* Posts by Big John

277 posts • joined 28 Oct 2009

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'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'

Big John
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Re: The uncomfortable elephant...

A masterful mix of truth and sarcasm! I'm extremely jealous.

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Dark matter-hunting boffins spot EXCITING signal in X-ray spectrum

Big John
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Unhappy

Re: Old, debunked.

But...but, the video is so cool...

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NASA prods sleeping New Horizons spacecraft: Wakey, wakey, Pluto's calling

Big John
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Re: PLUTO.......Planet, planetoid, Celestial Body or what?

"Drag that thing into a Mars-like orbit and it would melt."

So the main determinant of planetary status is composition? Aren't the gas giants mostly made of the same stuff as Pluto?

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Big John
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Re: PLUTO.......Planet, planetoid, Celestial Body or what?

"Have they made their minds up yet as to what it is?"

No, but they certainly have decided what it isn't.

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So - you thought you knew all about the INSTANT COFFEE DUNES of TITAN?

Big John
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Blowin' in the wind

"But our atmosphere is a lot thinner than on Titan, where sand molecules have to fight to move against thick nitrogen-rich smog and clouds of methane."

Um, "fight to move?" That would only apply if the thick Titan air were still. Since it's assumed to be moving, the grains would actually have to fight to remain unmoving. Basically the thicker the air, the less wind it takes to move grains, yet the article suggests the opposite.

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Solar sandwich cooks at 40 per cent efficiency

Big John
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Upon reflection...

..I see that while the article claims a big jump in efficiency, quoting the numbers 40% vs. 22%, it's not emphasized that the 40% is photovoltaic, very different than the steam systems with their 22%. Turns out the Australian article linked talks about other competing PV cells having 36% efficiency at the moment.

Maybe a 4% PV efficiency jump is news, but it's even better when it seems to be 18%, right? Sure would make all the (probable) added expense easier to accept.

And this talk about filters, which I assume restricts light on each panel to what it likes, means they can receive more light without burning up, and would imply more mirror area to compensate for the filtering effects. More mirrors = more cost. I wonder where the break-even point lies (I mean the one with subsidies included).

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Developers offering Mozilla-like experience will work on Firefox-like experience for iThings

Big John
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All your browser belong to us

"Someone remind me again why Internet Explorer coming with Windows (and allowing alternatives) is antitrust bullshit, but this bullshit from Apple is totally OK? Deliberately gimping any other browser is fine?"

Perhaps it has to do with the main difference between MS and Apple, that one makes only software (mostly) and the other makes hardware with purpose-built software. It sorta makes sense that Apple would not want any uncouth un-vetted code crudding-up the innards of their boutique machines. At least it makes a good argument in court...

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Boffins challenge Internet of Things' lust for power

Big John
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Re: I have the solution ...

"We checked with your fridge and it says you don't have any. In fact, it says you don't have any of our products at all! What are you, some kinda communist?"

For some reason this thread keeps triggering memories of old schtick, this time Woody Allen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRB_ypEnL50

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Big John
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Re: Not one IoTa of difference

"You know that carton of custard that's been open in the fridge for 19.423 days?"

Reminds me of an old Zappa piece, "The Dangerous Kitchen":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lpj2uMFi-c

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Big John
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Not one IoTa of difference

I'm starting to suspect that this is all a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Are we supposed to swoon over the idea that all our meat-space gadgets will soon be "connecting together" in cyberspace? I have yet to see a really good argument for this future, other than "It's way cooool!!".

Please, leave me a few things that have actual knobs to turn, pull, or at least fondle, okay? I'm old.

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Australian Government funds effort to secure wearable data pulses

Big John
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Money quote

"It could also be a boon for health insurers, which could adjust premiums based on regular customer health data feeds."

Soon, a refusal to don the wearable will cause havoc to your insurance bill, or in cases where a government insures you, a visit from friendly but firm 'wearable enforcers.'

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ICANN and co U-turn on permanent seats for 'net 'UN Security Council'

Big John
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Paris Hilton

Follow the...what?

Since this appears to be a typical attempt at power-grabbing, there must be some power to grab, right? Or is it just the perks of the job they are after? The trips to Geneva, the parties, the glamour, the five-star hotels and all that happens in them...

Paris, obviously.

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RIP Microsoft Clip Art – now you can fill your slides with web cat pics

Big John
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Re: It's a pity they didn't kill off Powerpoint

If MS killed off Powerpoint, it would leave a Powerpoint-shaped hole in the universe that someone would be unable to resist filling.

See: Death and Taxes.

