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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Rei Re:Don't Miss The Point (103 comments)

Services like that exist online, and they're excellent, albeit rather slow. I personally use iMaterialize because they have such a wide range of material options (everything from rubber to titanium) and finishes (for example, 4 different options for silver), but there's lots of others out there, and some are cheaper.

If you've ever played around with 3d modelling, I definitely recommend giving 3d printing a try, even if just a little test piece. :) Note that plastics are a lot cheaper than metals, although metals look the coolest.

2 days ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Rei Re:Don't Miss The Point (103 comments)

And those nerdy kids will grow up playing around with and learning 3d modeling software to be able to make their toys.

This is a good thing.

2 days ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Rei Re:Novelty (103 comments)

What sort of 3d prints are you looking at?

Perhaps my expectations of 3d printers are too high because I buy from professional 3d printing services rather than using a low-end home 3d printer. They use high end products and sometimes do post-printing finishing work. But the quality of the stuff you can get is truly excellent, and out of a very wide range of materials.

2 days ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Rei Re:This is so 2012. (103 comments)

Isn't that now the limiting factor?

So we have 3d printers in stores. Now we need all of the home devices that could potentially need spare parts printed to be available online, preferably in a unified database. You need manufacturer buy-in. Maybe some sort of certification mark that manufacturers can stick on their devices to show that printable replacement part models are freely available. I could use a new cheese compartment door in my fridge right now, for example. And I live in Iceland where shipping times are long and shipping costs / import duties high, so it'd make time and economic sense to print, too. But while having a 3d printer would be great, if the model isn't available, how does that help me?

Of course some companies, like iRobot, rely on profiting off of selling their spare parts.

2 days ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Rei Re:Wrong type of machine for Dremel (103 comments)

It does seem rather weird to treat it as an intractable problem. Are we really talking about something that's AI-Complete here, like natural language understanding? Something not succeptible to a combination of chained rules, physics calculations, and statistical analysis? I seriously doubt it. So different machines can act differently due to wear, etc? Gee, people have never written programs to deal with that before, heavens no. So some things may require a decision from the operator, like whether to restart a defective piece or try to salvage it? Gee, I've never heard of a program asking the user a question during operation before! A piece of "printing" hardware experiencing a jam of some kind and needing manual intervention? Gee, nobody has ever experienced that one before!

I'm not saying that CNC machines and 3d printers are equivalent and that you can just swap a CNC machine in to the sort of role 3d printers are intended for. Of course the task of gouging out steel with power tools is a more intensive one than writing out plastic in layers with a slightly more advanced version of a hot glue gun. But we're not talking about creating superintelligent cyborgs here, we're talking about analyzing physical processes, including their various failure modes, and when a decision or action is required, presenting the user with the information needed to do that.

2 days ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Rei Re:This is so 2012. (103 comments)

Oh, and in #2, sound insulation would also be very important, both for the compressor (if compressed air is used, rather than bottled oxygen) and for the jet itself (which is basically like a tiny rocket engine). And I guess the filter isn't just about removing any incomplete combustion products from the exhaust, but also any dust or the like.

Even if it ultimately isn't suited for, say, a quiet home office, 3d printing isn't really an home office task, we're more talking about a "garage workshop" sort of thing. I'm just curious whether anyone has pursued such an approach, because at a glance it sure looks to have potential for making a very broadly capable product. I mean, such a system should even be capable of printing electronics, including resistors, capacitors, etc, maybe even some types of batteries (not anything requiring extreme precision, like a CPU, and li-ion batteries would be right out due to the thin, sensitive and rather complex membrane needed, there's no way you could just deposit that, but still..).

2 days ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Rei Re:This is so 2012. (103 comments)

There's two types of processes that I'm surprised I've not seen more focus on.

1) Printing of, and then filling of molds, which can then be melted down and reused. That's how the higher-end 3d printed parts that you can buy online made, including almost all 3d-printed metal parts you get from online 3d printing services (the extra steps for metal being to coat the mold in a ceramic shell and melt away the mold). The only commercial 3d-printed metal that I'm aware of that doesn't work in this manner is iMaterialize's titanium, which uses laser sintering - and it has an out-of-this-world price tag.

It seems to me that if you used a mold, while in several ways it complicates the process (extra steps, preventing adherence to the molded object, etc), in others, it simplifies it. Your print heads don't need to handle a variety of materials or produce a pretty or durable product. They still need to be able to produce fine surface details but the ability to print thin structures loses importance. Once you've got a mold, you open up the floodgates to the sort of products you can fill it with, anything that will harden either through cooling or via chemical reaction, anything from thermoset plastics to candy.

