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First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

iamweasel Re:video of the road (187 comments)

I do live in a place where black ice occurs frequently. I also think most people driving around here are aware of the temperature and, with any experience, the driving conditions in that weather.

There are of course places where black ice occurs far more frequently that elsewhere, and yes, maybe in those places paint on the road surface could be more noticeable than a simple warning sign.

There was a corner near where my parent's live, which would form black ice very regularly. I would shout "black ice!" to people approaching by bike / motorbike when going to school, but almost everyone not aware of the tendency on that curve would wipe out anyway. Cars would skid until they found traction. A dangerous place to be walking around at times of the year.

For this to be (cost-)effective the places where black ice forms regularly would need to be recognized, cataloged and then painted on a regular schedule. Should this happen, then maybe this could be workable. Too many places with paint and it would offer no benefit since it would just be ignored, and most of the time a better solution would be to renovate those places such that black ice shouldn't form there anyway. As the paint was depicted in the article, as a continuous sea of snowflakes, it would only serve as a distraction making the road surface "too busy", possibly just distracting enough that you wouldn't notice something you really should have (like a kid walking to school.)

Freezing rain as a cause for black ice causes it to be everywhere and I think anyone traveling on a continuous sheet of ice is pretty much aware of it.

There might be a point for a application of the paint in some places where you cannot engineer black ice from forming, but as a ubiquitous road surface temperature gauge, not so much.

about 5 months ago

First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

iamweasel Re:video of the road (187 comments)

The last three cars I've owned have temperature sensors and would make a noise and display a warning on the dash when the outside temperature fell to or below 4 degrees celsius.

The temperature sensor may fail, but the road markings etc. will also fade / wear out and most importantly be obscured when there is ice on the road. Overall I think the paint would look nice, but be expensive to maintain and simply be a unnecessary distraction.

Incidentally I feel that way about the bleeping and the warning my car gives when temperatures fall, but at least the temperature sensor is mostly a one-time cost, rather than something requiring annual upkeep from public funds.

about 5 months ago

First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

iamweasel This will just cause more accidents (187 comments)

I guess that with this paint one is able to see the edges of the road more clearly, but I don't think that was ever a big problem with "just" retroreflective markings.

I think, that the light from these new markings will only blind you from things just beside the road (think pedestrians, cyclists and animals) which you would probably see better with just the headlights without something shining in your face. I mean try to see what's behind someone holding a flashlight in the dark. More light from the road surface will just prevent you from seeing the darker contrasts. That's why street lighting is installed above, not on the sides of the road, or on the road itself!

Some people also insist they see better when driving in the dark with their fog lights on... Yeah, you'll see the road surface right in front of the car better, but the extra light from the road just in front will only blind you from things further away, taking away your chance to react to something unexpected further down the road.

I think these markings are no replacement for street lighting and will simply just cause more accidents. For savings, it would be better just to turn off the street lighting and leave the existing markings as they were.

about 5 months ago

How loud is your primary computer?

iamweasel Re:Water cooling FTW (371 comments)

Sounds like a very well-thought out setup that you've fine-tuned over many hours of work. I bet it really impresses the girlfriends you bring over.

Why thank you. I'd expect it would still impress slightly better than snarky and irrelevant comments about their hobbies though.

about 8 months ago

How loud is your primary computer?

iamweasel Re:Water cooling FTW (371 comments)

Sadly, just about every "water cooled" computer requires both. Water cooling is rarely anything more than a way to put your air cooling in a more convenient location.

True, but when you can actually have the air cooling with much larger surface area in a convenient location, you can do much better than to just stick a radiator and fans inside or on the side of the case.

I use water cooling to almost silence my gaming "rig". I built a chimney of sorts behind my bookshelf, and have an array of passive radiators hidden there. Also the pump is at the bottom of the chimney, in foam padding. I have a fan at the bottom, and it is being controlled by the water temperature, but the ~250W (guesstimate) that my GPU and CPU dump into the water while gaming can be cooled fairly well with just the chimney effect. It's fairly inconspicuous too, since on the side of the bookshelf the visible bits are the reservoir at the top, the air intake with fan and two tubes coming out of holes at the bottom.

