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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

nbritton Re:McGuffey's 4th New Eclectic Reader:"The Colonis (719 comments)

"The chemicals and equipment make it more economical and profitable but you are greatly underestimating the knowledge and abilities of farmers. Most of them would have little difficulty getting successful crops using old fashioned methods. They know very well how to do it with readily available fertilizers and labor."

You're forgetting the fact that farmers need electricity to run the water pumps to irrigate the feeds. Those in the arid southwest are screwed. Also I'd like to see you harvest 3000 acres without a combine, there will in fact be a major food shortage if farmers don't have fuel to power their equitment.

3 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

nbritton Re:Medical doctor (719 comments)

You don't even need diodes because there is a rectifier, and usually a voltage regulator, built right into the alternator. Connect it to a steam engine, and a battery to prime the field coil, and your good to go, most alternators generate about 60 ~ 100 amps @ 13.8 ~ 14.2 volt DC. You can wire the DC output from multiple alternators in parallel for more amperage.

You would also have solar, wind, and water power that you can use to charge a battery bank, 12 volt batteries would become a hot commodity in a post apocalyptic world. DC would be king, AC would be hard to generate because it will be difficult to sync multiple generators so the phases don't cancel each other out, the AC output on automotive alternators is 3 phase.

A computer power supply typically only needs -12, +12, +5, and +3.3 volts DC. In theory, you could rig two alternators in series to generate -12 and +12 volts with a common ground, this would also give you 24 volts across the terminals. You can produce all the voltages by simply MacGyvering a computer power supply, since they all have DC-DC converters.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for 2009, there are 254 million registered passenger vehicles in the U.S. alone, and the U.S. population is 313 million. That's almost enough for every person to have one, I like those odds. That's enough power to keep the lights on at night.

3 days ago

Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

nbritton What's wrong with girls in bikinis? (833 comments)

If global warming means more girls in bikinis then I'm all for it. Seriously, what is wrong with warming up the earth a few degrees? What is wrong with milder winters? No one ever explains this, what is so wrong about global warming?

3 days ago

GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

nbritton Say what? (236 comments)

How many people died? They get paid leave?

4 days ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

nbritton No (448 comments)

I've tried for years and I'm sad to say there is just no place for Linux on the desktop for the foreseeable future. The strategy that should be taken, assuming you want *nix on the desktop, is Mac on desktop and Linux on the server.

5 days ago

Scientists/Actress Say They Were 'Tricked' Into Geocentric Universe Movie

nbritton Re:Hmmmm (639 comments)

There is no center, it's not like there was a big bang that had a finite starting point that could be located. The universe just instantaneously expanded, somewhat like that of points on a rubber band that gets stretched. It's honestly all relative at this point.

about a week ago

Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

nbritton What about liquid hydrogen powered aircraft? (256 comments)

It seems to me that if you're on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, you would have, for all intents and purposes, an unlimited supply of electriciy to convert sea water into hydrogen and oxygen, and also the ability to compress those gases into liquid form so they can be used as fuel for aircraft. Furthermore, it would seem to me that using Brown's gas (HHO) in a jet engine would be an ideal source of fuel, by mass, liquid hydrogen has an energy density of 143 MJ/kg.

With unlimited electricity you can also convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, and at that point you can react carbon monoxide and hydrogen together using the Fischer–Tropsch process to produce synthetic jet fuel.

Alternatively, you could simply use hydrogen for hydrogen assisted jet ignition, which improves the combustion efficiency of traditional fuels. Additionally, liquid hydrogen can also be used as a coolant for very high speed planes, i.g. the SR-71.

about a week ago

Raspberry Pi Compute Module Release

nbritton How about a backplane? (51 comments)

How much compute power do these guys have, would it be worthwhile to produce a backplane to run several of them in parallel? What about for redundancy in mission critical applications?

about a week ago

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

nbritton Re:Bad figures (226 comments)

Yeah, 1,000,000,000 lines of code. And it takes 9 women just 1 month to create 1 baby.

