32 posts • joined Saturday 2nd February 2008 19:16 GMT
Re: Stupid question
No no no, what you need is "Light Inextensible String", available by the mega-furlong
in any mechanics problem near you when you were 18 or so. You don't even need to
turn off friction.
Way back when there were still shops selling videodiscs (OK maybe I'm exagerating)
some friends and I proved that it violated causality.
We already have (single use) technologies that can automatically select their own targets. Have had for years.
I'm thinking of the spectrum of missiles, (e.g. anti radar-installation, anti tank, anti-aircraft, anti-missile, etc), mines (sea and land), and so on. About the only difference is that "killer robots" presumably have a
shorter loiter time than your average WWII mine, and if we're lucky they might struggle if there are stairs / pylons in their way.
EEPROM + UV?
The whole massive advance of EEPROM over EPROM was that the thing was Electrically Erasable, no need
for your UV gadget. Or leaving it in the sun for a long while if you were hard up. Maybe Verity's fingers need a holiday in the sun?
How come no one else has commented on this?
Psyx, you've just won my first ever up-vote. Congratulations. Have a vitual beer/cider/whatever.
They used to do that...
Where I grew up we used to play in the remains of a heated public outdoor pool, care of the water works pumping station. Sadly the beam engine it provided cooling for had been replaced with electricity by the time I arrived on the scene, so it wasn't heated any more. Of course now they've gone and built houses there too.
Re: Consider Her Ways
Trouble with lichen
Re: 7 bit US-ASCII - Grrr!
"Most of the accent marks and other character modifiers in latin character set european languages are syntactic fluff and the languages are still perfectly understandable without them."
Really? "syntactic fluff" ? Phonemic maybe, not syntactic for most languages I know.
Letters are there to represent sounds (ignoring English so called spelling rules for the moment)
Change the letter and you change the word. If someone went and replaced all the 'O's in your document with 'U's you'd be a bit upset wouldn't you? People can often guess from context, but not always.
Not looking forwards to living behind an ISP that does NAT'?
Naah, that's old hat. According to traceroute last time I ran it here in the wilds of transylvania our local small ISP provides us with a 192.168.xxx.xxx IP address, his uplink connects to an upstream provider who gives them a NAT''d 10.10.xxx.xxx address, which goes through yet another 192.168.xxx.xxx NAT box. I'm guessing that somewhere in there there's a bit of copper/fibre crossing a border, since those geotracking adverts think I'm in another country!
What amazes me is that skype still works!
power-source? flight time?
Now why do I doubt that the one pictured runs all day on small sips of sugar water? (or other forms of liquid refreshment)
What about impact damage?
Have they done an impact damage (micro-meteoriod and / or space debris) assessment at all?
A) This thing is going to have a big surface area (each wire at 25 micrometers* 40 km length is a square metre), and they are planning to make a disk out of these things. Sounds like hundreds of square metres.
B) Each broken wire is going to go sailing off into the distance, unless these wires are actually in some kind of net (more weight, and not as described in article).
C) A 5 micrometer thick piece of Al foil which was pointing away from the earth for about 6 years in low earth orbit got 30 micrometre holes punched in it at a rate of a 0.5 per day / sq.meter (7*10^-6 impacts / sq meter per second) (MAP experiment on LDEF, Hi to Tony et al if you're reading this)
D) If a particle could make a 30 micrometer hole in a piece of foil, it could almost certainly take out a 25micrometer wire.
So... I'd give each 40km piece of wire about a 2 days lifespan before it breaks somewhere, or maybe 4 days before at least half of it has gone off into the void.
And they want to get to Pluto?
UTC not GMT?
I thought that there was typically a non-zero difference (in seconds) between GMT (average solar time at Grenwich) and UTC (adjusted atomic clock measurement)?
NASA should really use it whatever it's called though.
free-flying solar pannels and engines...
Anyone got a nice dish to listen in with? a few milliwatts can go a long way in space...
Not to mention the issues of larger surface area for getting hit by and making space debris. I like the idea of them putting the solar panels and the engine in separate spacecraft.
No wait... come baaaack!
Headline coming soon?
