China Deploys Satellites In Search For Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight
It did NOT break up at altitude. Something rendered the aircraft uncontrollable. A loss of hydraulic pressure or power does this for a 777.
A loss of hydraulic pressure or power does not do this for a 777. It has a RAT (ram air turbine) which pops out in such cases. Basically a big propeller which gets turned by the wind as the plane glides at 500 mph and generates enough power rudimentary electronics (including radio) and hydraulic pressure. That's what happened with the Gimli Glider - a 767 mistakenly loaded with insufficient fuel (the original boneheaded imperial vs metric conversion foul-up before the Mars Climate Orbiter). which basically turned into a 100 ton glider when it ran out of fuel mid-flight. The RAT popped out and allowed the crew to control the plane to a safe landing. (Which of course means if this did happen on MH370, the search area needs to be much larger than where they're currently looking).
Hydraulic failure usually involves structural damage which compromises all the hydraulic lines. Most commercial aircraft have 3 independent hydraulic systems; some have 4. If there's damage which severs lines in all of those systems, the plane can "bleed" hydraulic fluid until there's not enough left to control the flight surfaces. I believe the 777 used a hybrid fly-by-wire + hydraulic system though, where pilot commands are transmitted to the flight surfaces by wire, and a hydraulic pump there moves the flight surface. So severing the hydraulic lines may have killed one control surface, but not all. (Severing the wires OTOH...)
Anyway, I'm skeptical that it broke up at altitude too. That usually generates a lot of floating debris (papers, luggage, clothing, bodies, etc.) scattered over a wide enough area that the crash area is quickly located. The pingers should be firing away so it's just a matter of one of the search boats traveling within a few miles from the plane's resting location. (KAL007 wasn't located because the Soviets knew from their radar tracks where it went down, and set up decoy pingers far away to get the U.S. and South Korea to search the wrong location).
How Engineers Are Building a Power Station At the South Pole
The overhead associated with operating a commercial nuclear power plant (maintenance, safety requirements, fuel transport and storage, etc) means they don't become economically viable until you're servicing a population of about a half million. That's what Honolulu doesn't have a nuclear plant even though it'd be almost ideal for their remote location. Currently they get most of their electricity from burning fuel oil, and consequently have the highest electricity prices in the U.S. - about $0.30/kWh vs the national average of $0.12/kWh. Cost on the islands other than Oahu is even higher (about $0.45/kWh) because they have less access to oil and have to rely more on renewables.
With a population of just under 400,000, you couldn't run a small commercial reactor full-power 24/7 as they like to be run. You'd have to ramp it up and down throughout the day, which greatly increases operational costs. In the rest of the country, nuclear provides 24/7 baseline power. Coal plants can ramp up/down more quickly, but it still takes a while so they also provide baseline power. Fluctuations in power use through the day are handled by oil and gas plants (which can ramp up/down almost instantly) and hydro (which can ramp up/down instantly).
A RTG (generates heat through nuclear decay, not an induced nuclear reaction) could work. The Soviets used to power many of their remote lighthouses with them. But the wind in Antarctica is very strong and very consistent, and would seem to be the obvious go-to energy source given the scale and remote location (minimal maintenance crew).
3 Years Later: A Fukushima Worker's Eyewitness Story
I'm an engineer by training. My natural inclination is to assume the worst and seek evidence showing that things aren't quite that bad.
Reading TFA, I was struck by how the manager seemed to assume the best and sought evidence showing things were worse. When workers told him they couldn't read the coolant water levels anymore, rather than assume the worst (the cooling water had all evaporated) and order seawater to be dumped in (killing the commercial life of the reactor), he repeatedly asked the workers if they were sure. They told him they couldn't be sure there was no water because they couldn't read the levels, and he took that to mean the water levels might be ok so he wouldn't have to make the hard decision to dump in seawater.
