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"Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too

Rei Re:Neville Chamberlin was not available for commen (225 comments)

Germany was spending far more on their military during that time than Britain was. If Britain and France had stepped in earlier, Germany would have been totally unprepared and the war would have ended quickly. Not to mention all of the horrors of the Holocaust that would have been prevented.

If Britain and France had managed to delay the war to "prepare" even more, say a few years, the Luftwaffe would have been dominated by jets, German ballistic missiles would have been longer range and more precise, and they might even have become a nuclear power. I really don't think this is the analogy you're looking for.

yesterday
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Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Rei Re:Never attribute to stupidity (566 comments)

By now would be surprised if they don't have at least a couple Taepodong 2s that have at least a fair chance of a successful flight. They're not impressive as far as ICBMs go, but they are ICBMs.

yesterday
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Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Rei Re:Never attribute to stupidity (566 comments)

Propaganda campaign by who? I think Singer needs to check his haughtiness at the door:

the ability to steal gossipy emails from a not-so-great protected computer network is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously. I can't believe I'm saying this. I can't believe I have to say this."

Except, of course, for the fact that the prime suspect is the hand-picked hacker squad of the Hollywood-obsessed leader of a nuclear armed state with ICBMs, whose family's Hollywood obsession has gone to such extremes in the past as kidnapping filmmakers and forcing at them at gunpoint to make movies for them. I can't believe I'm saying this. I can't believe I have to say this.

2 days ago
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To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

Rei Re:toad (154 comments)

Well, at least Russians won't freeze to death this winter. They can use wheelbarrows full of rubles to insulate their homes. ;)

2 days ago
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SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Rei Re:Hmm (81 comments)

That's not all that different from how he got started with Tesla. He had no intention of starting a car company (he already had SpaceX), he just wanted AC Propulsion to build him a copy of their t-zero - but they had no interest, even for a small fortune. But then they pointed him to this guy named Martin Eberhard who had this wild idea to commercialize the t-zero's tech base on a Lotus Elise body and was looking for funding... and thus Tesla was born.

2 days ago
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Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

Rei Re:Pretty sad (155 comments)

g++ supports it with __restrict__. And if you're writing high performance code but not having support for the features of modern compilers, you're an idiot. In appropriate situations, the performance difference for using restrict or not is huge. Array-heavy tasks like image processing often get a 2-fold or more benefit with using restrict. There's very few places in the coding word where a single keyword can raise your performance that much.

2 days ago
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Spacecraft Spots Probable Waves On Titan's Seas

Rei Re:Cautious? (82 comments)

And examples of these which could plausibly be on Titan are....?

There's not much in nature that's that light.

2 days ago
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SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Rei Re:Hmm (81 comments)

So you think massive yachts, ridiculous-priced art/jewelry purchases, palatial estates, gold-plated toilets and the like are a better use of money?

Trust me, I'd have a LOT more fun with a giant rocket than I would with a gold toilet.

2 days ago
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NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

Rei Re:As with all space missions: (198 comments)

I'll begin by stating that I I don't support such a mission, as I prefer robotic exploration. But this proposal isn't as extreme as it may sound - it's probably a heck of a lot easier than landing on a planet and taking off. It's only 640 m/s from earth escape to Venus (3/5ths that of Mars). Transit time is less and launch windows a lot more frequent. Venus offers very easy aerocapture. You don't have to deal with the randomness of the surface - your "landing" is a lot more forgiving. Your habitat is probably simpler, not having to deal with a surface (although there's a few potential complications that need to be studied, such as storms, and I don know the radiation level at the desired altitude). Keeping it aloft is easy - even normal earth air is a lifting gas on Venus. Solar energy arriving at Venus is double that of Earth. Nearly earth's gravity eliminates a lot of the uncertanties about skeletal and muscular wasting.

One of the neat things is that a person could potentially step outside without any sort of special suit, just an oxygen mask. It's a "maybe", though, as there's a few complicating factors. It's 37C (100F) at the same sort of heights that it's about 600mb; for US analogies, it's Phoenix temperatures at Mount Whitney air pressures (lower or higher for both, depending on your exact altitude - you can choose). So it's not a perfect match - but probably tolerable. But there's two potential complicating gases: SO2/sulfuric acid and carbon monoxide. Breathing them is right out, but even long-term (hours at a time) skin exposure might be problematic at the given concentrations; it's not certain whether at these altitudes they'd be prohibitive. They would however make eye protection a must at the very least, the eyes are more sensitive to both CO and SO2 than the skin.

