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More Students Learn CS In 3 Days Than Past 100 Years

jfdawes Re: Writing 32 lines is not "Learning CS" (287 comments)

There's perhaps a distinction between coding and programming being used that you missing (coding: Just writing code. Programming: Designing and building programs). You're right that coding is really accessible - and there's terrific tools that will write most of your code for you. However there's a huge number of people out there coding really awful programs, because the knowledge necessary to understand what the computer is really doing with your code is quite hard to come by, which I believe is necro81's point.

about 10 months ago
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NASA's LCROSS Mission Proves Lunar Ice Suspicions

jfdawes Re:Whats the hold up (177 comments)

None of which is worth the cost of retrieval.

Except for one thing. If you want to build an infrastructure in space, getting materials off the moon is far cheaper than getting the same materials off Earth. If you're planning on a large enough infrastructure, spending a couple of trillion on moon mines may become the smart thing to do.

more than 4 years ago
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32 Exoplanets Discovered By Chilean Telescope

jfdawes Re:OMG, there's lot of planets out there (146 comments)

Interesting: engaging or exciting and holding the attention or curiosity.

Sure. Some of these may be "interesting" to a limited set of people, but for the most part they are about the same as the other couple of hundred planets already discovered.

There's a lot of planets out there. They were expecting to find a bunch of them. This is not news.

I'm pretty sure if there were interesting planets in the 32 they are announcing, they would have pointed them out.

more than 4 years ago
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32 Exoplanets Discovered By Chilean Telescope

jfdawes OMG, there's lot of planets out there (146 comments)

Slow News Day.

Seriously, are any of these 32 new planets at all interesting? It was great that we've figured out how to detect the existence of these planets, but even the chilean team doesn't bother to single out any of them as being out of the ordinary.

Now that VASIMR technology seems to be coming of age, isn't it time to do a survey of everything within say, 20 light years to find stuff that may be potentially habitable?

more than 4 years ago
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1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right In Finland

jfdawes Re:I understand these modern times and all... (875 comments)

The only thing that this being a "right" gets you is that if there is an ISP that services your area, they cannot refuse to connect you, the service must be reasonably priced and the connection must be at least this good 75% of the time.

This is really just establishing a legal minimum level of service than an ISP can provide in Finland.

No, you don't need the right to Internet Access to survive. You also don't need the right to vote to survive either, yet you have it. You have the right to an awful lot of things you probably know nothing about, think are entirely useless and never exercise.

more than 4 years ago
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1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right In Finland

jfdawes Re:Great! But... (875 comments)

Yes, you probably do. You also have the right to an electricity supply to power the computer and the right to have a house to put it in.

You also have the legal obligation to pay for the house, the computer, the electricity and the internet connection.

You do not have to avail yourself any of these rights if you don't want to.

more than 4 years ago
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250-Foot Hybrid Airship To Spy Over Afghanistan In

jfdawes Re:Solar Thrust (343 comments)

I'm pretty sure they wouldn't just glue a whole bunch of solar car tops onto the Ares. The 40 pounds includes not only the solar panels but also the "carbon-fiber-and-Kevlar bodywork" and perhaps even a small section of "chrome-moly steel frame".

The point is that a 540 pound car can hit 90 miles an hour with less than 40 pounds of solar cells. The cells are not a substantial portion of the weight of the car.

more than 4 years ago
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250-Foot Hybrid Airship To Spy Over Afghanistan In

jfdawes Re:Solar Thrust (343 comments)

Heavy? Tell that to the MIT team who built a solar powered car that does 90 miles an hour.

Everything is packaged in a chrome-moly steel frame wrapped in carbon-fiber-and-Kevlar bodywork. The car weighs just under 500 pounds, and the top half of the body weighs just 40 pounds - with the solar cells

about 5 years ago
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Scientists Deliver Bee Toxin to Tumors Via "Nanobees"

jfdawes Re:More questions than answers (98 comments)

What exactly do you mean by "bee-sting allergy". These nanobees are filled with melittin, which may or may not be the same thing.

Interestingly, if you inject melittin you'll cause "widespread destruction of red blood cells" but these things don't. That might be because they target "growing blood vessels". Presumably, if the only areas of growing blood cells are tumors, you might be able to get away with injecting someone who is allergic.

Or, assuming your friend is allergic to melittin and not one of the other fun things in a bee string, they might end up a writhing blob of agony.

more than 5 years ago
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NASA Explores the Moon's Water/Oxygen Deposits

jfdawes Re:Costs? (73 comments)

Given that feathers are much less dense than water, everything else being equal it would cost more to get the feathers there since they enclosure required to contain them would be larger than the enclosure required to contain water.

Things not being equal, feathers are far more compressible than water so you could perhaps increase their density substantially.

You don't specify what condition you want the feathers in. It might be possible to just glue them to the outside of the craft, in which case there are no associated container requirements whereas the water must still be contained. In this case it's going to cost more to get the water there.

