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* Posts by mr.K

211 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

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Cave pits, ideal for human bases, FOUND ON MOON

mr.K

Download directly to Earth

Since the moon is tidal locked* to Earth and the maria are all on the side facing Earth, maybe we can just pick one that has line of sight from the bottom to earth?

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Spinning SPACE DUCK is comet-chasing Rosetta probe's PREY

mr.K
Black Helicopters

Re: the Age of Miracles & Wonders

I have never understood the claim that we don't have flying cars. We have had them for years. They are called helicopters.

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ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial

mr.K

Re: Don't mean to be a cynic but...

I am pretty sure Mars' current geology rules that out.

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NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years

mr.K

Re: probability...@technicalBen

First of all you are confusing statistics with mathematics. In mathematics we operate with certainties and there you are quite correct that all that we can know with a sample size of one is that all we actual know is that there is at least one thing to sample and at least one of the entire population has the traits of that sample.

But you see, that is where you have effectively argued that all sampling is meaningless. If there are a thousand black sheep on the field in Scotland all you know is that there is at least one field in Scotland, it has one thousand sheep and they are black on at least one of their sides. And so on. When you operate with certainties you will never know before you have sampled the entire population.

In statistics however you will try to quantify the different uncertainties. In science we can then use this to set certain thresholds to circumvent the problem that you often can only disprove certain things and never prove them. Basically all that we can know is that we are*, which makes it very hard to build a scientific foundation on.

Back to our sampling. I have never claimed and will never claim that if you take one sample that whatever qualities that has is the only one present in the population. To claim that I did by arguing against it is quite frankly something you should consider yourself too good for. What I am saying is that it is highly unlikely that you have found a unique entity in the population**. And this is what I mean with resolution. The bigger the sampling size the better resolution you get on the picture it casts on the entire population.

*Cognito ergo sum

**With regards to certain attributes. All humans are unique when you come down to it, and thus by selecting any individual out of the entire population you will never find any one equal. But that is not what you are after when you look at groups. You have to look at traits that are similar. Like how many legs, skin colour, reads the Register and so on.

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mr.K

Re: Helium

Yes, helium are something we kind of jettison into space. Our current usage liberate it prematurely from the crust and in a greater rate than it is replenished. So throw it in with my other exceptions. Still, I think a nearby gas giant is a better place to go than invade Earth to take over natural gas reserves (which is where most of our helium comes from I believe).

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mr.K

Re: probability...

Others mention the Drake equation as a reply here, but all that really does is to replace one unknown as a product of unknowns. I am not saying it doesn't have a value, but it's value is with establishing what we need to figure out in order to estimate a number.

However when it comes to answering this question we are left with one observation. There is life on one planet. The question "Are we alone?" actually becomes what are the chance that this one planet we have observed is the only one with life? If you are a visitor in our universe and you pick out one planet from one planetary system from one galaxy and that planet has life, then you can out of a sample size of one say that life is very common. In contradiction to what quite a few people believe in statistics a sample size of one will reveal quite a lot about what you have sampled. The resolution is just quite bad. However, we are not a visitor that pick out a random planet. So that is completely negated by the fact that the one planet we are observing is the one we are on and that the only reason we are observing it is because it has life in the first place.

So we are back at square one. Or not quite. We can look at the probabilities of probabilities. Since we know nothing how probable the different probabilities we have to regard them as random. What is the likelihood of a probability that produces one and just one planet with life at a given point? Well, we are still in the unknown here, but I find it extremely unlikely. To put it another way. Of all the results of the Drake equation the numbers of results that is not one is much much bigger than the results that is one. (The probability of the probability of each of those is not equal, for instance zero is probable bigger than the rest, but you get the idea.)

There is one problem though is that we are assuming one universe here. In a multiverse with infinite outcomes you suddenly make all the probabilities that is near zero valid again since all you need is for one of those universes to produce one instance of life at one point in time.

No, what we need to figure out how life started in the first place. Then we can establish how unlikely that was to happen when the conditions were right.

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mr.K

Re: Just waiting for EELT

You say close up. A dot or possibly two that represents that biggest planets out there is more likely.

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mr.K

Re: A quote from Hawking

Resources on a planet can for the most part never actually be used up. It is one of these layman views on the world and how it works that is simplified until it is plain wrong. There are a few exceptions. We could theoretically use up radioactive materials and some fusion materials like heavy hydrogen. Also we can in theory, but that will take a stupid amount of effort, take in use all of some of the elements present on the planet. For instance we could mine out all the gold and take it in use, but unless we start shooting it out into space or radiate it with particles to turn it into lead we will never use it up. Gold will forever be gold.