The PSU, chipset, SSD and HDDs need to be cooled by air in the case, so I need fans, but they can turn at a fairly quiet 600 - 800 rpm. In addition to the PSU fan, I use three fans to have slightly positive pressure inside the case, but I could probably do with just a single one if I took the effort to modify the case and make most of the case airtight so I could control the airflow better. The HDDs are suspended and sandwiched, but I think they wouldn't be too noticeable even without the extra soundproofing.

I sunk a fair amount of time and money into this (one needs quality components), but the silence is golden. Maintenance, however, can be a bit tedious because of the amount of coolant that needs to be bled and replaced. Also cleaning all tubing and connections is a chore. With the coolant split into 6 parallel flows for the radiators, filters, monitoring sensors and ports to help bleeding add up to quite a few fittings.

The setup would, of course, be pure overkill if the whole system wasn't in a silent space, but my "office" is an old studio with good soundproofing, so there isn't too much ambient noise. Computer fans do not bother me in more noisy environments, but they really started to bug me in that space. Now if I could just do something to the electrical noises my the components and display make...

about 8 months ago

Finland Hosts Mobile Phone Throwing Championships

iamweasel Re:There's no chance... (70 comments)

His technique looks spot-on, a relaxed-looking throw transferring momentum from the legwork and also has his arm slightly extended. If you get the angle and the spin right on a fairly flat object it will fly 100m quite easily. I can throw flat things the length of a football field and could when I was significantly skinnier than this kid. It has very little to do with strength when throwing stuff that weighs less than say 200grams. Modern smartphones, that have fairly ideal shape, seem to weigh around 140g.

In throws like this I think being skinny is something of an advantage. When I throw stuff as far as I can (showing off) it does make muscles and sometimes even joints in my arm and sides hurt because of the forces involved (you have to accelerate your hand, as well as decelerate it after the throw). The less mass in your arm, the easier it should be. (The acceleration bit twists the joints, and the deceleration bit you use your muscles in.)

more than 2 years ago

The Science of Handedness

iamweasel Re:Handiness is a preference nothing more. (258 comments)

I agree. My experience suggests that handedness is probably in part genetic (how one's brain is wired in the first place), and in part chance during early development when the brain is making the most new connections. The brain is, however, able to adapt quite well, so training yourself to use either hand is quite possible, just as you suggest. It does, however, take considerable effort, so most people won't bother.

Let me ramble about myself for a while...

I consider myself left-handed, but right "shouldered", so I write, use a knife (when carving/cutting bread for example), and hold a spoon (when eating soup) with my left hand. Almost everything that requires fine motor control I prefer to do with my left hand. However, I throw with my right hand and prefer to kick with my right foot.

When younger I purposefully switched and learned to throw with my left hand and play soccer with both feet. I also learned to write and hold a fork/spoon/knife with my right hand and can do so quite well. However I never bothered to learn to hold a hockey stick or a baseball bat the other way, and holding/swinging the other way feels very uncomfortable. Also the preference outlined in the first paragraph holds, so I tend to pick up a pen with my left hand if I don't think about it. Being able to throw with both hands helps with sports such as ultimate or basketball, but when I really want to throw far, for example a javelin, I use my right hand only. (I find that when I have to tension my whole body and do footwork for the throw, using my right hand is more comfortable and effective.)

I don't think I'm ambidextrous since I had to learn to use both hands consciously. Since most people don't bother learning to use both hands/feet they tend to be somewhat perplexed when I simply switch hands doing something and when asked about it, say "No, I'm not ambidextrous." Even my wife still finds it curious from time to time. "Weren't you just holding the razor with the other hand?"

All this ambidextrosity stuff probably started this with scissors, since my mom is left-handed and dad is right-handed, so we had scissors ergonomic for either hand at home. As a kid I would pick up the one's that were the closest at hand and just use the hand that they were made for.

more than 2 years ago

Hybrid Car Owners Not Likely To Buy Another Hybrid

iamweasel Re:Oh enough with the range whining (998 comments)

I've been following the progress of the electric car with the intention of getting one.

