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Brown Dwarf With Water Clouds Tentatively Detected Just 7 Light-Years From Earth

TomGreenhaw Re:Is this the missing "dark matter"? (85 comments)

If there were that much normal matter out there we'd know because the light from distant galaxies would be more blocked than it is.

about a week ago

It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart

TomGreenhaw Another misleading title (243 comments)

The author didn't say he avoids telling his kids that they are smart, he said he was careful about it.

One of the main secrets to raising smart kids is setting high but achievable standards and providing life experiences where they can succeed.

Here is an example. When I was a cub scout leader our boys made model rockets. We also taught them how to use trigonometry to calculate how high the rockets went. With calculators, it was easy for them to master something that many adults would assume only smart kids could do. In this way each boy was taught that they were smart.

about two weeks ago

It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

TomGreenhaw Re:A lot of easy things are illegal (144 comments)

All you people are missing the point.

We can do this. It's not that hard. Some work is not right.

Apparently engineers and scientists need to be reminded that everyone needs a moral compass. Consider the golden rule. Would your actions make our world a better place for our children.

about two weeks ago

It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

TomGreenhaw A lot of easy things are illegal (144 comments)

Its easy to exceed the speed limit. Its easy to shop lift. Its easy to buy a gun and shoot somebody.

Its probably easy to build a device that gives you green lights as though you were an emergency vehicle. This is definitely illegal.

While I think its irresponsible to design computer systems without basic and reasonable security measures, technology is not the final answer to antisocial behavior. Hacking somebody else's systems is illegal and wrong. Finding (sometimes ) esoteric ways to do it and making it easy for bad guys is just plain foolish.

My friend Neil and I have a law: You know you have enough security when you can't do your job anymore. Requiring the average stop light electrician to now be a computer networking security expert requiring tons of tech support would certainly drive up taxes.

Antisocial behavior is why we have laws and there is a reason we should obey them.

about two weeks ago

Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

TomGreenhaw Quite a few??? (174 comments)

The Model S has only been available for a couple years. It's really hard to imagine that many people have driven a Model S more than 125,000 miles.

about two weeks ago

Man-Made "Dead Zone" In Gulf of Mexico the Size of Connecticut

TomGreenhaw Re:So? (184 comments)

Is it the nitrogen or the phosphorus? I think phosphorus is the big problem.

Here in the Chicago area, the water reclamation district has started using a new process to remove phosphorus from the sewage. Aside from the up front cost, its generating millions of dollars of valuable fertilizer. The phosphorus compound that's removed has the benefit of slow release and not water soluble but can be absorbed by roots. Farmers like it because they fertilizer lasts longer and doesn't run off right away.

I think this is a new process that is only in one treatment plant. Hopefully all treatment plants will embrace this to reduce or solve the dead zone problem.

about three weeks ago

Elon Musk Promises 100,000 Electric Cars Per Year

TomGreenhaw Re:Market will bubble will pop before then (122 comments)

We've had our Tesla for a year and a half. Its by far the best car we've ever had. When we park it at home we plug it in - it takes only seconds so its always got full range. It was expensive up front, but much cheaper to operate than our hybrid gas vehicle. It is extremely reliable. I will definitely buy another Tesla someday.

Other than the impracticality of a cross country drive, which we rarely do, what are the many limitations of an all electric car?

about a month ago

Elon Musk Promises 100,000 Electric Cars Per Year

TomGreenhaw Re:Market will bubble will pop before then (122 comments)

While I agree that Tesla stock is *cough* optimistically valued, they are a growth company that cannot be fairly compared to a mature value company like Ford or GM. I wouldn't be surprised at volatility but I think bubble is way too strong a term.

If they slashed their R&D budget as documented in TFA they could be profitable. I'd argue that their aggressive R&D spend predicts steep revenue growth over the next several years.

about 1 month ago

China Confirms New Generation of ICBM

TomGreenhaw Re:Angry Proliferation Game (224 comments)

Reminds of something we joked about years ago. It's like a couple of kids, knee deep in gasoline each with a pack of matches arguing over who has more matches. Now we have more kids with more matches...

about 1 month ago

Appeals Court Affirms Old Polaroid Patent Invalid

TomGreenhaw Re:Refund! (45 comments)

Then I think we agree. Most royalties paid to patent trolls are under threat of lawsuit.

about a month and a half ago

Appeals Court Affirms Old Polaroid Patent Invalid

TomGreenhaw Refund! (45 comments)

If a "Patent Assertion Company" or "Non-Practicing Entity" is found to have collected royalties on an invalid patent, they should be required to return the royalties.

about a month and a half ago

Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

TomGreenhaw Re:What's the point? (129 comments)

How about a super high resolution watch or phone that along with a pair of glasses that magnify the image to look like a big screen?

about a month and a half ago

The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

TomGreenhaw Re:And Joe Schmoe wont care. (364 comments)

While your post is a bit off-topic, in essence its all about national defense.

