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Comment Re:Google envy (Score 2) 353

So basically for Microsoft in this day and age, the end user is not the customer? The end user is a commodity that Microsoft sells to other corporations who are the customers?

Gee, that sounds familiar. I left Microsoft for Linux in 1999 because of it. I have never looked back.

--"Windows is not the answer. Windows is the question. The answer is 'No'." As true now as it was then.

Comment Re:Beyond the threshold of fast enough. (Score 5, Insightful) 160

I've been using FF since it was new. I have occasionally looked at other browsers and several are faster than my FF, at least partially because the plugins and modifications that I use slow FF down somewhat. But FF is fast enough that changing to a faster browser would not improve my productivity. And I've got a nice set of plugins and extensions on it that I would have to put together from scratch if I changed browsers. That is, assuming other browsers offered similar features, which as near as I can tell, they do not.

Speed isn't the only criterion for measuring a browser's goodness. The ability to tailor it to your personal workload is much more important these days. And once you've got a browser tweaked to your best practices, do you really need to take the massive hit of finding, installing, and configuring the plugins of some other browser that would duplicate what you've already set up in your old FF?

If you really need a faster browser, most of us who have been around the block would be better off running the same browser and OS on faster hardware. But this doesn't apply to young'uns who have yet to establish productive work habits. Their best approach would be to talk with some older guy who knows what he is doing about which browser he uses, how he has it set up, and what his workflow is.

Comment Re:That's no moon (Score 1) 213

You don't bother to look up anything you've never been taught, I guess.

The magnetospheres of the planets that have them are several times the radius of the physical planet. But even greater than that, the field effects of standing waves and turbulence in the solar wind extend well beyond the magnetospheres that shape them. Remember (or look it up since it seems like you've never been taught about it) that the solar wind is composed of mono-atomic ions and free electrons moving at very high speeds. What lies within the disk of the heliopause is not some simple outgassing of a steady breeze in all directions, like water welling up from a feeder pipe at the bottom of a circular pond. It is a highly complex dynamo continuously stirred up by Jupiter, Saturn, and Earth.

The same electromagnetic forces that bend and fray comet tails (and cause comets to outgas for that matter) also influence the Sun's corona and possibly deeper structures. The question is not whether there is an influence, but how great is that influence. The correlation between the full solar cycle and the heliocentric conjunctions of Jupiter with Saturn suggest that in some way that influence is rather large.

This is my last post on the subject. Trying to talk sense to someone who does not read up on the topic he claims expertise in is not worthwhile, and I have said everything that is worth saying to the silent audience of this conversation.

Comment Re:That's no moon (Score 1) 213

As I know I mentioned before, I doubt that there is a gravitationally mediated interaction between Jupiter and the solar cycle, and if there is a electromagnetic interaction, then that would involve Saturn as well as Jupiter, and probably Earth. Both Saturn and Jupiter have a strong impact on the solar wind. During the years when they are in close heliocentric conjunction, Jupiter's magnetotail and the bow wave of Saturn's magnetosphere are trying to occupy the same space. There has got to be some interesting things happening there. I leave it to the Reader to look up the big words.

The Jupiter - Saturn heliocentric conjunction occurs on the average every 20 years, plus or minus 1 year. The last 18 solar cycles occurred on an average every 11.0 years with standard deviation of 1.03 years. But NOTE THIS: what we call the 11 year solar cycle is only half of the full cycle as it takes another half to reverse the Sun's magnetic poles yet again and return Sol to the same state. Running the numbers on the last 8 completed full cycles, the average time is 22 years with a standard deviation of 1.3 years.

