907 posts • joined 12 Apr 2012
"These planets are difficult to study as they can only be viewed via ultraviolet light. The researchers hope to continue observing GJ347b using Hubble and eventually the James Webb Telescope..."
If they can only be observed via ultraviolet light then the James Webb Space Telescope won't be able to see them because its sensors will only operate in the Red to mid-infrared range and because it's going to be located at the Sun-Earth L2 point there won't be any possibility of adding a UV detection capability in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, I suspect that the gold-plated mirror is not suitable for UV observation.
"The engineering isn't particularly interesting or groundbreaking (jet engines? meh. hybrid rocket? only slightly less meh.)"
The interesting engineering isn't in the propulsion but in keeping the thing stable and controllable at that speed, on the ground and without a track.
It's whether there's any value in doing that that I have to question.
Forget ripping off brains for AI. Butterflies and worms could lead us to self-repairing intelligent robots, says prof
"...now we know that certain memories / experiences can be genetically encoded..."
I think you have to be careful what you mean here: a learned experience can't be genetically encoded but a genetic change can result in changed behavior, which can then be inherited.
If the genetic change is beneficial and confers an advantage it can be mistaken for learning and thus it can appear as though an organism has learned something that has then been passed on to its descendants.
Ex-Intel engineer tried to make off with 3D XPoint secret sauce on his way to Micron, says Chipzilla
"Intel has unleashed its legal dogs upon one of its former hardware engineers..."
"Rivers had a go at taking confidential trade and personnel data with him as he left."
"...that did not stop Rivers from allegedly hoovering up a selection of personnel files into a USB device..."
Why/how did a hardware engineer have/gain access to personnel data?
It was a lit CeBIT see, got teeny weeny, world's biggest tech show yearly party... closed its German fest's doors yesterday
"Grav waves and dark matter have an effect on gravity..."
Dark matter has an effect on gravity, gravitational waves are a change or variation in/of gravity. Saying that gravity waves have an effect on gravity is like saying a change in something creates that change.
"...and thus time, variations of which..."
There are not different varieties of time. Variations can occur in time, but it's all the same sort of time.
"As you'd expect, if two of these clocks were placed at different altitudes near the Earth's surface, the higher one would tick slightly faster than the lower one, due to classic time dilatation."
There're two types of time dilation: gravitational, where the local rate of time is affected by mass, and relativistic, where the local rate of time is affected by spatial motion; there is no "classic" variety.
"...an effect sometimes called the gravitational redshift."
Only people who don't know what they're talking about would call gravitational time dilation "gravitational redshift": time dilation and 'red-shift' are two entirely different phenomena.
And no, I don't think I'm just being pedantic - these mistakes, far from informing people, just mislead them.
Smart meters do not save energy
Indeed. Smart meters were never intended to save money for consumers - the idea that people who had no interest in reducing their electrickery bill prior to having a smart meter will suddenly change their attitude after having one is entirely fallacious. People who do care already turn stuff off when not needed or in use.
Smart meters have many benefits for the suppliers though: it will enable them to greatly reduce their staff costs, remotely disconnect your supply, and sell your usage data.
Oracle's JEDI mind-meld doesn't work on Uncle Sam's auditors: These are not the govt droids you are looking for
Re: Just go Linux
This seems to apply to the 'Insider' program only, and it seems to me that some people who sign up to the 'Insider' program simply don't understand that what they're getting is pre-production code, for testing and evaluation purposes only. Linux isn't going to fix that level of ignorance.
Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again
'Pure technical contributions aren’t enough'.... Intel commits to code of conduct for open-source projects
Re: Then what??
Yes, it does seem to be a rather strange thing to say but perhaps it was just poorly worded.
Dawn is in a highly elliptical orbit orbit around Ceres, bringing in as close as 35km and taking it out as far as 4000km, where it could be subject to perturbations by other asteroids in the belt.
