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Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crashes

necro81 Re:Using NASA's dictionary (178 comments)

I wish I could dredge up some examples, but I seem to remember seeing some things which some of the astronauts said in the middle of a crisis which made them sound like it was just a little thing, when the rest of us would all be screaming "we're all gonna die we're all gonna die".

"Houston, we have a problem" when an oxygen tank has just exploded and practically ripped the service module in half. Yup, that seems like a good start.

1 hour ago
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Denmark Plans To Be Coal-Free In 10 Years

necro81 Re:Breaking the stranglehold of other countries (232 comments)

You can but that costs many billion dollars. To do a continent wide HVDC network with some limited energy storage (compared to what would ideally be needed) you're looking at many hundred billions $$$ or EUR

Compared to a regional economy that measures €15 trillion annually, an investment of several €100 billion over the next decade or two is not unbearable. Indeed, if it means that power supply and distribution is more resilient, and you don't need to expend several €trillion in energy imports over the same time period, it seems like a worthwhile investment in infrastructure.

8 hours ago
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Remote Vision Through a Virtual Reality Headset (Video)

necro81 Seen this (43 comments)

I've seen this before, in the movie Sleep Dealer. The U.S. / Mexico border is completely sealed, but folks in the U.S. still want cheap labor. So: they hire Mexicans, working in Mexico, as drone operators.

2 days ago
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Apple Pay Competitor CurrentC Breached

necro81 Re:Crap in/crap out (263 comments)

Just CHIP-IN-PIN and be done with it

Particularly when using CAPSLOCK, please be sure to use the correct term. Chip and Pin. Most English speakers are lazy enough in their pronunciation that it comes out as a homophone. But even if you couldn't hear the difference between "in" and "and", you ought to be able to work it out from context: you've got a chip, and you've got a pin; the chip does not reside in the pin.

2 days ago
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Antares Rocket Explodes On Launch

necro81 Re:Orbital (442 comments)

Oh, yes, I am sure that the choice of CAD programs has something to do with the launch failure, or points to some sort of cultural deficiency at Orbital. Really, you get a touch of shadenfreude over that? How petty are you?

2 days ago
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The Man With the Golden Blood

necro81 Re:rare or just not looked for? (75 comments)

There are enough blood donors around the world, and the testing on their blood is comprehensive enough, that one can make statistical conclusions about the prevalence of certain blood types in the general population. In other words - there's a large enough sample set (hundreds of millions, if not billions, or units tested to date, coming from tens or hundreds of millions of donors) that the (statistical) error bars are very small.

4 days ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

necro81 Re:Finally order in peace (714 comments)

without getting a snide look from the restaurant staff for ordering a big mac _and_ a quarter pounder...

And a diet coke, but hold the fries - just to keep them guessing.

about a week ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

necro81 Re:Automation and jobs (714 comments)

The higher skilled workers will also see their pay fall, as the excess labor pool in general grows

That assumes that the excess labor pool is able to do the job of a skilled worker. If 10,000 formerly-employed McDonalds cashiers lined up outside to try and get the $120,000 System Architect's job at SomeCompany, does that suddenly push the salary being offered down to $40,000?

Reminds me a bit of this scene from Joe vs. The Volcano

about a week ago
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Apple 1 Sells At Auction For $905,000

necro81 Re:Retro computers as DIY kits? (81 comments)

Sure, some company would have to re-manufacture the parts that couldn't be made at home

Thankfully, a lot of the early computers used commodity parts that are still manufactured, such as the 7400 series of discrete logic gates (e.g. 7400 = quad NAND gate, 7404 = hex inverter, etc.). The Apple I's 8-bit microprocessor, the MOS 6502, is still commercially available, too.

about a week ago
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Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

necro81 Re:Global warming for the win! (384 comments)

Don't tow the "Climate Change" line, don't get funded.

