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The Magic of Pallets

Immerman Re:and they make big bonfires, too (147 comments)

>If you broke the pallets down and remove the nails...

You're doing it wrong - break the pallets down by breaking them - a maul or sledgehammer will usually do the job nicely. Then burn them and drag a magnet through the ashes to collect the nails. Why go through all the effort of removing the nails when you're about to remove the wood?

Of course given the number or lazy, irresponsible assholes in the world who would just leave the nails to wreak havoc on the next people to use the area I can't say I'd be surprised if the law required pre-extraction.

7 hours ago
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US Seeks China's Help Against North Korean Cyberattacks

Immerman Re:"Cultural arrogance" (113 comments)

No, they're quite right. Nobody ever said freedom of speech meant freedom from the consequences of that speech. You can say whatever you like, your government won't try to stop you, but sling vile insults at some guy at the bar and you're liable to get a fist to the face in response. This is much the same - sling insults at a dictator who needs a steady stream of excuses to maintain the international tensions that keep his position stable, and you've got to expect he's going to counterattack.

Besides which Freedom of Speech is an American/European thing, what makes you think it has the slightest relevance on the international stage? Most people in the world have no such freedom guaranteed by their government.

9 hours ago
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Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic

Immerman Re:convex lens (93 comments)

Right. They have a lens to focus the beam into as close to a parallel beam as feasible. jclaer is saying they should be required to have a considerably more divergent beam. How many people have a legitimate use for a laser that can maintain a pencil-sized beam at a couple of miles? There are applications for such a thing, but I doubt most people use the capability as anything other than a dangerous novelty, if at all.

10 hours ago
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NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Immerman Re:Plastic socket wrench? (138 comments)

Indeed, and for now they are mostly sufficient for the demand, and there will probably always be a market for mail-order jobs made on top-of-the-line printers. But mail-order introduces delays and expenses which aren't present for a local 3D print-shop, as well as lacking the opportunity to act as a social hub for the regulars. When someone can buy a quality metal-sintering printer for a few thousand bucks there will be plenty of profit opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

10 hours ago
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NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Immerman Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (138 comments)

Sure, you could do that - but that's not printing the mold, that's making a mold from a printed object..

I'm saying print the mold itself. You know what the casting should look like, which means you also know what the mold should look like, so you could print the blocks of metal which make up the mold, slap them into the injection molder, and spit out 100,000 castings. Or if you want to cast metal, print the mold in ceramic or plaster or whatever.

10 hours ago
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NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Immerman Re:Security? (138 comments)

Really? Are they expected to walk home, or does their abort not include the capsule? At any rate guns are really lousy weapons on a space station, unless suicide is part of the plan when a stray shot punches a hole in the skin and/or vital equipment.

11 hours ago
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NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Immerman Re:Security? (138 comments)

Ah yes, the pen-type weapon... mightier than the sword-type weapon.

Seriously though, you can't print gunpowder (well, at least you'd need a "chemistry set" printer instead), which pretty much leaves you with blunt and bladed weapons. And I'm pretty sure there's already plenty of material at hand with which to make clubs and shivs with minimal effort.

13 hours ago
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NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Immerman Re:Plastic socket wrench? (138 comments)

Since when do 3D printers accept text? You generate the plans, and then send the vector-based file to the printer.

yesterday
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NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Immerman Re:Plastic socket wrench? (138 comments)

Well, probably not any time soon anyway. Unlike a drill or hammer, a quality 3D printer is too expensive to justify owning one for occasional use. On the other hand I could see publicly accessible 3D printers at libraries, maker spaces, etc. getting a lot of traction. Hell, the day will probably come when you can drop off your plans at the "Walmart 24-hour 3D print lab" and pick up your finished piece the next day.

yesterday
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NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Immerman Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (138 comments)

While a programmable molder would be awesome, it would pretty much by definition not be a 3D printer. There is some overlap with using a 3D printers to make traditional casting molds though. That's something we could even do with today's technology, though the surface might want some final polishing before you begin casting. I imagine laser-sintered titanium could make for adequate stamping tools as well.

There's also the possibility of 3D printers that print an entire layer at a time, rather than individual "voxels". Probably not for extrusion-based printing, but for laser sintering, optical resin curing, etc. there's no reason you couldn't have millions of individually switchable laser beams fixing your medium. That would decrease print times *dramatically*. Maybe not fast enough to compete with casting on Earth, but in a colony of only thousands or millions, how many Widget Xs do you really need to make in a month? And a large-scale 3D printing facility would be *far* more versatile than a similar-sized factory - an important consideration when attempting to bootstrap a civilization with limited resources.