Yik Yak, After Complaints From Schools, Suspends Its Service In Chicago
I would actually go even further than that. This Yik Yak app isn't causing the problem. The problem already existed - some kids think belittling and harassing other kids is ok. Yik Yak just gave them a means to carry out what they were thinking of doing without fear of consequences. It's like if you were to survey a thousand people if they thought Blacks were lazy, almost nobody would say yes. But if you asked them anonymously, a significantly larger percentage would say yes. The former survey may make you feel better about society, but the latter is a more accurate measure of what people really think. In what way does banning the latter type of survey make any sense?
So banning Yik Yak just hides the problem out of sight, it doesn't make it go away. To really fix the problem, you (schools, parents, whomever) have to drive it into kids' heads that this sort of behavior is just wrong. Everyone knows it goes on it school (e.g. the jocks vs nerds stereotype), but nobody seems to ever try to stop it. The problem goes away when the kids stop thinking the harassment posted in Yik Yak is funny or true, and start thinking the person who anonymously posted such things is an idiot.
Up To 1000 NIH Investigators Dropped Out Last Year
That would be nice if that were the way SS and Medicare actually worked. What really happens is the money you paid during your 40 years of working went to pay people who were retired while you were working (people who were retired when the SS program first started got a free ride). And in the future you'll be receiving money from the people who are working while you are retired.
Basically, it's the Asian cultural model where when the parents retire, their kids pay for their living expenses. Except on a national scale. The "entitlements" are not something you are entitled to. It's just an arbitrary allocation of a percentage of the kids' current income (currently 12.4% for SS, 2.9% for Medicare).
There's a token attempt by the accountants to make sure the numbers balance out long-term, but it's subject to things completely out of the accountants' control - like people's lifespans increasing, or couples having fewer babies. At a minimum, the retirement age needs to be scaled to keep pace with average lifespan for the numbers to balance out. But it's been stuck at 65 since the 1940s when life expectancy at birth was about 62, and life expectancy for a 50-year old was about 70. Currently the life expectancy for those ages are 78 and 81 respectively. So we have fewer people paying into SS (couples having fewer babies remember), and the people who qualify for SS collecting 3x as much money (living 3x longer in retirement) as when the program was first started. That's what's killing the budget and SS/Medicare.
Up To 1000 NIH Investigators Dropped Out Last Year
Austerity driven stupidity intentionally trying to destabilize this country. It's too bad we can't be strict constitutionalists and call up the militia to put down the insurrection or the far right fanatics, anti-science, anti-education, anti-Christian right. It really is simple: stupidity doesn't lead to innovation.
Take a good look at the graph in TFA. The biggest increase in investigators was during Clinton's second term (peak of the tech bubble) and Bush's first term (onset of recession). i.e. Bush increased science spending despite the country dropping into recession. A look at historical budgets bears this out. The biggest increase in federal funding for non-defense R&D happened during Bush's two terms.
Obama tried to continue that upward trend during his first term, but reality has set in and he's been scaling it back. We are still above the funding levels when he took office though.
A Dispatch From Outside the Prison Holding Barrett Brown
Not that amazing. The US government has been sold off to the highest bidders.
Not saying the government hasn't been bought. But by Occam's razor, a simpler explanation is that little fish like Brown and Swartz don't have the funds to mount a persistent and comprehensive legal defense. Prosecutors see them as a way to score a quick and easy victory, compared to bringing charges against Corzine and being tied up in court for a decade or more with a questionable outcome. I'd even go so far as to say there are probably lots of Browns and Swartzes you've never heard about who are in prison. Their case didn't generate enough publicity for organizations like the EFF to catch wind and offer legal counsel.
In other words, the problem is that the legal system is too expensive. The same thing likely would have happened even if the government wasn't/isn't bought.
California District Launches Country's First All-Electric School Bus
loshwomp has already addressed the range part. I'll tackle the PV part.
Diesel has an energy density of 36 MJ/l, or 136 MJ/gallon. If you assume 12 MPG, a school bus driven 100 miles a day will consume 8.3 gallons. With a conversion efficiency of 30% (30% of the energy makes it to the pavement and moves the bus, the rest is lost as heat in the engine, transmission, and tires), that's 136 MJ/gal * 8.3 gal * 0.3 = 339 MJ of energy consumed. Or 3.4 MJ per mile.
