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New Crash Test Dummies Reflect Rising American Bodyweight

butalearner Re:What did you expect.. (135 comments)

Go compare what is costs in most cities to put a veggie loaded salad with some white meat chicken on the table ($20-25 in my experience)

Where are you paying this much?? I mean, chicken breasts in the meat dept on sale are about $1.99/lb....whole chickens often are $0.89/ a veggie and chicken dinner to feed a family of 4 isn't $25?!?!

Where in the US do you live where food is so expensive?

It's almost certainly the veggies that are the problem. In Colorado, the thinnest state in the nation (though even 1 in 5 adults there are obese), I could get all manner of cheap but high-quality fruits and vegetables all year round from Sprouts (a chain grocery store that calls itself a farmer's market). Bell peppers were almost always on sale for $0.25 - $0.50 apiece, and that's including orange ones, which are generally more expensive. Where I live now, 1 in 3 adults are obese, and I'm lucky to find green bell peppers, which are usually the cheapest, for $1.00 apiece. The parking lot farmer's markets (they also had those in CO, by the way, but prices were rarely better there than at Sprouts) are all over now, and their prices weren't much better anyway, so crappy grocery store produce is once again my only option.

As a result, we often end up buying frozen veggies, which don't taste nearly as good, so we don't do it as often. We ate a lot more rice and veggie dishes and salads in CO, but we eat more pasta and meat dishes here.

Over the course of making this post, I found out that Sprouts is coming to my city in 2015. I am very excited about this.

13 hours ago

MIT Professor Advocates Ending Asteroid Redirect Mission To Fund Asteroid Survey

butalearner Re:But where are the potentional profits? (107 comments)

Tell me how you intend to make a *profit* by going into space with massive amounts of technology and resources???

To get the same things we already have here?

True, even with those kinds of numbers, I very much doubt it will be profitable to bring it back to Earth. It does, however, enable a leap forward for human spaceflight. It's tremendously expensive to lift stuff from Earth's surface, and water is far and away the most useful resource for astronauts, well beyond simply drinking or bathing with it. Surround a spacecraft with it and you've got a radiation barrier. Electrolyze it for rocket fuel (and potentially other types of fuel for backup power) and components of breathable air. Grow crops for food and natural carbon dioxide scrubbing. If you're on an asteroid, moon, or planet, mix it with regolith to help create surface structures.


Ask Slashdot: Aging and Orphan Open Source Projects?

butalearner Re:More specific (154 comments)

A bit of Google-fu reveals that osage, the name of the submitter, is also the name a layout/rendering tool associated with GraphViz. It's likely old enough to fit the "over 20 years" comment and was the de facto standard until a bunch of javascript graph visualization libraries popped up and made it easier to create prettier, interactive graphs. The latter explains why younger developers might shy away from it: it's written in C instead of javascript. And it was started by AT&T Labs Research to fulfill the corporate aegis bit. And there is a banner on the Graphviz homepage trying to attract developers.

So unless this is all coincidence, we may have a winner, which would be sad since I use it on occasion.

about a week ago

The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut

butalearner Change her name (200 comments)

Easy path for her to achieve her dream: legally change her name to Jayne, then get all the Whedon fans to pay her way into space. Jerrie is too obviously a female name, anyway.

about two weeks ago

Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

butalearner Re:Let me get this right (839 comments)

A better idea is to tax wealth.

That will just encourage people to have no assets at all and go into debt.

You're right, everyone would absolutely hate money. Just imagine all those hapless, unintentionally rich folk, begging people to take their money and their property.

Game shows would become horror reality shows:

Announcer: "And behind door number 3...a new car!"
Contestant: "Noooooooooooo!"

There would be a whole new way to punish unruly employees:

Employer: "I heard you set another sales record this month."
Employee: "I'm sorry, sir, I tried not to. I really tried..."
Employer: "That was your third mistake this year, Bob. You know what this means."
Employee: "Please, sir, no, you can't do this...I've already been promoted once. I have a family!"
Employer: "I'm sorry, I really am, but the rules are clear on this matter."
Employee: "Wait, please, I'll only come in for one hour a day, I swear!"
Employer: "It's too late for that...sir."
New Employer: "Nooooo!"

about two weeks ago

Dropbox Wasn't Hacked, Says Leaked Credentials Are From Unrelated Services

butalearner Re:Don't reuse passwords, folks. (29 comments)

It's convenient to back up and/or share unimportant files, for example I use it to pass ebooks between my reading devices and back up my NaNoWriMo novel as I'm writing it. They have two-factor authentication nowadays, so with encryption it could be fairly well private and secure.

about two weeks ago

How English Beat German As the Language of Science

butalearner Re:I am SHOCKED! (323 comments)

But Latin sounds awesome, as compared to the angry, smashed together words that Germans use. Seriously, their language is terrible to look at and to listen to, so I'm feeling a touch of schadenfreude over the whole thing.

about two weeks ago

MIT Study Finds Fault With Mars One Colony Concept

butalearner Re:Yesterday's news... (269 comments)

What "science and technology" are behind Mars One?

