Re: unintended consequences
" was a witness to the Nagasaki bomb" -- the Nagasaki bomb was not a thermonuclear explosion, just a simple fission bomb, though.
387 posts • joined 25 Oct 2007
" was a witness to the Nagasaki bomb" -- the Nagasaki bomb was not a thermonuclear explosion, just a simple fission bomb, though.
That was not a miscalculation, but ignorance. At the time, nobody knew that Li-7 (a 60 % part of the secondary charge) was highly reactive, hence the runaway reaction: Li-7, being fed Neutrons by the primary charge, more or less amplified what had been intended, by fissioning into fusion fuel. Had they used mostly Li-6, the calculated result would have been achieved.
Before the Castle Bravo test, nobody had known this, hence nobody could calculate the effects correctly. So... OK, a miscalculation, but due to missing data. I would say that makes it a case of ignorance over a miscalculation, since a miscalculation is usually what happens when you have correct data input and still get a wrong result.
I'm thankful that I can sit here and talk about such grand failures of engineering (because that was more or less an engineering problem, not a physics one; the phyiscs underlying the process had been worked out a decade earlier...) and have a beer while not being at undue risk of being incinerated. Pint of Doom Bar, please...
Nah, the layering of frozen gases that allowed the planet-sized catastrophe in the short story seems highly unlikely at this time. Mind, Niven was writing from the state of knowledge at the time.
"That's still smaller than Earth's moon, at 3,475 km – so sorry, Pluto fans, you still won't persuade academic astronomy to upgrade it back to being called a planet."
Even if it were larger than Jupiter, Pluto would not be a planet by the IAU definition, not having cleared its orbit of other objects. On the other hand, of course, any object with the mass of Jupiter would have done so pretty early on. The IAU definition also has no definition based on size as such, only that the object to be called a planet would have to be in near hydrostatic equilibrium, i.e., shaped near-spherically due to the gravity induced by its own mass.
I am somewhat saddened by the many people who insist on categorising Pluto as a planet, when the reason the IAU formed a group to hammer out a binding definition of the term "planet" for the first time was the discovery not only of many approximately Pluto-sized objects beyond Neptune (the TNOs or Trans-Neptunian Objects, most of which turned out to be part of what is now called the Kuiper Belt), but also that there are several objects co-orbiting with Pluto which are not orbiting Pluto at the same time.
The IAU did not, as I once heard from a fellow hobby astronomer, "vindictively downgrade Pluto," but they for the first time defined what a planet actually is. Pluto, if you so will, was unlucky in falling through the grid by not fitting one of the three criteria. Case closed, get over it.
All that said, I am following the incoming data on the first TNO ever explored at relatively close range with high anticipation. This is already very interesting, and will become more so as New Horizons will continue sending the data being gathered during the Pluto encounter over the next two years.
He famously said that so long as you get telemetry about the failure, it's not a failure. We're talking about rocket science here, which often is edge-of-the-art and not just state of it. It's a high-risk business.
So long as they get data as to what went wrong, and how, they can improve on it. That's how progress is made. So, scratch a few million US$ right now if this goes wrong, but in the long run, once the wrinkles have been ironed out, things become more reliable and far cheaper.
Many people these days seem to have forgotten that big things don't happen overnight... big development takes big time, and in space technology, just about everything is big. Musk is sticking with it (like von Braun did, and many others during that crucial period in space travel development). I hope he will continue to do so.
"What can be patched is the underlying security hole in Windows or IE" -- you do realize, of course, that many a sysadmin regards Windows as being the underlying security hole?
@Shadow Systems: beautifully put. Have an upvote.
When the probe was proposed, the mission was considered a little daring—not too daring, but borderline. Considering the amount of data gathered, I am very happy they managed to get it on its way. So, goodbye MESSENGER. You did a great job. May many more probes follow you to refine what you found. RIP (Rust In Pieces), and thanks for a job well done.
That also goes for the people at NASA having planned and realised this mission, of course :)
The difference is that these pictures were taken in regular visible-wavelength Red, Green and Blue, not IR and UV or other combinations, as had been all colour images of Pluto before.
One can overdo the nit-picking, you know...
They are not. They are, however, as the subtitle correctly stated, the first truecolour images ever taken: all colour pictures taken before were filter composites, not true-colour. Which makes this a first, though not necessarily a lets-dance-in-the-streets level one.
I.e., just assign whichever you like to a virtual machine. But that might be a bad move because then some traffic might get mixed up between routers, leading to all kinds of confusion in network traffic. So if you want to intercept traffic, it would probably be better to use a different MAC from the one the router you're spoofing is using--otherwise, you might wake up the admins, who would come investigating after lost packages.
I'm not an expert on this particular kind of attack, but that's my tuppence as a long-time sysadmin.
