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* Posts by Chemist

1850 posts • joined 24 Mar 2010

Swiss space-cleaning bot grabs flying junk, hurls itself into furnace

Chemist
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"resources that completely eclipse the entire Swiss GDP."

That would be ~$500 billion/year compared to NASA at ~$19 billion/year

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Chemist
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Re: Re: Re: Chocs and clocks?

I once saw a small child drop an ice-cream on self & pavement in Saas-Fee. The shopkeeper was out almost before the ice-cream hit the floor. The child and pavement were spotless within

a minute.

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Chemist
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Re: magnets

Is much space debris ferromagnetic ?

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Paper PCs design rolled out

Chemist
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Re: You lucky lucky bastard

You wouldn't think I was lucky if you'd heard me after I soldered it all together and it didn't work !

Not an easy thing to debug. I eventually used a crystal earpiece to go round the board and eventually found a duff 7400 - quick replace - it was all socketed - and away it went. Bloody MS BASIC had a bug in its garbage collector but that''s another story.

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Chemist
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Re: Enhancement

Years ago I built a UK101 6502-based single board computer. Times was hard and it spent most of its life with the cardboard box it came in as its 'case'

Would also be interesting to know the ratio of paper to polyprop being used.

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Shuttleworth remixes Ubuntu... for biz users

Chemist
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Agreed

I've got 11.4 on a range of hardware, atom netbook, celeron laptop, dual-core atom fileserver, 64AMD, dual-core 64AMD and a dual core Intel. All installed without any problems.

(BTW I've just added a cheap modern NVIDIA card to the dual core AMD and it now plays 1080/50p video perfectly with cpu use at ~5-10% using VDPAU )

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Chemist
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And as I've mentioned before ..

.. the fact that people are willing to install a Linux on hardware that almost always they have to buy with Windows pre-installed and where most people don't care or know about Linux is a major triumph even if the desktop usage is ~1%.

I build all my own (except 1 laptop) so it's a no-brainer for me

There's an awful lot of people writing and compiling software for a desktop that you appear to think doesn't exist. Forget the enthusiast authors, major bits of software like Google Earth, Firefox, VLC, GIMP, Hugin, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, Opera are all available.

People tell me all the time that 'x' can't be done on Linux -they are almost always wrong. Only the other day someone said 3G dongles didn't work - they do., and someone else said that 1080/50p video couldn't be edited - It can.

</rant>

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Chemist
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Certainly package management has

..been rather rough in the past. I'm using 11.4 without any glitches on 6 machines. I see the latest version (12.1) has changed the management again so we'll have to see how it pans out.

It's still WAY better than total lack of management in Windows.

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Chemist
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All I can say is

~200 Computational chemists at my last company all used Linux on the desktop - the software wasn't available for Windows in any case as the practitioners in this area all use Unix/Linux. The workloads were epic, I'd leave protein modeling software running for days on a dual xeon workstation or shift it if necessary to a 1024 node Linux farm.

We all Windows systems too but that was for the trivial stuff like corporate e-mail.

CERN has a very heavy use. Most scientific academics use it.

I have 6 machines and have used nothing else for years.

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Chemist
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Try OpenSuse

Use the Live-CD so you can try your hardware before actually installing

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Chemist
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Ditto in science

A good deal of science computing is done on RHEL or spin offs

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Windows 8 on ARM: Microsoft bets on Office 15 and IE10

Chemist
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I assume the downvote ..

was from someone who thinks I really use Windows in secret !!

I don't need or use WIndows.

I browse the web, watch video, process RAW photo files, edit video ( 1080/50p), design pcbs, write code, model proteins, run extensive scientific calculations, scan and print ALL without the need for WIndows

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Chemist
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My plan

is my usual one of ignoring Windows completely.

It's worked fine for the last 6 years

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US Navy preps railgun for tests

Chemist
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Need to allow for the low efficiency

The figures quoted in the article suggest the amount of energy imparted to the projectile is a small proportion of the energy used so the number of shots drops even further maybe by 20 fold

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Chemist
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Re : there isn't much energy in a bullet

~90 J from your figures - really small, far too small

~2 kJ from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muzzle_energy for a rifle bullet

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Chemist
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@Charles 9

They sound impressive your numbers but let's look at them at little more closely.

