* Posts by Umbracorn

25 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Sep 2016

NASA, DARPA to go nuclear in hopes of putting boots on Mars


> the high temperatures generated by the fission reactor can be transferred to a liquid propellant expanded and exhausted through a nozzle to propel the spacecraft.

Steam powered rockets! Something very Jules Verne about that.

The IT decision-maker that really matters? Your pet


Feline Groovy

Thanks to the weakly protected IoS collar on my cat, we can now map all the IoS devices and not-so-Smart TV subnets in my neighbourhood. If the other cat owners follow suit, we'll have a mesh network.

America's nuclear fusion 'breakthrough' is super-hot ... yet far from practical


Re: Ignition?

I am not a physicist, but - successfully firing one cylinder is the same as ignition in this case.

The lasers created the plasma, providing the "spark", pumping a certain amount of energy into the system.

"Ignition" is being used here in the same way as "over unity", the extra energy measured had to come from release of stored potential energy. Chemical reaction, ignition, in an internal combustion engine; nuclear fission, in this experiment.

Minute quantities of fuel involved in this experiment.

Doing useful work with the extra energy on a larger scale is left as an exercise for the steam power enthusiasts of the future.

Oh no, that James Webb Space Telescope snap might actually contain malware


exfiltrate data through unusual DNS queries

This reminded me of automated collect calls in the 90's, and trying to save money as a college student -

(Prerecorded operator voice): You have a collect call from "HiMomitsBob,myplanelands8pmWednesday". Do you accept the charges?

Bipolar transistors made from organic materials for the first time


Re: ubiquitous electronics, such as those used on or in the human body

Quiet there, meatsuit. Don't speak unless I'm 32-bit-addressing you.

NASA doubles down on Venus missions, asking what made the planet uninhabitable


Terraforming Venus Quickly

I'm sure this will restart the debate on terraforming Venus.

Aside from a few "minor details", like what to do with all that sulfuric acid, the main problem seems to be reining in the greenhouse effect.

I'd like to see a model where the sunlight/insolation is reduced and the temperature falls just enough that the carbon dioxide starts falling as snow, at the poles.


The good optics of silicon photonics: Light sailing serenely down a fibre


Re: you'll go blind

You have to think beyond 8K and into the realms of VR. Ready my Tactile Immersion Suit, please!

You can drive a car with your feet, you can operate a sewing machine with your feet. Same goes for computers obviously


Oh, Alexa, how we laughed.

I built a shed once. How hard can a data centre be?


Re: I got paid for xmas overtime.

This really does deserve to be it's own On-Call, with flavour and writing flair preserved.

We know there are a lot of, er, distractions right now but NASA's got some sweet video of its asteroid rubble raiser


Collecting dust

Now *I* would have used a vacuum cleaner to suck up all that flying dirt.

Everyone knows a vacuum cleaner makes the vacuum cleaner.

Good news: Boffins have finally built room-temperature superconductors. Bad news: You'll need a laser, a diamond anvil, and a lot of pressure


Superconducting gunpowder

A touch of saltpetre and their recipe should be bang on.

Shine on you crazy diamond: We don't know who needs to hear it but NASA's explained the weird shape of the Bennu asteroid


Just logged in to say the comments are brilliant today - sparkling, like space dust glitter in the dark solar wind.

Hyphens of mass destruction: When a clumsy finger meant the end for hundreds of jobs


Re: I had a narrow escape once

Good story!

Ah, yes, the UI convention of "Y means Yes, N also means Yes, and a gunshot wound to the thigh means No". ...later rewritten as a result of the "No means No" campaign.

Black holes are like buses: You wait for one – and three turn up at once in galaxy merger


Flat Universe Society

I for one believe the universe is humongous and unhomogenized. More natural that way.

Geo-boffins drill into dino-killing asteroid crater, discover extinction involves bad smells, chilly weather, no broadband internet...


Re: Fahrenheit?

If your recipe calls for a drachm of soda, a gill of milk, and two dozen ounces of flour, I'll say "you've got to be firkin kidding me" and give up. But if it lists the equivalent in grams, I can meet you halfway.

Maybe not so important in this age of the Babelfish, but translations help your message reach a wider audience.

Finally! A solution to 42 – the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything


Re: OK the soultion is known

in base 13, it works out.

Army Watchkeeper drone flopped into tree because crew were gazing backwards


Re: audio alerts

I agree with you, but I am also reminded (per Good Morning Vietnam) that members of artillery regiments may have decreased hearing sensitivity.

Guy is booted out of IT amid outsourcing, wipes databases, deletes emails... goes straight to jail for two-plus years


Re: Doh!

Well, obviously they couldn't change his passwords and remove his access because their IT manager had resigned recently, and they hadn't finished their outsourcing. :D

Has NASA's Mars Insight lander hit rock bottom? Heat probe struggles to penetrate Red Planet


Re: 80's flow chart

Wish they could try the mole in a brand new position.

Somewhere where the soil can hold the probe tightly

And the reciprocal hammer can go daily and nightly.

Please be aliens, please be aliens, please be aliens... Boffins discover mystery mass beneath Moon's biggest crater


Re: Image

In fiction: "Lucifer's Hammer", which in part gives a mixed US-Soviet space station crew a front-row seat to the spectacle of comet fragments hitting Earth, and the subsequent nuclear exchange (!).

In real life: Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who went to MIR then had real trouble booking a flight home. http://discovermagazine.com/2016/dec/the-last-soviet-citizen

So you accidentally told a million people they are going to die: What next? Your essential guide...


Re: Work down the list ...

"Better to let the great man sleep."


Curiosity sniffs Mars' odd atmosphere wafting out of its soil


What do the Martians do with all the cosmic rays hitting their soil?


US Marine Corps to fly F-35s from HMS Queen Lizzie as UK won't have enough jets


Re: Elephant in the room

Oh look, Crimea elephants *cough*



Re: Good choice of name

Maiden voyage? Hosting a squadron of US Marines? Won't be a maiden after that voyage, methinks.

Lose a satellite? Us? China silent on fate of Gaofen civilian/spy sat


Re: Cities

From the Google translate of the Google archive (yeah, I know) of aihangtian.com linked in the article:

"After the rocket took off south west direction of flight, launch orbit is sun-synchronous orbit. Unfortunately, the launch failure, the satellite did not enter orbit. A Long March rocket four C working properly and crashed into Hill County Shangluo City in Shaanxi Province; fairing also successfully separated, and falling in Enshi City Shing Xiangjiaba territory."

Most likely they're just referencing administrative regions.

But in related history, last week a commenter posted this link to a 1994 disaster at Xichang launch site, and the accompanying state reaction. FYI: