15 posts • joined Wednesday 21st March 2007 16:11 GMT
2299th birthday, surely?
I always thought the year before 1AD was 1BC. Some years (that I wish I could forget) spent debugging other people's Fortran 77 makes me particularly sensitive to this kind of thing.
The term 'aerostat' avoids all these problems, meaning simply a lighter-than-air craft. The concept of 'blimpworthiness' can then be replaced by asking whether or not a particular event has reached aerostatistical significance.
Probably cheating, but...
Geostationary orbit at a height of 1" above table level should be maintainable for 9 days. Magnetic levitation would probably be the way to go.
Original choice of icon was based on a poor quality innuendo involving keeping something up for over a week - so I think I deserve the coat instead.
Re: Proper Hologram from LCD
Ah, but if you're only aiming or 5 degrees of viewing angle, then your Nyquist wavenumber gets multiplied by sin(5 deg), I guess. With a factor of two in there for good measure, I make that something like 700nm / (2 sin(5 deg)), or about 4 microns per pixel. Still quite small, though. It probably doesn't work like that though, or there's be all sorts of diffraction problems.
This is probably why holographic television requires more than just a bunch of us semi-informed commenters to invent it.
I second that, Tim. To elaborate, it is a two-syllable word, which I was told by a man in a pub comes from the sound one makes when walking barefoot across blocky lava flows. This, however, does not shed any light on why its smoother-surface equivalent is called 'pahoehoe', other than that the Hawaiian language must be full of really cool words.
Re: Daft unit
I agree, the idea of naming a new (rendundant) unit for measuring area is bizarre, but it should cut down on a prevalent error amongst non-techie types (which I would like to call "Greengrocer's Dimension", and which may one day spawn a Dr Who episode). Here in France, where land areas tend to be given in m^2, a browse through any property magazine will yield dozens (sorry, Brussels, I mean tens) of houses which come with, for example, "1.2km^2 of land". It invariably turns out that they come with a much more stingy (but quicker to mow) 1200m^2.
Mine's the one with the size expressed in Calories per mmHg per Acre.
Blowing up space rocks
I'm not sure that shooting it down or blowing it up (or whichever direction you shoot and/or blow stuff in zero gravity) is as easy as all that. Has anyone worked out what happens if you set off a large explosion near to a target (but not touching it) in a vacuum? Might be a fun finite-element modelling exercise. Could probably get research council funding for it, providing you demonstrate it has applications to climatology :)
A seismologist writes..
I hope this finally means that BBC hacks and new labour press officers will look up what the word 'seismic' means, and stop using it as a synonym for 'big'. Here are some news.bbc.co.uk headlines from over the last few years:
Liverpool toasts 'seismic' victory (Jun 03)
'Seismic shift' needed over abuse (Nov 05)
Seismic change in the post (Aug 06)
They're on shaky ground.
(On second thoughts, perhaps I should have chosen the coat icon)
To those of you who may not think that spelling matters, I can assure you it does. I remember once playing a text-only MUD for a brief time. Imagine my excitement when, after a couple of hours, I opened a box to find my very own light sabre. I immediately high-tailed it over to an arena, and challenged everyone to a fight. I must have lost a dozen times until some kind fellow pointed out to me that what I had in my hand was just a sabre that wasn't heavy.
fastest vs shortest
Does anyone actually use the 'shortest route' option for trying to get anywhere? The only use I've found for it is playing greenlane roulette. You take an area with lots of ancient vehicular rights of way (out here in the Pyrenees is good), plus a GPS widget which knows about them, and drive randomly into the countryside. You then drive home via the shortest route.
A couple of rounds of this game will teach you exactly how useful the 'shortest route' option is. I've got a land rover defender, and even that has failed to follow the route on one occasion (there was a 6' oak tree growing out of the middle of the road - I guess I was the first bit of traffic in a while).
What would be good, though, is a GPS which remembers what speeds you generally drive down certain roads or types of roads, perhaps according to the time of day, and adjusts accordingly. That would mean that anyone stumbling across a heavily traffic-calmed residential road would probably do so only once. It would also stop the thing sending me down motorways all the time when I can't go faster than about 60.
I wonder if anyone has ever proposed an inverse Turing test? Any human that can successfully fool someone into thinking they're a machine might as well be an inanimate object, no?
It looks from your description of bell curves, etc. that the distribution they're using is essentially 1D - and that will translate into an isotropic (circular) 2D distribution. Surely, when aiming through a beery haze, the lefty-righty bit is easier than the uppy-downy bit. The Gaussian should be taller than wider, when seen projected onto the vertical dartboard. It might even have a bit of a slant to it. I find double 11s easier to hit than double 20s, for example. I think an anisotropic scatter would change their results somewhat, and they haven't even started to factor in Monte Carlo simulations of how likely a finish is in a game of 501. Also, where's the Plant and Soil Science angle?
..I'll get me coat.
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