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NASA Gets $75 Million For Europa Mission

HarvardAce Re:Why so expensive (135 comments)

So leaving the Solar System is less than twice as hard propulsion-wise as getting to orbit. Getting there in a timely fashion with working gear makes those sorts of problems harder. But merely being four orders of magnitude further away just isn't that big a deal. If you can get your stuff working in space in isolation for long periods of time, you have it.

How are you going to get the mass of the propellant into LEO? For every pound of payload (which in this case, includes the propellant to go from LEO to an escape trajectory from the solar system) it's something like 50 times as much propellant you need. So even if the propellant you needed was only 10% of what you needed to get into LEO, you would still need a launch vehicle that has 5 times as much propellant.

Hand-waving the time issue away is a big reach as well. Good luck getting anyone to spend a significant amount of money now for something that may pay off in 30-40 years.

about 2 years ago

NASA Uncovers Millions of New Black Holes

HarvardAce Re:Missing mass of the universe? (77 comments)

Perhaps someone knows... The more massive the gravitational field, the more time dilation, yes? The farther out you go the less drastic the effect is. Could the rotation just appear (to our frame of reference) to be moving not as fast in the middle (where the gravity is strongest) even though it is moving as it should according to our theories?

IINAP (and I'm guessing you're not, either). I used to think of things like this and say, "gosh, couldn't this be the explanation?" Then I remember that there are thousands of experts in the field, and it is extremely improbable that me, a layperson in the field, has thought of something -- especially something relatively (pun intended) simple -- that an expert hasn't thought of and obviously debunked (because we would have read about it were it plausible).

That said, I don't understand the physics behind gravity wells and their relation to time dilation very well, so I would be interested to hear from one of the aforementioned experts why it's not as simple as Taibhsear has made it sound!

more than 2 years ago

Student Expelled From Indiana High School For Tweeting Profanity

HarvardAce Re:Contact them if you are outraged (349 comments)

Principle's office? Well, only if you have any interest in this.

I believe you tried to make a joke involving something that earns interest, but that too is "principal". Unless your misuse of principle/principal was part of a double joke...

more than 2 years ago

Pi Day Is Coming — But Tau Day Is Better

HarvardAce Re:tau is wrong (241 comments)

Division is harder than multiplication. Given the choice between sometimes multiplying by 2, and sometimes dividing by two, we should pick the constant that forces the multiplication. Also, e^(pi * i) is nicer than e^((tau / 2) * i).

Hogwash! Multiply by 1/2 or divide by 1/2, and now the problem is reversed!

more than 2 years ago

New Exoplanet Is Best Yet Candidate For Supporting Life

HarvardAce Re:22 light years (288 comments)

Since there is little friction in space what is there from stopping us from reaching an appreciable fraction of the speed of light? I was reading that we might attain lightspeed in about 1 year at 1G acceleration rate which only adds a couple of years to the trip..

Using force = mass * acceleration, energy = force * distance, distance = 1/2 * acceleration * time^2, and e=mc^2:
to accelerate a 1000kg payload at 1g (9.8m/s^2) for 1 year:
Energy to do so: 4.8 x 10^19 J
Equivalent mass of that energy: 532kg. That's also assuming Newtonian physics (no relativity), and not counting the fact that you have to account for the mass of the fuel. Let me know when we can produce 216kg of antimatter and then "burn" it in a controlled manner that directly corresponds to thrust.

If you use an energy density of 50,000 Wh/kg (very aggressive estimate of high-end energy density in current/near-future rocket tech), you're talking about needing over 2 billion metric tons of fuel (and don't forget you have to accelerate all that fuel too which now means you're no longer talking about a 1000kg payload.

more than 2 years ago

Wikipedia Chooses Lua As Its New Template Language

HarvardAce Re:Raw- or OOP-base Lua? (145 comments)

True enough for people who run a website that mainly revolves around their wiki.

However, lots of people just throw a mediawiki install to supplement the rest of their site, usually precisely because it's dead simple to get running and works on just about any host. Moving to another host just to preserve their little 10 page wiki is probably not sensible, and the content is probably in-appropriate for external wiki hosts (or isn't desirable for other reasons).

