139 posts • joined Thursday 15th October 2009 19:13 GMT
In certain parts of the USA deer hunting is only allowed with shotguns firing "deer slugs". These were once single large ball-like slugs with limited accuracy, since the barrel is not rifled. However modern ammo features sabot rounds where the slug gets its spin from the detachable plastic housing that contains it as it proceeds down the barrel. These rounds are supposed to be almost as accurate as standard rifle rounds.
Yeah yeah yeah. I've heard about Forward and his anti-matter rocket. Guess what? It's no different in the end from NERVA, except that you heat the hydrogen by annihilating anti-hydrogen instead of running it through a nuclear reactor. You still wind up with a rocket that throws hot hydrogen out the back. You can get a lot out of a hot-hydrogen rocket. You can start in Earth orbit with 75% hydrogen fuel, 25% payload, visit Mars and an asteroid or two and come home. But you won't be doing it in hours or even days. You still have to use slow orbits not much different from the ones that the Mars probes use today.
Robert L. Forward was a highly respected engineer and writer. He could do the math and the physics. But he couldn't rewrite the laws thereof.
If you want "ships that get out there and back in reasonable time" you need to move to a different universe. Preferably the one inhabited by James T. Kirk.
Using the standard "throw stuff out the back to move forward" kind of space travel you can't even get good results from super-duper-unobtainium-fueled megarockets if you fire the rocket continuously. Example: your rocket exhaust travels so fast that its equivalent temperature is millions of degrees (modern rockets are a few thousand degrees). You try the old "accelerate at 1 gravity for some time, flip over and decelerate at 1 gravity", using up say 90% of your starting mass. That gets you about as far as the moon, maybe. It's the physics, folks.
There have been plenty of schemes for getting out there, most of them cheap (by cheap we mean costing less than the total annual beer consumption in the US). The NERVA nuclear powered rocket could have made it: the preliminary work was done and it only needed the will to continue, which Congress did not have. So don't blame the scientists and the engineers, blame the pols.
Failure of astronomical proportions!
"Mars is quite close to the asteroid belt".
Sure, it's only farther from Ceres than Earth is from the Sun! The inner edge of the asteroid belt is about 45 million miles from Mars, about half the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
The boffins are clearly talking about "Mars crossing" asteroids, those that have strayed out of the main belt and come within, say, a few hundred thousand miles, just as there are "Earth crossing" asteroids that we hear so much about (Near Miss at 2 million miles!!).
Gotta be nice to live somewhere where you can do this kind of thing without getting advance permission from ye powyrres above and without having the plods show up to nick you for breaking a rule they made up five minutes before...
The beast was actually about 6 centimetres long. Most of the "great claw" species were, er, shrimps by comparison with even a small modern crab. Betcha all these photos are cropped to remove the size ruler.
And the answer to the Ultimate Question...
...turns out to be 4.2. You can't make this stuff up. Sorry Dougla, you were off by a factor of 10.
Lawsuits like this are routine. Some law firms will file suit A if the stock goes up, and suit B if it goes down. The object is to garner settlements, "get lost" money, and fees fees fees. Any shareholders actually involved can expect pennies in return.
Which is worse...
...using your engineering skills to navigate a buggy self-service till, or standing behind a woman buying 50 fiddly objects who finally realizes she actually has to pay for it all and proceeds to dig through a bag the size of a duvet for a purse containing dozens of cards that she carefully peruses to choose which part of her ballooning debt load will get added to?
Bezos paid something between $250 and $500 per reader. You'd think that a nationally famous newspaper would sell millions of copies but you'd be wrong. The post sells less than 1 million at best.
Forget the iPhone
The iPhone was designed to milk money from the great unwashed. It's a super simple device for super simple people who like to chatter inanely, text incomprehensibly and post pictures in flagrante. For business users you need something outside the fenced-in iPhone application environment, so it's going to happen on Android or WinPhone, probably Android because MS are such tossers.
Hey, if more than 51% of the country has DAB sets, then OfCom can order the termination of analogue broadcasting and claim that a majority of the population will be unaffected.
