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The Physics of Space Battles

RubberDogBone Space Wars will be one-hit conflicts (393 comments)

Unlike most fictional versions of space war, the real thing will likely be a one-hit, one-fight battle, simply because spaceships are typically sensitive machines that don't tolerate damage too well. Even an armored space battleship would still have weaknesses, namely in whatever it uses for sensing and aiming.

In a battle scenario where missiles or even lasers were used, these sensors and other equipment would likely take on significant damage and immediately be rendered inert. The attacked ships might be so deaf or blind they might be unable to fight back even if they wanted to. Repair facilities would be weeks or months or years away, and spare parts probably not an option given how long it takes the ISS crew to plan, train, practice, and actually execute even simple repairs.

It would not take a formal battle to accomplish this either, merely a first salvo surprise attack of some time, perhaps a surprise only in that the target didn't see it coming until it was too late rather then a significant sneaking operation. The attacker would be able to do this at a huge distance and maintain their own safe condition at the same time, so it would present little risk to them to try it. Which means they would be that much more likely to give it a go.

So in summary, it will be easy to damage enemy ships at the start of a fight, there will be little consequence to doing so, and there will be no way for the losing side to repair and resume the fight. Thinking as a military commander, it would be much better to keep forces on the planet where trading bullets or bombs results in significant tactical opportunity to change the battle. No commander would like a battle where one salvo ends it. There is no fun in that. There is no tactics in that.

Who wins comes down not to planning or anything valued by traditional military colleges but instead because a factor only of who fires first and perhaps has the best results hitting a target.


Indian Mars Mission Beams Back First Photographs

RubberDogBone Re:This is good: we didn't send a camera on ours (112 comments)

You are correct, we know what it looks like, and I said as much too, but new photos of Mars look good on the news and remind us things like this are worth funding.

To be sure, NASA did some nice animations to fill the gap.

3 days ago

Solar System's Water Is Older Than the Sun

RubberDogBone Re:Bet most water is older than the sun (173 comments)

Well of course. It takes Supernovae to make things like Oxygen and gold and to disperse Iron and other elements, so ALL this stuff had to exist or be made long before it coalesced into the Solar nebula and eventually formed planets and a star.

The iron in your blood was made inside an exploding star a very long time ago. Look at your hand and think about that: what you take for granted has already been through some of the most violent explosions in the known universe. But today, you mostly use it for .... well... we know.

3 days ago

Indian Mars Mission Beams Back First Photographs

RubberDogBone This is good: we didn't send a camera on ours (112 comments)

This is good stuff, as the NASA mission that just arrived at Mars lacked any sort of camera instruments. Nothing but a UV detector. Wow. So we won't get any Mars photos back from this one. I suppose we sort of know what Mars looks like but still... India sent back pictures. Not bad, India. Congrats! Welcome to Mars!

3 days ago

FAA Clears Movie and TV Drones For Takeoff

RubberDogBone Re:Application (50 comments)

There will be no other drone permits in the area so no interaction with other company's drones.

I am not sure I read anything that prevents a leasure user from flying his or her drones into the airspace being used by a movie or TV production. In fact, somebody playing around with a drone they got off eBay or Amazon has less regulation to worry about and/or probably doesn't know what the rules are anyway. And what better place to play with it than the set of Batman 8 or Transformers 891?

Productions are going to probably notice rogue private drones but even if they don't LIKE it, I am not sure they have any standing to do anything about it any more than if somebody was in an office or apartment overlooking a movie set below.

3 days ago

FAA Clears Movie and TV Drones For Takeoff

RubberDogBone The drone has already left the building (50 comments)

Can hardly turn on a "reality" TV show these days without some shots clearly from some kind of drone. This camera work has been going on for years, quietly.

Goofball shows like Gold Rush even worked the camera drone into an epsiode -they used a blimp drone but it was still a drone and still used for filming, albeit to wimpy effect. I saw a show the other day, clearly shot IN the US which used a drone for a nice swooping panorama -I wish I could remember which one it was. And I remember thinking, this shot is hella illegal. But it still got filmed. I am not sure reality TV can film now without these tricks. They've forgotten how to get the shot other ways.

All Hollywood is trying to do here is say I'm sorry after the fact, instead of please may I beforehand. And the FAA is going along with it, as they should frankly. It can't be stopped at this point so they might as well regulate it.

3 days ago

NASA Panel Finds Fault WIth Curiosity Rover Project's Focus

RubberDogBone Re:NASA bureaucracy at it again (51 comments)

Tin foil wheels? Did they ever, I dunno, make one and test it?

I wonder what the design spec was like. "Make a wheel out of some of the flimsiest stuff possible and make it travel over extremely aggressive terrain in an extreme environment" Sounds like a great plan. At least they didn't choose tissue paper -THAT might have been worse.

about three weeks ago

Why Do Humans Grow Up So Slowly? Blame the Brain

RubberDogBone Re:not so fast (128 comments)

It takes a long time to teach our kids because the system we have for teaching them is horribly inefficient and has been for thousands of years at this point.