Obviously for people with their own server (or in my case, a VPS) this is a non-issue .. but I figure there are probably enough people for which this would be an issue that I can't see them not at least providing a PHP only implementation as an option.

In your simple case, is there any reason to upgrade to a version of MW that implements LUA for templates, especially if it means an incompatibility with your current provider?

more than 2 years ago

What To Do With a 1,000 Foot Wrecked Cruise Ship?

HarvardAce Re:Thats given me an idea... (416 comments)

$25M for a cruise ship? It cost 372 million pounds (or approximately $570M) to build in 2006. Aside from your order of magnitude, however, you have the right idea. It is quite probable that repairing the ship would be the most cost effective solution for the cruise line and its insurers.

Carnival's estimated financial impact factors in recovery and repairing of the ship rather than scrapping it, currently.

about 3 years ago

Microsoft Upgrading Windows Users To Latest Version of MSIE

HarvardAce Re:As a web developer (476 comments)

(e.g. visit the link in a new tab, either by menu or by middle button click).

Middle click automatically opens up in a new tab? All this time I've been right clicking and using the menu to do so...thanks!

more than 3 years ago

S&P's $2 Trillion Math Mistake

HarvardAce Re:The ratings agencies are worthless (1040 comments)

"All you need to know about rating agencies is that in May 2010 Moody’s still rated Greece triple-A." - Mark Steyn

I don't doubt that Mark Steyn said that, but what he said is false. In April 2010, Moody's lowered Greece's rating from A2 to A3, which is definitely not the same as Aaa. It is closer to "junk" rating than a triple-A rating. It is also worth noting that less than two months later, in June, Moody's cut the rating all the way to junk status, Ba1.

more than 3 years ago

Court Filing On How 2004 Ohio Election Hacked

HarvardAce Re:Can we put this moranic talking point to bed? (504 comments)

He's from Connecticut, not Texas.

It's ok, Texas can have them. They can take Lieberman while they're at it, too.

A Connecticut Resident

more than 3 years ago

NASA's Hubble Discovers Another Moon Around Pluto

HarvardAce Re:Escape Velocity (208 comments)

Using Pluto's density of 2.03 g/cm^3, I compute (at 21 mile diameter) the moon is 4.2e16 kg.

With a 4.2e16 kg mass and 1.7e4 m radius, I compute an escape velocity of 18 m/s, or 40 miles per hour.

So I suspect you could jump really hard and not come back down, assuming I didn't misplace a decimal point.

I didn't double check your math, and you're obviously intentionally exaggerating the speed of a jump, but someone who could jump at 18m/s would have a vertical leap of about 16m or 50 feet on Earth.

more than 3 years ago

NASA's Hubble Discovers Another Moon Around Pluto

HarvardAce Re:Let's lobby for a new standard (208 comments)

I thought there were still some stupid states that hadn't done that, or are you saying the last holdouts (I'm thinking PA was one) finally changing their exit numbering?

They haven't changed them here in CT or in nearby NY yet. There are, however gaps in the numbers sometimes...not sure if it's because the exits were removed, planned but never made, or someone didn't know how to count. For example, the first exit on I-95 in CT is exit 2.

more than 3 years ago

Scientists Breeding Super Bees

HarvardAce Re:Super Dogs (248 comments)

Not to even a casual Simpsons fan...or at least it shouldn't be!

more than 3 years ago

Space Shuttle Atlantis Launches On Final Flight

HarvardAce Re:Godspeed Atlantis (275 comments)

In the short term it may just be a toy for the wealthy but there are profits to be made in space in the long term. The world's appetite for resources such as iron is increasing and there is a limited supply of it on this rock.

Yes, there is a limited supply of iron on Earth. There is also a limited supply of atoms on Earth, because the Earth is not infinite. However, iron is the most abundant element on Earth (source), although a good portion of that is in the Earth's core. The value of iron compared to the cost of mining it outside of our gravity well doesn't really add up, though. If mining iron outside of Earth ever becomes a profitable proposition then we're likely in dire straits already...

more than 3 years ago

If I must read a bit of spam, I'd rather it be ...