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Jacking up firearms fees will cost SMEs £3.5 MILLION. Thanks, Plod

Big John
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Re: Firearm Crime Reduction

Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system!

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Japan pauses asteroid BOMBING raid – still no word from Bruce Willis?

Big John
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Re: Thought the Japs were in a shitload of debt!

"It's Abe and his 'nomics."

I get the Abe reference but nothing else in your post. Could you elucidate please? I'm interested...

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NASA preps mission to probe Earth's magnetic mysteries

Big John
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Flux lines

"Hey babe lets make like the Earth's field and magnetically reconnect."

My polarity must be wrong, all I can do is repel...

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Big John
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Re: Really?

Must be like comet tails, can only see them from far far away.

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Big John
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Back to the science...

Okay, it's a cool mission and all, very magnetic. Tesla would be proud. Now I'm wondering if some of those NASA types aren't secretly lusting for a nice juicy X-class solar flare to, y'know, get some real science done. ;-)

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Big John
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Pyramid?

After viewing the video, there's a couple of puzzling things. One, will it really be possible to keep the four units in a tetrahedron formation while in orbit, and two, why did they add stupid servo noises when showing the booms deploying, presumably in a vacuum? Was this video meant for children?

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Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins

Big John
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Re: Bah!

Those notes are WAY out of date.

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Big John
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Windows

Re: Thicker ice is a sign of increased temps

"You can thank me when you enjoying a future without flooding, and more importantly, one with exceptionally cheap and plentiful scotch."

If scotch is cheap and plentiful then who will care about a little flooding?

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The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS

Big John
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Re: Really?

Yes, but then there's "shit-eating grin..."

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Get a job in Germany – where most activities are precursors to drinking

Big John
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I spent 2 years there from 1980-82 (USAF) and the German culture I saw in the country where I was stationed was remarkably similar to the US. Except for the lack of curve-banking on the country highways. Always felt like I was going to tip over in my big old Detroit metal-mountain.

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After USA FREEDOM Act's failure, what's next for mass surveillance?

Big John
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Re: The "Patriot Act" won't be allowed to die @Ugotta B. Kiddingme

"It took a few years to retool from making tanks and bombs to cars and fridges, but once they did there was huge latent demand for such products in the US since production of consumer goods had been massively curtailed in favor of war production."

Precisely. At the end of the war the US was materially poorer than when the war started, just as I stated. If you want to quibble about the exact mix of causes for the postwar boom, fine, but it's not revisionist to point out that the New Deal was largely dead by that point. Or are you suggesting that the end of the New Deal had nothing to do with the boom? Need I remind you that it was the ND that kept the US economy from recovering out of the Great Depression for so very long? Kinda like what we're experiencing now, don't you think?

All your other points are true as well, but none of them disprove my contention, altho I admit I ought to have at least mentioned some of them as well.

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Big John
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Re: The "Patriot Act" won't be allowed to die @Ugotta B. Kiddingme

"...the US won WWII they were after all the only country that came out better than when they went in."

Incorrect. After WWII the US was financially depressed, as you'd expect after years of massive unproductive spending and millions of unemployed soldiers returning from overseas. What made the difference is that FDR's socialistic meddling was then largely swept away, allowing the economy to perform efficiently. Within three years it was moving along just fine, thank you.

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Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k

Big John
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Re: Time capsule on the moon.

I agree, and I can imagine the pitch:

"After a hair-raising launch, your precious follicle will journey to become one with the Firmament, set permanently (in a wave of other lucky follicles) upon the high dome of Selene herself. Comb over here if you want proof, we're not teasing!"

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NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators

Big John
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Re: Do I care enough to comment???

"There is no need to argue back..."

Thanks for letting me off the hook, MG, but you needn't have bothered. Obviously you have me all figured out. Must be an innate talent of yours. ;-)

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Big John
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Re: Do I care enough to comment???

"Sorry, Americans. You don't get to go out and play with the other kids until you've helped clear up the mess you made there. Or did you somehow think none of that was your fault?"

So, the US is responsible for:

The problems endemic to the Middle East

Islamic conquest

Russian conquest

I might argue that the last two things only got out of hand after a hard-core, antiwar leftist got into the White House, but he has such good intentions that I won't do that. The first point is a lot older than the US, and I believe the British had a hand in creating many of the more recent problems, no?

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Big John
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Re: Do I care enough to comment???