A full-size school bus is about 2.4 meters wide by 12 meters long, so you could put about 28.8 m^2 of PV panels on top of the bus. Commercial PV panels are rated at around 135 Watts/m^2 (about 18% efficiency), 28.8 m^2 then has a peak generating capacity 3888 Watts. If the bus were driven 1 hour at noon on a sunny day, it would generate 3888 W * 3600 sec = 14 MJ. Or enough to travel 4.1 extra miles.
Capacity factor for the U.S. is about 0.145. That is, for every 1000 Watts of PV you have installed, it'll generate on average 145 Watts throughout the year after factoring in night, weather, angle of the sun, dirt on the panels between washings, etc. So those 28.8 m^2 will actually only generate 3888*0.145 = 536.8 Watts average through the day. 536.8 Watts * 1 day * 24 h/day * 3600 s/h = 36.38 MJ in a day. Or enough to move the bus 10.7 miles per day. You've paid to cover the entire top of the bus in PV panels, and over a day it's harvesting less than 11% of the energy the bus needs for its daily route.
This is what most solar proponents don't seem to get. Solar energy is very, very low density. Even if PV panels reached 100% efficiency, the dream of an electric bus driving 100 mi/day powered entirely by solar panels on its roof can't happen. Sunlight simply doesn't have enough energy density.
If you're going to go solar, you are much better off with fixed panels (either on top of buildings, or on a covering structure for the school bus parking lot). They should plug into the grid and provide electricity where it's needed. And when the the bus comes back from its route, it can plug in and get its electricity from the grid as well (from solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, gas, coal, whatever). This:
- Combines a much larger area of PV panels while using a single voltage regulator and other electronics, reducing cost.
- Has lower construction strength requirements since they don't need to survive constant motion, bumps, and jiggles, also reducing cost.
- Allows the panels to contribute even if a bus happens to sit unused for several days or weeks (beyond the point where its battery is full) due to maintenance or a little thing called summer vacation.
- Vastly simplifies maintenance as your panels are always accessible, and aren't sitting atop of things that move around and rearrange themselves a lot.
- Vastly reduces the risk of damage, not just from vehicle accidents but from all the little rocks and pebbles which get flung up in traffic.
- Allows you to dispose of and replace buses without losing your investment in the PV panels. The panels will probably last 2-3 decades. Buses on average are replaced after about 12 years.
PV panels on top of buses. Bad idea.
California District Launches Country's First All-Electric School Bus
I suspect it would be really hard to build a full-sized EV bus that used less total fuel, considering the transmission and charging losses, and the fuel equivalence for the additional wealth needed to purchase such a thing.
I dunno. Consider how much mass school buses have, I would think you could recoup a huge amount of energy with regenerative braking alone. And unlike cars which only stop at red lights and stop signs, school buses also stop at every pickup/drop (every kid's house in rural areas) and all railroad crossings.
Stanford Team Tries For Better Wi-Fi In Crowded Buildings
Let's say you live in an apartment building and you can see 16 different SSIDs. Is it slow because there's a lot of data in total being transferred, or does CSMA just collapse (gridlock) so hardly anybody is getting anything?
Unfortunately, the way 802.11b/g were made, they're essentially FDMA. You assign channels to certain frequencies. If two routers happen to use the same frequency, they stomp over each other. (n and ac may do the same thing, I haven't read up on those yet.)
If they'd gone with something like CDMA or OFDMA (orthogonal FDMA), we wouldn't be having this problem. Those two assign orthogonal codes or frequencies to each device. Their transmissions can stomp over each other all day long and the receiver can still tell them apart. Bandwidth scales automatically with number of devices. If you're the only device, you get most of the bandwidth to yourself. If there are lots of other devices transmitting, they essentially increase the noise floor for your signal, and your bandwidth scales down accordingly and automatically. That's the reason these two coding schemes account for the vast majority of 3G and 4G transmission standards on CDMA, GSM (most 3G and 3.5G GSM uses wideband CDMA), and LTE networks.
