3551 posts • joined Wednesday 28th February 2007 21:13 GMT
You're right about using radioactive decay of isotopes to perform dating, but where it falls down is that there aren't any isotopes of gold with half lives long enough to perform geological dating. So you have to make an assumption that the gold was present when the rock was formed (in the case of Isua when sediments were metamorphosed into gneiss) and use the radiodate established from other elements in the rock - IIRC the Isua was dated using rubidium strontium dating.
Lifetime costs for nuclear?
Do the costs in that document include the cost of decommissioning the UK's nuclear power stations? The taxpayer has been repeatedly stung by ever-escalating prices for scrapping the Magnox plants (they couldn't privatise nuclear and get the private sector to take on decommissioning costs) and making the spent fuel safe. It's running at something over $2 billion a year already and will only increase as the AGRs begin to reach the ends of their lives.
Close but no cigar
Although the 'too cheap to meter' quote is often ascribed to Lord Marshall of the CEGB, it actually comes from Lewis Strauss of the US Atomic Energy Commission and he was talking about nuclear fusion not fission.
The full quote is:
"Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter... It is not too much to expect that our children will know of great periodic regional famines in the world only as matters of history, will travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and at great speeds, and will experience a lifespan far longer than ours, as disease yields and man comes to understand what causes him to age."
Feel free to score it out of 10.
'Innocent or guilty? Vote now! Full results and analysis of our viewers' verdict with Kate Burley at 5pm. Call now to upgrade to our Bangemupanthrowawaythekey 3D package.'
You're in fine company Lester
Please don't feel down because NAOMI didn't rise to the occasion; even the mighty NASA has had its share of failures to launch.
In fact you've actually beaten NASA. In 1960, Mercury Redstone I only made it 10cm from the pad before something horribly expensive went sproing! shut down the engines and brought the rocket gently back down to the Earth.
So by my calculations if you keep up this rate of success you should be on the Moon round about 2020.
In part it's a technology demonstrator that solar power can be used for deep space missions with low pier requirements, but in part it's been forced on the US by a lack of Pu-238 to go into radio thermal generators. The US has very limited supplies of the isotope which have to be shared between NASA and the military, and in recent years the US has been buying supplies from Russia. The US is ramping up production again, so this might only be a temporary bottleneck.
I had the good fortune to be given a guided tour by Tony last year and his enthusiasm for every aspect of the Museum was evident and infectious. His a huge loss and my sympathies go to his friends and family.
The Americans pulled decisively ahead of the USSR during the Gemini missions when the Soviet programme was effectively grounded. Their Voskhod manned capsules were death traps and the Soyuz programme was well behind schedule and of very poor quality - let's not forget Soyuz 1 killed its pilot.
Gemini on the other hand showed the Americans could manoeuvre freely in space, conduct long duration missions and repeatedly perform rendezvous - something the Soviets did not master until much later. At the same time the Americans had perfected large rocket engines and were able to get their bigger, heavier Saturn V off the pad with just five engines compared to the N1's 30 - which unsurprisingly, didn't work well.
Where the Soviets did score was that when they finally debugged their simple designs they proved exceptionally reliable - it's not poverty that's kept them using the Soyuz and Proton boosters - it's because they've had an epic success with them. And the Soviets did perhaps produce the best main engine ever designed for the N1 - used individually or in pairs it's been a huge success on the Atlas V.
Is there a charitable scientist in the house?
'Good job I don't believe anything spouted by scientists and quango's who's funding & existence tends to rely on spouting it...'
Does this maxim also apply to say oncologists? seismologists? virologists?
The Daily Mail forums are next on the far right.
They're coming from Denmark, compared to Danish the whole 'Bork! put de chicken in de pot! Bork!' dialect of Southern Sweden will be a breeze.
BTW. There's a sense of justice to all this. Now the Swedes are finding out what it was like to be English a thousand years ago - living in constant fear of an invasion from the sea of ferocious Scandinavian hairy rabid killers.
I'm pretty sure Bangor is fireproof
Several hundred years of continuous Welsh drizzle has rendered the place entirely fireproof.
The little blue pills don't really need marketing, but there does seem to be a lot of ads for erectile dysfunction on telly of late (usually during action movies - make of that what you will). They obviously can't show the condition or any before and after photos, so they have to approach the matter in incredibly elliptical manners. Watch one with the sound muted before the info at the end and there is precisely zero chance you'd guess what it was advertising - debt problems? soft furnishings? bedside lighting? a particularly dull holiday park?
Some of these people have children and are all too often willing to inflict their Dark Ages lunacies on innocent people.
'The biggest scam on the planet.'
Organised religion or Sky TV?
Don't forget the bit where the real money making part of the company is shipped wholesale back to the US 'so as to integrate it more fully with our core business'. If you're lucky a few widget makers or telesales jobs are kept over here.
Similar notifications are already issued on Japanese TV and radio, so yes, this is a good idea.
You're missing the vital role of nicotine in boffinry
Most of the modern world could not have been built had boffins not been puffing away on their pipes.
Lester is remaining strangely elusive on the equally vital shed angle of the project.
I like a good shed.
'However I do know that living organisms metabolize radioactive isotopes in a way that dead ones don't, allowing for things such as C-14 dating... so it seems to me to be a valid indicator of 'living organisms''
C-14 is useless for dating almost all fossils as it only has a 5.73ky half-life. IIRC the oldest samples reliably dated using C-14 are only about 60ky.
It can be used to date living and recently deceased organic material because living creatures take up C-14 throughout their life at a known ratio to the stable carbon isotopes. When they die, the uptake of C-14 stops and it begins to decay at a known rate. By measuring the actual ratio found in the sample you can derive an age for the material.
