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Watch Comet Siding Spring's Mars Fly-By, Live

cyn1c77 I have a really big telescope! (32 comments)

However, most of us in the Northern Hemisphere will not be able to see the comet at all, experts say, no matter how big a telescope we've got.

What if my telescope is both bigger and more curved than most?

Will I then be able to see the comet around Mars?

10 hours ago

Despite Patent Settlement, Apple Pulls Bose Merchandise From Its Stores

cyn1c77 Re:Bose is overpriced crap and always has been (303 comments)

And so is Apple.

Apple products are expensive, but generally have good design and performance.

Bose and Beats have good design, but have always been deemed to have poor performance by people who actually review them for their sound qualities.

I'm not hating... check the reviews.


Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

cyn1c77 Re:To their defense (314 comments)

As a normal person I never had use of large bills like that. Even 100 is an annoyance as you have to get it accepted for change somewhere. So in essence nothing of value would be lost. Then the claim that it would be effective at curbing illegal business is not very strong either.

Do you not understand that after they eliminate the "large bills," the "criminals" will then start using the smaller bills?

The government will then eliminate those to improve your security, so that you are only left with electronically tracked options.

5 days ago

Pentagon Unveils Plan For Military's Response To Climate Change

cyn1c77 Re:For everything there is a season (228 comments)

Nothing really works well when a life threatening disease is on the loose, but it is pretty clear that the virus has no room for human sensitivities and an approach to stopping it should not either.

The most pragmatic thing to do (if stopping the disease is the dominant priority) is to immediately impose draconian quarantines:
1. Have you been anywhere outside of the country? Then you get a 21-day quarantine.
2. Have you potentially been in contact with someone who might have ebola? Then you get a 21-day quarantine.

Would this this hurt the global the economy were all countries to enact it? Probably.

Will it stop the Ebola outbreak? Probably.

Right now, the politicians are trying to keep people calm while they cross their fingers and weigh their options. However, don't think that full, national-guard-imposed, shoot-on-sight quarantines are coming world wide if the virus keeps spreading outside of Africa.

You can sense the BS with all the public service announcements that Ebola is hard to catch because you have to come in contact with the bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person and then touch a mucus membrane. (Under their breath, the doctors note that you should also stay three feet away from an infected person sneezing.) So now you have the potential for doorknobs, handles, etc. to be coated with Ebola-infected saliva that is viable for days, and you expect people to not every touch a mucus membrane (during allergy season) unless they have just washed their hands.

In short, you are naive or brainwashed if you are not worried right now. I am not saying panicked, but you should be worried.

about a week ago

No Nobel For Nick Holonyak Jr, Father of the LED

cyn1c77 Re:The Nobel Prize Committee blew it (276 comments)

It really is insulting to give a Nobel prize for an improvement to a revolutionary idea, and ignore the person who did the original work. Without Holonyak's original work there would be no basis for the improvement.

And where does the buck stop in this argument? Or should Nobels drift endlessly backwards to Newton, Leibniz, Aristotle, Plato ... Thales of Miletus. Thales of Miletus? All Nobels go to him?

Well, considering that Holonyak developed the first visible light LED, the buck should probably stop with him.

Of course, we are talking about an organization that gave Obama the Nobel Peace Prize shortly after he was elected president, so many already question their logic.

about two weeks ago

Texas Ebola Patient Dies

cyn1c77 Re:The Conservative Option (480 comments)

So, I can use one passport to go in and out of Cuba, Africa, Iraq, or wherever, and use the US passport for going in and out of the USA. How would they track that?

Dude, are you new here?

The NSA knows where you are going before you even decide to go there!

about two weeks ago

Ebola Vaccine Trials Forcing Tough Choices

cyn1c77 Re:funny that.... (178 comments)

Funny that ebola has been in existence in the modern world since the 70s, yet only now this is coming to light. Oddly enough, this is perfectly timed with someone in the US getting infected.

"Shit, this is on OUR turf now!??! Better do something about it!"

