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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

CanadianRealist Re:Missing the obvious? (154 comments)

But wind produces considerably less force at angles.

True, which is why that is not normally considered. But in this case the lack of support at the corners made the building particularly vulnerable to diagonal forces. That was the point I was trying to make with the Lego example. And if you're designing such an unusual building maybe you should consider more than just the first "first obvious choice" for what could go wrong.

12 hours ago
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

CanadianRealist Re:Missing the obvious? (154 comments)

No, they didn't.

LeMessurier had accounted for the perpendicular winds, but not the quartering winds.

With only the forces of the perpendicular winds considered and reported, the contractor's decision was ok. While it is true that the bolts were weaker than the welds would have been, they were strong enough to handle the forces the design specified. There's a quote by LeMessurier in the podcast that says this.

13 hours ago
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

CanadianRealist Missing the obvious? (154 comments)

I know hindsight is 20/20 but not considering the effect of wind hitting the corners of the building seems unbelievable. With no support at the corners it seems obvious* that the easiest way to cause a failure would be to apply force directed towards a corner. TFA does say that wind at the corners is not usually an issue, but when designing something so radically different you have to consider the effects of those differences.

*For anyone who has ever played with Lego: imagine building something that looks like that building and think of the easiest way to push it over. Consider how you control the direction when felling a tree.

yesterday
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Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You

CanadianRealist Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (722 comments)

I also think that autonomous vehicles will be much safer than human-driven vehicles. We can keep making them better based on experience while on the other hand we would keep adding new inexperienced human drivers. I'm sure that we can correct any problems that we may find with early autonomous vehicles. I doubt that we'll ever be able to correct human distraction, emotional reactions, bad judgement and general stupidity.

Do you have any stats on the percentage of accidents caused by physical wear and tear on brakes rotors and axles? Or on the "other thousands of extraneous factors" that you've considered? How do those compare to the percentage caused by any sort of human error?

The following claims human error is the sole cause 57% of the time and a contributing factor 90% of the time, while mechanical fault is the sole cause only 2.4% of the time.

about 6 months ago
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Snowden Says He Took No Secret Files To Russia

CanadianRealist Re:Not shared by him doesn't mean a thing (220 comments)

TheRaven64 says there are a million people with the same clearance level and asks what are the chances that none are Chinese agents. You counter by making them all sysadmins who are all* stealing other people's credentials. And you think he's using hyperbole?

The opposite of none is at least one, not all of them.

* I know you don't use the word "all" but it is clearly implied in what you wrote. Compare the following: "There are a million people who have cancer." and "There are a million people, some of whom have cancer."

about 6 months ago
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Silk Road Shut Down, Founder Arrested, $3.6 Million Worth of Bitcoin Seized

CanadianRealist $3.6 Million Bitcoin Seized (620 comments)

Will the government try to redeem these bitcoins? Wouldn't that be like saying that they accept that bitcoin is valid? (Of course they could be hypocrites and say that bitcoin is completely invalid and redeem them anyways.)

It would be neat if all the seized bitcoins could be identified and recorded as being worthless now.

about 7 months ago
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Snowden Strikes Again: NSA Mapping Social Connections of US Citizens

CanadianRealist Re:news media has lost interest? (513 comments)

If the CEOs were really interested in reporting on this they could make their own news with a sting operation. Plan to do a few "embarrassing" searches, document them ahead of time with a few high profile lawyers then do them. When the NSA acts, you reveal it all on your news programs.

about 7 months ago
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New Ship Will Remain Stable By Creating Its Own Inner Waves

CanadianRealist SWATH doesn't require power (43 comments)

Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) is a design that minimizes the effect of the waves. Most of the volume that supports the ship is below the level of the waves, making it very stable. The stability comes from the hull design, so it doesn't require any power and the stabilization isn't prone to failure like an active system.

Here's a short video of a SWATH ship in rough seas, with a regular hull ship for comparison. I'm pretty sure this is the one that I saw in a documentary about the design. They showed a glass of water sitting on a table in the SWATH ship, not spilling. I'm pretty sure that the glass would go flying in the other ship.

about 7 months ago
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Report: By 2035, Nearly 100 Million Self-Driving Cars Will Be Sold Per Year

CanadianRealist Re:For the love of Junior Johnson... (325 comments)

Airbags are passive: drivers don't have to do anything at all, they just work.

Automatically. Which is the point that was being made in the post that you originally replied to.

The question of active or passive is a separate issue and is complicated by the government's way of defining it. (Which seems backwards to me.) I would expect active/passive to refer to the device itself, rather than the user's interaction with it. The way the government defines it a self driving car is pretty much a passive device. A rock is an active device - it doesn't do anything unless you pick it up and throw it. Imagine a fully automatic predator drone that takes off, locates a target and attacks completely automatically. That would be labelled a passive device. I don't think those labellings match the usual interpretations of those words.

about 8 months ago
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Report: By 2035, Nearly 100 Million Self-Driving Cars Will Be Sold Per Year

CanadianRealist Re:For the love of Junior Johnson... (325 comments)

Red herring. Airbags are passive safety devices, not a device to automatically do something the driver had to do previously.

Sounds more like red herring argument to me. Deploying automatically, at high speed, at the instant an accident occurs is not at all passive. A seat belt is passive, once the driver attaches it. (At least the older style fixed ones were. Modern ones which lock only in response to a sufficient pull are questionably passive.) And as for not being something a driver had to do previously, they could have been set up as such, but I'd bet they would almost never have been used at the instant when needed since human reaction time is pretty poor. It would probably have been better for the human to try to avoid the accident in the first place.

about 8 months ago
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GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

CanadianRealist Re:nature and consumers (358 comments)

Are you sure you replied to the correct post? I said absolutely nothing in favour of GMO plants and I'm pretty sure I didn't say anything that calls for the hostility in your post.