Chemical compounds such as oil and coal can be taken out of the ground and spent. Then we have to lower our consumption to whatever rate it is replenished, which is quite small, or we have to make it ourself. But since what we really get out of fossil fuel is energy and not the chemicals themselves*, we can get that from somewhere else. If there is one thing we do not lack, it is energy. At this particular point in time though we do have a somewhat limited supply of energy we are able to use. We are also quite bad at making use of the energy we do spend. However let us assume that if we were able to build ships that could send our entire species through space then we are also able to make decent solar panels.

Then we have such things as food and other resources we harvest. But that is just it, we harvest them which implies that there is a replenishing supply. We can screw up the supply by over harvesting, but it is a hell of a lot easier to regulate the outtake than to go to another planetary system, adapt an existing flora (in lack of a better word) or terraform to suit your needs.

Expansion and colonization is of course valid reasons to go out there, but using up the resources are just stupid. Resources are used not spent in a close systems such as these. Whatever Hawkins are thinking of I don't know and I haven't bothered to read up on it, but I have some much faith in the man that it is either something he just said as some thinking aloud, he just wanted to seed a discussion and spark an interest in the population or his argument is more complicated than that.

*The chemicals are quite easy to make if we have energy.

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mr.K

If only

It is not as this new tech will enable us to see or take pictures of these exoplanets. In fact we will never be able to make technology that is able to do that from this system. There simply isn't enough data in the photons that reach us to do that. What we are doing is that we are creating instruments that is able to pry a little more data out of the few photons that do make it here.

We are not even able to take pictures of any decent quality of most of the planets, dwarf planets and moons in our own system. We have to send out probes to do it. Take Pluto for instance that we have not yet visited. Here is the best picture we have so far:

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/display.cfm?Category=Planets&IM_ID=10363

We can do of course is send probes, but I am sad to say that we will not be able to do that to other systems while I am alive. But we will get better pictures of Pluto next year. May 5, so clear your calender :)

So...we will be the blindfolded kid in the candy store. Dunno if that is worse or not.

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NASA aborts third attempt at finally settling man-made CO2 debate

mr.K

Re: Maths?

From what I have learned from meddling with astrophysics two million is well within around a million. I would say around a million covers from two hundred thousand to five million.

What I can't figure out is how the same guys manage to do orbital calculations. I imagine the same does not apply when launching things into space.

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Black hole three-way: Supermassive trio are 'rippling' space

mr.K

Re: @ Loyal Commenter - not only, but also......

I am not so sure that four billion light years away in this setting doesn't mean distance to where the black holes were when they emi... didn't emit any light. In astronomy it makes just as much sense to speak of the light travel time distance as to talk about comoving distance. After all that is what you are actually observing, an object that is x billion light years away. The fact that it has moved a lot in the time light took to reach us and that space itself has expanded doesn't change the fact that we are observing something now that was x billion light years away then. If we suddenly should talk about where it is now we might as well talk about that it might not even exist either. Now I had said what I needed to say, under follows a rant.

It bugs me that they have buggered this up in the observable universe definition. It is in the name for <deity here>'s sake, observable. To talk about the comoving distance then is just mind-bogglingly stupid. We are not observing a 46 billion light year universe, we are observing a 14 billion light year universe. Where these things are now doesn't matter as we are not observing them as they are now anyway. If anything we should talk about the angular diameter distance which does factor in the expansion of space, but instead of projecting what we observe in the past into how it is now it tracks backwards to how far away we were at the time light where sent out. So it would make more sense to say that the observable universe is about three billion light years in every direction. However, I do think the muppets, fiddlers and semanticeers have settled this already I am afraid, so they can argue with people that don't care at parties about "No that is a misconception, the observable universe is 45,7 billion light years in radius, you see..." after that they will go on at lengths about how glass is either solid liquid or a liquid solid.

The thing is that when you talk about distance and you have several ways to measure it you have to actually tell us what metric you use. Once you do that any argument falls flat since it is in the clear what you mean. For instance measuring distances on Earth and you say "in a straight line" it usually means staying on the surface and not cutting through planet. But you can still go to parties and say "but a straight line doesn't curve so the distance between New York and Los Angles is really, yada yada".

As for your orbiting itself or each other comment, the sentence in the article makes perfect sense.

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mr.K

Re: different terminology please

Stop using the phrase low brow, it makes you sound elitist.

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mr.K

solar/star/planetary/sheep system

I am pretty sure that solar system is what you are thinking of. I was contemplating the same myself. However, I am unable to figure who actually decides what these words and expressions should mean.

Solar system: 1. The gravitational system of Sol. Usually referred to as "our" or "the" solar system. 2. A gravitational system of a star. Also named a planetary system.

Star system: A set of stars gravitationally bound together. Usually just a few, but the definition holds for what is usually referred to as star clusters and galaxies as well.

However, personally I would prefer star system as the general term of a solar system.