I know you're trolling, but it's really a pretty impressive list. The technology for the communications system, for example, already exists and is in use around Earth and Mars, though they plan to bolster that. We have spacesuits that would work on Mars as-is, though they'll probably want to create Mars-specific ones that reduce the bulkiness and make it more flexible (we're already doing this, by the way, look up NASA's Z-2 suit and Dava Newman's Bio-Suit). We have done lots In-Situ Resource Utilization tests in simulated environments on Earth, and one that extracts oxygen from the atmosphere is likely heading to Mars on the next lander or rover. They'll need to make sure that technology scales up and they have enough easily accessible source material, but that's what the unmanned launch is meant to do. It calls for the as-yet un-launched Falcon Heavy and modified, human-rated Dragon crafts, but SpaceX is on their way to developing their own versions of it. Bigelow Aerospace has created expandable space habitats including one attached to the ISS, I don't see why they couldn't do so for the Mars One food production habitats. I don't think Mars One had a lot of info on how they might grow food, but if you check out the report, it has a pretty fascinating proposal for that aspect, i.e. what crops to grow, how it might fit in the proposed space, and how it affects resource usage. And we're growing lettuce on the ISS using hydroponics right now. And so on.

Sure, the reality TV funding plan is something of a joke and there are plenty of technological hurdles to overcome, but what's important is that Mars One has a starting point and is apparently paying people to execute it and independent researchers are looking at them seriously, pointing out issues, refining the plan, and suggesting improvements. This report might have found lots of problems, but it is nevertheless a very strong step toward fixing them or creating something better.

about three weeks ago

Apple Sapphire Glass Supplier GT Advanced Files For Bankruptcy

butalearner Re:How can you (171 comments)

What I don't understand is how to burn through 578 million dollars in 10 months.

Bankruptcy does NOT mean you have $0 in your checking account. It simply means that your liabilities exceed your assets, your business prospects are unlikely to change that, and your creditors are unwilling to take a voluntary haircut.

Thank you, geez these comments are preposterous. It's a pretty simple situation: they took a huge pre-payment and it became a short term loan. I just read that they were starting to build up production capacity, probably using that pre-payment, that they will no longer need. But even if they didn't, that big of a liability plus a big hit in stock price (35% drop even before they declared bankrupcy) when everyone found out Apple dropped them...that's a pretty massive hit to the balance sheet. They'd hit almost $20/share earlier this year, now they're trading at just around $1. If I wasn't poor...

about three weeks ago

NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

butalearner Re:Ridiculous (139 comments)

You forgot: "and was the most technically difficult proposal and submitted by the contractor with the least experience of any kind". Sierra Nevada has no substantial grounds for complaint, their solution may have been competitive on price, but contrary to popular belief these types of contracts are NOT awarded solely on the basis of costs. Technical factors also play a huge role.

I agree that it's not as obviously gamed as everyone says. Sierra Nevada might not have much experience as a prime on big contracts like this, but their Dream Chaser proposal had Lockheed Martin and Aerojet and other heavy hitters as subs, and I guarantee you they put their own political connections to as much use as Boeing did. I'm as cynical as the next guy when it comes to politics, but there is certainly more to it here.

about three weeks ago

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

butalearner Re:the solution: (651 comments)

And the only way to completely eliminate the "threat" of someone making their own guns is to then ban making anything at home, or even in a workplace without government supervision. Is that what you want?

I didn't imply that we needed to eliminate the threat at all, only that it gives them more time to think about it after a completely benign situation. Consider this alternative scenario: a psychopath murders a bunch of children with a rifle modified with a huge, 3D-printed ammo clip before lawmakers realized that could even happen. Situations like that are how far more restrictive laws get put into place, regardless of how poorly they work, how invasive they are to our privacy, etc.

about a month ago

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

butalearner Re:the solution: (651 comments)

Gun control advocates should be very pleased, because now governments have a much more urgent reason to think about how the law might work with 3D-printed weapons.

I honestly don't mean this insultingly, but that response shows that you have completely missed the point. The law won't work with 3D printers, or even just cheap CNC machines - Not now, not ever.