Manned or not, the main advantage of a Venus blimp would be the lower altitude it would provide to scientific equipment versus satellites. So you'll get a lot more information on the atmosphere, which could help answer questions about Venus's evolution (and how other worlds in other systems might be). You'll get higher resolution radar imaging of the surface. You simplify to some extent sample return missions from the surface, as each sample collection doesn't have to be a self contained return mission. Etc.

One thing on Venus I'd love to see studied more is the super-reflective radar surfaces. It's now believed to be due to a "galena snow", snow made of shiny, electrically conductive lead sulfide. I'd really love to know more about the surface minerology of Venus in general.

2 days ago
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SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Rei Re:Hmm (81 comments)

I'm not talking about ideals, or tourism, or saving the world, or finding anything "up there", or anything of that nature (did you even read what I wrote?). I'm talking about the sheer awesomeness of, at your whim, shooting up a 1500 tonne rocket into orbit then landing it on an automated oceanic platform. It's like playing Kerbal with a real-life 70-meter tall rocket. Why don't more billionaires do stuff like that if only just for the fun of it?

But clearly you have an axe to grind against something for some reason, so I'll let you get back to that wheel.

2 days ago
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SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Rei Hmm (81 comments)

Why don't more billionaires do stuff like this?

I'm not saying do it "for the benefit of humanity", or even "for a profit". Just simply.... if you have billions of dollars, and you want to spend it on something, what can you possibly spend it on that wins in a sheer awesomeness category as "shooting a gigantic rocket up into orbit and then landing it on a robot boat in the middle of the ocean"? That's like a freaking video game, played with 1500 tonnes of aluminum and highly combustible fuel.

2 days ago
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Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

Rei Re:Pretty sad (155 comments)

Back in the day, Dr. Dobbs was giving the world invaluable stuff like Mode X. Your average programmer had to be a lot more connected with the hardware, and working with the hardware was somewhat of a black art. Nowadays there's still some black art stuff out there for getting good performance (even a lot of simple, important stuff is inexplicably obscure... I bet you that 90% of C/C++ programmers don't even know what the restrict keyword does, for example), and you still see the occasional inner loop of some high performance code use assembly, but that's not the general case.

2 days ago
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Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

Rei Re:Anti-Aging is a Fraud Magnet (174 comments)

Usually most aging-preventing discoveries cause cancer. For example, the p21 knockout mice that gained almost salamander-like regeneration also gained a high tumor rate. Usually processes in your body involving the stopping of growth and areas dying off are things that help prevent cancer from forming or growing.

2 days ago
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Spacecraft Spots Probable Waves On Titan's Seas

Rei Cautious? (82 comments)

Scientists involved in the discoveries have been cautious, saying that the features could also be floating debris or bubbles

Um, wouldn't those things be even more awesome? Trust me, I won't be disappointed if there's geological activity causing bubbling from under the seas (heat plus organics!), or if there's floating objects (cryopumice / super fluffy snow? organics foams? something else? what the heck floats on methane, after all?)

2 days ago
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Spacecraft Spots Probable Waves On Titan's Seas

Rei Re:Is Titan slowly drying off? (82 comments)

Probably not, but the hydrocarbon cycle on Titan is still very poorly understood. I really look forward to the next Titan mission, but unfortunately everyone's obsessed with Europa so the next launch window is almost certainly going to be missed and it'll be decades before a new spacecraft gets there. The presence of seas and the low gravity plus a dense atmosphere leaves one with a plethora of great exploration options (all nuclear powered, of course, there's essentially no sunlight): hydrogen blimp (it's noncombustible on Titan) (with or without propulsion), hot air or hot hydrogen blimp (it takes surprisingly little heat there to get lift), hybrid blimp / lifting body aircraft, helicopter, fixed wing aircraft, tilt wing aircraft, boat, hybrid aircraft / boat (with any other aircraft design), etc.

My favorite design (although probably the most expensive) would be a tilt wing aircraft with floating landing gear for either surface or sea landings. You get the high speed travel and freedom of motion of a fixed wing aircraft so you can cover the whole planet, but you can land anywhere, do science for a day or so while you recharge your flight batteries (so you don't need a huge RTG or reactor), then take off again for the next location. The view from the air (whether optical or radar) of the previous day's hop would be used by the ground team to figure out where to have it go for the next day.