There is a causal relation driving this correlation, but it's not the one you cynically postulate. Both the appearance of someone in the US with the disease and the attempt to create a vaccine have been caused by the scale of the latest outbreak.

All these snarky comments do highlight a point though (which I am sure will offend many): Why should any non-African nation even have to do anything-Ebola related ever?

The African countries have had 38 years to develop a vaccine, quarantine procedures, public education, and adequate medical infrastructure to handle an Ebola outbreak, but have not done so.

Now the rest of the world has to dig in to shut down this outbreak and work up a vaccine because Africa as a continent has shit away the majority of the last four decades on infighting, gang warfare and corruption.

about two weeks ago

NASA Study: Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

cyn1c77 Re:phase change (294 comments)

For comparison, it's almost easier to boil water than to melt it from 0C ice to 0C water.

  * 334kJ/kg for water to melt it

  * 418kJ/kg for water to raise from 0C to 100C

Let's re-evaluate your statement with the key information that you omitted in your post:
* 334kJ/kg for water to melt it
* 418kJ/kg for water to raise from 0C to 100C
* 2257 J/g is the heat of vaporization of water

You'll notice that the heat of vaporization is an order of magnitude larger than your other metrics. Thus, it is much much harder to boil water than to melt it!

Comments like yours along (and the GP's) with the +5 and +2 modifiers highlight why climate science is so confusing. It's a highly multivariate problem that is essentially beyond our ability to predict without asymptotic modeling. Many people of the people doing the modeling don't understand that and most of the public certainly does not. Instead, many "scientists" prefer to misapply physical concepts, cherry pick data, and make BS predictions to make their models look more predictive than their colleagues and get more funding. The public and politicians then latches onto whichever results fit with their own personal opinions.

Sadly, one can likely not appreciate the magnitude of how fucked that approach is unless they are also a scientist or mathematician with familiarity in modeling complex systems.

about two weeks ago

Fixing Steam's User Rating Charts

cyn1c77 Re:Valve Time (93 comments)

Steam was considered draconian, until it proved not to be. was 'optional' during that testing phase.

No, no, no... Steam still IS draconian; you've just have to deal with it and have gotten used to it.

It's like the TSA-equivalent of gaming. It sucks, but is unavoidable, and eventually you just get used to periodically having your genitals fondled "for the good of the community."

about two weeks ago

The Single Vigilante Behind Facebook's 'Real Name' Crackdown

cyn1c77 Re:What an asshole (305 comments)

I'm more concerned that Facebook didn't have a process in place to monitor for OBVIOUS abuses.

1. Hundreds of complaints filed.

2. From a single account.

3. In a defined time period.

4. All the victims shared a common trait.

#1 & #2 should have been red flags over and Over and OVER and OVER. How many complaints does the average user file? Why wasn't this flagged with that person hit 2x the average? 5x? 10x? 20x? 50x? 100x?

Facebook doesn't really care unless it impacts their bottom line.

In this case, it only impacted their bottom line after they started getting negative press for being homophobic.

In fact, they probably like type-A asshats that spend their lives pursuing their site for potential violators... It's like having a free sysadmin on a petty powertrip!

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

cyn1c77 Get a subscription to Sky and Telescope magazine. (234 comments)

Start reading it. They go through the basics and have articles on how amateurs can contribute to research.

But you really need to limit your expectations. Observational astronomy (even amateur-style) requires several hours of daytime prep work, followed by 1-2 hours of equipment setup and familiarization, before you even embark in a 3-4 hour observation run. After an observing run, you might have another 2-10 hours of data processing to do.

If you have a wife, two kids, and a day job, you will get pretty tired pretty quick.

Good equipment (solid mount, high quality telescope, imaging system, star stracker) is not cheap either and, sadly, most people need to invest in or borrow good equipment before they can really evaluate if they like it or if they want to stick with it.

about a month ago

Canon Printer Hacked To Run Doom Video Game

cyn1c77 Don't fix it! (92 comments)

From TFA:

Canon said it planned to fix the loopholes on future printers to make them harder to subvert.

