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Comments

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SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

Firethorn Re:Multiple heads? (241 comments)

Actually, "client" workloads (personal computers) aren't very parallel so the requests are served sequentially. As such, this won't help too much.

Most client machines don't have multiple drives mirrored either. I was thinking purely in a server setting when I made the comments, though I'll admit that I didn't specify.

A HD with two head systems still wouldn't match an SSD for random reads, but it'd be much better than one. Depending on the use it's seeing, it could even employ different algorithms depending on the use mode it's seeing to help speed things along. In addition, more cache might help it during a large sequential read, allowing the heads to leapfrog each other better. Like I said - engineering and programming nightmare, but an interesting thought experiment.

By the way, if I remember correctly multiple requests on flight were implemented on SATA standard for client drives, 10 years ago or so on (SCSI had them for quite a while). I'm not sure Windows XP uses these queues.

You're talking about how the system queues multiple data(read/write) requests with the drive, and the drive possibly delivering them out of order(because it's using an optimized path to collect all the data), right?

I assumed that capability from the start. The REAL trick to the system is that to date it's one read head per platter, thus one device serving all the data. With two head systems, the question comes up of how you optimally assign said demands between the two head systems to most efficiently move the data.

yesterday
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SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

Firethorn Multiple heads? (241 comments)

This is actually a very interesting proposal. While I imagine the engineering and programming would be a relative nightmare*, it would provide a number of options for hard drives.

While it wouldn't double performance in most cases, especially not sequential operations, for random operations it'd be almost as good as two drives. Maybe better if the access is typically really random and one head can 'field' mostly the outer disc calls while the other catches the inner disk ones.

*Just look at the difference between programming a single thread application and multi-threading!

yesterday
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

Firethorn Re:It was a "joke" back then (275 comments)

One thing that isn't obvious though is that it's a 30Hz monitor. All the 60Hz ones, as far as I can tell, are still in $1000+ territory.

I should probably have put some disclaimers in my post about affordability and suitability. I'm not a refresh snob but I can't help but think that 30Hz is a bit slow for gaming, perhaps even video watching.

yesterday
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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

Firethorn Re:It was a "joke" back then (275 comments)

You can't even (afforadably) get computer monitors with more than 1080p resolution, and bigger than 27 inches, but about 5 years ago I got a 1920x1200 28 inch monitor for $250

You can still get them, newegg *very* occasionally puts a 1200 on sale.

I figure it'll be another 2-4 years before the new '4k' televisions start trickling down to computer monitors. That will be nice.

3 days ago
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Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

Firethorn Re:Um, no? (307 comments)

I'm going to agree with Sarten-X - turning in a wide circle shouldn't get anybody dizzy.

Also, with my lawn mower I have a turning radius that I can maintain without lifting the wheels at all. So at least the first few loops I wouldn't need pressure at all.

It also depends on how you define 'most efficient'. If the extra effort of pushing down a bit is outweighed by the time saved, it may we worth it.

On trick I've used in the past is to not turn the mower around - after clearing around the fence a bit, after pushing forward you pull the mower back.

4 days ago
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Cost Skyrockets For United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project

Firethorn Re:ITER disproved itself (172 comments)

I've come to the conclusion that it's likely a scaling problem. IE once we can do continuous fusion(or at least pulse/'diesel' fusion fast enough for steady power), it'll be a matter that the energy costs will scale by the square, but power production will scale by the cube.

Going by the size of ITER, considering that many research nuclear reactors had generators hooked up to them but ITER has no provision to ever produce electricity, ITER isn't big enough.

We may be looking at needing something crazy like a 10GW facility before it makes sense.
(not an expert)

Personally, I'd almost rather put the money(and a lot of money from other sources, such as the F-35 program) to start building new fission plants - stop the majority of our CO2/power plant pollution.

Do the research necessary to develop liquid thorium to remove that restraint. Put solar panels on buildings south of the Mason-Dixon line where they'll do the most good, solar water heaters, etc...

Employing all the people it'd take to do this would help solve our employment problem for a long time, and it actually benefits the country.

about a week ago
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Under the Chassis: A Look At Tesla's Battery Shield

Firethorn Survival after 100mph crash isn't the point (152 comments)

You missed the point - Survival after a 100mph crash isn't really unusual(though a lot of people die in them). It's the ability to walk away after the crash with no serious injuries that's unusual.