You raise a lot of good questions.

Q) why should the US help arriving children?
A) Because we can. Isn't it right to keep children safe? That doesn't mean they get to stay here, but we want to treat them the way we wish our children would be treated.

Q) Why exactly do people expect the US to accept illegal immigrants?
A) Its hard to take someone "demanding that we accept illegal immigration" seriously. That said, we are a nation of immigrants. Deep down inside, most of us recognize the hypocrisy of denying immigration to those who want to live in the United States. Its obviously too hard for people to immigrate legally or they wouldn't risk their lives to come here. We should be flattered that people want to become Americans. There is plenty of room here for people who are willing to work and contribute at least as much as they take.

Q) If you're going to accept every person who shows up at the border, then why even have a country?
A) This is a very good question. Nationalism may be becoming obsolete. We are all human and basically want the same things. Technologies like air travel, the internet and global commerce are blurring boundaries.

about 2 months ago

Physicists Spot Potential Source of 'Oh-My-God' Particles

TomGreenhaw Re:Alien Spacecraft (144 comments)

LOL - if you think their fastballs are energetic wait until you see their bats.

about 2 months ago

Four Weeks Without Soap Or Shampoo

TomGreenhaw Why not Probiotic moisterizer? (250 comments)

Shower as usual to strip the skin of all microbes and then moisturize with a probiotic. Seems more logical to me.

I declare this idea to officially be in the public domain :-)

about 3 months ago

US Navy Wants Smart Robots With Morals, Ethics

TomGreenhaw My late father talked about this a lot (165 comments)

He devised a system he called "Utilitarian Dynamics"

He had a formula, V=DNT
V is value
D is degree; i.e how happy or unhappy somebody is
N is number; the number of people
T is time, how long they were affected

Morality is very tricky, but objective attempts to quantify and make optimal decisions cannot be a step in the wrong direction. Maybe well programmed machines will help improve human behavior.

about 3 months ago

Why Mobile Wallets Are Doomed

TomGreenhaw Re:WTF does it do for me? (272 comments)

Paying with a phone should be more secure. Card security is based on something you have, whereas a phone can also use bio-metrics as well as something you know. Most people will immediately know and report a lost/stolen phone too.

Finally, the opportunity to offer loyalty programs and discounts would attract many customers.

I'm surprised that Google and Apple haven't bought up large payments companies like Paypal and taken this over...

about 4 months ago

Wyoming Is First State To Reject Science Standards Over Climate Change

TomGreenhaw Re: Motivated rejection of science (661 comments)

This is an interesting exercise.

There are a few areas in your approach that I think account for our discrepancy.

The first and I think biggest flaw in the above calculation is assuming that heat energy in BTUs from petroleum with the 35% efficiency for ICE greatly overstates power efficiency of ICE vehicles. Only experimental engines get that as a maximum at an ideal load and RPM. In reality at the wheels a standard ICE vehicle gets less than half that at best - maybe 15%. This is a really hard number to pin down and why simply comparing energy usage per mile is less prone to calculation error.

Second (and you're absolutely right), I was only estimating personal transportation which accounts for about half of the petroleum used.

The third is that you are not considering the efficiency gains of an electric vehicle through regenerative braking, no idleing losses and the impact of no transmission as well as maximum efficiency at nearly all RPM. Electric cars on average use much less energy per mile.

The second and third points account for a factor of 8 - electric vehicles are about 4 times more efficient than gas vehicles on average and I was only addressing half the problem.

In any case we're definitely talking about less than 10 new nuclear power plants and probably much less.

I guess we have to give the envirowackos a choice between a possible problem with nukes vs. a for sure problem with fossil fuels. Just because its not easy or obvious shouldn't cause us not to try.

about 4 months ago


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