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"Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Rei Re:Hear Hear! (390 comments)

Ah, Americans and their "mammoth snowstorms" - try living on a rock in the middle of the North Atlantic. You know what we call a snowstorm with gale-force winds and copious precipitation? Tuesday ;) Our last one was... let's see, all weekend. The northwest gets hit by another gale-force storm tomorrow. The southeast is predicted to get hurricane-force winds on Thursday morning.

Here's what the job of someone dispatched to maintain antennae for air traffic control services has to deal with here. ;) (those are guy wires)

2 days ago
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Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

Rei Re:Visible from Earth? (124 comments)

A sun-like star is about 1 1/2 million kilometers in diameter. To blot out all light from such a star that's 10 light years away, a 0,75 kilometer diameter disc could be no more than 1/200.000th of a light year, or around 50 million kilometers (1/3rd the distance between the earth and the sun).

The brightest star in the sky is Sirius A. It has a diameter of 2,4 million km and a distance of 8.6 light years. This means your shade could be no more than 25 million kilometers away.

The sun and the moon both take up about the same amount of arc in the night sky so would be about equally difficult to block; let's go with the sun for a nice supervillian-ish approach. 1,4m km diameter, 150m km distance means it'd be able to block the sun at 800km away. Such an object could probably be kept in a stable orbit at half that altitude, so yeah, you could most definitely block out stars with the thing - including our sun!

2 days ago
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Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

Rei Re:keeping station behind it? (124 comments)

It makes sense. We can radiate individual photons for thrust if so desired. We can move individual electrons from one position in a spacecraft to another for tiny adjustments of angle and position if so desired. It seems you're going to be much more limited by your ability to precisely track your target than by your ability to make fine adjustments.

I think a much bigger problem is going to be isolating standing waves from within the shielding material from distorting its perfect rim (with a shield that big and thin, there *will* be oscillations from even the slightest thrust inputs). You need to isolate the rim from the shielding. And you also need to make sure that you can have a rim that can be coiled up for launch but uncoil to such perfection in space.

Tough task... but technically, it should be possible.

2 days ago
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Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

Rei Re:No (124 comments)

I would presume that the bulk material in the inside has no need for accuracy, only the very rim. The question is more of whether you can have a coiled material that when uncoiled (deployment) can return to a shape with that level of accuracy. I would think it possible, but I really don't know.

I would forsee a super-precise rim with just a small bit of light shielding on its inside, deployed via uncoiling, and then attached to a much stronger, less precise uncoiled ring to which the bulk shielding material (and stationkeeping ion thrusters) are attached. The attachment between the two would need to provide for vibration and tension isolation (even the slowest adjustments in angle of such a huge, thin shield are going to set in motion relevant vibrations, you've got almost no damping - you want the structural ring to deal with those and not transfer them through to the precision ring). Not to mention that your shield will be acting as a solar sail whether you like it or not (unless you're at L2... but then your craft better be nuclear powered).

Your telescope behind it is going to need to do some real precision stationkeeping (either extreme precision on the whole spacecraft positioning, or merely "good" positioning of the whole spacecraft plus extreme precision adjustment of the optics within) . This means long development times and costs to demonstrate that you can pull it off before you actually build the shield. But I would think that also possible - just very difficult. If they take the latter route they could probably demonstrate that here on Earth, which would be a big cost-saver.

2 days ago
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Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

Rei Re:Escaping only helps you until a war. (333 comments)

I don't get why they'd think New Zealand would be safe from protests. If they really want to be safe they should be thinking places like, say, Heard Island, like a true billionaire supervillain would.

2 days ago
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Scientists Determine New Way To Untangle Proteins By Unboiling an Egg

Rei Re:Wow .... (155 comments)

It's a two-step process. The first is a chemical that dissolves the proteins (still in their "cooked" folding), and the second is some sort of centrifuge or similar (they don't go into details on the device in the article) that subjects the proteins to very high sheer strain, effectively mechanically unfolding them so that they can then relax back into their natural state.