Well, if they're going to force me to tow something, maybe I don't want to have that kind of funding. I "toe the line" that towing is hard work, and I'm allergic to hard work!

about two weeks ago
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Internet Broadband Through High-altitude Drones

necro81 Re:Solar powered drones (99 comments)

A variety of people have been working on solar airplanes that collect sufficient energy during the daylight hours that, through a combination of electrical storage (batteries, reversible fuel cells, etc.) and mechanical storage (going to higher altitude during the day, then losing some at night) you can provide continuous operation. This isn't a new idea, and practical realizations of it are tantalizingly close.

about two weeks ago
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Internet Broadband Through High-altitude Drones

necro81 Re:I'm betting on balloons (99 comments)

and for most of that 98%, existing wireline technologies work too

In the United States, a lot of /.ers like to gripe about how the existing wireline providers (DSL and cable) are monopolistic and provide poor service at high cost. They'd love to see more choice, but the barriers to entry (i.e., deploying a parallel network, including the last mile) are so high that only other megacorporations (Google Fiber, Verizon FiOS) can hope to break in, and even then it is very slow. Result: everyone gripes, but everyone eventually buys the service that's available, and nothing really changes. As you point out: it "works", but not that doesn't mean everyone is happy with the situation - lots of people hope for greater competition resulting in better options.

The actual situation is a lot more complicated and nuanced than the preceding paragraph, but it is a sufficient synopsis to now tie into this article. High altitude drones could provide that parallel network at sufficiently lower (capital) cost that a lot more players can take a crack at it.

about two weeks ago
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How Curved Spacetime Can Be Created In a Quantum Optics Lab

necro81 Damn (89 comments)

Stop making my brain hurt!

about two weeks ago
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Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

necro81 Re:At least the infrastructure is in place (237 comments)

If you have solar panels on a rooftop that would otherwise be cooked by the sun, aren't you also saving on the amount of power required for air conditioning?

If you're trying to heat the building - not so much.

In the case of a datacenter, I don't think that heating the building is that much of a concern.

about two weeks ago
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Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

necro81 Re:Obligatoriness Extraordinaire (237 comments)

Your datacenter takes 1 MW/h. You receive roughly 8 hours of usable sunlight, so you need 3MW/h capacity of solar panels to produce the power you need

Whatever the soundness of your arguments, you immediately discredit yourself by using "MW/h" as a unit of power. That's like saying that your new car is rated at 500 horsepower/minute, or has a fuel consumption of 32 mpg/hour. What are those even supposed to mean?

And, no, the corrected unit is not MWh, or "megawatt-hour". That is a unit of energy (a bulk quantity), not power (the rate of energy production or consumption). The proper unit for referring to the size of a PV array, or any electrical generation facility, is "watts" or some SI-prefix thereof.

about two weeks ago
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Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

necro81 Re:To their defense (314 comments)

It would do nothing to curb criminality

Some kinds of criminality would be harder. If you have to move, say, €10 million in cash, whether you do it in €500 bills or €50 bills makes a large difference. In the first case, you only have to move 20,000 pieces of "paper" (a stack about 2 m tall). If you are constrained to €50 bills, you have to move 10x as much cash. Now, instead of a single briefcase that can easily be carried onto a railcar, you need a few duffel bags.

Not that this is an insurmountable obstacle to criminals - it just makes certain transactions harder to execute and hide.

about two weeks ago
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FDA Issues Guidance On Cybersecurity of Medical Devices

necro81 Re:Oh great. (26 comments)

If you are making a medical device where there is the potential for someone to hack the software or communications, resulting in death or serious injury, then yes, you do. No sense in whinging about it - that's the reality of the world. Computers get hacked, and that can have serious consequences, so you'd better examine the risk and mitigate it. This is nothing new, especially on /.

If anything, you should be asking yourself: if the FDA is only now issuing this guidance, and you haven't already been worried about security in your devices, how far behind are you?

about a month ago

Submissions

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Networked Gadgets Waste 400 Terawatt-Hours of Energy Every Year

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about 3 months ago

necro81 (917438) writes "IEEE Spectrum reports: "Your Xbox wastes a lot of energy—energy that could power the entire United Kingdom. Well, it's not just your Xbox, but your Xbox and my printer and your friend's television and 14 billion other networked electronic devices around the world....