(note I'm not envisioning a little hobby home printer that fills molds with molten metal in your office, mind you... although I could envision a more garage-scale or small industrial scale version that could handle such a task)

2) I've never even heard of a 3d printer being based on thermal spraying. With thermal spraying, you can choose the balance of precision vs. flow rate via nozzle size. Your materials are virtually unlimited, pretty much anything you can turn into a powder. It could conceivably even let you work with metals in a home environment, if the rate was kept low enough that heat buildup wouldn't be a problem (and you'd want an air filter on the exhaust, even though it should be pretty clean). You can choose the temperature and velocity you're spraying at by varying the pressures of compressed air and combustible fuel fed into the chamber with the powder, so you can work both with heat-sensitive and heat-requisite materials, as well as materials that can't stand high velocity impacts and materials that require them. Such a system could likewise do more than just print - it could add and then sectively remove substrates, it could engrave, it could change surface textures by sandblasting/polishing with various materials, it could paint or apply high-performance coatings - pretty much anything you can envision from a device whose fundamental workings are "shoot grains of material of your choosing at a velocity of your choosing (1-1000+m/s) and temperature of your choosing (cold to thousands of degrees)".

In both cases #1 and #2, I'm genuinely curious as to why there's not been more work done with them. Or perhaps there has been work done with them that I'm unaware of? I'm asking as someone who makes and buys 3d printed items online but has never printed one herself.

2 days ago
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WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Rei Re:When can we stop selling party balloons (296 comments)

Helium exists in the atmosphere not because of the helium reserve, but because the planet constantly outgasses it. It's a product of the radioactive decay chains within the planet.

And if it costs $7 a liter, you better believe people will consume it a *lot* slower. Mainly recapture, but also less frivolous usage.

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Rei Re:RT.com? (536 comments)

It's an important difference.

Fox News is a right-wing punditry operation. They spin everything that happens in a light that promotes the viewpoints of US right-wing policy. If right-wingers are in power, they spin to the government's favor, and otherwise spin against the government.

RT is a literal government propaganda outlet. They have a story of what they want to tell people happened (regardless of whether it did or not), and tell people that it happened, to the point of routinely hiring actors as interview subjects. (side note: the Russia media really needs to get a larger acting pool, though... it's funny but sad when the same actor claims to be several different people for different stations in the same week).

If you see something inflamatory claimed on Fox, it's almost certainly spun. Possibly outright false, but unlikely - generally just highly spun. If you see something inflammatory claimed on RT, it's almost certainly false. Possibly just heavily spun, but generally willfully outright false.

Example: Fox News will pick random true stories from around the country, overplay them, and tell you that there's a War on Christmas. RT will hire a woman to play a refugee from Slavyansk to weepingly tell you that the Ukranian army is crucifying children in the town square to torture their mothers before killing them.

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Rei Re:RT.com? (536 comments)

Well, I have to say, I've noticed something about Russia, and also about most (but not all) of the other former USSR states: the exact same sort of thing has kept happening under capitalism. Things like injecting a mother of a dead soldier with a tranquilizer on-camera when she spoke up during a press conference on the Kursk disaster, assassinating dissidents with polonium, arresting and outright assassinating journalists, sham trials to sieze assets either for the state or for Putin allies, heavy media censorship and the requirement for all major blogs to register as media outlets, elections so rigged that Chechnya went 99.59% for "The Butcher of Grozny", and on and on. It's no different today.

So, basically, the presence of these things says nothing about communism; it says that Russia has a history of strongmen leaders who confiscate peoples' belongings, outlaw dissent, condemn people without fair trials, and so forth. And when you look at these third world communist states, you usually find that their third world capitalist brethren rarely behave any better.

I think that communism, at least in its pure form, is terrible as economic policy. But one can easily run the risk of over-conflating.

about two weeks ago
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WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Rei Re:When can we stop selling party balloons (296 comments)

Helium balloons are a minor part of the overall picture. The overwhelming majority of uses are industrial, such as cryogenics. The problem is that they don't recover it. If you want to make a big impact on the helium consumption rate, hard drives is pretty much one of the least effective places you could focus - focus on industrial recovery.

Note that humans will never "run out" of helium. Even if we assume that space-based resource extraction becomes realistic, one can always refrigerate it out of the atmosphere. Or more accurately, refrigerate everything else out and leave the helium behind. There's only a tiny bit in the atmosphere, but for important uses it'll remain a possibility. I saw page that says that neon is $2 per liter. If you're refrigerating neon out of the atmosphere, pretty much all that's left is helium, so you're co-producing it, at a ratio of 3.5 to 1. If we assume that helium demand vastly outpaces neon demand, then the helium cost would be $7 per liter. And maybe less in mass production.

