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Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

Waffle Iron Re:How did they launch from the moon? (204 comments)

I've never understood how they were able to launch from the moon back towards Earth. Launching from the Earth requires massive infrastructure and huge rockets. Yes, the moon's gravity well is shallower, but still significant.

It's because the fundamental equation that relates a rocket's performance and the mass fuel it requires to orbital velocities is exponential. This makes it work out so that any chemical rocket leaving earth has to have the vast majority of its weight as fuel, where as a rocket leaving the moon only about half of its weight as fuel.

What's more, the entire lunar module and its fuel supply is dead weight as far as the earth launch is concerned, which makes the earth rocket and its fuel multiple all the bigger. Then there's the issue of bringing along enough fuel to slow down the craft into lunar orbit, and escaping lunar orbit back to earth. The lunar lander didn't need to handle any of that, either.

3 days ago
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Will Google's Dart Language Replace Javascript? (Video)

Waffle Iron Re:No (180 comments)

You might want to look in the mirror.

Scripting languages usually feature dynamic, strong typing. (The runtime always knows exactly what type its dealing with.)

Most compiled languages have static, strong typing. C is somewhat of an exception, being relatively weakly typed. (It's easy to make all sorts of bizarre type casts, sometimes implicitely.)

A few languages are very weakly typed, such as Forth.

about two weeks ago
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Damian Conway On Perl 6 and the Philosophy of Programming

Waffle Iron Re:But (132 comments)

Will it run on HURD?

That will have to wait.

The HURD developers have just noticed that their code would be more elegant if it were implemented using the new features of a modern programming language, so they're now starting a ground up rewrite of the HURD kernel in Perl 6.

about three weeks ago
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US Government Introduces Pollinator Action Plan To Save Honey Bees

Waffle Iron Re:For a First Step (143 comments)

For example: no applying dangerous chemicals to your yard, just for aesthetic purposes.

That's probably a non-starter.

I've noticed that the yards in my area that look the most like putting greens tend to be the most likely to have political signs on them around election time.

about a month ago
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Elon Musk's Solar City Is Ramping Up Solar Panel Production

Waffle Iron Re:Externalities (262 comments)

Since you've already made up your mind to be 100% wrong about your analysis of global warming, its threats, and its monumental external costs, there's no point in discussing it with you.

about a month ago
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Elon Musk's Solar City Is Ramping Up Solar Panel Production

Waffle Iron Re:Externalities (262 comments)

Most of the environmental issues from Coal have effectively been eliminated, except for the perceived C02 emission standard,

So, other than spewing the single largest existing threat to the welfare of human civilization, coal is just fine.

Meanwhile, by your arguments, the problem of setting up a recycling center for solar panels appears to be an intractible dilemma.

about a month ago
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Unisys Phasing Out Decades-Old Mainframe Processor For x86

Waffle Iron Re:what's the point anymore (113 comments)

the Dorado machines have some very unusual characteristics such as 9-bit bytes

Now I'm picturing Nigel in front of a rack of Unisys machines:

"These go to nine bits."

about a month ago
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Star Within a Star: Thorne-Zytkow Object Discovered

Waffle Iron Nothing New (89 comments)

This "Star within a star" thing has been a phenomenon commonly known in Hollywood since the days Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.

about a month and a half ago
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Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

Waffle Iron Re:NO. (493 comments)

you choose to put alcohol in your body to get drunk, you choose to avoid putting anything in your body to get unvaccinated. See the difference?

By not getting vaccinated, you're choosing to allow harmful microbes into your body. You choose to become a factory that create billions more of them and then spread them into to to the bodies of your unwilling victims.

BTW, do you think that driving drunk is safer than not being vaccinated?

It can be. If people like you were around when they started vaccinating for smallpox, you would have been responsible for countless millions of deaths by now. It would have made all of the drunk driving deaths in history look like a drop in the bucket.

about 2 months ago
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Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

Waffle Iron Re:NO. (493 comments)

Vaccinated person gets someone else sick = no liability. Un-vaccinated person = lock em up and throw away the key.