On the other hand, if the water was already in orbit it would be as ice, in which case you might be able to just glue a chunk of that to the outside of the craft.

If we're gluing random chunks of stuff to the outside of spaceships, it's probably going to come down to how much friction each material causes and what loss of material each substance would undergo due to space friction.

HTH

more than 5 years ago
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Working Off the Clock, How Much Is Too Much?

jfdawes Re:Must be nice... (582 comments)

There are limits to the minimum you can be paid and still be considered exempt.

If you do so many hours that it drives your effective hourly rate below the threshold, you are no longer exempt.

more than 5 years ago
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Wind Could Provide 100% of World Energy Needs

jfdawes Re:What if we take away too much wind? (867 comments)

The original article was suggesting that there is so much wind around that wind power is a viable power generation method, not that this should actually be done. There's problems with every method of power generation - they all remove energy from the environment.

Maybe with all the deforestation going on there's now too much wind? Maybe we need some way of slowing it down.

more than 5 years ago
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Wind Could Provide 100% of World Energy Needs

jfdawes Re:What if we take away too much wind? (867 comments)

You have a really valuable argument that people should spend a lot of time worrying about. It's a real shame that most people won't see it, since it's posted anonymously. Wind is essentially created by heat from the sun. Using all these wind turbines will obviously make the sun go out.

That would be a real problem.

more than 5 years ago
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Wind Could Provide 100% of World Energy Needs

jfdawes Re:Impact on birds... (867 comments)

Some wind turbine designs are far more bird friendly than others. The standard "propeller" based designs tend to be pretty bad. Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (Pac Wind and Helix Wind) can be much more bird/bat friendly.

more than 5 years ago
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AvantGo Shutting Down, Changing Markets

jfdawes Some history (36 comments)

AvantGo created an incredibly powerful, platform independant web browser that was years ahead of it's time. It had features that still aren't in many of the browsers available for hand helds (HTML 4.0 compliance for one). The only downfall was that it converted the DOM into a proprietary storage format and never implemented the ability for the device to read raw HTML. AvantGo management steadfastly refused to allow on device conversion of HTML because they wanted to sell licenses for their server to do the conversion from HTML to the proprietary format.

Sybase apparently bought them for their huge customer base, and never cared about the technology at all - allowing the massive lead to disappear.

Now it's just stomping on the bits.

R.I.P AvantGo

more than 5 years ago
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Letting Time Solve the Online News Dilemma

jfdawes Newspapers do little to no journalism (188 comments)

Newspapers would make more money if they actually did some up to date journalism. They fail to do even simple research that any idiot can do on Google. For the most part they simply recycle stories they get off the wire. You could probably find a blogger that has more relevant information about any news event you care to mention.
These clowns want to get paid for the type of work they were doing 20 years ago, but it's just not worth anything. They are trying to compete in an information centric arena, but they don't provide any information.
Case in point. Recently a JAL 747-400 at LAX sucked an empty baggage container into it's engine. It is inexcusable for the LA Times to not have a picture of the 747 with a baggage container lodged in it's engine in their story. It's inexcusable for them to not have interviewed a couple of workers/bystanders at the airport. I would lay odds that you can get exactly that sort of info by looking around the web at people's blogs.
You can probably even get a discussion of the science surrounding the event. None of this appears in the local rag's story. There is no value added by looking at the newspaper.

Newspapers need to wake up and start doing some work.

more than 5 years ago
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New Paper Offers Additional Reasoning for Fermi's Paradox

jfdawes Maybe (774 comments)

SETI is probably a waste of time and resources. We (the human race) don't even generate the sort of signals that SETI looks for. Our communication technologies are verging on being indistinguishable from background noise, or even completely undetectable (photon entanglement).

If detecting an alien civilization from their signals is not going to happen, then the only way you're going to meet them is by close encounter. Since current theory says that FTL is impossible then you have to do some sub light speed generational ship type of thing. The human race tends to only do things that are profitable (you could argue that there's that whole survival trait thing kicking in), we're never likely to build one. Why would anyone else?

I'm thinking that even if there is some trick to achieving FTL travel, then number of races that live long enough and care enough to find it are probably pretty small. Let's say you do find it. Let's say you work out how to travel 100 times the speed of light. It's still a two week trip to our closest neighbor, and all shipwrecks are terminal. If there are other intelligent races in the universe, maybe interstellar travel is so hideously expensive and risky that those civilizations expand very very slowly, far slower than Fermi's paradox predicts.

more than 5 years ago
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Do the Blind Deserve More Effort on the Web?

jfdawes Re:My philosophy (663 comments)

You say "It doesn't really require that much effort", and you might be correct. The problem is that ANY effort must be paid for by someone. If the returns on that effort do not cover the cost, then people in general will not do it.

You assume the gain to society is great, when this is simply not true. If the gains were great, society would be already be doing it. The gains are only great for a very small subset of society.

It might seem mean spirited to you, but it's really just survival. If providing a service costs more than the income you receive from it, eventually you will no longer be in a position to provide that service.

more than 6 years ago

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