Incidentally, I ran across a failure mode for CSMA just this weekend. My sister called me over because she couldn't get her TV to connect to her wireless network. It turned out both her router and her neighbor's router were transmitting on the same channel despite their channel selection being in auto mode. The routers were far enough from each other that they weren't picking up each others' transmissions. Her TV however happened to be just about in the middle of the two routers, and was getting a weak but equal strength signal from both. I guess other wifi networks in the neighborhood were causing those two routers to automatically select channel 11.
Apple Refuses To Unlock Bequeathed iPad
Everything you say is actually true EXCEPT, this isn't that families problem, it is apples. When you die your worldly possessions go to your family or anyone else you deem fit to bequeath them too. It is legal and quite proper,
It's not Apple's problem. The worldly possessions (the iPad) is still there, and the family has possession of it. What's been lost is information - the Apple ID and password. That's really not Apple's responsibility.
What's happened here is like if you bought a really big, really tough safe. You use it to store some valuables, and only you know the combination. Then you die. Your will bequeaths the safe to your family. They're in physical possession of the safe, but without the combination they have no way to access what's inside or (if there's nothing valuable inside) use it to store other stuff. It's essentially useless without the combination.
Unless there's some way for the safe manufacturer to open the safe without the combination (which would be a huge security hole), crying to them to fix the situation isn't going to help. When this sort of security is properly designed, even the manufacturer can't help. Same thing happened with the business-class Thinkpads with hard drives and BIOSes which could be password protected. If you set the BIOS boot password and forgot it, IBM's fix was to swap out the motherboard and charge you for a new motherboard (equivalent to salvaging this iPad for parts and charging the family a discounted price for a refurb iPad). If you put a password on the HDD and forgot it, that's it. Nobody could recover your data, not even IBM.
The iTunes account and any songs/movies/ebooks/software bought on it are a different matter. Regardless of any passwords on it, Apple knows what's in the account. And being virtual goods they can be restored for just a trivial administrative cost to Apple. The real question is whether you can inherit these types of accounts. There was a hoax some years back saying Bruce Willis wanted his kids to inherit his account, but AFAIK there hasn't been any real legal precedent on whether you can actually do that. I would like to think you can inherit the songs/movies/ebooks/software just like you can inherit CDs, DVDs, books, and boxed software. But I suspect the copyright industry is going to fight tooth and nail to try to make any such licenses terminate upon death.
Steve Ballmer Blew Up At the Microsoft Board Before Retiring
Apple took a big gamble to create a product that at the time, was mostly a niche product, I don't think anyone was expecting the iPhone to be the staggering sensation it became. Yet, Apple spent millions to develop the hardware and the operating system, both of which were, at the time, quite revolutionary.
Apple didn't capture a segment of an existing market, they *created* their own market -- people that had never bought a smartphone before were buying this thing.
Apple didn't create the smartphone market. They got aboard early before it exploded. People like me who've been using PDAs since the 1990s knew that PDAs were going to converge with phones. They're both electronic devices you carry around with you all the time in your pocket/purse. Obviously at some point they're going to combine into a single device. The only question was if the winner would be a PDA which added phone calling capability, or a phone which added the PDA's ability to run generic programs. This was going to happen regardless of whether or not Apple decided to make a phone. It actually closely mirrored the PC revolution, with only enthusiasts owning them in the 1970s, before they became mainstream and everyone had one in the 1980s.
The only risks Apple took were making a product they'd never made before (a phone), and going with a keyboard-less touchscreen interface. The latter was something other manufacturers were toying with at the time too (do a search for LG Prada if you're under the mistaken impression that the iPhone was the first of its kind). Apple succeeded because like the PC, the PDA/smartphone market was transitioning from enthusiast to general population, and if there's one thing Apple does really well it's making a UI that's easy for the general population to use.
For MS, the product has to be a huge hit or it's a disaster, and there's no in-between for them. That's their failure, which is they are looking for the kind of success Apple had, or they kill the product before it can even get a foothold.
