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* Posts by Charles 9

3273 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Falling slinky displays slow-motion causality

Charles 9
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Re: Both

If you position the unstretched slinky such that its center of gravity is the same height above the ground as the stretched one, then yes the bottom should move about the same time as the unstretched bottom passed, and both would proceed to hit the ground pretty close to simultaneously.

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Charles 9
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Re: Speaking of springs ...

ANSWER: The energy would be released during the spring's dissolution. Since it wouldn't happen all at once, parts of the spring would find ways to break free even as it dissolves. So once you dropped that spring and clamp in the acid, I'd slam a lockable lid on it and find some cover.

A variant to what Omni describes would be to smash a hard candy with a sledgehammer. In this case, you're compressing the candy very hard and very fast, well past its ability to absorb it, so it breaks apart and finds a way to release the energy (out the gap between the hammer and the surface). Same idea: the energy gets released at some point.

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Charles 9
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Re: Centre of gravity

Sounds right to me. Even with the top of the slinky compressing first, the center of gravity would start off moving upward relative to the slinky but sill downward relative to the ground.

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Charles 9
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Re: So...

Exactly what I was thinking. In essence, the rocket stack compresses ever so slightly during the initial push. A fully-kitted Saturn V stood some 363 feet tall. For simplicity, let's assume a propagation speed equal to the speed of sound through aluminum (the rocket stacks were mostly aluminum while the fuel was primarily liquid and therefore would have a slower speed of sound): about 21000 feet per second. Meaning, the rocket would compress for about 17 thousandths of a second before the top of the rocket stated moving as well.

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Charles 9
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Re: Mars...and back.

Just kinks? I've seen plenty of slinkies flat out ruined because they'd developed full-on Bell knots.Totally bends the metal, nearly impossible to repair.

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Charles 9
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Re: Is this 'signal propoagation' stuff...

I wonder if anyone's tried this with a very high-speed timer (enough for say microsecond resolution) and a sufficiently-long rod (at 1 microsecond light can travel about .186 mile, or 982 feet).

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Analyst offers cut-price fondleslab recipe

Charles 9
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Re: There are already sub-$100 tablets

ADDENDUM: Checking on Newegg, I see those $80 ICS tablets mentioned earlier. Most of them seem to come from AGPTEK, and it's interesting there are so many listings for them. They typically only put out ONE listing for a given model. So I'll grant that ICS tablets are out there for under $100 online and some of them are even decently specced (I note ones in the $90 range being dual-core). But this has LITERALLY been the first time I've seen tablets of that spec at that price.

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Charles 9
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Re: There are already sub-$100 tablets

They may be last year to you, but they're very much THIS year here. Anything with ICS on it from what I've seen doesn't retail for less than $170, and I've looked all over town at K-Marts, Best Buys, Radio Shacks, etc (Walmart doesn't deal with that type--they're strictly iPads and Kindles). I'm just speaking from firsthand experience looking for a decent bargain tablet. Even on Black Friday, I checked out the tablet deals stores were having. Without exception, if they were cheap, they were 2.x.

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Charles 9
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Re: There are already sub-$100 tablets

Most of the sub-$100 tablets I've seen don't compare to what you describe. Most of them are Froyo or Gingerbread tablets and severely limited. Now, I simply may not have seen a lot of them yet, but I would call your find rather an exception at this point.

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Charles 9
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Re: sub $100 tablets

I wouldn't say they're terrible, but compared to a good 1GHz+/Dual-core high-res tablet the differences are pretty stark. Most of the ones I've seen run on Android 2.x, meaning they're limited to about 828x480 resolution. At 7 inches, that drop in resolution shows. They also have cheap single-core CPUs and clunky graphics which means even with the less-demanding Android 2.x it visibly stutters and chugs. Then there's the fact many of these aren't officially supported by Google, meaning they don't include the Google Play market and instead rely on alternative markets like Amazon or whatever's handy.

PS. I have a friend who got one of these secondhand (but dirt cheap) while I've seen demo models of the like. They all feel the same. My advice is to avoid the cheap stuff. Save up a bit and get a Android 3.x+ tablet with more respectable specs. Once you get out of cheapo territory, the tablet becomes a lot better value for the money.

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Apple confirms Amazon ebooks bendover, EU watchdog drops bone

Charles 9
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Re: Critics of the deal....

Probably because the market, especially in regards to e-commerce, moves very swiftly. In five years time, Amazon may develop a de facto stranglehold on the market, Barnes & Noble may be able to leverage its B&M business to carve a niche, among other things. IOW, it could change to the extent that Apple and the publishers won't be able to dictate strict terms. Running the agreement for five years also allows new terms to be negotiated later on.

