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Explorer Plans Hunt For Genghis Khan's Long-Lost Tomb

Dyolf Knip Re:What about Jesus's ? (243 comments)

Joshua, actually.

about 8 months ago
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Desert Farming Experiment Yields Good Initial Results

Dyolf Knip Re:Why those vegetables? (178 comments)

I make a ratatouille that is to die for.

about 8 months ago
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk: Fuel Cells Are 'So Bull@%!#'

Dyolf Knip Re:Hydrogen is indeed quite dangerous... (479 comments)

So true. I was very surprised to learn that lithium batteries have an energy density in the same ballpark as gunpowder and dynamite. Small wonder that one of them cutting loose and letting all that power go at once is a big deal.

about 9 months ago
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk: Fuel Cells Are 'So Bull@%!#'

Dyolf Knip Re:Hydrogen is indeed quite dangerous... (479 comments)

If solar energy were dirt cheap but batteries were still for shit, then yeah, using H2 as a storage medium wouldn't be so bad. However, both PVCs and batteries are getting better all the time. The latest lithium-air batteries actually have the same energy density as gasoline. H2's density is still better of course, but has a host of storage problems that make even a lesser storage system more appealing.

about 9 months ago
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Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week

Dyolf Knip Re:On the upside... (375 comments)

On the pads, not phones. Too damned early on a Monday.

about 10 months ago
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Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week

Dyolf Knip On the upside... (375 comments)

At least now the school knows not to include camera-enabled surveillance software on the phones.

about 10 months ago
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DIY Space Suit Testing

Dyolf Knip Space Activity Suit (37 comments)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_activity_suit

Space suits in general and the SAS in particular are why I no longer give a rat's ass what happens to NASA. Cut their funding, Congress orders them to start launching their rockets upside-down, I couldn't care less. NASA had a working prototype of a replacement for those injurious, exhausting, and dangerous inflatable suits 40 goddamn years ago, and they flushed it down the toilet and haven't looked back since.

The future of the human race is in outer space, but NASA will have zero role in it. Giving them money would be no better than throwing it away.

about a year ago
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Van Gogh Prints In 3D: Almost the Real Thing For $34,000

Dyolf Knip Beyond 2000 (104 comments)

Am I the only one who remembers seeing this sort of 3-d painting reproduction featured on Beyond 2000 a good 20 years ago? They made a rubber mold of the original painting, printed the copy either with special ink or onto a surface that could be flash melted to fit the mold.

about a year ago
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English High Court Bans Publication of 0-Day Threat To Auto Immobilizers

Dyolf Knip Re:that settles it (168 comments)

Copyrights with a theoretical duration of nearly 2 centuries (max human lifespan plus 70 years) is kinda stretching the definition of the word "temporary".

about a year ago
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NASA's NEXT Ion Thruster Runs Five and a Half Years Nonstop To Set New Record

Dyolf Knip Re:Perfect analogy for NASA (184 comments)

Not really. The tools are impressive, but mostly in how they try to overcome the crippling need to run remotely from umpteen million miles away.

Let's have a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curiosity_(rover)#Instruments

Lists 14 instruments. But 5 of them are just cameras, strategically placed because they can't be moved. My friend the amateur photographer could do much better with her DSLR. The "environmental monitoring station" measures humidity, pressure, temperatures, wind speeds, and ultraviolet radiation; not exactly groundbreaking stuff here. Same with radiation assessment. There's a robotic arm capable of drilling holes a whopping 2" deep and a dust removal tool, commonly known as a 'broom'. The "Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons" sounds sexy as hell, but then you realize a person with a trowel could do the same job.

The other instruments are all spectrometers and a chromatograph. The means by which they work are novel, due to the aforementioned remote requirements, but the end result is not really different from what could be done in any decent lab 50 years ago. Honestly, a decent scientist with a shovel and a few thousand dollars in high school lab gear could do better than all the rovers ever sent. God help us if we ever needed a probe to do something _really_ difficult.

So by all means, send what probes are needed to figure out how to get people there, but anything beyond that will just provide minimal information at enormous cost.

about a year ago
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NetWare 3.12 Server Taken Down After 16 Years of Continuous Duty

Dyolf Knip Quantum drives (187 comments)

I always was rather impressed with those Quantum drives. I had a Quantum 1.2GB hdd in my computer when we suffered a house fire, and that drive was the only piece of electronics to survive in usable condition. Indeed, it lasted a good 4 or 5 years beyond that.

about a year ago
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NASA Wants New Space Net To Sustain Big Data Dumps; Moon and Mars Trips

Dyolf Knip Big plans (63 comments)

NASA sure does dream big, considering they can barely even get to LEO these days. Their launch capacity has been diminishing steadily for the past 40 years. Thank goodness it's not entirely up to them anymore.

about a year ago
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Feedback On Simcity Gets User Banned From EA Forums

Dyolf Knip Re:Was it EA..... (386 comments)

> Wake me up when every single AI agent is simulated in detail with urges, wants, needs, desires, disgust, hatred, genetics, a simulated lifespan from birth to death....

I did like that part of the Total War series. The lifespan of your family members is a real concern. Train a son up into a terrifyingly competent commander, then he goes dies of old age? Fuck! Definitely a good start, though.

