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China Plans Superheavy Rocket, Ups Reliability

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:Misleading reliabilities (86 comments)

Energia had TWO flights. Buran (successful) and Polyus (Energia stage successful, payload unsuccessful due to upside-down sensor).

Energia was pretty cool, and in both flights the launch vehicle itself worked as designed.

about two weeks ago
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NVIDIA Launches Mobile Maxwell GeForce GTX 980M and GTX 970M Notebook Graphics

An Ominous Cow Erred 680M is previous generation? (29 comments)

What about the 7xxM series? 780M being the flagship?

about 2 months ago
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Developer Loses Single-Letter Twitter Handle Through Extortion

An Ominous Cow Erred It goes deeper than GoDaddy, unfortunately. (448 comments)

Simply put -- consumers can't be trusted to be able to deal with complex secure authentication schemes. That's why there's so many easy-to-guess "What city did you grow up in?" password-reset functions. There are so many weak links in the chain of trust, it takes a concerted effort on the individual's part to secure it.

The CEO of Cloudflare fell victim to this when someone CONVINCED AT&T TO REROUTE HIS VOICEMAIL, starting a chain of events that wound up with the interloper having complete control over Cloudflare and the myriad of sites that use CF (and therefore trust it to send legitimate data).

It's a bit exciting/fascinating to read about the chain of events, (particularly the timeline):

http://blog.cloudflare.com/the...

http://blog.cloudflare.com/pos...

about a year ago
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Earth-buzzing Asteroid Would Be Worth $195B If We Could Catch It

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:I wouldn't be THAT expensive to catch it... (265 comments)

I'm not discussing LANDING it. The goal is to park it into a high Earth orbit, where it can be mined relatively cheaply. Only the most valuable materials would be landed, while bulk materials plentiful on earth (water, iron/nickel, etc.) would be used to build and service spacecraft.

about 2 years ago
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Earth-buzzing Asteroid Would Be Worth $195B If We Could Catch It

An Ominous Cow Erred I wouldn't be THAT expensive to catch it... (265 comments)

You could capture it with a minimum of propellant fairly easily. Reorienting its orbit relative to Earth doesn't take much of a push if you do it far enough away (which is why when you do course corrections on a spacecraft, you make the big ones early on, and make small, fine-tuning ones when you get closer to your target).

Then you can get most of your delta-v by aerobraking it in Earth's upper atmosphere, aiming it just deep enough to slow it down to just barely below Earth's escape velocity. You'd save a vast amount of propellant and make an amazing light show for anyone watching. =)

Then you give it one more nudge at apogee (probably the most expensive part of the endeavor) to circularize its orbit enough that it doesn't hit the atmosphere again (which is important). After that last high-thrust burn you could then further circularize the orbit with low-thrust, high-efficiency electric thrusters.

Given enough time and a nuclear reactor, this could all be done using reaction mass acquired on-site, so you wouldn't have to actually haul the propellant to the asteroid, and only take just enough to get your reactor and fuel-manufacturing plant to it.

about 2 years ago
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As Gas Prices Soar So Does City Biking

An Ominous Cow Erred The US needs more practical bikes (342 comments)

Part of the problem with biking culture in the US it is an evolution of racing/track/BMX bikes. These are designed for weight reduction and aerodynamics rather than comfort. Exposed chains are almost universal, necessitating having your leg cuff rolled up or rubber banded, if you try to wear normal clothes.

Meanwhile in places like The Netherlands and Denmark, bikes are built to be practical for normal people in normal clothes to ride in a comfortable position. Step-through bikes are the norm and are not considered "women's" bikes.

The first image on this page is a Dutch-style bike. The lower pics are the closest thing America has to offer. http://clevercycles.com/blog/2007/06/26/dutchness/

Notice on the Dutch bike:

1) UPRIGHT POSTURE -- for comfort rather than aerodynamics
2) FULL CHAIN CASE -- So you can wear *regular clothes* without getting grease all over them or having them get caught in the gears.
3) COAT GUARD OVER REAR WHEEL -- If you wear loose, long clothes like coats, jackets, or skirts (or a tux), it will not get caught in the rear spokes.
4) LARGE FENDERS -- Also to keep your clothes clean if the ground is wet or dirty!