This is using a simple model that excludes a third planet that affects the heliosphere, which is Earth. While Earth's magnetosphere is much smaller than Jupiter's or Saturn's, it is active in a nearer-to-the-Sun region where the solar wind is more dense, and it sweeps through the solar wind at a much higher velocity than the more distant planets. I do not pretend to be competent at building a model that would incorporate Earth's possible effects. It is however a reasonable supposition that Earth could bring about the difference between the 22 year full solar cycle and the 20 year Jup - Sat cycle, as well as the occasional breaks in rhythm of the solar cycles, such as the Maunder and Dalton Minimums.

This stuff is not my area of expertise. However I know how to do basic research which is now quite easy with the internet, and I know how to use simple math tools. I also know my limits. I am good for casting doubt on the verbiage of persons who think they know more than is actually within our current universe of knowledge. I am good for suggesting avenues of exploration, especially those that lie between defined areas of study. I refrain from doing anything more than suggesting the possibility of a different, and maybe better, mind map of What's Really Out There.

Comment Re:That's no moon (Score 1) 213

My thinking has been too Earth-bound to consider the Sol - Jupiter relationship. But I see others are thinking about it; there are several lay articles and apparently some more serious articles on the web. But I haven't done any critical reading on the subject.

There does seem to be a correlation between Jupiter's orbital period and the sunspot cycle as both are roughly 11 years. But if there is an underlying mechanism (not conveniently dismissible as "coincidence"), it seems more likely that the mechanisms are electromagnetic rather than gravitational. Which would suggest a 3 body problem, with Saturn's impact on the electrodynamics modifying any solar - jovian model.

This is not some resurrection of an "electric universe" theory. Jupiter, Saturn, and even Earth all create distortions in the solar wind, and it should hardly be surprising if these large scale distortions did not feedback in some way to the coronal events. Whether this feedback is a significant moderator of coronal activity should be the question; that there is some feedback can be stipulated.

Comment Re:That's no moon (Score 1) 213

That's one of those foolish rules put forth by the idiocy contingent of the IAU.

The barycenter of the Earth - Moon binary is outside of the Earth's hard inner core, in the region of the liquid outer core. This is the center or neutral point of the tidal forces acting on the Earth. No one has yet looked at the effects of these tides on the outer core's liquidity, or its electromagnetic properties, mostly because astronomers look upward and geologists look downward and there is a very serious failure for either to look at what the other group is finding.

How significant is the displacement of the Earth's core from the barycenter? It is significant enough to cause the Earth's orbit about the Sun to deviate 6,000 miles twelve times a year from what it would be if the Earth was a solitary body, instead of part of a binary system. Depending on your frame of reference, that deviation is twice to four times as much as the radius of the Moon.

In practical terms up until now this has had no direct impact on human activity. That now changes: when we start using laser beams to communicate and control exploration vehicles beyond Earth orbits, we will have to take the binary nature of the Earth - Moon pair into account or the lasers will miss their targets by thousands of miles.

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 4, Interesting) 213


TL;DR but I got through enough of it to realize that most, and maybe all, the points are cogent. Above post should be stuffed down the throats of every IAU member who voted for their absurd definition of planet until they can regurgitate those points, with meaning.

Some astronomers are stupid. The phrase "educated beyond the level of their intelligence" comes to mind. This idiots should have been taught somewhere along the way that their expertise in one narrow field does not endow them with the authority to mess about in other disciplines like linguistics.

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 2) 213

Good points. But they are basically off topic.

It doesn't matter one whit what terms scientists use in their cloistered jargons. That's why they have jargons.

It does matter when a body of scientists attempts to mold the common tongue to their narrow purposes. Which is what happened with the IAU: they overstepped their area of authority, which is astronomy, to dabble in an area where none of them have any training or standing, which is the study of natural languages, or linguistics. It makes them look like a troop of highly educated baboons, and is one more proof that some people with advanced degrees have been educated beyond the level of their intelligence.

Scientific communities do have an appropriate role in shaping the common tongue, but that is done through education and continued discussion. Never by fiat.

Comment Re: Richard Feynman was an athiest (Score 1) 213

Truth, justice, and The American Way are not science either. Yet these irrational things have more impact on your life than the tiny little subset of the universe that is all that science can ever know.

