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Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Patent Case

Xiterion Re:So much for that! (579 comments)

This is about selling more Roundup. In case you don't know what that is, it's a herbicide that would burn your throat if you got a whiff of it.

While I have no love lost for Monsanto and their IP enforcement goon squad, the herbicide in question is a pretty benign substance to work with. Check out the glyphosate page on wikipedia for an overview of it's activity and interaction with people. While it's not something you'd want to intentionally ingest, it's not a potent inhalation or other hazard.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Should Scientists Build a New Particle Collider In Japan?

Xiterion Re:Noooo! (292 comments)

Why not focus on the ultra high velocity particles coming in from space? In short, luminosity. The rate of collisions is so much lower and uncontrolled in terms of where the collisions happen that it's much more difficult to gather the bulk of data that is required to demonstrate statistical significance in the findings. Also, check out the pictures of the scale of the detectors installed at the LHC. They're positively enormous, and just as important to the performance of the facility as the power level of the beam line.

As for why they're asking now? It took 10 years to build the LHC. Assuming they start construction today on a new collider, they will still likely be looking at a period of time somewhere around a decade before the new system comes online. Also, the proposed accelerator is a linear accelerator, which offers a differently optimized set of tradeoffs compared to something like the LHC.

about a year and a half ago
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Russia Wants a Hypersonic Bomber

Xiterion Re:Good (319 comments)

Propelling a train in a tube with air pressure would make the problem of drag worse, not better. Sure, it's better for the vehicle, but overall you have to cram your air mass through the tube, drastically increasing the surface area that is exposed to the high velocity air stream. That's not to say such a pneumatic tube scheme couldn't work for lower speed transports, just that it doesn't seem to be a feasible option for ultra high speed transport.

about 2 years ago
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150 Gigapixel Sky Image Contains 1 Billion Stars

Xiterion Re:3D version? (126 comments)

There are other ways to get depth information, especially in studies like this. Various techniques such as those mentioned here can be used to fill in at least some of the missing data. Then you can provide the viewer with virtual points of view that are many light years apart to allow perceiving the galaxy in stereo. And to answer GP's question, probably because there's an immense pile of other data to sort through to get that depth information. Sadly, we don't yet have the equivalent of Kinect to give us depth maps along with the image.

more than 2 years ago
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Record-Setting 100+ T Magnetic Field Achieved At Los Alamos

Xiterion Re:Interplanetary Space? (166 comments)

This is a transient field generated by an electric current that was created through the discharge of capacitor banks.

If you're going to pour on the snark, you could at least read enough of the article to understand that, while a capacitor bank is used in establishing the magnetic field, the primary energy storage was from a motor-generator that stores 1.2 GJ of energy for the experiments. So, while I agree that it's frustrating to hear half baked ideas for applications of exciting new science to pet science fiction dreams, doing so in a confrontational manner does little to actually enhance the knowledge of the folks making those sorts of suggestions.

more than 2 years ago
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Record-Setting 100+ T Magnetic Field Achieved At Los Alamos

Xiterion Re:Not just field strength (166 comments)

1T is the magnetic field strength of Earth, no?

Nope. That's off by a few orders of magnitude. The magnetic field of the Earth is about 30e-6 to 60e-6 T at the surface, depending on where you measure it at. The key is the Earth's magnetic field is extremely large in human terms, since it's large enough to easily fill multiple Earth radii.

more than 2 years ago
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Iran's Smart Concrete Can Cope With Earthquakes and Bombs

Xiterion Re:Today's dose of fearmongering... (609 comments)

According to this wikipedia article implosion designs work for uranium based designs as well. It must be used for plutonium, but isn't exclusive to it. Can't really say why you would want to do that sort of thing though. I was always under the impression that the reason you went to the trouble of enriching uranium to make a bomb was because it was somehow easier than getting the design of an implosion weapon right.

more than 2 years ago
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Tesla Reveals Its Model X Gullwing SUV

Xiterion Re:Wait, they're still making cars? (306 comments)

I was under the impression that mounting the motor in the hub, while an elegant engineering solution to the problem of power transmission, isn't necessarily the optimal solution for automotive applications because of the increase in unsprung mass. It seems like, even with advances in power density in motors, that hub mounting would increase that mass by a large amount, not to mention potentially bringing additional cooling system complexity.

more than 2 years ago
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Graphene Membranes Superpermeable to Water

Xiterion Re:graphene oxide, not graphene (292 comments)

Neither, actually. According to the article:

Graphene oxide is the same graphene sheet but it is randomly covered with other molecules such as hydroxyl groups OH-.