Why would you want to subvert someone from installing Doom on your printer?

about a month ago

DARPA Funds Harvard's Soft Exoskeletal Suit

cyn1c77 Re:Not the same as "hard" exo-skeletons. (29 comments)

If you improve the endurance of a soldier you *have* improved their weight carrying capacity. But I get what you're saying. They won't be able to lift 300lbs instead of 100lbs and put it on a shelf. However, they might be able to realistically haul say 80lbs of gear 15 miles instead of 50 lbs of gear. Of course that might be how much the batteries weigh to keep the thing running for a day. :)

You clearly don't get what he was saying!

We want HALO-like suits that will let us jump 50 feet high, jump out of an airplane and land safely with no parachute, and lift 500 lbs with one hand while accurately shooting at something a mile away with a fully automatic weapon in the other.

This soft-suit is like increasing the fuel economy on a Civic when you really want a Ferrari.

about a month ago

Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8

cyn1c77 Re:power consumption? (208 comments)

Who cares about performance anymore. Fast enough is fast enough. Which one lasts longer on battery?

Probably people who own an iPhone 5 and are debating upgrading to the new one.

Especially so if they like the smaller form factor of the iPhone 5, but would be willing to trade it for increased performance.

about a month ago

The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

cyn1c77 Re:Who would have thought (194 comments)

And let's just remember that planes don't actually fly themselves:


Your link is misleading. Autopilot can control aircraft at all times (climb, cruise , descent, approach, and landing phases) except during the taxi and landing phases.

Thus, with modern avionics, autopilot can control can be engaged immediately after takeoff (once flaps are off and gear is up) and kept on through landing.

A separate feature, called autothrottle, can be used to automatically control the plane's engines through the entire flight.

Of course, pilots are essential for programming these systems, monitoring them during flight, and stepping in during anomalous situations, but the planes really can fly themselves.

about a month ago

The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

cyn1c77 Re:Who would have thought (194 comments)

Yeah, and it went into manual controlled mode when it recognized obstacles it couldn't handle:

A. A railroad crossing without signals
B. A roundabout
C. Construction work
D. "Some specific turns"

Obviously not ready for the real world yet.

Ummm, have you driven lately? Most people with licenses also can't handle those obstacles!

about a month ago

German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

cyn1c77 Re:We need more like this (290 comments)

You should ask for your money back.

You should ask for all your data back.

However, Google has quite a strong monopoly. That will make their case a lot weaker.

You should actually ask for a share of the money that Google made off of your data.

about a month ago

How Astrophysicists Hope To Turn the Entire Moon Into a Cosmic Ray Detector

cyn1c77 Re:less than one particle per square kilometer/100 (74 comments)

This seems not very much. How do we know of them at all?

Because there are a lot of square kilometers out there... especially when the blurb doesn't actually define what the surface area of observation is!

about a month and a half ago

Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

cyn1c77 Re:well... (246 comments)

Microsoft employs >40K employees in the Seattle Metro area, while the other 3.6M residents (literally the 99%) get screwed.

So tell me, if Microsoft left and took the 40k jobs with them, they would then NOT get tax breaks in Seattle.

How would the other 99% of the Seattle residents be better off?

Would they somehow be less screwed?

Yes, Seattle would be less screwed if the former Microsoft employees either left the city or got jobs with (smaller) companies that pay more taxes.

Take it to the limit, where a company gets a zero tax liability deal while still incurring indirect costs to the city (Their trucks damage the roads, their employees necessitate more city infrastructure such as lights, police, parking, power, waste, etc.): It is actually possibly for the city to lose money on such a deal since they have brought in additional people and incurred additional costs. The costs will be recouped from the taxpayers in that case and not from the corporation causing the costs.

Also, by continuing to give huge companies lower tax liability, we are essentially driving all companies towards monopolies by making it harder for the smaller competitors.

about a month and a half ago


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