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Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

pepty Re:"beofuels from corn" is not just stupid (65 comments)

But I have measured that I get AT LEAST 10% less millage in my 2013 Mazda on gasoline diluted with alcohol than I do with pure gasoline.

Assuming that's true: is it likely to be due to the way the ECU and the emissions system treat the ethanol/fuel mix? Lots of cars are optimized for lowest production of NOx, carbon monoxide, etc, as opposed to highest efficiency. Just an example: the PZEV version of my Mazda gets 10% less HP and torque than the same car with the then standard (non California) emissions package.

4 minutes ago
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Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

pepty Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (373 comments)

the net effect is negative $90/ton: you not only lose the $30/ton you were making, but you also now have to pay an additional $60/ton to get rid of it.

So ... 3 cents per sixpack.

yesterday
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Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

pepty Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (373 comments)

I read TFA. You're assuming the breweries would actually follow through with that, as opposed to dumping or finding some other taker for the spent grain (compost, etc). If they dump it the loss of revenue and cost of disposal might amount to ... 3 cents per sixpack. Does that sound like a beer price crisis on the horizon to you?

TFA also mentions that the price of dairy products would rise due to the farmers having to pay more for feed.

Yup. That's why I said the price of feed would go up.

yesterday
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Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

pepty Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (373 comments)

Their waste per unit of beer would remain the same, so it wouldn't do anything to costs unless the change in production level was extreme enough to change their margins in some other way.

yesterday
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Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

pepty Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (373 comments)

How about reading more than the headline and the comments to see if the government has a point?

FDA rule would require brewers and distillers to keep extensive records to allow for traceability in the event of a problem, and to adopt new safety procedures, for example by storing and shipping spent grain in closed sanitized containers.

Is that really so unreasonable? If records aren't kept there's a chance problems have been missed. And oh, the horror of having to ship animal food in containers that have actually been cleaned.

yesterday
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Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

pepty Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (373 comments)

Complete clickbait.

If timothy had actually RTFA that he cited then he would see that this won't affect the price of beer much at all:

Many brewers give the grain away to get rid of it while others sell it to brokers at a low price. Widmer, for example, sells it for $30 a ton. “This is not a large revenue stream for us,” Mennen said.

That works out to losing $30 in revenue per 2000 gallons of beer. It would, however, increase the price farmers pay for feed.

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

pepty Re:Dupe (168 comments)

The more you read the stories, the more they all differ. Slate says that LeMessurier didn't take into account quartering winds and leaves out the unnamed professor entirely. New Yorker credits the professor with bringing up the problem, but says LeMessurier did take into account quartering winds from the beginning; he decided to revisit the issue after talking to the student. The DamnInteresting story doesn't even agree with itself, first giving credit to the professor:

An engineering student named Diane Hartley contacted him to ask some technical questions about the design, which he was delighted to address. Hartley's professor had expressed doubts regarding the strength of a stilted skyscraper where the support columns were not on the corners. "Listen, I want you to tell your teacher that he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about," LeMessurier told Hartley, "because he doesn't know the problem that had to be solved."

then later giving credit to Hartley:

Diane Hartley--the engineering student who had originally identified the error and alerted LeMessurier--almost certainly saved hundreds of lives and millions of dollars with her sharp eye and intrepid action.

I wonder if the BBC documentary has its own version or if it supports one of the others?

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

pepty Re:Risk (168 comments)

LeMessurier didn't forget systematic risk, but he certainly evaluated it differently than the disaster planning engineer he brought on board to help deal with the problem:

http://people.duke.edu/~hpgavin/cee421/citicorp1.htm

LeMessurier didn't think an evacuation would be necessary. He believed that the building was safe for occupancy in all but the most violent weather, thanks to the tuned mass damper, and he insisted that the damper's reliability in a storm could be assured by installing emergency generators. Robertson conceded the importance of keeping the damper running--it had performed flawlessly since it became operational earlier that year---but, because, in his view, its value as a safety device was unproved, he flatly refused to consider it as a mitigating factor. (In a conversation shortly after the World Trade Center bombing, Robertson noted dryly that the twin towers' emergency generators "lasted for fifteen minutes.")

I wonder if the emergency generators are in a basement that could flood?

