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Iran Forced To Cancel Its Space Program

taiwanjohn Re:Too bad! (141 comments)

How can you claim to have any knowledge of the degree to which Iran is enriching its uranium? Citation please! What we've heard from international inspectors seems to indicate that they are playing above board, just as it seemed in the run-up to the Iraq war... Pardon me if some of us get a sense of "deja-vu" in this situation.

about two weeks ago
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Iran Forced To Cancel Its Space Program

taiwanjohn Re:Too bad! (141 comments)

Ok, sure. But given the prevailing wind patterns, wiping out Israel with nukes would not have favorable "fallout" for Iran. Therefore, why would they do it? I still don't see it.

It's the same MAD conundrum that kept the USA and USSR from wiping each other out a few decades ago. We survived that threat ok, and the USSR was a much worse threat than puny Iran ever was or will be.

about two weeks ago
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Iran Forced To Cancel Its Space Program

taiwanjohn Re:Too bad! (141 comments)

Ditto!

about two weeks ago
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Iran Forced To Cancel Its Space Program

taiwanjohn Re:Too bad! (141 comments)

You're right. A nuclear "terrorist" attack is not impossible in the next 10 years, esp. the "dirty bomb" variety. But I don't think even the the "loonies" in Iran would launch a first strike. What possible benefit could be gained? At what cost? The entire proposition is ludicrous. Please explain.

about two weeks ago
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Iran Forced To Cancel Its Space Program

taiwanjohn Re:Too bad! (141 comments)

No, I didn't forget about it, I never heard of it before. That is sad. Citation....??

about two weeks ago
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Iran Forced To Cancel Its Space Program

taiwanjohn Re:Too bad! (141 comments)

Ahmedinijad is out of power and the tales of Iran's nuclear program (from what I can see) appear to be mostly overblown propaganda. I'll grant that this is a "legitimate" issue among "experts" in diplomacy, but I'm not buying it. YMMV...

about two weeks ago
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Iran Forced To Cancel Its Space Program

taiwanjohn Too bad! (141 comments)

Whatever you think of their politics, I'm sorry to see them leave the club, even if it's only temporarily. Spaceflight is one of the few remaining areas of "friendly rivalry" where everybody still cheers for the other teams' success, even as we hope to best them. Nobody ever watches a launch and thinks "I hope it explodes! I hope it explodes!" No... you always think "Go, baby, go!"

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't

taiwanjohn Re:Minor setback (213 comments)

It will be interesting to see how "bad" this landing was... Was it a total, catastrophic loss, or did it just break a leg on landing and fall over onto the barge platform? The engines are the most expensive part of the "stack", and there are nine of them on the F9 booster stage. If they can salvage six or seven of these Merlin engines from this booster, even that will be a major victory.

Given the rate of innovation and development we've seen from SpaceX in the last few years, I suspect we'll see them nail the landing within the next couple of launches.

I can hardly wait! ;-)

about three weeks ago
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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

taiwanjohn Re:Linguistic speciation... (578 comments)

It's kinda cool that we can witness this process in real time, as populations in Singapore, India, etc. gradually adopt more English vocabulary, norms, and syntax. Singapore is a great example of this phenomenon... say a Cantonese-speaking guy marries a Malay-speaking girl. Neither one of them speaks "native" English; they both have an accent. But they also can't speak each others' native tongue. Their only shared language is "broken" English... and that's what their kids grow up with as their native language.

Living in Taiwan all these years, I find myself confronted with a host of different accents and dialects that I would never have encountered back home in Iowa. I've heard all manner of "English" from Kiwis, Ozzies, Scousers, Paddies, etc... not to mention folks from other language families altogether.

Even as the old divisions fade away, you can see the new divisions emerge...

To quote Mr. Spock... Fascinating!

about a month ago
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How Galaxies Are Disappearing From Our Universe

taiwanjohn Re:Balloons speckled with paint... (174 comments)

A spot of paint on your balloon would locally restrict expansion as it inflates, as galaxies seem to do in our expanding universe. My understanding of current hypotheses is that dark matter plays the role of "paint" in this analogy. However, there's an intriguing alternative explanation, which only becomes apparent when you think of space as a fluid.

Ironically, I stumbled upon this notion after musing on the strong interaction. (And I confess I was a bit high at the time.) Something that repels at a distance but attracts in proximity... that reminds me of bubbles interacting in the surface tension of fluids. So I googled "space as a fluid" and found that there's a whole branch of inquiry in this direction. It doesn't get as much attention as String Theory, but it's not dismissed out of hand either. (Correct me if I'm wrong... IANA physicist.)

Anyway, I'm curious to hear others' thoughts on this.

about a month ago
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My laptop lasts on battery for ...

taiwanjohn Re: You insensitive clod... (97 comments)

My desktop PC has multiple screens (one of which is 42") and a full-size "ergonomic" keyboard. No laptop can come close to this experience.

