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Public To Vote On Names For Exoplanets

excelsior_gr Re:Connotations (127 comments)

Mars is a chocolate bar, Pluto is Mickey Mouse's dog. On Jupiter, Wikipedia has a lengthy disambiguation list. Take your pic.

about two weeks ago

Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance

excelsior_gr Re:Launch date (60 comments)

On top of these points I would like to add scale-up. Being able to produce an improved button-sized battery won't cut it. You'll need tons and tons of the new material, which means a stable and efficient production line is needed. And, of course, you'll need to develop and build said production line, which is something that the lab-rats often just wave their hands over, dismissing it as engineering "details".

about two weeks ago

Two Earth-Like Exoplanets Don't Actually Exist

excelsior_gr Re:Get it right (102 comments)

You might want to check out Stanislaw Lem's "His master's voice". He writes about the futile attempts of humanity in decoding an alien signal sent to earth, not only because of the difficulty of the encoding itself, but also due to the chasm between the two civilizations, mindsets etc. It is very dark and pessimistic, but definitely a good read.

about three weeks ago

When Beliefs and Facts Collide

excelsior_gr Re:Not surprising. (725 comments)

You'll have to acknowledge though that in the rest of the "western" world religion and science are kept nice and separate. For example, debates on whether kids at school should learn about the genesis or evolution are very, very seldom. They are both taught at school, one at religion class and the other at biology class. People do go to church, pray etc. but they also know that this has nothing to do with science.

about three weeks ago

Secret of the Banjo's Unique Sound Discovered By Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist

excelsior_gr Ig Noble (101 comments)

I think he's just going for the Ig Noble prize.

about 1 month ago

Germany's Glut of Electricity Causing Prices To Plummet

excelsior_gr Prices ridiculously low (365 comments)

Chemical engineer here. The industry prices for electricity have become so low that it doesn't even make sense to heat up the reactors using turbine-generated steam any more. It's ridiculous. It's cheaper to buy the electricity to generate the steam!

about 1 month ago

Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

excelsior_gr Re: known data isn't there (560 comments)

So when a multinational company is pulling a Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich the court judge will look upon them extremely unfavorably? Let's face it: it all boils down to the depth of your pockets and the impudence of your lawyers.

about a month ago

An Army Medal For Coding In Perl

excelsior_gr Re:Shoulda got a purple heart (192 comments)

Indeed. But you should get a Purple Heart if the jihadists abducted you and forced you to write Perl scripts for them! We are talking about some major trauma here...

about a month ago

New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

excelsior_gr Re:Wait, *why* couldn't we do this? (380 comments)

I see you can use Google. You might want to check out "catalyst poisoning" while you're at it.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

excelsior_gr lock/unlock function (427 comments)

The only advantage of a smartwatch over a smartphone is that it can't be that easily stolen/lost/broken. I would therefore like it to take over more critical functions that, however, require a minimum of interaction with the smartwatch. Have it automatically unlock/lock my house/car using proximity sensors, for example. Of course it should provide all sorts of time-telling functions, like time-zone conversion and it should have calendar reminders. It should be 100% waterproof so I can wash my hands without having to take it off. Did I mention that the battery should last for at least a year? Don't bother with anything inferior than that.

about a month ago

Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

excelsior_gr Re:What the hell... (347 comments)

It is almost precisely what you make it to be.

about a month ago

How Disney Built and Programmed an Animatronic President

excelsior_gr Re:GCI is where it's at now... hello?? (97 comments)

Indeed they don't. I think that movies that show less are more scary because you need to imagine more in order to fill in the gaps. For the same reason, books are often even scarier than movies.

about a month ago

Computational Thinking: AP Computer Science Vs AP Statistics?

excelsior_gr Computational thinking? (155 comments)

Cool, another phrase to add to buzzword bingo.

In fact, the whole blog-post is full of similar bullshit. Here's an example: "Computational thinking for scientists, engineers, and other professionals further means being able to: [ ] Discover new science through analysis of large data". What is that even supposed to mean? Science doesn't get "discovered", it develops. It's a methodology. The analysis of the data (large and small) is the science. Never mind the fact that the "definition" itself of "computational thinking" quite pompously restricts its application to the upper white-collar class "of scientists, engineers and other professionals" as if science is not for the unprivileged plebs.

about a month ago

"Super Bananas" May Save Millions of Lives In Africa

excelsior_gr Re:And hippies will protest it (396 comments)

All the ingredients of my evening meal were already in my kitchen. I didn't have to drive anywhere, and the price must have been below 5 Euros. For the record, that was half a package of spaghetti (that I saved a month or so ago then I cooked the other half) with a sauce of fresh tomatoes (three of them), olive oil (about 50 g), garlic (three cloves), an onion, some dried basil (that I buy in a large jar and is always available), salt and pepper (that I buy whole so that it remains fresh for ages). It tasted so good, it didn't even need cheese.

I get what you say about the poor neighborhoods and the lack of decent grocery stores, but I really think that it's a matter of culture. At any given time I can cook a two course meal for 5 people with the stuff that I have lying around. I go to the supermarket once a week: All sorts of pasta lasts for ages. Onions and (fresh) potatoes last for many weeks if kept dry. Canned stuff (tomatoes, tuna) are pretty good and frozen stuff are usually excellent, the only limitation is space. Pulses and rice are dirt cheap and super robust. Dried fruit and herbs go for months if stored right. The only things that I have to buy regularly are fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, fresh meat/fish and milk.

Did I just wake up one day and decided that this is the way my kitchen should be organized? No. I grew up in a household where our mom would dry her own tomatoes and herbs. She would make candy out of fruit. You get the picture. I learned a lot. Some blanks I filled in by reading books on cooking. Some other stuff I learned the hard way, recipes would go awry and stuff would rot in the fridge, but I see that as an investment.

Here's the catch: our parents would rather let us go hungry than bring us junk food for dinner. In your scenario, my dad would be like, sorry kids, no money today for some decent food, I'll see what I can get for you tomorrow. The next day, he would have 20 bucks and with that he would be able to not only get something more worthwhile and nutritious, but also something that would last for the next two days. The budget remains at 10 $/day but by starving for a single day and afterwards spending in $20 increments you can get more bang for the buck. After a week or so, you live a day on the leftovers and you can now raise the amount to $30 for three days worth of food. Repeat a few times and you have successfully uncoupled your stomach from your wallet.

about a month and a half ago

"Super Bananas" May Save Millions of Lives In Africa

excelsior_gr Re:And hippies will protest it (396 comments)

Indeed. I once prepared a rich bean soup with tomatoes, carrots + other vegetables + meatballs for 100 people on a budget of 100 Euros. You need to know how to "trick" the recipe to get the most out of it. Canned tomatoes are much cheaper than fresh tomatoes, but for a soup they are even better. If you overcook it a bit and add a little extra olive oil you go from a thin broth to a thick soup. I prepared the meatball mix with rehydrated dried bread at a 50% v/v ratio to the minced meat that not only doubled the amount of meatballs, it made them fluffier, too.

That meal sure filled you up waaaay better at 1 Euro/portion than the 1 Euro hamburgers at McDonald's.

about a month and a half ago

HP Unveils 'The Machine,' a New Computer Architecture

excelsior_gr So, uh... (257 comments)

What kind of ink will this computer take?

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: A 'Mavis Beacon' For Teaching Smartphone and Tablet Typing?

excelsior_gr The ONLY method (55 comments)

Someone needs to port Typing Of The Dead to Android and iOS.

about 2 months ago


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