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Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

dj245 Re: just put a motor on the elevator itself (225 comments)

No, you could use a conductive rail, like a subway, and rack and pinion system to move the elevator. The rack and rail would add a fair bit more total weight to the building compared to a cable. But more importantly, the motors would have to be much much more powerful! Modern elevator systems have a counter-weight balanced on the other side of that cable, which means the motor only has to overcome friction and the small difference in weight between the elevator and counterweight (which varies depending on current payload). The motor on an elevator like Noah is suggesting would have to provide enough force to counteract the entire weight of the elevator + payload + motor + friction, which is at least an order of magnitude more than a traditional elevator.

Let's not forget that rack and pinion elevator cars are significantly noisier, slower, and have much more vibration compared to traditional cable or hydraulic elevators. Rack and pinion is great for portable elevators but a poor choice for a short building, and an awful choice for a tall building.

2 hours ago

Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

dj245 Re:just put a motor on the elevator itself (225 comments)

i would do away with the motor at the top of the shaft, and instead electrify each individual elevator so it has motive power. seems like the best solution to me.

The only benefit to doing this is to eliminate the cable. That leaves you with rack and pinion drive as basically the only realistic* option for moving the car up and down. Rack and pinion elevator cars are slower, noisier, and have substantially more vibration than hydraulic or cable elevator cars.

*Another option is a pneumatic elevator, but those are even slower and less suited for tall buildings.

2 hours ago

Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

dj245 Re:Who eats doughnuts with the doughnut men? (439 comments)

I dunno how it is in america (or any other country for that matter) but where i live, speedometers in cars are required by law to over-report speeds by a small percentage.

I don't think the USA has such rules. The issue is most likely because the speedometer measures tire rotation with an assumed tire diameter. New tires will indicate close to the true speed, but as the tire wears down, it has to rotate more to travel the same difference, and therefore the reported speed will be higher than true speed.

Car manufacturers would get a lot of complaints if their speedometers were underreporting the speed, so they probably add a little margin to ensure that doesn't happen.


Young Cubans Set Up Mini-Internet

dj245 Re:Saddest line ever (140 comments)

When every article about a communist, pseudo-communist, or crypto-communist country has to have a post like this (and it's in every thread), it's time to start thinking about why and how all communist countries (save, perhaps, India) become totalitarian hell-holes, and whether communism as a pure ideology is too hopelessly broken to implement in reality. Not to mention that it seems to me that no Scottish communism on earth is True Scottish communism.

Western democracies are heading in that direction, but so far every country with a communist economic model has to start there.

Democracy (at least how the US practices it) have problems too. Just as 1 example, we have no mechanism for long-term planning with any teeth to "stick to the plan". When we pass budgets other laws/plans for the 5-10 year future, we have to put in "poison pills" or use other tricks to make them harder to reneg on. But that doesn't matter either because the politicians just repeal the poison pill part of the law the second it benefits their career.


Comcast Ghost-Writes Politician's Letters To Support Time Warner Mega-Merger

dj245 Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (178 comments)

We chastise China, Cuba, N. Korea etc. for not having democracies, but neither do we

Yes we do. Democracy doesn't mean we get the government we want, just the government we voted for. The people in congress were elected in free and fair elections.

I know, technically we were a "republic", not a "democracy"

I don't know where this idiotic meme, that a "republic is not a democracy" started, but repeating it doesn't make you look intelligent, it makes you look stupid. Please stop doing it.

I think part of the US's political problems is that there is absolutely no mechanism for long-term planning. Places like China (through its ironhanded 1-party system) and Saudi Arabia (through a monarchy) can make long-term plans and stick to them unless the situation changes. 5-year and 10-year programs are a lot more common in non-democracies. The US doesn't have any mechanism for this, so our governing is just reacting to problems and kicking the can down the road. Even if both parties agree to a plan which lasts longer than a year, they are free to (and almost always) change it just as soon as it is convenient or beneficial for their career to do so.

I think the US would benefit a lot if we had an additional branch of government which set broad long-term goals for the benefit of the country, and had sufficient power to make it happen. Checks and balances would need to be added. Companies which only look to the next quarter struggle in the long run, and Countries are no different.


Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

dj245 Re:Technical limitations (254 comments)

There are some technical reasons that the telecom monopoly lobbying groups REALLY don't want broadband to be defined at high speeds. It rules out a wide range of very cheap technologies which can be used to claim that they do provide broadband. At 25/3 you need to offer at least ADSL2+M (ADSL2 won't cut it), DOCSIS systems will be severely limited in the number of subscribers, GPRS is out (you need to move to HSPA) and so on. Setting a very low limit for what is broadband is a perfect way to polish the numbers and make it look like good service is provided at very reasonable prices. We have sold refurbished telecommunication equipment to the US, which was no longer considered competitive in the northern European market, but was state of the art for many parts of the US.

While it is certainly nice to have a place to unload old equipment I don't think it is in the best interest of the USA to play catch up on infrastructure just to help a few telcom companies to keep their profit margins high...

That raises the question- Where are the large router and telecom equipment manufacturers on this issue? Don't they have lobbyists too?

2 days ago

Bomb Threats Via Twitter Partly Shut Down Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport

dj245 Re:Other than the obligatory security theatre... (110 comments)

And to give the elyappearance of "doing something" in a situation where realistically, nothing can be done. It is very important for governments to always give the appearance to be in control and that they know what they are doing, even when any halfway smart person knows neither is true most of the time.

If the bomb was a time bomb. If it happened to be triggered remotely, why not bring assets into play that might be able to block such signals? Since we don't know the bomb characteristics, or even if these is a bomb, it is a safe move to play. And fighter jets can almost certainly get on station quicker than an AWAC type plame.

3 days ago

At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far

dj245 Re:Bullshit (210 comments)

From The Fucking Article

"You'd think it'd be annoying as hell for a bell to be going off, constantly, for 175 years—but the voltage left in the battery is so low that the human ear can't actually hear the ringing. Instead, the clapper oscillates back and forth between the bell constantly, which you can see happening in this video. At this point, the experiment is more of a curiosity than anything—Croft says that the battery pulls 1 nanoAmp each time it oscillates between the bell’s sides, which is an exceedingly low amount of energy."

1 nanoamp is so tiny that it may be being recharged from the environment somehow.

4 days ago

Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

dj245 Re:Why lay fiber at all when you can gouge wireles (199 comments)

That is in fact exactly what the article says. While the profit margin on FiOS is apparently 4.4%, the wireless side had a 23.5% profit margin. While those numbers are heavily encrusted with bullshit, they do show the relative value of the technologies to Verizon.

This will bite them in the ass eventually, if not sooner. Verizon refuses to be price and feature compeditive on wireless. They are coming under pressure from increased wireless competition. The duopoly between Verizon and AT&T isn't such a duopoly anymore- there are lots of wireless players.

I have heard very few complaints from people about the fiber service aside from "it isn't available in my area". It is a lot easier to maintain a monopoly on fiber lines compared to wireless.

4 days ago

New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

dj245 Re:Required vaccine? (178 comments)

Your thought process is scary at a minimum. It does give some insight into how horrible ideas take root once you demonize something/someone though.

Like countries? Cuba, Iran, and the DPRK (North Korea) have been demonized a lot. None of those countries are going to fly away to another planet and conquering them militarily is just as unlikely. Waiting for them to change is just as pointless as waiting for a spouse to change. Diplomacy is the only option, but when it comes time to open up a dialog and fix relations, there is a never-ending parade of assholes who do everything they can to sabatoge the process. It isn't their fault though, they have been indoctrinated since birth by the media to hate XYZ country, and they lack the capacity to accept any solution less than "bombing the motherfuckers".

4 days ago

New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

dj245 Re:Why would you want this? (178 comments)

Then it turns out that nicotine use was self-medication and now you can't use any of a new class of drugs being developed that are all based on nicotine. OOPS

Nicotine has been far too politicized. It is practically impossible to find proper research. Most of it conflates smoking and nicotine use. Most of the really nasty effects of smoking are from the many other things in cigarettes, not the nicotine. There is evidence that that includes much of the the addiction. Practically everyone who has switched to e-cigarettes has noticed this. Even though the e-cig is giving you as much or even more nicotine than the cigarette, it somehow doesn't get rid of all the craving at first. There is a definite 3 day to two week period before the user is comfortably on the e-cig. A while after that, most users find that they want the e-cig but not in the urgent way they used to crave a smoke break. Many, if not most, choose to reduce the nicotine level in their ecig even if their intent was never to quit nicotine.