>> Bing Crosby gave Les Paul an early production model and the musician went on to invent sound-on-sound recording.
>Les Paul did his first sound on-sound-recording using a pair of disc cutting lathes he'd built himself before Bing Crosby ever gave him the tape machine.
Exactly right. The lathes were based on flywheels from Cadillacs. Les went on to "invent" the "Les Paulverizer" which he claimed could multiply anything or anybody, allowing him to play many parts at once (and, in typical 50's humour, allowing his wife to vacuum all the rooms in the house at once). Later still he made the Les Paulverizer part of his stage act, using some offstage wizardry to let him record what we now call "loops" and stack them up. A great individual, a real American one-off. Sorely missed.
For a few dollars more....
Next time do the hike in ponchos, jeans and cowboy boots. Six guns are optional.
There's a misunderstanding here.
Flotation is all about your mass versus the mass of the air you displace. If the air mass is greater, you float. If not, not.
Now the point of all the jiggery-pokery is not to lose any mass at all from the airship. it follows that you can compress, decompress or dance the conga, it won't change your flotation unless you displace more or less air in the process. So COSH must either change the displacement (by inflating or deflating bags) or the total mass (by taking on or releasing something, probably air).
And if you think imposing Mandarin is weird....
The whole nation of China is on Beijing time. I think the country actually spans about 5 time zones, but east or west you set your clock to the same time.
I guess the westerners just live from noon to 4 a.m.
Not all Chinese are Chinese
The finding is like saying that many Soviets didn't speak Russian. The Soviet Union covered many regions with their own languages, that are now separate nations. Likewise China includes Uighurs, Cantonese etc. who never spoke the language of Beijing.
Put one on each wrist and go jogging
In 1978 or so HP announced a gold calculator wristwatch. It had a keyboard that required a fiddly gold stylus, which conveniently stored in a groove in the case.
The whole assemblage cost the obligatory bras et jambe, and weighed 8 oz. (grams hadn't been invented yet).
A sound engineer at the Open University once told me he always ordered cases of blank TDK cassettes, not just because of quality, but because they contained a consistent amount of tape. Cheaper cassettes tended to come up short, a problem when you have to distribute audio lessons to hundreds of students.
Needless to say he had a constant battle with our good friend Purchasing who would want to substitute whatever brand fell of the back of a lorry lately....
To get back to the topic....
Japanese employers have been doing this, or something like it, for decades. It used to be the "staring out the window desk" for anybody who became useless or otherwise fell foul of the complex Japanese office mores. Not only was firing somebody hard legally, it was likely to cause the fired person to "lose face" and possible reflect on the employer. Eventually the isolated person left honorably for "better opportunities", although this could be seen as an insult to the employer.
Another popular Japanese trick during the heady days of Full Employment was to employ people, especially women, as part-timers with the expectation that they would put in full-time hours. Sound familiar?
Like much of Japanese life, their claims of full employment and full education (not to mention full literacy) turned out to be a carefully constructed paper (smoke doesn't seem right) screen.
Slight confusion here
The question deals with the origin of humans. It's a sensitive subject. Consider the various Native American groups. Most have a mythical origin story. Now we know damn well they're from Asia originally, but many if asked will insist they came up from some other world, sometimes through a straw.
The non-human evidence for evolution is hard and fast. We can even see it happening in real time if the species reproduces quickly enough. On the other hand the evidence for our origins was famously described as a collection of bones that would barely fill a room, or a closet, if you count only the important ones. You and I may take it as scientific fact that we came from ape-like ancestors, but by any measure the evidence you can hold in your hand is less than compelling. Now take that and try it on the great unwashed and see how far you get.
Compared to the East Asians, we're rank amateurs in the racism business. I mean, people actually have to look and sound different from us before we start to think about discriminating against them! Nope, the Japanese are the real masters, with their second-class citizenship for people of Korean ancestry and their endless obsessions about not having peasants in your ancestry. No doubt China has similar distinctions that only the Chinese are even capable of noticing.
Re: worth 1.7p?
