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NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

ankhank Pork, Republican pork, previously documented. (198 comments)

This was forced on NASA as a pork barrel money grant by the Republican senators, and this isn't news.

Senator Makes NASA Complete $350 Million Testing Tower ...
Feb 1, 2014 - Roger F. Wicker (R-MS), who says the testing tower will help maintain the ..... The other senators will likely decide that it's easier to fund his pork ...

4 days ago

3D-Printed Material Can Carry 160,000 Times Its Own Weight

ankhank Vacuum Blimp?? (60 comments)

Oboy. Do we finally have something that can make a big sphere strong enough and light enough that when pumped to a vacuum it will work as a lifting body?

Not to mention, strong enough to make a deep sea diving bell strong enough that it won't crush?

Same principle. Oh please ...

about 6 months ago

House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

ankhank Brat and Elizabeth Warren have in common .... (932 comments)

.... a review with praise in Common Dreams, a self-identified "Progressive" website, about the surprise winner in Virginia's Republican primary:

"... Republican Dave Brat, a college economics professors who spoke about GOP hypocrisy and railed against Wall Street greed, unseated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary challenge.

âoeAll of the investment banks, up in New York and D.C., they should have gone to jail.â ... Thatâ(TM)s a common campaign slogan repeated by Dave Brat, the Virginia college professor ....

The national media is buzzing about Bratâ(TM)s victory, but for all of the wrong reasons...."

The media will talk about anything except the real problem

about 6 months ago

Congressman Introduces Bill To Limit FCC Powers

ankhank POTS: Plain Old Telecom Service (176 comments)

Look, if Ben Franklin had understood this "electricity" thing better, he'd have defined the Post Office program -- that allowed "a Republic, if you can keep it" to work, by putting every citizen within equal reach of every other citizen -- to include it explicitly.

That's Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, that gave us the Post Office.

In his day, they did it with horses.
Now, we do it with electronics.

Same difference. Ought to be the same anyhow.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Does LED Backlight PWM Drive You Crazy?

ankhank A problem for flashlights too! (532 comments)

You'll find the same problem mentioned by flashlight modders (candlepowerforums.com, budgetlightforums.com) -- some multi-level lights have quite annoying PWM.

about a year and a half ago

Officials Say NSA Probed Fewer Than 300 Numbers - Broke Plots In 20 Nations

ankhank Re:I'm sure it's effective (419 comments)

> Just tell people what you're doing.
> Make sure that it's legal and ethical.
> Don't be shy of what you're doing.
> Then we might accept it.
      ---- Signed, your government.

about a year and a half ago

Snowden NSA Claims Partially Confirmed, Says Rep. Jerrold Nadler

ankhank Re:What is MetaData? (337 comments)

> Think of what can be learned by applying modern pattern analysis to that data set.

Got nothing? Think again. Think harder.

Still nothing?

Congratulations, you are excludable from the jury, as he may only be tried by a jury of his peers.

Still no clear idea what can be learned by applying modern pattern analysis to that data set?

You're not one of his peers. Excused ....

about a year and a half ago

Supreme Court: No Patents For Natural DNA Sequences

ankhank Re:A thought experiment (214 comments)

! yep

We already know that's the case for antibiotics. And we know plants compete with one another by suppressing competitors' growth.

Seems to me Thomas's comment is intended to add a loophole -- "we created this cDNA and patented it, so we have the patent, so if you claim you found the exact same thing out there in nature somewhere, it must be you stole it from us." Betcha.

The Future of Antibiotics and Resistance
Brad Spellberg, M.D., John G. Bartlett, M.D., and David N. Gilbert, M.D.
N Engl J Med 2013; 368:299-302January 24, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1215093
"... after billions of years of evolution, microbes have most likely invented antibiotics against every biochemical target that can be attacked — and, of necessity, developed resistance mechanisms to protect all those biochemical targets. Indeed, widespread antibiotic resistance was recently discovered among bacteria found in underground caves that had been geologically isolated from the surface of the planet for 4 million years.2 Remarkably, resistance was found even to synthetic antibiotics that did not exist on earth until the 20th century. These results underscore a critical reality: antibiotic resistance already exists, widely disseminated in nature, to drugs we have not yet invented.