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Shine on you crazy diamond: Distant dwarf may hide space jewel

mr.K

Re: Dunce hat

I want one! If I am qualified? I had to look it up, does that count?

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mr.K

Re: Core temperature @loyal commenter

I think you will find that the core temperature of a white dwarf is anything but equal to the surface temperature. I have not done the math on this, and I have only backed up my initial thoughts on the matter to the wikipedia article on white dwarfs, but it is quite simple.

1. If they are isothermic or close to it and you a have surface that is a few thousand Kelvin the radiation will be quite high as that is not far from an active star. Of course in total quite a lot less since the surface area is a lot smaller. But the heat capacity simply isn't big enough to keep this running for billions of years with a core temperature that is the same, even with it's big mass.

2. If the core at an active star is several million degrees and the surface only a few thousand, why would that change when it collapses after fusion stops?

Anyhow, white dwarf interior physics is not my specialty, but I find this bit from the wiki article not to contradict my limited understanding:

Although thin, these outer layers determine the thermal evolution of the white dwarf. The degenerate electrons in the bulk of a white dwarf conduct heat well. Most of a white dwarf's mass is therefore almost isothermal, and it is also hot: a white dwarf with surface temperature between 8,000 K and 16,000 K will have a core temperature between approximately 5,000,000 K and 20,000,000 K. The white dwarf is kept from cooling very quickly only by its outer layers' opacity to radiation.

So you are right it being isothermic, just that is has an atmosphere/surface that is not.

Its cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere,

I'm all alone, more or less.

Let me fly, far away from here,

Fun, fun, fun, In the sun, sun, sun

*As for the original question what does 5000 times cooler mean, the closest I got was in total radiation. If you ignore the to the power of four bit in black body radiation you get that it's surface is about one ten thousandth and the temperature is about half.

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Sky-scraping boffins mash amateur astronomers into huge virtual telescope

mr.K

Re: Precedent

You run the algorithm on sets of pictures on objects where you already have superior resolution pictures taken with better equipment. Then you compare, calibrate, try again until you can with confidence say that it isn't so. Kind of like what you do for any development cycle for virtually any technology.

doh!

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Hubble Telescope loosens Kuiper belt to reveal ICY BODY for NASA boffins' PROBE

mr.K

Re: KBOs have not been seen close up? Come on pull the other one!

I am not sure comets actually qualify as Kuiper belt objects as they are not orbiting out there any more, as is the case with 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as Rosetta is visiting, or their entire orbit is only partial placed in the belt. Besides they didn't use the term Kuiper belt object just Kuiper belt and comets are no longer part of it and thus no of the bodies out in the Kuiper belt has been seen up close. Then there is this small detail that the comets are more likely from the scattered disc and not the Kuiper belt, but we are now in a region of astronomy which is largely unexplored which mean the definitions are still being hashed out. (What is what and if one is part of the other is apparently up to debate)

Regardless of all this. If you let comets be KBOs and also a part of the Kuiper belt and that we seen a few up close* they are still fundamentally different from the objects still out in the Kuiper belt. Being regularly so close to the sun that the surface melts and vaporises does change you a bit.

The meaning of the paragraph was quite clear to me. It is possible to add two pages extra to add layers of precision, but pedantry-proofing articles makes them unreadable.

*I don't think we actually have any close up pictures from Rosetta yet.

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Splash! Three times as much water as ALL of Earth's oceans found TRAPPED underground

mr.K

Re: RE. Re. Equilibrium

Er...I do think balloons needs the internal pressure to remain there once inflated, or am I missing something?

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MIGHTY SOLAR FLARES fail to DESTROY CIVILISATION. Yes!

mr.K

Re: X scale

I finally found a page that explained it properly. The letter scale is logarithmic, but the number is not.

http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/scales/solar_flares.htm

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'GODZILLA WORLD' of the DRAGON CONSTELLATION - scientists

mr.K

Re: Increase tidal force?

I did consider that briefly and now I have considered in a little more. I actually think it doesn't matter.

Consider Earth. Disregard the fact that most of it is liquid, because it is too viscous to follow the tide. Look rather at the rather the water on top. It is has a low viscosity or is pliable if you want. Still, the tidal force isn't enough to increase it more than a few meters. And it doesn't matter which part of the mass that bulges as long as there is enough left of the pliable mass. So if Earth was instead made up of a perfect liquid with the same density as the Earth has now it would not have higher tides. Gravitational force will reach an equilibrium against the tidal forces and the centripetal force from the spin.

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mr.K
Paris Hilton

Increase tidal force?

Gongjie Li [...] says: first, the expanding star will heat the planets, boiling off their atmospheres, while increasing solar tides will stretch the planets into egg-shapes.