Ee aye, when I were a lad you could get three penn'orth of chips. And with scraps too! Then it were four penn'orth, then five, and six, and it's never been t'same since!
It's all about the numbers
Speaking as someone close to ground zero, so to speak, I can say that the question was never about what Kodak could do instead of making and selling film. Kodak can and has done many things, some very well (though they tended to sell those bits off). The problem has been replacing tens of billions of dollars of film business (at 50% gross profit margin) with something else. All the digital waffle has tended to ignore the fact that the company would be going up against established rivals like HP and Canon that were several times larger even when Kodak was doing nearly $20 bn a year. Now that it is a comparative minnow you have to wonder why they would bother competing at all in the digital market. Their very good technology in the area of sensors etc. can't support even a medium sized company. They may or may not still have the horrendous horde of bungling middle managers who did so much for them in the past.
Innumeracy lives !
In the world at large, $8.8bn is chump change. For instance HP is worth about $60bn. So Google are not the big boogey man affecting the world economy. Get a grip. And don't trust reports from self-styled authorities.
Stop before it's too late
One day you guys are going to wake up and find that the bureaucrats have sat on everything that made life worthwhile. All these OfCom, OfPut and OfToss entities are just people sitting on high looking down and deciding what they will allow. Soon they will be thinking about who to harass.
Advertisers may not quote people without permission, nor use their images without permission. Anything else is outside the reach of the law, except for libel.
A right Royal screwiup
Hey, this guy is the Queen's cousin (look it up!). Maybe we can get the offending droid beheaded.
Shit-kickers are cattle ranchers. If you grow crops you are a sod-buster.
YOU try it !
Let's suppose you were asked to write a James Bond movie. Problem: the original series has descended into self-parody, and the main features of the genre have been done much much better recently in other series. What do you write that will a) satisfy the remaining fans that this is a Bond movie and not just a rebranded version of one of the others, b) surpass the high standard laid down in series like Bourne, and c) make pots of money ?
Now look at Star Trek: it started when the genre had already set a high bar, flirted with self-parody in Star Trek V, and went bland with the TNG series. Essentially the same problems. Abrams threw out the old model and restarted the series with both new and old ingredients, including exotic dancers with green skin. Sure lots of people won't be happy. But no way are these movies a re-branding of other genre movies. The only real ding is that ST doesn't do well internationally no matter what Reg hacks think of the mythology, so they had to broaden it out a bit and maybe marginalize some of the icons. That dilutes the brand, but firms up the bottom line, ensuring that there will be more episodes.
Simon Pegg needs accent lessons? To do what? Reproduce a fake Scottish accent as performed by a Canadian? Being raised in Gloucs. may not be the best place to start as a fake Scot, but he did OK in the first movie. The whole concept of a 25th century Scottish accent is weird anyway.
It's only a matter of time...
...before somebody proves what we've suspected all along: that just talking to somebody else, whether they are in the car with you or not, is fatally distracting. It's just that nobody sees having a passenger and talking to them as unusual.
Hold on thar, pardner
These storage guys are so good at storing data in multiple redundant places that one storm in one place in the US took down a whole bunch of operations.
Given that the role of First Docture has proven fatal to both actors who played it (Hartnell and Hurndall respectively) you'd think that the notoriously superstitious acting fraternity wouldn't touch it with a sonic screwdriver.
Oh, and Hartnell was a comparatively spritely 50-something. Bradley is already 70.
Re: As a former resident of Middlesbrough...
Right then! Outside!
This is just the beginning
Several other Beebheads are in the sights of the Saville cops. Are they going to be expunged from history as well? And what happened to Hughie Green and Jess Yates when their peccadilloes (not to mention other bits) were exposed?
"District Attorney" is the title of a public prosecutor in most States in the USA. Some States, like Massachusetts and Kentucky, call the office "Commonwealth Attorney". At the Federal level the office is "United States Attorney". Ms Ortiz is a "US Attorney" not a "DA".
We buyers of monitors want screens that are so shiny we can see our own reflection, and that of everything in the room behind us, no matter how dim! We want screens that look magnificent in the store and are total bollocks to use! Where are the reviews of these properties?