What I don't get about the range whining from people whose daily routine would be well served by an electric car, but then have to use a car for longer trips from time to time. I figure in those cases I will either rent a car or trade cars with a friend for that time. At least in my case I take trips by car that require me to drive more than 150 miles a day fewer than 5 times a year. Those trips are planned ahead, so making arrangements for a car is possible.

If our household were to have 2 cars one would have range and the other would be electric. My current reason for not buying an electric car is, however, that I'm not that convinced about battery lifespan in the cold weather we get here in northern scandinavia as heating the battery all the time is not realistic. If I lived closer to the equator, say central europe, I'd have bought one already.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't Schools Connected?

iamweasel Re:Equal Access (568 comments)

In my daughter's school they have assignments on the web. Though it's the students who are responsible for posting them. So not only are the pupils responsible for posting them (a pair of pupils for a week and then rotates) but also keeping track of what's supposed to be posted.

My daughter forgot to post the homework a few weeks back and then got a call from a classmate who was home sick. She is fairly diligent so all she had to do is check her assignment book, after which she posted them online.

So the pupils are responsible for keeping track of their homework themselves (assignment book), failing that they can check online, and can parents too (admittedly, I never have as I don't feel the need to hover). The students may be able to weasel out of keeping track themselves for most of the time since it's online, but when it's their turn, they have to. They've had this system since she was 8.

I think this is about as close to best of both worlds as possible.

more than 2 years ago

Computer Programmers Only the 5th Most Sleep Deprived Profession

iamweasel Great! On the top you find (204 comments)

I'm not surprised, but it's still worrying that the top of the list is full of professions, who we trust to, among other things:

- make quick desicions in potentially life or death situations
- protect / defend us when things go awry
- maintain our savings and to some extent the economy

Just the people we want sleep deprived! I couldn't care less if we programmers don't think we're getting enough sleep. However, I do think most of the other professions on the list should definitely get plenty!

more than 2 years ago

Google Researchers Propose Plan To Fix CA System

iamweasel Convergence (91 comments)

I think I would prefer Moxie Marlinspike's Convergence. That way you can at least trust the CA:s a little less. The talk from BlackHat is quite enlightening.

more than 2 years ago

Interview With 'Idiot' Behind Key Software Patent

iamweasel Re:Two reasons software patents should not be (223 comments)

There is a problem with this as well, you pointed out some shenanigans, but the profit incentive causes problems for society as a whole.

The drug companies will not research drugs that, when developed, would ease most suffering. Rather they pursue the kinds of drugs that they are most likely to profit from. While some here may not like it, I believe that the public sector research advances drugs that we need (vs. drugs that have large markets) a whole lot better than the pharmaceutical giants do. A lot of the drugs created by the giants are unnecessary or do the same thing as the competitor's drug that's already on the market.

I personally think that collectively paying a little more taxes is a better idea compared to not having a drug for your not-so-common disease, or just simply not being able to afford the cure when the shit hits the fan. A classic example could be, that there probably isn't nearly as much money to be made in curing aids, as compared to selling drugs to deal with the symptoms.

about 3 years ago

Annual power consumption at your residence?

iamweasel Decent translation, but not where I live (507 comments)

Nah - I'm not Al Gore, and wouldn't classify the house as a McMansion by any stretch of the imagination. But the meter ticks at around 29000kWh a year. I guesstimate that about 20000kWh of that is heating, since it's electrical.

Before you tell me put some insulation in let me just state that the house is actually below average per unit of area and especially so per unit of volume when compared to other houses at this latitude.

more than 3 years ago

I can see X LEDs as I fall asleep. X = __

iamweasel .5 LEDs/lights thank you (480 comments)

It's either 0 or 1 for me. Nothing plugged in. The single green LED on the thermostat on the wall will light up depending on whether it's cold enough and late enough to indicate the floor it heated.

When I turn off the lights I can't see a thing in the bedroom because the windows all have these blackout curtains that hardly leak any lights.

I have trouble sleeping in hotels these days.

about 4 years ago

Gasoline From Thin Air

iamweasel Re:This cocking around is stupid... (283 comments)

I agree the battery packs are and will be installed in different locations in different cars. The pack changing station does get more complex when changing multiple smaller batteries, rather than just one big one in a standardized location. There has been enough stories on industrial robots on slashdot to make me consider this is a fairly trivial problem to solve compared to lots of other stuff we are capable of.