Newly qualified driver crashes internet and tunnel
After a loosing his way on trip from Clacton to Southend a mole-cruiser driver has accidentally turned the UK's main fibre-optic links to Europe into mush, and caused severe damage to the channel tunnel. Earlier suggestions of terrorist action were quickly denied after the teenager broke through the outer casing of the tunnel and asked for directions to "Saafend".
Whatever happened to using the right tool for the job? Waste all those gigaflops doing things a 486 could do in the same time with a little bit of real code?
How about we apply this logic to building too?
Lego is well known as something that makes it easy to build little models with. Countless people have experience in building with lego and many know exactly how to make a plane from 5 standard (2x4) bricks. So, let's make super-size packs of lego available, that make building a real house possible. That way everyone can design their houses quickly and easily and get them in nice bright colours too. The ultimate in DIY building technology! No more messy concrete! No need for expensive and time-consuming structural engineers and architects. The demand must be there!
Get coat, leave quickly...
The document says "[who's sending messages to whom] is universally regarded as a vital tool for national authorities." but no one is required to put a sender address on a letter in the post, are they?
Am I reading this right?
It seems like she wants at the very least, every ISP to be running tcpdump on their servers, counting UDP packets and TCP connect/disconnects. But reading the doc it seems clear that she also wants some deep packet inspection to read what html page I'm requesting, who that email is going to, whose blog I'm reading, etc. etc.
But my (rural) ISP gives me a NAT address behind a NAT adddress behind a NAT address, so they're going to have to do the logging down at the bottom level servers and pass that info up to the logging machine, which probably means doubling the bandwidth on the uplink ... :-(
And if they looked at my on-line habits all they'll see is various encrypted connections to the
US of A, and Germany, which won't help them see who I'm emailing, the odd DNS lookup or
10, and of course me spending too much time reading El Reg, bbc news, etc.
If they want to reverse DNS the connections, they'd have to do that query almost packet
by packet, as at least one of the servers I talk to is on a dynamic IP, except that it probably won't
give an answer because of the policies of that server's ISP. I guess the alternative is for each subscriber they maintain a cache of what the DNS servers returned to them (more content logging).
Nice big data-centre, and lots of extra fibre, I guess.
And of course there's also Granny's wireless network which gets hijacked by the half the kids on her road.. There's going to be a lot of traffic that she doesn't know about (even though she's unwittingly providing the connection)... and I bet Granny won't be able to do that sort of packet sniffing and logging, even if her little wireless router let her know it was shipping data for anyone else in the first place...
Sorry Jacqui, the internet hasn't been designed to provide that data, and the encryption side
of it that has been designed to hide data from criminals is just as good at hiding it from the police.
@Moss Icely Spaceport
"Please inform us all exactly which of Dawkin's arguments have flaws and what these flaws might be. I am most interested to know."
I'd say his science is OK, but he makes some really silly claims once he leaves his area of expertise. I've heard him laying one powerful salvo after another on things that thinking Christians (not saying there aren't a whole heap of unthinking ones out there) don't actually hold to, and then claiming total victory in the name of atheism. Lots of straw-man type arguments, which just go to prove to each side of the debate that they're right.
I like the quote half way down this page: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/5721 (look for the paragraph starting Eagleton. then go up a few lines for context). For more detailed arguments, see e.g.: A.McGrath, "Has Science Eliminated God" in Science and Christian Belief 17(2) pp115-136 2005 (ISSN 0954-4194)
A decade or so ago I remember listening to a paper at a space debris conference where the author(s) wondered "how many satellites can you put in near-identical low earth orbits before one catastrophic failure leads to a significant chance of a chain reaction destroying the whole constellation?"
I seem to remember there were all sorts of factors up to an including phase of the moon and sun-spot cycle in the calcs, but I'm pretty sure they did come up with a number. I really wish I could remember if Iridium was just below or just above that number, I'm pretty sure it was close...
Just because I can see the flaws in "Intelligent design", and recognise that (at least some - I've not seen it all) creationist literature is a pack of misrepresentations designed to impress the gullible, does that make me an atheist? No!
Just because I get angry to see God's name linked to lies, does that make me a heretic?
Just because I can see the gaping flaws in, say, Dawkin's arguments, does that make me some gullible extremist loony? Doubt it.
