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Two Elements Added To Periodic Table

hcdejong In Soviet Russia (138 comments)

elements name YOU!

more than 3 years ago
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The Rules of Thumb For Tech Purchasing

hcdejong TV size vs. refresh rate (401 comments)

I find this statement to be true more for computer monitors than for television screens. Too many people end up with TV screens so large that the individual pixels become annoyingly visible. HD mitigates this, but most channels still use SD.

Pick a TV screen size that's appropriate for your viewing distance, instead of the bigger == better fallacy.

more than 3 years ago
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Glove Emulates Musical Instruments

hcdejong Re:Uhh, no (82 comments)

And it requires speakers.

That would be an advantage in some cases (e.g. practicing in a non-soundproof room in an apartment building). Finally, a brass instrument that can be played quietly if so desired.

more than 3 years ago
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NASA Gravity Probe Confirms Two Einstein Predictions

hcdejong Re:NASA and the USA (139 comments)

Whoa there. There was no bashing going on in my comment.

GP said "...the massive foresight it must have taken at launch time to make them relevant decades later". I thought GP was referring to Gravity Probe B. GP was launched 7 years ago, not decades. Its equipment was developed specifically for this mission. Development took a long time, but the ultimate goal was always clear, in other words Gravity Probe B's results are due to proper planning. Not 'foresight'.

Foresight is defined as "The ability to predict ... what will happen or be needed in the future". In this context, I assumed that GP meant 'a probe was launched decades ago with some instruments on board that we, decades later, figured out to be useful for confirming Einstein's predictions'.

more than 3 years ago
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NASA Gravity Probe Confirms Two Einstein Predictions

hcdejong Re:NASA and the USA (139 comments)

the massive foresight it must have taken at launch time to make them relevant decades later,

The satellite we're talking about here was launched in 2004. The project ran for much longer, that time was spent developing the technology. FTFA:

Decades of research and testing led to groundbreaking technologies to control environmental disturbances that could affect the spacecraft, such as aerodynamic drag, magnetic fields and thermal variations. Furthermore, the mission's star tracker and gyroscopes were the most precise ever designed and produced.

Very impressive research, yes. 'Massive foresight', not so much.

more than 3 years ago
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If You're Going To Kill It, Open Source It

hcdejong Re:AIBO is dead? (245 comments)

Beta vs VHS -> Sony collected royalties for over two decades on Beta in the form of Betacam recording and the professional TV industry (where image quality did in fact matter more).

The only thing Betacam and Betamax have in common is the physical tape cassette. Betacam ran at ~6x the speed of Betamax and used a different recording format to achieve much higher quality.

DAT vs standard audiotape vs CD Audio -> DAT was actually very popular in Europe and Asia for a good while. Licensing restrictions and "piracy worries" kept it mostly out of the US thanks to the MafiAA.

DAT was popular in the professional audio industry as it was the first relatively affordable digital recording medium. Still, the technology used meant it was much more expensive initially than the analogue cassettes it replaced. The digital copy protection imposed by the *AA was an issue in Europe as much as the USA. Lack of sales volume kept the price high.

more than 3 years ago
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Robots Enter Fukushima Reactor Building

hcdejong Trivia (244 comments)

After the Chernobyl accident, the team that had created the Lunokhod rovers was asked to build remote-controlled vehicles (RCV) to help clean up. The RCV's first task was to remove reactor debris (chunks of graphite from the core) from a roof, by pushing it off the edge of the roof. The RCVs worked well; eventually though they failed due to the radiation. This despite them being rad-hardened, as the original Lunokhods had been powered by an RTG.

more than 3 years ago
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I prefer to listen to recorded media via ...

hcdejong Re:Need bass (344 comments)

Bolt a bass driver directly to your chair.

more than 3 years ago
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30 Years To Clean Up Fukushima Dai-Ichi

hcdejong Re:I'm assuming... (342 comments)

I wonder if it would be feasible to use one of the intact reactors on the site (unit 5 or 6) to boil the water.

more than 3 years ago
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XBMC Gets a Dedicated Remote

hcdejong Meh (87 comments)

And another remote that tries to confine a computer UI into the classic TV remote. Granted, adding the keyboard is a nice touch, but it's still too limited.