I really don't get this. Tidal force is a result of gravitational force. Gravitational force is not in any way affected by the radius of the body that exerts it. The only two factors that matter is the mass of the body and the distance you are from it's center of mass. If you are moving into something that can be considered uniformly distributed along each distance to the center. As you can when you dig into an actual body or as you progress towards the center of a spiral galaxy. You can discard all the mass that is further out than yourself and only consider the mass that is closer than yourself to the center to calculate the net gravitational force you are experiencing. It does not matter whether all the matter on the inside of yourself is condensed into a perfect hollow sphere* you are a millimeter away from or that if all of the matter is condensed into a point in the center. The gravitational force you experience is the same.

Since tidal force is something you experience since a body actually has volume and thus parts of it will be further away from the center of mass of another close by body. This means the gravitational force on the particles it is made up of will be slightly different and this is in effect the tidal forces.** But again, as long as there is space*** between the bodies and the mass remains the same the gravitational force will remain equal on each of those particles with regard to the volume of the both of them and thus the tidal forces will remain equal.

Please enlighten me if you see the flaw in my reasoning or what I didn't get from what Gongjie said.

*Assume a theoretical hollow sphere that has the same mass as the theoretical body we started with and that is infinitely thin. If you are unable to, assume it to be 1 mm thick. Both are equally impossible.

**Almost, but not exactly.

***geddit?

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IT'S ALIVE! ISEE-3 responding to commands

mr.K

Re: I'll say one thing for NASA

To a certain degree it is already happening, but there are limits to this cheapened technology effect. Mainly it is in launch cost. As long as we can't really cut deep into the cost of putting something in orbit there will be a lower limit on how cheap you will make the satellite itself. Of course smaller size of electronics means smaller satellites means less weight means lower launch cost. Putting a Jesus Phone in orbit doesn't really cost that much (with only regards to weight and it would of course have problems with it's antenna as it is very hard to hold it right in zero-g). But you need shielding etc and launch will always be a big part of the cost. And any custom build tends to end up with lower weight.

Secondly there are all sorts weird engineering challenges you really have to consider and the series will always be small when it is going to space.* So the engineering cost is usually higher than the parts, and series production can help on that a little, but I imagine it is more helpful in cutting down time from idea to launch rather than cost. For a long time we have sent outdated technology to space, not to mention how outdated it gets during it's time of operation.

*look up whiskers and space

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EBAY... You keep using that word 'ENCRYPTION' – it does not mean what you think it means

mr.K

What I do not get is that how somebody with staff level access were able to download the whole database, or whatever large part of it it was. Shouldn't there be mechanisms in a system like this that searches for abnormal user behaviour and reports it somewhere where somebody human is on watch. Checking out one or two, or a few hundred accounts a day is one thing, downloading the whole thing is another. It seems to me that the security was mostly on keeping the perimeter secure, but once you are across the fence you could do whatever you wanted.

Then again, this is somewhat far from what I do, so please enlighten me if I there is something I have missed here.

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NASA agonizes over plan for Mars rock sample return mission

mr.K

Re: Serious question

*downer alert*

Nah, you are suggesting that we go to space before we walk. Traveling to another solar system is a mind boggling task that we don't have any ability to execute whatsoever. If we dedicated our world's total production capacity of manhours, resources, "brainhours" etc, i.e. used all of it leaving nothing to keep us alive and entertained. Then we could probably after a few years figure out a way to send something out there that send a few humans out to the nearest star and the ability to go back again. It would require them to reproduce underway to mantain the crew since we are talking about over a hundred years long trip.

Space exploration is pretty much dictated by what current technology is able to provide. It does in itself push the envelope on technology, but is still dependent on whatever is available of technology. To go to Mars is probably within reach if we really really wanted to, but anything else we just have to wait to see.

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mr.K
Go

#bringSpiritBack

If one do go to Mars to pick up something, it'll better be Spirit. It deserves nothing less!

http://xkcd.com/695/

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Cold War spy aircraft CRASHED Los Angeles' air traffic control

mr.K

Re: Emergencies? @ mr.K

A little late, but in case you read it.

Emergencies should be handled by an operator regardless, and I imagine if it had been flagged as an emergency the system would cope as it would widen the rules for rerouting other planes in the sky.

I did not say it should go on strike, I said it should hand over things it can't handle to an operator, which is more or less the whole point of a air controller system. I prefer that do rebooting in what could easily end up in a perpetual loop of reboots until the sky is clear of planes since they have fallen down.

Sidenote: Not that I read the report all that thorough, but the system is actually producing false emergency flags for operators to handle. Four way collision alerts on what turns out to be two planes and at completely different altitudes. So if they cut down on the false ones, I am sure the operator can handle a once in a blue moon occurrence where it is unable to cope.

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mr.K
WTF?

