top 11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought
The main problem
with desalination plants is that they are a risky investment. If the drought ever does end then you are basically
priced out of the market and you have these big expensive desalination plants collecting dust until the next drought.
Build desalination plants on barges. Move them to the most profitable locations as needed.
top Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency
Solar panels = Small percentage of power production
Small percentage * 1.22 = Small percentage, just a shade higher.
Its not a game changer. Its just a nice development.
Efficiency improvements, mass production, and making coal internalize the cost of CO2 emissions will eventually make photovoltaics more cost-effective than coal. Once that point is reached, solar will take over a large percentage of electricity production. This might not be
the improvement that puts it over the top, but I think your dismissive analysis is a little too simplistic.
top Was Microsoft Forced To Pay $136M In Back Taxes In China?
Is not giving the company's full name commonly done in this sort of story? I'm wondering if this would be considered impolite in China.
top NASA Offering Contracts To Encourage Asteroid Mining
The US has ratified the
Outer Space Treaty, so we don't own the Moon (the plaque on the lander says "We came in peace for all mankind").
Articles II and III of the treaty are pertinent:
Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.
States Parties to the Treaty shall carry on activities in the exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, in the interest of maintaining international peace and security and promoting international co-operation and understanding.
By Article II, the US cannot make a sovereign claim to an an asteroid and assign mineral rights as it does on other federal lands, unless it abrogates the treaty. By Article III, "use of
... celestial bodies, in accordance with international law", it seems similar to mining on the sea floor in international waters, which is governed by an international authority.
top We Are Running Out of Sand
I thought the article was about running out of sand for silicon semiconductors. Besides California falling into the Pacific Ocean after a big earthquake, a lack of sand would be the end of Silicon Valley.
No worries: silicon for semiconductors could be made from the fine, smooth, easily-blows-away desert sand.
about a month and a half ago
top Sketches Released of New Star Wars Museum
George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
I bet I'll be the only person in the "More American Graffiti" and "Willow" section.
Yes, but I'll be nearby in the "Howard the Duck" wing.
about a month and a half ago
top Birds Found Using Human Musical Scales For the First Time
..I could have sworn I heard Whole Lotta Love blasting out of the magnolia tree across the street.
Turns out, it might have been a couple of bluejays getting horny!!!
The only thing missing was the sound of the thermin...
If you mean the descending sound in the chorus, I don't think it's a theremin. I've always thought it was slide guitar and volume control.
about a month and a half ago
top Google Takes the Fight With Oracle To the Supreme Court
You can't copyright a single telephone number, but you can copyright a telephone book.
Actually, you cannot
copyright a telephone book.
top MIT Study Finds Fault With Mars One Colony Concept
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.
top The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
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.
top Possible Reason Behind Version Hop to Windows 10: Compatibility
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.
top Boeing Told To Replace Cockpit Screens Affected By Wi-Fi
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.
top HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet
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
top Irish Girls Win Google Science Fair With Astonishing Crop Yield Breakthrough
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!
top Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"
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.
top New Data Center Protects Against Solar Storm and Nuclear EMPs
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).
top Liquid Sponges Extract Hydrogen From Water
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.
top Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?
MUMPS, where every keyword has a 1-to-3 letter abbreviation, resulting in code like this:
%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_"."_$P(X1,".",2)
K X1,X2 Q
S S %=%#60/100+(%#3600\60)/100+(%\3600)/100 Q ;
H I X
K %M,%D,% Q ;
DOW D H S Y=%Y K %H,%Y Q
DW D H S Y=%Y,X=$P("SUN^MON^TUES^WEDNES^THURS^FRI^SATUR","^",Y+1)_"DAY"
top Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution
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.
top Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery
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?