Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Ingenuity ftw (Score 1) 118

For at least some of them: by the magnetisation they have?

Before you moderate this as stupid circular reasoning - consider that you could, at least conceivably, pull a tree-ring like stunt here. For some layers, you might be able to determine the date, via these pottery artefacts. And you might be able to interpolate the others from these data points.

"Might" is of course a very important qualifier here.

Comment Re:One more data point... (Score 1) 77

Well, sure, no such station currently exists. But there is science fiction of the "we could do it if someone just ponied up enough $$$" variety, and then there is the other sort ("we just need to invent anti-gravity, and we are all set").

And to me, a rotation space station would seem to squarely fall into the first camp - unless there are some fundamental engineering issues I am not aware of. But my assumption is that all that is keeping us from building something like that, and putting it in orbit, is the combination of the staggering price tag, and the questionable utility of a low orbit space habitat. As in: it would cost astronomical sums of money to build - but for what do we need this sort of thing, exactly?

Comment One more data point... (Score 1) 77 confirm that long term space travel will require artificial gravity of some sort. Fair enough, it should hardly come as a surprise that if you send a bunch of premium monkeys evolved for life deep down in a gravity well into long term zero G, Trouble Will Ensue.

But we have at least one seemingly workable idea of how to do this, so this is not a deal breaker to interplanetary travel. Rotating spaceships of some sort (cylinders, wheel-type habitats) don't require much in terms of science fiction to pull off, and should cover this problem nicely.

It does seem, though, that no one has any even medium term plans to pull anything of the sort off. At least I haven't seen any concrete plans to build any rotating space stations - all I ever came across were hypothetical studies of some sort. But my guess is that this is only because the ISS was already gigantically expensive, and is not used all that intensively. So successor space stations are a long way out anyway. And the non-rotating design of the ISS allowed for incremental construction. There do not seem to be any big drawbacks to a rotating station in principle, right?

Comment Re:Any idea how it works? (Score 0) 477

It's not undeserved hubris: it's trillions of independent experiments, billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man-years working on the theory by lots of very smart people. The theory, quantum field theory (QFT), is simple, consistent and universal. It describes everything we can see around us, with the exception of gravity.

Trillions of experiments. Yeah, right.

Also, if your theory explains everything except for a pretty substantial fundamental force that is all around us, you might yet be in for a surprise or two regarding the accuracy and validity of your theory. Just saying, you know. Reality meets formulas, and all that.

Comment Re:We can date the jump into the U.S. in about 197 (Score 1) 380

Not all "deniers" were crackpots, at least back then.

And in all fairness, some of the science that led to the discovery of HIV was a bit dodgy, in terms of how it was executed and reported (not, in hindsight, with regard to its contents). Also, the proposed mechanisms of how HIV works were rather novel for the time, so it is not hard to see why some more conservative members of the science community might have been on the fence for a while about whether this was indeed the cause of AIDS. Add to this that even someone like Kary Mullis, who got his Nobel Prize for PCR, a fairly pivotal molecular biology technology, were skeptical, at least for a time.

Of course, nowadays, we know enormously more about the molecular mechanics of HIV and AIDS than we did back then. So by contemporary standards, even the "deniers" from back then who tried to be skeptical on actual scientific grounds look like idiots. And some of them likely were - but not all of them. Not judging from the perspective of the time they were living in.

Comment Re:So it appears . . . (Score 2) 185

Well, unlike Mars, there is no reason to set up a permanent colony in Antarctica.

Oh, wait... maybe a permanent settlement on Mars is pointless as well? :) Apart from the whole "backup location for humanity, in case Earth gets creamed by an asteroid no one saw coming" thing. That has some far-fetched merit of sorts. However, due to the extremely hostile environment there, chances are that a Martian colony has a much higher probability of failing than civilisation on Earth in the first place, at least for centuries to come. So even in the most optimistic scenarios, it will be the thought that counts w/r to Martian settlement.

Comment Re: None of this matters, it has no headphone jac (Score 1) 324

I was not objecting to people complaining about the connector being removed: as you say, commenting on such matters is more than fair enough. What I am objecting to is the seemingly widespread notion that *all* customers are unhappy about this. No, some are, probably rightfully so. But actually, a sizeable number of customers also do not care much either way. That was all I am trying to say here: there is less drama than some observers are making this out to be.