Oh, and going by the results of the crush test(broke the test machine), it doesn't need the additional protection a roll cage would provide.

about a week ago
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Under the Chassis: A Look At Tesla's Battery Shield

Firethorn Battery shield (152 comments)

The car shipped with a shield, it's just that it turned out some events could pierce said shield so they reinforced it.

Some of this stuff is learning experience on the differences between a petrol vehicle and a battery-electric. They only gained minimal knowledge from the industry's history of protecting the gasoline tank.

about a week ago
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Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

Firethorn biofuels (256 comments)

Since the 1970's, cars have been run on ethanol; but until recently (post 2000 or so), you had to choose either gasoline or ethanol and buy a car based on this choice.

Any citation on this? From what I remember they were always flex, even if sometimes you might have to manually adjust something.

And where would the biodiesel come from? Algae for fuel is something I hadn't heard before, I'll look into it. One promissing source of fuel is the digestion of celulose, this is what I'm hoping for.

Algae, of course. You use a strain that's high in lipids(fats) that converts to biodiesel through various processes, and the carbohydrates can be turned into ethanol and butanol, which is closer to gasoline than Ethanol, so has a number of advantages as a fuel(you don't have to modify the engine is a big one). You use the remaining bits as fertilizer to grow more algea or even plants/crops.

about a week ago
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Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

Firethorn Re:Just like Nuclear Fusion (256 comments)

I knew that about half of them were capable of it, the actual amounts of ethanol has varied over the years depending on how the supplies worked out.

Unfortunately the capability to produce ethanol from sugar cane is limited due to the climate it needs to grow. Which is why the USA tried corn.

Personally, I hold higher long-term hopes for algae and biodiesel.

about a week ago
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Scientists/Actress Say They Were 'Tricked' Into Geocentric Universe Movie

Firethorn Re:Not the first time this has happened (639 comments)

The point is that the actor was scammed into appearing in a movie they would not have done had the producers been honest about their intentions.

That was step 1, where antifoidulus mentioned the film and rahvin112 posted that an actress had successfully sued over it. Step 2 I replied to that mentioning(in a round-about way) that the actor(and scientists) likely could suffer damages from it(especially if they don't undertake damage control like suing).

Combine the two of 1 - act, and 2 - damages, and you have a lawsuit.

about a week ago
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Scientists/Actress Say They Were 'Tricked' Into Geocentric Universe Movie

Firethorn Star Trek Science (639 comments)

If you're going to force it to be binary that way, it's more political. I was thinking of it more as it's progressive in a 'science is good!' type way.

about a week ago
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How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

Firethorn I get the reference (509 comments)

I get that reference! I remember reading it back in high school.

"Harrison Bergeron", by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

about a week ago
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Scientists/Actress Say They Were 'Tricked' Into Geocentric Universe Movie

Firethorn Re:Not the first time this has happened (639 comments)

I know that if I was the lawyer for Mulgrew I'd be pointing out the same thing. Star Trek might not be 'good science', but it's at least progressive in it's views(on science). Actors in it are expected to know at least a little.

about a week ago
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Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

Firethorn Petrol taxes (256 comments)

However, areas that pay $7/gallon are typically paying most of that money in taxes, so unless the country in question is willing is to forgo at least some proportion of that revenue...

about two weeks ago
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Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

Firethorn Re:Just like Nuclear Fusion (256 comments)

You do realize that what they're producing here is artificial jet fuel, right?

Yes. I mistyped. I've seen lots of estimates for the cost of artificial/biologically sourced fuels where the low end is competitive with current fossil fuels. I also know that the last time the Navy sourced biofuel for testing purposes it worked out to around $30/gallon, but that was for a relatively small scale test.

It's all about the economics of scale at this point - I figure that the moment a biofuel producer(or non-fossil artificial creator) can *beat* fossil fuels it'll be a gold rush to produce enough facilities.

However, these processes don't really transition us away from fossil fuels or at least not into something besides a hydrocarbon fuel, whether produced artificially as in this case or refined from naturally occurring crude oil that we've pumped out of the ground.

As long as we get away from fossil fuels to something renewable or at least able to last more than a couple centuries without screwing up our environment I'm good.