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

pepty Re:Missing the obvious? (168 comments)

One of the sources for the story (they disagree a bit):

http://people.duke.edu/~hpgavin/cee421/citicorp1.htm

When LeMessurier called the student back, he related this with the pride of a master builder and the elaborate patience of a pedagogue; he, too, taught a structural-engineering class, to architecture students at Harvard. Then he explained how the peculiar geometry of the building, far from constituting a mistake, put the columns in the strongest position to resist what sailors call quartering winds--those which come from a diagonal and, by flowing across two sides of a building at once, increase the forces on both. For further enlightenment on the matter, he referred the student to a technical article written by LeMessurier's partner in New York, an engineer named Stanley Goldstein. LeMessurier recalls, "I gave him a lot of information, and I said, 'Now you really have something on your professor, because you can explain all of this to him yourself.'"

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

pepty Re:What happened to that undergrad? (168 comments)

The oldest source the author used (a '95 New Yorker piece that broke the story) said he was lost to history, and quoted LeMessurier:

"I was very nice to this young man," LeMessurier recalls. "But I said, 'Listen, I want you to tell your teacher that he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about, because he doesn't know the problem that had to be solved.' I promised to call back after my meeting and explain the whole thing."

None of the sources agree on the details of how the problem was discovered.

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

pepty Re:Tuned mass damper (168 comments)

If the hydraulic struts (dampers) connected to the mass were connected with something like ball joints the mass could rotate as well as move side to side. Would that help damp torsional movement of the building? Also, I don't think the problem they were addressing was actually twisting of the building. The support columns are in the middle of the faces instead of at the corners, so the building was vulnerable to "lateral" forces (NE-SW, NW-SE) overloading bolts on the columns.

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

pepty Re:What happened to that undergrad? (168 comments)

She (Hartley) got varying credit for the story - each version of the story seems to split the amount of insight Hartley, her professor, and LeMessurier contributed to finding the problem differently. Regardless, she didn't find out about her contribution until 20 years later. Depending on the source you read: Her professor raised the issue of quartering winds. She called and talked to one of LeMessurier's staffers about them. LeMessurier called back and explained how he had taken quartering winds into account. Then he decided to recheck his calculations, since he had recently heard about a change in construction (bolts instead of welds). Or (much more newsworthy): Hartley did the calculations herself and told LeMessurier that his building would fall over.

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

pepty Re:They kept it SECRET so lots can be kept secret? (168 comments)

Um, this story is posted on /. The original architect spoke about the incident regularly and educated thousands of students using it as a lesson. I also remember seeing an entire special on PBS about this incident.

It was only a secret during the remediation phase.

According to Slate, the story wasn't public for over 15 years:

The story remained a secret until writer Joe Morgenstern overheard it being told at a party, and interviewed LeMessurier. Morgenstern broke the story in The New Yorker in 1995.

A tidbit that would explain why the city would let them keep it secret and not evacuate during the mediation phase (from the people.duke.edu link):

LeMessurier didn't think an evacuation would be necessary. He believed that the building was safe for occupancy in all but the most violent weather, thanks to the tuned mass damper, and he insisted that the damper's reliability in a storm could be assured by installing emergency generators. Robertson conceded the importance of keeping the damper running--it had performed flawlessly since it became operational earlier that year---but, because, in his view, its value as a safety device was unproved, he flatly refused to consider it as a mitigating factor. (In a conversation shortly after the World Trade Center bombing, Robertson noted dryly that the twin towers' emergency generators "lasted for fifteen minutes.")

They probably believed LeMessurier, not Robertson. As to secrecy after the mediation: standard nondisclose agreements, probably.

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

pepty Re:Dupe (168 comments)

Three different sources, four different versions of the events (the Slashdot summary cobbles together its own take). I wonder which version is closest to the truth?

Damninteresting:

Diane Hartley contacted him to ask some technical questions about the design, which he was delighted to address. Hartley's professor had expressed doubts regarding the strength of a stilted skyscraper where the support columns were not on the corners. ... But the conversation got him thinking, and he started doing some calculations on just how much diagonal wind the structure could withstand. He was particularly interested in the effects of an engineering change made during construction which had seemed benign at the time: numerous joints were secured with bolts rather than welds.

