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MIT Study Finds Fault With Mars One Colony Concept

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

Why this conflation of space and science? We stopped sending people to the bottom of the ocean too, where are the Aqua Nutters?

James Cameron went to the bottom of the ocean just 2.5 years ago.

about three weeks ago
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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

jdschulteis I've Never Understood The Appeal (304 comments)

I despise the clicky, springy sound and the activation force is higher than I like.

In college, there were some terminals with Hall-effect keyboards that I liked, wish I could remember the model.

The Amiga 1000 keyboard was pretty good but the action was a little too light.

I'd take a Sun Type 5 over a Model M any day.

about three weeks ago
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Possible Reason Behind Version Hop to Windows 10: Compatibility

jdschulteis Re:And Java fail again (349 comments)

Because only Java attracts bad programmers? Or is it simply observation bias? Certainly Java is not the only language which can give you the OS name.

Probably one bad programmer made the mistake of checking against "Windows 9" and assuming a match meant Windows 95 or 98, published the code, and then a bunch of other bad programmers copied the mistake.

about a month ago
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Boeing Told To Replace Cockpit Screens Affected By Wi-Fi

jdschulteis Re:Surprisingly (142 comments)

Where? Common sense dictates not forcing the airlines to replace screens on 1,300 aircraft just because someone can't go without internet for any meaningful amount of time.

Think about how easy it would be for someone with malicious intent to bring aboard a jammer disguised as a legit electronic device. Cockpit electronics need to be hardened against interference regardless.

about a month ago
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HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet

jdschulteis Re:No touchscreen by default (182 comments)

The new Stream laptops by default have no touchscreen

I wanted one, until I read this part. Could you really consider it a tablet if you have to plug a mouse in for it to work?

HP is using the Stream brand for both laptops and tablets.

about a month ago
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Irish Girls Win Google Science Fair With Astonishing Crop Yield Breakthrough

jdschulteis Re:Next step - beer! (308 comments)

Read a Budweiser label. It's made with barley and rice. Many other American beers include "select grains" as well.

They "select" whatever is cheapest--truth in labeling!

about a month ago
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Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

jdschulteis Re:I understand, but FTS (478 comments)

On the other hand, 75 is an arbitrary number. I'm 53, and will match wits with any of you.

OK, but I am not falling for that iocaine trick.

about a month ago
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New Data Center Protects Against Solar Storm and Nuclear EMPs

jdschulteis Re:Poor comparison... (59 comments)

A "Carrington-level" event nowadays would most likely be much less disruptive, as back then all the early radio and spark gap stuff was well under 50 MHz, which is where almost all of the natural noise winds up in the spectrum. Ever notice, for example you can hear your shaver motor on an AM radio but not an FM one. This is not due to AM vs. FM, (well, it is a little) but mostly due to the fact that AM is about 1 MHz and FM is about 100 MHz, well above the "static line" around 50 MHz.

It would take a much stronger signal than back then to cause the same level of disruption. Not saying that can't happen, but modern radio communications are quite a bit more robust than they were back over 100 years ago.

The concern is not so much about the disruption of radio communications, but the power grid. Our society might not survive a massive, long-term (months or even years) blackout (a huge number of transformers might be destroyed all at once by the induced EMF).

about a month and a half ago
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Liquid Sponges Extract Hydrogen From Water

jdschulteis Re:No, not really (113 comments)

You still need very pure water or you poison the process. Where's that water coming from? How do you collect the gaseous hydrogen? You still need to liquify it and all the emrittlement and cryogenic issues are still there.

Even if hydrogen gas is free, it makes no sense as an energy carrier for cars.

They don't collect the gaseous hydrogen in the electrolyzer; they soak it up with a "liquid sponge" ("a recyclable redox mediator (silicotungstic acid) " according to the article's abstract. In principle at least, hydrogen could be stored and transported in this form (a liquid sponge soaked with hydrogen).; the hydrogen can be catalytically released (wrung out of the liquid sponge) when needed. Whether such a system could be built with a practical size, weight, and cost for use in vehicles is another matter.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

jdschulteis MUMPS (729 comments)

MUMPS, where every keyword has a 1-to-3 letter abbreviation, resulting in code like this:

%DTC
%DTC ; SF/XAK - DATE/TIME OPERATIONS ;1/16/92 11:36 AM
;;19.0;VA FileMan;;Jul 14, 1992
D I 'X1!'X2 S X="" Q
S X=X1 D H S X1=%H,X=X2,X2=%Y+1 D H S X=X1-%H,%Y=%Y+1&X2
K %H,X1,X2 Q
;
C S X=X1 Q:'X D H S %H=%H+X2 D YMD S:$P(X1,".",2) X=X_"."_$P(X1,".",2)
K X1,X2 Q
S S %=%#60/100+(%#3600\60)/100+(%\3600)/100 Q
;
H I X S %Y=$E(X,1,3),%M=$E(X,4,5),%D=$E(X,6,7)
S %T=$E(X_0,9,10)*60+$E(X_"000",11,12)*60+$E(X_"00000",13,14)
TOH S
%H=%M>2&'(%Y#4)+$P("^31^59^90^120^151^181^212^243^273^304^334","^",%M)+%D
S %='%M!'%D,%Y=%Y-141,%H=%H+(%Y*365)+(%Y\4)-(%Y>59)+%,%Y=$S(%:-
1,1:%H+4#7)
K %M,%D,% Q
;
DOW D H S Y=%Y K %H,%Y Q
DW D H S Y=%Y,X=$P("SUN^MON^TUES^WEDNES^THURS^FRI^SATUR","^",Y+1)_"DAY"
S:Y
[...]

about 2 months ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

jdschulteis Re:Are You Kidding? (541 comments)

In order for a Northern European to evolve fair skin and hair, there has to be something that will kill a human of dark skin and hair. Since people with dark skin can survive in Northern Europe, it is not through evolution.