Saying that it'll probably remain in orbit around Ceres for at least 20 years suggests that no other large asteroids are going to approach Ceres closely enough to significantly perturb Dawn's orbit until then. It also suggests that another large asteroid is approaching Ceres and will approach closely enough to have an affect around that time, and which will perturb Dawn's orbit.
We can't predict exactly how Dawn's orbit will be changed but considering its close proximity to Ceres, which is a ~1000km wide target, the possibility of Dawn hitting it [Ceres] seem quite high.
Re: spacecraft design
I need to reply to my own post here to add some corrections to the booster jettison sequence:
The first stage of jettison is not the shutdown of the booster motors, as I previously stated, but the release of the lower linkages. Because the booster motors are still running this causes the base of the booster to swing out and away from the core - then the booster motors are shutdown, and then the tip thrusters are activated to swing the tips of the boosters clear of the core.
It might also be considered a misnomer to describe the tip thrusters as such because the thrust is not provided by supplemental motors but by venting surplus oxidizer (oxygen) carried for this particular purpose.
I can't down-vote myself so I'll have to leave that to others.
Re: spacecraft design
"The first stage bumped into the second stage, which blew up said second stage..."
Not quite - the R7 series of launchers have a central 'core' section, that forms the 'first' stage, to which are attached four discrete boosters. Thrust from each of the four boosters is transferred to the 1st stage core by a 'ball' at the tip of each booster, which sits inside a 'cup' that is built in to the side of the upper section of the core. The base of each booster has a linkage to the core, to retain the booster and keep it in place alongside the core, but which transfers none of the thrust. This arrangement, that of transferring the thrust from the boosters to the core at the core's upper section and not at the base, means that the lower section of the core need only be strong enough to cope with the thrust from its own engines and not the entire thrust of the launcher.
When the boosters have done their work and are to be jettisoned the motors are first shut down and then the lower links are relaxed, allowing the booster to swing out at its base and drop back a little and this allows the thrust transfer 'ball' to drop out of the 'cup' on the side of the upper section of the core. After the ball has dropped out of the cup, small thrusters built in to the tips of each of the boosters are then fired to swing the tips of the boosters out and away from the core, the boosters rotating around their base linkages as the tips swing out. Once the boosters have rotated far enough they disengage from their base linkages and fall away.
The problem seems to have occurred when the booster tip thrusters were fired, with one of them failing to operate correctly and resulting in the tip of that booster re-contacting the side of the core, which at that point still had fuel and which was still running.
The second stage sat on top of the core module of the first stage, with the Soyuz sitting on top of that.
Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette
Re: This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new
I read a story in the Fortean Times a very long time ago, when bombing was a thing in the UK, about a 'mystery' package that had been found outside an Army Recruiting Centre (iirc) by the key-holder when they arrived in the morning to open the aforesaid centre. The Bomb Squad were called in to 'deal' with it whereupon the small controlled explosion they used revealed that the package was a stack of hand-out leaflets warning people about 'mystery' packages.
Re: Interesting ... but
1. It's blue. That's curious.
If you could see it with your own eyes you'd say it was dark grey - the very slight tint of 'blueness' is only really discernible with instruments. Although we can learn stuff from how it reflects sunlight we can't get an emission spectra from it because it doesn't emit any light - we'd have to fly a projectile into it at a high enough speed to vaporise some of it to get it to produce light we could analyse.
2. Is it true that objects are either asteroids or comets...
I think it's true to say that people used to think that way but largely because we couldn't see as well as we can now, but with better instruments we've found bodies that seem to have characteristics of both types of body.
On the other hand though, there still seems to be two distinct groups of bodies, at least in terms of composition: one primarily composed of rock and one primarily composed of ice. Trouble is, we've only had a detailed look at a very small number of comets and asteroids - not enough to draw really solid conclusions.