This isn't a problem I have dealt much with, but I imagine that such programming problems as this routing is fairly hard to predict and thus a cascading complexity of routing can easily occur when it is met with extreme cases. So far so good, or rather bad, but moving on. But am I correct in my assessment* that good programming practice for such a critical system as this would not to be, reboot and try over, but rather to track the individual rerouting problems and count how many steps they would invoke. Then have a break at n steps for then to simply flag it for a human controller to deal with.

It seems rather alarming that such a critical system can cause itself to crash just because it is met with a task that it is too hard for it solve. The system thinking that it needed to be routed down to 10 000 feet is a simple goof. It not being able to solve it is a flaw. That error causing the whole system to go down sounds like a critical system failure. Worsen by the fact that it was not actually solved by the reboot. It could have easily been stuck in the mode as long as the U2 was overhead.

*I am assume here that somewhere there has been a simple filing error. Either by somebody punching in the numbers or an automated form or something. That the flight should never been marked VFR and thus the system should not try to route it accordingly. (Or something similar to this)

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Hey, does your Smart TV have a mic? Enjoy your surveillance, bro

mr.K

Re: Internet of Things

I agree. I have never quite understood why TV-size screens are not a product. It is getting hard get a TV which is not "smart" and those that are dumb still have all this stuff on them like card readers, tuners, speakers and some half written semi-smart programs that lets you see youtube or something.

I want a screen and that is that. No firmware to patch, no Internet connection, no usb reader, no nothing. Ok, so there are muppets out there that buy based on the flashy flashy or technobable that a salesman churns out half remembered from the sales brochure, but are we that few geeks out there that there isn't a market for us?

As for the rest of the things with a brain. I completely agree. The biggest thing is also that you get some sort of semi-standardization. There are way too many players and way too many products out there making it impossible to keep all secure. There just isn't enough engineerhours in the world to make them secure in the first place and update over the years. If you fiddle around a little with most new electronic products with some sort of interface and a brain you will usually find glaring bugs and unfinished parts. On a Philips TV the firmware update menu told us to stick in a usb stick and it would write in some sort of html on it. (likely linked to an autorun feature) It did write in an update.html alright. All it contained was in plain text the word "test". We did find the firmware update on their homepage though, it did not update the update feature. The funniest bit is that the TV does have an ethernetplug and connects to a network just fine, so why the usb stick to update. Anyhow, when the product lifecycle is less than three months before the next version is out, then there is no time to do it right.

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Actual spin doctors eye up ALIEN WORLD Beta Pictoris b: Young, hot ... and really FAST

mr.K

'unless very high temperatures make them fluffier'

Hot bunny planets!

I wonder if there is a pink one out there.

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mr.K

Re: Suggestion

Actually your bucket analogy points towards the opposite, for me at least. Since a planet's spin would be whole bucket with it's contents. The bucket as it rotates doesn't experience much friction towards the outside. The bucket with gravel will have no internal movement and thus no energy lost to friction. The bucket with water on the other hand will have water constantly shifting it's position and thus loose energy to friction as water bumps into water, which I can only assume has to be taken from it's spin.

*Mine is the lab coat. I will have to go and check this.

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mr.K

Mass

Short answer: Mass.

Long answer: It is mass, since Jupiter is the about the biggest volume an object, that is not a star, can reach, regardless of mass. Thus, it is pointless to speak of volume for gas planets, and then of course radius.

The reason for this is that if you add more mass you will increase it's gravity, increasing it's gravity will compress it further. It is like if you throw lose snow in a pile, the more you add, the denser it becomes, but the height doesn't really increase for a while.

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NASA spots 'new' star just 7.2 light years away

mr.K

Re: Solid surface?

Is Jovian body an actual thing? I have heard about Jovian planet, but this is clearly not a planet. We could classify it as a rouge planet, but should the past history of a body really determine it's class instead of it's actual current situation? And it wouldn't make it a Jovian planet anyway, since jovian planets are planets while rouge planets are not. Like dwarf planets are not planets.

As I understand it, in astronomy they make up terms as more and more information come to light, and they also need to revisit earlier definitions to see if they are sensible and useful in describing the universe as it actual turns out to be, not how it was perceived ten or fifty years ago. Brown dwarfs seem to be one of those they are debating. Personally I am in favour of too low mass to sustain hydrogen-1 fusion, but high enough that have or had some type of fusion going at some point.

But then we need a new word for all those minor systems that is probably scattered all over the place. May I coin black dwarf?

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NASA finds first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around star

mr.K

Re: Red dwarf = bound rotation = probably not habitable.