The "something" doesn't have to kill, just reduce the probability of reproductive success. Vitamin D deficiency fills the bill.

about 3 months ago
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Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

jdschulteis Re:haha. they call if "charging the battery" (363 comments)

What I'm wondering is why I want to carry around 2 months worth of fuel in my car and be sitting on top of that amount of potential energy in a crash?

Maybe because of the unlikelihood that all of that energy would be released rapidly enough to cause a safety concern?

about 5 months ago
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The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

jdschulteis Re:Morals, ethics, logic, philosophy (255 comments)

Lin and Sofge advocate that the programmers should use strict utilitarian philosophy when deciding what to hit. I don't think that is going to fly, either from a legal or a sales perspective; the least damaging choice is just to try to stop the vehicle even if there is no time, rather than trying to "select" a crash for the least possible damage.

I agree--the results of collisions are simply too unpredictable. The idea of "knowing" the outcomes and choosing the one that leads to the fewest deaths (greatest utility) is preposterous. If a collision is unavoidable, simply remove as much kinetic energy as possible in order to minimize damage to the vehicle and its occupants.

about 5 months ago
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As NASA Seeks Next Mission, Russia Holds the Trump Card

jdschulteis Re:Eric Burger asks, how did it come to this? (250 comments)

So much of the budget is off-limits (social security and medicare) that the only areas left vulnerable to cutting are things like NASA.

The USA has locked itself into forced spending in some areas and it's squeezing other areas.

We could double NASA's budget and pay for it with a 3% cut to the military.

about 5 months ago
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Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

jdschulteis Re:Wow. What a jerk. (394 comments)

Also, given his long standing support to Left wing causes, what exactly does he have against Stalin to call cellphones 'Stalin's dream'?

One can be a collectivist while opposing authoritarianism. See Political Compass.

about 6 months ago
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Talking To the Public: the Biggest Enemy To Reducing Greenhouse Emissions

jdschulteis Re:Technological Advancement solves this... (324 comments)

And by easily I mean it has to be as cheap and effective as the dirtier power sources like coal and oil. Otherwise countries will never go towards it as it's too much of a hassle.

The problem with this reasoning is that coal and oil are only cheap if you don't count the cost of building seawalls, moving people inland, loss of arable land, and so forth. There will be longer growing seasons, open Arctic sea lanes, and other positive effects as well, but the consensus is that the net effect will be negative. Factor that in and wind and solar become cost competitive with fossil fuels.

about 6 months ago
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The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy

jdschulteis Re:Solar isn't "GREEN" (769 comments)

Solar panel creation uses many toxic products, chemicals and dangerous gases, including Sulfur Hexaflouride, the MOST POTENT GREENHOUSE GAS... Is it really about the planet, or is it about money?

From Wikipedia - "According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, SF6 is the most potent greenhouse gas that it has evaluated, with a global warming potential of 23,900 times that of CO2 when compared over a 100-year period."

2002 was the last year I could find a quick worldwide sales number for SF6, 5096 metric tons. Using your factor of 23,900 and rounding up, that's the equivalent of 122 million tons of CO2 assuming every molecule of SF6 was dumped directly into the atmosphere. By comparison, in 2012, an estimated 9700 million tons of CO2 were emitted. Of course, only about 7% of SF6 production is used in semiconductor manufacturing, and only a fraction of that is solar cell production and of that fraction not all is released into the atmosphere. Cradle-to-grave estimates for all greenhouse gas emissions in grams of CO2 equivalent per kWh came in at 1001 for coal, 500 for natural gas, and 45 for solar cells.

Capture and sequestration of CO2 from burning coal would have large capital costs and increase coal usage by about 30%, putting the cost of electricity from coal right in the same ballpark as unsubsidized wind and solar.

Please do a little research and thought before you shout "ZOMG SF6 MOST POTENT GREENHOUSE GAS!"

about 6 months ago
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Pollution In China Could Be Driving Freak Weather In US

jdschulteis Re:china has smog, so its clearly chinas fault. (158 comments)

Americans constitute 5% of the worlds population, yet we consume 24% of its energy.

Please stop using this bogus comparison to imply that Americans use more than "their share" of the world's energy. The correct comparison is between inputs and outputs. The USA produces nearly 20% of the world's GDP. If your 24% is correct, we have room for improvements in energy efficiency, but we're not nearly the energy gluttons that you're suggesting. The low ratio of population to energy use is largely due to our high productivity.

about 6 months ago

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