This process doesn't, which is why I ended up putting 'biofuel' in there, because this wouldn't scale up short of building a few hundred nuclear plants, or a ridiculous number of solar panels/wind turbines and such.

about two weeks ago
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Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

Firethorn Re:That depends (256 comments)

Jet Fuel created on site to the carrier for $6/gallon would probably save the USN money.

Gasoline equivalent produced 'on site' at the gas station for $3/gallon using fresh water* would allow the station to undercut other stations in most areas.

It also depends on the price assumed for feedstocks - are they figuring on a cost for the electricity needed?

*Because nothing in the process says that it NEEDS salt water to work, just that it can use salt water. Logically speaking it should work at least as well using fresh.

about two weeks ago
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Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

Firethorn Re:Just like Nuclear Fusion (256 comments)

Interesting. $3/gallon would be commercially viable right now.

It's just another data point that causes me to thing that our transition away from liquid fossil fuels is likely to be rather precipitous, faster than the transition away from leaded gasoline(which is barely within my memory).

All it takes is the first commercial project producing bio-fuel to start making money, then development work will drop the price of biofuel even as the cost of extracting fossil fuel will continue to rise.

about two weeks ago
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SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals

Firethorn Re:I guess they don't want tourists (319 comments)

You're just getting pedantic here. The only way to avoid the 14% tax is to arrange for your housing to be 'locked in' for a period in excess of 30 days.

Get a hotel to be away from the kids or because you're bug-bombing the house you're paying the tax.

On that note, in some states 'extended stay' hotels can rebate you the tax if you stay there over the set period.

about two weeks ago
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SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals

Firethorn Re:I guess they don't want tourists (319 comments)

Are residents exempt from the 14% hotel tax?

As long as they sign a lease in excess of 30 days, yes. In Florida it's 6 months due to the massive numbers of snowbirds that come down for 3-4 months a year.

And they just consider the occasional resident being hit with the tax a cost of doing business. So long as the resident doesn't get hit with them too often...

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Firethorn (177587) writes "From Decatur Daily
Shut down 22 years ago in 1985, the Tennessee Valley Authority has reactivated Unit 1 at Browns Ferry Nuclear plant in response to rising demand for electricity in North Alabama. It's the first reactor activated since 1996.

It's expected to produce 1,155 megawatts, power 650,000 homes, and employ an extra 100 workers at the plant.

Renovations cost $1.8 Billion, but they expect the payback to be done within 4-5 years, down from the 7-8 years estimated in 2002, mostly because of increased fuel costs for the alternatives."

Journals

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 5 years ago

You know, I found a story on fark leading to a postive spin on Walmart. Of course, the thread had all sorts of entries on how bad/evil Walmart is. While I certainly don't agree with everything in the article, neither do I believe that Walmart is worse than the devil. It's of only average evilness for a large corporation.

One points brought up was the 'liveable wage'. While Walmart does indeed have one of the lower wage medians, it's a retail store. It's wages are in line with the other 'mart' stores, grocery stores, and their ilk. If anything, a lower median wage indicates that they aren't top heavy with too many managers. 90% of their workers are covered by health insurance - and not government plans.

Here in the USA we have a messed up view of what a 'liveable wage' is. It's part of why we've lost so much of our manufacturing - cheaper laber outside the USA.

I'd rather have them have a job that might not pay enough for them to get that 60" Plasma, own two cars, not to mention such 'essentials' as cable, high speed internet, a thousand+ computer, etc, than NO JOB.

Essentially, I feel that it'd be a better situation to have welfare set up so that people are always better off working than not working. They're also always better off working the better paid job than the lesser**. As part of that, I'd get rid of the minimum wage.

IE we declare the minimum living income to be X. Really bad standard of living, barely covers the basics. Everybody gets X.
Joe gets a job making Y. His welfare payments are adjusted such that he gets Y + (X-Y/3). I use a divisor of 3 because there are costs associated with working, and a /2 is a bit too quick. Let's say X is the Poverty line. We'll go with a family of 4. $21,200. Ouch. Still, let's say they get job/s earning $30k. They'd 'lose' 10k in benefits, still obtaining $11.2k in benies. They now have an effective income of $41.2k, which while not great, is better than sitting completely on welfare. Meanwhile the single guy would be looking at $10.4k, and that $30k job would leave him with $400 in benefits. He's still better off getting that pay raise, though. I'm firmly of the belief that somebody working and contributing is better than not working.