That's not really an absurd price for many uses - such as hard drives. On the other hand, it's dramatically more than today's prices at about $0.005 per liter! You're not going to be making helium blimps at $7 per liter. But if industry learns how to recapture and reuse, they should manage.

(Of course, humans probably wouldn't have to resort to helium extraction from the atmosphere for centuries, pretty much any gas coming out of the ground will be richer in helium than the air)

about two weeks ago
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Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

Rei Re:Autoplay is EVIL (108 comments)

I'm not lying, that's the actual size, something like 420k. It may have been a bit shorter playtime, perhaps 20 seconds (I didn't time it), but still, it was quite small.

Nobody said videos on Facebook are Blu-Ray quality. But you seem to have weird concepts about how big videos need to be to be good enough quality for a web page. Just as a test, I took an original high quality full-motion video of a concert, reencoded it with ffmpeg, audio codec aac, vbr audio quality 0.5, video codec x264, preset veryslow, cf 33, resolution 512x288 (half original size), 20 seconds. File size? 420k. Of course the video from facebook was darker and quieter, so one would expect it to compress better. If we give my sample concert clip an allowable size of, say, 550k, then I can up audio quality to 0.7 and cf down to 30. Either way, the resultant clip was fine, the sort of thing you'd expect to see on a Facebook wall.

Anyway, the key point is, Facebook feeds aren't loading you down with 50 meg videos, they're little couple-hundred-k clips, the same size as animated gifs. And while I haven't measured it, they don't appear to start streaming until you scroll down to them, and look to stop after you scroll away.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

Rei Re:Autoplay is EVIL (108 comments)

1) I just went and pulled the first anim-gif I saw off 9-gag, a fairly simple thing of Ralph Wiggum with little motion, so it should compress quite well for an animated gif. Size: just over 400k. I then pulled the first video that showed up on my Facebook feed, a 30 second full motion clip, and downloaded the entire thing (including the audio stream, full quality). Size: just over 400k.

So....?

2) Are you actually sure that it is downloading the audio stream when it does muted autoplay? Not saying that it oes or doesn't, but do you actually have evidence either way?

3) See the reply below.

There's really no argument. If you're going to allow animated gifs, you should allow autoplay videos. So that we can finally put the nail in the coffin of the awfulness that is gif by removing the last common use of it.

And FYI, 400k is not that much. Slashdot is a pretty simplistic website compared to most, and I just measured how much data is downloaded just to read the front page: 1.4M.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

Rei Re:Autoplay is EVIL (108 comments)

Why is it any more evil than animated GIFs? Both play automatically, neither happen with sound, and compression on x264 is *way* better than with animated gifs.

I was initially opposed to autoplay on FB, but after thinking about it, I changed my mind. We already see tons of animated stuff on web pages, and the videos from people who show up on my page about are usually things I'd find interesting (if the user posting them didn't usually post interesting things, I'd have stopped following them). There's no unexpected sounds to bug me, and the quality to size ratio versus animated gifs is, what, two orders of magnitude better?

about two weeks ago
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FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters

Rei Re:I understand the FAA's position... (222 comments)

It both scares me and pisses me of that the government can do whatever it wants with nuclear weapons, while my ability to use them is very, very restricted.

Who do they think they are, claiming the right to use things that the general public can't? Let me use my nuclear weapons!

about two weeks ago
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FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters

Rei Re:Responsible Agency Enforcing Law (222 comments)

Until I can be sure things are as safe as they reasonably can get I'd rather not have drones delivering packages yet

But that's exactly what drone proponents are asking for - a permitting standard that gives them the right to fly in these conditions and for these purposes in exchange for meeting a set of safety standards. Passive or automatically-engaged active safety features that ensure that "death by falling drone" is effectively an impossibility, whether that things like be cowled propellors, parachutes, an inherently low terminal velocity, fully independent backup propulsion, or whatever the case may be.

And in case you didn't notice, massive objects weighing hundreds of tons loaded with massive amounts of fuel and capable of taking out whole city blocks and/or skyscapers already fly extensively over your head. But you're worried about little plastic helicopters?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

Rei Re:Get-togethers? With DnD geeks? And enough PCs? (382 comments)

*Happy spices!* We *happy bubbles* second Star Control II; only *silly cows* do not enjoy *smelling* *pretty colors*!