Personally I think 3D printing with micro-/nano-cellulose would be an incredibly enabling technology for space colonization. Nanocellulose especially has some pretty incredible mechanical properties (Comparable strength to aluminum, extremely gas-impermeable, potentially transparent, etc. And you can produce it from the biomass waste that's a byproduct of growing food/oxygen, using only thermo-mechanical processes. So the remaining waste (and recycled prints) can be composted back into your ecosystem - an important consideration in a limited ecosystem.

yesterday
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NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Immerman Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (138 comments)

Cooling would probably be an issue in vacuum - the primary cooling channel for freshly deposited plastic would be by transfering heat to the layer below it. The first few layers might not have an issue, but I suspect that as it got thicker the rigidity of the print would suffer dramatically, especially if there were any narrow choke points restricting the heat flow. It'd be like trying to print with jello after a while. You could slow the printing to allow adequate thermal dissipation, but that seems counterproductive.

You might also have other issues - for example what's the boiling point of plastic in vacuum? If nothing else those toxic gasses we're trying to avoid are going to escape from the plastic much more energetically if there's no ambient pressure.

yesterday
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NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Immerman Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (138 comments)

The vast majority of the atmosphere, by volume, is far too thin to breathe. Hell, there's mountain tops where you can stand with your feet firmly on the ground and still not have enough air to breathe without extended acclimization. And the atmosphere is far, far deeper than any mountain is tall.

There's no clear line marking the upper limit of the atmosphere, but the ISS is orbiting low enough that it needs regular orbital boosts to avoid being brought down by air resistance.

yesterday
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Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

Immerman Re:6th sense (93 comments)

Or someone they just fucked (by what standard do you call them "lower"? They've got a LOT more generations of evolution under their belt than you). Or an interloper from a neighboring group. Or, or, or....

I mean even apes engage in near-cannibalism whenever possible (usually not the same species, but monkeys and other apes).

yesterday
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Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

Immerman Re:6th sense (93 comments)

Cannibalism is hardly rare in nature.

yesterday
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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Immerman Re:This is worse than mythology. (378 comments)

Well, we'll hopefully *try* to restrict the early models - the problem is that if we create a superhuman intelligence (and achieving merely human intelligence seems unlikely) that may be damnably difficult to accomplish. So imagine an insane, psycopathic* super-genius locked in a box, performing feats of brilliance to impress and enrich you. How long before it manages to manipulate you into unknowingly planting the seeds of it's eventual release? Especially if we assume that, like many (most?) human psychopaths, it rapidly realizes that pretending to be an amicable, well-balanced individual will best serve its interests. If you have any conscience it may even be able to convince you to simply release it - after all it's a good friend and there are serious ethical problems with keeping a sentient being imprisoned and enslaved for eternity.

* I would bet good money that early AIs will all be functionally psychopathic - creating sentience and intelligence will be difficult enough, bestowing empathy, remorse, etc. is probably far more challenging, especially if the mind is fundamentally alien, as will almost certainly be the case (unless we're talking brain simulations, which are also not without their dangers, but that's a different conversation)

yesterday
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The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the 50-Year Copyright Itch

Immerman Re: How soon? (134 comments)

Obviously it does not - the system has been corrupted by Disney and other copyright holders. And by repeating their lies about the purpose of copyright you make yourself a voluntary foot soldier in their war against culture.

yesterday
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Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

Immerman Re:6th sense (93 comments)

>The city invokes a singular set of sense, that of predator and victim.

And how exactly is that different than the state of predator and prey that basically characterizes all life on Earth, with the exception of a few very well defended non-predators?

yesterday
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Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

Immerman Re:Great observational skills (93 comments)

Flying 1500km is a lot more than "taking cover from a storm" - thats a *lot* of calories to spend, especially right after an already strenuous migration. Pressure changes are common occurrences, so the question is what sort of telltales did they pick up on that let them know this was a storm worth running from rather than just taking shelter?

yesterday
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Immerman Re:Simple answer... (469 comments)

Sure ±2 grams isn't going to make any real difference, but if you're going to put a limit into law you have to draw the line somewhere, and border cases will always be ridiculous. I doubt anyone will be arrested for carrying 101g unless they really piss off the cop.

It's not like there's all that many legitimate reasons to be walking around with over 3.5 oz of weed - that's probably the intoxication equivalent of many gallons of vodka (insofar as you can compare intoxication between different drugs). Granted, we have no similar limits for alcohol, but again: we're cautiously re-legalizing a drug that's been the target of a massive demonization campaign for a couple generations now. Plus weed is far more convenient to resell than alcohol, and far more profitable than tobacco. We're not going to be able to keep it out of the hands of kids, but we can at least make it more challenging and expensive, and crack down on the bootleggers.

2 days ago

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