For the law to patch this "loophole" requires nothing less than a complete ban on 3D printers, while artificially keeping the price of CNCs and similar technology much too high for the average Joe's garage workshop.

You and the previous response (and many other responses) say the same thing, but it is not really a given that a law won't work, and that is not the only way to address it. I am personally not smart enough to think of a great way for the law to work, but that's not to say there isn't one. In fact, the "answer" may be far milder than you and many other people fear, like just making it illegal to manufacture parts for assault rifles, just like it's illegal to make drugs or bombs. Of course it doesn't and it won't stop a sufficiently motivated person from doing it, but that is true of any unlawful activity. Just because most drivers drive too fast doesn't mean we shouldn't have speed limits.

Yes, the law absolutely needs to come to terms what it means to live in a world where anyone can manufacture any sufficiently small physical object on a whim. "Shut... Down... EVERYTHING!" ain't it.

Agreed, and neither is, "Anything Goes." We may not agree where it is, but there is a reasonable meeting point in the center. Admittedly, lawmakers will probably go too draconian at first. I'm cynical enough to imagine a situation where they demand 3D printers have an NSA backdoor or something. Still, I'm also optimistic enough to claim we'll eventually end up with something better.

about a month ago

Earth Gets Another Quasi-Moon

butalearner Re:Capture it (54 comments)

Otherwise, Earth's gravity would be pulling it away.

Orbital mechanics is fun. Pretend you're in a spacecraft in the exact same orbit as the ISS, except offset such that it is always 100 meters in front of you. What happens when you apply an instantaneous delta-v directly toward it? Answer: you will now be orbiting slower than the ISS, and after you get a little closer, the ISS will pull away from you.

What we're probably looking at here (I don't know, I haven't checked) is more like a slow gravity assist maneuver. The Earth's gravity is changing the angular momentum of the asteroid's orbit relative to the Sun ever so slightly that it will eventually pull away from Earth.

about a month ago

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

butalearner Re:the solution: (651 comments)

More importantly, he does what he does to point out absurdity.

He thinks he is pointing out absurdity of gun control laws, but that's because he is (or appears to be, I don't actually know him) emotionally invested into getting rid of all gun control laws. Objectively, though, he's pointing out pretty valuable information regarding future illegal weapons manufacturing. Gun control advocates should be very pleased, because now governments have a much more urgent reason to think about how the law might work with 3D-printed weapons. He's the gray hat hacker of gun control.

about a month ago

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

butalearner Re:uhh (549 comments)

The kind that doesn't give legitimate world-changers a free pass when they start with the crazy talk.

Let me emphasize the relevant portion of the summary:

How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved.

The question was not how fast will we do it, he's answering how fast could we do it. We could put people on Mars in four years if we had the political will to do it. We don't, so we won't do it until China either threatens to do it or actually goes through with it first. As for launching a hundred thousand missions, that is impossible as long as we can't reuse spacecraft, which is mostly addressed by the last point (assuming the reusability problem is solved very thoroughly, e.g. only easily-replaceable fuel made of very common elements is not reused, and the used components are very easily refurbished).

about a month ago

Mangalyaan Successfully Put Into Mars Orbit

butalearner Re:Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (173 comments)

...what corners they cut without compromising reliability...

The trouble with that claim is it takes a bunch of launches to measure reliability. Orbital Sciences' Taurus XL had five successful missions right out of the gate before it dropped a billion dollars worth of satellites in the ocean when it failed three of the next four. Every successful launch is something to be celebrated, to be sure, but it'll take many more successes before they can claim their launch system is reliable.

Secondly, cheap wages are only a small part of lauch costs. This is not some software they are building. I am not an expert, but I would imagine that most of the cost (most of the 75 million dollars) went into engineering, materials, and high tech parts. And material cost, especially for high end exotic stuff that goes into rockets - costs the same worldwide, including India.

Engineering, materials, and high tech parts = paying people to do or create these things. The vast majority of space and military programs go to people all up and down the supply chain. A $200,000 rad-hardened flight computer (i.e. the RAD750 on the Curiosity rover) doesn't cost $200,000 in parts: they're paying that company for the development and testing that went into it.

about a month ago

ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

butalearner Re:they will defeat themselves (981 comments)

The only problem is we still need their damn oil. Please, Elon Musk, save us from dependence on these assholes' oil. The sooner we can find a replacement for middle eastern oil and/or their oil runs out, the better.