Actually It does take 9 women just 1 month to create 1 baby. In 1 month the baby's DNA is fully fleshed out, so for the 8 other months the mother is just acting as an incubator. The human genome is about 3.2 million base pairs, so 9 women should be able to produce 28.8 billion lines of code in one month.

about a week ago

Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

nbritton Re:Linux needs to step up (645 comments)

PS: From a business perspective gnu/linux really is "free windows." Some office temp writing up trial research doesn't care about the kernel's threading capabilities or memory management subroutines, both Linux and XP will e-mail or print the fucking thing won't they?

You must have never dealt with the *nix printing system, it's up for debate wether Linux will printing the fucking thing.

about a week ago

How Many People Does It Take To Colonize Another Star System?

nbritton Why do you need genetic diversity? (392 comments)

Why do you need genetic diversity? By the time we're ready to send someone we'll have the ability to genetically engineer ideal traits in humans.

Over the course of 30 generations random DNA mutations will naturally propagate through the population, and these random mutations will be more prevalent in space because passengers would be subjected to high levels of radiation. For all intents and purposes you would only need to send enough individuals to perpetuate the population ad infinitum, and the minimum amount for this to happen is 32 people. Genetic evidence suggests that all humans alive today, despite apparent variety, are descended from a very small population, perhaps between 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs about 70,000 years ago.

The bottom line is natural selection will inherently diversify the population. Furthermore, you wouldn't randomly pick people to go on an expedition because you don't want that kind of genetic variability. There would be limited ability to manage individuals that are prone to diseases or stupidity, so this would be an exercise in eugenics.

So I ask again, why would you want to introduce random variability into a system that engineers have optimized?

about two weeks ago

Cheaper Fuel From Self-Destructing Trees

nbritton Use trees as carbon sinks (112 comments)

A giant saquioa can sequester over 2000 tons of carbon from the air and live for 2500 years.

If you planted 1 million of these trees you could sequester 2,000,000,000 tons of carbon for 2500 years! If you plant enough of these sequoias you could literally sequester all the United States's excess CO2 for 2500 years.

2500 years is a hell of a long time for us to design and perfect new technologies that can better solve are carbon crisis.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

nbritton Re:Where are the online Computer Science degrees? (370 comments)

I've always wondered what it is that prevents us from creating a fully accredited* Computer Science Degree (bachelor's) completely online, for cheap.

There is one, it's called University of the People. You can get a complete BSCS and $4k. The school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) Accrediting Commission. They also offer an associate's in computer science for $2k, and the credits will transfer to most institutions.

Someone already posted this, but for some reason it was modded it down. I speculate that the educational industry does want people to know they can get an entire bachelor's degree for just a fraction of the price.


about three weeks ago

Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast In 2012

nbritton Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (202 comments)

Just run the connection through a sacrificial network switch that can be grounded. Personally I would have a the telco line earth grounded on the outside, connected to a surge suppressor on the inside telco wires, and another surge suppressor on the network side, which is then connected to a sacrificial switch. You can't be too careful with telco lines that are attached to the network, last thing you ever want is for lighting to decide to use your master network switch as it's path to ground, because this will probably blow out every device on the network... I've had it happen, issuance forked out a few hundred thousand to fix everything that got zapped.

about a month ago

Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast In 2012

nbritton Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (202 comments)

Exactly. Full range power supplies should be able to handle a surge if you have it properly connected to a point of use surge suppressor. I have a whole building surge suppressor on the main panel that clamps at 360 volts. Additionally I have point of use surge suppressors that are properly grounded. Typically I'll also run a separate ground, from the breaker panel and connect it to the server rack, then I'll ground the server chassis to the rack, this will let everything float at the same reference voltage. Furthermore, telecommunications lines running into or out of a building should be earth grounded on the outside and also connected to a surge suppressor on the inside of the building that is grounded to the main service panel.