Just because I can read Genesis without thinking I need to ignore scientific results, does that mean I deny my faith? Naaaah.
Do I know all the answers? No, of course not, I'm a scientist!
Do I know who does know all the answers? Yes, he's my friend, my saviour.
Am I glad he's not telling us all the answers? Yes, it's much more fun to find things out as we go along!
Coat... I'd like the flame proof one that Daniel's friends had, please!
"To promote the project to the public"
Oh well. I can just see the budget now.... that's 1.29 million for the advertising campaign, £9000 for Jamie Oliver's appearance fees, another nine hundred quid for the travel expenses, 100 quid for the BBQ, ketchup, olives, etc. and let's hope someone can lend us a shotgun or two when we get there to do some serious defending, eh?
More scary options...
1) Computer does careful study of sound waves to get a direction. Oops computer confused by an echo, but there's someone there, lets shoot him then.
2) Detect & locate flash, detect bang, point gun at guy beside flash, pointing something at you, fire. Oops the flash was his camera's flash gun.
3) Detect a real gun flash, detect bangs, hear bullets going right past you. Shoot your friends who just took out the guy with the RPG on the other side of vehicle.
I've got itǃ You make your friends wear a uniform that's say.. bright orange, then you won't accidentally shoot them. Oh. that's been tried hasn't it?
Or maybe you put an RFID on everyone you trust, so you can spot them. No. the enemy just asks father Christmas for an RFID detector.
@Pete McPhedran - About and other language thingumies
As someone brought up in S.E.England, I'd say about as [əˈbɐwtʰ]. I'm not sure how others pronounce it, maybe we should have a survey..
I pronounce also "marry merry Mary" with 3 distinct vowels. (ok, to be pedantic, 2 different phonetic vowel qualities but there's a length difference between merry and Mary). I've met someone from the other side of the pond who can't tell the difference, and he's met someone who can't pronounce the difference between lawyer and liar, which probably make for interesting jokes...
"As for the risk of the boffins being attacked as suspected terrorists, surely they should be escorted by uniformed police officers."
But you know these nasty sneaky terrorists might be able to get hold of police uniforms, so that's no security, really. How about accompanied by well known politicians and TV stars. With sandwich boards saying "Government boffins in action, Not doing anything nasty, DO NOT BE AFRAID."
Then we'd all know there was nothing abnormal going on.
Because we can always trust what they say, can't we. Pardon? What's that?
See, there's nothing wrong with this beefburger. Eggs? Who mentioned
salmonella in eggs? See, see, he's got millions of WMDs up his left nostril,
Oh wait.. politicians and TV stars actually walking down the public street... that's not normal either is it.
We're doomed, doomed I say!
It's all to do with atmospheric drag. Assuming you manage to make everything roughly
spherical, then the number of atoms you hit will goes up as r**2, whereas mass goes up
with r**3, so drag (force) goes with m**(2/3), and deceleration goes as 1/m**(1/3). Unless I've made a mistake in that maths, then if the break it up into a thousand pieces, then
they'll be decelerating 10 times faster at any given altitude. But, they're more likely to
actually manage to turn the box-shaped spacecraft into lots of flat things (e.g circuit boards, solar cells, ribbon cables, lenses, "if found, please return to" stickers, etc) so they'll be doing even better than that (compare the drag on a sheet of paper compared
to said paper in a ball).
Presumably the SM-3 releases a cloud of ball-bearings, or something like that,
to increase the hit-probability, rather than just being a well timed rock.. In which case it's more likely that there's going to be millions of pieces, not just thousands.
I remember hearing that the space station (with it's heavy shielding) could (just) survive being hit by something 1cm across (I guess at 7km/s, that's an average orbital speed).
I imagine a few hundred of those would turn the spy-sat into so much mangled mess even before reentry.
Hamsters able to live in UK?
No problem. UK climate is quite mild compared to most places in central Europe.
OK, some species might like it drier, but hamsters are local here - central Transylvania [its a real region, look it up!] - and I've seen one a lot bigger than anything in a UK petshop. Lots of rain, good thick clay soil, and the snow that came before Christmas took about 3 weeks to melt. Not saying they're stupid enough to be above ground much, but the climate isn't much of a problem in itself.
(alien, because no vampires near here)
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