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How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

hackertourist Re:FUD alert (212 comments)

Depends on where you live. Over here (.nl) most water towers have been decommissioned by now, so water pressure does rely on electricity these days.

4 days ago
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SpaceX Releases Video of Falcon Rocket's Splashdown

hackertourist Re:I wonder how long it would've taken NASA? (49 comments)

(28 engines? What is the current record holder?)

Off the top of my head, SpaceX already holds the record with 9 engines on a single stage. There have been stages with 8 engines (Saturn 1B?). The Soviets tried 30 engines on the N-1, but that failed 4 times in 4 attempts. There's been a Delta variant with 8 boosters clustered around the first stage. If you count engines with multiple nozzles, the number goes up (5x4 nozzles on the Soyuz, but that's only 5 engines).

about a week ago
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Firefox 31 Released

hackertourist Re:GUI (172 comments)

The one thing Classic Theme restorer can't do is set the tab size to small values. I use the Custom Tab Width extension with a minimum tab width of 20 px; Australis' stupid tab redesign ensures that widths below ~50px are unusable.

about a week ago
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Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

hackertourist I don't see the problem (106 comments)

What do you mean, 'creepy'? This is a function that automatically switches on existing systems (adaptive cruise control, lanekeeping). As ever, any action you take manually will override this.
My grandfather died in a crash because he fell asleep (or fainted, we never found out definitively) at the wheel. Had this existed 50 years ago, I might have been able to meet him.

about two weeks ago
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Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance

hackertourist Re:That said... (60 comments)

Some EVs also let you limit the max that your pack charges up to to further extend lifespan (it's usually destructive both to use the very top end and the bottom end of the discharge range).

I wish I could get my laptop to do that. It spends most of its time in a dock anyway, endlessly cycling between 100% and 95% of capacity, eating up the limited number of charge cycles to no benefit.

about three weeks ago
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My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

hackertourist Re:Incandescent will be best for the environment. (278 comments)

You forget to account for the energy storage, as you won't be using much lighting while the sun shines. And the extra air con load, depending on your local climate.

about three weeks ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

hackertourist I can see why (468 comments)

Cockpit windows in airliners are tiny. You have maybe 20 cm of clearance between the control panels below and above the cockpit windows, so you have a very limited field of view.

This Airbus proposal isn't the first windowless cockpit, by the way.
British Aerospace proposed the P.125 VTOL fighter which had the pilot sitting in a windowless cockpit buried in the fuselage.
And Charles Lindbergh had no front view on his Atlantic flight: he had to rely on a periscope and his side windows.

about three weeks ago
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Cassini's Space Odyssey To Saturn

hackertourist Re:Flagship Missions (45 comments)

Pioneer 10 and 11 predate the "Flagship" moniker. They also weren't really flagships: they had a limited science package and were designed for low cost, their mission was to see what circumstances the Voyagers would encounter and determine the feasibility of the Voyager mission.

I don't mean to disparage the achievements of Pioneer 10 and 11, by the way. It's just that NASA attaches a specific meaning to "Flagship" and the Pioneers didn't fit that bill.

about three weeks ago
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Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

hackertourist Re:Shared space (579 comments)

I've seen some of those schemes. They work for small areas where the road is designed to slow everybody to a crawl. On main arteries, not so much.

about a month ago
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YouTube Introduces 60fps Video Support

hackertourist How about fixing the site first? (157 comments)

When I open youtube.com or do a search, Firefox hangs for 90 seconds while loading the page. When playing a video, moving the playback point usually results in a black screen. Playback stutters way too often.

about a month ago
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Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

hackertourist Re:Nice to see. (216 comments)

We will run out of fossil fuels eventually. The cost of transportation is going to rise dramatically when that happens.
Any new technology we develop doesn't have to be competitive today, it has to be viable in a post-oil world. This isn't about ivory towers, this is about taking the long view.

about a month ago
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Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

hackertourist Re:Nice to see. (216 comments)

Agreed, current sources of hydrogen suck. But if we use solar and wind power to drive the electrolysis plant, we could solve two problems at once:
- variability of wind and solar vs. grid demand: hydrogen is storable enough that you could produce it when the grid has an excess of available power.
- transportation that doesn't depend on fossil fuels.

about a month ago
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Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts

hackertourist Re:Latin unification too (108 comments)

I imagine Dutch people get it too.

I'm Dutch. I've seen the y-dieresis just about 0 times. The ij ligature is very rare as well. Everyone just uses the non-ligatured ij (i.e. two characters).

about a month and a half ago
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How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

hackertourist Re:So that you don't have to RTFA (286 comments)

Fire departments don't give a damn about liability, if the number of pictures of cars with fire hoses threaded right through them is any indication.

about 2 months ago
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Which desktop environment do you like the best?

hackertourist Re:Windows (611 comments)

That may be true for Internet Explorer, but I was talking about Windows Explorer.

about 2 months ago
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4K Displays Ready For Prime Time

hackertourist Re:Where's The Content? (207 comments)

Who cares about content? The good news is that finally display makers are getting off their collective asses and producing computer displays at higher resolutions than 1920x1200.

about a month ago
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Ford's Bringing Adaptive Steering To the Masses

hackertourist Re:Ghost in the machine (128 comments)

Depends on the implementation. BMW, for instance, uses a planetary gear set connected to the steering wheel, the rack and an electric motor. If the motor or the adaptive steering logic fails, the motor is locked and you get an ordinary constant-ratio steering system.
Checking whether the steering output matches the input would take care of your scenario.

about a month ago
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Which desktop environment do you like the best?

hackertourist Re:Windows (611 comments)

Windows Explorer has lost the Favorites menu. Also, new Explorer windows open, then scroll the navigation pane so that the Favorites list is out of view, making Favorites monumentally annoying to use.
The scroll-the-navigation-pane nonsense also means that when you open a new Explorer window, you have to wait for the navigation pane to finish expanding before you can start selecting what you need; in my case, invariably either a Favorites item or a network drive, both of which have been scrolled out of sight thanks to the expansion of the useless {username} folder hierarchy.

about 2 months ago
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The World's Worst Planes: Aircraft Designs That Failed

hackertourist Re:Stupid (209 comments)

Large engine diameters only became available two decades later (high-bypass engines like the RB.211). DH used what was available at the time.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Power grid demand matching using flywheels

hackertourist hackertourist writes  |  more than 3 years ago

hackertourist writes "A novel type of electricity storage was recently added to the New York power grid. The unit, supplied by Beacon Power uses flywheels to store energy. The unit is intended to replace gas turbines in supplying short-term peaks in power demand (also known as frequency regulation). It can supply up to 20 MW, using 200 flywheels."
Link to Original Source

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