That would help with our outsourcing problem, while wages would drop, it would help make us competitive on the global workforce market again.

On another topic - U.S. homes lose $2 trillion in value in '08

Is this necessarily a bad thing? For a while there people were treating their homes as investments - well, a home IS an investment, but they were treating theirs like something they could buy then sell when their retired for enough money to retire on. Easy credit allowed people and speculators to buy far more home than they needed, or even could afford, putting a crunch on housing and raising prices to the point of unaffordability. Personally, I'd like to remain able to afford a decent home with a 30 year fixed, on no more than 30% of my income, not some fancy loan that I ultimately can't afford.

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 8 years ago

What with the flooding, I feel that New Orleans should be renamed to 'New Venice'. I have many thoughts on this.

For one, it's just stupid to build a standard city below sea level, on the coast, especially in an area subject to hurricanes.

My idea, since the area's natural tendency is to be flooded anyways, we go along with it and build like in venice. It'd remain a tourist attraction, and would be far more resistant to hurricanes with proper construction. My idea is floating homes. Tie them in location with rails so they stay level. Give then around 3-4 meters of travel. You could reduce this by actually artificially raising the level of water, then when a hurricane comes, pump the water out to keep it level. It's hard to flood an artificially raised lake. You break a levy, the water level drops.

Then instead of levees, you build tide breakers, to moderate the tide and any breakers. Build 'sacrifice buildings' closest to the gulf, that can be used to break the tide even further. Then large buildings that won't float, but sit on a solid foundation, will use their first floors for nothing critical, and reinforce the ocean side to withstand the hurricanes, at least better. They're also to protect the homes behind.

Great tourist attraction, unique, pretty much floodproof.

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Why do people keep calling me a republican?

Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Disclaimer: This is intented to be a summery. There are all sorts of jinks and kinks in my beliefs. This is mearly a summery.

People keep calling me a republican on this board. If I am one, I must be an awfully strange one, seeing as how I'm pro choice, pro drug legalization, at least somewhat pro gay rights, and am an agnostic with atheist tendencies.

I believe in seperation of church and state, but I don't think that means that the state can supress people's freedom of religion. As in if a kid wants to read the bible or pray in school, they can (as long as it's not disruptive to class).

I think that school vouchers are a good idea. Private schools and parents have been doing more education with less than public schools for years.

I think that the government should run a balanced budget. I also think that the fairtax guys have a good idea, but that there are a number of kinks to work out.

The war on terror, war in Iraq? I think that we're taking the wrong direction at the airports. I think that all the violations of our rights are wrong. As for the war in Iraq, well, we're committed. We have to finish it, lest it turn into another Afghanistan. I can only hope the upcoming elections go reasonably well.

I am a strong supporter of the first amendment. I feel that if I'm not uncomfortable with at least some of what is being said, speech isn't free enough.

I am also a strong supporter of the second amendment. And yes, I believe that that covers machine guns. NBC weapons are a bit much even for me however. If it's not something that a single soldier can be expected to haul and use somewhat discriminatorily, it's not a personal arm.

I think that it's a major crime that the government can confiscate property without trial.

I think that our government spends too much money on various welfare and pork barrel projects. If we must have welfare, I think that people should have to work for it.

I'm a libertarion, not a republican.

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First Entry...

Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Well, I usually mess something up in my posts, so if something seems odd, it might just be.

I'm certainly not average.
I'm pro-choice... And Pro-Death penalty
I'm for a strong military...but I'd let gays join
I'm for closing the border...but I'd let legal immigration be easy.
I'm for legalizing drugs...And serious prison time for DUI's.
I consider myself for a clean enviroment...but I'd do this closing all hydrocarbon powerplants and replacing them with nuclear.
I'm a strict constitutionalist.
I believe that if we must engage in war, we should wage it offensivly. Under modern technology, offense is what wins battles.
I'd eliminate welfare and the minimum wage, replacing it with a 'work-fare' program, where you have to work at something for forty hours a week (even if only picking trash up from the side of the road). Benefits would be mostly concrete, not cash. You'd eat at a dining facility, live in a provided apartment, etc...

I certainly have other views, but this should cover most of the issues.

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