Great preemptive strike, Doug. You have all the nasty adjectives down pat. "Blindly." "Hating." "Fearing." And let's not forget 'othering' me by referring to me in the third person. You do realize that trolling is frowned on here? Do you have anything at all constructive to say, or does your repertoire extend only to bad-mouthing people?

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Big John
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Re: Do I care enough to comment???

"Those 300,000,000+ have not done enough - and are continuing to not do enough - to bring those few out-of-control bureaucrats to heel...."

Hey, we're trying to get rid of the Democrats as fast as we can, okay? Give it time. Starting next year Obama won't have Harry 'stone wall' Reid to shelter behind, and a lot of those Dem senators will have to start going on record with actual votes. I expect they will make Obama swallow at least a few vetoes, yum.

Unfortunately Obama will remain encysted in the White House two more years, continuing to do damage. Well, the US will just have to deal with it somehow.

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Big John
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Re: Do I care enough to comment???

You just tarred 300,000,000+ human beings with the excesses of a few out-of-control bureaucrats. Tsk.

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Big John
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Stop

Re: Please hold...

Sure, go ahead and swallow the propaganda whole. The Dems want to save us from the big bad government, and the GOP wants just the opposite.

Note the actors involved. All the supporters are the usual leftist suspects, and not one shred of the GOP reasoning for opposition is given in the article, leaving the intended impression that they are just pure evil. The attempt at mind control is palpable.

I admit I've not followed this topic, but I just did a bit of searching and sure enough, it looks like this bill is really designed to look like spying reform without actually doing real reform, and has the crucial benefit of choking off any actual future reform the incoming GOP majority might want to institute.

The original bill got watered way down so that Obama would be "able" to sign it. Of course now that the Dems got stymied, they and their press minions are jumping all over the GOP in a coordinated attack which was probably planned for just such an eventuality.

There was another reform bill earlier this year which the Dem house leadership helped to kill, so their hands are not clean. Okay, the GOP isn't much better, but they are NOT the Big Bad here.

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HORROR! Imagine if anyone could find out EVERYTHING you EVER tweeted

Big John
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Applications

I'm trying to think of any good uses for this capability, hmmmm...

General research maybe? Could be a dissertation or twenty in the offing.

Opposition research? Get dirt on that rotten so-and-so, heh heh.

Discover what your new friend/lover/spouse REALLY thinks? Oy...

Paid removal of embarrassing tweets? Now we're talking!

Other than the first case, methinks something evil this way comes. Wheee!

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Quebec's latest bid to break away from Canada HALTED by a single dot

Big John
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Petty cash

I don't know much about this, but I'm having difficulty grasping the concept that any sizable government would let a measly $12M get in the way of something that closely aligns with their past policies and would be highly visible. Don't they spend a whole lot more on programs that are far less defensible? Just how poor IS Quebec?

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ESA sends back PRE-LANDING COMET CLOSE-UPS

Big John
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Re: Landscape

...other spacial objects...

I see what you did there. ;-)

BTW, I bet ALL comets condone bizarre landscapes; it's a 'thing' with them.

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Big John
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Re: Newest National Park?

So when it breaks up we get more parks at no additional cost? I like it!

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Big John
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Barreling along

"This is likely to be a tricky endeavour because humanity has never before attempted to land on a huge rock as it speeds through space at 60,000kmph."

I feel pedantic today, so...

It's not "a rock," unless ice is counted as a mineral. There might be rocks in it, tho.

Also, every time a plane comes down it endeavours to land on a huge speeding rock (called "Earth"), but somehow that is not considered exciting news. Very odd, considering that the relative speeds involved are much greater for the planes than for that lander.

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SCREW YOU, net neutrality hippies – AT&T halts gigabit fiber

Big John
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Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

"I could never figure out what American's have against universal healthcare."

It's not all of us that feel that way, sadly.

The answer to your question boils down to three choices:

You can cover everyone

You can cover every health problem

You can keep costs low

Now, pick any two of the above. You are not allowed by the laws of economics to pick all three, sorry. Unfortunately our quasi-president is selling the idea that people can pick all three, and much of the public is ignorant enough to believe him. Or you could call it a national case of wishful thinking.

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3D PRINTED GUNS: THIS time it's for REAL! Oh, wait – no, still crap

Big John
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Re: But against the backdrop of your British readership...

"So, when the rapist breaks into your daughter's house, who is he going to shoot? The person cowering in the closet, or the person holding the gun?"

So your attitude is that your daughter should meekly submit to the rapist in the hope of being spared after being violently raped, rather than antagonize him by daring to show resistance when he appears?

If that is you, then the next time the cattle cars roll you will fit right in.