These things add weight to the bike or add wind resistance. Sports bikes in the US shun all these things. Unfortunately, sports bike design has affected even "city" bikes in the US, which means that people barely remember what a full chain case or coat guard are anymore.

In the Netherlands, people go out clubbing on their bikes wearing their sexy outfits. Members of parliament bike to work wearing their suit and tie.

If we want people to switch to bikes in the US, we need features like these so people don't have the inconvenience of having to change clothes or roll up their pant leg (and still risk grease or nicks on their calves). These are all obvious solutions that are just not as obvious to American bicyclists because they never see them now.

more than 2 years ago
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Worst Design Ever? Plastic Clamshell Packaging

An Ominous Cow Erred Thankfully this is not in EVERY country. (398 comments)

Products in Japan tend to come in packaging that is easy to open and close again (for durable goods anyway).

In fact, I often store some things from Japan in the original packaging because it also makes a convenient case to hold it.

(Japanese FOOD, on the other hand, tends to come hideously overpackaged in many concentric layers of paper and plastic that all goes to waste.)

more than 2 years ago
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Breaking the Codes In Oslo Terrorist's Manifesto

An Ominous Cow Erred The project appears to be in good hands. (231 comments)

Looks like it's Oystein, (a.k.a. edison) in charge of the operation. He's one sharp cookie and has been in the Norweigan scene for decades. I remember how fun we he was 20 yrs ago. xD I'm sure it will be solved soon.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Plans New Spaceship-like Campus

An Ominous Cow Erred This is a TERRIBLE design. (279 comments)

This building is completely not built on a human scale. It places offices and services far from eachother. It's seemed DESIGNED to make people drive.

Take the giant ring and compress it into a 20-40 story dome. Not only would it result in better interconnection between offices, cafeterias, and such, but it would bemore energy efficient (a dome has the least amount of surface area to exchange heat with the outside).

It would use less land, leaving more space for parkland, a farm, solar plant, whatever you want to use it for.

Instead of building a huge fucking parking garage you could place it next to a Caltrain station, and encourage people to use Caltrain to get to work instead of driving.

Hell they could build it in Santa Clara by the Caltrain station there (there's a ton of poorly used space on the north side of it). This is a stop for not only Caltrain (San Jose San Francisco), but also Capitol Corridor (San Jose Oakland Sacramento), and ACE (San Jose Livermore Stockton).

more than 3 years ago
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Japan's MagLev Gets Go Ahead

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:Just for comparison.... (159 comments)

Except driving REALLY costs over fifty cents a mile when you figure in all the money you're actually spending on your car, not just the gasoline (gasoline in the US is very cheap, and is actually NOT the majority cost of driving).

Moreover, even at 50 cents a mile, you're still assuming that you're getting free labor from an unpaid worker -- the driver (who is probably you). During this whole time when you could be working on a paper, talking to friends, drinking vodka, playing angry birds, or whatever.... instead you're focusing on not killing yourself or others while you operate a large heavy machine that could veer out of control at any second if your concentration lapses.

Driving is NOT cheap, we just ignore the costs.

more than 3 years ago
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Flight 447 'Black Box' Decoded

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:If God had meant for man to fly... (449 comments)

Well, you could always take the safest way to travel -- the train.

In Europe it's about as fast as flying for moderate distances. Unfortunately in the U.S. it's not competitive except for the DC/NYC/Boston route (Acela).

But here's the cool thing -- even on a slow train you can get work done since you're not busy driving. You can sit at a nice big table or cozy up at the bar and have a cocktail. Try *THAT* driving.

Granted the nice bar is in first class. (Though on Amtrak if you're in first class on a long-distance train, you actually have your own private room. It's like staying in a hotel but you're going somewhere. Or if you're working on the move, you can think of it as your private office on wheels).

