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Comment Re:Why haven't we done Voyager 3 and 4? (Score 2) 61

Meanwhile, New Horizons just buzzed Pluto, and is now heading into the Kuiper Belt.

What is more, New Horizons did a flyby of Jupiter on its way to the outer solar system - quite similar to Voyager. However, this was not in the prime science mission, so they didn't gather all the data they could, it was really more a system test to make sure that they could take useful data.

Comment Boolean Logic (Score 1) 133

A hands-on demonstration of boolean logic: starting with two switches in series to show A AND B, then two switches in parallel to show A OR B. A more advanced portion of it might have a large plugboard (like from the old Ma Bell days), and a collection of gates and switches, with flashcards showing how to build up common circuits - a 1-bit adder, XOR, a 1-bit flip-flop, etc.

Comment Re:Stupid bet... (Score 2) 303

A much safer and more scientifically relevant bet would be that the average temperature of the entire 2010's will be at least a half degree Celsius higher than the average temperature of the 1910's.

We're only halfway through the 2010's, but the signs so far indicate that it would take an overwhelming global cooling over the next 3.5 years for this to be a losing bet.

There are many graphs that one could choose from, but I'll just use this one from NOAA. The 1910s were all 0.2 - 0.3 celcius below the average for the 20th century. The 2010s (so far) have all been about 0.6 celcius higher. 2016 is looking to be a banner year.

So as it stands, the 2010s are already about 0.9 celcius higher than the 1910s, nearly double the half-a-degree mark. In order for one to lose this bet, the next few years would have to be below-average. Given the tremendous inertia of the global climate, I think it would take a modest nuclear winter, or a handful of Pinatubo-like volcanic eruptions, for this to happen. I'd happily take that bet.

Though, given that it's an election year, that nuclear winter is still a possibility.

Comment Re:Humans have been doing it for 1000s of years (Score 4, Interesting) 258

In fact we've even evolved to keep the lactase enzyme into adulthood in the majority of the worlds population just because of drinking milk. So get over it cupcake and take your hand wringing animal rights agenda elsewhere

I don't know - I've had some vegan cupcakes that were indistinguishable from conventional.

You are correct that a segment of humans have evolved to take advantage of the milk production of other animals. That's been pretty beneficial to us as a species. But the traditional, pastoral production of milk that coincided with that evolution bears almost no resemblance to the industrialized production of milk in the modern world. There are plenty of legitimate problems about industrial dairy - and not just for the cows! - that are worth discussing out in the open. It doesn't have to be either 1) you don't give a shit about how the milk is produced orwhat's in it so long as it is plentiful and cheap, or 2) you're a dreadlocked vegan stridently and smugly preaching about the evil wrought by humans.

I, for one, welcome this development. So much food is wasted in industrialized societies - it is sickening. Past-date milk is one of the worst examples. If milk has a longer shelf life, then the entire industry can operate more efficiently, which ought to 1) reduce prices for consumers and 2) reduce pressure on producers to treat their livestock so shittily in the quest to produce more cheaply

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 77

I was also very disappointed: from watching CSI and other TV shows, I know that they can just hit the enhance button and get crystal clear detail. What a waste of taxpayer money!

I kid, I kid. I'm very excited about this mission, and can't wait for the first science pass. Those pictures are going to be stunning!

Comment Re:Warning : Autoplay video (Score 5, Informative) 131

The pictures are unremarkable too.

The camera and the rest of the science payload were intentionally shut down a few days ago, so that they are best protected during orbit insertion and cannot interfere with that critical maneuver. They'll be brought back online in a couple of days, by which point Juno will be relatively far from Jupiter in its highly elliptical polar orbit. The first scientific pass isn't until August. In other words: there aren't really any stunning images expected anytime soon.

