top Paper Microscope Magnifies Objects 2100 Times and Costs Less Than $1
Use a penlite instead with much more capacity for 1/20 the price.
top The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't
If engineers were left to design a parking app, they'd make it work for all forms of paid parking in at least one country. Instead, we're saddled with a fragmented market.
top Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients
Taking homeopathy to its logical conclusion: plain ordinary tap water contains homeopathic concentrations of every substance known to man. Ergo: water should cure everything!
top Under Revised Quake Estimates, Dozens of Nuclear Reactors Face Problems
Yes, this would make things simpler. The
French have done this (PDF link), using one standard reactor design wherever possible. IIRC the American method was to use some standard components, but allow the architect responsible for the plant to make lots of changes (e.g. the piping between the standard components is different at each plant).
top Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?
Left foot braking was pioneered by Walter Rohl driving the turbocharged Audi rally cars. It's pointless in non-turbocharged cars, and completely pointless in an electric car.
In a front-wheel-drive car, left-foot braking can help stabilize the rear: you get a net braking force on the rear axle, and some drive to the front.
top How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370
It's entirely possible the plane wasn't tracked the entire time, but the crash was heard by a US submarine operating in the area. Loud noises would have made it clear that survivors weren't likely. I can see why they decided not to reveal sensitive information in those circumstances.
top Mars Rover Opportunity Faces New Threat: Budget Ax
The big-ticket item is probably communications They need one of the DSN antennas: huge dishes that there are never enough of. Ending the Curiosity mission makes room for a new mission without having to build a new 34-meter dish antenna.
top NASA Forgets How To Talk To ICE/ISEE-3 Spacecraft
What's missing is a
filter in the receiver circuits. You've got a transmitter and a receiver connected to the same antenna. When you're using the (powerful) transmitter, you need to make sure its signals don't end up in the (very sensitive) receiver and fry it. This filter has to provide something like 150 dB of isolation. about a month and a half ago
top The Rescue Plan That Could Have Saved Space Shuttle
The Russians would have had to launch 3 or 4 (if an unmanned Soyuz launch is impossible) Soyuz within 30 days. This assumes they had 3-4 Soyuz rockets lying around at the launch site, finished and ready-to-launch.
Using a Proton wouldn't be feasible; it's never been used to launch Soyuz capsules so they'd have to manufacture a payload adapter. The Soyuz could only be launched unmanned if its software were able to do automated rendezvous and stationkeeping, AND if its airlock were able to be opened from the outside. The same constraints apply that TFA talked about: preparing 1-3 missions at a hugely compressed time schedule. You also have the additional problem of having 4-5 spaceships flying in close formation, each in a slightly different orbit. That's a bad enough problem with 2 ships, but with 4-5 you need all of them to be manned to avoid collisions and blasting EVA crew with rocket exhaust.
top Astronomers Catch Asteroid Striking Moon On Video
there would have been a loud 'kaboom'
Almost, grasshopper. There would have been an
top European Space Agency Picks Plato Planet-hunting Mission
It's an ESA project, for political reasons this will use an ESA launcher. They added a Soyuz launchpad to the Kourou spaceport a few years ago to expand their launcher portfolio on the low end.
top I'd prefer military fiction books that are ...
I enjoyed the Cold War thrillers (both military and espionage) that were popular in the '80s and '90s. Military fiction these days seems to be mostly focused on terrorism, which makes for boring adversaries (rabid dogs that need to be put down versus an intelligent, wily, and rational enemy).
top First Global Map Outside the Solar System
Still, congratulations. It's amazing that we've gone from stars visible only as a single pixel to being able to detect surface features.
top How loud is your primary computer?
On my Macbook, the fans spin up to audible levels when CPU usage hits 100%. That rarely happens in normal use, so when the fans start howling it's usually because some process hangs (I'm looking at you, Quicklook Helper!).
top You Might Rent Features & Options On Cars In the Future
For several years now, VAG has been building cars where some of the options can be added by tweaking settings in the car's computer system, or by adding a few inexpensive components. I can add an alarm to mine just by plugging a horn and a couple of sensors into the car's network. Similarly, the wiring for heated mirrors is installed by default even if the option is not checked by the initial customer, I replaced the standard mirror glasses with heated ones and was good to go. $50 and 10 minutes to enable a $200 option. Lists of available options circulate on the internet.
top Ask Slashdot: It's 2014 -- Which New Technologies Should I Learn?
Antigravity, nuclear fusion, holodeck.
top Comet-Chasing Probe Wakes Up On Monday
I was following the
webcast, a few minutes ago they received the signal from Rosetta, so the wakeup has succeeded, if a bit behind schedule.
(unfortunately I can't see a way to rewind, so you'll have to wait for the video to become available on the archive section of the webcast page)
top Comet-Chasing Probe Wakes Up On Monday
I remember staying up late to watch Giotto's close approach to Halley. That we're now planning to *land* on a comet, is very impressive.
top Telescope Designer and Astronomer John Dobson, 1915-2014
Sounds like a fun place to visit. Where is this?
top Adobe Adds 3D Printer Support To Photoshop
How did they incorporate 3D modelling, which mostly uses 3D vector-based drawing, into a 2.5D pixel-based application?
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