"Thus, from the microbial perspective, all antibiotic targets are “old” targets...."

about a year and a half ago

9th Grade Science Experiment: Garden Cress Won't Germinate Near Routers

ankhank Re:No reproduction (327 comments)

Outgassing from the plastic and electronics, I'll bet.
Nice new routers, I'll bet. Loaded with stuff that's volatile.

Did they try a Faraday Cage to rule out the radio waves?

about a year and a half ago

97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made

ankhank Re:Yeah... No ... (1105 comments)

You've confused the total with the excess. The total amount in the atmosphere, oceans, and biogeochemical cycles doesn't vary much, or very fast -- except for the last century during which there's been an extremely rapid rate of increase from fossil fuel burning. See http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm

As he says there:
"If you want basic facts about climate change, or detailed current technical information, you might do better using the links page. But if you want to use history to really understand it all..." -- read http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

Among other things you learn why logic and common sense didn't solve the puzzles in the detail needed; computers made it possible.

about a year and a half ago

Carnegie Mellon Offers Wee QWERTY Texting Tech For Impossibly Tiny Devices

ankhank Re:brain mapping dystonia (100 comments)

Is that an "autocorrect what you typed" feature, or an "autocomplete before you type anything more" feature?

about a year and a half ago

Carnegie Mellon Offers Wee QWERTY Texting Tech For Impossibly Tiny Devices

ankhank PS, so let the damn computer learn to read script (100 comments)

If the computer's good enough to get the right letter out of a vague approximation of position on a mini keyboard, it ought to be able to read my handwriting.

Want to do input on a tiny little area or just by waving your hands in the air?

Penmanship. Just make the computer able to read handwriting.

about a year and a half ago

Carnegie Mellon Offers Wee QWERTY Texting Tech For Impossibly Tiny Devices

ankhank brain mapping dystonia (100 comments)

This is guaranteed to screw up people's ability to accurately place their fingers.

Same reason I turn off AutoCorrect -- because when the user can just wave and poke at the approximate area of the keyboard -- and get the right letter supplied -- the brain fuzzes over its map of the keyboard and the finger placement becomes imprecise. Or rather exactly precise enough to get the desired result -- which is pretty damn sloppy when the computer's taking care of the final accuracy.

'oogle brain mapping dystonia -- lots of academic work on this, it's a serious problem.

Sorry, CMU, this is going to cripple people if you implement it.
Not right away, it'll take some time before the damage is apparent.

about a year and a half ago

The Coming War Against Personal Photography and Video

ankhank Re:Points at Lauren Weinstein (221 comments)


Once personal digital storage is outlawed, all your cameras and other recording devices will save directly to the Cloud of Unknowing.
Cool dispassionate editors will improve what you captured and return to you exactly what you need to know, no less and no more.

about a year and a half ago

Google Forbids Advertising On Glass

ankhank Re:This is the company that reads our email, right (274 comments)

"... the reason for everything must publicly appear. Every man is a proprietor in government, and considers it a necessary part of his business to understand. It concerns his interest, because it affects his property. He examines the cost, and compares it with the advantages; and above all, he does not adopt the slavish custom of following what in other governments are called LEADERS.

It can only be by blinding the understanding of man, and making him believe that government is some wonderful mysterious thing, that excessive revenues are obtained...."


about a year ago

Google Forbids Advertising On Glass

ankhank Re:This is the company that reads our email, right (274 comments)


"... A recent letter signed by 15 companies and trade groups -- including TechAmerica, which represents Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other technology companies -- demanded that the measure's author, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, drop her bill. They complain it would open up businesses to an avalanche of requests from individuals as well as costly lawsuits.

One early consequence of the heavy lobbying: A hearing on the bill, AB1291, scheduled for last week, has been pushed to next month.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a co-sponsor of the Right to Know Act, accuses the business groups of overreacting to hide their true intentions: to keep out of the public's eye the lucrative practice of amassing personal information on people who use online services, computer apps, social networking sites and other portals that track people's locations, buying habits, favorite foods and movies, and even their sexual orientation.... ... ... The push for the new law comes as tech, banking and marketing firms find more ways to mine vast amounts of personal information on consumers to target their specific needs. Some websites have installed as many as 100 tracking tools that kick in when consumers visit them, according to the bill's analysis.

Many Facebook apps tap into their users' and their friends' profiles, including sections on religious, political and sexual preferences; race; income; and health concerns. Third-party advertising and marketing companies buy, sell and trade personal information that they get from mobile phones, financial institutions and social media sites.