I might as well respond this comment by you also. Yes, I am sure it will. I tried to figure out the formula, and I think I will at some point as I am curious. It is an interesting concept. It would seem that all objects in a non-eccentric orbit will at some point tidal lock. Once you know the radius of the object, the radius of the orbit, the mass of both objects, the spin and some other things which I think is about how easily it is affected by tidal forces then you get a formula that spits out how long it is until it is tidal locked. If you make a few assumptions on the initial conditions, and make the assumptions so that you are on the extreme end of things, then you would get the maximum time it would take for it to tidal lock, then you just need to ask an astronomer which can probably do some clever astronomer calculations on the age of the star and compared the numbers. If your number is way less than the age of the star system, then it is probably safe to say that it is tidal locked. Or you can ask an astronomer to do both as he is likely to be better at doing both calculations.

And I am curious about whether or not this is certain for this particular planet.

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mr.K

Re: mr.K

Well, it all depends on what you compare it with, I suppose. It is the most efficient solution life has come up with on this planet, so in that regard, it is quite efficient. Efficiency of the photochemical process is around one third, I think. Which compared to human engineered photoelectrical processes, i.e. solar panels, is not bad. I tried in these late hours to find figures for it, but you usually get for the whole visible light spectrum, not just bands on light. So it is not directly comparable. I think they are around a quarter efficient atm.

However, I think I kind of compared it with the available energy in solar radiation down here on earth. A combination of the suns Planck curve and the atmospheric window, half of the energy is in the visible spectrum. Since chlorophyll is only able to use half of the visible spectrum and only at max one third efficiency, we are talking about less than 15% in the visible spectrum and less than half of that of the available spectrum. That is under optimal conditions.

Compared to the cost. Well, of course it is efficient. I think a plant that couldn't harvest more energy in the process that it spends would be a very short branch on the evolutionary tree indeed.

As far as I know and am able to read up on the web. I am not a biologist, bioengineer, biochemist or a chemist. Meaning I am not all that sure on most of these figures, but when you add them up, throw in margins of error, take into account that this is a comment section of exoplanets, that I commented on the likelyhood of it being a goth planet and the chlorophyll bit was an anekdote, then I am fairly confident on my claim.

Try Wikipedia on photosynthetic efficiency. For this, it is good enough (and it shows that my figures are rather flattering when you take the whole plant into consideration). If you are interested I think you can get a kick ass greenhouse out of it.

So in essence, I think we do agree, I was probably just not very clear on what it is inefficient compared to. I guess it is the engineer in me that always uses the hypothetical perfect solution as a reference point and use it to measure all other solutions, either implemented or on the drawing board,.

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mr.K

Re: Red dwarf = bound rotation = probably not habitable.

Since Mercury isn't tidal locked around Sol, but locked in a different resonance (3:2 spin-orbit), why does a planet orbiting about the same distance around a much smaller star has to be tidal locked?

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mr.K

Re: The Red Planet

As much as I would love the idea of a freezing cold goth planet out there, I am not that confident that a lower wavelength would equal to black leaves. Quite the opposite in fact. We see from red to blue wavelengths due a combination of the plank curve to our particular star and the filtering in our atmosphere. In that window of the spectrum there is by far the most amount of energy on our planet. Thus not only do we see in that spectrum, but plant life try to make the most of use it. The fact that plants only manage to make use of small bit of the red and a small bit of the blue is the surprising thing here. I.e. because there is most energy in the visible spectrum the plants should be black*. Outside of that bit of the spectrum it doesn't matter and they can be transparent or reflective without any consequence.

So, in the light of a red dwarf with peak wavelength in the infra-red I would argue that it is arbitrary what parts of our visible spectrum they absorb, reflect or refract, except for red. Thus blue, cyan, green or black are all likely candidates.

*The reason they are green is of course that chlorophyll is simply the best chemical evolution has come up with. It is highly ineffective, but evolution is based upon two things. One being that there actually exists a solution that is more competitive. Two, that it is possible to reach that solution through intermediate steps from the current best solution.

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Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code'

mr.K

Re: coding

Popcorn...got to get some popcorn...

Can't watch a fight without popcorn.

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Google hands over $1.4m for unmarked Street View cars in Italy

mr.K

Re: Google cars are obviously recognizable!?

I am not sure about Italy, but I imagine that it would be illegal in my country. You have to have permission by any individual before publishing their picture. There are a whole lot of exceptions and probably a lot of fine law to argue over of course. Some of the basics are that it applies for all private situations. In public it is a little more gray. If the individual is the motive and it hasn't a "public interest" (it is quite strict what that is) then it is illegal. If you are passing by in the background or otherwise is not the main motive then it is illegal. Then there are these considerations about whether or not the photograph can be considered harming an individuals reputation or not.

If I am driving past somebody with a dashboard camera and me and my car is possible to recognize and I am picking my nose at that time, then it would be illegal to post it on youtube if you are a Norwegian citizen or located in Norway. If what you really is trying to show is some sort of other event picked up by the camera, then you should try to make me non-identifiable.