But it carries on not because it's good but instead because it is so indoctrinated and there is no allowance to try anything radically different. If you try even things like "new math" parents freak out because that's not what they learned.

In fact, the entire schooling process we have, from primary schools to colleges and post-graduate should be reexamined at every level. Does it make sense to do it this way, or are we doing it this way, effectively spending a third of someone's life on school, only because the system is dedicated to this method?

Basically, the concepts of college as we know them are at least several hundred years old. Virtually every area of science and medicine and life itself has changed over that time, however we still teach basically the same way. This doesn't make any sense. That process should have changed and evolved like all the others but it largely hasn't. This should be questioned by anyone -are we doing this the right way? Does it make sense? Or is there a better way?

However everybody currently on the loose was educated that way so they have no incentive to change it for new kids, and of course the educators themselves have little or no incentive to reinvent how they do what they do, and even the parents have no incentive to let their child try a new way that may jeopardize the child's accomplishments compared to other kids -nobody wants their kid to be the first one to never actually have a diploma for something, for example.

Spending a third of someone's life on schooling years is on the face of it ridiculous. But I don't think this can possibly change. And that's too bad.

about a month ago

Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

RubberDogBone Re:BTSync (275 comments)

Dropbox gave me 50GB free because I bought a certain cell phone, but I left the moment it became clear they let the NSA do anything they wanted.

Hell no.

That has actually burned me on cloud for anything that isn't PGPd already, but honestly I should have been doing that from the start. Lesson learned.

about a month ago

How many devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi?

RubberDogBone Lots (260 comments)

I run three wifi routers in my home, using up three 2.4GHz channels (yes neighborhood, I am the one taking most of the bandwidth; bite me) and two more on 5GHz, with the option, if I wanted it, to have two more guest channels on each band. Don't currently use the guest networks.

One of the 2.4 channels is dedicated to the wifi cameras on the back of the house. The second 2.4 is for the cameras on the front of the house. Each one has multiple camera feeds going on so they continuously saturate the bandwidth, or at least hog it, and this many cameras requires more than one channel to be effective. The third 2.4 is for any other wifi device that lacks 5GHz, which right now is a Roku and a laptop which is usually wire-connected anyway. All of these channels have different names so devices will not hop channels.

The two 5Ghz channels are for smartphones, the only things I have which can use 5GHz. Really only need one of these to be active but I am testing a new Netgear router so doing A-B compares on which one performs better at 5GHz.

And of course all of the APs and routers are tied into gigabit ethernet. I don't use WPS.

about a month ago

NASA Names Building For Neil Armstrong

RubberDogBone Remembered? Nobody asked him (52 comments)

Remembered for being a hero, an astronaut, a pioneer, but not, apparently, for the deeply humble and private man he was later in life.

Armstrong would NEVER have wanted a building named for him, never in a million years. He'd be absolutely furious. NASA knows this and this whole thing is a big fat stick in his eye for wanting his privacy. They never forgave him for that. This is their revenge: his name on a big, ostentatious building. The only thing worse than this would be naming something Armstrong Base.

about 2 months ago

New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

RubberDogBone Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (150 comments)

Precisely. This is akin to obtaining a generic search warrant and upon finding my 8" kitchen knife, seizing it to see who I might have stabbed with it. Nevermind if it's used and put away in a knife block or new in the package never used, the existence of said knife is not in and of itself evidence of anything. But not according to such a warrant.

about 2 months ago

New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

RubberDogBone I'll try it (253 comments)

As a T2 Diabetic for some number of years, I have tried just about every other treatment. Some work. Most don't The cheap ones don't anyway.

about 2 months ago

Critical Vulnerabilities In Web-Based Password Managers Found

RubberDogBone Re:KeePass? (114 comments)

And I'm gonna keep using LastPass. Since I never used the bookmarklet thing, it seems unlikely I'm at any risk for exploit, and in any case, LastPass fixed that issue.

Could there be others? Oh sure. There could be issues with anything. My glass of water MIGHT be the one to contain something to make me sick. My car MIGHT have a defect. Windows 7 MIGHT BSOD three times in a night. Oh wait. That's not a might. That's a definite. Never mind.

I'm going to keep using LastPass.

about 2 months ago

Google's Nest Buys Home Monitoring Camera Company Dropcam

RubberDogBone I don't get it, Dropcam is 90% just a reseller (82 comments)

All of Dropcam's hardware is just stuff they get from OEMs in Shenzhen. They don't make it themselves, and in fact, the exact same hardware is sold by other camera vendors. But far more significant than the direct clones, there are also lots of not identical but still competing products that are just as good that go for a lot less.