Some mobile applications share location information and phone numbers of users -- a concern to advocates of domestic violence victims.
Consumers who live in 27 countries that belong to the European Union already have the right to know what data companies have on them -- laws that are being complied by Facebook, Google and others that are opposing the California legislation.

Google did not reply to requests for an interview; a Facebook spokesman declined to talk about the bill. The California Chamber of Commerce referred all calls to TechAmerica, the trade group that represents major Internet companies...."

about a year ago

Google Forbids Advertising On Glass

ankhank Re:This is the company that reads our email, right (274 comments)

I don't misunderstand the business model.
It's to collect money from advertisers by pushing stuff at viewers.

"I'm feeling lucky" now tells me I'm feeling hungry and gives me a map of restaurants near where I am.
Dagnabbit, when I want food, I -know- how to search for food I want.
I'm a living organism. We do this instinctively.

Google's business could have been search: making sellers more competent at describing what they have to sell, where, when, and how, and on what terms, so they can be found by people who want something -- so someone can find something simply, straightforwardly, least effort for best result.

Google could have been a reference librarian for the marketplace, helping people by narrowing a search interactively, even querying the potential seller to improve their information if people keep asking for something Google figures out is probably what the seller wants to sell, as well as querying the potential buyer.

Go to a good library. Talk to a good reference librarian. Say you want something very specific that you don't know how to find.

Google could be that.

Instead the web becomes more and more layers of repeated stuff, and readers go through clicking page after page after page.
And the more pages are presented, the more the advertiser's stuff shows up, the more chances there are for clicks. $$PROFIT$$ eh?

Google's business could have been search. I'd gladly buy from a seller that made the effort -- one that paid Google to help make their information clearer, more distinctive, and more easily discoverable (what searches do people do trying to find this sort of thing?). Save me time, save me trouble, save me from distraction, make search better.

Instead the model is to stuff the web with more stuff I have to work harder to ignore all the time, eating up the time I have to live.

Why, yes, I am old enough to remember when signs didn't glare, pages didn't shout, and I could go to Usenet and -ask- for something
and if I asked cleverly enough, showing I"d done my homework, people would answer - and then everyone else could find the answer later.
Like, as Borges says somewhere, going into a dark huge library and shouting my question -- and hearing answers coming back.

Google could have been that library.

Someone will, eventually.

about a year and a half ago


ankhank hasn't submitted any stories.



ankhank ankhank writes  |  more than 9 years ago


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R. VanCuren(1); S. Cliff (2); K. Perry(3);

(1)California Air Resources Board, Research Division, 1001 I St. Box 2815 Sacramento, CA 95812, United States
(2)University of California, Applied Science, 1 Shields Ave. Davis, CA 95616, United States
(3)University of Utah, Meteorology, University of Utah WILLIAM BROWNING 135 S 1460 EAST RM 819 Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, United States

Six weeks of continuous size- and time- resolved aerosol sampling conducted for the Intercontinental Transport and Chemical Transformation 2002 Study (ITCT-2K2) and analyses of a decade of twice-weekly aerosol sampling by a network that spans North America combine to show that Asian aerosols are a dominant component of the "background" over extra-tropical North America. Integrating the ITCT-2K2 findings with the long term record shows that: 1) Asian aerosols are only infrequently observed at sea level while unmodified marine aerosols are very rare at elevated near-coastal sites; 2) aerosols collected at elevated sites in western North America are persistently of Asian continental origin, with concentrations strongly modulated by synoptic meteorology; 3) Asian aerosols are regularly present at remote sites across North America, often overwhelming local aerosol sources. We conclude that, except during winter cyclonic storms, lower free troposphere aerosol concentrations are modulated by synoptic meteorology, but the source material remains predominantly continental. These data refute an episodic characterization of transPacific transport and show that the aerosols in the lower free troposphere over the northeastern Pacific Ocean and western North America are dominated by continental outflow from Asia, with little or no marine influence and only weak North American contributions. These findings have important implications for projecting trends in North American air quality and for understanding the role of anthropogenic aerosols in modulating the radiant energy balance over North America.