2 days ago
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Spacecraft Spots Probable Waves On Titan's Seas

Rei Re:yeah right (82 comments)

They worded it poorly, as the seas are methane, which is not oil - on earth it's the prime component of natural gas, so the better term would simply be "hydrocarbons". That said, hydrocarbons do not need life to form - just hydrogen, carbon, and a shortage of any oxidizers that could break them down into the lower energy states of H2O and CO2. Even longer chain hydrocarbons can form naturally - on Titan, that happens in the upper atmosphere by photochemical reactions.

It's important not to overgeneralize Earth to other celestial bodies. For example, you can even have bodies with oxygen atmospheres without life. We see this (to a tiny extent) on Europa, which has an extremely thin oxygen atmosphere from photolysis of water ice. It's quite possible that in other systems there could be an environment that produces a denser O2 atmosphere through a similar process - or through other processes, both known or not yet conceived of.

The universe is a weird place. Think about what a tidally locked rocky planet orbiting close to its parent star would experience. I read about one planet whose night side temperature was expected to be earthlike but with a hot side temperature of thousands of degrees. So think about it for a second, what's going to happen? The hot side is going to constantly boil off, potentially even to plasma, be circulated around to the cold side, and then rain down rock. Rockstorms. Depending on the properties of the rock, the rate of boil-off, the rate of redistribution, and the properties of the atmosphere, it could be anywhere from dust to large chunks, and anything from volcanic-like ash to pele's hair (rock wool) to breccias to gemstones. Lightning would be tremendous, like in some volcanic eruptions. Given the amount of energy at hand, winds in storms could get up to ridiculous intensities. The redistribution of mass is going to cause a continual planetary slump from the cold side to the hot side, so one would expect frequent, super-intense earthquakes and frequent volcanic eruptions. You might get some intense magnetic effects via an exceptionally strong dynamo effect, plus the star's magnetic field itself would be orders of magnitude stronger. Aurora could be intense enough to light the sky on the cold side and power photosynthesis. Aurora could be intense enough to light the sky and power photosynthesis on the cold side. Liquid water would be stable in certain places (if it managed not to be all blown off over geological timescales, that is, the planet would have to be large), but would be thrashed about to biblical extends by the other aforementioned processes. If the magnetic fields are strong enough, flowing saltwater may even be visibly dragged by Lorentz forces and build up charges when constrained. The dissociation of the rock on the hot side would free up oxygen into the atmosphere, which would not be all immediately consumed on the cold side (some oxidation reactions are slow). And on and on. So it's potentially possible to have livable, breathable planet with a soil made from regular rains of rock wool and gemstones, lit by aurorae and in a constantly undergoing one catastrophe after the next.

2 days ago
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Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

Rei Re:Does Denmark... (184 comments)

Oh, so Denmark is going to pull a Putin and cut off whatever sections of Greenland it wants for itself?

3 days ago
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Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

Rei Re:Does Denmark... (184 comments)

Only half of Americans typically turn out to vote in binding presidential elections. 72% of Greenlanders turned out to vote in the *non-binding* referrendum on independence. I'd say that's some pretty serious interest. Even if every last Greenlander who didn't show up didn't want independence, they *still* wouldn't be in majority.

3 days ago
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Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

Rei Re:Does Denmark... (184 comments)

This is false. Greenland's GDP is 2,3 billion USD. The subsidy is under 700M USD. They would lose about a third of their GDP if the subsidy cut off. On the other hand, they would also stop *paying* about that much in taxes to Denmark.

People in Greenland voted overwhelmingly to terms that called for eliminating the subsidy, in exchange for Denmark butting the heck out of their land.

3 days ago

Submissions

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Julian Assange Trying To Raise Nearly $200000 For A Statue Of Himself

Rei Rei writes  |  about a week ago

Rei (128717) writes "Julian Assange, from his refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, has recently taken to Twitter to try to raise nearly $200000 for a life-size bronze statue of himself. The statue would have him standing front and center between Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning (with Manning pictured as male); the art piece would be then shipped around the world on tour. Assange recently appealed again against his arrest warrant for probable cause of unlawful sexual coersion, molestation, and rape against two Swedish Wikileaks supporters, but was once more rebuffed by the courts system."
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Maldives Denies Russian Claims That Secret Service Kidnapped A Politician's Son

Rei Rei writes  |  about 5 months ago

Rei (128717) writes "As was previously reported here, the Russian government has accused the US Secret Service of kidnapping the son of ultranationalist LDPR MP Valery Seleznev in the Maldives. The son, Roman Seleznev, stands accused of running one of the world's largest carding operations, with others charged in the affair having already been convicted; however, Roman had until recently been considered out of reach in Russia. Now the Maldives has struck back against these claims, insisting that they arrested him on an Interpol Red Notice and transferred him to the US, as they are legally required as an Interpol member state to do. “No outsider came here to conduct an operation,” president Abdulla Yameen stated. “No officials from another country can come here to arrest anyone. The government has the necessary documentation to prove it.”"
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Who's Killing The Electric Car Again?

