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Comments

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Radioactive Wild Boars Still Roaming the Forests of Germany

the_other_chewey Re:Interesting line from TFA: (179 comments)

North Italy, Austria and then south Germany where the first regions hit by the Chernobyl explosion.

Don't quote me on that, but I'm decently sure that Chernobyl (and Pripyat) were the first regions hit by the Chernobyl explosion...

yesterday
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

the_other_chewey Re:Corroborating Hieroglyphics? (202 comments)

It is estimated the Great Pyramid was built in just over twenty years. So say 7500 days - which means placing 320 blocks a day assuming you work 365 days 24 hours a day. Pretty sure the Egyptians would be limited to daylight hours work, so they'd need to cut & move at least 500 blocks a day.

What? No! The limitation to daylight hours meant they had to be faster per stone,
but it didn't suddenly double the amount of stones needed.

A 2.4 million stone pyramid built in 20 years is built at an average rate of 229 stones
per day, completely independent of the length of the work day.

5 days ago
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Facebook Experimenting With Blu-ray As a Storage Medium

the_other_chewey Re:Why not just use hard drives and then store... (193 comments)

You're not factoring in the 2011 Thailand flood that set back Moore's Law for hard drives by 2+ years...

This might have set back manufacturing and availability of existing products
at the time, but whyTF would it have set back R&D for new products?

about two weeks ago
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The First Particle Physics Evidence of Physics Beyond the Standard Model?

the_other_chewey Re:Betteridge's Law (97 comments)

Oh, Really?

No, really.

about two weeks ago
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Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

the_other_chewey Re:No difference (105 comments)

Actually for reading books knowing where you are does help line up the story. (beginning middle or end)

I think that's true. If so, maybe a small progress bar along the top of an e-reader continuously showing where you are in the book could be helpful. I don't know if any e-readers offer such a feature.

Mine does: "Cool Reader" for Android.

It includes tic marks for chapters, a "% completed" number, and even
calculates "time left in chapter" and "time left in book", automatically
calibrated to my reading speed.

It's very unobtrusive and I rarely if ever look at the numbers, but the small,
few-pixel-high progress bar is quite useful.

about two weeks ago
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Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

the_other_chewey Re:god dammit. The Numbers (521 comments)

That's 28,000 birds for this current, small, solar installation: 0.4GWh, when the US uses tends of thousands of GWh.

Please don't mix units or make up numbers. A GWh is different from a GW.

This installation has a peak capacity of about 400MW. Total installed peak capacity
in the US (Total net summer capacity) is just a bit over 1000GW.

Interesting note: the growth in capacity over the years shown in this graph is made up nearly
exclusively by renewables and gas, both contributing about half. I hate stacked bar graphs for
obscuring such things, but there's a "download data" option in the top right corner of the graph
so you can look at the raw numbers (they're also in the page source, as a JSON object).

about two weeks ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

the_other_chewey Re:meh (164 comments)

When your country becomes the largest military force on Earth, then YOU can dictate measurement units.

Until then, neener, neener!

Ah crap, not another military failure.

Good job on Liberia and Myanmar though, keep it up!

about three weeks ago
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NFL Fights To Save TV Blackout Rule Despite $9 Billion Revenue

the_other_chewey Re:Punishes fans? (216 comments)

its very telling that the NFL needs a *law* to force people to go to games and pay their exhorbitant ticket costs.

It's the law forcing a limiting of the Blackout Rule on the NFL, not
the NFL being forced to use the Blackout Rule by the law.

The NFL doen't even care about people coming to the stadiums:
The teams are allowed to purchase remaining seats to "unlock"
the broadcasting for the price of the league's share of the ticket sales.

So it's the NFL trying to force maximum revenue per game (for the NFL, that is).

about three weeks ago
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NFL Fights To Save TV Blackout Rule Despite $9 Billion Revenue

the_other_chewey Re:Punishes fans? (216 comments)

I don't understand how the rule that prevents airing the matches keeps them on free air channels?

Because the NFL has been forced to allow at least that.

I mean, if NFL wants, they sure as fuck can put on a rule that causes them to be always available for broadcasting? and the other way too for that matter.