Even the coach seats are the size of a first class airline seat, plus you can get up and go hang out in the aforementioned lounge with your laptop and wifi. (Wifi on some trains, on some others you'll need a cellular data connection).

It's honestly the nicest way to travel. =) Try it sometime. And don't be scared off from first class -- even the cheapest room comes with 3 meals a day (steak, duck, etc.) as part of the price, free wine (on some trains), etc. On one trip I took from SF -> LA, I went with someone. Ticket $50 each, and room $50/each (the room costs the same no matter how many people you have in it). Getting the room paid for itself in meals and drinks (meals in the onboard restaurant, and $5 for the wine tasting that got us about 8 glasses of wine each =P )

more than 3 years ago
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US Contemplating 'Vehicle Miles Traveled' Tax

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:Sounds like a headache (1306 comments)

I want to live in a place where I can walk to the store, where the proprietor knows my name, have my kids be able to walk to school (or take the subway) and actually make friends and interact with other human beings, and not have to cart everyone around cloistered from the world in an otherwise-useless two ton cage burning ancient dead organisms.

The problem is that the U.S. doesn't *build* these places anymore. Instead they build the giant 50's road-utopias that they're used to building, and even worse -- my taxes have to pay for all that extra sewer line, power line, and *ROAD* that goes there! (And don't go on about the gas tax paying for it, it only pays for major highways, and even then not entirely. All the gajillion miles of road that feed your suburban house come out of other taxes).

Because we don't build real walkable non-auto-centric towns anymore, the supply of such places is VERY short, so now I have to pay through the nose for it.

There's crazy unmet demand in this country, and it's caused by the continual senseless sucking of urban tax dollars to exurban projects. I'm sick of paying for your freeway, sewer, etc. and not even having this fact recognized (yet the exurb people howl and scream when we try to get some public transit built here)

more than 3 years ago
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US Contemplating 'Vehicle Miles Traveled' Tax

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:Sounds like a headache (1306 comments)

I feel like a sardine in a can when I am asked to commute for an hour in a tiny metal cage (called an automobile). Even worse, I'm forced to constantly due an activity that I do not want to do (drive), as if I try to do other things (like work on my computer, cuddle a date, etc.) I am putting my life and the lives of others at risk as well as breaking numerous safety laws.

My apartment may be smaller than your exurb house, but when I think about it I'm only ever in one room at a time anyway. Why do I need lots of rooms when only one is occupied at any given moment? Excluding sanitation reasons (bathroom, kitchen), one or two rooms can easily serve the purpose of any other room. Unless you're talking about very specialized environments, like a home gym, which I don't really need since I live in a dense area and I only have to walk 500 ft to get to the nearest gym.

Yet for some reason to get an apartment in a real city, I have to fight against hundreds of thousands of people who all want this scarce resource, whereas the people who want to live in sprawly exurbs have vast new product being made for them every day, much of it at taxpayer expense -- and the reason for this is because the government subsidizes exurbs and taxes the cities to pay for it.

All roads should be tolled, just like planes and trains. Make the subsidies explicit (all transportation has to be subsidized to some degree, but more some reason we do a much better job of being unaware of the massive automobile subsidies).

With regards to privacy, there should be a way to anonymously pay the toll (anonymous e-cash paid for with real cash, etc.). One-time-use tickets if you want, etc.

more than 3 years ago
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US Contemplating 'Vehicle Miles Traveled' Tax

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:Sounds like a headache (1306 comments)

What's going to happen to our farms, forests, etc. then?

Who's going to pay for our sewer systems, power systems, etc. that will have to be geometrically larger due to all the extra miles that must be traveled?