3. The article suggests that Phaeton is in a highly elliptic orbit...
Yup, although it was only discovered in 1983 (because it's small and dark) its orbit is now very well known (it's orbital period is actually 1.433 years, not 1 year). At its greatest distance from the Sun it approaches the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. As others have pointed though, it doesn't pass through Earth's atmosphere - its closest approach to Earth, at least since it was discovered, was in 2017 when it was ~6,400,000 miles away (the Moon is just 238,856 miles distant, so much further away then the Moon).
The orbit of 3200 Phaeton is pretty stable, at least for now, but each time it passes close the Sun a lot of dust and stuff gets cooked off of its surface and is released in to space. 3200 Phaeton isn't massive enough to simply draw that dust back in towards itself by gravity so the dust ends up orbiting the Sun along the same path as 3200 Phaeton itself, but getting more and more spread out along the orbit as time passes.
By now, enough time appears to have passed for this dust to have been spread out all the way around 3200 Phaeton's orbit so that every time the Earth crosses the orbit, each December, it will run into this dust and we'll get it entering the Earth's atmosphere and burning up as a meteors or shooting stars.
A good question.
If we regard the Universe as a closed system, and the space-time within it is expanding, then where is the additional space-time coming from?
If only one of space or time were expanding, and the other was contracting, then we might have a way to keep the total amount of space-time within the Universe constant.
Time appears to 'expand' from its boundary, or 'end', whereas space seems to expand throughout its volume. In view of this, it seems to me that solutions that have space contracting or shrinking are going to be easier to deal with than solutions that have time contracting/shrinking.
...the chip shown in the Bloomberg piece...
"...is too small to realistically contain the necessary logic and all the data to insert a viable backdoor into a software stack."
I'd estimate that the chip shown in the first reg article on this story:
is roughly 1mm x 3mm, or a little under, so between 2.5-3 mm2.
But in this reg article:
it is stated that "one [A5] CPU core, minus all the extras, [but] with 4KB of instruction cache, and 4KB of data cache, comes in at 0.28 mm2 of die area"
It seems to me then, that the chip shown by Bloomberg is not too small for the necessary logic and data.
Re: Are you 18 or older?
Children start becoming sexually aware around the age of 10 and once that awareness has occurred, and the accompanying urges have started, there's no way of stopping it.
The real problem here is that parents can't cope with, and are in denial of, that little aspect of reality.
Rather than solving a problem, Age Verification just helps brush it further under the carpet.
Re: "Open source software doesn't require you to give back to the community"
@LDS: I think you're trying to read more into the GPL than is actually there.
"Most licenses I've seen..."
The GPL licenses (2 & 3) are specific and not open to modification: all of the GPL licenses that you've seen will be identical (within the type: 2 or 3). There's no scope for 'Most licenses I've seen...' in the context of the GPL Licenses.
"GPL forces you to give back all of your code if you ever use something GPLed in it"
The GPL only requires you release 'your' code if you are distributing modified GPL'd code; it does not require you to do anything at all if you just use GPL'd software; the organisations that are being targeted by MongoDB are not distributing modified GPL'd software; they're just using GPL'd software to distribute their own data.
"I believe the "internal use" exception..."
There is no "internal use" exception in the GPL because there are no usage restrictions in the GPL, other than from the penalties resulting from the distribution of modified code without the accompanying source code modifications.
Re: GPL & C. were thought before the "cloud"....
"So I fully understand MongoDB and others..."
I agree with Paul Berg's thinking on this: "Open source and libre software doesn't require you to give back to the community, it allows you to do so unimpeded. The rationale for these new licenses seems to me to be something different."
And what that different thing seems to be, at least to me, is that after using the free/open source model to gain market-share and dependence they've decided that now that people are making money [from their s/w] they want some of it.
...if the Shuttle was still flying, could it bring back...?
Nope - the Shuttle could only get to LEO (Low Earth Orbit) whereas at its closest approach to Earth (perigee) Chandra is a little over 14,000 km away.
Furthermore, when Chandra, or any object in orbit, is at perigee it is also traveling at its fastest, so as well as not being able to reach Chandra, the Shuttle wouldn't have the delta-V to be able to accelerate to match velocities with it and then decelerate to return to Earth.
