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Fewer Than 10 ET Civilizations In Our Galaxy?

Merovign techy (642 comments)

I know I'm just being techy, but you can't actually STUDY something until you have at least one example of it.

A lot of cosmological science and just about all exobiological science is completely made-up, maybe I'm just tired of "science news" that is 100% fictional.

Frankly, we have nearly zero knowledge of life in the rest of the universe - it's okay to speculate, just call it speculation.

more than 4 years ago

'Vanish' Makes Sensitive Data Self-Destruct

Merovign What happens to the gibberish? (171 comments)

I hope they thought about what to do with the content after the key is gone. Sounds like it stays out there, permanently scrambled, local storage and perhaps distributed.

If this becomes popular, then even though some people will delete messages, others will just let them gather, on servers, on their own machines, on forums and web pages...

I imagine after a few years, half the digital storage in the world could be useless data. :)

It is a clever hack, but not tidy.

more than 5 years ago

Eye In the Sky For City Crime Fighting

Merovign Blackmail (389 comments)

The blackmail possibilities are endless. Not everything embarrassing is illegal, but they can still be used for fundraising!

Just think of all the budgets that could be balanced. Or, you know, pockets lined.

It was kind of inevitable, but I'd hoped it would arrive later.

more than 5 years ago

Blizzard Confirms No LAN Support For Starcraft 2

Merovign Trends (737 comments)

More and more companies are dropping co-op games (except for strategy games), pushing off PC onto consoles (or at least developing on consoles so the control schema sucks), and now droping LAN games?

It seems like the industry is trying desperately to get me to stop playing games.

Oh, and it won't really do much to damp piracy, just shift it from stolen images to stolen keys, thus increasing the harm to legit gamers. Not having a whole "way to go" moment here.

Recently got UT3, BTW, which is so buggy as to be more frustrating than fun. Thank goodness it was only $10. Does play LAN games, but the settings are arbitrarily restricted (and seemingly somewhat random re: options and difficulty).

Is it just me, or is gaming in general going downhill?

more than 5 years ago

Jet Stream Kites Could Power New York City

Merovign Re:MASS (263 comments)

The article mentioned tethered turbines.

I criticized the journalists, apparently appropriately.

Even with turbines on the ground, we're talking massive tethers with a pretty high probability of substantial damage and/or loss of life if 20,000 feet plus of it comes crashing down, and that doesn't even depend on a mechanical failure, it could be a steering failure.

Even if you put the turbine on the ground, it's still a spectacularly useless idea. Call it flamebait if you will, I don't have the time to craft posts to deliver the least possible offense to people who think hope can conquer physics.

more than 5 years ago

Jet Stream Kites Could Power New York City

Merovign MASS (263 comments)

Go ahead, build the lightest turbine you can, then tether it with the lightest 20,000-foot-long cable you can make that can transmit the electricty, and you won't be anywhere NEAR an amount of weight you can lift with anything short of a MASSIVE thinwing glider, which will catch the wind wrong for a second, the lift will slide off the wings and it will death-spiral along with that cable, beelining for a residential neighborhood near you.

Even if they had micro-nanotubes that could support the weight and deliver the power, or wireless power, or whatever, you'd still have mechanical failures and huge turbines plummeting into buildings (or ships if you put them over water).

This gets proposed every year somwhere, and it's just as dumb. There are a lot of good ideas out there and it's somewhat infuriating that perpetual-motion machines and microwave diamonds keep getting the attention.

Science journalists need to start INVESTIGATING things, not just mindlessly reporting the same nonsense every year.

more than 5 years ago

Kids Score 40 Percent Higher When They Get Paid For Grades

Merovign The Profit Motive (716 comments)

I see, so doing what works is "corrupting," doing what fails isn't.

Kind of the core of why academia has been on a downhill slope for decades.

As someone once said, "the word "academic" is a well-known synonym for the word "meaningless.""

That being said, I don't think that, for the most part, the public school system can be fixed with "band-aids."

more than 5 years ago

Researchers Store Optical Data In Five Dimensions

Merovign Meaning (239 comments)

If words meant things, we wouldn't have this argument twice a week. Unfortunately, it's an unenforceable suggestion - people use words as they please.

I prefer to think of this as storing something in three geometric dimensions and two buzzword/marketing dimensions.

As to the time-as-a-dimension thing, was there ever anything so completely wrong? Do things change over time in the second or fourth geometric dimensions? Whoops.