A leading theory is that the harmaline (an MAO inhibitor) found in cigarette smoke is responsible. It potentiates the addictive effect.

Once the tar, particulates, carbon monoxide, and most of the nitrosamines are eliminated from the delivery mechanism, nicotine use is much more benign and for some people, even beneficial.

All of this would be much better known if nicotine wasn't such a political bogeyman.

Some of the nasty products of combustion may be contributing also. Vaporizing marijuana has a very different compared to smoking (burning) it. When marijuana is burned, Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene and naphthalene are produced. Some of these (or a combination thereof) contribute highly to the "couch lock" effect, which different users either prefer or dislike. When you vaporize marijuana, these compounds are not produced- a "couch lock" state is substantially more difficult to achieve with vaporizing marijuana, and therefore the effects of vaporizing/smoking marijuana are markedly different.

I am not a tobacco user myself but it could be that many of the tobacco combustion products contribute to the pleasure of smoking tobacco.

4 days ago

Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10

dj245 Re:Translation: (158 comments)

Actually it was announced a few weeks back (sorry I can't find the article, maybe somebody with better Google Fu?) that Intel was stopping the Intel Atom subsidy because they were taking a bath on the things and their tablets just weren't moving. The simple fact is Intel faces the same problem Apple had with PPC on the desktop, so much of the code is written for Android ARM and too few are willing to port to X86 ARM that they just couldn't get any traction.

With Intel no longer dumping product in the channel I have a feeling sub 12 inch X86 tablets are gonna go the way of the 8 track, all you'll get is 12 inch convertibles. This is fine by me, the fact that so many 7 and 10 inch tablets still come with only 512Mb of RAM is retarded but the key is gonna be getting a decent Windows 10-12 inch convertible at a price point to really compete against the low end tablets, say $100-$150 with $100 being a Win 10 Atom dual with 2GB of RAM and $150 being the quad 2GB?

I think the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10" is pretty compelling. There are Android (x86) and Windows 8.1 models. The Android one is $249 with a 16GB of storage and no keyboard, and the Windows one is $369 with 32GB of space and a detachable bluetooth keyboard. All the other hardware is the same between the two models- 10.1" IPS touchscreen at 1920x1200, 2GB of RAM, MicroSD slot accepting XDSC cards, and dual-band 802.11abgn.

I wanted a tablet with a high-resolution screen, 5GHz networking (2.4Ghz is completely saturated in my apartment), a proper multitasking OS, and a small form factor because I travel frequently for business. The Windows version is pretty much the perfect device for my needs. I prefer Android for phones but for a general-computing device, it isn't for me. Will something like this ever get near $100-150? I won't say it will never happen but there is a definite line between "toy" tablets with low-resolution screens, limited RAM, and poor battery life, and something that people would actually want to use on a daily basis. Despite the availability of very cheap tablets in recent years, the line between "toy" and "actually OK to use" hasn't shown any sign of getting less than $200-$250.

I really hope 8 and 10" x86 tablets stick around, because they are the perfect size for using on a plane, on the couch, or in bed. 12" is too large and heavy for my uses.

4 days ago

Steam Broadcasting Now Open To Everyone

dj245 Re:Pointless (93 comments)

what OS cant run chrome???

With each new release, my low-powered devices get even more sluggish with Chrome. My Lenovo Tablet 10 is a speedy little tablet- everything on the tablet is fast. Except when I open up more than 4 or 5 tabs in Chrome. The memory usage and high CPU usage (when idle / not loading pages) is getting completely out of hand.

I have 4 tabs open right now -Random webpage 38mb ram, Gmail 147mb ram, Facebook 112mb ram, this window 135mb ram. Add the "GPU Process" at 195MB ram, and the "browser process" at 177MB ram, and we're up to 804MB of ram. That doesn't include any extensions. That seems ridiculous for a web browser with 4 tabs open.

about a week ago

Steam Broadcasting Now Open To Everyone

dj245 Re:Great! How do I disable it (93 comments)

...I dont understand why people would want to watch people play a game. that to me is the definition of lazy. because you have got to be seriously lazy if you cant be bothered to pick up a controller to play and instead sit around watching people play.

