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Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

FatLittleMonkey Re:Goodbye, SETI! (496 comments)

The government funded SETI program was terminated 20 years ago (1995). Since then it's been a private research program.

--

For the AC who replied to you,

The SETI program should have terminated [...] about a decade ago

So he thinks it should have been funded for ten years longer than it was?

about two weeks ago
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Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

FatLittleMonkey Re:Is it just me... (496 comments)

Also, explain to this Canadian why NASA is researching climate.

It's their job.

"102(c) The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:
(1) The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
(2) The improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical and space vehicles;
(3) The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies and living organisms through space;
..."

- National Aeronautics and Space Act (1958)

It's the very first job they are given.

about two weeks ago
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NASA's New Horizons To Arrive At Pluto With Clyde Tombaugh's Ashes

FatLittleMonkey Re:It's a first... (108 comments)

Sword and shield?

I'm not sure they're going to be much of a threat to us.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla vs. Car Dealers: the Lobbyist Went Down To Georgia

FatLittleMonkey "the Lobbyist Went Down To Georgia" (190 comments)

The analogy doesn't work. In the song, the Devil accepted when he'd lost.

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Government Steps In To Stop Misleading Infringement Notices

FatLittleMonkey Re:That was quick ... (103 comments)

This still isn't enough though. Knowingly doing this should be a criminal offense.

Even that isn't enough. Any system that gives aid and comfort to the extortionists is, by definition, corrupt. An appropriate response would be to create a centralised, universal licensing system to replace existing individual rights-holding licensing. Ends exclusive licenses, therefore prevents region blocking (by allowing other companies to exploit the absence), allows competition and model-differentiation in the distribution marketplace, allows artists to register directly and easily, letting them bypass the Big Four. And sends a clear message that if you don't play nicely with other children, we will take your toys away.

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Government Steps In To Stop Misleading Infringement Notices

FatLittleMonkey Re:That was quick ... (103 comments)

that they have done the right thing here.

Done the right thing? Passed a law slavishly devoted to the copyright industry's wishes? So mindlessly copied the US version that it contained the same decade-known flaw, an absence of penalties for false-notices, fraudulent-notices, spamming robo-notices, allowing 3rd party companies to create whole business models around extorting fake "fines" out of people? How is any of that the "right thing"?

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

FatLittleMonkey Re:A bit off topic (213 comments)

And small mass benefits on one stage means very large benefits for your payload capacity delivered to space.

You are getting your rocket equation backwards. While small changes to payload result in exponentially increasing changes through the stages, reciprocally it takes a large change to the first stage to have a small effect on payload.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

FatLittleMonkey Re: Minor setback (213 comments)

What exactly has never been done before?

Landing a six story building on a barge in the ocean after launching a commercial capsule to the International Space Station.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

FatLittleMonkey Re: No good video? (213 comments)

300 x 170 is a real bad ratio, it's going to be a sloppy ride.

The barge itself is 300 x 100ft. The extra width is on the deck only.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

FatLittleMonkey Re: No good video? (213 comments)

Why? Not a clue.

Hydraulics ran out just before landing. So it lost control at the last moment.

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

FatLittleMonkey Re:No good video? (213 comments)

I can just imagine what a rocket looks like on IR.

Or you could just google it.

about two weeks ago
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What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

FatLittleMonkey Re:What is CES? (162 comments)

I don't know if there is a googolplexplex (10 to the power of googolplex)

Yes, and it actually was originally called a googolplexplex, but it has been reformed as "googolduplex", in order to standardise the next orders, googoltriplex, googolquadplex (10^10^10^googol, 10^10^10^10^googol, respectively) ... googol-n-plex.

Once you get above a googoldecaplex (ten repetitions of "plex"), you get into googol-10^n-plex notation. Once you get into googolmilliplex (googol-1000-plex), you get into googol-10^3n-plex notation. And so on. [Note googolmilliplex, googol-10^3-plex, is 10^10^10^10...10^100. With 1000 10's raised to 10^100. Googolmegaplex, googol-10^6-plex, is 1,000,000 10's, raised to 10^100.)