"The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a new report on just how much power all those networked devices use...[t]he results are amazing: network-enabled devices in homes and offices around the world consumed 616 terawatt-hours in 2013, and 65 percent of that (400 TWh) could have been saved simply by using technology that exists today."

It's a problem of design: even though it's technologically straightforward to design products for better energy consumption, with little incremental cost, there's no incentive for a designer to do so. It's not their electricity going to waste, after all."

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Luke Prosthetic Arm approved by FDA

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about 6 months ago

necro81 (917438) writes "The FDA today approved the Luke prosthetic arm for sale. The Luke Arm, created by Dean Kamen's DEKA R&D Corp., was a project initiated by DARPA to develop a prosthetic arm for wounded warriors more advanced than those previously available. The Arm can be configured for below-the-elbow, above-the-elbow, and shoulder-level amputees. The full arm has 10 powered degrees of freedom and has the look and weight of the arm it replaces. (more info here) Through trials by DEKA and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Arm has been used by dozens of amputees for a total of many thousands of hours. Commercialization is still pending."
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Megatons to Megawatts Program Comes to a Close

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about 9 months ago

necro81 (917438) writes "In the aftermath of the Cold War, the disintegrating Soviet Union had tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and tons of weapons-grade fissile material. In the economic and political turmoil, many feared that it would fall into unfriendly hands. However, thanks to the doggedness of an MIT professor, Dr. Thomas Neff, 500 metric tons of weapons grade material made its way into nuclear reactors in the United States through the Megatons to Megawatts program. During the program, about 10% of all electricity generated in the U.S came weapons once aimed at the country. Now, after nearly 20 years, the program is coming to an end as the final shipment of Soviet-era uranium, now nuclear fuel, arrived in Baltimore."
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Inventor of AK-47 Dies at 94

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about 10 months ago

necro81 (917438) writes "Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, an arms designer for the Soviet Union, creator of the AK-47, passed away today at age 94. Kalashnikov was born a peasant and entered the Soviet Army as a conscript. However, the self-taught tinkerer had an aptitude that took him far. The AK-47, his best-known creation, was praised for its reliability and low cost; attributes that have made it the most successful firearm ever, seeing use in homeland defense, rebellion, terrorism, and untold massacres. The inventor was himself ambivalent about the uses his creation had seen, but was nevertheless proud of his contribution to his country, where he is praised as a hero."
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Another Casualty of Typhoon Haiyan: Geothermal Power

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about a year ago

necro81 (917438) writes "Little known even in environmental circles is a renewable energy success story: five geothermal power plants on Leyte Island in the Philippines — each of which producing enough power for the entire island — that collectively produce more than 10% of the Philippines total electrical demand. From boreholes deep underground comes pressurized water heated to 280 Celcius. At the surface it flashes into steam, turning one set of turbines, then cools and contracts to spin a second set of turbines. The low-grade steam is then condensed back into water and reinjected into the bedrock. But Typhoon Haiyan destroyed the cooling towers, snapped transmission towers, and scattered the employees."
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MAVEN mission to Mars will proceed, despite shutdown

necro81 necro81 writes  |  1 year,27 days

necro81 (917438) writes "Due to the ongoing shutdown of the U.S. Government, NASA is largely grounded. This is bad for all kinds of reasons, but one particularly bad outcome would have been missing the launch window for the MAVEN spacecraft, due to launch 18 November. The next launch window would not have been until 2016. MAVEN, thankfully, has been given the go-ahead, in large part because this orbiter will serve as a vital communications link for the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers currently on the surface. Currently, these rovers are served by two aging orbiters: Mars Odyssey (launched 2001) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (launched 2005). Maintaining communications with the rovers is considered essential, hence the preparations and launch will proceed. (NASA's official mission website is currently offline.)"
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MAVEN mission to Mars will proceed, despite shutdown

