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Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

Strider- Re:the real question is... (204 comments)

Why does ACM still exist? what does it offer a programmer that he can't get for free?

Because it's not for programmers. Contrary to popular belief, computer science is not about programming. It's about software architecture, design, etc...

2 days ago
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Quiet Cooling With a Copper Foam Heatsink

Strider- Re:Pretty sure it wasn't the heat tiles. (164 comments)

The tiles on the shuttle's belly were the complete opposite. The main tiles on the belly of the shuttle were roughly 10% silica fibers, 90% air. Think very low density styrofoam, except that it can be heated to glowing temperatures without losing its properties. This was actually the really cool demo that I saw. The person giving the demo heated it with a torch until it was glowing yellow/white, then picked it up with his bare finger tips. Because the thermal conductivity of it was so low, it could be handled (with care) with bare hands.

For the OP, the point of the thermal protection system was precisely the opposite of being a heat sink. It's entire purpose was to insulate the shuttle against the heat that the belly was exposed to during re-entry. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of heating during re-entry was due to compressive heat (think diesel engines, boyles law and all that), Not friction. Basically the shuttle would compress the air in front of it, causing it to heat up to plasma type temperatures, which was then transferred to the body of the shuttle through convective heating. As such, the best way to deal with it was just to insulate yourself, and wait for the high temperatures to pass.

2 days ago
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NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

Strider- Re:Everyone loves car dealers! (455 comments)

My god, have these new-car dealers ever had the experience of trying to buy a new car from a dealer? It's an extremely complicated thing, ranking up there with doing calculus with stone and chisel. This is one main reason people loved the dealers with fixed prices or with internet sales where they can get a quote without talking to a huckster in person. If NADA thinks the public will be swayed by such a claim then they're seriously out of touch with the public.

Buying my car took more paperwork than buying my home, which is ludicrous given the order of magnitude difference in price. In the end, I bought my condo by faxing back a piece of paper with one signature on it, while on a trip in Europe. Buying my car? I had to sign a dozen different pieces of paper, and it took far longer.

about a month and a half ago
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Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

Strider- Re:A bit of a red herring.... (431 comments)

What astounds me is that Chevy can build a fantastic car like the Corvette and yet nearly everything else is sub par. Ok, the new Malibu is a big improvement...I'll give them that. Ford? Well, the Mustang finally got rid of the live rear axle suspension. Now they are only about 10 years behind every other sports car on the road. Chrysler? They have some innovative designs but the quality continues to be horrible on balance.

I've driven the Ford Mondeo and the European Focus... both were just as good or better than any european vehicle I've rented (though the BMW 1 series was pretty nice).

about a month and a half ago
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Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

Strider- Re:Slippery slope (431 comments)

Consumers can tell the difference between VW made in Mexico and VW made in Germany, and VW is not owned by Chinese. Whoever thinks that Volvos made in China would be (in the near future) as good as Volvos made in Sweden is just delusional. Although, they'd still likely be much better than American cars (GM, Crysler, Ford).

Eh, my '06 Jetta TDI was manufactured in Mexico, and has been a solid and reliable piece of equipment. VW seems to have solved most of their manufacturing issues when they moved to the MKV chassis (2005.5 through 2011 or so). Now someone will probably point out how wrong I am, but to the best of my knowledge there haven't been any significant manfacturing issues with these cars, despite being built in Mexico.

Hell, the only recalls there have been on my vehicle was to put in plastic caps so that you can't adjust the aim of the low and high beams independently (which is illegal in north america for some stupid reason... I pulled the caps right back off again after the mod) and a minor issue with the wiring harness to the passenger seat.

about a month and a half ago
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Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

Strider- Re:The difference is obvious (431 comments)

I can tell the difference quite easily. Americans buying european cars improves european economies. Americans buying chinese cars improves chinese economies. What I can't figure out is what would happen if Americans were to buy american cars. hmmm.