Even so I don't think the cost for the swapping station really comes in to play. You personally don't need to own one and businesses will recover the capital over time. The up front cost is going to be greater, but when done properly, you can service many different types of EVs with a single station and enable a far greater freedoms in car design and weight distribution, just the thing you're talking about. With swappable batteries you need to be able to access them from the outside of the vehicle, but that's about it.

If Better Place is able to achieve reliable coupling with their scheme, I wouldn't think say 5 smaller couplings would be unworkable. When you increase the number of couplings, you decrease the amount of current each has to carry, making each one cheaper. This does not just simply add up to 5 times the connection problem compared to having just one.

For the packaging, I don't think that in any one of the cars you listed the battery pack is a single cell. Some more packaging is probably required, but given a reasonable size for a exchangeable unit, I don't see the difference being that great. Also for the cost of the pack, you would be leasing them anyway.

You listed a few profiles for batteries; two in fact. High power and low power. The amount of energy is just the number of the packs in the EV. The lease on a high power battery is likely to cost more. Not unlike premium fuel that costs more over the regular stuff. Also when battery tech improves, the capacity and the power output increase, but this can be negotiated between the EV and the battery.

Quick charging is, while also solvable, a completely different beast. With the swapping stations you can charge the batteries a bit slower anticipating demand, with less need for expensive high-voltage high-amperage infrastructure all over the place when compared to ubiquitous quick charging.

I think the swapping stations and standardization are a good idea, at least for the time being. My musings just give the idea some more versatility compared to the single-big-pack model. Maybe when battery tech improves further and we come up with economical superconductors the picture would be very much in favor of dumping the swapping stations.

more than 4 years ago

Gasoline From Thin Air

iamweasel Re:This cocking around is stupid... (283 comments)

I somewhat see our point with the voltage/discharge profile, but the other things are quite manageable. Even then, at least at the beginning, there can be just a few types. When things develop, maybe the battery wouldn't need to be just a "dumb battery", but rather have electronics to enable backwards compatibility.

Shape of the pack? Why not have multiple smaller packs in each vehicle? With today's technology I don't think it is far-fetched to standardize technology to detect/communicate where they are located in each car. Given they're developing wheels that have the motor in the hub this would enable us to have vehicles laid out quite freely. Heck, even a motorcycle is readily doable this way. Oh, and with smaller units, you could do this at home too.

Hookups/couplings? I imagine you service your car every now and then, change the oil filter and whatnot, why must the EV be different? The batteries can be serviced, too.

You could still charge while parked, but have battery swapping stations when in a hurry. I don't think we would need quite as many of them as we currently have fuel pumps.

more than 4 years ago

The Tuesday Birthday Problem

iamweasel Re:What's counterintuitive about it? (981 comments)

That's what I thought as well. While I'm not a native english speaker, I don't think "one of whom" rules out the possibility that the other is as well.

more than 4 years ago

Google-Backed Wind-Powered Car Goes Faster Than the Wind

iamweasel Re:Would a vertical axis "turbine" work? (393 comments)

Yes, I get that, but I was thinking that the cart had both, the vertical axis turbine powering the wheels when going (directly) into the wind, while when going downwind the cart would have the propeller run by the wheels.

Then again, maybe the just propeller would work upwind as well, if you get more torque to the wheels than there is drag.

more than 4 years ago

Lifelock Worries After Employee Data Leaked To Web

iamweasel Re:Really now? (145 comments)

That's what we have in Finland at least. First you have to physically go to the bank to identify yourself and then you get a login/password and a physical list of key-value pairs for online banking. When you start to run out of said keys you go get another list from the bank or order one through mail. Then you change the list using a value from the previous list and input the number of the new key list.

In order to compromise in this system someone would have to have access both to my specific key list and my login/password combination.

Of course that doesn't help at all if someone compromises the bank's systems, but in that case it wouldn't make a difference whether I used online banking or not.

It baffles me that something as simple as (or similar to) this is not being used as I do believe it makes online banking a whole lot more secure.

more than 4 years ago


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