.
Brianna Wu, a prominent “social justice warrior” in the “Gamergate” controversy who now is running for the House seat in Massachusetts’ 8th District, suggested in a since-deleted tweet that companies could drop rocks from the Moon.
“The moon is probably the most tactically valuable military ground for earth,” the tweet said. “Rocks dropped from there have power of 100s of nuclear bombs.”

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