How about a massively multiplayer civ game? Run it at or nearly at realtime, so no tech tree. BUt every city, every army, everyone in any sort of position of power is controlled by a real person, all jockeying for MORE.

about a year and a half ago
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Feedback On Simcity Gets User Banned From EA Forums

Dyolf Knip Re:Was it EA..... (386 comments)

It'd be fine, except that all the implementations make it so that it takes centuries to bring a new or damaged city up to speed. Master of Orion 1 did it much better; you can turn a brand new planet into a top-notch research/production node in just a handful of turns. Same thing with military units. It takes so much dedicated effort to make them that the loss of a few is just devastating. In reality, historically, whole new armies could be and were drawn up overnight. Actually, I think Civ4 had some kind of analog to this; you could conscript units instantly at the cost city population. It just had the same problem that maximum population growth was not even remotely appropriate.

Also, recapturing lost cities is always be a matter of grinding through it, when in reality you often just had to beat the army in the field and suddenly the cities in revolt would come begging to be let back into the fold. Point is, revolt was a constant problem, but there were more ways to deal with it than brute force military solutions.

By far the biggest problem were wars of succession, which really can't have much analog in a game where the same person pulls the strings for centuries or millennia of game time.

I've imagined a massively multiplayer game that ran at some small multiple of realtime, and would operate at pretty much every level from individual people to SimCity to Civilization. The players would occupy various positions of power: governors, city mayors, military commanders, warlords, kings and emperors, wealthy merchants, etc. The decision for a city or province to revolt, or for a barbarian tribe to ally with A to attack B, or for a trusted advisor to try to sabotage the leader's rule, etc would thus be made by a real person. And just like in real life, there'd be a lot of players itching to get up into a higher level of power at the expense of whoever is already there. You'd have to be real careful how much you trust your underlings. Since not much time would be passing, it'd be pretty much a historical period piece. No space marines vs musketeers, sadly.

about a year and a half ago
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Property Rights In Space?

Dyolf Knip Re:TL;DR? (269 comments)

Sure. But what happens if someone else goes there and takes it down?

The flag by itself is meaningless if the US can't contest its removal.

about a year and a half ago
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Property Rights In Space?

Dyolf Knip Re:Don't worry, there is plenty (269 comments)

Well, stuff in space _is_ scarce, in the sense that it's not infinite, that is. Sure, there's _a lot_ of non-stellar mass in the solar system, but the parts of it that are easily accessible with current technology is really pretty limited. Luna, Apollo asteroids, and the occasional comet, mostly. And to make things even trickier, what happens when people start living out there permanently? That chunk of rock will be just as much 'their' property as any piece of terra firma.

Start with the simplest way to handle ownership claims and see where that goes: You have to go out and stick a flag on it to even have a shot at such a claim being legit. In person, or will a probe suffice? Define "probe"; don't want anyone spamming the surface of Mars with 1" radio cubes and claiming the entire planet as a result. For that reason, I'm inclined to limit ownership claims solely to putting boots on the ground. You own your unmanned probe and anything in produces using unowned resources (so automated factories are allowed), but the body as a whole is still up for grabs.

Of course, how much can you claim? The entire asteroid/cometplanet? Well that sucks. The EU founds a small colony on Mars just a few weeks ahead of the US and Chinese, so they get the whole pie? I guess you could make it a function of how many people you actually have there, but do they have to be there permanently?

And hey, who's going to enforce all this anyway? Considering the potential riches involved, nobody is going to accept a UN ruling that means that country A gets the piece of rock that country B just spent $10 billion putting a mining facility on because A sent a suicide volunteer on a one-way trip to put them on said rock before B.

I suspect that in the end, the 'border's will be decided in the traditional way. Namely, guys with guns moving them around until they conclude that getting a bigger piece of the pie for themselves would be more trouble than it's worth.

about a year and a half ago
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Cisco VP To Memo Leaker: Finding You Now 'My Hobby'

Dyolf Knip Re:Jimmies Rustled (312 comments)

That's just what he _wants_ you to think!

about a year and a half ago
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Building the Ultimate Safe House

Dyolf Knip Re:Or... go old school (289 comments)

You basically cannot overstate just how indestructible these things are. I visited one in Atlanta and the owner said that just a few months earlier an 18" wide tree had fallen over onto the house. This would have caused tremendous damage to any regular house, but this dome shrugged it off almost entirely, with the stump of a limb poking a 6" hole through the wall. There's that beach dome in Pensacola that survived repeated direct strikes of powerful hurricanes back in '04-'05 that just leveled every surrounding structure. The only damage it took was things like the main stairs washing away, which they were designed to do anyway. There's a story about a guy who bought a piece of land with a monolithic dome barn on it and hired a contractor to demolish it. Took the guy a solid week of whaling on it with a wrecking ball before it came down. There was a cheap knockoff version of a monolithic dome (no rebar) in Oklahoma that took a _direct_ hit by a tornado. Terribly damaged, but the structure is still intact. Lastly of course is the dome in Baghdad that served as a government office building. During the US invasion back in '03, they dropped a 5000 lb bomb on it. The bomb punched through and destroyed everything inside, but the building is still standing.

about a year and a half ago

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