Just to give some numbers, here is where we (the U.S.) got our oil in 2013:

U.S.: 2,720 million barrels
Canada: 1,147 million barrels
Saudi Arabia: 485 million barrels (OPEC)
Mexico: 335 million barrels
Venezuela: 294 million barrels (OPEC)
Russia: 168 million barrels
Columbia: 142 million barrels
Iraq: 124 million barrels (OPEC)
Kuwait: 119 million barrels (OPEC)
Nigeria: 103 million barrels (OPEC)
Ecuador: 86 million barrels (OPEC)
Angola: 79 million barrels (OPEC)
Brazil: 55 million barrels
U.K.: 54 million barrels
Other OPEC: 67 million barrels
Other non-OPEC: 338 million barrels

Ignoring the type of oil (pretty sure we're exporting natural gas like a fiend right now due to fracking), we need to cut 21% to get away from OPEC altogether, or 12% just to get away from the Middle East. In the U.S., 47% of oil goes to gasoline, 20% to diesel and other fuel oil, 13% to liquefied petroleum gases like propane and such, and 8% for jet fuel. All this info is from, by the way.

So it while it is still an enormous problem, it's not insurmountable. In fact, it's inevitable. We won't go cold turkey, but we will almost certainly keep chipping away at that deficit with continued efficiency improvements on cars and other vehicles, growing emphasis placed on fuel efficiency, and continued improvements in domestic oil production and refining. Ideally the cleaner improvements will come fast enough that we don't have to rely on the latter, but it'll happen sooner or later.

about a month and a half ago

Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

butalearner Re:Parallax. (425 comments)

No, the phone is shown at exactly right angles, and they're right, the lens is photoshopped out. Meanwhile, it's 1 mm. What is that, the thickness of 2 business cards?

Not that it matters anyway. Everyone I know that has a recent phone has a big fat case to protect it.

about a month and a half ago

X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday

butalearner Physics (145 comments)

Flares are bursts of energy, so they travel at the speed of light -- there's no real early warning for 'em, as by the time you see it, it's here. (there might be a slight warning before you hit the peak of the flare, but we're talking seconds, not days).

The CME is what's coming on Friday ... Coronal *Mass* Ejection ... ie, it's more than just an electro-magnetic pulse ... it actually has mass associated with it.

You might also get some SEP (solar energetic particles) before the main sort of 'cloud' from the CME arrives -- those can be worse for the people in space, as they arrive minutes to hours after the flare, and they'll just go through things in space (eg, spacecraft, space stations, etc.).

disclaimer : I'm not a solar physicist, but I'm a programmer/sysadmin supporting the Solar Data Analysis Center at GSFC.

If the flare was pretty much a direct hit, are we still going to be in the way if it takes 2-3 days for the CME particles to reach us? With a radial velocity of 30 km/s, the Earth will have moved several million kilometers away from the point where the flare struck. I know the Sun rotates in the same direction (~24 day period) as the Earth orbits (~365 day period), though, so maybe that imparts just the right amount of radial velocity.

about a month and a half ago

Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

butalearner Re:No, that's not what it says (260 comments)

No, that's not what it says. It says it will be net-zero. That's a big difference.

This plant will be grid-connected. It will simply produce as much energy as it uses. Not all the time, not 24 hours.

So they will be drawing power from Fossil fueled Electric plants just like the rest of us. So much for carbon emissions being ZERO.

You're going to have to explain to slow people like myself. Where is the following logic wrong?

Tesla is going to produce, on average, enough energy to run the gigafactory without getting any externally-created electricity. In reality, sometimes Tesla will not create enough energy, so it will draw from the grid. On the other hand, sometimes it will produce too much, and that goes back to the grid, where it is used elsewhere. The energy used elsewhere is used instead of fossil fuel-produced energy. Therefore, effectively, carbon emissions from energy production will be zero (though, as you say, their equipment will produce produce greenhouse gases).

Anyway, I don't get why this should be disappointing to anybody. It sounds like awesome news to me; if everybody did this, we would be a lot better off.

Lastly, I found it quite interesting that 85 windmills in Reno could produce more than twice the energy of 850,000 square meters of fixed solar panels...and it would be more if wind speeds were slightly higher. That seems crazy to me.

about 2 months ago



OpenPandora sells for $1875

butalearner butalearner writes  |  more than 4 years ago

butalearner (1235200) writes "After two years of delays, the first Pandora handheld consoles are finally arriving in the hands of the thousands of patient supporters. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the Pandora made its first appearance on eBay. The auction opened at a modest $330 — the preorder price — but five days later, one of the first Pandoras in existence netted the seller a whopping $1875 after a bidding war. I'm sure we'll see a slew of copycats attempt to replicate the success of this auction."


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