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Dexter malware targets point of sale systems worldwide

Charles 9
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Yes, but then the POS has to decrypt the information and then RE-Encrypt it the backend's key so that the backend can then in turn decode and then re-encode it with the payment processor's key. Plus there's the fact the first step can be skipped if the POS itself has a stripe reader.

In any event, threat exposure depends on how the POS is connected. I know some retail POS systems don't connect to the Internet but rather go through corporate intranets that don't touch the greater Internet. This limits their threat exposure since it would take an insider or someone at the update system to get the malware in.

No, you can't transmit malware through a stripe reader--not enough data, plus it doesn't get treated as code. Same for contactless payments in their present incarnation. Chip transactions I'm no too sure about; may depend on the capacity of the card itself.

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Apple loses iPhone patent lawsuit

Charles 9
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Re: Let me get this right

At least this isn't a patent troll, as the companies behind its founding honestly hold the patents. More like a patent shill: a frontman for the companies involved.

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Linux kernel dumps 386 chip support

Charles 9
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Re: 8080, bloody Hell!

Yeah, but standard mode (and the monitor) used the *8*502 (misread a bit, but it's a superset of the 6502). CP/M never really was that practical on a 128, even if you used fast mode in 80 columns. Plus by the time it came out the transition to DOS was already in progress. In any event, it wasn't really dual processor as only one or the other was on at a time.

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Charles 9
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Re: 386?

Nope. Intel gets all the credit and they have the applications to prove it, dating all the way back to their 4004 (the world's first self-contained CPU chip).

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Charles 9
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Re: 8080, bloody Hell!

Don't you normally split the term in the middle? Then again, by the time I cut my teeth on a C128, most disks were being labeled DS/DD or 2S/2D. Then by the time I went with 486's you had DS/HDs, in both sizes.

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Charles 9
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Re: 8080, bloody Hell!

For me, it was the 6502 on a Commodore 128. Simple as it was, the built-in machine language Monitor actually found some use for me in the latter days as with help from a book explaining all the opcodes, I actually learned how to make my own ML programs. Being able to interpret assembler code is still finding use for me when I stumble upon the occasional snippet. Generally, all I need is a lookup of the appropriate architecture and I can follow along.

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Revealed: The Brit-built GRAVITY-powered light that costs $5

Charles 9
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Re: Well gosh

But you still need gravity to actually make the thing work. You can use muscle power to put a weight up on a hook on a tree, but once it's there, it's not doing anything. Get it?

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Charles 9
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Re: perpetual motion machines do not exist

Generally the Actual Mechanical Advantage you get from the Block and Tackle is some amount less than its ideal Advantage (which should be a factor equal to the number of pulley pairs in the set). Friction generally accounts for most of the loss.

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Kim Dotcom shows off new mega service

Charles 9
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Sounds much like a cloud version of TrueCrypt's system, in that the whole filesystem is encrypted. Probably goes a step further and encrypts individual files on top of that. So it would take two keys to reach a file: a filesystem key and a file key. Still, it would have the desired results.

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Charles 9
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Re: Pseudo-random?

The thing is, mouse movement is near-analogue, timing-sensitive, and simultaneously bi-axial. What that means is that, at any given moment, a mouse can determine how far along in two different axes it has moved since the last time it checked. And since humans by nature cannot move very precisely, a mouse with nice high resolution would provide plenty of randomness simply from the slight variations of movement your hand makes on the mouse: Even if you move in one direction, you could be faster one moment, slower the next, drifting up and down, and so on.

As noted, a keyboard is not the best source of entropy, but with enough variables you can still get some use out of it, especially if you add key timing (another randomness variable) in addition to the values pressed.

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FCC urges rethink of aircraft personal-electronics blackout

Charles 9
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Re: Take the bus

Hard to take a bus from London to New York or Detroit to Nagoya. Last I checked, buses and oceans don't mix.

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Charles 9
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Re: @AC

No, too heavy and too big for the draconian weight and size limits imposed on carry-on luggage. Ever thought we necessarily have to carry other stuff along for the trip and that the checked luggage is either expensive or already packed? Books are bulky and take up precious space. An e-reader can reduce all that to something the size of a Reader's Digest, without the need to condense the content of the books. And before you think "1984", the reader I use can and does accept unprotected ePub formats which the distributors cannot control.

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Charles 9
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Re: Not a good idea

Didn't the voyeurs beat that rap by switching to HDTV-resolution video cameras in the shoes? Since they record audio, they CAN'T have shutter sounds or any other kind of indicator that could bleed into the scene, and the ones that don't bleed they can conceal.