Not exactly a spice you can sprinkle onto your steak, but still pretty neat. :)

2 days ago
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Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

Rei Re:America is HUGE (255 comments)

That just raises another issue - why are you services and utilities so unreliable in the US? Here in Iceland we get hurricane-force winds several times a year on average - I've had gusts over Cat 5 on my land. Winter isn't incredibly cold but is super wet (all precipitation forms), windy, and lasts a long time. Up at higher altitudes you get stuff like this (yes, those are guy wires... somewhere in that mass). I lived in the US for a long time and had an average of maybe two power outages a year from downed lines and such - sometimes lasting for long periods of time. I've never once had a power outage here that was anything more than a blown breaker in my place.

It's really amazing what you all put up with - your infrastructure standards are really low.

3 days ago
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Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

Rei Re:What a bunch of A-Holes (255 comments)

Yeah, here in freaking Iceland most people have 50 or 100 Mbps fiber for a lot cheaper than that. And not just in the capitol region, it even runs out to Vestfirðir now where the largest city is under 3k people.

It makes no sense whatsoever that a hunk of rock just under the arctic circle, 3 1/2 hours plane flight to the nearest land mass with any sort of half-decent manufacturing infrastructure, consisting often unstable ground constantly bombarded by intense winds, ice, landslides, avalanches, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, etc, with the world's 2nd or 3rd lowest population density and heavy taxes on all imported goods, can do this while the US can't. What the heck, America? You've got half of the world's servers sitting right there, why the heck can't you manage to connect people to them?

3 days ago
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Calif. DMV Back-Pedals On Commercial-Plate Mandate For Ride-Share Drivers

Rei Re:Insurance (208 comments)

I'd fully support removing any barriers to that. They'll surely get charged out the nose, but it's a reasonable proposal. What's not reasonable is having regular drivers subsidize Uber drivers by letting Uber drivers do commercial work on non-commercial insurance.

3 days ago
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Fark's Drew Curtis Running For Governor of Kentucky

Rei Re:Official Caturday (120 comments)

Haha, yeah, I remember back when all that was on fark.com was a picture of that squirrel with the oversized genitals. Heck, I knew him before Fark.com, when he was the wizard Cletus on the mud Three Kingdoms.

God I feel old...

3 days ago
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Calif. DMV Back-Pedals On Commercial-Plate Mandate For Ride-Share Drivers

Rei Re:Insurance (208 comments)

That falls into statistically normal usage. Being a commercial driver absolutely does not. Statistically, a commercial driver drives way more than a noncommercial driver, and they're much more likely to be sued, and for more money. It's absurd to argue that they should be able to drive on insurance rates calculated for statistical norms of noncommercial drivers. If you allow that sort of ignoring of statistics then you might as well get rid of all statistical tables period and charge every last person the same rate for all types of insurance.

3 days ago
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Calif. DMV Back-Pedals On Commercial-Plate Mandate For Ride-Share Drivers

Rei Insurance (208 comments)

Why, exactly, should Uber drivers get to drive passengers using regular non-commercial drivers' insurance? Commercial insurance costs more because people who drive people around for a living are much more likely to cost the insurance companies more money. If you're letting them drive on non-commercial licenses than that means that regular drivers are subsidizing Uber-drivers.

3 days ago
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Doomsday Clock Could Move

Rei Re:Svavar Knutur and Marketa Irglova - World burns (145 comments)

Svavar Knútur is great... the music's really pretty, but between songs he's a standup comedian. ;) That said, some of his songs are funny too... one of his songs (in Icelandic) is about a guy on his way to propose to his girlfriend when he gets bitten by a zombie, and he meets up with her and is trying to propose while slowly turning into a zombie and increasingly wanting to eat her instead... but it turns out that she was bitten by a zombie too, so they end up living happily ever after ;) Oh, and then there's this song.

about a week ago
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Doomsday Clock Could Move

Rei Re:Who they do not attempt to stay relevant? (145 comments)

If Earth becomes Venus-like then those with innovation and drive will innovate a way to protect themselves, while those that don't will eventally adapt, growing a hard, rocky skin and blood based on liquid metals rather than water. The climate has changed in Earth's past and life survived; if our future is to be a tribe of hideous rock monsters ruled by clever, pitiless human overlords in protective bubbles, then bring it on. It's not a reason to hinder economic growth.