The camera market is very cutthroat and low profit. Dropcam has no advantage here, not even name, because most people still haven't heard of them.

The only thing unique about Dropcam is the SaaS side but they don't do anything that could not be duplicated by others if they wanted to do it. Mostly nobody duplicates it because lots of IP camera customers just don't need that kind of service.

So what did Nest buy and why? A camera company selling generic OEM cameras you can source anywhere, or a SaaS company selling services that can be duplicated easily? It makes no sense to me.

about 3 months ago

After 47 Years, Computerworld Ceases Print Publication

RubberDogBone Re:Chicken or egg? (105 comments)

Secret about magazines: copy sales never matter as much as advertising rates. You need copy sales to drive ad sales, of course. But the real money in magazines comes from the ads. Subscriber money just covers some costs.

And actually, magazines make more money from single-copy magazine sales than they do from subscribers. So while you may feel like $30 a year is a good value, the magazine would rather sell five individual copies at $6 each. They make money on that. Not so much on subscriptions.

If you really love the magazine, subscribe and also occasionally buy some single copies, and patronize the advertisers in a way that lets them know the magazine ads sent you there. Generally, the more ad pages in a magazine, the better it's doing.

about 3 months ago

After 47 Years, Computerworld Ceases Print Publication

RubberDogBone End of a niche magazine, not an era (105 comments)

When I think of "great magazines about computers" Computerworld hasn't been on that list in years. They were always the one you read after PC Mag, after PC World even, you know, if there was nothing else. Then there was Computerworld. I always suspected most people only ever read it when they got copies free at tradeshows.

Anyway, there are still great computer magazines, in my opinion. Maximum PC is currently the top of the current class, maybe whatever PC Mag is doing as a second place.

Unimpressed with the current version of CPU. PC World hasn't been relevant in a decade, reduced to lists of top-ten rankings of products already out of date before publication. Most of the others are either very specialized like Photoshop magazine or they've turned into web portals.

about 3 months ago

Privacy Worries For 'Smart' Smoke Alarms

RubberDogBone Knock on the door (90 comments)

Knock on the door.

So, Mister..... Steve, is it? Steve. We, understand, you've been having a rough week. You've burnt the toast now three days in a row, and that's not like normal people. So tell me, Steve? Is there anything, a load on your mind perhaps, that you'd like to share and unburden yourself and return a life of making proper toast?


Well then, Steven, you'd be wise to stop burning the, uh, toast. We wouldn't want you to get burned. Would not do at all.

about 3 months ago

Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

RubberDogBone That's how it always is (346 comments)

Like something out of a bad spy novel, take one disgruntled security worker who has managed to end up alone and with a lot of people out to get him, and you send somebody to be his buddy. Sometimes a girl with boobs too big and a skirt too short. Sometimes it's friendly uncle Boris, you know, how loves the foote-ball like you do, heh heh heh, on big screens of tele the vision, heh heh heh.

Oh honey, I completely understand, you just want to do the right thing for all people. And those bad old Americans just don't understand you like I do. Must be so sad being alone. Awwwww. But I know some friends who have a place you can stay, hide out, relax, have a little ffffuuunnnn, giggle, look at my spectacular rack (and I don't mean server rack) so why don't you come to Moscow with me, huh honey?

Of course the friends turn out to be really quite nice, and Boris really does have a big TV and the girl agent really wants to be his girlfriend forever. And they all live happily ever after in lives of completely moral, monetary, and sexual fulfilment.

Sure they do.

Everybody in life is trying to use you for something. Nothing is free. Some offer money in exchange for work. If you do it at desk or on your back in a bed, it's still just a trade: they use you in exchange for something. And the more they offer, the more strings are attached. When they promise exactly what you happen to want, there's going to be a very big price attached even if you refuse to believe it. Nothing is free, not even information. Nothing.

about 4 months ago

Millions of Smart TVs Vulnerable To 'Red Button' Attack

RubberDogBone Seems unlikely (155 comments)

TFA mentions NTSC. "t’s on the verge of mass adoption in the U.S. as it was recently added to NTSC standards used in North America." NTSC was the obsolete low-def video format that's no longer used. It's DEAD. HDTV is the ATSC standard. These *TSC acronyms are mutually exclusive. So right off the bat, the article is on shaky ground.

This "hack" seems like an uncommon scenario, as top-of-the-line "smart" TVs tend to be owned by relatively affluent and as such, the cash-stocked user is probably watching cable, satellite, or streaming signals which they can well afford to use.

The people most likely to use an antenna are also the ones least likely to have a smart TV. They might even still use one of those converter boxes.

Anyway, my TV is modern but stupid. I use a Roku and a satellite box. Never use the antenna directly -broadcast TV channels offer no content that interests me in any way whatsoever. So this is just one more reason to never watch that crap.

about 4 months ago


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