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Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

RightwingNutjob Re:Visible from Earth? (115 comments)

Speaking of... how do they intend to control stray sunhlight reflecting off of this giant disk?

yesterday
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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

RightwingNutjob Re:Then there was War Plan Red (282 comments)

And if memory serves, as recently as the 1860's, the Brits were supplying arms to the Confederacy, so in the late 19th century, it wasn't all smiles and sunshine the way it has been since WW2.

yesterday
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Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

RightwingNutjob Re:It's a little early (349 comments)

Someone with a biology degree, quick! at what cooking temperature does DNA break up?

2 days ago
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Fields Medal Winner Manjul Bhargava On the Pythagorean Theorem Controversy

RightwingNutjob Re:India? I don't think so... (187 comments)

Which is all the more impressive considering that it was the current dear leader that invented mathematics, theorems, and the abstract concepts of proof and discovery.

about two weeks ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

RightwingNutjob Re:I think the thing being missed here (300 comments)

Just came back from Shanghai last week. 15 hrs there, plus an hour+ on each end going through baggage check and customs. 13 hrs back plus same overhead. I'd call that burning a whole day in each direction.

about three weeks ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

RightwingNutjob Re:I think the thing being missed here (300 comments)

Depends on who I am. If two days of my time wasted on travel costs more than the price difference, I'd definitely pay. If it's less, but not too much less, I'd pay. If its work that only I can do and it needs to be done sooner rather than later, there's no good way to put a dollar amount on it, but I'd probably pay. If it's just for me and not my company and I can afford to blow an extra 10k to treat myself, I might pay. And it depends on the savings. If 7hrs to Europe gets cut down to 1 hr and 15 hours to Asia gets cut down to 1 hr 30 minutes, people would pay even when it's a financial looser, because even if you don't charge/make 500/hr, you might still hate flying enough to eat the cost difference anyway.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Resources For Kids Who Want To Make Games?

RightwingNutjob Re:nope (121 comments)

My sarcasm detector is registering a 50% confidence metric, but I'd still rather work with, listen to, and play games by people who aren't ignorant about the war of 1812 and the cotton gin.

about a month ago
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Grinch Vulnerability Could Put a Hole In Your Linux Stocking

RightwingNutjob Re:Wheel Group (118 comments)

Leaving a blank root password during install on Debian disables login access to the root account from any terminal or the root console. There is still a root account, but it can only be accessed with sudo -s; su - by a user in the wheel group.

about a month ago
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Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

RightwingNutjob Re:Hay! (150 comments)

There it is! The constant correcting...

about a month and a half ago
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NASA Gets 2% Boost To Science Budget

RightwingNutjob Re: 2% is nothing (121 comments)

The other part of the problem is that the air force acquisitions is run by accountants and scientists, not engineers or combat pilots. And one of the things that you don't learn as a scientist or an accountant, or even as a combat pilot, is the hidden cost and complexity of doing two things with one aircraft by "fixing it with software," as opposed to the upfront cost building two types of aircraft. It's a serious problem, and it leads to bad acquisitions decisions, not just for planes. That said, having new F-35s that can do more of some things isn't necessarily a bad thing.

about a month and a half ago
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The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

RightwingNutjob Thoughtstuff is a nonlinear space (205 comments)

Software is thought-stuff as Brooks famously put it, and it lives in a multidimensional nonlinear space. Just because two programmers are implementing the same thing sitting next door to each other doesn't always mean they're mucking in the darkness, looking for a great software sage to show them how to write reusable code. Maybe one of them is coding for speed, the other for memory footprint, and the third for prettyness. You can't have one set of libraries do all three for you without effectively implementing it three times and giving them each the option. Just because software looks close, doesn't always mean there's a short path to get it to where you need it.

about a month and a half ago
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Orion Capsule Safely Recovered, Complete With 12-Year-Old Computer Guts

RightwingNutjob Re:Enough! (197 comments)

Well, something like 8k of ROM and 2k of RAM was enough to go to the moon, land, take off, and come back, so...