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Big John
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Re: But against the backdrop of your British readership...

"Guns only do one thing - hurt people and property - so the less we have of them in general circulation the better."

Guns do absolutely nothing by themselves, except rust.

When a person holds one, the gun multiplies the striking power of that person. Note that people can still strike and cause harm without the gun. Also note that while gunless people vary quite a lot in striking power, those with guns are much more equal, hence the term "equalizer."

So, when the crazed rapist breaks into your daughter's house, would it be better for him to find her cowering in a closet with a breadknife, or standing with a nice heavy shooting-iron pointed at his braincase?

And please don't attempt to argue about statistics, as they don't seem to show clear correlations between gun ownership and either murder or violent crime:

http://www.psmag.com/culture/gun-ownership-neither-increases-nor-decreases-crime-rate-55473/

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Race is on to touch down on COMET 67P before WHIFFY SPACE DUCK breaks up

Big John
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"But wouldn't that just snap the other bit?"

Sure, but in the absence of a sufficient tidal gradient the bits won't fly apart. They'll just, sorta move around a little...seeking a better equipotiential surface...squashing the lander...

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Modern Panic V: A world of H.R. Giger, spunking unicorns and deeply unsettling puppets

Big John
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Re: I'm not looking/sounding quite so weird now...

"I don't get this "art" thing."

Amen, brother. 'Art' is now, and always has been, a "thing." Actually viewing the 'art' is only a small part of the experience. The venue, the 'space,' the other cognoscenti, the price tags, all these are important too.

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Big John
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Not quite wrong

Technically the author is correct. Probably she has never seen any of the movies and just googled for it after seeing those resin copies of H.R. Giger designs. It's what I'd do. Don't assume people know much about a subject just cause they mention it fluently. Google makes us all look like savants. Too bad we ain't.

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Police in U-turn as 'shop a gun-owner' hotline is scrapped

Big John
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Re: Right not privilege

"It is my understanding that owning a shotgun is a right which the police have the power to negate on reasonable grounds. Has that been changed?"

It never existed. If the agents of government can take away a 'right' at their discretion (citing 'reasonable' grounds of course), then there is no such right, as is baldly stated in that leaflet.

The British government has arrogated all personal self-defense rights to themselves. You don't need to protect against anything; your local smiling gendarme will perform that service for you, sort of.

In the U.S. there is a saying: "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away..."

It almost seems like the police are really there to keep the populace contained and controlled. Naturally the govt. likes knowing that the populace is 99% disarmed (except for criminals and the well-connected). No real risk that they might have to face anything other than noise, kinda like the bleating of sheep.

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Big John
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Big Brother

What are these "intemperate habits" that are to be watched for in other shooters? Public arse scratching? Rude language?

Criticism of the government...?

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Disney wins Mickey Mouse patent for torrent-excluding search engine

Big John
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So the patent goes, more or less...

"We patent the right to throw in a 'magic' weighting factor for searching, that we won't exactly specify at this time, called (in the current case) 'Authenticity'. Any future entity that wants to create a new factor for their searches, no matter what they may wish call it, will have to come to us."

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BONFIRE of the MEGA-BUCKS: $200m+ BURNED in SECONDS in Antares launch blast

Big John
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Re: Failure mode

Wondering about that bright flareup before the blast. What if the LOX supply were somehow cut off to one engine, say due to a failed LOX pump? Then unburned fuel would start shooting out the nozzle, burning ragged and bright. Burning inside the engine would cease with no LOX available. But the fuel would also back up into the shattered LOX pump, and then into the engine compartment were there's lots of LOX swirling around. Give it all a few milliseconds to mix, then ignite via the exhaust flame...

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Big John
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Failure mode

Looks like the exhaust 'flared' out wide just for a second before the engine compartment blew out completely. Could an engine throat have melted? I've not seen a rocket fail in quite this way before.

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BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army

Big John
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Wrong platform?

As I understand it, railguns are being touted for anti-ship missile defense. A ship has the mass to support such a system. A Bradley does not, and any missiles coming at it will be fairly small and not require a railgun for knockout.

So, what's this Bradley with the railgun supposed to use it for? Isn't this what main battle tanks are for, heavy hitting?

And what kind of wimpy railgun are we going to get on such a light vehicle? Will it open my beer bottle at 50 paces?

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The Therapod diet: From HUMUNGO DINO to TINY BIRD in 50m years

Big John
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Re: Therapod diet

50M years does seem rather slow, particularly in the downward direction:

http://www.livescience.com/18201-mammals-size-change-evolution.html

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