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Ask Slashdot: Minimizing Oil and Gas Dependency In a Central European City?

impossiblefork Insulation + modern ventillation systems (250 comments)

I've given some thought to this and believe that insulation, modern well-designed heat and ventilation systems, perhaps incorporating heat exchangers for heat-recovery from the air leaving the house, systems to heat the water with sunlight hitting the roof or heat storage using a borehole heat exchanger are the right solution.

about a month ago
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WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

impossiblefork Re:Helium? (296 comments)

It would probably work quite well, but it might impose additional constraints on how the hard drives could be built since hydrogen can enter metals. There's of course no risk of explosions (after all, these things exist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H...), but it could certainly be interesting.

about 3 months ago
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To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

impossiblefork Re:And low-emission transport trucks, too (491 comments)

Actually they probably do. They use huge low-speed engines with extraordinarily high thermal efficiencies, like the Wärtisilä-Sulzer. There are also good reasons for ships to make use of efficient engines, since this saves fuel.

about 3 months ago
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SpaceX Challenges Blue Origin Patents Over Sea-Landing Rocket Tech

impossiblefork Re:Would it really be worse without patents? (75 comments)

I've heard this kind of argument on Slashdot, where it is claimed that patents aren't for small inventors or as in your case, that they small inventors do not use them, and attempted to counter it then, that time with examples of small inventors. I believe that it is quite false. I will now engage in some self-plagiarism and list those same inventors again, since their inventions are still among those which capture the mechanically oriented parts of my imagination the most and because I've already committed this self-plagiarism this morning in Swedish.

The first one is a English professor, Kais Atallah, whose invention was a type of magnetic gear, to which he got he obtained a patent, enabling the production to be funded. The second Torbjörn Lembke, whose invention was a magnetic bearing. He had worked in industry, both, I believe, on different kinds of magnetic bearings and on other advanced electrical machines, had an idea for an improvement of today's magnetic bearings, wrote a PhD dissertation on it, patented it before publishing and presently manufactures it, after having gotten funding.

You might not call these real garage inventors, but I have a last example. Glenn Thompson, an Australian programmer, who, after what must have been quite careful thought, found a way to make a new kind of constant velocity joint (now called a Thompson Coupling). He patented this, having gotten the patent, got investors and has now," "having gotten funded, been manufacturing and selling these joints for some years.

If it weren't for patents these people would likely have obtained minimal reward for their work. If you have an invention, patents do protect it. You might say that they if they were "real small inventors" wouldn't have money to sue, but I imagine that such even a small inventor, with no money and only a good patent, would even in America, be able to take his case to court and win with enough probability to deter patent infringement. At worst such an inventor might be forced to find a lawyer to take his case on contingency.

As stated in the introduction I've essentially varied a previous post, but since what you wrote is so similar to what I responded to I felt that this was acceptable.

about 3 months ago
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

impossiblefork Re:Delayed action (708 comments)

One can't make that kind of choice unilaterally when competing against others. The companies can't either.

Even if their founders have initially good intentions those good intentions will, when there are externalities, ultimately harm their business. This applies to everything from worker welfare or unsafe factories to harm to the environment.

about 4 months ago
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Temporary Classrooms Are Bad For the Environment, and Worse For Kids

impossiblefork Re:Global warming is causing bad grades now (187 comments)

Yes. Performance was also degraded as classroom temperatures reached 30 degrees Celsius. I didn't listen to the full presentation, although there probably wasn't enough in it to ascertain whether they had succeded in separating the effect of CO2 and temperature, but it probably wasn't treated, as the presentation was intended for people who designed ventillation systems.

about 7 months ago
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Temporary Classrooms Are Bad For the Environment, and Worse For Kids

impossiblefork Re:Global warming is causing bad grades now (187 comments)

No, it's actually quite right.

Just yesterday I happened upon a presentation by a company called Swegon, which designs and manufactures ventillation system equipment, in which they showed a material from a British researcher who (I believe on their proposal) had arranged measurements of student performance as a function of class CO2 levels and classroom temperature and the effect on the speed with which students performed diverse simple tasks, like adding numbers, multiplication, etc. and overall it turned out to drop by 30% as CO2 reached the worst levels.

In some schools the CO2 levels reached about 2000 ppm. The idea that this doesn't affect people is ridiculous and properly designed ventillation systems are important.

about 7 months ago
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Gaining On the US: Most Europeans To Be Overweight By 2030

impossiblefork Re:Not the way we have carbs now (329 comments)

But calories in and calories burned aren't independent variables.