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Charles 9
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Re: Only the clueless use electronic toys in flight

As for those in-flight movies, almost always (1) I've seen it before or (2) I'm not interested. The in-flight music is a bore, and I usually go through the magazine before takeoff. Books are bulky and there is a carry limit, so I'll go with my e-reader or listen to music I really like on my iPod (one of the older ones that focused on music).

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Charles 9
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Re: I agree on the "re-think"

Prior to takeoff, they want you in the seats so they can check for missing passengers (especially passengers who presented their boarding passes but are not on board--they're either lost or a safety risk, either way you have to check up). Upon landing, there's a pecking order to disembarking and they're trying to enforce it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bwuh...

Simple. Lightning is OUTSIDE, and since the plane isn't contacting earth, at worst the bolt would go around the outer shell and onward. We haven't had lightning down a plane in nearly 50 years. The gadgets are all INSIDE and therefore inside the EM-shielding shell. Plus many planes are decades old: well before the age of rampant consumer electronics.

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Charles 9
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Re: I agree on the "re-think"

So what if you're just playing Angry Birds over headphones? No one hears you, and it can run in Airplane Mode, meaning no transmissions? And before you say, "the bright screen," why doesn't this happen with booklights?

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Sony tempts 4K Ultra HD TV buyers with free films

Charles 9
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Re: Movie suggestions

For once, a sensible suggestion. IMAX has a much higher detail limit (due to larger, newer film media). If 4K isn't enough to fully render the film grain of a 35mm film, then reaching the limits of IMAX will probably not come for at least a decade, probably with something like a screen with 20,000-line resolution, and maybe not even then.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Other Guys and esolving limits

But what about head orientation? How does the system keep out eye crossover, especially in a crowd situation?

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Charles 9
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Re: Gauranteed sales..

I don't know. I have to wonder if you REALLY wanna see an extreme close up of the action on a 4K screen. At 1080p skin detail is more apparent (this was true in mainstream media, too), creating an Uncanny Valley effect as imperfections became more apparent.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Bridge on the River Kwai

At those resolutions, the film grain's probably gonna stand out. Meaning we're approaching the detail limits of the original films (they were already pretty close with 1080p resolutions). Higher resolutions probably aren't going to do much from here out with older content.

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Toshiba reveals spin transfer RAM

Charles 9
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Yes, PLEASE.

Why not hold off on the post-NAND articles until a point when it would actually affect us: like when one of these actually enters commercial mass-production?

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This is out of hand now: Apple attempts to trademark the LEAF

Charles 9
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Re: Prior Art

Actually, thry can't. Government already has dibs on them thanks to the law.

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Charles 9
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Re: Oh for gawds sake

It IS indeed a Trademark, as the article notes, but you are right the entire design has to be considered. But companies can do have multiple trademarks for the various brands and distinctive characters/designs they use.

That said, trademark applications HAVE been rejected in the past if they're found to be too broad. Example: Thrifty Rental Car Co. attempted to apply for a Service Mark (a type of Trademark used in service industries--the UPS logo is a Service Mark) that simply described their vehicles and places of business as "being blue". It was rejected as too broad; they appealed the decision, but the rejection was upheld.

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Charles 9
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Actually, Nissan's safe. The automotive industry was not one of the industries listed in the application, and trademarks sharing names and designs can co-exist so long as they're in different industries. Case in point: in the USA, the name "Cracker Barrel" is trademarked to at least two separate companies. Thing is, one is the name for a line of cheese products while the other is the name of a restaurant chain: different industries.

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GPU-stuffed monster cracks Windows passwords in minutes

Charles 9
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Re: Not a good idea

Which were, in turn, probably handicapped by computational restraints present in the early 1990's.

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Forget fluorescents, plastic lighting strips coming out next year

Charles 9
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Re: Why one data point is not evidence.

"The team says one of their units has been in operation for over a decade with no sign of dying as yet."

I'd like that statement qualified. How long does it stay on in a given day? If that strip had been operating CONTINUOUSLY, always on, for a decade, THEN I'll be impressed.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why one data point is not evidence.

Heard of that bulb. The reason it lasts so long is that it was designed for a much higher voltage. It's actually UNDERburning, so it's probably only barely wearing out. 130V incandescents (a fad trend before CFLs won center stage) had a similar idea, and while I got a few of them on the cheap, I don't think they lasted as long as they advertised. Still, they did last somewhat longer.

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Charles 9
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I don't know about that. I switched to fluorescent over a decade ago. Granted, they cost quite a bit back then, but they mostly lived up to the hype. You get used to the light they emit, and the only time you realize they're there is when they break: usually years later. Then you look up and realize, "It really DID last a long time."