Slate:

According to LeMessurier, in 1978 an undergraduate architecture student contacted him with a bold claim about LeMessurier’s building: that Citicorp Center could blow over in the wind. The student (who has since been lost to history) was studying Citicorp Center and had found that the building was particularly vulnerable to quartering winds (winds that strike the building at its corners). Normally, buildings are strongest at their corners, and it’s the perpendicular winds (winds that strike the building at its faces) that cause the greatest strain. But this was not a normal building. LeMessurier had accounted for the perpendicular winds, but not the quartering winds. He checked the math and found that the student was right. He compared what velocity winds the building could withstand with weather data and found that a storm strong enough to topple Citicorp Center hits New York City every 55 years. But that’s only if the tuned mass damper, which keeps the building stable, is running. LeMessurier realized that a major storm could cause a blackout and render the tuned mass damper inoperable. Without the tuned mass damper, LeMessurier calculated that a storm powerful enough to take out the building his New York every 16 years.

people.duke.edu:

The student wondered about the columns--there are four--that held the building up. According to his professor, LeMessurier had put them in the wrong place. "I was very nice to this young man," LeMessurier recalls. "But I said, 'Listen, I want you to tell your teacher that he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about, because he doesn't know the problem that had to be solved.' I promised to call back after my meeting and explain the whole thing." When LeMessurier called the student back, he related this with the pride of a master builder and the elaborate patience of a pedagogue; he, too, taught a structural-engineering class, to architecture students at Harvard. Then he explained how the peculiar geometry of the building, far from constituting a mistake, put the columns in the strongest position to resist what sailors call quartering winds--those which come from a diagonal and, by flowing across two sides of a building at once, increase the forces on both. For further enlightenment on the matter, he referred the student to a technical article written by LeMessurier's partner in New York, an engineer named Stanley Goldstein. LeMessurier recalls, "I gave him a lot of information, and I said, 'Now you really have something on your professor, because you can explain all of this to him yourself.'"

...

LeMessurier had long since established the strength of those braces in perpendicular winds--the only calculation required by New York City's building code. Now, in the spirit of intellectual play, he wanted to see if they were just as strong in winds hitting from forty-five degrees. His new calculations surprised him. In four of the eight chevrons in each tier, a quartering wind increased the strain by forty per cent. Under normal circumstances, the wind braces would have absorbed the extra load without so much as a tremor. But the circumstances were not normal. A few weeks before, during a meeting in his office, LeMessurier had learned of a crucial change in the way the braces were joined.

yesterday
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Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

pepty Re:Yay for government!!! (137 comments)

yup, a cellphone kill switch sounds ripe for government abuse and oppression & tyranny

So do cell phones.

4 days ago
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Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

pepty Re:Hulk hogan could code too (578 comments)

If your success is dependent on guessing everyone is rich or depressed I wouldn't count on it for very long.

about a week ago
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PC Gaming Alive and Dominant

pepty Re:Wrong! (245 comments)

Does playing lots of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., or Metro 2033, or tetris count?

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

pepty Re:Hulk hogan could code too (578 comments)

Wow, the economy must be recovering like crazy if the McDs and Walmarts are on such a hiring spree!

Not the good king of crazy though. The middle class jobs that were lost during the recession aren't being replaced with new ones, instead there has been an increase in new low wage jobs. Who is going to buy all of the fancy embossed hand crafted leather kindle covers?

Everyone I know who uses maids and gardners, the "landscaping company" is a half-dozen recent immigrants, one of whom owns the company. Maid services are similar. These are small businesses, with successful owners.

Odd. Upthread you said gardeners and maids are making $50 per hour. One comment later and it's only the people who own the landscaping or housekeeping company who make that, the rest are borderline impoverished. Successful owners with borderline impoverished employees. Um, hooray? Is that the model for our new economy?

But in any case, you can certainly live on $20/yr - I've done it. Living like a student with roommates and cheap everything, but sometimes that's life.

Yep sometimes life means not being able provide for your kid. Or being able to save for retirement. It's not just twentysomethings stuck in these jobs.

about two weeks ago

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