Ok, I'm Canadian but this theoretically holds true as well. The problem is that back in 2006 when I was looking to buy a car, the domestics weren't building anything I was interested in. I was looking for a reasonably sized sedan that had a diesel engine in it. Guess what, the only car on the market with that feature was the VW Jetta (Manufactured in Mexico from German parts). Had any of the domestics built something similar, I'd have considered it, but they were all on the huge "HEMI RWAWWWR POWAH" bandwagon.

When my Jetta eventually wears out (8 years old now, and still going strong), I'll probably replace the sedan with a wagon. Guess what, none of the domestics produce a real station wagon any more... You either have to go with those stupid crossovers or something larger. Now, if the domestics would import some of their european models into the North American market, I'd strongly consider them. Over the years, I've had a wide variety of european Fords and other vehicles that I would love to buy, but they just won't sell them to us.

about a month and a half ago
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Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

Strider- Re:DirecTV is a major problem, potential solution. (394 comments)

Oh, and one last thing... How the fuck do some of your boxes have the "Energy Star" logo??? Is it because the boxes themselves are efficient & you choose not to implement those efficiencies?

Remember, the EnergyStar logo is pretty much meaningless. Heck, a few years ago a (fake) gasoline powered alarm clock received the EnergyStar logo as part of an audit.

about a month and a half ago
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Google Fiber Is Officially Making Its Way To Portland

Strider- Re:Speaking as a Portland resident (153 comments)

I just hope that in the near future they bring it across the river to Vancouver, WA.

I just wish it would come to the real Vancouver...

about a month and a half ago
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US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road

Strider- Re:Initial Offer (232 comments)

I bid fifty quatloos on the newcomer.

I see your fifty quatloos, and raise you 5 ningis.

about a month and a half ago
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House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Strider- Re:Democrats voted (932 comments)

Open primaries allow this sort of thing to happen. If you think about it, it isn't really fair, but we allow it in a lot of states, so this sort of thing should be expected.

Why are counties and states involved in party politics at all? The parties should pay for the selection process of their candidates out of their own funds, and run their selection process themselves. Want to vote to select the republican candidate? Pay your $15 membership fee to the republican party. Want to vote to select the democratic party's candidate? Pay your $15 there.

States should not be subsidizing the parties in any way, shape, or form.

about 2 months ago
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House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Strider- Re:hahaha! (932 comments)

So, you may define the Tea Party as radical right, and in some ways it is, but the Republican party is not even close to being far right. Why? Everybody tries to capture the center, who are the people who really decide many of the elections anyway...

All depends on the origin of the spectrum you're viewing it through. From a Canadian perspective, the Democrats are radically to the right, and the
Tea Party is somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun or Mussolini.

about 2 months ago
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The Brakes That Stop a 1,000 MPH Bloodhound SSC

Strider- Re:Killowatts are power, not energy (262 comments)

Regenerative braking systems work by having a generator driven by the wheels that drives an electrical load - typically a battery charger. Charging the battery generates a current through the generator making it act like a motor but in the opposite direction to the way the wheels are making it spin.

Actually, your typical freight train is running regenerative braking. If you look down on a locomotive going by, you can see huge fans in the top of the cab that are used to blow air over load coils. Figure a maximum sized train weighs in at 19,000 tonnes (130 car coal train), that means that when it's operating at 60km/hr it has roughly 2.6 gigajoules of kinetic energy. To stop it, that energy has to be dumped. Some of it is done by the train's air brakes, but most of it is done through regenerative braking in each of the locomotives.

This is all irrelevant when it comes to the SSC though, since it's using air resistance to drop its speed to 260kph, then slowing down with traditional brakes. The hard part is going to be making the brakes survive spinning at 10,000rpm, not dissipating the energy from slowing down.

about 2 months ago
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Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets

Strider- Re:Just Tack on a Fee (626 comments)

Why not reduce the road patrols as driverless cars increase in popularity. As police officers retire and the need for road patrols declines just reduce the number of officers... Seems logical and how any business is run.