--
Vote freedom. Vote prosperity. Vote Reanimated Corpse Of Ayn Rand in 2016.

about a week ago
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Paris Terror Spurs Plan For Military Zones Around Nuclear Plants

Rei Re:This is further proof... (148 comments)

You forgot cheapest! More proof that nuclear power is the cheapest low-carbon power source, not a tech more popular on K street than Wall Street that gets by via being absolved of all potential liability for major accidents, getting huge loan guarantees, and being allowed to pass off cost overruns to consumers at-will and even still has trouble finding investors. Nuclear power has always been more popular on K-Street than Wall Street.

How did that "nuclear renaissance" work out for you all? Yeah, that sure bombed out fast. Gotta love an industry with a negative learning curve, where costs continually rise with time and scale rather than dropping (aka, learning of new potential problems and risks faster than refining the technology to lower costs).

Nuclear scares the public a lot more than it actually poses a risk to their health or life. But you know who it scares even more? Investors. Given the race out the door today, can you imagine what it'd be like if the industry wasn't let off the hook for potential damages over a maximum in the event of a major accident? No insurance company would touch the industry with a 10 foot pole. Nuclear accidents may not be good at killing people, but there's one thing that they're damned good at and that's costing a bloody fortune to remedy.

about a week ago
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Could Tizen Be the Next Android?

Rei Re:It will be their biggest mistake (241 comments)

It will be just an other obscure mobile OS - But If Samsung actually start to manufacture Tizen devices over Android. They will loose the market just like NOKIA did a few years before.

Ahem.

about two weeks ago
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Google Pondering $1 Billion Investment In SpaceX's Satellite Internet

Rei Re:These Really are StarGates (104 comments)

There's a little unspoken benefit about what a true, affordable, universal-coverage broadband system could provide for: drones. Envision drones that can provide high quality real-time streaming (commands to the drone, imagery back) without requiring line of sight or effective cellular service.

Individuals and companies could get the sort of drone communication that today only exists for militaries. Buoyant drones (hydrogen, helium) could stay aloft for long periods and go anywhere. Conceivably a hydrogen-powered drone could stay aloft until its electronics failed, via condensing atmospheric moisture via a hygroscopic material and electrolysing it to replace the slow rate of leakage (using solar power). So picture a world where, say, anyone could buy a mass-produced mini spy drone and send anywhere, even a war zone with no infrastructure, and have it fly at a height where it would be almost impossible to spot. It would in most cases cost significantly more to take down than it costs to build (barring "drone killer" drones, but then you get to needing to maintain a large distributed inventory of them and a sensitive nationwide detection system that works at all altitudes, and you're just inviting people to come up with countermeasures). It would make it increasingly difficult to lie about human rights abuses, war crimes, armed incursions, etc.

I once looked into what it would take to make such a drone previously but quickly realized that the bandwidth costs alone via today's satellite internet services would get pretty astronomical quite fast, turning a "cheap drone" into a prohibitively expensive one. But this could change the picture. If satellite internet is cheap and widespread, not only will your bandwidth be cheap, but it also means that your connectivity hardware will also be widespread and cheap.

On the home front, one of the big concerns by regulatory bodies for all of these drone-based services companies are eager to launch is of course loss of connectivity - which is one reason why, for example, the FAA has been resisting them in the US. But if satellite service to a drone is much less likely to suffer from the reception irregularty that plagues cell phone towers. And you always have cell phone connectivity as a backup. You're greatly improving the overall reliability of your drone communications, which should make it easier to start getting commercial drone services approved by regulators.

about two weeks ago
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Elon Musk's Proposed Internet-by-Satellite System Could Link With Mars Colonies

Rei Re:Internet by satellite: non-news (105 comments)

Even in modern countries there are holes. I live in Iceland and we have one of the best rates of broadband connectivity and fiber deployment in the world. But my land is in a sparsely populated valley so it hasn't paid off to run a line out there, most people just use their cell phones for a net connection. If satellite could beat that (and wouldn't be too blocked by mountains), even in highly connected countries there's a real potential market here.

Heck, there's a lot of people who would get it if the price and stats were right even if they had ground-based broadband. Everyone here has bandwidth caps on international net traffic, only domestic is unlimited. So people who want to do a lot of downloads of foreign content might well choose that instead of or inaddition to regular broadband.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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

Rei Rei writes  |  about a month and a half 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 7 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 5 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 5 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  |  more than 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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