I do not disagree with you, but I find that your statement has no inherent value and that you are contributing nothing worthwhile to the conversation.

Comment Re:That's no moon (Score 4, Interesting) 213

Any "space-trash" that demands to be listed as something else needs to be immediately identified as a "sentient being", and on behalf of all of us Earthlings the UN needs to publicly apologize to him/her/it. That is simple playground rules: you don't want to insult anybody that much bigger than you are.

As to everything else, I think the planetary geologists have it right. If it is big enough to be rounded of its own volition, it is a planet. And planets that go around another planet more quickly than they go around their star are also moons.

Corollary: that makes Earth the larger part of a binary planetary system. Which puts proper emphasis on the way the Moon creates tides that keeps the hydrosphere stirred up, which has had a major impact on how life has evolved here. Exoplanetary explorers should look for other binary planets in the Goldilocks zone as these are much more likely to have life that is similar to Earth life.

(Is a "bazinga!" called for here? Was this just another Sheldon impersonation, or did I accidentally say something insightful?)

Comment Re:Oh please (Score 1) 204

It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools for his shoddy workmanship.

It is a poor craftsman that uses shoddy tools in the first place. Selecting good tools is a core skill for any craftsman.

Same thing.

The take-away: If you don't know how to use PHP to build secure systems, use some other tool. If you don't know how to use any other tool, don't try to do secure systems.

In every case, the fault is with the programmer, not PHP.

Comment Re:Oh please (Score 1) 204

To repeat: quit blaming the language for the lack of skills of the programmer.

Programmers who are incompetent in PHP should not attempt to build secure systems with it. Those who do attempt to do so should really not be involved in making secure systems in any language, since they have demonstrated that they do not know how to assess the limitations of their tools, let alone work properly within those limitations.

It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools for his shoddy workmanship.

Comment Re:Sorry (Score 4, Insightful) 641

If in fact this was a father's grieving rant, then I agree with your sentiment. Give him space.

Unfortunately there are features in this story that suggest that this might be the beginning of a wrongful death suit against Tesla. The mention of a lawyer being involved, and therefore presumably advising the "distraught" father about what to say in public. How big a settlement might be squeezed from Tesla? If you are going for a fat settlement, then you don't need a winning case, you don't have to be able to prove anything. You just need to demonstrate that you can be a massive pain in the butt until you are paid off. Will we next be hearing comparisons between Tesla's acceleration pedal and the Ford Pinto's gas tank?

People who are truly grieving usually don't make such a public spectacle of it.

Comment Re:Idiot (Score 1) 641

Building a case for a lawsuit against Tesla is not appropriate for a grieving father, either. But he already has his legal dog sniffing around, and one of the things they are looking at is whether they could present a case that Tesla failed to nannify their car sufficiently. Remember, in this kind of high visibility case, you don't need to have a winning argument in order to exact a fat settlement. You only need to be able to threaten that you can make enough noise to damage Tesla's reputation.

I don't own a Tesla and if I was given one I'd sell it or give it away: it doesn't fit my lifestyle. But I've been following Tesla's development. Their engineering is sound and their approach to vehicle safety is very good. But barring nannystate features like an obligatory breathalyzer before the car will start, there is no more Tesla can do to protect against the drunk driver.

Comment Re:Radiation wrecks robots? (Score 1) 307

Our engineering for safe and inexpensive nuclear power is excellent for every component of these complex systems.

However we need to re-engineer the humans who design, build, and run these things. A failure of the human component will eventually destroy every fission reactor, and there are multiple paths of failure. Including allowing the wrong kind of cat litter to make it past the specifications.

I am pessimistic about fission reactors.OTOH, we have been making great strides forward on wind and solar power generation, and the only remaining major problem, storing power at peak production to meet the demands of peak usage, could be handled with technologies we already know.

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