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Maldives Denies Russian Claims That Secret Service Kidnapped A Politician's Son

Rei Rei writes  |  about 2 months ago

Rei (128717) writes "As was previously reported here, the Russian government has accused the US Secret Service of kidnapping the son of ultranationalist LDPR MP Valery Seleznev in the Maldives. The son, Roman Seleznev, stands accused of running one of the world's largest carding operations, with others charged in the affair having already been convicted; however, Roman had until recently been considered out of reach in Russia. Now the Maldives has struck back against these claims, insisting that they arrested him on an Interpol Red Notice and transferred him to the US, as they are legally required as an Interpol member state to do. “No outsider came here to conduct an operation,” president Abdulla Yameen stated. “No officials from another country can come here to arrest anyone. The government has the necessary documentation to prove it.”"
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Who's Killing The Electric Car Again?

Rei Rei writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Rei (128717) writes "Aptera Motors is an manufacturer of safe, hyper-efficient, highway-speed electric three-wheelers. Funded by Idealab, Google, and a variety of other sources, they have been working towards making (take your pick): A) one of the ugliest, or B) one of the most beautiful vehicles ever to be mass produced. When they started accepting pre-orders, over 4,000 people from California alone came running with $500 deposits. However, in recent days, the company seems to be imploding, where in the middle of wave after wave of layoffs, disastrous information keeps leaking out. Among the examples: the company's CFO, Laura Marion, was cited by the SEC in 2006 for running an Enron-style accounting scam at Delphi."
Link to Original Source
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McCain taps creationism-proponent as VP pick

Rei Rei writes  |  about 6 years ago

Rei writes "By now, most people know that senator John McCain has tapped one-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. While the commentary has ranged from the positive, such as its potential to be a game changer for him, to the negative, such as her involvement in Troopergate, little attention has been paid so far to her views on science. According to the Alaska Daily News, in the 2006 governor's race, Palin was the only candidate to suggest that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. In contrast to her two opponents, one of whom suggested that such "religious based" lessons belong in a philosophy or sociology class, Palin stated, "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both." In response to the backlash, she later backpedalled and insisted that she would not apply a creationism litmus test to her school board appointees.

Evangelical leaders are reportedly thrilled with her nomination."

Link to Original Source
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Nanosolar delivers high-efficiency thin film cells

Rei Rei writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Rei writes "Thin film photovoltaic systems have been heralded as a way to make solar cells cheap enough for widespread adoption, but have also been criticized for their low efficiency. A number of companies have been working to fix this equation. Now, one of them — Nanosolar, a privately held company with funding from Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page — has finally shipped their first cells produced in a mass-production environment. Nanosolar's cells boast being the world's first printed thin-film solar cell in a commercial panel product, the world's lowest-cost solar panel (they plan to sell at $0.99/Watt, compared to the current minimum of $4.83/Watt), and the world's highest-current thin-film solar panel (5x the next closest on the market), among other things. Their Panel #2, made available as a collectors item on Ebay with the profits going to charity, has already racked up bids of over $10,000."
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "Yesterday, Slashdot posted about what appeared to be puddles of water sitting on Mars. Unfortunately, according to the Planetary Society's blog, the authors of the paper didn't even bother to check the context in which the "water" photos were taken. The article notes that one shouldn't trust papers that haven't yet gone through peer review. "The white square shows you where the image comes from. It's in the middle of Opportunity's Burns Cliff panorama, on some of the steepest slopes that Opportunity saw before arriving at Victoria crater! Those can't be puddles — unless the amazing "liquid" that puddles here on Mars in a freezing near-vacuum also has antigravity properties.""
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "There has been a lot of buzz today over Al Gore: in the wake of revelations that his Tennessee mansion uses 12 to 20 times more energy than usual comes an assault in the New York Times over the accuracy of his film, "An Inconvenient Truth". The article's author quotes a number of scientists who are critical of some of his statements, and describe the film as "alarmism". Quick to the counterpunch is RealClimate.org, which has published a harsh rebuttal suggesting habitual dishonesty and deception of readers on the part of the article's author."
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "SpaceDaily.com is reporting the failure of a SeaLaunch Zenit-3SL rocket and its payload, leading some to question whether the damage will prove too much for the company. A split-second after separating from the tower, the rocket fell and impacted the platform with a firey explosion. The failure of the Zenit, a privately developed orbital rocket, comes as SpaceX prepares to launch a new Falcon I rocket after its last failed on liftoff after three successive, failed launch attempts. While the news for simpler private suborbital rocketry continues to look rosy, is private orbital rocketry perched on a precipice?"
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "Today, the prestigious Cambridge Energy Research Associates released a report dismissing the Peak Oil theory, suggesting that world oil production will continue to increase for the next 24 years, and then only level into a plateu. The report, which suggests that world reserves are enough to last 122 years at our current rate of consumption, also blasts Peak Oil theorists for repeatedly making unscientific predictions and then shifting them whenever their predictions fail to materialize."

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