I was commenting on the difference between wild plants versus cultivated ones. That was the point of the GP of my post, but missed by the parent post which compared two different cultivated plants - the heirloom versus the mass produced one.

about 9 months ago
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GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

CanadianRealist Re:nature and consumers (358 comments)

He said very clearly what he was talking about:

Show me a wild tomato that can grow without human cultivation and is as tasty as any modern tomato.

Heirloom tomatoes are modern, just not mass produced. They are still the result of people using selective breeding to improve on what they found in nature. Wild means what grows naturally, on it's own. Consider for example wild bananas from which people cultivated modern bananas.

about 9 months ago
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French Parliament Votes To Give Priority To Free Software

CanadianRealist Re:Free or open source? (98 comments)

Interestingly, at gas stations, "libre-service" means self service.

about 9 months ago
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Med Students Unaware of Their Bias Against Obese Patients

CanadianRealist Re:Unconscious? (446 comments)

You raise a valid point. My reply was about assessing their unconscious feelings. Maybe it would be better to say that they are unaware of their bias, or even worse are willing to lie about it.

about a year ago
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Med Students Unaware of Their Bias Against Obese Patients

CanadianRealist Re:Implicit Association (446 comments)

I can really only answer for myself, which is what that statement was about. I found out that I had biases that I was not aware of. At least some associations gave me much more trouble than other ones did, and I don't have any other explanation for that. For some I didn't even need to see the reported times, I was aware of the difference while doing the test.

Maybe everyone else is aware of their biases and is simply not willing to admit them, but I doubt that. I suspect that for these biases:

reality > what people will admit > what people are aware of

about a year ago
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Med Students Unaware of Their Bias Against Obese Patients

CanadianRealist Re:Compassion (446 comments)

With all due respect, you may still be missing the point about unconscious bias. You sound completely sincere and your attitude about professionalism is commendable and I completely agree with what you say about how a doctor should behave.

But what if you have a bias that you are not aware of? Have you ever taken an implicit association test? Are you sure that you could counter a bias that you are not even aware of?

As mentioned in another post, I have taken such tests and was surprised by some of the results. I found out that I had biases that I was not aware of. Even after learning about them I was not able to alter my results.

Consider the issue of using double blind studies when testing new drugs or therapies. Do you believe that double blind studies are necessary or are single blind studies ok as long as the person conducting the study is aware that they may be biased? Does that awareness allow them to be objective? How about "no blind" studies if the test subjects are properly informed about the placebo effect?

about a year ago
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Med Students Unaware of Their Bias Against Obese Patients

CanadianRealist Re:Unconscious? (446 comments)

You're ignoring the part about the implicit association test. See my post above.

I agree that what someone admits to doesn't say anything about unconscious feelings. But an IAT can demonstrate feelings that you're not even aware of.

about a year ago
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Med Students Unaware of Their Bias Against Obese Patients

CanadianRealist Implicit Association (446 comments)

For those not familiar with implicit association tests, they are based on measuring your reaction times when matching certain types of data according to different specified criteria. For example a gender association test might measure time for matching gender with staying at home raising children versus working outside the home.

Harvard has plenty of sample tests.

Having taken some of the tests I can say that the results can be quite surprising and point out biases that you are unaware of. I definitely found that some associations were much easier for me than others. (Happy to say that the gender example above was not a problem for me.)

about a year ago
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Rough Roving: Curiosity's Wheels Show Damage

CanadianRealist Re:Spirit and Opportunity set unrealistic expectat (78 comments)

But for the same cost as sending a human on a round trip to Mars you could build a fleet of rovers. Design and testing is a significant part of the cost so building extra rovers lowers the average cost dramatically.

A human can do 100x more in a day? For the same cost I'd bet you could send may more than 100 rovers and explore a much larger area of Mars.

about a year ago
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Congressional Report: US Power Grid Highly Vulnerable To Cyberattack

CanadianRealist Re:Very weird priorities (124 comments)

No need for an angle grinder, a wrench will do just fine.

It would take a while to beat the effect of the 1998 ice storm. It downed more than 1000 pylons.

about a year ago

Submissions

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New catalyst allows cheaper hydrogen production

CanadianRealist CanadianRealist writes  |  1 year,21 days

CanadianRealist (1258974) writes "Electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen is very inefficient without the use of a catalyst. Unfortunately catalysts are currently made of crystals containing rare, expensive toxic metals such as ruthenium and iridium. Two chemists from the University of Calgary have invented a process to make a catalyst using relatively non-toxic metal compounds such as iron oxide, for 1/1000 the cost of currently used catalysts.

It is suggested this would make it more feasible to use electrolysis of water to create hydrogen as a method of storing energy from variable green power sources such as wind and solar."
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Cow manure generates electricity and big savings

CanadianRealist CanadianRealist writes  |  more than 4 years ago

CanadianRealist (1258974) writes "Manure from 600 cows is digested in a 16 foot deep, 70 foot diameter tank to produce methane gas which is then burned to generate electricity. The system generates enough electricity to power the farm and a dozen neighboring homes and still some back to the grid. Generation also creates heat which is used to heat the digester, farm buildings and water. The $200 000 per year savings are expected to pay for the system in 5 years or less. As a side benefit, the digester also reduces 98% of the odor."
Link to Original Source

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