So it's apparently not a simple oxide in the sense of carbon dioxide, etc. It's more graphene with some oxygens added in various configurations.

more than 2 years ago
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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Makes First Passenger Flight

Xiterion Re:And now after the press release (190 comments)

A slight addendum - most airlines now don't even give you one free checked bag. At checkin, if you say you're checking a bag, be prepared to whip out your credit card.

more than 2 years ago
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Electric Tron Lightcycle Hits the Streets

Xiterion Re:Ugh... (113 comments)

Tritium itself doesn't glow - the shiny tritium powered light sources all have a phosphor coating to give the glow. Which is really unfortunate, because I really wish there was a handy glow in the dark gas.

more than 2 years ago
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Use Your Car To Power Your House

Xiterion Re:did it for 'canes (271 comments)

I'm impressed you found inverters that would tolerate the startup load. In my (very limited) experience most inverters don't much care for the current draw of inductive loads like refrigeration compressors. I really like the idea of being able to run my generator for a few hours a day to recharge a battery during a power outage instead of having to constantly be around to babysit it.

more than 3 years ago
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Mac Malware Evolves - No Install Password Required

Xiterion Re:Apple is patching anyway (374 comments)

... Why are these guys even bothering?

Because their target is the user who doesn't quite grok the difference between files, folders, programs, and the Internet. You know, the sort of person who can't find their Word documents outside of Word itself. I think the authors of this malware are simply taking advantage of the fact that most users won't notice it's there, and won't bother trying to remove it. Malware doesn't have to be dug in to a computer so hard that a tactical nuclear strike is needed to remove it in order to be effective.

more than 3 years ago
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Ugly Truth of Space Junk

Xiterion Re:Self Correcting Problem (185 comments)

Pretty much, for rather annoyingly long definitions of enough. The decay time can be upwards of a few hundreds of years for certain orbits.

more than 3 years ago
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80% Improvement In Solar Cell Efficiency

Xiterion Re:STOP talking about efficiency, it doesn't matte (204 comments)

Actually, based on your statement you do care about the efficiency. It's just, I think, that your threshold for efficient enough is tied up in your projected use of the technology. What they are talking about is effectively doubling the wattage that can be collected from the dirt ass cheap solar cells. The base material in question is cadmium telluride which can be produced cheaply enough to compete on a cost/watt basis with silicon based photovoltaics. What this researcher has done is shown a nearly factor of two improvement in what is already the most cost effective photovoltaic cell for large installations, which is a great big deal.

more than 3 years ago
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Japan Raises Nuclear Plant Crisis Severity To 7

Xiterion Re:And some people still wonder why... (673 comments)

I thought the lesson was that the reactors that weren't running at the time of the earthquake were the safe ones ;) Remember the three reactors with undamaged fuel and containment were the ones that were shut down at the time of the quake and tsunami.

more than 3 years ago
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US To Send Radiation-Hardened Robots To Japan

Xiterion Re:Mark this one for the history books, folks. (183 comments)

Because the energy required to spin up the main generator(s) is by itself huge. A large power plant (of any sort, not just nuclear) requires a substantial fraction of their own output power to run cooling pumps, control systems, and the like. Also, there's the issue of spooling up whatever generator is used, which is generally done by feeding power from the grid back into the station. In a so called black start situation, some generating stations on the grid have diesel generators that can be started by a big bank of batteries or compressed air. Those are used to bootstrap that plant, which is in turn used to start other plants, and so on. Since this station tripped during the earthquake, it's only source of power was from the generators on site.

more than 3 years ago
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The Pirate Bay Co-Founder Starting P2P-DNS

Xiterion Re:I love the idea, (309 comments)

Someone who is really insecure about their (penis|breast) size?

more than 3 years ago
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How Much Math Do We Really Need?

Xiterion Re:essential (1153 comments)

Spoken like a true (engineer|physicist|insert your favorite tech discipline here). For some people in the world, it's more important to express themselves through literature than it is to fix all the automation tasks around us. Ignoring a fundamental part of oneself like that, or encouraging others to do so, is really unhealthy.

more than 3 years ago

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