I've been using a mediacenter computer for a few years now. The remote control solution I use:
- keyboard
- mouse
- Griffin Powermate

1. a mouse makes for a much better pointing device than a four-way button
2. the keyboard and VLC's configurability gives me dedicated buttons for VLC's functions, like very short jump/short jump/medium jump/long jump; crop/aspect ratio; subtitles. Much better than the buttons on this remote which are straight copies from a VCR UI.
3. the best way to control volume is a rotary knob. The Powermate is ideal for this. I never want to go back to the incredibly annoying +/- buttons on a remote.

more than 3 years ago
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Convicted Terrorist Relied On Single-Letter Cipher

hcdejong was it a good idea to publish this? (254 comments)

Usually, transparency is a good thing. In this case though, wouldn't the smart play have been to let sleeping dogs lie? Karim can't have been the only terrorist to rely on breakable encryption.

more than 3 years ago
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Discovery Heads Into Retirement

hcdejong Re:Hope for Smithsonian (129 comments)

That's incorrect. The Buran program included a number of airframes. One of them, OK-GLI, was an atmospheric test bed. It featured four jet engines so it could take off under its own power. It was used to test the glide characteristics of the airframe.
OK-GLI is now on display in Speyer.
Maybe your confusion stems from the fact that both the program and the first shuttle in that program to be used for an orbital flight (OK-1K1) were named Buran.

more than 3 years ago
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Discovery Heads Into Retirement

hcdejong Re:Hope for Smithsonian (129 comments)

If a Shuttle comes to Europe, I'd argue it should go to the Technical Museum in Speyer, D. They already have a Buran (the atmospheric test bed).

more than 3 years ago
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University Switches To DC Workstations

hcdejong Re:DC-DC conversion? (468 comments)

Agreed. If that's your goal, you could prepare an extension cord with appropriately-sized alligator clips [1], so you could hook it up to any car battery directly. You'll need to keep a roll of duct tape around so you can insulate the clips once you've attached them.

1: e.g. the ones found on jump leads.

more than 3 years ago
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University Switches To DC Workstations

hcdejong Re:DC-DC conversion? (468 comments)

The only drawback of that set is that it's unfused. That's necessary for jumpstarting, but for powering something else it's better to have a fuse in there, preferably as near the battery as possible.

more than 3 years ago
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University Switches To DC Workstations

hcdejong Re:DC-DC conversion? (468 comments)

Unfortunately my entire plant draws just a little too much for the cigarette lighter plug, probably 15 amps total. If I could invest in new phones / new servers / etc and ...

Your car can easily supply 15A. It's just the crappy cigarette lighter plug that can't handle that load. It's pretty simple to add a custom power socket to your car though.

If you do this, do get some heavy-gauge wiring to run from the car to your servers. At 12V, wiring losses add up, and cabling can get pretty warm if it's not thick enough. .

more than 3 years ago
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System Measures Stress In Emergency Callers' Voice

hcdejong Overload is due to pranksters (238 comments)

ISTR that 90% of emergency calls are not emergencies but pranks and non-emergency police/firebrigade/ambulance business. That's what this is designed to cut down on.

more than 3 years ago
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A New Class of Nuclear Reactors

hcdejong Re:Dumb question... (560 comments)

In additions to the reasons already mentioned, keeping a big, heavy turbine running at 50/60 Hz in an earthquake is likely to (violently) destroy the turbine.
So you need to stop the turbine, which means you've got to stop producing steam. In case of a BWR, the steam is radioactive so you can't vent it so you have to scram the reactor.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Falcon 9 launched

hcdejong hcdejong writes  |  more than 4 years ago

hcdejong writes "At 18:56 UTC, the first SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket achieved orbit insertion after a successful launch. Earlier today, there were some hiccups: the launch was aborted at T-0:00 (around 17:30 UTC) due to an out-of-limit startup parameter."
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Open-plan offices bad for your health

hcdejong hcdejong writes  |  more than 5 years ago

hcdejong writes "Australian researchers have found evidence that working in an open plan office could be a health hazard. Dr. Vinesh Oommen from Queensland's University of Technology and colleagues conducted a large-scale review on existing research regarding open-plan offices and how they affect employees. From the abstract:

Research evidence shows that employees face a multitude of problems such as the loss of privacy, loss of identity, low work productivity, various health issues, overstimulation and low job satisfaction when working in an open plan work environment. Conclusion: Managers need to have a better understanding of open plan work environments before embracing such workplace designs. A multidisciplinary approach is recommended when decisions are being made in relation to which type of environment is better suited to the requirements of their employees as this has an impact on workforce productivity and job satisfaction.