You can cause health problems that make eating less impossible by eating less sooner than you would cause healthy weight loss. There's an old story that I found in an old fechtbuch. An english fencing master complained of a spanish argument that you if you always held your point as far towards your opponent as possible would strike him first, and he compared this argument an old story of how a man goes to woman for a cure against seasickness who is to have told him to "Take this rock. As long as you have it in your mouth you will not throw up" and as he went to sea and eventually threw up he realized the precise way in which the woman's statement was true. I feel that your argument involving this accounting inequality has the same character.

about 7 months ago
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Tesla Logged $713 Million In Revenue In Q1 and Built 7,535 Cars

impossiblefork Re: Sponsor? (131 comments)

Computer holography, Path-tracing, the fast-multiple methods for radiosity-- and if it has to be automotive related: alternative thermodynamic cycles for engines, field modulated magnetic couplings (like the ones magnomatics are making as gearboxes/electric drive systems for cars) or mass-production of parts from fibre reinforced plastic.

All of these are nerdier, but perhaps not as easily digested.

about 7 months ago
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Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?

impossiblefork Re:Screw other people (800 comments)

Then pretty much every human would have no business driving. The way to ensure this is to greatly honor whoever acts correctly and to ensure that there will be more of them. That is of course society's prerogative however and in a bad society where this is not rewarded the cost is paid in lives instead.

about 7 months ago
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Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?

impossiblefork Re:Screw other people (800 comments)

You don't. You precommit and most respectable people have precommitted to not running over pedestrians and motorcyclists almost from birtth.

about 7 months ago
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Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?

impossiblefork Re:Screw other people (800 comments)

Your first duty is always to the other road users.

Therefore, in a crash the first thing that you avoid are unprotected trafficants, first pedestians and then motorcyclists and by analogy it is reasonably to then avoid such cars as have the least protection. To drive into a pedestrian to reduce harm to oneself in a crash is not acceptable.

about 7 months ago
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"Going Up" At 45 Mph: Hitachi To Deliver World's Fastest Elevator

impossiblefork Re:Expensive (109 comments)

Hitachi does have a prototype of just that and it is linked to from the wikipedia page that you linked to. A video showing what seems like a prototype of it is the last linked thing.

It seems like something which would definitely allow higher passenger capacity for a given amount of shaft space.

about 8 months ago
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Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

impossiblefork Programming is unlikely to be a primary profession (581 comments)

It's clear that not every job lost can be replaced with a programming job. To imagine a single rather small profession as the profession into which coal miners, plant engineers that become redundant due to equipment that breaks less often and so on isn't sensible.

I don't feel that the matter is that coal miners aren't intellectual enough, but that the need for software isn't infinite. Finding productive work for people is going to require finding completely new ways for humans to contribute and to do so is going to be very difficult. Trying to let people who have been laid off study and learn something new is a good path for a society, but I don't believe that there is enough programming to be done for programming to be sufficient.

about 8 months ago
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Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

impossiblefork Re:The world is changing. (224 comments)

I remember reading Rudin's little analysis book and reading it on the principle that it was appropriate to stay on each page for about 30 minutes, or until all proofs were remembered and could be reproduced at will, following a recommendation of some famous mathematician whose name I can't recall (but for some reason I think that it was Hardy or Littlewood).

There's also apparently such a recommendation in Axler's linear algebra book, but there the recommendation is that one should take no less than an hour per page. I think that this recommendation may be excessive though and I don't think that either of these should be followed strictly for all pages, but they're a good warning for seeing that one is trying to read too fast.

about 8 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks Tesla, Apple, Model X

impossiblefork Re: Truly (99 comments)

No, it's fairly good. A smith needs substantial infrastructure to do what he does, his whole smithy with numerous tools which represent a high capital cost. A carpenter does not have quite the same capital cost although an analogy with a carpenter instead of a smith does have definite appeal. Especially now that I come to think of Hogarth print in which there is an image of a carpenter pawning his saw.

about 9 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks Tesla, Apple, Model X

impossiblefork Re: Truly (99 comments)

A captain rarely owns the ship the ship he captains though.

I think that what one ought to imagine here is something like a smith who doesn't own his tools, but has access to tools which he does not control, with his tool access and the tool access of many other smiths entirely at the mercy of some large tool-owner.

about 10 months ago
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Elon Musk Says Larger Batteries Might Be On the Way

impossiblefork Re:Wake up SAE. Standardize TREs now. (191 comments)

With broken sentence I wanted to express that I believe that 'series hybrids are an established thing that I believe they are the reasonable solution to range problems in electric cars', but as can be seen I failed at this.

about 10 months ago
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Elon Musk Says Larger Batteries Might Be On the Way

impossiblefork Re:Wake up SAE. Standardize TREs now. (191 comments)

I feel that adopting a design in order to bypass a legitimate regulation is rather bad.

There's also a whole lot of inherent problems with towed generators: A car towing something is not maneuverable and unlikely to pass the elk test, there will be unnecessary drag and towed generator will be heavy, since it will need to have wheels and some sort of shell. Series hybrids are already a fairly established thing and I do not believe and are the reasonable solution. The BMW i3 already has an optional built in generator (a two-cylinder petrol engine), Jaguar made a concept with two turbines some years ago and the Chevrolet Volt is also a series hybrid.

Consequently, good systems solving the range problems of electric cars have been in production for years so there's no reason to go for a bad system like a towed range extender.

about 10 months ago

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