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Cosmic Ray Intensity Reaches Highest Levels In 50 years

Suicidal Gir Not a Big Problem. (263 comments)

I wouldn't raise alarm too much, cosmic rays affect a space craft in mainly three ways: Single Even Upset (SEU), Single Event Latchup (SEL), and Total Ionization Dose (TID) measured in kRad. The higher cosmic rays increase the TID, but all these satellites are built for it and it shouldn't raise an alarm except for very long term missions. SEUs and SELs are what the phrase "just one cosmic ray could disable unlucky satellites or even put a mission to Mars in jeopardy." is mentioning. SEUs aren't too much too worry about, usually nothing too harmful, just a few errors and at worst a reset of some subsystems. The bad one is the SELs. These can cause a temporary short and potentially cause damage. The key thing with SEUs and SELs is that they're typically temporary and the spacecraft's power systems nowadays can easily handle them. The solid state switches/fuses they started with Cassini (and are now typical for NASA missions) are very effective (accidently proven so during integration) and can cut off a shorted subsystem quite fast and prevent damage.

In a nutshell, don't get your panties in a bunch.

more than 5 years ago
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Best Tablet PC For Classroom Instruction?

Suicidal Gir Good Idea (176 comments)

Here at Penn State several of the electrical engineering professors use IBM tablets. They're nice and tiny, last all day, and are possibly the best teaching tool I've come across. I personally own a Toshiba tablet, and while it was pretty good for a while, the hardware has failed constantly. The support was pretty good, but the computer is struggling now that the 3 year warranty is up (dead accelerometer, pen pressure sensitivity not working, screen is wobbly, fixed the CD-ROM myself). I've heard a lot of good things about the IBM models, namely the x61 I believe.

My one tip? For God's sake, don't be that teacher that sits through class endlessly trying to figure out how to use it. Don't introduce it into your classroom until you have the routine down. I had one professor that decided to use it for a signals and systems review, and at least half the time spent was him trying to figure out how to use the computer. He was more of a side walk chalk on the board kind of guy...

more than 5 years ago
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Usability Testing Hardy Heron With a Girlfriend

Suicidal Gir Re:Girlfriend? (846 comments)

Actually, that's sudo apt-get install girlfriend. It's worth noting that after installing girlfriend it will automatically uninstall some of your favorite packages.

more than 5 years ago

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Suicidal Gir Suicidal Gir writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Suicidal Gir writes "An ancient machine found off the coast of Greece has finally been figured out.

From the article: "The so-called "Antikythera mechanism" was found in 1902 by sponge divers exploring a shipwreck off the Greek island of the same name, but its exact use had puzzled scientists. The device is thought to have once been housed in a wooden box about the size of a carriage clock and is more complex by far than any other machine known to have existed on the planet for the following 1000 years. Now a team led by Mike Edmunds at Cardiff University in Wales has shown that the Antikythera mechanism was designed to predict solar and lunar eclipses from the relative positions of the Earth, Moon and Sun."

Now if only they could figure out how to set the time on my wrist watch..."

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