"
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Revolution in electric motors for EVs?

hcdejong hcdejong writes  |  more than 6 years ago

hcdejong writes "Dutch R&D company FRIEND claims they have made a quantum leap in electric motors for e.g. hybrid vehicles. Their motor develops 37 kW at an efficiency of 95%. More interesting is its weight, only 15 kg. The large electric motor from a Prius (MG2) develops 50 kW and weighs 45 kg.

Friend also claim their motor is easier/cheaper to produce and recycle than other motors, they say a hybrid using this motor can be produced for only 6000 more than the petrol car it's derived from.

The inventor, Frits van Breemen-Schneider, has a background in radio-controlled toys, an industry that has seen a lot of innovation in light-weight, high-power electric motors."

Link to Original Source
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Dutch commission deals blow to electronic voting

hcdejong hcdejong writes  |  more than 7 years ago

hcdejong writes "The Dutch commission that has been investigating the electoral process presented its final report yesterday (Dutch only). The conclusions and recommendations are devastating to the current Dutch practice of voting electronically, and to plans for voting via the internet.

Paraphrasing from the report:
  • the current electronic voting machines do not comply with the basic requirements of an election (e.g. transparency, controllability, integrity).
  • the paper ballot still offers the best way to comply with these basic requirements.
  • the commission recommends using an electronic system to generate the paper ballot. The voter must be allowed to check the ballot before it is deposited in a locked box.
  • votes can be counted electronically (by scanning the paper ballots), with the option of a manual recount.

The deputy minister for the interior Bijleveld said in an initial response (Dutch only) that she would revoke the certification of the current generation of electronic voting machines. The minister plans to present an official Cabinet position on the electoral process in two months.
The next elections (for the European Parliament, 2009) may see a return to paper ballots."
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Study suggests electrosensitivity is psychological

hcdejong hcdejong writes  |  more than 7 years ago

hcdejong writes "The BBC reports on a recent study into the short-term health effects of electromagnetic radiation from e.g. cell phone towers.

The study conducted double-blind tests and concluded: " Short-term exposure to a typical GSM base station-like signal did not affect well-being or physiological functions in sensitive or control individuals. Sensitive individuals reported elevated levels of arousal when exposed to a UMTS signal. Further analysis, however, indicated that this difference was likely to be due to the effect of order of exposure rather than the exposure itself. "

During these tests, the people who claim to be electrosensitive were unable to distinguish between signal on/off. But when they thought the signal was on they reported more distress. They also had measurably sweatier skin and higher blood pressure, suggesting the problem has a psychological basis.

The study was funded by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research programme, a body which is itself funded by industry and government."

Link to Original Source
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hcdejong hcdejong writes  |  more than 7 years ago

hcdejong writes "Dutch research organisation TNO has developed a desalinisation technique that at last, promises to be inexpensive enough to be used on a large scale.

The process is called Memstill (a contraction of Membrane and deStillation). Salt water is run through a condensor, on which water vapour condenses. Energy from the vapour is transferred to the salt water, which warms up. More energy is then added from an external heat source, making the salt water warm enough for evaporation. In a membrane array, the evaporation escapes through a membrane that allows the vapour to pass through, but which stops liquid water. The vapour ends up at the condensor.

The external heat source can be just about anything. The required temperature is only 50-100 C, which means that e.g. cooling water from an industrial plant can be used. Solar heating also works.

Thanks to this 'free' heat, TNO estimates that a production plant will be able to make freshwater for only $ 0.30-0.40 per cubic metre, lower than any other desalinisation technique, see this PDF for a comparison. The current price for potable water is about 1.50 Euro/cubic metre in the Netherlands.

Memstill is currently in use in a few pilot projects."
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hcdejong hcdejong writes  |  about 8 years ago

hcdejong writes "Yesterday, the Dutch government announced that use of the SDU NewVote voting computer will not be allowed in the upcoming general election. The NewVote is one of two voting machines in use in the Netherlands, with a market share of about 10%. The NewVote contains a Windows PC with a touch screen. The AIVD (Dutch secret service) found they could read the signals broadcast by the NewVote from dozens of meters away, and determine which candidate was being voted for.

The machines built by competitor Nedap also broadcast readable signals, as shown by We don't trust voting computers. These have a shorter range (less than 10m). Nedap is working to reduce these emissions, and to remove any readable information from them. These modifications will be tested again before the election.

According to the letter (warning, PDF) written by minister Nicolai, there have been two investigations: one by the AIVD into reading votes remotely, and one by research lab TNO into hacking the machines themselves (changing the software etc.).

For the election, the machines will be sealed more thoroughly than before, and EPROMs will be replaced with ROMs. After the election, several hundred machines will be tested."

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