HarvardAce Re:Ad spam: finanancial scams (186 comments)

This is what I don't get. Facebook has a very large, and very captive audience. Why can't they get real ads for serious products on their site? People spend more time on Facebook than they do watching NBC, but you don't see stuff like that on NBC (or any major TV network). Are serious companies not willing to pay for internet ads? Are these spammy companies willing to pay more? I'm not an advertising exec, but I think that Facebook would stand to make a lot more money if they only had ads from legitimate companies selling real products.

It's not that spammy companies are willing to pay more. It's that the cost of putting up a few ads is measured in dollars while a 30 second spot on a major network is likely measured in the tens if not thousands of dollars (or millions during the Super Bowl). Additionally, the major companies don't need to *pay* for advertising because they have their free facebook pages (i.e. advertisements) that people willingly go to.

You have noticed that nearly every commercial on TV now includes a url for the company's facebook page instead of (or rarely in addition to) the company's own website -- the reason for this is that if you go and visit their facebook page, maybe you'll "like" something on it or comment or something like that which will then cause your network to then see activity on that company's facebook page.

more than 3 years ago

With regards to beer, I prefer it to be:

HarvardAce Re:Hefe is beer with a raging yeast infection. (840 comments)

The only fruit beer I've found to drinkable is Sam Adams Cranberry Lambac. Tart not sweet.

Funny you should mention that, because I'm pretty sure the Cranberry Lambac is the worst beer I've ever had the pleasure of imbibing. It's always in the winter packs, and after the first time drinking one, it's now left in the fridge until the summer when it finally gets thrown out. The best way I could describe the taste of it is "cranberry vomit". I guess everyone has their own preferences though.

Not a fan of fruity beers either, although pumpkin beers in the fall are a nice break from normal. Not sure if that would count as a fruity beer or not.

more than 3 years ago

Verifying Passwords By the Way They're Typed

HarvardAce Re:It better detect CTRL-V (140 comments)

... and then you move focus to your SSH session to your router...hit control-V and log in

I call shenanigans! Unless you have very windows-user-friendly SSH software, CTRL+V is not going to help you out too much when trying to paste.

more than 3 years ago

Could You Pass Harvard's Entrance Exam From 1869?

HarvardAce Re:Occam's Razor (741 comments)

Exceptional people go to these schools. That's why the high achievers tend to come from those schools.

Yes and no. I would imagine that if you could define "exceptional people" empirically and then correlate "high achiever" to them and the schools they attend, you would still get a disproportionate number of people from the "elite" schools such as Harvard and Princeton (as a Harvard grad, I balk at the inclusion of Yale on principle).

These days, especially with a weak job market, who you know is just as important (or in many cases, more important) than who you are -- at least for getting your foot in the door. As people at these "elite" schools are already in a disproportionate number of high-level jobs, you are more likely to have a contact that will get you in the door.

I've seen this first hand. I had a friend that went to a state school for college -- he was very much my equal or superior (and his resume reflected that), yet because my resume had "Harvard" on it and his didn't, there were a few cases where I got called for an interview but he did not.

more than 3 years ago

I estimate my radiation dose for my day as ...

HarvardAce Re:A Whole Bunch (256 comments)

And it stores passwords as cleartext

But at least if you type in your password into a comment, it replaces it with asterisks when anyone else views the comment. For example, my password is ***********. When I post this, it will appear as aterisks to you, but to me I can still see the password in the comment.

more than 3 years ago



Vulnerabilities Found in CA Voting Machines

HarvardAce HarvardAce writes  |  more than 7 years ago

HarvardAce (771954) writes "In a revelation sure to shock no one on Slashdot, two teams of hackers were given voting machines made by Diebold, Hart, and Sequoia that were scheduled to be used in upcoming elections in California. The teams were able to exploit vulnerabilities in both the physical design of the machines and in the software for the machines, all of which run on Windows. Details can be found on TG Daily, while the LA Times is running an article that details the responses of each of the voting machine companies."

Poll-Which type of secondary school did you attend

HarvardAce HarvardAce writes  |  more than 7 years ago

HarvardAce (771954) writes "Which type of secondary school did you attend?

Public School
Private School
Boarding School
Home School
I'm a dropout, you insensitive clod!
CowboyNeal's Center For Children Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too"


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