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Lax Security At Russian Rocket Plant

NNKK Re:A trifle surprising... (116 comments)

Not really what you were thinking of, but FOGBANK was a bizarre twist on/subversion of the idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOGBANK

Basically this material used in US nuclear weapons hadn't been made in 15+ years, and when they tried to make it again, the result failed in testing. Of course, people started assuming they'd "forgotten" how to make it, but it ended up being that they never knew how to make it in the first place -- impurities in one of the ingredients turned out to be important, and the ingredient they were getting 15 years later was "too pure".

more than 2 years ago
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For 1 kWh of electricity, I pay ...

NNKK Re:I thought I paid a lot! (216 comments)

Parts of California pay well over $0.20, and Hawaii runs over $0.25. Difficult rural areas can go past even that.

more than 2 years ago
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Laptops In the Classroom Don't Increase Grades

NNKK Re:Distractions (511 comments)

Well, dysgraphia is commonly associated with Asperger's syndrome. Guess what syndrome is commonly associated with geeks?

more than 2 years ago
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Russian Resupply Crash Could Mean Leaving ISS Empty

NNKK Re:Is that bad? (291 comments)

For more fun and to find out how it works, check out the Spin gravity calculator.

In a nutshell, if you can't built a space station half a mile in diameter, don't even bother thinking about it.

Cool page, but it doesn't really agree with you. Note its quote:

In brief, at 1.0 rpm even highly susceptible subjects were symptom-free, or nearly so. At 3.0 rpm subjects experienced symptoms but were not significantly handicapped. At 5.4 rpm, only subjects with low susceptibility performed well and by the second day were almost free from symptoms. At 10 rpm, however, adaptation presented a challenging but interesting problem. Even pilots without a history of air sickness did not fully adapt in a period of twelve days.

This suggests anywhere from 1-2 RPM could probably be workable, suggesting a practical radius of as little as 0.15 miles, or diameter of 0.3 miles (~241/482 meters). Further, this assumes 1g. It's highly unlikely that 1g is necessary.

Mars is one of the most likely targets for extended-duration missions, and has a surface gravity of 0.376g. So let's say 0.4g. This lowers the diameter to as little as 180 meters (~0.11 miles).

If you bring it up to 400 meters in diameter, or less than 1/4th of a mile, you can have 1 1/3rd RPM at better than Mars-equivalent gravity.

Finally, diameter/radius can be a deceptive way of looking at this, since a basic spinning station need not be circular. A first pass need be little more than a room attached to a counterweight with cables.

more than 2 years ago
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NASA Tries To Save Hubble's Successor

NNKK Re:Why do politicians even look to NASA for cuts? (134 comments)

IIRC, my back-of-the-envelope calculations a year or so ago were that cutting the defense budget in half basically solved US revenue problems, and still left us with a better military than the next ten combined.

It's more complicated than that since you have to compensate for the economic impact of reduced defense spending, but a gradual combination of cuts and redirection to more productive things (e.g. infrastructure, education and job training, alternative energy investments, etc.) would get us into a much better situation.

Of course, this makes too much damn sense to ever happen.

more than 2 years ago
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After Rick Perry's Stem Cell Treatment, Misplaced Enthusiasm?

NNKK Re:Before anyone points this out... (340 comments)

Every conservative I encounter assumes stem cells = dead babies, so apparently they don't even know what they're against. Perhaps you should go tell them, I think it's been five minutes since the last conservative leader found something his whore-shippers are supposed to hate.

more than 2 years ago
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C++ 2011 and the Return of Native Code

NNKK Re:"Modern programmers" who have any clue... (616 comments)

You appear to be conflating "user space" with a poorly-defined term "application space", they have no relationship. I can run a kernel in "user" space, and I can run a text editor in "kernel" space. The kernel is not hacked on by application programmers, and the text editor is not hacked on by systems programmers.

VMs are largely a systems issue. People building the applications end-users use are largely not the people building VMs, and the people building VMs actually _do_ have to have a rather close understanding of hardware issues. Libraries like Qt straddle the gap between systems and applications, being strictly neither. Their interaction with VMs they are not themselves running on top of is definitely a systems issue, however, as you are trying to bridge two unrelated systems (the VM, and the host it happens to be running on top of, or possibly even another VM on the same or a different host).

You are also conflating access to the equivalent of "/dev/cdrom" with "direct hardware access". This is also a fallacy. Xine is accessing a special file, not a raw hardware device, and there are several layers of indirection between Xine and the hardware, and you could easily substitute another file and Xine would neither know nor care. Xine isn't what's fiddling with hardware registers and the like, the drivers are. Xine is an application running on top of abstractions others have built.

more than 2 years ago
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C++ 2011 and the Return of Native Code

NNKK Re:"Modern programmers" who have any clue... (616 comments)

Apparently you missed the word "application". Application developers don't and shouldn't care about hardware, nor should they be writing the VM. That's for systems developers to worry about.

Some developers may do both application and systems development, that does not mean they are the same discipline.

more than 2 years ago
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C++ 2011 and the Return of Native Code

NNKK "Modern programmers" who have any clue... (616 comments)

... never distinguished between "native" and "managed" code.

Write the damn code according to the rules and idioms of the language in use, let the language implementation deal with the rest. If you're an application developer and care about *how* your code is being run, you're doing it wrong.

more than 2 years ago
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Analysis of Google's Motorola Acquisition

NNKK $12.5 billion doesn't mean anything by itself. (311 comments)

Someone is confused by math and/or the word "almost".