The camera on Juno is mostly there for public interest - it is not necessarily a prime science instrument. This is a significant difference between this mission and, say, Cassini and New Horizons, where getting map-quality visual data was a prime mission objective. Galileo served that purpose for the Jovian system, and Juno won't be making any close approaches to any moons in any case. The camera will be able to provide our first close-up views of the polar regions, and those images should look pretty great given how close Juno will be.

Comment Re:What about the inverter? (Score 1) 109

What's the expected lifetime and warranty of the inverter?....There surely are It looks like they are warranted for 5 years but one would hope they would last longer than that.

One of the major limiting factors for inverter lifetime is operating temperature. Bulk electrolytic capacitors have a finite lifetime, and operating at elevated temperatures decreases that pretty rapidly. (The same is true in AC/DC power supplies.) This means that the lifetime is heavily influenced by how and where the inverter is installed: is it placed inside a poorly-ventilated attic that'll get above 50C (ambient) in the summertime, or in conditioned living space? These are things that the manufacturer can't really control, other than providing guidelines and doing their own testing under a variety of conditions.

Comment Re:Who sells their old drives? (Score 1) 207

,blockquote>or seek out a place that can properly dispose of them

My place of choice is the old gravel pit, where I can light off small amounts of thermite without much risk. If I'm all out of thermite, the same location serves as a handy shooting range, which also gets the job done, but the noise attracts unwanted attention.

Comment Likely to be a hit? (Score 1) 91

The movie is likely to be a hit at the box office as the game has a massive following.

This is a sad statement about the Hollywood. Yes, they probably will get a boatload of people to show up just because they love to play Minecraft and want to extend that experience to the big screen. Yup, that'll probably mean a lot of money. But that doesn't mean that making a movie about a thinly-premised video game - no matter how playable and engaging - is necessarily a good idea. The long, sad history of video-game adaptations suggests we will merely end up with a steaming pile of crap with a nonsensical plot, that simply happens to have "Minecraft" stamped on it. Millions of parents will be extorted out of tens of millions of otherwise useful dollars to take their kids to it. Will someone please think of the parents!

Comment Re:make the punishment fit the crime (Score 1) 124

Penalties of this size are entirely unjustified by the degree of harm.

Cratering the resale value of a few million vehicles, along with the stock value of the company, doesn't constitute harm? A corporate citizen deliberately cheating on tests, then covering it up, does not constitute harm? I get it, it's hard to pin a monetary damage to corporate malfeasance, but that doesn't mean that there's no harm.

Comment Re:Does this mean I get a TDI for cheap? (Score 3, Insightful) 124

I love the TDI engine, who cares if it pollutes? I have no kids and I'm over 50 -- I ain't living forever.

You own (lack of) progeny aside, you don't care about the general survival of the human race or stewardship of this one and only home we call Earth?

Obviously not, so here's something your shallow, selfish interests can grock: the known emissions problems for these vehicles will probably make them un-registerable in the United States, unless you get the performance-crippling ECU "fix".

Comment Re:Batteries (Score 4, Informative) 238

Electronics in automotive environments tend to be very well sealed, because they are exposed to all kinds of crap. Rain is the least of it: snow, salt, sand, mud, marine air, gasoline, motor oil, washer fluid - all of these would utterly destroy electronics if they were not well protected against it. The electronics enclosures, cabling, and connectors used in automobilies are typically rated to IP55 at least, and typically are IP67. Once you have sealed it well enough to keep out all the crap you'd encounter on the road, you get protection against temporary submersion more or less for free.

Comment Re: Must be a first for slashdot RTFA skimmed summ (Score 1) 299

Photons are their own antiparticle, so when they interact strongly with each other, the force drops to zero, so the pair doesnt interact with anything else.

[pedantic]
Be careful how you phrase that - photons have no interaction via the strong force. They cannot "strongly interact" in the way that, say, quarks strongly interact to create protons and the like.
[/pedantic]

I understand what you meant - that the photons are interacting with each other in a strong (i.e., powerful, tightly bound, significant, etc.) fashion. But since we're talking physics here, we should be careful about word choices.

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