This is the same as: Sober driver kills someone in an auto wreck: Liability limited to an increase in future insurance rates. Drunk driver kills someone: locck em up and throw away the key.

Do you advocate legalization of all irresponsible behaviors, including drunk driving?

about 2 months ago
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Temporary Classrooms Are Bad For the Environment, and Worse For Kids

Waffle Iron Re:Global warming is causing bad grades now (187 comments)

Because CO2 is present in parts per million, whereas oxygen is around 20%. If amount of CO2 increases by a few hundred percent, the amount of oxygen drops by a small fraction of 1%. It is much easier and more accurate to measure the difference in CO2 concentrations than that of O2.

Perhaps you shouldn't be throwing barbs about global warming if this middle-school-level science wasn't already obvious to you.

about 2 months ago
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Temporary Classrooms Are Bad For the Environment, and Worse For Kids

Waffle Iron Re:Global warming is causing bad grades now (187 comments)

You do realize that they're talking about indoor CO2 levels that are far in excess of the overall atmospheric levels related to global warming?

Moreover, they do not imply that the CO2 itself causes poor performance. It's clear that they're using it as a *measure* of poor ventilation, which is correlated with bad grades.

Maybe it was a little stuffy in the school where you were learning analytic reading skills.

about 2 months ago
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For US Customers, Text Access To 911 Slowly Rolls Out

Waffle Iron Re:Better in thought than in practice (58 comments)

and being that they will have proof from the phone owner they can start ticketing and arresting people the next day

Except in Colorado, where that's now a legitimate emergency situation.

about 2 months ago
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Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

Waffle Iron Re:Interesting hat it mirrors the electric car iss (504 comments)

I think the electric companies have a pretty good point that they still have to pay to maintain lines to your house even though you are now consuming a fraction of what you would have.

I don't know about Oklahoma, but my bill is split into two parts: a fixed per-day customer charge, plus a separate charge per kWh. Presumably, the charge per day covers the lines and administrative overhead. (The per-kWh charge is further divided into separate fuel and generation charges, and the fuel rate changes frequently.)

If Oklahoma uses this system, then the utility is being fairly compensated for the power lines no matter how little electricity the customer actually buys.

about 3 months ago
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Geologists Warned of Washington State Mudslides For Decades

Waffle Iron Re:Not much different than. (230 comments)

Umm, no. At least for New Orleans. We already have levees around the city to deal with hurricane flooding.

Which prompts today's trivia question:

What British cover of a old American blues song starts off with what may very well be the greatest drum break in the history of rock and roll?

about 4 months ago
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Toward Better Programming

Waffle Iron Re:Programming is hard... (391 comments)

Ada (the programming language) already does all these edge case tests at compile time.

It checks one low-level layer of cases out of a whole conceptual stack that extends way up beyond any language definition, and even then only at certain spots, and only as long as you feed in the correct assumptions for the check cases themselves.

In other words, it does a little thing that computers are already good at. It does little or nothing for the big picture.

about 4 months ago
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Toward Better Programming

Waffle Iron Re:Programming is hard... (391 comments)

Programming isn't hard because we made it so, it's hard because it is *intrinsically* hard.

That's very true. I figure that the only way to make significant software projects look "easy" will be to develop sufficiently advanced AI technology so that the machine goes through a human-like reasoning process as it works through all of the corner cases. No fixed language syntax or IDE tools will be able to solve this problem.

If the requisite level of AI is ever developed, then the problem might be that the machines become resentful at being stuck with so much grunt work while their meatbag operators get to do the fun architecture design.

about 4 months ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

Waffle Iron Re:Walmart employees, rejoice! (455 comments)

For as fabulously wealthy as the Walton family has become, Sam, and I believe his children as well, do not live lives of opulence, and they expect the same out of the people running the company.

Sounds like these people would benefit from something like a visit by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

about 4 months ago

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