It's more of a proposed explanation than an assumption, but I think there are better explanations.
Penitentes are formed by ablative erosion so the peak of the penitente is indicative of an older and higher surface level - the penitentes are not built up from the original surface but are what's left.after the surrounding material has been removed (by the aforesaid erosion). If we have 15m high penitentes then we need to know where that 15m of eroded material came from and where it subsequently went.
More likely, imo, is that the 'roughness' is due to either compression fractures, similar to what we see in the Arctic ice sheets, or the presence of cryovolcanic 'spines', similar in mechanism to those we see being erupted from lava domes. Neither of these explanations require the now missing eroded material.
Re: Expect more
"There is a lot of down votes here... Care to enlighten?"
There's no news, just propaganda. The up-votes come from people who like and support the propaganda because it supports their biases. The down-votes come from people who are annoyed by the propaganda and its supporters because it and they disagree with their own biases.
New theory: The space alien origins of vital bio-blueprints for dinosaurs. And cats. And humans. And everything else
I find these 'possibility' type theories both annoying and misleading and agree with Dr. Syntax that the main motivation for them is to get something published.
Everything in the Solar System was made from the same small portion of a much larger molecular cloud nova remnant and this would have been fairly homogeneous until the Sun and planets were well on their way to formation, for without the Sun and planetisimals there would have been nothing to cause differentiation, to separate the different materials in the cloud.
Water is a good example of this: many people now believe that Earth originally had no water at all and that it was all delivered by comets. The reality is that whilst Earth's oceans account for 96.5% of all the surface/near surface water, there's evidence that somewhere between 1.5-11 times this amount exists in the Earth's mantle, hundreds of miles deep, and which wouldn't have got there via comets.
Fuzzy Logic and Landing Sites
Using fuzzy logic to select landing sites doesn't make a lot of sense to me, for two reasons. Firstly, you don't need fuzzy logic to establish the gradient of a patch of terrain (or, for that matter, its roughness i.e. covered in boulders) - very simple algorithms can do this. And secondly, probes are landed where there is something of interest to be investigated, not because its easy to land at that location; choosing a landing site just based upon the relative ease of landing is pointless if there's nothing interesting there, or at least within a reasonable travel range, to be investigated; you don't want to run the risk of a problem developing, such as part of the probe wearing out or getting damaged, before it can start doing its work.
Re: 300 lightning strikes
I was wondering about the 300 lighting strike equivalent but a quick bit of searching revealed that an average -ve lightning stroke delivers ~500MJ of energy (+ve bolts are more intense but less common ~5%). TNT (as a rough yardstick) yields a little over 4MJ / kg, so it would seem that ~125kg of TNT (a fairly small bomb) ~= 1 average bolt of lighting.
If we use Pete 2's lowest number for the total weight of bombs dropped, 1 Mt, and multiply it by 2000 (for US tons, to get a lower bound) we get get 2 Glb. Divide this by 2.2 to get 9.09e8 kg.
Tot energy = 9.09e8 * 4e6 = 3.6e^14 J
Divide this by 5e8 to give equivalent number of lightning bolts = 7.2e4 = 720,000.
If we go with 6 bolts per minute then we have 720,000 / 6 = 120,000 minutes = 2,000 hours = 83.3 days.
But note that if that figure of 6 bolts per min is for the whole of Europe then we really need the average rate just for Germany, which must be considerably lower.
Corrections welcome for any errors in the maths.
Of course, another way of looking at it is to remember that bombs did far more damage during the war than lightning ever did.
NASA to celebrate 55th anniversary of first Moon landing by, er, deciding how to land humans on the Moon again
Re: Saturn 5 / Apollo
"...having a man walk on the moon and return safely - with 1960's technology."
There was nothing safe about the Apollo missions or the 1960's technology they relied upon: it caused the death of three astronauts and nearly killed another three. Considering the low number of missions actually flown, its safety record can only be regarded as poor.