That's not what happened at all. Microsoft owned the PDA market by the early 2000s. They'd pretty much vanquished Palm (which went from 100% of the PDA market to about 30%). But instead of looking to the future and preparing for the the obvious coming phone/PDA convergence, Microsoft stopped trying. Because they had vanquished the competition and now controlled the PDA market, they figured it was a safe revenue stream and they could scale back R&D spending on it. You saw the same thing with their web browser. Once they've vanquished Netscape, they stopped trying. For about a year the only updates to IE were security updates; they added no new features. Until Firefox and tabbed browsing gave them a kick in the rear and they had to scramble to catch up.
I still for the life of me cannot understand why Microsoft didn't add API hooks to make it easier for manufacturers to add phone capability to Windows CE (and later Windows Mobile) devices. HP was the only PDA maker which tried to graft in phone capability, and that's what it was - a graft/kluge to make the two work together. No seamless integration like on the iPhone. You need the OS maker on board to do that. Which Palm did with their Treo line, then Blackberry did when they upgraded their hardware from a mere pager with a keyboard, and Apple did with the iPhone. But Microsoft didn't. As a result they got run over when phones and PDAs did converge, and their Windows Mobile market share went from 70% to the 2% it is now. This probably represents Microsoft's biggest blown opportunity in the 2000s.
Steve Ballmer Blew Up At the Microsoft Board Before Retiring
Microsoft should have spent their money on improving Windows, one of their major income sources. If they had spent some of that money making an upgrade utility to let Windows XP users upgrade to Windows 7 or (ugh) 8.1, they would have done their existing customers a great service.
That's actually their problem right now. Their improvements to Windows are focused on increasing it as an income source, not on great customer service. The entire reason they're trying to shove Metro down everyone's throats in Windows 8 is because Metro apps can only be sold through their store, and they will get a 30% cut of anything sold through their store. They're trying to transition the entire Windows software market to the captive Apple Apps Store model, and they don't care how many users or software developers they run over to do it.
Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires
That's what I'm gradually transitioning to for everything. I've gotten tired of reinstalling all my apps every time I upgrade hardware. Next time I'm just going to install a Windows 7 VM and install all my apps (minus the games) in the VM. In the future when I upgrade hardware, I'll just copy the VM to the new machine. I've already offloaded the apps which need to be up 24/7 (file server, torrent downloader, etc) to VMs I run on my file server.
Software shouldn't tie you down to hardware. Except for a few pieces of software which are hardware-specific (e.g. my colorimeter for calibrating screen colors), all the software needs is basic I/O and a place to draw its window. Upgrading an OS or even changing to an entirely new OS shouldn't matter (I can access my Linux VMs from Windows and vice versa just fine).
Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men
Panopticon, goldfish bowl. If you read Azimov's short story, The Dead Past, you realize the problem with a panopticon society isn't that government can watch everything you do. It's that everyone else can watch everything you do.
Ask Slashdot: Does Your Employer Perform HTTPS MITM Attacks On Employees?
Why are you assuming that the employees are dishonest and stealing company time and access?
Likewise, why are you assuming that the employer is dishonest and stealing employee info? As has been pointed out, there is a legitimate reason for doing this (scanning and blocking malware being distributed over https, like in email).
To reach the conclusion that the employer is doing this because they think the employees are dishonest, you must first arrive at the conclusion that the employer is dishonest. Which seems like a double standard. Either assume they're both honest until proven otherwise, or assume they're both dishonest. Why is one presumed innocent until prove otherwise, while the other is presumed guilty until proven otherwise?
Merlin's Magic: The Inside Story of the First Mobile Game
Wasn't that Nintendo who invented the modern mobile gaming revolution? I remember playing Mattel Electronic Football when I was in grade school (1977). But the Nintendo Game Boy (1989) was a game-changer because it (1) let you load different games into the same mobile device, and (2) plugged into another Game Boy with a cable so two of you could play head-to-head. It was the first example I can think of of multiplayer gaming in the modern sense (each player has their own dedicated device).