Then you have "Great" numbers which are one power higher than their namesakes. Like "Great Googol", which is 10^101. Or "Great Googolplex", 10^(googol+1). And Googolbang or googol-factorial, (10^100)!, which is roughly 1.63 x googlplex^100 (1.6294... x 10^10^100^100. Interestingly, in spite of having a hundred googolplexes of digits, it only has 18 significant figures.)

These are, of course, only the smaller googol related numbers. At some point it really gets silly.

about two weeks ago
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What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

FatLittleMonkey Re:Something Truly Innovative (162 comments)

Long Distance Teleporters?

As opposed to our current limited short-range teleporters?

about two weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

FatLittleMonkey Re:Its a cost decision (840 comments)

I haven't tried it, but PLA apparently works well as the "wax" in lost-wax casting.

about three weeks ago
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Netflix Begins Blocking Users Who Bypass Region Locks

FatLittleMonkey Re:/me is waiting for BBC iPlayer to do the same (121 comments)

It's worth noting that unlike Hulu/Netflix/iTunes, Auntie doesn't go out of her way to block people who take even basic measures to bypass geo-blocking.

For example, on Firefox I use the Modify Headers addon and an "X-Forwarded-For" entry with the Beeb's own IP address. (212.58.246.94) There are other addons that make it as simple as clicking on a flag. Bit easier than screwing around with VPNs or DNS spoofing.

about three weeks ago
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The Billionaires' Space Club

FatLittleMonkey Re:Do I buy it? (235 comments)

What's especially weird about this article is that neither Branson nor Musk have ever said that their space ventures are anything other than a method of making them a bunch of profit...

Nor have they "egotistically proclaim[ed] that they alone can solve mankind's problems, from aging to space travel." Nor "all the talk of exploration." Nor "shoot endangered animals on safari".

Seriously, the guy is nothing but a walking strawman.

There's plenty of things you can criticise the "PayPal mafia" and NewSpace over, especially Thiel and Branson respectively, but nothing that the Professor is going on about even comes close to a valid criticism. (Or even something that has anything to do with reality.) It's bizarre that someone would say it, but crazy that a major newspaper would actually publish it.

"The more recent trend is billionaires making fleets of rocket ships"

A) "recently", for something that's over a decade old, suggests that he's only just heard about it and because he only just heard about it, thinks it's new.

B) "fleets of rocket ships" is how a child would see it. Suggesting the guy is not only ignorant, but is surrounded by ignorant people.

"neither [Elon] Musk's nor [Richard] Branson's goals really seem to break new ground"

VG won't be doing anything special, (although even a private sub-orbital system is new; nothing like SS2 exists. X-15 with passengers and open space.)

But Musk already has the cheapest launcher on the market (perhaps ignoring a few micro-launchers), is about to develop fly-back first stage (something the industry has been wishing for since the early sixties), and is developing a private manned capsule, and is developing a heavy lift launcher that costs less than any other medium-lift launcher on the market even if they doesn't achieve reusability, and he's working with NASA to develop a Saturn V F1-class engine for a Saturn V class launcher, and he wants to go to Mars.

Not breaking new ground? What the fuck does this idiot want from them, a warp drive?

about a month ago
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The Billionaires' Space Club

FatLittleMonkey Re:Space is very unforgiving (235 comments)

Space is very unforgiving. It's why a ~$350 million test stand was built in Mississippi

No, it's really not.

about a month ago
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New Proposed Path for Manned Trips to Mars: Let Mars' Gravity Capture Spacecraft

FatLittleMonkey Re:I think its gonna be a long long time (105 comments)

it's really doubtful that there's any show stoppers here.

God I hate that phrase. So many failed NASA programs started because someone said "There's no show stoppers". I needs to be purged from NASA's vocabulary.

about a month ago
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New Proposed Path for Manned Trips to Mars: Let Mars' Gravity Capture Spacecraft

FatLittleMonkey Re:I think its gonna be a long long time (105 comments)

I think you could decelerate to subsonic velocities at the proper moment

The "proper moment" is before you enter the atmosphere. So no. As soon as you enter the atmosphere, you can't do a retro-burn until you are subsonic, and you can't slow to subsonic without multiple hypersonic and supersonic parachutes. (Terminal velocity for a capsule on Mars is supersonic. You would hit the ground before you slowed enough to be able to fire retro-rockets.)