necro81 necro81 writes  |  1 year,27 days

necro81 (917438) writes "Due to the ongoing shutdown of the U.S. Government, NASA is largely grounded. This is bad for all kinds of reasons, but one particularly bad outcome would have been missing the launch window for the MAVEN spacecraft, due to launch 18 November. The next launch window would not have been until 2016. MAVEN, thankfully, has been given the go-ahead, in large part because this orbiter will serve as a vital communications link for the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers currently on the surface. Currently, these rovers are served by two aging orbiters: Mars Odyssey (launched 2001) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (launched 2005). Maintaining communications with the rovers is considered essential, hence the preparations and launch will proceed. (NASA's official mission website is currently offline.)"
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Link Rot and the U.S. Supreme Court

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about a year ago

necro81 (917438) writes "Hyperlinks are not forever. Link rot occurs when a source you've linked to no longer exists — or worse, exists in a different state than when the link was originally made. Even permalinks aren't necessarily permanent if a domain goes silent or switches ownership. According to new research from Harvard Law, some 49% of hyperlinks in Supreme Court documents no longer point to the correct original content. A second studyon link rot from Yale stresses that for the Court footnotes, citations, parenthetical asides, and historical context mean as much as the text of an opinion itself, which makes link rot a threat to future scholarship."
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Apple's New TouchID - Breakthrough or Disaster?

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about a year ago

necro81 (917438) writes "Apple isn't the first company to integrate a fingerprint reader into a cellphone. But with the introduction of TouchID into the home button of the new iPhone 5S, Apple has thrust the technology front and center, and made a big gamble in the process. Will users accept it? Will other companies follow? What happens if the false positive/false negative rates are too high? Without an open and inspectable protocol, we have to take Apple at its word that the fingerprint data exist only in the sensor and the (local) processor; no APIs for third-party access have been announced. Is this an acceptable security model? If it's an awful model, is it at least better than the alternative (passcodes, or nothing at all)?"
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Transporting a 15-m, 600-ton Magnet Cross Country

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

necro81 (917438) writes "Although its Tevatron particle accelerator has gone dark, Fermi Laboratory outside Chicago is still doing physics. A new experiment, called muon g-2 will investigate quantum mechanical behavior of the electron's heavier sibling: the muon. Fermi needs a large ring chamber to store the muons it produces and investigates, and it just so happens that Brookhaven National Laboratory outside NYC has one to spare. But how do you transport a delicate, 15-m diameter, 600-ton superconducting magnet halfway across the country? Very carefully."
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Fukushima cooling knocked offline by...a rat

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

necro81 (917438) writes "The cooling system at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, responsible for keeping the spent fuel pools at an appropriate temperature, lost power early on March 18th. During the blackout, the temperature in the spent fuel pools gradually increased, although TEPCO officials indicated the pools could warm for four days without risking radiation release. Power was restored earlier this morning, and the pools should be back to normal temperature in a few days. During the repairs the charred remains of a rat were found in a critical area of wiring, leading some to believe that this rodent was the cause of this latest problem. At least it wasn't a mynock — then we'd really be in trouble."
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Towards a 50% Efficient Solar Cell

necro81 necro81 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

necro81 (917438) writes "IEEE Spectrum magazine has a feature article describing DARPA-funded work towards developing a solar cell that's 50% efficient, for a finished module that's 40% efficient — suitable for charging a soldier's gadgets in the field. Conventional silicon and thin-film PV tech can hit cell efficiencies of upwards of 20%, with finished modules hovering in the teens. Triple-junction cells can top 40%, but are expensive to produce and not practical in most applications. Current work by the Very High Efficiency Solar Cell program uses optics (dichroic films) to concentrate incoming sunlight by 20-200x, and split it into constituent spectra, which fall on many small solar cells of different chemistries, each tuned to maximize the conversion of different wavelengths."
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US Supreme Court rules against Warantless GPS Trac