To be fair, I do in fact "own" a laptop (iBook G3), but I haven't actually used it in 6 or 7 years. I don't have anything against them, I just haven't had much need for one in recent years. Last time I traveled, I found my phone was enough to stay connected, and if I ever needed a "real" computer, it was not hard to find. Frankly I don't see much use for that form-factor in my lifestyle for the foreseeable future.

I understand that some people still need a laptop to get their job done. I'm not one of those people. And given the choice, I'd much rather use a desktop.

about a month ago
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Sir Richard Branson Quietly Shelves Virgin Submarine Plan

taiwanjohn Re: Yes, and... (47 comments)

No one will ever need more than 640 kB of memory for a personal computer...

about a month and a half ago
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"Fat-Burning Pill" Inches Closer To Reality

taiwanjohn Re: Restrict carbs, not calories (153 comments)

Forgot to mention coconut oil, which is a major contributor to the fat content of my diet.

about a month and a half ago
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"Fat-Burning Pill" Inches Closer To Reality

taiwanjohn Re: Restrict carbs, not calories (153 comments)

I've been losing weight steadily for several months now, on a low-carb, high-fat, "paleo" lifestyle which includes light exercise and intermittent fasting. I do not pay any attention to calories whatsoever, I only avoid carbs and eat as much "real food" as I feel like, meaning single-ingredient, natural, fresh-cooked or raw products, as opposed to the processed "edible food-like substances" which occupy most of the shelf space in a modern supermarket.

In terms of caloric intake, my diet is about 75~80% fat, 15~20% protein, and 5~10% carbs.

I eat a lot of the following:
Raw veg: carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, salad.
Cooked veg: spinach, cabbage, sprouts, etc..
Fermented veg: dill pickles, sauerkraut
Dairy: butter, cream, cheese, cream-cheese, sour cream
  - Do eggs count as dairy? I eat about two per day.
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc..
Meat: the fattier the better, especially organ meats
Fish: the fattier the better.

I avoid all processed foods and carbs in particular: Sugar, soft drinks, fruit juice, bread, pasta, starchy veg (eg. potatoes)... and also "somewhat avoid" legumes in general and soy products in particular.

As for exercise, I don't have a regime or program, I just live in a walkable city with great public transpo, so I end up walking a couple miles per day on average. I also started using a stand-up desk last spring. I've been losing a steady 1lb per week for the last half year, and am well on the way to my target by next summer.

about a month and a half ago
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The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

taiwanjohn Re:Depends (567 comments)

Four "heads" on a single PC? Or if you have multiple PCs, how do you arrange keyboards and mice?

about a month and a half ago
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Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

taiwanjohn Re:Reduced revenues != lost profit (280 comments)

Economy of scale still applies to solar energy. It's still going to be cheaper for a utility company to set up hundreds
of solar panels and sell the electricity to consumers than it will be for everyone to buy/maintain their own system.

That pretty well describes Elon Musk's business plan with Solar City. From what I've seen, it looks like they've already passed the tipping point into self-sustaining progress. Their main problems seem to be keeping up with demand and managing the "growing pains" of such rapid business expansion.

about 2 months ago
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Berkeley Lab Builds World Record Tabletop-Size Particle Accelerator

taiwanjohn Re: Beowulf cluster... (90 comments)

Seriously though, how far can this scale up? What if just plug one of these into the LHC?

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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How fiber paid its own way in a small Iowa town...

taiwanjohn taiwanjohn writes  |  about two weeks ago

taiwanjohn (103839) writes "About 20 years ago, my home town had a local referendum on whether or not to upgrade the electrical grid, and we ended up with blisteringly high-speed internet access and cheap, high quality cable TV.

I can't remember if it was funded by a local option sales tax or a normal bond issue... but the local electrical utility got the money to install a fiber net around town to monitor their grid usage at a very fine-grained scale. This, in turn, allowed them to more accurately predict grid load and thus reduce their peak-time purchases off the national grid...

In a nutshell, the project paid for itself ahead of schedule, and Cedar Falls residents got a kickass broadband boost a good decade before the rest of the world."

Link to Original Source
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Nate Silver's new site stirs climate controversy

taiwanjohn taiwanjohn writes  |  about 10 months ago

taiwanjohn (103839) writes "One of the first articles on Nate Silver’s highly anticipated data-driven news site used flawed data to make its conclusions, according to some of the nation’s top climate scientists.
Silver’s FiveThirtyEight published its first article about climate change on Wednesday, entitled “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change.” But climate scientists are condemning the article and its author, Roger Pielke Jr., saying he ignored critical data to produce a “deeply misleading” result.
The crux of Pielke’s article is this: Extreme weather events are costing us more and more money, but that is not because climate change is making extreme weather more frequent or intense. The reason we are losing more money, rather, is because we have more money to lose. Pielke came to this conclusion by measuring rising disaster damage costs alongside the rising global Gross Domestic Product. He also cited a U.N. climate report, along with his own research, to assert that extreme weather events have not been increasing in frequency or intensity."

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