That assumes that the police officers in question are dedicated to traffic policing. With the possible exception of highway patrol, traffic enforcement is only a way for the officers to fill time between more important calls. If a fight breaks out at a bar, it's likely that the closest officer is the one who was looking for drunk drivers.

about 2 months ago
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Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets

Strider- Re:Just Tack on a Fee (626 comments)

Collector cars aren't going to be going away, many people won't be able to afford these new fancy cars, many people will do what they can to break the auto part for whatever paranoid belief they feel like, or just the idea of not being in control.

And some of us actually enjoy driving as an activity. Heck, I don't even really mind sitting in traffic as long as I have my CBC/NPR/Podcasts.

about 2 months ago
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Curiosity Rover May Have Brought Dozens of Microbes To Mars

Strider- Re:Policy for Planetary Protection (97 comments)

The policy is under the auspices of the Outer Space Treaty, which has been ratified by both China and India (along with the United States). Given that the Scientists and Engineers who tend to be involved in these projects are generally rational people (even if they're doing a politician's bidding), I'd say that the chance of things being done reasonably correctly are good.

about 2 months ago
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Curiosity Rover May Have Brought Dozens of Microbes To Mars

Strider- Re:Achievement (97 comments)

First properly documented interplanetary flight sent by us, with biological specimens on board ! Pity we didnt measure the effect of zero-g or deep space radiation on these.

It's actually assumed that every probe that is sent will have some form of bacteria and so forth on it; life is just so pervasive on this planet that it's impossible to perfectly sterilize everything. Instead, the goal is to strongly sterilize what's critical and exposed to the environment, and reduce the probability of accidental contamination to an acceptable level (currently defined to be in the neighbourhood of 1 in 10,000 chance).

about 2 months ago
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Curiosity Rover May Have Brought Dozens of Microbes To Mars

Strider- Policy for Planetary Protection (97 comments)

JPL actually has a highly detailed document on "Policy for Planetary Protection" that details the standards to which a probe must be sanitized to before being sent on its mission. The level of cleanliness depends on the intended mission and target; orbiters have a lesser standard than landers, for example. The policy also takes into account different parts of the spacecraft; the inside of the box containing the CPU and so forth isn't cleaned to as high of a standard as the wheels, experiments and so forth that are directly exposed to the environment. In the case of the Galileo probe, it was deliberately crashed into Jupiter at the end of mission in order to ensure it would never impact Europa, as it had not been cleaned to that high of a standard. Cassini will face a parallel fate, of crashing into Saturn to prevent a collision with Enceladus and/or Titan.

The key part here is that when you are looking for life (or might be looking for life in the near future) you don't want to discover that the life is found is something that you brought from earth yourself, or was brought by another space probe.

about 2 months ago
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SpaceX Cargo Capsule Leaves Space Station For Home

Strider- Re:2 tons? (56 comments)

Don't normally reply to myself, but that was a Cut and paste out of another article here. :)

about 2 months ago
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SpaceX Cargo Capsule Leaves Space Station For Home

Strider- Re:2 tons? (56 comments)

So people who drive cars, and therefore use public transportation less or not at all, should pay more so that people who do use the system pay less?

More likely someone doesn't know that there is a difference between a Ton and a Tonne, and figures they're just the british and american ways of spelling the same thing. The dragon capsule is rated to return up to 2500kg of mass to the earth, so it stands to reason that this is just a lack of pedantry on the part of the author.

about 2 months ago
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Swedish Fare Dodgers Organize Against Transportation Authorities

Strider- Re: Public transit (389 comments)

So people who drive cars, and therefore use public transportation less or not at all, should pay more so that people who do use the system pay less?

Well, the drivers get the very real benefit of fewer vehicles on the roads. Even if we ignore Stockholm's (very good) subway system, a bus carrying 40 passengers probably means 15+ cars that are not on the road.

about 2 months ago

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