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The 2014 Hugo Awards

SuricouRaven Re:Informative winners list (109 comments)

The director set terms: The terms are near-future, realistic setting. Then those terms were violated. From there comes the problem.

2 hours ago
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The 2014 Hugo Awards

SuricouRaven Re:Informative winners list (109 comments)

It's soft sci-fi pretending to be hard sci-fi.

It's perfectly fine to have non-realistic physics in science fiction. It just needs some justification or explanation. Future super-tech that hasn't been invented, or a revolution in our understanding of the universe. This is a good thing: It lets you introduce a 'magic box' like a perfect lie detector or an artificial intelligence and then examine the impact it would have. Or it can just serve as the backdrop to a more conventional story, like a space opera - just throw in some vague mumbling about the hyperdrive, it doesn't matter how the thing is supposed to work so long as it gets the characters where they need to go.

But Gravity doesn't have that excuse. It's supposed to be realistic. It's supposed to be near-future. That sets certain constraints. For a layperson it might be acceptable for an astronaut to jump out the ISS and achieve an orbital intersection and velocity match by eye with a distant station - but for anyone who knows the slightest thing about space travel, or has played Kerbal Space Program, this as as glaring a violation of the established rules of the setting as if she'd cobbled together a teleporter from the wreckage.

2 hours ago
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Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

SuricouRaven Re:NIMBYs? Crackpots? (466 comments)

How hard would it be to fit a safety cage? It's a small focal point, making a wire-mesh sphere a few meters in radius doesn't sound too difficult.

yesterday
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Modular Hive Homes Win Mars Base Design Competition

SuricouRaven Re:Reactors and Magnetic Shielding (60 comments)

How about decomposing it in a solar furnace? Use the oxygen to help with life support and the iron to construct radiation shields or cast into structural elements to expand your base.

yesterday
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Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

SuricouRaven Re:all traffic? more than just web ports? (375 comments)

If that gets to be a problem they can always just block all traffic except for the payment site.

2 days ago
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Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

SuricouRaven Re:One word for these parasitic scum : (375 comments)

I go further: I own a piratebox that occasionally makes an appearance in a public place.

2 days ago
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Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

SuricouRaven Re:Amost sounds like a good deal ... (375 comments)

In the case of music, it's rare for the artists to hold copyright in their own work. Usually the label holds it, and just pays them a fractional royalty.

2 days ago
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Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

SuricouRaven Re:Stupidity (358 comments)

Not at all. It was reintroduced to the US by a load of idiots who believed that it would save males from the terrible evils of masturbation - something that medical knowledge of the time still claimed lead to insanity, epilepsy and distrophy. That's why it's still comparatively rare in Europe.

2 days ago
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Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

SuricouRaven Re:Stupidity (358 comments)

The second-most populous religion in the world has a tradition of chopping off foreskins. They inherited it from an older religion. Before the discovery that sterilising the blade really matters, infection was a serious issue. They still did it.

People are stupid.

3 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

SuricouRaven Re:Expert?? (435 comments)

Those filters already exist. Mains power is already full of noise from many sources - one of the functions of a power supply is to block it, usually with a big capacitor.

3 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

SuricouRaven Re:"Dance" = rolling blackouts (435 comments)

Your fridge can stand to shut down for five minutes to ride out a sudden but brief peak in demand. Those do happen. The 'Corrie Break' is a very well-known example, occuring predictably during the mid-episode break of Coronation Street in the UK - it's caused by millions of people simutainously going to put the kettle on.

Water depends on house. Electrical hot water, unless it's on-demand, can wait too. Pumped mains pressure cannot, simply because it's also used to drive fire extinguishing systems. If you're in an area that uses a water tower or top-of-building tank for pressure though, then the pump can be shut down during a deman peak.

3 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

SuricouRaven Re:Expert?? (435 comments)

The simplist way would be to encode it onto the mains signal - either as a slight frequency variation (It already gets slower under load) or as a digital signal. All it needs to do is give a number from, say -8 to +8 telling appliances how precious energy is at that exact moment. Older appliances simply ignore it, new ones can have a dirt-cheap (So cheap manufacturers wouldn't mind adding it) decoder chip and slightly adjust their settings and cycles according to that. Just make sure that the signal averages out at 0 over a long enough period.

It's a very simple system, yes. But it's also the cheapest for the appliance end - no new expensive communications hardware, no wireless or internet connectivity. Just a very cheap decoder part consisting of an isolation/stepdown transformer an a single chip, and some of the time it can share a transformer with the microcontroller power suppply.

3 days ago
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

SuricouRaven Re:Pssssh (197 comments)

And most of those who do have even 2.1 don't have it set up right due to room layout. For it to work you need your TV to be centered on one wall, and a sofa on the opposite wall. In many shapes of living room, including my own, that isn't possible. We just use the speakers in the TV.

4 days ago
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

SuricouRaven Re:Stereo (197 comments)

You do. But they need to be seperated by eye. That's done either by having two small screens (The 3D visor, much used in VR rigs), or by using polarisation to allow one screen to appear to show two images depending upon eye (The cinema approach) or by using active shutter glasses an very rapidly alternating images (Most home 3DTV systems.)

4 days ago
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

SuricouRaven Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (197 comments)

What could be done by reversing this process from the stream? There's a nifty trick on surround sound - some sounds you'll find the center channel is used for lyrics and the sides for instrumentals in songs, making it trivial to isolate them and get clean audio for redubbing with. If it works as you describe, would that make it easy to pull out individual instruments or effects? That could be useful for hobbyist remixers.

4 days ago
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The Man Responsible For Pop-Up Ads On Building a Better Web

SuricouRaven Re:good intentions? (131 comments)

Not entirely evil. Thanks to those ad-funded companies like Tripod, many people were able to create websites that could not otherwise have afforded to do so. Web hosting was expensive back in those days, and even now it'll still cost you at least ten quid a month or so, which is a significant amount for some. Even today we continue to reap the benefits of advertising-based businesses for all manner of useful things - even though the ads themselves are so loathed that many users find ways to block them.

about a week ago
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Correcting Killer Architecture

SuricouRaven Re:Wind turbine array (98 comments)

Because it's gusty, and wind turbines need steady wind.

about a week ago
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Correcting Killer Architecture

SuricouRaven Re:Similar (98 comments)

The 'Walkie Talkie' AKA 'Solar Death Ray' was mentioned in the article as another example of an unanticipated danger in architecture.

about a week ago

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