Yup, absolutely. That's why Blackout Rule is an NFL rule.

I mean, the "if tickets not sold then no show" as a rule sure sounds like it only makes it harder for them to show the matches if they want.

furthermore, WHAT THE FUCKING KIND OF RULE IS THAT!?!? shouldn't the organizer of the event -any event- get to choose if it can be broadcast or not, since aren't they in control of the copyright of the recording????

They are. And again, it's an NFL rule preventing the broadcasting.
In fact, the NFL had to be forced by law (Public Law 93-107) to at least allow broadcasting
in those instances where a game is sold out 72h in advance.

I do understand your confusion though, the summary does a horrible job at explaining what's going on.

about three weeks ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

the_other_chewey Re:Black box data streaming (503 comments)

My guess is cost. Sending data via satellite is very expensive, and there's a lot of data recorded. As for ground stations, I'm not aware of any plane-to-ground data communications currently in use (other than radio for voice) so that would need a completely new infrastructure built.

ACARS. Already built.
It's rather low-bandwidth though.

about a month and a half ago
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Scotland Could Become Home To Britain's First Spaceport

the_other_chewey Re:Rather far north. (151 comments)

Nah mate, Ascension is closer to the equator and already has ESA facilities.

...and pretty much the coolest name ever for a place being used for space operations.

about a month and a half ago
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SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off From Florida

the_other_chewey Re:So was the landing successful? (112 comments)

trying for a soft touch down with enough rocket fuel ant oxidiser to do a soft touch down is always potentially exciting.

I knew Spacex has done some new and inventive things in propulsion systems.
But oxidising rocket fuel ants? That's just plain weird...
I guess the new facility in Texas will include their own ant farm to keep down cost.

about a month and a half ago
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Walter Munk's Astonishing Wave-Tracking Experiment

the_other_chewey Re:Cheap documentary? (55 comments)

Just simple geometry:

Imagine a planet completely covered with water. Now throw in a big stone at one of the poles:
This results in a circular wave expanding from the pole, parallel to the latitudes.
As soon as it crosses the equator, it starts converging again, until it arrives as a peak at the
opposite pole.

Distance from pole to equator: circumference/4.

This works with a stone drop at any other point on the globe as well, I just used poles and
equator because it's easier to imagine. In reality, land masses complicate things a bit of course.

about a month and a half ago
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Germany's Glut of Electricity Causing Prices To Plummet

the_other_chewey Re:WTF? (365 comments)

The prices per kW/h have risen year after year in Germany.

kWh, dammit. Go learn some very basic physics, or you won't even understand what you are being billed for.

about 2 months ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

the_other_chewey Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

So, yeah...in short: Germany's done a great job leading the way. But their power grid is 1/20th the size of ours in terms of power generation/usage, and their nation is also a fraction of ours in size. So what they did can't just be copied and pasted into the US to get us to the same proportion of renewable generation.

There is no German power grid: A huge part of Europe is part of a single, phase-synchronous
grid larger than any of the ones in the US. Germany is part of that grid.

Yes, storage of electricity from uncontrolled sources to always be able to match supply to demand on a
large scale is still pretty much an unsolved problem. It's being worked on.

But I'm sick of the "of course it works for them, but it can never work for us, because we're oh so totally
different!" argument. That's just not true, and you have no point.

If anything, the vast amount of empty space makes large-scale facilities of any kind easier. I'm not sure
large-scale anything is the solution though, distributed generation and storage seem the sensible thing to do.
And doing it is just a question of (political) will.

about 2 months ago
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Astronomers Solve Puzzle of Mysterious Streaks In Radio Images of the Sky

the_other_chewey Re:Cyclotron Radiation? (66 comments)

From the paper: "If a magnetic eld of 10 to 15 G were present within the trail, it follows that cyclotron radiation would be emitted at the observed frequencies by the electrons in the plasma. However, the surface geomagnetic eld is only 0.5 G, so this would require the generation of a strong magnetic eld by a reball, an eect that has never been observed."

Hey, you! Your ligatures aren't showing!

about 3 months ago
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SpaceX Shows Off 7-Man Dragon V2 Capsule

the_other_chewey Re:What else is needed... Rocket engines (140 comments)

Maybe the small matter of getting the thing into space using a rocket engine is why they still need the Russians.