The only alternative is to have enough fuel in Mars orbit to do a retro-burn that virtually zeros the orbital velocity before you enter the atmosphere. And, by definition, that takes as much fuel as it does to launch from the surface into orbit.

Have a look at the entry sequence for MSL-Curiosity, hypersonic heat shield, supersonic drag-chutes, huge subsonic parachutes, and retrorockets, because the parachutes aren't enough to let you land on the surface. And every stage pushed the state of the art to the limits of current technology. All that just to land 900kg.

Now imagine what you'd have to add to land a multi-ton human-scale capsule...

Oh, did I say capsule? No. You have to get back home, so you need to land an entire launch vehicle on the surface of Mars. Plus all the infrastructure necessary to refuel and launch that vehicle.

under much worse conditions then in the Martian landing scenario

Earth reentry is much easier than Mars. A nice fat atmosphere to bleed off all your velocity, down to subsonic, before you even worry about parachutes or retro-rockets. Mars' atmosphere is just awful. Too thick to be ignored, too thin to be useful. Exactly, precisely wrong.

about a month ago
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ESA Carries Out Asteroid Impact Drill

FatLittleMonkey Re:I believe... (69 comments)

The impact force of a large asteroid would be much larger, but no worse than a near miss with an ICBM warhead would be

Que? The impact force from a small asteroid impact is equivalent to a large nuke. The 20m Russian Chelyabinsk impact was about half a megaton equivalent.

A large asteroid would outstrip the effects of the entire global nuclear arsenal all detonated at the same time on a single site. Asteroids can punch through the ocean crust.

http://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/ImpactEffects/

about a month ago

Submissions

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Fight you own muscles to create force-feedback on smartphones

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Researchers in Germany have developed a device that allows users of portable devices, such as smartphones, experience force-feedback from games using just their own muscles... and a small EMS device. When stimulated by a painless electric pulse, the player's arm moves the device in whichever direction the game commands. The player then fights the movement with their other muscles, creating a strong sensation that the device itself is bucking in their hands. According to the developers, users found the sensation much more realistic than traditional vibrotactile feedback. (Should make PvP more interesting too.)"
Link to Original Source
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Multiple minds smooths your ship's path

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "My mind to your mind... my thoughts to your thoughts... Researchers at the University of Essex have shown that combining the output from two non-invasive "brain-computer interfaces", computer-interpreted EEG signals, led to a much clearer signal of the subjects' intention than the output from a single subject. To test this idea, they had two subjects try to steer a simulated space-ship at a target planet, by thinking of one of eight possible directions. While a single user could achieve 67% accuracy, this jumped to 90% when two minds were combined. Researchers believe the technique also compensates for individual lapses in attention, and thus may have applications in real-world space missions."
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How do you give a ticket to a driverless car?

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "New Scientist asks a Bryant Walker Smith, from the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, whether the law is able to keep up with recent advances in automated vehicles. Even states which have allowed self-driving cars require the vehicles to have a "driver", who is nominally in control and who must comply with the same restrictions as any driver such as not being drunk. What's the point of having a robot car if it can't drive you home from the pub while you go to sleep in the back?"
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Whitehouse Petition to sell Texas to pay off US Debt.

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Amidst the flood of petitions on behalf of States demanding to be allowed to secede from the US, inevitably came the trolls suggesting that the US at least make some money out of the deal. Sell Texas to Mexico and use the money to pay down the US debt. Still in single digits at time of writing, but well worth supporting for the lulz."
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You can't print a gun if you have no 3d printer

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "You may recall Cody Wilson's project to create a 3d printed gun, mentioned previously on Slashdot. Well, the Defense Distributed project has suffered a decidedly non-technical setback, with printer manufacturer Stratasys revoking the lease and repossessing the printer (presumably prying it from plastic models of Cory's cold dead hands.) According to New Scientist the manufacturer cited...

his lack of a federal firearms manufacturer's licence as their reason for the repossession, adding that it does not knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes.

"

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If U R readng ths, I M already dead.

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "A particularly nasty text scam is doing the rounds in Australia. Police say that hundreds of people have reported receiving text messages reading: "Sum1 paid me to kill you. Get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised... Email me now killerking999@yahoo.com", or variations on the theme. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's Scamwatch site, also details the threat messages.

(No reports yet of anyone managing to troll the scammers.)"

