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Comment Re:How small is "small" (Score 1) 642

Also, you can't just "drop" a rock out of orbit. You have to slow it down to suborbital velocities before it will fall to Earth. If you are talking about a cube of iron 24 feet on a side that is going to require a titanic amount of Delta-V.

I mean rockets are basically giant bombs already, if you're worried about people misbehaving with them then it's already too late.

Comment Radio is dead (Score 4, Informative) 203

Radio died January 3, 1996 with the passage of the Telecommunication Act of 1996. It basically allowed big corporations to buy up all of the smaller independent stations in a region and homogenize the content to the same bland mush that advertisers like and which generates the fewest angry letters to the station. Luckily we have the internet now so broadcast radio can go quietly into the night.

Comment Re:Stupid question (Score 1) 198

The article goes into some discussion about the limitations of the methodology involved, but a huge negative net worth isn't impossible. You could easily have a guy who used to have some money but then made some catastrophic bets on the stock or housing market and is now seriously under water. Or a family member may have gotten really sick and now he has typical medical debts to deal with.

Comment Difficult material remains difficult (Score 5, Informative) 278

As I recall the biggest problem they had in making the stuff in the first place was constantly shattering the diamonds when they tried to shine light through them. Also, the breathless talk of this revolutionizing every industry under the sun is tremendously overblown. Right now these are laboratory curiosities, they may very well amount to nothing.

Comment Re:misread as cellulite (Score 1) 104

As I understand it phone fingerprint scanners don't actually look at your fingerprint. Rather they measure the capacitance over a series of fluctuations in the field density to make the "fingerprint". Or something like that. I don't know how many unique bits you can get out of that, but the danger of someone managing a false positive is reduced by simply locking it out after three failed scans and making the user type in their password instead.

Comment I'm not sure this is a good idea (Score 1) 204

I'm torn on the idea of having one particular crypto implementation having first class citizen status in the language. It should help adoption and alleviate deployment headaches, but if that library turns out to have problems or just becomes obsolete it's even more of a hassle to work around it. Crypto algorithms are unusual in computer science in that they come with use-by dates. Most algorithms are timeless, but crypto changes constantly. What are the odds that in 5 years this becomes "that thing you shouldn't use but everybody uses it anyway because it's the default and its built in"?

Comment How is this supposed to work? (Score 0) 382

Busses drive all day long every day. When are they supposed to recharge the batteries? At night? Are they going to lug around enough battery to keep a big heavy bus running all day long on its stop and go route? Even with regenerative breaking that's a huge ask for current and near term foreseeable battery technology.

I can't see cities jumping on the idea of busses that have to come back to the depot to be swapped out every 4 hours. It's also not clear to me how a vehicle carrying literally tons of high capacity batteries will be cheaper than a diesel/CNG vehicle of similar design.

Comment Re:24 years without 'unplanned' shutdowns (Score 1) 137

While I've never worked directly with Stratus boxes, my understanding is that the machines have redundant and hot-swappable everything, so it's possible to completely replace half of the box while the other half is serving normally, and then switch it over and do the same on the other half. No unplanned outage might well mean that it never stopped doing whatever it is that the server is tasked with, even when parts of it had to be replaced or upgraded. Even the OS all the way down to the kernel can be upgraded without so much as a stall in application service.

But I also heard that they pay for that capability by being ridiculously expensive and slow.

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