Actually, 68ks are still being manufactured in radiation-hardened form for space and nuclear-industry applications AFAIK. Development of the architecture has ceased a long time ago, though the Freescale Dragonball CPU borrowed heavily from the m68k.
Just two examples, out of several: Apple bought Emagic in 2002; the Windows version of Logic Pro was dropped immediately afterwards. They also bought Final Cut from Macromedia in 1999 and the extant Windows version, which had been shown at a trade show before, was dropped before being released. Several other software as well as hardware companies have been swallowed by Apple and non-MacOS availability/compatibility was subsequently dropped.
that they're not even mentioning Windows 8 in all this.
...those being Amon Düül II and Passport.
Both are currently active to my best knowledge. Amon Düül II split off from the original Amon Düül, which was a Commune band which had included a certain Ulrike Meinhof and Karl Bader... the members who split off to found Amon Düül II were fed up with the non-professionalism of the group and became rather successful (by comparison).
Passport was founded by honorary citizen of New Orleans, Klaus Doldinger, in the late 1960s to play more experimental music than the Dixieland Jazz he had done before; the band featuring a young Udo Lindenberg on drums for the first album; the style was firmly Krautrock until the later 1970s. Some good stuff, too, including a few TV themes, two of which are still running (both show and theme). From the second album until the mid-80s, their drummer was studio legend Curt Cress. Who in turn had trained one of the drummers I played with in my most successful band. Small world. *shrug*
Passport, these days, is RockJazz in the more classical sense, but they do celebrate their earlier days in concert; well worth attending IMHO. Same goes for AD2 if you can catch them; they don't tour quite as widely, but they do tour.
Seeing as internet services in the PRC as well as the PRK are heavily censored, I view this as the ultimate version of censoring: the censors of the PRK can sit back and enjoy, the internet (and particularly the www) has been censored for them already... and free of charge.
They should consider handing out a free statue of Kim Yong Whichever to whoever did it!
"You as a customer can opt out of it and not have it."
The point is, really, that it should not be opt-out in the first place. Imagine buying a car which, by factory default, gives you about 5 mpg unless you opt-out (in writing, in triplicate, with a copy to the commissioner of whatever...), after which it will give you about 50 mpg. Would you accept that as proper business practice?
I didn't think so...
Opt-out deals should, in my personal opinion, not be allowed to even be offered. Many customers do not make the effort to go through all the tiny print and then call up their representative, fill in all the forms, send them in to the right department, and so on and so on.
If people want a service, they will be willing to opt-in. So let the providers offer opt-in stuff instead of basically trying to sell the whole boathouse to everybody who just wants a paddle.
That is, I am assuming their contract does not state prominently and explicitly that by accepting the terms and conditions they have to accept hosting a public WiFi hotspot.
If that is not the case, I hope we get to see Comcast burn for this one. Because that's a no-go.
" It implies a satellite to satellite link system."
Yup. The satellites are talking to one another. Helps a lot with calibration, too.
"Why not just turn it on and see if the system works with sats that are in such wonky orbits?"
Because "in such wonky orbits," unfortunately, the orbit is likely to be rather unstable, making constant re-calibration necessary. In the intended orbits, the satellites already up can help guide the other satellites into their proper spots, without constantly spending reaction mass that was originally intended to do course corrections for the next 10 years.
Basically, by right now spending approx. half of these two satellite's reaction fuel, they can save many times that for the (literally) up-coming satellites. The end result is most likely going to be that replacing these two birds earlier than planned is actually going to save the ESA some money. Sounds weird, but then again, this is Rocket Science ;) -- there are a couple of lessons available here (and the people at DASA are already working on them) which may make future additions to geolocation satellite systems more efficient.
Commonplace? In which universe? I have not recently seen a single one in a work environment (except those used as iPad stands at NBC News). The last Windows-based tablet I actually saw in a work environment was an older HP job, roundabout 2008 or so, and only used because one piece of specialized, hospital-internal software could no longer be ported to anything else because the developer had died and taken the source code more or less with him.
"Why would you want or expect to see results that include a page of results."
Bit of a misunderstanding there. I did not talk about results pages by other search engines, but actual result hits, like the mentioned videos posted at various sites not run by Google e.g.
Actually, most people doing a web search are indirectly forced to use Google. And Yahoo. And Bing. And so on. Because all major search engines cross-reference each other. Yahoo search checks back on Google. Bing is Yahoo anyway. AskJeeves uses both to get its results, and so on.
The problem here is the weighting of the results. Google naturally wants to promote its money-making divisions, so places its own services higher up in the result listing even if they are less relevant than other companies' services. You will hardly ever do a search through Google and find Vimeo's or other online video service's items placed before YouTube offerings, even if they are clearly more relevant to the search, and the Google-internal results are often "optimised" so that any search results hosted by other companies are off the first page of results.