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MS damage washed away by stream of young blood

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "A new study on mice suggests that damage caused by diseases like Multiple sclerosis, as well as natural ageing, can be reversed by an infusion of stem cell rich blood from younger mice. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that erodes the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord, and can result is serious disability. Similar effects occur naturally with ageing. Via New Scientist:

White blood cells called macrophages from the young mice gathered at the sites of myelin damage. Macrophages engulf and destroy pathogens and debris, including destroyed myelin. "We know this debris inhibits regeneration, so clearing it up is important," says team member Amy Wagers of Harvard University.

Here's a direct Link to the paper, if you have academic access through the paywall.."
Link to Original Source

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Harnessing the energy of Galloping Gertie

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "You've all seen the footage of Galloping Gertie, the infamous Tacoma Narrows bridge. This is due to a type of turbulence called Wake Galloping, caused by airflow creating lift on the lee-side of cylinders (or cables on suspension bridges.) Now researchers in South Korea have developed a way of harnessing the turbulence to generate electricity. Their device works most efficiently at wind speeds too low for conventional wind turbines."
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Multicellular life found at 3.6km under the crust

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Researchers from Princeton University have discovered nematodes at depth of up to 3.6km in three gold mines in South Africa, likely feeding on the radiation-consuming bacteria also discovered by the same team. Carbon dating their environment confirms that the 500 micrometres long critters have been there for at least 3000 years and are not a recent contaminant. The finding means that unexpectedly complex ecosystems occur deep underground, increasing the chance that complex life may have survived on Mars according to Carl Pilcher, director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, "The significance was that you could imagine an ecosystem existing in the subsurface of a planet that didn't have a photosynthetic biosphere, like Mars," he says.

Until now, it was thought such an ecosystem could be made of bacteria only. But Onstott's new findings have completely changed that. "These nematodes are grazing on microbes. So now you could imagine that if animal life had ever developed on a planet, and the surface of that planet became lifeless," Pilcher explains, "you could imagine that animals could coexist with microbial ecosystems all powered by radioactivity."

"

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Can computers be used to optimise the US tax code?

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Science Fiction author, David Brin, wonders whether the US tax code, described by President Obama as a "10,000-page monstrosity", could be dramatically simplified. No, he's not trying to get support a libertarian wet-dream "Flat Tax", this is about using computers to... shuffle the existing system.

"I know a simple way the sheer bulk of the tax code could be trimmed by perhaps 70% or more, without much political pain or obstructionism! ... it should be easy to create a program that will take the tax code and experiment with zeroing-out dozens, hundreds of provisions while sliding others upward and then showing how these simplifications would affect, say, one-hundred representative types of taxpayers ... Let the program find the simplest version of a refined tax code that leaves all 100 taxpayer clades unhurt. If one group loses a favorite tax dodge, the system would seek a rebalancing of others to compensate. No mere human being could accomplish this, but I have been assured that a computer could do this in a snap."

With all the talk about Open Government, perhaps the computer code currently used in tax modelling could be released to the wider community, leading eventually to a Folding@Home type project."

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Can't get enough Will & Kate? Now meet their k

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Prince William and Kate Middleton met while attending the University of St Andrews, so it seems... appropriate... that the Perception Lab at St Andrews would have a go at predicting the appearance of the royal couple's future "heir and a spare".

New Scientist also tries its hand at some evolution-centric royal fan-fic.

Oh, and feel free to participate in Perception Labs' experiment."

Link to Original Source
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South Australia to drop MA15+ video game rating

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "While its former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson actively campaigned against an R18+ rating for video games in Australia, the new South Australian Attorney-General John Rau says he will abolish the MA15+ rating in SA after the introduction of an R18+ rating. To better differentiate "between what adults can get and what children can get", games will be rated G, PG, M, and R18+.

"I will push for the South Australian position on MA15+ games to be adopted nationally, but if it isn't, I'm prepared to go it alone," he promised, calling the MA15+ classification "dangerous".

"Besides," Rau says in an interview to Gamespot, "if the latest surveys about the average gamer being a 32-year-old single male who sits at home and plays games all day are correct, then what I am proposing is not going to have much impact at all." Ouch.

All of this follows a review of the classification system in general, so Rau may be reflecting a more general move away from MA15+ in all media."

Link to Original Source

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