The law is a bit messy about all this, and not really made for the new age of cheap, accessible and mobile video equipment, and I do not have a law degree. So I am not 100% sure about the finer points here.

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mr.K

Re: Just another blatant ...

1.4 million is nothing for a country. The idea that they do this for money is just silly.

And the fact that they are weird looking is only making it worse when you do not know what it is. And of course there is a lot of people that would not understand what it is. I would be very surprised if more than half the population would recognize a street view car for what it is. Some would probably figure it out in the end, but after staring at if for a minute or so you kind of have lost the time window to get out of it's way.

No, this is quite simple, without me being an expert on Italian law, they have just simply broken the law in some way or another. For instance in my country you have to have permission to put up a camera and you have to put up a sign telling the public that you have done so.* The fine is nothing, neither to the company nor the country. It is just a statement. Could easily have been one dollar, or euro. Same effect.

*Strangely enough though, nobody ever cared about the Street View cars here. A domestic company had done it a year or two earlier and nobody cared then either.

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Two guilty over 'menacing' tweets to feminist campaigner

mr.K

Glad to hear it

Muppets.

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Kepler data yields Earth-mass 'gas giant'

mr.K

Re: Proto-planet

A solar system is never done forming, but will continue "clumping together" as long as it's sun is "alive" and long after. There however a few things that will happen that makes part of it more or less stable, and that is mostly planets. Among other things what makes a planet a planet, as per the new definition, is that it has cleared the neighbourhood. In a three-body system, that is system with three bodies of significant mass, and where the mass of one is so big that the last two orbits it, the two orbiting bodies can't be in the same orbit. If their orbits are too close their gravitational pull on each other each time they pass each other either throw both into new orbits or into each other, thus "clearing the neighbourhood". This of course will take a while, and it will take greater and greater time the further out the orbit is. So way out there in what we call the Oort cloud around our star the system is still forming to a degree, but the orbital periods are so long that in fact it might never happen and the gravitational pull from other stars might throw it out of whack. Close to our star though, this is nearly done. We have some debris left over between Mars and Jupiter and a few other places, but mostly it is cleared for stuff.

The planet they are talking about here though has an orbital period of 22 days. That means that if you throw in another body in it's orbit and try to balance it perfectly to avoid collision then you would still probably achieve it within in a year regardless. It had most likely finished forming long before it's host star ignited.

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Silk Road 2.0 busted! At least two arrests as federal crackdown begins

mr.K

Re: It's all good

Isn't the botanical equivalent of wine, like, wine?

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'This BLACK HOLE just isn't BLACK AT ALL' snarl boffins

mr.K

Searching for discrimination in broad daylight...good grief...

If by here you mean The Register with it's slogan "Biting the hand that feeds IT" and by readers mean people that frequently read The Register, I think you need to draw up a venn diagram to answer it. First circle you will have all us geeks that are capable of understanding some the articles in here, otherwise you wouldn't be a reader. The second circle will be the people that are into SM and like to be demeaned by a dominatrix. This because that if you have to take some pleasure in it since they do it to consequently. The intersection will be the people you are asking for. I will not ask you as to why you want to seek out that particular crowd though.

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Samsung is officially the WORLD'S BIGGEST smartphone maker

mr.K

'cause they are better

The non-smart phones are quite a bit cheaper. If I had the cheapest smartphone on the market I would be a bit annoyed if I broke it or lost it. A cheap non-smart phone, not so much. So there is that. Then there is all the other things that they are better at.

They are safer, easier, more durable and you can easily go ten days without charging them.

But it is a different product. If you don't need, don't want (at all, or in some situations) a smart phone, then it is a very good alternative that cost less than lunch. Some people own both a car and a bicycle.

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FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS: Microsoft faces prising XP from Big Biz

mr.K

Re: I don't think so

At some point early last decade the MS operating systems became so stable that I at least have never really seen a crash that was related to the OS itself. Sure I have seen them crash, but always due to poor hardware. Software may of course crash, but that really shouldn't bring down the OS and it doesn't. Bugs in the drivers are the exception to that, and of course that is kind of a hardware issue as well. The only way a hardware vendor has to correct a fault with their hardware is to write in a workaround in firmware or drivers, and this does indeed happen. Not only software makers ship products littered with bugs. Even though testing is more rigorous on hardware, this does happen, and you can't rewire a shipped product.

You would be amazed on how many hardware errors you can run with on a modern operating system and all you notice is the occasional blue screen or similar, if you are unlucky. But people blame the operating system, and they are then made to try to cope with faulty hardware, but there are limits.

And of course it is possible to manage your computer so badly that you do indeed have a buildup of digital garbage as you call it and that you have to either learn how to clean it up or reinstall. But that isn't really the OS' problem. Personally at least the last time I reinstalled a Microsoft OS on my home computers was after a disk crash over ten years ago. And no, they are not slower than when I got them. They rather tends to run smoother and smoother as new drivers and updates come along and I myself get a better and better handle on them.