MMI has billions in cash and equivalents on hand, and no debt. Google is effectively paying an amount roughly equal to their 2010 profits.

more than 2 years ago
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Australian Research Network Plans For 100Gbps

NNKK Re:Headroom... ha! (24 comments)

I wonder if this might not be getting dumbed down for public consumption.

Fiber is fiber, and once you have a bunch of good-quality fiber laid down, your theoretical bandwidth is beyond anything we're actually going to use, the trick is waiting for the equipment that hooks up to it to advance.

It's 100gbps today, but as better gear becomes commercially available, gradual upgrades can bring it towards 1tbps, then 10tbps, then...

more than 2 years ago
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Re. medication requiring a prescription:

NNKK Re:Completely? (550 comments)

There's a legitimate case for psychoactive meds being overprescribed, sometimes to tragic results, but most other drugs are at least trying to treat real problems based on real empirical evidence. Yes, there's marketing of the hot new thing that's supposed to be magically better, and yes the companies are greedy fucks who gouge the public, but that doesn't make the drugs inherently unnecessary.

The problem with psychoactives is there's (usually) no blood test, no rash, no scan, not even a clearly articulable "I have a pain right here", and our understanding of brain chemistry remains so limited that even if you can fully satisfy yourself that "yes this person is clinically depressed", or "yes this person is schizophrenic", the actual results of the medication varies so widely that it often ends up being a long process of trial and error, occasionally punctuated with psychotic breaks and/or suicide attempts, and the entire time there's the niggling detail that sometimes these things eventually just "go away" and the meds might stop being necessary at all.

This is exceedingly different from most non-brain-related medical cases, where standard dosages of standard drugs usually do whatever they're supposed to with few (and minor) side effects and that's the end of it. You can test for infections, blood pressure, organ function, blood sugar, etc. and most patients are perfectly capable of telling you their leg hurts like hell and would you please X-ray it and inject some morphine before they bite your head off.

Psychiatric and neurological problems are a lot like heisenbugs -- you might know they're there, but you're not sure _what_ they they are, _where_ they are, or how to fix them. And when you go looking, you might set off some latent bug that blows up the whole damned system.

about 3 years ago
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Facebook Trapped In MySQL a 'Fate Worse Than Death'

NNKK Re:Still their fault (509 comments)

3) They don't buy in to the ridiculous self-serving rhetoric of overpriced "DBAs" who think they're something more than an IT monkey.

about 3 years ago
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Why UK FM Needn't Be Killed For Broadband

NNKK Re:Um... Antenna size? (108 comments)

Not that I think this is a terribly bright idea, but TFA does talk about antenna size. And a quarter-wavelength around 70MHz is only 1 meter, fine for in a house or on a car.

about 3 years ago
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Renewable Energy Production Surpasses Nuclear In the US

NNKK Re:Way to grind that axe, buddy (452 comments)

Seriously? You're comparing 50 year old technology in a severely disadvantaged country with today's microgrid concepts? WTF?

about 3 years ago
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Renewable Energy Production Surpasses Nuclear In the US

NNKK Re:Hydro? (452 comments)

Note that they are also lumping in ethanol, which has already been shown to require more fossil fuel to produce that it can replace

That's only because we're morons who keep making ethanol from corn. We'd come out way ahead with switchgrass.

about 3 years ago
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Renewable Energy Production Surpasses Nuclear In the US

NNKK Re:So then. (452 comments)

Canada also has substantially more landmass.

Once you notice a big chunk of that landmass is useless islands in the Arctic Ocean, the comparison for hydroelectric purposes gets a lot closer. Also make sure you're not counting internal waters in whatever numbers you're using -- Hudson Bay is friggin' huge.

about 3 years ago
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Dropbox TOS Includes Broad Copyright License

NNKK Re:You are giving them carte blanche - not (213 comments)

They didn't say "reasonably" until the world exploded around them.

Contracts are contracts. In the US (where Dropbox and probably most of its users are based), courts rarely do anything but follow their express terms. It's a fundamental aspect of the common-law heritage of our legal system that virtually anything is subject to contract under virtually any terms. Exceptions are few, and aside from contracts calling for manifestly criminal conduct, most of the exceptions come from either express law forbidding certain terms (itself rare and sometimes subject to constitutional challenges -- I'm not kidding, contracts are explicitly mentioned in the US constitution) or actual fraud. Neither applies in this case.

The best you can hope for is that it is declared a "contract of adhesion" and fails the closer scrutiny due such contracts. It's quite rare to even get a contract recognized as a "contract of adhesion", however, particularly when the contract involves a highly competitive field with a low barrier to entry where consumers have a wide variety of easily-made choices, and even once the determination is made, actually convincing the court not to enforce its terms is still difficult.

about 3 years ago
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Dropbox TOS Includes Broad Copyright License

NNKK Re:You are giving them carte blanche - not (213 comments)

No, they can do whatever THEY think is necessary. It's no different than a clause reading "in our sole judgement".

about 3 years ago
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Irish Judge Orders 13-Year-Old To Surrender Xbox

NNKK Re:Excellent! (445 comments)

As an outsider looking in, I'd say the island of Ireland is probably a lot more cohesive, culturally and economically, than the large and incredibly diverse country we call India, much less the whole Indian subcontinent.

more than 3 years ago

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