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Charles 9
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Re: State intervention may well result in de-civilizatory effects

You assume a knowledgeable public. Trouble is, in this day and age, the public is mostly clueless, running on inertia and word of mouth, heedless of the benefits because discomfort is considered too serious a drawback. IOW, if you shove the benefits in their face and they ignore you, then it comes time for more drastic measures.

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NASA: THE TRUTH about the END OF THE WORLD on 21 Dec

Charles 9
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Re: Bloody spoilsports!

NASA probably wasn't very concerned with this one, given that something the size of a bus, while it would definitely inconvenience the immediate area on impact, would not be a world-killer. Most estimates are you need something a few miles across (the one believed to take out the dinosaurs and landed off the Yucatan peninsula is estimated at 6 miles across) or one that scores a direct hit on a supervolcano's caldera.

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Charles 9
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Alien

Just for giggles, I took a look at some of the wild hypotheses (let's call them correctly; none have been experimentally corroborated) concerning the "doom comet" or Nibru or whatever you want to call it.

One claims you can never see it because its orbit always places it behind the Sun relative to us. Now, first off, we've already flung many space probes past the sun and well out of our orbital position. And second, such and orbit would have to be spiral in nature given its supposed 3600-year period. No scientist has ever seen, let along calculated, a spiral orbit.

Another claim is that the planet is made of dark matter or is otherwise black. IIRC, the current theory on dark matter isn't that it's made of some novel substance but rather it's normally so diffuse that you normally can't measure it until it's dense enough to distort gravity. Second, dark objects can still occlude, meaning they'd just block out parts of the night sky: a phenomenon easily visible from terrestrial telescopes. And at this point in the game it would be large enough (relatively) that it'd be nigh-on impossible for it to pass through the sky and not be detected by its occlusion: a clear night sky has a lot of starts in the sky to pick out.

Want to continue the conversation? What other odd hypothesis about the comet of doom can you describe?

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Home Sec: Let us have Snoop Charter or PEOPLE WILL DIE

Charles 9
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Unhappy

Re: Here you go then:

There are some who would say better to let an innocent man hang than let a guilty man go free, as the guilty man could then go on a spree or rampage and take more innocent lives. And would you believe it, when asked if they would be willing to step into the noose, there are people would essentially, "Abso-f***in-luely, damnit!"

Then again, I also know people who view increased capital punishment as "population control"...

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Charles 9
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Re: Thoughtcrime

The big concern is One ID To Rule Them All: IOW, a Big Brother situation.

If the same ID was required for all sorts of government activity, then people can be tracked by the use of that card: first by private enterprise, then by the government. It's an inevitable function creep. Americans fight the same fight. They would rather have the chaos of messed up elections than have One ID To Rule Them All.

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Real sci-fi space ships coming at last? NASA tests nuclear engine

Charles 9
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Re: Re. critical mass

Still doesn't solve two problems (BTW, neither does the system in the article). First, you need to be able to release excess heat, and although outer space can be extremely cold, it's also sparse in useable matter for convection or conduction, and there's a limit to the amount of energy you can release to space by radiation (the limits are physical, too, so really no way around them). Second, and more importantly, how do you convert the resultant electrical energy into the actual kinetic energy you need to get moving? Chemical rockets produce their own reaction mass, but electromagnetic propulsion still needs something to "throw" like a hydrogen supply. We're making inroads at pure-energy propulsion, but what's being produced so far is still far too inefficient for prime time.

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Charles 9
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Re: "i said it all a million times,."

Thing is, that number gets CLOSE to zero, BUT--and this is the important part--it NEVER REACHES zero. Without that, you can't approach perfect efficiency, and without that, you're going to lose energy, full stop (as efficiency measures that loss--or rather, the preservation of that energy).

Here's another interesting thought: an overunity engine would also by default have NEGATIVE entropy: a physical impossibility.

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DNS servers filled with wrong Kool-Aid, big names waylaid in Romania

Charles 9
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Re: DNS servers filled with Kool-Aid?

Wasn't that stuff phased out because it was a fluorocarbon (aka an Ozone eater)?

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Iran's Photoshop FAIL: 'New drone' actually Japanese university bird

Charles 9
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Joke

Re: Those pesky Japanese STEALING from Iran AGAIN!

No thanks. I nearly got decapitated last time I raised my head. Some of those jokes can be awfully sharp, you see.

BTW, if you're gonna instill some humor, do be a dear and let us know. Some humor can be so dry it's taken seriously. If you're gonna insist on the V mask, add a Joke Alert tag or something.

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VPN ban makes for nervy times behind Great Firewall

Charles 9
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That's the next step. Re-encode and alter any videos and images submitted through the firewall, to possibly mangle any stegos hidden within. The ones robust enough to withstand the alterations are probably more likely to be picked up with statistical analysis or image manipulation.

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