The prospect of cheap access to space gives the US State Dept. the EBGB's. After all, how would you like to know that anybody with the necessary millions (as opposed to another govt. that you can mollify or threaten) could launch a rocket at you from anywhere with no notice at all?
"Private" efforts have a history of being co-opted with nice lucrative contracts, and this looks like the latest chapter. I predict that SpaceX, like Orbital Sciences and Sea Launch, will suddenly become just another govt. client, with limited interest in private launches and no interest in selling its tech to anybody else.
You can't fix stupid, and you can't outsource it either
It's true. How many management morons, how many politicians, how many backstabbers held on while ITers were flushed? These are people who are typically worth two regiments to the opposition, but they persist until they have driven the company they infest into bankruptcy (as a certain large company in Rochester NY found to its cost).
It seems the only thing companies really want to hang onto is deadwood.
Chemists you ain't
And the same applies to many commenters...
Esters and terpenes are large classes of compounds with many different properties. Esters form from carboxylic acids (including but not limited to acetic, butyric, formic etc.) and alcohols (or glycols). Terpenes are indeed hydrocarbons, all built from a basic unit consisting of a short chain of carbon atoms. Both esters and terpenes can be aromatic, pleasant or bitter according to their structure. Fats and vegetable oils are esters of fatty acids and glycerol (glycerin to you). Terpenes go by names like "geraniol". Guess where that comes from.
It takes a lot of help to break down esters. Heat and lye are needed to break down fats to make soap. Heat and acid can break down other esters like the banana-smelling ethyl acetate. Ice and water don't do squat.
One small quibble
Nuclear EMP requires detonation in the ionosphere, because it works by catching the ions in the shockwave to generate the pulse. EMP occurs in atmospheric blasts but it is much reduced. Hence when you nuke a city you don't need as much EMP protection. And frankly, the designers of early delivery aircraft may not have cared that much. The expected return rate from missions was pretty low, and there may not have been anything to return to.
Those who forget history....
Windows 1.0 was a blocky, pathetic-looking imitation of the Macintosh.
Windows 8 is a blocky, pathetic-looking imitation of the iPad.
Fond of Fahrenheit
While I agree about weights and measures, I've never liked Celsius as a scale for ambient temperature. Herr Fahrenheit was dead right about avoiding negative temperature values. What does Celsius give us except a 0 to 100 scale between freezing and boiling water? When was the last time anybody cared that there were exactly 100 degrees between those two points? It's not as if you ever need to divide by 10 to get some other temperature unit. Zero Fahrenheit is about as cold as you ever want it to get outside (trust me, we see that here upstate NY). Calling it -17C isn't the same. And 100 F is about as hot as you ever want it to get outside (rare here, not so rare in the nation's capital).
Sadly, the Celsius degree got adopted for the Kelvin scale, so science is on the side of big fat degrees with freezing point as zero. But there's really no reason for it to be in any way superior to good old deg F. Reet!
Just the facts...
Brits don't get it. Texas is not particularly free and easy with firearms, and used to be one of the more restrictive States when it comes to handguns. As far as "long" firearms are concerned, most States don't bother regulating them at all except for some age limits. For real WGAD shoot them all firearms freedom check out Vermont or New Hampshire, right next to the People's Republic of Massachusetts.
People who make up Dylan quotes should be lionized as cultural heroes. Dylan is just one big cultural meme surrounding an average sort of composer with a gift for self-promotion and a nose for the kind of obfuscation that intellectuals love. Faking Dylan is like inventing new and more interesting fairy tales.
Dept. of Energy and CLIMATE CHANGE?
Oh boy, the greenies are going screw you poor limeys but good! (I'm just pretending to be a Yank, chaps. But you're doomed, I tell ye!).
Re: Not Surprising....
Exactly right. Most human pathogens live in or on humans and were not exposed to antibiotics for a long time before the 20th cent. That's probably why the early antibiotics were so successful. We are, in effect, breeding them back to their wild ancestors by re-introducing them to the chemical warfare that goes on in the soil - and has done for over a billion years!
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