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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Ferrofluid Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

It ain't that easy to throw away 25Mw of generation at the drop of a hat

Why can't you just disconnect some fraction of the solar panels? Just run them as open circuits.

But I agree that underproduction is much more difficult to deal with than overproduction. The only practical solution I know of is to use some sort of energy storage system like pumped water storage, batteries (e.g. vanadium redox), or, and I'm speculating here, possible next-generation graphene ultracapacitors.

about a month ago
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Continuous System For Converting Waste Plastics Into Crude Oil

Ferrofluid Re:Ocean garbage patches? (139 comments)

Yes, we know : ) . The idea is to supply the chemical reactor with heat from the ship's nuclear reactor.

about a month ago
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First Movie of an Entire Brain's Neuronal Activity

Ferrofluid Re:Mapping the Nematode? (44 comments)

You look for cellular activities which correspond to cancerous behavior, and when you see them, you tell that cell to kill itself

That's kind of what's already supposed to happen naturally inside the human body. Cells are supposed to kill themselves if they are severely malfunctioned or are likely to become cancerous. However, if enough of these fail-safe mechanisms are damages within a cell, then that cell becomes cancerous. That's why cancer is so difficult to treat, and why your own immune system has difficulty attacking it -- the cancer cells have gone rogue and are no longer "following orders" to kill themselves.

So, if you were able to insert genes into cells, which would allow the cells to kill themselves upon activation by a certain light wavelength, then what would happen? Say you illuminate the tumour with that particular wavelength. Perhaps 99.9% of the cells will undergo apoptosis, as instructed. But maybe 0.1% acquired a mutation which disabled your fail-safe genes. Now what? Congratulations -- the cancer has now evolved to be resistant to your light-induced apoptosis commands. And you're back to square one.

about a month ago
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Radar Data Yields High-Resolution Views of Near-Earth Asteroid HQ124

Ferrofluid Why is it lit from the side? (29 comments)

The article says that these images are produced from radar scans. Why, then, does the asteroid look like it's illuminated from the side? If the asteroid was "illuminated" with a radar beam from an earth-based antenna, while the reflected radar waves were also detected using earth-based dishes, then shouldn't the asteroid look like it's illuminated head-on? Am I missing something here?

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

Ferrofluid Re:oS, I suppose) or by time of day. (474 comments)

1. Sign up for "internet solar roof"
2. Connect to your own router as an anonymous public device
3. ????
4. Profit! (Or at least never having to pay a dime for your internet bill)

about a month and a half ago
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Windows 8.1 Finally Passes Windows 8 In Market Share

Ferrofluid Mouse Latency Issue? (187 comments)

I read sometime last year that Windows 8.1 introduced a bug related to mouse latency, which was especially noticeable for gamers using high-dpi mice. Apparently, many games became unplayable because of the greatly increased mouse lag. Microsoft issued a temporary "fix" (patch KB2908279), which from what I've read only corrected the issue for a few specific games -- i.e., it was not a true, universal fix. Does anyone know if they have finally fixed this issue? I've been holding off from upgrading to Windows 8.1 for this very reason.

about 2 months ago
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Computer Game Reveals 'Space-Time' Neurons In the Eye

Ferrofluid Re:Blows my mind (105 comments)

It's no stranger than building a computer out of sand and minerals.

about 3 months ago
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

Ferrofluid Re:Difference between erratic & erotic (600 comments)

the electric force weakens linearly with distance

If by "electric force" you mean electric field strength, then no, it does not fall off linearly. It obeys the inverse square law -- same as gravity.

about 3 months ago
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3D Display Uses Misted Water

Ferrofluid Not a volumetric display (65 comments)

I was expecting this to be a true volumetric display. Nope. It's just a standard 2D projector projecting images on flat sheets of flowing water droplets.

about 4 months ago
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Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

Ferrofluid Re:IANA Physicist, So... (630 comments)

Oxygen is most definitely not flammable. Please take a grade-six science class.

about 4 months ago
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West Nile Virus May Have Met Its Match: Tobacco

Ferrofluid Re:Well, anything that kills the host (54 comments)

Jesus, does no one even read the summary? The drug isn't nicotine -- it's a genetically-engineered monoclonal antibody produced by the tobacco.

about 4 months ago
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Forests Around Chernobyl Aren't Decaying Properly

Ferrofluid Re:Fire = Good (167 comments)

Chernobyl was a fission plant. Mankind has yet to create a viable fusion power plant. And even if we were able to make a fusion plant, it would be impossible for a fusion reactor to "go critical" since "criticality" is not even a concept applicable to fusion reactions.

about 4 months ago
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Should Nuclear and Renewable Energy Supporters Stop Fighting?

Ferrofluid Re:We need nuclear. (551 comments)

Solar power uses rare metals whose use could be just as bad as fossil fuels.

Huh? Yes, certain types of thin-film cells use rare and toxic metals. But what about plain old silicon cells, which make up a majority of the PV market? They consist of:

- silicon (extremely abundant and non-toxic)
- aluminum for the contacts
- tiny amounts of boron and phosphorus as dopants.

about 6 months ago
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New 3D Printer Can Print With Carbon Fiber

Ferrofluid Re:Er... what? (141 comments)

I know you're joking, but how can an ablative process be used to deposit material? They're kinda the opposite of each other.

about 6 months ago
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Best skywatching equipment at my disposal:

Ferrofluid Re:Google Sky not an option? (201 comments)

I highly recommend a program called Celestia. It not only shows star charts, but it allows you to explore the local universe in 3D. A similar program is Space Engine, although I don't think it's as polished and complete yet (although it may have a better renderer).

about 6 months ago
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Using Nanotechnology To Build Thinner, Stronger Condoms

Ferrofluid Re:Possible simpler solution (253 comments)

Teflon is not, to my knowledge, very elastic. It's essentially a rigid plastic. Condoms need to be able to stretch and experience, ahem, rather extreme dynamic loads during use. They need to be quite stretchy so that they don't tear.

about 6 months ago
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'Approximate Computing' Saves Energy

Ferrofluid Re:Finally some better 'Ai' (154 comments)

You can already do this using pseudo-random number generators. While pseudo-random numbers may not be random enough for certain scientific computation purposes, they are more than adequate for gaming. There seems to be a common misconception that computers are incapable of producing randomness. Pseudo-random number-generating algorithms, seeded with simple things like the system time and keyboard events, are good enough for 99% of common everyday computing tasks.

The advantage of this 'approximate computing' is that the hardware may be able to use less power. The randomness is a drawback, not a virtue.

about 7 months ago

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