That's what people have the disconnect on. Flight control software isn't stressing. It's maybe a dozen or two 6x6 matrix-vector operations which unroll into maybe a few hundred FLOPS (or they could be fixed point) that need to run maybe at 20 or 30 Hz (Apollo's major cycle was 10 Hz). This is stuff you could do with hand-wired 7400 IC's if you really wanted to (in fact they did the equivalent for the first submarine launched ballistic missiles in the 50's). Having a programmable computer that's fast enough to do it a few hundred times a second, and handle the control loops for some of the other stuff in the capsule is nice, but it isn't hard with a 10 MIPS processor, let alone the 200+MIPS they're flying in ORION.

In the 60's when they went to the moon, it was hard because there was no such thing as an off-the-shelf space-qualified programmable flight computer, so they had to invent it all from scratch, and there's this mistique that developed around it. But even by the 80's and 90's, the space hardware and avionics industries advanced to the point where the hard stuff was knowing what software to write, not finding a computer and inventing a compiler to run it on.

about 2 months ago
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Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?

RightwingNutjob Re:Betteridge (545 comments)

I'll add another wrinkle to the above: if you're salaried and subject to overtime regs, you now have to account for your time, and you are just setting yourself up for a confrontation over whether having a great idea in the shower and working it out on a napkin at breakfast counts for time-and-a-half.

about 2 months ago
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You're Doing It All Wrong: Solar Panels Should Face West, Not South

RightwingNutjob Re:obviously they should track the sun (327 comments)

That thing was supposedly rated to hold 6 or 8 of those panels at once. Probably wouldn't have fit on a residential roof anymore, and might have required a structurally retrofitted roof carry the weight.

about 2 months ago
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You're Doing It All Wrong: Solar Panels Should Face West, Not South

RightwingNutjob Re:obviously they should track the sun (327 comments)

And now that I'm remembering back...that 1k was just for the top portion. The pedestal the thing is mounted on was about 2 or 3k of custom machining, which if you did in bulk etc etc would probably still run 100+ each.

about 2 months ago
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You're Doing It All Wrong: Solar Panels Should Face West, Not South

RightwingNutjob Re:obviously they should track the sun (327 comments)

Back in my student days, we had an experiment with a solar panel with a single axis tracker. The panel we got for about $800, the tracker for about 1k, if memory serves. Mind you, this was a single axis tracker with the panel mounted along the direction of the rotation, not offset to the declination of the sun like you'd have with a proper equatorial mount used in astronomy (which you'd still need to adjust every month or so to keep up with the seasons).

Conclusion: a sort-of OK tracker (that you still need to adjust seasonally) cost more than the panel. And it's moving parts that wear out and need lubrication, and it needs to be accessible for maintenance and adjustment. So about double the cost and not practical for sloped roofs.

about 2 months ago
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Does Being First Still Matter In America?

RightwingNutjob Re:First in what? (247 comments)

There's a story told by one of the former directors of LANL about when he met his Russian counterpart after the end of the Cold War. The US nuclear weapons community kept being amazed at how to the Soviets could stay on par with them on bomb design, given that the Soviet computer industry was always a decade or so behind the US. The answer from the Russian physicist was something along the lines of "you compute, we think." Having been in the bowels of the US military industrial complex for the better part of the last decade, this is all to true in what's considered one of the smarter corners of it. So having the biggest digital dick may not be the smartest or the quickest way to get a better home-grown weather forecast. Scratch deep enough, and there's always a bit more stupid in the process that can be optimized away for much less cost (but with much less fanfare).

about 2 months ago
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New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

RightwingNutjob Re: Old saying (249 comments)

I thought that TAI was supposed to be a hypothetical clock on an idealized (spherical? oblate?) earth that's computed from the a bunch of real atomic clocks. So wouldn't it still be possible to synthesize a time like that to more decimal digits using better actual clocks?

about 3 months ago

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