A 1 tonne Mach 7.5 projectile had a kinetic energy of ~3e9 J - that's 3000 MJ - that's rather out of the range of current discussion esp. if the launch efficiency is as low as the data in the article suggests.

It is hard to beat Physics

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Chemist
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Of course

if you make it into a sieve it will sink but it seems rather far fetched to assume that it will be hit a sufficient number of times BELOW the waterline. If its a small vessel then game over and if the projectile hits something heavy or critical that it can vaporise/ be vaporised by then ditto.

100000 tons takes a lot of sinking with small holes.

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Chemist
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It still has to hit something solid

Most modern warships have relatively thin hulls. Such a slim projectile needs to hit something with substantial mass to impart a good proportion of its energy otherwise it will just go through like a rifle bullet through paper. There might be local damage but it could easily be insignificant to a ship-sized object.

Its also an unguided shell equivalent so it need to follow a ballistic curve and allow for the curvature of the earth. This is likely to increase errors in aiming.

For close quarter defence there might be a different picture.

I calculate the 1 ton kinetic energy as ~1.5MJ so there is a large mismatch somewhere

(Imperial AND SI units - urrgh!!)

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Sinofsky shows off Windows 8 on ARM and Office15

Chemist
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Global warming

It is used all day - if we leave for more than a short time it's put to sleep as are the desktops if they are on. Only the low-power Atom file/odds&sods server runs all the time

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Chemist
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"but left in standby, for weeks it is claimed"

What's so special about that ?

We have an old laptop running OpenSUSE 11.4 that's left on during the day and sleeps at night - it's hardly ever turned off it might be restarted once a month usually because it's been left unplugged.

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What's in the box, Windows sysadmin?

Chemist
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@eulampios

That mirrors my experiences with various laptops/desktop but most often when Windows Update fails and the Recovery fails and there is, of course, no install disk. In each case a Linux Live-CD has recovered the data, and even reformatted the apparently ailing disk and the system has then gone on to a long useful Linux life. In fact I'm writing this on one now ~3 years after it's 'accident'

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Chemist
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How about 3 web servers

My normal distro is OpenSUSE. If you use the DVD download that has 3 webservers including Apache2 available on disk. They are not installed by default - why would they be but available for a few clicks.

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Royal astro-boffin to MPs: Stop thinking about headlines

Chemist
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"those food additives are"

Incidently the most dangerous contaminants of food are natural, although generally caused by poor storage etc. Materials like aflatoxins ( must be less than 20 ppb in food) make many man-made poisons, let alone food additives, look quite bland.

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Chemist
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"Carcenogens in food are a massively more important issue"

Carcinogens in food ARE an important issue - but are they actually a significant risk?

Lots of things are easy to measure to measure to extremely low levels e.g certain chemicals and ionizing radiation. Problem is assessing the consequences.

With carcinogens a 'predicitive' test that has been used widely is the Ames test named after its inventor, which actually show the mutagenic effect of a chemical. Find an active and the supposition was that almost no level was 'safe'

Years later Bruce Ames published a long review of carcinogenic challenges and demonstrated that biological systems have a threshold level below which almost no damage is important and the system generally self-repairs.

So carcinogens are important but the risks are probably far lower than the popular perception.

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Raspberry Pi ship date slips

Chemist
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The open source for x264 ...

is readily available e.g.

ftp://ftp.videolan.org/pub/x264/snapshots/last_x264.tar.bz2

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Chemist
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I assume x264 is an option ?

No hardware assisted encoding but I use it for 1080/50p encoding and it works well, if rather slowly, on anything less then top-notch kit. Playback on VDPAU/Nvidia assisted decode is excellent using ~5-10% cpu even on an old dual core AMD 64

There certainly have been ARM versions

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Boffins crack superconducting graphene's melting mystery

Chemist
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Ah !

You need to use liquid crystal glasses NOT beer goggles

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Chemist
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Regular arrays like that

can produce that effect. I've spent a lot of time looking at 3D chemical graphics of various types over the last 30 years and have got used to the games they can play. If you cross your eyes or defocus them you might well find the images shift around to give the impression that you are looking from below. Try changing the size or darkening the room.

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Demand for safety kitemark on software stepped up

Chemist
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Re : a dozen people

Thanks for that, pity it was so small.