Living far apart has large negative impacts by causing massive expansion of the infrastructure that modern life requires.

more than 3 years ago
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Japanese Game Developers Go West

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:Gameplay may transcend borders... (84 comments)

Essentially it goes like this:

Someone who is "overly masculine" to the point of bodybuilding, etc., is obviously obsessed with masculinity. They are obsessed with masculinity because they don't value femininity at all -- because they're gay. ESPECIALLY if they are constantly around men who have a similar physique. In Japan nothing is gayer than a bodybuilder's gym.

If you really want to get the girls, you have a boyish charm, and focus on a softer form of male beauty.

Also, if you like to wear pink frilly dresses it's under the assumption that you're a perv, not gay. (Think of Ed Wood and why he crossdressed. He did it because he WAS into women, and styling himself as one made him feel closer to them.)

That said, there is also an effeminate gay stereotype in Japan, but they are treated almost as women rather than gay men. ...but what's gayer -- an obsession with dresses or an obsession with ripped beefy muscles and oiled glistening skin?

(See other reply to this post for an explanation of "Bara")

more than 4 years ago
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Stuxnet Worm May Have Targeted Iranian Reactor

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:So....the CIA wrote it? (322 comments)

Japan was defeated but they refused an unconditional surrender. Everything at the time indicated that they would fight to the last man. What are you supposed to do?

I dunno, maybe something like conditional surrender? You don't need unconditional surrender to win a war. By the end of the conflict the Japanese had few conditions beyond keeping the imperial court in place. This was not very much to ask for, considering we let them keep the monarchy anyway in the end.

more than 4 years ago
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Bill Gates's The Road Ahead, 15 Years Later

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:Microsoft best innovation. (280 comments)

Uh, they BOUGHT Flight Simulator from Sublogic. FS1/FS2 were Sublogic products before MS got ahold of FS2.

more than 4 years ago
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Completely Farm-Bred Unagi, a World First

An Ominous Cow Erred Re:There are *VAST* wild Unagi stocks! (204 comments)

Actually I should clarify, because I wasn't being quite honest or accurate in my previous post. The invasive species in the South East U.S. is a different species than the eels in question in the article. The pest fish that escaped the farms is the Asian Swamp Eel. While it is often sold as "unagi" and is somewhat analogous in flavor, the specific eel in question is the Japanese Eel, which does not live in the Western Hemisphere. The Asian Swamp Eel is actually from a different taxonomic order.

The closest analog in the Western Hemisphere is the American Eel, which is also endangered, partly due to the invasion of the Asian Swamp Eel.

That said, the Asian Swamp Eel works perfectly fine in similar roles, and is quite tasty. Unfortunately you can't really call it "unagi" in a respectable Japanese fish market, even if it's called that when sold in many fish markets outside of Japan.

more than 4 years ago
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Completely Farm-Bred Unagi, a World First

An Ominous Cow Erred There are *VAST* wild Unagi stocks! (204 comments)

Unagi infestations are actually a HUGE problem along the U.S. gulf coast! A long time ago, some enterprising farmer tried raising unagi for the Japanese-American market, and some managed to escape. They are now a huge problem in places like Florida and Alabama, where they outcompete and kill off native fish species, foul nets, etc. They're considered a massive pest fish and there have long been attempts at finding ways to poison them, etc.

A much better solution would be to just eat the damn things. We can export tons of these wild unagi to the Japanese if we decide to. There is currently NO shortage of them.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Feeling suicidal, so get help on an MMO?

An Ominous Cow Erred An Ominous Cow Erred writes  |  about a year and a half ago

An Ominous Cow Erred (28892) writes "In an odd approach to reaching out to otherwise shut-in sufferers of mental distress, an organization called Anxiety Gaming is betting that online intervention is the best way to reach people with emotional difficulties. Their argument is that the social nature of modern gaming makes it a valid means of reaching people who might not otherwise seek help through more traditional channels. According to their Facebook page, their future intentions seem to include distributing consoles to homes for foster youth, to encourage them to look to games for positival interpersonal communication.

With much media attention focused on cyberbullying and the negative affects of online social interaction, could gaming turn out to be a path to positive mental health as well?"

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