It wasn't just because of the cost that Saturn was retired, it was also because the Saturn launch stack was, to use computing jargon, an emergency hack, the sole purpose of which was to boost the US ego by beating the USSR in what history has shown to have been a totally pointless race - pointless because, if there had been some point to it, other than simply beating the USSR, they'd still be there.
Science was always secondary to winning the 'race': whilst the Apollo astronauts were very smart people, and did do some good science while they were there, only one of them was actually a scientist and once Apollo 11 had landed on the Moon and returned, NASA struggled to get financing from the US gov for further science based missions.
Re: Stop using passwords
I can think of many good use-cases for commercial/industrial IoT and if I were to be designing one of them I'd be thinking of 'pull' only inward comms i.e. the end device would initiate all comms and wouldn't allow any inward connections or remote logins at all. This wouldn't solve all of the problems but would remove some of them.
Re: "there's a transition period after March"
"Surely the Prince of Edinburgh wouldn't want to give his city back to the Scots?"
There isn't a title in the peerage named 'Prince of Edinburgh': you're probably thinking of the 'Duke of Edinburgh'. This title hasn't been enduring because it has mostly been bestowed upon people who are in line to the throne or whose descendants are in line to the throne: if the holder, or their descendants become the monarch then the title merges with the crown and ceases to exist. Thus, the title had to be (re) created, for a third time, before it could be bestowed upon Phillip, who is only the fourth person to hold the title.
Re: Feeling old yet?
Although slightly more modern aircraft were the norm - Britannias, Comets, VC-10s etc, I'd occasionally still see DC-3s flying overhead, often on their way in to Stansted, in the early sixties.
One memory, that is still vivid, is of lying in bed at night and listening to them slowly drone past, and seeming to take an age to do so - it was a lot quieter then, due to much less road traffic, both in general, of course, but especially overnight, and there was no double-glazing then either, so you'd hear them from a lot further away as they approached where I was, and then for a similar length of time as they passed overhead and carried on their way. I always wondered where they'd come from, where they were going and what the people on board were doing as I lay there in my bed - to the very young me it was all part of the wonder of the world, and somehow, just a little bit comforting.
On a different note, with 20,519 flights totalling 49,687 flying hours we seem to be looking at an average flight time of ~2.5 hours, which seems low for a long-haul aircraft.
"...there are people pushing Brexit that basically want a broken country..."
On the one hand I think that the people who voted for Brexit did so because of a delusional belief that the many problems the UK faces were caused by other countries and not by ourselves. This view was enthusiastically promoted by David Cameron's government throughout his time as PM because it was pretty effective at diverting criticism away from the Tories. As we know though, it resulted in him being hoist with his own petard.
But on the other hand, I don't think the UK will be broken badly enough to force Brexiters to reappraise their delusions; they'll just carry on blaming the EU.
I fear that things must get a lot worse before they can start getting better; we really do seem to be in a 'you can't get there from here' position. Quite frankly, I'm just glad I'm not young anymore, as it won't affect me very much, and I'm glad I grew up when I did and not now, but I'm worried for the young people who will have to deal with the future.
New MeX-Files: The curious case of an evacuated US solar lab, the FBI – and bananas conspiracy theories
"This is just silly."
Sadly, I think it's more serious than just silly; it's neurotic, because they're looking for offense where none was intended and because they believe that a word should only mean what they think it should mean - a sort of neurotic pedantry.
Ultimately, words are just words; it's what people do that may be acceptable or, in the case of slavery, unacceptable.
What I find worrying about things like this is that decisions are being made on the basis of neurosis instead of rationality.
It would appear not - there is a 'frequency dispersion' in the signals that indicates that they are far away.
This dispersion is where the higher frequency portions of a signal arrive before the lower-frequency portions due to the signal passing through a medium, related to the way that 'white' light is split in to separate colours by a glass prism. In this case though, instead of 'light' waves and glass, we've got 'radio' waves and ionized inter-stellar & inter-galactic medium.