Uh? SpaceX build all their engines in-house.

Consider, for instance, that the Soyuz TMA-M can hang around the space station for 6 months, and be ready for use to return astronauts safely back to Earth, without a maintenance crew having to go and check every nut and bolt - a feat that even the Space Shuttle could never muster (for the record, the Space Shuttle had a mission duration of about 12 days - a few Columbia missions went up to 16/17 days).

That's a human consumables issue. Nobody is living in those Soyuz during that time.
They never tried something like this with the Shuttle, but just docking an empty one for
a couple of months would probably have worked too. A Shuttle landing never required
a maintenance crew (although, in hindsight, this would've been nice. The known problems
were still all launch issues though).

Another example is that it takes the Soyuz just 6 hours to go from launch to docking with the space station (for comparison, it took the space shuttle almost 3 days to reach the space station after launch).

That's a very recent development. It has been used how often now, three, four times?
And of those times, it failed once, falling back to the traditional 3-4 day approach.
Also, it only works because the ISS's orbit has been altered to accomodate this approach mode.
And there's no reason precluding Dragon from doing the same.

There are many other little things like these that are not cool or sexy, but make the ruthless efficiency and effectiveness with which the Soyuz executes and fulfils its purpose is second to none.

It has a very, very impressive track record. Matching this will - by definition - take time and many flights.
But I don't see any capability making Soyuz inherently superior to the alternatives in development.
However, it is about to lose big on price, which is a big one.

about 3 months ago
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How LEDs Are Made

the_other_chewey Re:left out the most important steps (93 comments)

Two factors:

- size doesn't matter (that much): For CPUs, you are creating large (relatively speaking) rectangular
objects on a circle. Thus, the closer your circle outline approaches a straight line (i.e., the larger the circle is),
the less waste silicon you have to cut away. For tiny LED dies, you can basically use the full circle even on
smaller wafers.

- For CPUs, the price is in the processing; for LEDs, it's the materials: LED structures are gigantic compared
to those found on a CPU. They are built using a handful of low precision (again, relatively speaking) production
steps. CPU production is as close to magic as we can nowadays get and uses dozens to hundreds of processing
steps (a wafer for a modern CPU spends about a month inside the fab), where a machine for a single step costs
millions. The cost for the raw wafer itself really doesn't matter.


So:

LEDs are cheap and fast to manufacture, and basically fit on arbitrary wafer shapes:
Raw material prices matter, wafer waste is minimal and doesn't. --> cheap, small wafers.

CPUs are damn hard and slow to manufacture, really only fit on rectangles:
Who cares about wafer prices, but we want optimal yield per processed wafer, so as to have
as little waste as possible --> wafers as large as possible, damn the cost of the wafer.


And lastly: There is no structure size progress in LEDs as there is with CPUs: Once you have a
factory for LEDs, you can use it for a while without upgrading to the newest and smallest process
all the time. So why buy new equipment if the old is perfectly competitive?

about 3 months ago
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Ford's Bringing Adaptive Steering To the Masses

the_other_chewey Re:Ghost in the machine (128 comments)

I remember reading about a vehicle made in Europe that was completely drive-by-wire with no mechanical linkages whatsoever.

This might have been the Mercedes-Benz F200 concept car -
driven by completely electronic sidesticks.

This allowed for some cool features, e.g. completely vibration-free controls on
cobblestones while the electronic steering made continuous tiny adjustments to
the front wheels.

It also means it had no chance to be certified for public roads.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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SpaceX successfully test nine-engine-cluster

the_other_chewey the_other_chewey writes  |  more than 5 years ago

the_other_chewey (1119125) writes "On their test facility in Texas,SpaceX, the privately funded space-flight company, have successfully tested their nine-engine-cluster which is planned to provide the heavy lifting capability for their Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy rockets.

The firing lasted three minutes (a full "mission duty cycle", i.e. a simulated launch) under full power, delivering 3.8MN (or 855,000 lbs.) of thrust. SpaceX have made a video of the test available. The Waco Tribune has a short report about it, with comments by locals."

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