I'm not really sure what the iPhone introduced that was new? Maybe virtual game distribution (software-only, no cartridges) and online sales (App Store)?
Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS
Despite this claim to large number shipped I just am not seeing Android tablets out in the hands of users. I've seen a couple (count them, two) Kindles in the real world.
Meanwhile I've seen many hundreds of Apple's iPad's and thousands of iPhones, iPodTouches, etc.
Something's not right with the statistics given in the article. It just doesn't match the real world. So is this a Shipped vs Sales confusion?
These are annual sales figures. That is, they're not the number of tablets in use, they're the first derivative of the number of tablets in use. People don't buy a new tablet every year - they keep it around for a few years. So the tablets you'll see in use are a weighted culmination of 2011, 2012, and 2013 sales, which if I remember were about 85% iPad, 60% iPad, and now 36% iPad
Despite what the Apple apologists have posted above, the important thing is the trend. And it's pretty clear that the trend is down for Apple (in market share - growth in the market means their unit sales are still increasing, just nowhere near as quickly as Android's unit sales are). They will need to come out with better products with better features (or lower prices) and more options (the iPad Mini was a good step) if they want to regain the market lead or even hang on to their current market share. Of course Apple being Apple, they might not care about that. They may be content having just 5% of the market if it's a very lucrative 5%.
And about 2/3rds of phones I see in use are Android, about 2/3rds of the tablets are iPads, and the last time I saw an iPod Touch was in a drawer gathering dust.
Walmart Unveils Turbine-Powered WAVE Concept Truck
Unfortunately, MPG is the inverse of fuel economy. That means the bigger you make MPG, the smaller the effect it has on overall consumption. If a car/truck is driven 15,000 miles per year, and you come up with a technology which improves their economy by (say) 20%:
5 MPG tractor trailer = 3000 gallons consumed, 20% improvement = 600 gallons saved
12 MPG luxury SUV = 1250 gallons consumed, 20% improvement = 250 gallons saved
18 MPG SUV = 833 gallons consumed, 20% improvement = 167 gallons saved
25 MPG sedan = 600 gallons consumed, 20% improvement = 120 gallons saved
35 MPG econobox = 429 gallons consumed, 20% improvement = 86 gallons saved
50 MPG hybrid = 300 gallons consumed, 20% improvement = 60 gallons saved
100 MPG supercar = 150 gallons consumed, 20% improvement = 30 gallons saved
All those 100 MPG research vehicles are pretty worthless in terms of reducing the country's overall oil consumption. Likewise, the push for hybrid cars is tackling the problem at the wrong end. It's improving fuel economy where it matters least - cars that don't burn a lot of fuel in a year. If you want to reduce oil consumption, you need to be changing the vehicles which burn the most oil. That's the trucks and SUVs - that's where we should be concentrating our fuel economy improvement research dollars.
Buying a Prius may help assuage your personal guilt over the environment, but we would've been much better off if Toyota et al had spent those R&D dollars on improving truck and SUV fuel efficiency first. The bigger the MPG, the smaller the impact it has on fuel savings - switching from a 12.5 MPG vehicle to a 25 MPG vehicle saves as much fuel as switching from a 25 MPG vehicle to an infinite MPG vehicle. (GPM is the "correct" metric because people usually have a certain distance they wish to drive, meaning the miles should be in the denominator. If people filled up their tank once a week and drove as many miles as they could on the one tank every week, then MPG would be the "correct" metric.)
Walmart Unveils Turbine-Powered WAVE Concept Truck
As the AC said, this sounds like a turbine-electric motor, much like the diesel-electric commonly used in trains. If you look at the power to weight ratio for a train, it ends up being about equivalent to an SUV with a 5 hp engine. All the electric motor (and batteries) need to do is store enough power to quickly accelerate the truck. Once it's at highway speed, the turbine alone can provide sufficient power to keep it rolling; no batteries needed. (In the case of an electric train, no batteries are needed because you can take a long time getting up to speed. All the electric motor does is allow a single motor to span the huge range between slow high torque to fast speed without requiring a transmission as big as the locomotive.
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