Rei Rei writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Rei (128717) writes "Aptera Motors is an manufacturer of safe, hyper-efficient, highway-speed electric three-wheelers. Funded by Idealab, Google, and a variety of other sources, they have been working towards making (take your pick): A) one of the ugliest, or B) one of the most beautiful vehicles ever to be mass produced. When they started accepting pre-orders, over 4,000 people from California alone came running with $500 deposits. However, in recent days, the company seems to be imploding, where in the middle of wave after wave of layoffs, disastrous information keeps leaking out. Among the examples: the company's CFO, Laura Marion, was cited by the SEC in 2006 for running an Enron-style accounting scam at Delphi."
Link to Original Source
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McCain taps creationism-proponent as VP pick

Rei Rei writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Rei writes "By now, most people know that senator John McCain has tapped one-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. While the commentary has ranged from the positive, such as its potential to be a game changer for him, to the negative, such as her involvement in Troopergate, little attention has been paid so far to her views on science. According to the Alaska Daily News, in the 2006 governor's race, Palin was the only candidate to suggest that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. In contrast to her two opponents, one of whom suggested that such "religious based" lessons belong in a philosophy or sociology class, Palin stated, "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both." In response to the backlash, she later backpedalled and insisted that she would not apply a creationism litmus test to her school board appointees.

Evangelical leaders are reportedly thrilled with her nomination."

Link to Original Source
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Nanosolar delivers high-efficiency thin film cells

Rei Rei writes  |  about 7 years ago

Rei writes "Thin film photovoltaic systems have been heralded as a way to make solar cells cheap enough for widespread adoption, but have also been criticized for their low efficiency. A number of companies have been working to fix this equation. Now, one of them — Nanosolar, a privately held company with funding from Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page — has finally shipped their first cells produced in a mass-production environment. Nanosolar's cells boast being the world's first printed thin-film solar cell in a commercial panel product, the world's lowest-cost solar panel (they plan to sell at $0.99/Watt, compared to the current minimum of $4.83/Watt), and the world's highest-current thin-film solar panel (5x the next closest on the market), among other things. Their Panel #2, made available as a collectors item on Ebay with the profits going to charity, has already racked up bids of over $10,000."
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "Yesterday, Slashdot posted about what appeared to be puddles of water sitting on Mars. Unfortunately, according to the Planetary Society's blog, the authors of the paper didn't even bother to check the context in which the "water" photos were taken. The article notes that one shouldn't trust papers that haven't yet gone through peer review. "The white square shows you where the image comes from. It's in the middle of Opportunity's Burns Cliff panorama, on some of the steepest slopes that Opportunity saw before arriving at Victoria crater! Those can't be puddles — unless the amazing "liquid" that puddles here on Mars in a freezing near-vacuum also has antigravity properties.""
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "There has been a lot of buzz today over Al Gore: in the wake of revelations that his Tennessee mansion uses 12 to 20 times more energy than usual comes an assault in the New York Times over the accuracy of his film, "An Inconvenient Truth". The article's author quotes a number of scientists who are critical of some of his statements, and describe the film as "alarmism". Quick to the counterpunch is RealClimate.org, which has published a harsh rebuttal suggesting habitual dishonesty and deception of readers on the part of the article's author."
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "SpaceDaily.com is reporting the failure of a SeaLaunch Zenit-3SL rocket and its payload, leading some to question whether the damage will prove too much for the company. A split-second after separating from the tower, the rocket fell and impacted the platform with a firey explosion. The failure of the Zenit, a privately developed orbital rocket, comes as SpaceX prepares to launch a new Falcon I rocket after its last failed on liftoff after three successive, failed launch attempts. While the news for simpler private suborbital rocketry continues to look rosy, is private orbital rocketry perched on a precipice?"
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Rei writes "Today, the prestigious Cambridge Energy Research Associates released a report dismissing the Peak Oil theory, suggesting that world oil production will continue to increase for the next 24 years, and then only level into a plateu. The report, which suggests that world reserves are enough to last 122 years at our current rate of consumption, also blasts Peak Oil theorists for repeatedly making unscientific predictions and then shifting them whenever their predictions fail to materialize."

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