necro81 necro81 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

necro81 (917438) writes "In a rare 9-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled (PDF) in United States v. Jones that law enforcement needed to obtain a search warrant before installing a GPS tracker on a suspect's car, then monitoring the car's movements. The Court split 5-4, however, on the scope of the ruling, and ruled largely on the fact that they installed the tracker on the defendant's private property (a car), sidestepping much larger questions about pervasive police tracking using GPS, cameras, and cellphones."
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HPV Vaccine Recommended for Boys

necro81 necro81 writes  |  about 3 years ago

necro81 (917438) writes "An advisory committee to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon issue new recommendations that pre-adolescent boys be vaccinated against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The disease is sexually transmitted, endemic in the sexually active, can cause genital warts in both men and women, and is the primary cause of cervical cancer, which kills hundreds of thousands of women globally each year. The three-dose vaccination has been available for several years and already recommended for pre-adolescent girls. Vaccinating boys should further reduce transmission"
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Integrating Capacitors into Car Frames

necro81 necro81 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

necro81 (917438) writes "It has long been recognized that adding capacitors in parallel with batteries can improve the performance of hybrid and electric vehicles by accepting and supplying spikes of power, which reduces stress on the battery pack, extending range and improving cycle life. But where to put them, when batteries already compete for space? A new research prototype from Imperial College London has integrated them into the body panels and structural frame of the vehicle itself. In their prototype, carbon fiber serves as both the structure for the vehicle and electrode for the energy storage sandwiched within."
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Capturing Solar Power with Antennae

necro81 necro81 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

necro81 (917438) writes "Researchers at the University of Missouri and the Idaho National Laboratory have demonstrated a new method of capturing solar power. Rather than using semiconductors to capture photons of sunlight, they fabricated small coiled antennae (several um square) that resonate with the wave nature of light. The antennae are tuned towards midrange infrared light (5-10 um), which is abundant on our cozy-warm Earth — even at night. They also demonstrated a way to imprint these coils on a substrate, like how CDs or vinyl records are produced, but could be scaled to roll-to-roll mass production. The usual caveat applies: it may be 5-10 years until this could hit the market."
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Cisco to Close Flip Camera Unit

necro81 necro81 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

necro81 (917438) writes "When the Flip video camera arrived on the scene a few years ago, it made a splash. Compared to its camcorder brethren, it was smaller, lighter, easier, and cheaper. It was a much ballyhooed touchstone of the Good Enough Revolution. Competitors rushed in; the Flip evolved. Now the Flip is seeing its last days. Cisco, which bought Flip for more than $500 million just two years ago, will close Flip down as part of a money-saving restructuring. The ubiquity video-capable smartphones and pocket cameras has largely eliminated the Flip's niche market."
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Segway Company Owner Dies While Driving A Segway

necro81 necro81 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

necro81 (917438) writes "Jimi Heselden, the British multi-millionaire defense contractor and philanthropist, who bought the Segway company last December from inventor Dean Kamen, died yesterday after an accident while riding one of the machines. While using a ruggedized X2 version of the two-wheeled balancing scooter at his estate in North Yorkshire, he apparently drove over the edge of a precipice and into the River Wharfe. He was found later by a passerby and declared dead on the scene."
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Ted Stevens and Sean O'Keefe in plane crash

necro81 necro81 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

necro81 (917438) writes "The NY Times is reporting that former Senator Ted Stevens was aboard a small plane with eight others that crashed in remote southwest Alaska Monday night. Reuters is reporting that he died, along with at least four others. Meanwhile, the North American CEOof aerospace firm EADS and former NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe was was also reported in the crash. Rescue crews from the Alaska Air National Guard reached the site about ten hours after the initial crash."

Journals

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necro81 necro81 writes  |  more than 7 years ago http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/04/06/036222

Just bookmarking the 5 minutes of fame that the Cool Robot got here on slashdot.

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