All other things being equal, I am actually not even convinced that removing the port was a smart decision on Apple's part: quite a number of their customers do care, and the removed connector is not *that* big to begin with. OTOH, I can also see more and more headphones going wireless in the foreseeable future anyway - it is bloody convenient to not have cables dangling around, after all.

And with regard to the problem of not being able listen to music, resp. talk on the phone with headphones, at the same time as charging the phone: making power cables that allow you to plug in Lightning earphones *atop* the charger cable is a total no-brainer from an engineering perspective. I'm actually surprised they are not in the line-up yet.

Comment Re: None of this matters, it has no headphone jack (Score 1) 324

You know what? I'm fully aware that Apple did not change this to please me. I am fully aware that they (almost) solely did that to make people buy more of their other products. Sure thing. Corporate logic 101.

But as this change does not interfere with my specific needs and priorities (!), I am still happy to get the iPhone 7 as is. If they had broken something I need, I might go and buy an Android device. Or stock up on iPhone 6S, to last me through the Connectorless Ice Age. But if the iPhone 7 still meets my needs, it gets bought. Simple as that. It's called informed choice, or something like that.

The point I wanted to make is that maybe, just maybe, Apple actually weighed the market balances properly before making the change. And figured out that there are enough customers who, like me, will not care enough about the old connector going away to stop buying iPhones. That's all I wanted to say. Not a general absolution of Apple, or their often enough fairly slimy corporate strategies. Nope. Just a comment that removal of that jack was not as stupid as some people make it out to be.

Comment Re:None of this matters, it has no headphone jack. (Score 1) 324

Nobody cares? Well, some do. I've already ordered an iPhone 7 to replace my 5S. I develop for iOS, so it makes some sense for me to replace the phone after three years. That, and I am looking forward to the larger and brighter screen, and the better camera. Anything else is just sugarcoating, though.

Ah yes, the headphone jack. Turns out that my 5S is still technically a virgin. Never used that connector. See, there are some people who never use headphones on an iPhone. Exactly these people, like myself, do not care about the removal of the jack, and are happy to order the 7 as is. I can of course see that this change bothers those users who use headphones: but maybe, just maybe, Apple did some market research before they removed the connector? So that maybe, there are not *that* few customers like myself out there as the internet community would assume?

Comment Re:the obstacles (Score 4, Interesting) 118

Have you ever taken a closer look at a steam turbine installation on a major vessel? I am a software developer like you, but one of my grandfathers was a ship-building engineer (on large turbine-powered ships in the 30ies and 40ies, to boot), so there is some nerdy knowledge in the family. These installations are extremely intricate, and have to be more or less woven into the fabric of the ship: a modern diesel-electric set-up is plug and play by comparison (apart from the gigantic size of the machinery involved, that is).

I assume that the actual marine engineers in that company tried to tell their managers that this would not work, but that the PR department got to make a press release first. Or something like that.

Comment Re:the obstacles (Score 2) 118

Yeah, film at 11. 60 year old rusty hulk would require extensive re-build to accommodate a propulsion plant it was never designed for.

What the hell did these guys expect? A new coat of paint, and it's ready to go again? I mean, any sane person should have approached this with a mindset of "this will likely cost more than a new build. But this is (insert famous ship name here) after all, so commercial considerations should not be the main motivators." Any other way of approaching such a job would be just hare-brained.

Comment Re:Unfortunately... (Score 1) 280

To be fair, none of the current fighters were tested like that, either. And a good thing this was, what with a war against a first world power likely involving nukes, and all that. Pretty messy, just to test one's new fighters.

That having been said, I am also quite wary of the flying iPhone being vulnerable to the Russians or Chinese throwing some sort of electromagnetic spanner in the works during combat. Especially the Russians have apparently become very, very good at the whole electronic warfare thing. It is really a pity that there is practically no open information about the Russian EW capabilities, only indirect hints. But these are rather worrying, actually.

EW systems are a geek's true weapon: most of these things are incredibly nerdy. But also endlessly fascinating, iff one manages to glimpse some sort of info about them (which one usually can't, as literally no one is talking about them in the open).

Comment Re:Another one bites the dust (Score 4, Funny) 365

Of course, the W10 telemetry is seriously nosey. But as this is M$ we are talking about, I ultimately cannot see them doing much useful with it. They are probably too disorganised internally to come up with anything worse than an intrusive, ad-laden personalised version of Clippy, based on that data. Or something like that.

It's outfits like Google that give me the heebie-jeebies these days, not good old "640k is enough for everybody" M$.

Slashdot Top Deals

VMS is like a nightmare about RXS-11M.