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In Vitro Grown Meat 'Nearly Possible'

Virtually Sane Irony (260 comments)

What is ironic is that looking at current varieties of crops and farm animals, they have been cultivated to the point where they bear little resemblance to the original species. Also methods of generating new varieties include induced mutation, which is seen as OK by the organic lobby. Go figure.

about 2 years ago
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Steve Jobs Dead At 56

Virtually Sane Farewell (1613 comments)

At least he got to say goodbye to his family.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do In SW:TOR For Just 3 Days?

Virtually Sane Answer (211 comments)

Easy - don't sleep :)

more than 3 years ago
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Cell Phones Could Sniff Out Deadly Chemicals

Virtually Sane A slight drawback.... (136 comments)

So does it sound an alarm after I've eaten a curry?

I know some people who's BO would qualify as toxic :)

more than 4 years ago
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Electric Car Nano-Batteries Aim For 500 Mile Range

Virtually Sane Diesel (650 comments)

I get 550+ miles to a tank in my 3 year old VW diesel Jetta DSG, My bet is that this will be 6 - 700 miles by the time this battery technology arrives. The downside to this car is that its so high precision (common rail injection etc.), it can't use biodiesel :(

more than 5 years ago
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When Hacked PCs Self-Destruct

Virtually Sane Upgrading the hard way (418 comments)

The things Microsoft will do to make you upgrade to Vista :)

more than 5 years ago
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Tapping the Earth For Home Heating and Cooling

Virtually Sane Reality Check (215 comments)

I got a quote from a UK company 2 years ago, some #1000 per KW of heating/cooling. Needless to say, there was no interest.

This was due to the compressors and pumps needed, there is also a high maintenance overhead as well

It is highly dependent on water movement through the soil structure, so putting one under a car park is a no-no.

more than 5 years ago
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Waste Coffee Grounds Offer New Source of Biodiesel

Virtually Sane Re:How do they do it? (276 comments)

Good point, but as fischer-trope reactions scale down, the price drops geometrically due to the geometric reduction in wall thicknesses etc, to maintain the same pressures. I know that thermal losses become more significant as scales reduce, but insulation can help there

more than 5 years ago
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Waste Coffee Grounds Offer New Source of Biodiesel

Virtually Sane How do they do it? (276 comments)

OK - so I read the article os I'm not a real Slashdot reader.

They quote a figure of 11 - 20% oil in the coffee grounds and processing leaves a solid that can be composted. This looks like standard solvent extraction of the oil.

The scale of the material available is not enough to replace non USA sources of fuel for cars.

BUT it is a step in the right direction, along with oil from algae, fischer-trope, oil from crops etc. Diversity of supply gives better security and helps keep the money in the country rather than export cash abroad.

If I were a betting man, I'd put money on small scale (1 tonne/hour) fischer-trope reaction vessels - this can use any waste organic material.

For the sceptics out there, look at the scale of ALL organic based waste in the USA and then look at the volume of oil that fuel derived by this process could deliver.

Also in terms of jobs, I believe there may be a number of auto parts suppliers looking to diversify into new industries right about now.

more than 5 years ago
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Diet of Fast Food and Candy May Cause Alzheimer's

Virtually Sane Food manufacturers (224 comments)

Food is an very emotional topic - witness what happens to sales of a product after a scare story

Nutritional studies are oftan exercises in advanced statistics, it can be very hard to remove the effects of other factors

Regarding diets - the ancient greeks got it right - eat in moderation. Having steak every day is a major imbalence, although a nice one (also applies to ice cream etc.)

The food industry will make what sells, they will make low sugar/fat whatever, if enough people buy it. These guys are here to make a profit and will not build a factory to make something that does not sell.

Want to know who is responsible for your diet? Look in the mirror.

more than 5 years ago
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Holiday Art Executed In Google Documents

Virtually Sane New Possibilities (72 comments)

OK - from what I saw (watched the video - easier than reading how to do it ;) ), its using the google spreadsheet like a basic version of MS paint.

On the other hand, what about getting formula derived holiday art - a random snowflake generator? (I'll leave that to the math geeks)

Or for something OTT, use this to generate cels for animation, probably itchy and scratchy level of animation, but its their server time, not yours :)

about 6 years ago
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Plasma Plants Vaporize Trash While Creating Energy

Virtually Sane OK - I'll bite (618 comments)

I do a LOT of work on refuse disposal options, principally for the UK food industry. From the top of my head:- Use of plasma for waste disposal, this is not new, there was a french system proposed a few years ago for disposal of medical waste, looks like pathogens get a bit uncomfortable at tempertaures of several thousands of C. (this is from a New Scientist article, unable to refernce at the moment) The article references syngas, this is usually derived from anaerobic heating (>600oC) of organic matter and was used to make town gas from coal for street lighting. This can be used on food wastes (there is a huge amount in the UK) and run through the Fischer Troupe process to make petrol etc. The downsides :- High pressure - increases capital costs geometrically with scale. Chemical plant - NIMBYS do not like them (what a suprise. ) Process does not like water - food waste is 60% water. Energy intensive (work out how much energy is needed to volitise teh 5 Million tonnes of food waste generated in the UK each year - its a lot). The upsides :- Established and proven technology. Lots of very cheap raw material. Use the energy content of the raw material to dry and vaporise the residue (an approx. 30% energy cost penalty - but the source is cheap) Will consume anything organic, so mixed and contaminated food waste not a problem - will accomodate glass and metal contaminants Best of all, as the plant scales down, there is an exponential decrease in the wall thickness needed for pipework etc. needed, so cost decreases at the same rate. You could have a pallet sized unit getting through a tonne per hour (Perdue University have done this for cleaning up waste at militry bases) for a very worthwhile cost. Note in the UK, landfill costs are now in the region of £60/tonne and rising by £8/year due to land fill tax. God help you if you have to render high risk material prior to landfill, your are then looking at a cost of about £100/tonne. A £25M t/o food plant will easily generate 2000 tonnes of food waste per year. This is significant, given most food manufacturers are operating on net margins in the very low single figures. A back of the metaphorical fag packet calculation showed that we could generate enough petrol from such sources in the UK to meet our commitment to add 5% from renewables to our petrol every year.

about 6 years ago

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