Most people don't even look at the second page at all. So the contention here is that Google is using its market-leading position by using simple psychology to generate more business for itself to the detriment of other companies.
If you look at the underlying situation, telling people "if you don't like it don't use it" does not work, because the average computer user does not even know there are alternatives to using Google, as evidenced by people actually saying they are going to "google" something when in fact they mean to say they are going to do a web search. Google has bought its way into many software/browser suppliers' standard search engine spot. The readership of El Reg is not anywhere near the average end-user, mind you.
Much like Microsoft promoted Internet Exploder in the 1990s by chucking it in with Windows and NT as a non-uninstallable component and pre-installed web browser, the mechanism at work is that most people simply use what is pre-installed and don't even consider the possibility that they are being ripped off. It came with the computer/browser, it works for most people's purposes (finding stuff on the 'net), and that's it.
With this, I find it nice to see that the Mozilla foundation are switching to a different default search engine, though I would personally prefer all browser suppliers to offer the user a choice of standard search engines on first use of the browser, much like Microsoft has been forced to do with browser choices for all version of Windows to be sold within the EU.
Once more, the problem is that the market position of Google is such that most people don't even know there is an alternative; the EU, if I understand it correctly, wants to find a way to remedy that. Whether the proposal discussed in the article will achieve that, I severely doubt, but it is a beginning.
Hey... Saturday already -- time for a beer.
Actually, you are right, and there is a similar game in Scotland, too. It all has to do with the availability of pub meals featuring kale, and, of course, imbibing irresponsible amounts of high spirits (pun intended)... historically, it may have been a way to build up good spirits (in the psychological sense) during the dark time of the year while at the same time getting in lots of vitamin C (from Kale, which has lots of it, as well as other healthy stuff, and is only available in winter). These days, unfortunately, at least in northern Germany, the Boßeln tournaments are usually reduced to just getting to the nearest pub as quickly as possible to then get stuffed and sauced...
William's mention of Bosseln means that he is in the northwest, probably near the North Sea coast. That sport is a favourite all along that coast all the way up to Denmark, and inland in Frisia and the Emsland (just north of the Dutch border).
Nope. Playmobil, or it didn't happen.
"Had a 500gig Quantum Fireball HDD too."
No you didn't. The largest Fireball was 60 GB. Smallest was 1 GB.
"Hmmm: 13+84=100 votes cast. So that's either a 13% approval or an 84% disapproval rating depending on which way you want to spin it."
Surely you mean 16+84=100 etc.
"[...] that SpaceX can do a launch for, at best figure for an Atlas V, 3 times less [...]"
You mean to say that SpaceX can offer a launch and pay NASA back twice the amount Boeing are asking? (or do you mean, one third the price...)
Yes, there is. If you choose manual disc setup during installation with most distributions, you get the option to have any of the branches you mentioned in its own partition. Or any other you'd like to get out of the system tree.
"[...] data was never transferred to the US. It has only ever existed in the US [...]"
Yes, the data was transferred to the U.S. When data is being accumulated by the likes of Facebook from an entity (e.g., a user) being at that time outside of the U.S. and added to a database being handled from inside the U.S., then that data is transferred. After all, Bacefook does have more than enough servers outside the U.S. to handle all data from its non-U.S. users, but prefers to collate its databases inside the U.S.
I don't blame them for that as such; after all they have to please their shareholders. But can you guess why I'm not using their services and probably never will?
Where you're right, you're right. Hence, I have withdrawn my earlier post, though it was not meant completely seriously. Should have used a more appropriate icon, maybe :P
@joeW: the point being that with certain other manufacturers, you rarely need to rely on warranty.
"Who is running this thing anyway?"
I think Oracle are, at this time...
Correct; a 2-year warranty has to be given free of charge. Not all customers, however, are aware of that...
I just hope it's not Schrödinger's computer.
...I find Adobe have lost the ball with their move to subscription-only. For most purposes in Pre-Press, GIMPshop (which is based on the GIMP, but can do CMYK colours--a must-have in Pre-Press!!!), Scribus (which lacks some of Quark XPress' and InDesign's features but stacks up extremely well against anything else on the market--think PageMaker 7 meets VistaDesigner) and Inkscape do the job, with one single lack, and that is interoperability. No drag-and-drop from one to the other etc., which is the thing that made the CS dominate the market.
Mind, for me, that is not a problem because I'm not in pre-press any longer. I use those three applications for my own purposes, plus for my photography work, Aperture, which takes more than enough care of the tasks I used to do with Photoshop.
Half a decade back, I had to buy the CS4 for business reasons. Guess that will remain the final version of Adobe's products I'll ever buy.