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L.B.L.S. Lara(1); P. Artaxo(2); L.A. Martinelli(1); E.A. Holland(3); T. Pauliquevis(2); P.B. Camargo(1); V.P. Silveira(1);

(1)USP, CENA, Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura, Universidade de São Paulo, Av: Centenário 303, 13416-000, SP, Brazil, Brazil
(2)USP, IF, Instituto de Física, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão, Travessa R, 187, CEP 05508-900, São Paulo, S.P., Brazil, Brazil
(3)NCAR, ACD, Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO, USA 80307 , United States

The atmospheric deposition of chemical species within the Earth's ecosystems not only provides a natural sink but also acts as a source of nutrients and plays an essential role in controlling the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen. In the tropics, the intense land-use changes followed by rapid urbanization, associated with a large industrial expansion are possibly altering the atmospheric chemistry. Indeed, the acidification of precipitation and subsequent high N deposition rates has been taken place in disturbed regions in Brazil. In order to investigate the relationship between land cover and atmospheric chemistry we collected rainwater samples in different sites in Southern Brazil and in Amazon Basin. Land cover and land-use changes are probably responsible for the spatial variability found in precipitation chemistry. As a consequence of the anthropogenic activities significant rainfall acidity was detected (VWM pH = 4.5). The origin of the free acidity in rainwater is different in each site and come out to be linked to the land cover. Organic acids appear to control the acidity in remote areas while in other sites inorganic acidity has been detected. In addition, nitrogen deposition was significantly higher in the disturbed sites and DOC (Dissolved organic carbon) deposition was significantly lower in these sites. According to the Factor and Cluster Analyses, the composition of rainwater in the disturbed sites appears to be controlled mostly by two sources: biomass burning and industrial emissions, and in the remote areas by biogenic emissions and marine influence. If the anthropogenic activities continues to accelerate at the present rate, in a few years, significant regional biogeochemical cycles changes can be expected and, also alterations in the regional climate with possible global impacts.

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Chemical-looping combustion for the production of clean energy from methane and an oxygen carrier reaction
Sebastien Roux(1);

(1)UMR CNRS 6067 GPI UTC, Centre de Recherche de Royallieu COMPIEGNE 60200, France

Increasing amounts of CO2 released to the atmosphere can promote the natural greenhouse effect, and so affect the global climate. The use of chemical-looping combustion could be an option for reducing emissions of this greenhouse effect gas in atmosphere by using fossil fuels, as energy source, by separating and disposing CO2 from flue gas. In this process, metal oxide is used to transfer oxygen to fuel for its combustion and thus, the flue gas issued from the combustion is composed exclusively of CO2 and H2O, which could be separated without any energy lost, by condensation of water. The metal obtained from the combustion is regenerated in a second reactor using air, and recycled. In chemical-looping combustion, it is important that the metal oxide, which is used as an oxygen carrier, has a sufficient reduction and oxidation rate and should be enough strength to limit particle breakage ; it is also an advantage if the metal oxide is cheap and environmentally sound. In this study, a number of different metals and their corresponding oxides were tested and their feasibility was investigated. The kinetics study of oxidation and reduction of respectively the metals, using atmospheric air and metals oxide, using methane was realised in a fixed bed reactor. The performance of each reagent was evaluated and their reactivity was compared. The parameters obtained are closely related and could be used to design a chemical-looping combustion system based on two interconnected reactors.


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A.V. Polissar(1);

(1)New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science, Research and Technology, PO BOX 409, Trenton, NJ 08625-0409, United States

Analysis of aerosol chemical composition data from several National Park Serving sampling locations in the Eastern US was performed. The data has been analyzed by an advanced factor analysis method, three-way positive matrix factorization (PMF3), by pooling several data sets into one large three-way array. A variety of sources of aerosol have been identified. They were related to soil particles, sea salt, long range transported sulfate particles from coal combustion, aerosol from oil combustion, secondary sulfate aerosol, secondary organic carbon, elemental carbon, as well as particles with high loadings of nitrates, and Zn-Cu. Potential Source Contribution Function (PSCF) method was applied to identify possible source areas. It is concluded that emissions from different anthropogenic activities and the secondary aerosol production are the main sources of fine particles measured in the Eastern US. It was found that sulfate aerosol from coal combustion in the Midwestern United States account for more than 50% of annual average fine mass. The study indicated that the combination of the two receptor modeling methods, PMF3 and PSCF, provides an effective way in identifying possible aerosol sources and their likely locations.


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