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Watery asteroid discovered 150 light-years off hints at habitable worlds

mr.K

Re: Wet impact

Are you serious? Hard to tell on the Internet.

In case you are not, after all numbers in science, and specially astronomy, can be hard to get a feeling of:

To increase the sea level with one and a half centimeter we can say that we need to cover the surface with one centimeter of water since one third is land. So how much water is that? Well since a centimeter is so small compared to the radius of the Earth it is simply the surface times a centimeter. The surface of a sphere is:

Ae = 4*pi*re^2

The volume of the water, Vw is then:

Ae*h

We assume a spherical roid hitting us so we figure out how big a sphere we need for that amount of volume, it radius rr would have to be

Vw = 4 * pi * rr^3 / 3

So we end up with:

rr = (3 * re^2 * h) ^(1/3) = 10km

So a roid twenty kilometers across, that is a hell of a big roid, and I think it would cause slightly more problems than one and a half centimeter increased sealevel.

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mr.K

Re: Ceres is 26% water? Hmmm...

Perhaps people have thought of this. Perhaps there are people on this particular rock other than you that have the ability to form simple hypothesis and then afterwards check to see if it holds water or not.

I am pretty far from being an astronomer or an astrophysicist, but as far as I can speculate and a brief reading on the subject the theory is this (keep in mind that my knowledge of this is extremely limited, if in doubt seek an adult or an expert (which normally would be both)):

In the beginning you have a disc of gas. The atoms and molecules bumped into each other and slowed down causing the disc to contract and heat up. Then the center had enough pressure and heat to ignite, i.e. hydrogen starting to fusion. The result was a pressure of particles pushing outwards. The light materials like hydrogen would evaporate due to the heat and stay as gas and be pushed outwards beyond what is called the condensation perimeter where it would be cold enough to condense and it would allow them to stay together and form planets thus reducing the surface area per mass enough that the solar winds would not affect them so much anymore. Further in you were left with the heavier elements and molecules that managed to stay together in the heat and continue to form planets. Therefor you have rock planets in the inner solar system, gas planets at the outskirts and more rocky planets and objects further out again since you have less gas there in the first place and it was dumped large amounts of gas right outside the condensation border, but not any further than that.

So we are left with little gas, most importantly hydrogen at the inner solar system. Oxygen is not so rare since it easily form with heavier elements. Then we have the contraction and forming of rock planets which is violent and reach extreme temperatures. Without any atmosphere, extreme high temperature and a steady solar wind you would lose the rest of your hydrogen very quick. The Earth would probably not form a solid surface in a long long time and let alone any surface cool enough to hold any water. We are now here a few billion years later and still most of the planet is molten rock. Only a thin slice of about 60 km is frozen solid.

So the theory is that we have had to have a rather large import of hydrogen after the formation of the planet itself. And I am guessing that since the oxygen here already was tightly bound to other elements and free hydrogen would be lost to space again if it didn't find anything to cling to, you would be much better off if it came as water in the first place. And there was a "hell of a lot" of stuff in orbit out there in the beginning. The formation took a long long time and we are not yet done with clearing the system of debris.

As for the rare among "Earth-like planets". Er...what do you mean by that? We do know that of the four rock planets in this system only ours have any water to speak of. But you are trying to define them out of your probability calculation, but leaving rock planets with more water in? Yes, that would make Earth unusual dry. Kind of like when I stack of cards by removing all two, three and fours and replacing them with kings and asses. That would make any cards less than six rare.

My point is this: Yes, surely it is simpler to postulate that water was already present during Earth's formation. That is the bleedin' point. If it is simpler to postulate and the collective of scientists that have spent the decades on this dismiss the theory, then you should maybe consider that they have actually thought it through. And if you are curious as to why, pick up a book or visit the Internet.

Bah, now I sound harsh and mean again, but I made a pun I think, so...happy.

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NASA: Humanity has finally reached into INTERSTELLAR SPACE

This post has been deleted by a moderator

We've cracked riddle of ANTIGRAVITY mountains on Saturn's Titan - boffins

mr.K
Facepalm

Re: How do they know...

They don't. They are actually hoping that it is, as that is one of the conditions for existence of sea lions on Titan.

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'Silent' staff stood by as £100m BBC IT project tanked – DG

mr.K

Re: Burnt cakes

Do you not think he needs to master making bad sandwiches also? To rule England I mean. Isn't this the country that there is this persistent feeling embedded in the population that making a sandwich interesting, attractive, or in any way pleasant to eat is something sinful that only foreigners do? That by eating sandwiches in pubs at Saturday lunchtime the British seek to atone for whatever their national sins are.

Or is sandwich making a prerequisite to burning cakes?

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