I have to learn to admit to myself that the dimension discussion, like the "what's a planet" discussion, has become political and therefore entered the realm of the perpetually insoluble.

more than 5 years ago

External Airbag Designed to Protect Pedestrians

Merovign Pedestrians... oy (253 comments)

1) The vehicle code says pedestrians have the right of way. Physics says the 3000lb vehicle has the right of way. One of those rules may override the other.

2) I see more and more idiot pedestians walking or riding bikes out in front of cars, and kids playing in the street. You can try to protect everyone from stupidity, but you're going to fail, because nothing is more ingenious than an idiot.

3) Yes, drivers need to be more careful. But pedestrians, carrying around the short end of the momentum stick, need to be even more more careful.

more than 5 years ago

Obama Proposes High-Speed Rail System For the US

Merovign Well... most of the 'fail' has been covered... (1385 comments)

... so let me just say, do you remember that guy down the street who was always talking about building a helicopter hat, or having brushes under all the cars to keep the street clean, or making self-zipping pants?

Aren't you glad he didn't run for office and get into a position of political power?

He what?


Seriously, folks, it's a dunderheaded idea - I'm not saying all rail is, but we've got too much ground to cover and too many people spread out too far. As much as some people would like to, we're not going to move everybody around so they fit the needs of a rail system. And we aren't going to build a rail system big and complex enough to serve enough people.

I don't want people to give up their dreams, I just don't want to pay for them - especially for the really silly ones.

more than 5 years ago

College Police Think Using Linux Is Suspicious Behavior

Merovign Re:Search warrant... (1079 comments)

A misleading headline, jumping to conclusions like mad hares, and mad conspiracy theories about "the man?"

On slashdot?

The deuce you say!

more than 5 years ago

Work Progresses On 10,000 Year Clock

Merovign Ambition (307 comments)

While I complained about the coverage, I don't have a problem with the ambition behind the project. I don't know how it will end, but I don't have a problem with building something to last 10,000 years to prove it can be done, or because you want your name up in lights or whatever. It will probably require renovations (like Jens Olsen's 25ky clock linked elsewhere here), but it's still an audacious concept, and admirable for that.

more than 5 years ago

Work Progresses On 10,000 Year Clock

Merovign Re:Kind of useless pictures... (307 comments)

Sorry I wasn't specific enough. The pictures (in the article) are largely small parts disassociated from their function or other parts they may be attached to. It's like the photographer was obsessed with the gears themselves and didn't care about the machine.

It seemed kind of more-artsy and less-informative.

more than 5 years ago

Work Progresses On 10,000 Year Clock

Merovign Kind of useless pictures... (307 comments)

You'd think I would appreciate lots of close-up pictures of dissociated machine parts, but today, not so much. Must be taxes, but that gallery just looks like a lot of meaningless gears.

Even pictures need context.

more than 5 years ago

How Does Flash Media Fail?

Merovign Re:First sector fails (357 comments)

No, wear-leveling just delays the inevitable. Eventually, the last "spare" block is written to, and after that you have a write failure. One more failed block and you could have catastrophic failure, exactly as described (depending on which block failed).

more than 5 years ago

How Does Flash Media Fail?

Merovign Re:In my case (357 comments)

To go even more sideways on the topic, I have a Viper 550 alarm on my car (older model). The remote went through the washer and dryer twice. Still works fine.

Also, my dollar-store 10-pack "Clip Click" pens seem to be able to survive washing without staining anything, and still work afterward.

Somehow, modern technology started becoming reliable and durable when I wasn't looking.

more than 5 years ago

Space Bat Tribute Will Make You Cry

Merovign Turn down the volume... (23 comments)

Nice bat, horrible music. Worst TV theme song ever.

No wonder the bat wanted to get into space.

more than 5 years ago

MIT Team Creates Shock That Recharges Your Car

Merovign Doing too many things at once (281 comments)

Even if this worked, I don't want shock absorbers trying to keep the tires on the road (with springs), control weight transfer, aid in ride quality AND trying to make power.

It's not as bad as regenerative braking, of course. Brakes are a safety system, I don't want them to worry about anything but stopping.

And, of course, there's the weight, which is a substantial drain on fuel economy (depending on how much weight, of course).

You could probably save more fuel making something lighter and less complicated - at a materials cost, of course, for crashworthiness - nothing's free.

more than 5 years ago

MIT Researchers Create a Cheap "6th Sense" Device

Merovign Re:Well I'm stoked (125 comments)

Well, everything else is inflated (money, grades, etc.), why not senses?

more than 5 years ago


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