Having done this quiz I guess one problem is that it isn't against the clock so I had plenty of time to scrutinize the pages and particularly the URLs. In some ways it was easy to spot the phishing sites but verifying that a genuine site was genuine was harder - spot the phish and you're done but on the 'good' sites it took more searching to convince me that there wasn't some trick.

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Chemist
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Re: http://www.opendns.com/phishing-quiz

But how many people did your survey cover ?

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Chemist
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"If you looked at the email"

Not on my system mate

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Five ways Microsoft can rescue Windows Phone

Chemist
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"The market needs the competition."

Just like the desktop ?

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MasterCard joins Visa in pushing PINs into America

Chemist
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French motorway tolls

Just card in/out - no PIN

Spent ~£380 recently going Calais-Switzerland-Riviera-Auvergne-Calais with the largest single item ~£40 all without PIN or signature - I guess they have the reg. plate captured though.

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OFFICIAL: Smart meters won't be compulsory

Chemist
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Quite the reverse here

Both electricity/gas I put the readings in on-line, bill gets paid by DD, meterman turns up about a week later. Being going on for ~ 2/3 years

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Trojan smuggles out nicked blueprints as Windows Update data

Chemist
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Sorry BigYin

It didn't read like a joke

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Chemist
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@Vic

Same here

OpenSUSE 11.4

sudo version 1.7.6p2

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Star Trek tractor beam to save Earth from asteroid Armageddon

Chemist
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"Anything that claims to be edgy should be taken outside and shot."

Edgy :-

"daringly innovative; on the cutting edge. "

Your point is ?

And I have been on this site for a number of years. And there does seem to be a tendency for posters to get their facts wrong - often wildly so.

Recently someone claimed that the NEO was 6 miles in diameter where most info sources were saying ~11m or bus sized

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Chemist
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"near miss was something over 6 miles in diameter, "

er ? 11 metres is closer

BBC

"The asteroid, estimated to be about 11m (36ft) in diameter, was first detected on Wednesday."

CBS

"A small asteroid the size of a city bus zoomed between Earth and the moon's orbit Friday (Jan. 25)"

I agree about the nuck though

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Chemist
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"since the electromagnetic force is tiny compared to the force due to gravity and mass"

Quite the reverse.

A charged comb will lift a feather ( against the force of gravity) but the uncharged comb doesn't

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Chemist
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Re : "Put a huge solar parachute or sail on the damn thing."

I think the problem is that the rock is most to be both an irregular shape and likely to be tumbling so to attach any form of propulsion to it and then stabilize and steer it is going to be mighty hard

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Chemist
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@John Smith 19

It does sound fanciful doesn't it ?. Nevertheless that is exactly what is being proposed in the document referenced in the article under the title "Gravity Tractor"

"..minimize fuel consumption and maximize the asteroid’s deflection? What are the trade-offs between the mass of the tractor, the distance between the tractor and the NEO, the control laws, and the time required to produce the required deflection? Reliability is a crucial issue given the long periods (several years to a decade) typically required for gravity traction to produce the required deflection. What are the requirements for autonomous spacecraft control procedures to manage hovering station keeping and maintain stability of the traction system over a long period of time in the (verynearby) presence of an irregular rotating mass?"

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Chemist
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"parking a massive object"

That is indeed what is being proposed although the object would have active propulsion to slowly 'tow' the NEO away from a collision course.

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Chemist
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To be frank

There are enough misguided souls on this site who seem to believe almost anything they are told. It's one thing to be a lively, edgy tech. site - quite another to be an off-shoot of the Daily Mail

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Chemist
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"tractor beam"

Will you STOP using this wildly inaccurate description of the actual proposal !

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Dumb salesmen are hurting us – Nokia CEO

Chemist
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"that in any sufficiently complex software system........everything open source."

e.g. the Linux kernel Oh wait !

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Met Office cuts off Linux users with new weather widgets

Chemist
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"knowing full well that Linux support never has been high on..."

And yet we still use it - I wonder why

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Chemist
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"Foresight is cheaper than development "

Agree entirely.

As a Linux only user I might be devastated by this news except I don't use Met Office widget for Firefox anyway.

"but that involves at least one more click than usual" - er ? Bookmarks anyone ?

As for iPlayer - simples use get_iplayer instead

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