If you build your environment to withstand a lighting strike then you will also be able to withstand a CME.

about a month ago

Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast In 2012

nbritton Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (202 comments)

Nuclear power plants melting down will not be a problem. All of them have generators that can run all of the equipment for over a week. Most plants are design in such a way that the control rods will fall into place in the event of a power loss. However, if the grid got fried they would have to take the plant offline, they would damage the equipment if they ran it without a load attached to discharge the power.

about a month ago

Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast In 2012

nbritton Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (202 comments)

Since a gas station would have gas, all they would need is a generator to keep the station running. Tanker trucks shouldn't be affected by CMEs, so with generators being readily available I don't foresee this as being a significant problem.

What I do foresee is an economic melt down since electronic transactions would grind to a halt. There would be a run on the banks since there is not enough cash reserves on hand, only $1.22 trillion dollars in Federal Reserve notes are in circulation. Businesses would not be able to use their credit accounts or pay employees. We would have to resort to bartering, the economy would collapse, no one would have money to buy gas.

Another problem I see is with the water supply. If a CME fried all the water pumps we would be totally fucked, becuse people begin to die in as little as three days without water. Furthermore, without refrigerators to store food, stoves to cook food, or water to grow crops there would be a massive food shortage.

I think this would make for a good movie, that should raise awareness of the issue.

about a month ago

Ex-Microsoft Employee Arrested For Leaking Windows 8

nbritton Re:Stealing? (197 comments)

The developer stole nothing, one element necessary for theft is intentionally depriving the owner of their property and the owner was never deprived of their property. This is conversion

about a month ago

Ex-Microsoft Employee Arrested For Leaking Windows 8

nbritton This is not theft, it's conversion. (197 comments)

This is ridiculous. He did not deprive the owner of their property, the elements of theft have not been met. This should have been handled as a conversion claim in civil court. What I think is criminal is the corporation using their power to influence the criminal justice system.

about a month ago

Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

nbritton What about a MacGyver'ed radio beacon? (382 comments)

Would the flight crew, or even a passenger on the plane, know that the engine has a radio in it? Is it within the realm of possibilities that they took the batteries out of the plane and connected them to the engine's radio to use as a beacon? If the plane crash landed on solid ground, could the emergency radio beacon been destroyed, perhaps due to blast damage? Were any individuals on the plane that had a background in electronics that could MacGyver something up?

about a month ago



Ask Slashdot: Trees for Carbon Sequestration?

nbritton nbritton writes  |  about 7 months ago

nbritton (823086) writes "I'm sure most know that sequoia trees can live for over three thousand years, but they can also store upwards of 2000 tons of carbon within their wood. Furthermore dead sequoias can take hundreds of years to decompose. If the wood was harvested, dry lumber could potentially last for thousands of years. Quite literally if you had an excess of lumber you could store it in a warehouse for another 3000 years. This would give us some breathing room to develop the tech we need to manage carbon. Apparently these things pump out oxygen too:

CO2(g) + Photosynthesis -> C(s) + O2(g)

The question simple, why don't we use trees for carbon capture and sequestration?"

Link to Original Source

Ask Slashdot: Is Xen A Dead End, The Latest in Linux Virtualization Offerings?

nbritton nbritton writes  |  about 9 months ago

nbritton (823086) writes "In this day and age of cloud computing, is Xen still a viable technology? With KVM being integrated into the kernel, and capitalizing on all of Linux's offerings, in what areas does Xen still shine? If it were up to you, what server virtualization technology would you use on your box today? What products shine for basic server consolidation, particularly those that meet the needs of small and medium sizes businesses?"

nbritton nbritton writes  |  about 7 years ago

nbritton (823086) writes "As of version 1.8, the OMG!!! Ponies!!! style is available as an option in Slashdotter. For those not in the loop, Slashdotter is a Firefox extension that adds customization to the Slashdot website. Features include the ability to auto-add cache links after story links, a quick-reply feature that adds a 'Reply' option to the right-click menu when you select text in a comment, the option of styling all of Slashdot's pages like a chosen Slashdot section, links in the comment sections that allow you to toggle open/closed all of a comments replies, and more. All of Slashdotter's features are optional.

You can download Slashdotter here and here"


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