I have 2 kids. You can't "watch the kids" and play a video game (the types I enjoy playing anyway) effectively at the same time. One or the other is going to suffer. Watching someone play a videogame is not a substitute for playing myself but it passes the time while the kids watch Frozen (again). Playing video games really needs 95% of my attention. If I had 80% of my attention available, I would watch a TV show or Movie. Watching others play video games is a background media, something to do when I can only devote 30-50% of my attention to leisure.

about a week ago

Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

dj245 Re:Why not self-insure? (238 comments)

An insurance company can cover the eight figure payout to the 6 year old kid you ran over and left with life long and life altering problems. Can your retirement account cover that?

That's why insurance is a big thing - you can probably cover a couple of hundred thousand dollars if you really need to, but its when you can't cover it that having a big backer counts.

I see market potential for a hybrid auto insurance plan. The little accidents could be handled by a sort of trust account of $10k or so. Combine that with liability insurance with a $10k deductible and an insurer could offer *very* low rates. Maybe if the insurer was collecting the interest/dividends on the trust account, it is possible they wouldn't need to charge rates at all.

about a week ago

Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

dj245 Re:Commission (238 comments)

So commissions are $50/$481 = about 10%. In other words, a fairly minor factor; you can usually save that by switching companies. Sure, it would be nice to chop 10% off your bill; but that is hardly a "major disruption". Even a caveman can chop 15% off your bill; who needs technology?

Most major carriers are moving towards online services already. If Google enters the market, their efforts can quickly be matched, leaving no net advantage for Google.

The bigger savings will be by more accurately calculating the risk. Insurance rates (should be) based on the risk. The more accurately the risk can be calculated on an individual basis, the less tolerance needs to be added to account for an incorrect calculation. And with big data, more information = more accurate predictions in general. Insurance companies have access to a large amount of data, but Google probably has bigger datasets. I am also sure there are a great many insurance companies which are lazy and not calculating the risk as accurately as might be possible.

about a week ago

Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

dj245 Re:Hacking the insurance dongle (238 comments)

What stupid fuck would use an OBD2 dongle?!

According to TFA, Progressive says, "We are confident in the performance of our Snapshot device – use in more than two million vehicles since 2008"

And I have confidence that it was made in China by the lowest bidder. I had about a half-dozen "dead car battery" incidents during the several months that my car had their Snapshot device installed. After I sent the device back, the problems disappeared. I am not the only one to have a problem with the device draining my battery. Many people had more serious problems.

about a week ago

Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

dj245 Re:"and they may be bought for their assets." (314 comments)

Sucks to not have a Fry's in easy driving range.

It's not like RS had a decent selection of components anyhow.

Fry's has gone downhill a lot too. I am reminded of Best Buy whenever I go in there, and dislike going unless it is an emergency.

about two weeks ago

Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug Or a Feature?

dj245 Re:Does anyone care about SimCity2013? (393 comments)

I don't play the game, but what you describe is pretty much what happens in the real world. Especially the road part.

Might make a lousy game, but it looks like a pretty good City Simulation to me from what you describe.

But Real World City Planner isn't a fun game. It's a job with stacks of paperwork and dealing with lawyers, accountants, etc. People want to play Authoritarian City Planner.

about two weeks ago

South Africa Begins Ambitious Tablets In Schools Pilot Project

dj245 Re:everytime this is tired (66 comments)

Of course, that would only work in a sane country. In the United States, we make our teachers get Master's degrees, whereby they pay thoughtful attention to different learning methods and how to make things click for different students who exhibit different types of understanding. Then we take those freshly minted grads, passionate about reaching young minds, and hand them Common Core and every other state-mandated curriculum and force them to recite from the book like robots.

We want kids to have quality educations. Implementing standards and then following them is the cornerstone of even the most basic quality program. Having a good quality control system doesn't guarantee the result will be good. However, NOT having a standardized system of maintaining quality standards means that it is a lot more difficult to have a consistent good result.

There are very few white-collar professions where a person uses their entire 4-year university experiences every single day. As an engineer, I certainly don't need differential equations, integrals, or high-level geometry often, if at all. In fact, a majority of what I learned is of little practical use in my career. It was taught so that I might "be aware" of the topic in case I ever came across something like it. I'm not sure why you think Teachers would be any different. A 4-year degree is not job training. It's an education. There is, and should be, a difference.

about two weeks ago


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