I would love those, too, esp. to explore the atmospheres of those two extreme bodies, plus a few other interesting features including the likes of Mimas. Mind, depending on the incoming results of New Horizons, there might be another New Frontiers-level mission forthcoming which does either a tour or takes on Neptune. Or ESA finally decides to do a stand-alone deep-space mission and sends some serious materiel out there. The Huygens lander proved they have the know-how.
"[...]...why Pluto? [...] say, one of Jupiter's or Saturn's moons that may or may not contain an ocean. The asteroid belt has some some interesting objects. [...]"
At the time New Horizons was planned, there were already missions either on their way or being planned (and on their way by now) that target all of those objectives. The Dawn mission is checking on the Main Belt (particularly, Vesta and Ceres, but the spacecraft does the occasional sideways glance on the way), Cassini/Huygens is still busy in between Saturn and its moons, there is a lander mission being planned for Europa, and so on.
Pluto, being a potential KBO, is the nearest such that we know of, and the entire Kuiper Belt is a rather unexplored place which probably holds a lot of insights into how our solar system came together, so it's a logical area to explore.
Personally, I wish the funding for the originally planned Kuiper Express probe would have come together; the potential scientific gains would have been far larger, but there you go, NASA doesn't get the kind of funding they actually need.
...over the last 15 years was and remains the Victorinox Cybertool. Has everything one needs to (literally) screw around with hardware. At one place, they used to call me the "walking toolbox" because I always had the right screwdriver/tongs/scissors/uninsulator/etc. in my pocket. Plus, it features a bottle opener... cheers :)
Similar situation for me, so I figure I'll just post my home/office (I mostly work from home...) setup.
Based around a Buffalo NAS/media box, 4 discs, RAID 0+1. The box, besides being a file server, also offers various media and streaming services, including iTunes media and various standards fit for "smart" TVs. Connected to my in-house network via gigabit Ethernet.
The upper floor is wired; I have an 802.11 ac wireless bridge to downstairs, which floor again is wired. Living room: huge Samsung TV (can get HD/3D video from the box on its own) with a 3D/surround theatre box underneath which is connected to the intranet. Sitting room: much smaller, cheap-o smart TV, also no player needed. Upstairs, one workstation has surround sound and 24" screens, so that works just fine with the VLC playing anything the NAS can throw at it.
The NAS box supports ACLs for access control; those can be set up on an inclusion (only the following are allowed...) or exclusion (everybody except...) basis. For backup, I have set the box up to automatically do its backups onto an attached USB drive, and to another, rather more basic NAS sitting in the basement, via Ethernet. That may seem excessive to some, but my primary NAS holds not only video and audio, but also all my work and customer data, which I'd rather not accidentally lose.
I have one workstation equipped with DVB-T reception and occasionally record broadcasts; those are saved as h.264 videos on the box and are therefore available anywhere in the house immediately after recording finishes.
That said, I think I'll sit back with a cold one and enjoy a movie...
@nanchatte: so you say you're not on the programme, too?
Don't Buy Software That Comes in Yellow Boxes.
"Yet any other country [...] would probably have shut down such newspapers, imprisoned the owners and probably shot the journalists."
And the U.S. didn't try to shut Snowden down?!?
I think it works... after all they do take some air along with them ;)
No compressed air bottle icon, so I'll use the next most important thing...
Exactly what I was thinking there; thank you for clarifying where I failed to do so in my original comment. Have an upvote :)
@Graham Marsden: I had not been aware of that series, but yup, that's the general idea! (and, of course, also have an upvote for pointing out the Prior Art here :P )
...that somebody actually does something about space junk.
Personally, I would like to have an international co-operation that agrees to de-orbit or otherwise eliminate anything in orbit that is not registered. So, a piece of space junk, be it defunct TV satellite or non-registered spy satellite, would be tracked, the orbital and any other obtainable data posted for six months at a central registry site, and if nobody claims the object within that time, get it the hell outta there.
We (mankind) have been able to shoot garbage into space for far less than a century, yet there is an incredible amount of stuff up there that serves absolutely no purpose, but makes it more and more hazardous to place anything else in Earth orbit, and that "anything" includes humans.
Come to think of it, I figure it would also be fair that the companies or organisations that put the junk up there in the first place be billed for its removal. They could have planned and engineered for de-orbiting or otherwise removing their scrap metal once it became such, after all, but obviously didn't, leaving it to others to clean up after them.
Maverick thought here: there are a lot of very valuable resources in various Earth orbits. Rare Earth metals, gold, other precious materials which have already been refined to usability so would be relatively easy to recycle at a much lower cost than that of originally refining them. I wonder whether it would become feasible, once the various private space ventures manage to get an affordable ground-to-orbit transport together, to "mine" disused satellites?
Just an idea.