Living organisms preferentially metabolise C-12 over C-13, so their surroundings tend to show a depletion of C-12. There's a similar change in ratio when organisms metabolise sulfur.
This is a fascinating find as it pushes signs of life back to a point within 400 My of the end of the Late Heavy Bombardment which would have plastered the whole planet with massive craters - but which also brought a sizeable amount of the Earth's water.
There are practically no sedimentary rocks of this age left in the world, so this might be the best we can get for now. Although there is a chance fossils from an older rock could be included in a younger conglomerate or breccia. But pretty much every rock of this age has been through at least one phase of metamorphosis which tends to erase fossils as the rocks get cooked.
There is some evidence of life in even older rocks (3.8 Gy) from the Isua Complex in Western Greenland. Some sequences contain traces of graphite enriched C-12 suggestive that they originally came from sediments including living organisms. However, the Isua rocks are in a greenstone belt which has been heavily metamorphosed into gneiss and they've lost their original sedimentary features and any fossils have been baked away.
Fiorina in 'not worst boss of HP ever' shock?
HP really have made a fist of this acquisition which let's face it means the end of WebOS. If the company who own it have no faith in its ability to shift boxes there's no chance another company is going to license WebOS for their own devices. So it looks like Palm is reduced to a nice set of patents to beat other tech companies about with.
And the other thing is the astonishing rate of consolidation we're seeing right now - Nokia, Motorola and now HP all being rendered more or less irrelevant in mapping the future of mobile devices. And this news must surely lengthen the odds on RIM remaining independent for much longer.
Is the lovely LOHAN going to have a tailpipe rocket or tractor rockets? I was thinking (rare I know) that if you used tractors on the end of a long - erm - I'm sure there's a technical name for this, but let's just call it a - stick, with the plane at the far end you might be able ensure the plane is always pointing up and clear of the balloon simply by adjusting the fulcrum about which the plane is suspended so that the rockets always point up and the plane hangs down.
I think like a lot of people I saw the transputer first of all on Tomorrow's World where it was raytracing a shiny Newton's cradle in real time. Thanks for telling the whole story.
And I couldn't help but think of Transputer last year when an Intel keynote conference talk was spent saying how widespread parallel processing was almost here...
Isn't this the one styled by the mistress of taste and refinement, Victoria Beckham?
Somehow it manages to look expensive AND cheap at the same time by appearing to be styled for rap stars who shop at Clare's Accessories.
I don't care if it hits or not
I just want to see a really bright comet some point in my lifetime (possibly right at the end just before the impact). We're well overdue one to rival the beautiful comets of the 18th and 19th Centuries.
PRS-650 is here
Although good luck finding one on the high street. Most Sony stores only carry the smaller 350 and I've not seen one in Waterstones since the week of release. They are still officially on sale and you can pick them up online - and you won't regret it. The 650 is a beast with a gorgeous touch screen and fabulous build quality which is only let down by the umbilical to the Waterstone's store. If that could be severed with a rival to WhisperSync then Sony would have the best reader out there bar none.
A UK version of the 950 (or more likely its follow-up) would be very gratefully received in this household.
I'm not sure how a sustainable Android tablet market can be built on discounting unsold stock. It sucks money away from R and D and leaves the vendors even less competitive against Apple. Their current strategy is following the netbook path of 'me too' substandard products towards total irrelevance. Andrew pointed out yesterday the problem with Android tablets is that they look like iPads but they don't work as well.
From Larry Page on the Google Blog
'We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.'
Which is a bit of a reversal from Google's public statements a couple of weeks ago that they didn't like the blatant patent grab going on right now.
'Is it not the time that industry/government put some serious effort to make mobiles unattractive to thieves.'
Nokia have been trying hard to make their phones unattractive and unusable for some years now.
BBC vs. Sky
I didn't think there was much between the reporting on the two channels, but what was noticeable was that Sky were much slicker at switching to a breaking story or a team on the ground. The BBC was having real trouble linking to crews at the location or even lining up interviews.
The both did well under the circumstances of a massive story breaking across a huge area.
This is going to be a challenge
Many of these pieces will never have been designed to be grappled, so getting an attachment is going to be difficult, and they will probably be tumbling having never had, or have lost attitude control.
Good luck to them and it sounds like a fun project to work on.
(Paris because she is designed for easy grappling and has attitude).
Not floor wax
The distinct tang of Hershey is definitely stale ear wax.
A lardy cloying texture is distinctly a Cadbury's Dairy Milk thing. But the OP is quite right about Hershey chocolate having a nasty chalky texture.
I've always assumed there's a huge overlap between the audience for You & Yours and The Daily Mail.
'Today, the hidden peril of doors. Electricity - it sound terrifying, but is it? We investigate further. And at 12:30 we'll have a live studio discussion over the tragic case of Mrs. Volvox who stepped outside at eleven o'clock yesterday evening to find it was dark. What is 'night time' and how do we ban it?'
Mind you, the misery of accidentally tuning into You & Yours is nothing compared to the unspeakable of horror of 'Moneybox Live'.
Setting aside the gruesome image that evokes
The Apollo astronauts reported seeing bright flashes in their vision when they were travelling to the Moon and back. It was suggested this was caused by sub-atomic particles trapped in the Van Allen Belts passing through their eyes.
Though it does cause problems for satellites. The ISS has to carry extra radiation shielding for the occasions when it passes through the SAN and the Hubble Space Telescope is shut down for its passage. I'm pretty sure it was also linked to the repeated failures of a number of low-orbit comms sats.
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