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IBM Solar Concentrator Can Produce12kW/day, Clean Water, and AC

trip11 Re:Plain solar panels cost less (268 comments)

Actually it can be cheaper in some cases. Say 1 square yard (hey just using the units in the article) of solar cells costs $100. Then if you can focus 20 times the light on it you're generating slightly less than 20X the power for that $100 bucks plus the cost of the concentrator. If said concentrator costs less than $100 bucks * 19 you win. If it costs more, you don't win. But no cost announced so I'm guessing its stupid expensive or they'd be shouting it from the rooftops.

about 4 months ago

Decay: A Zombie Film Set at the LHC

trip11 Excited for this (1 comments)

I can't wait for the first showing here at... an un-named lab ;)

more than 2 years ago

House Passes TV Commercial Volume Bill

trip11 Re:Alternate solution (408 comments)

BUT WAIT! If you order in the next 4 seconds I'll triple your offer.

more than 4 years ago

The Strange Case of Solar Flares and Radioactive Decay Rates

trip11 Re:decay rates based on season? (408 comments)

I read the article (yes yes I know). But in summary, your hypothesis (temperature fluctations0 was what everyone thought, but the groundbreaking bit was that they did an experiment that provides a LOT of evidence to the contrary.

The sun has a cycle of it's own (about 1 month). They did a much more accurate study and found the decay rate is tightly correlated to the sun's cycle.

Longer version:
The theory now is that it has to do with the neutrino flux. As we move further from the sun the flux goes down by 1/R^2. We saw that fluctuation first. But the neutrino flux also varies with the solar cycle which is independent of the earth's temperature.

This is very very cool experimental physics. Kudo's to them!

more than 4 years ago

Fermilab Experiment Hints At Multiple Higgs Particles

trip11 Re:Ironically (271 comments)

The story told to me by Dr. Jackson (of electrodynamics fame):

It's catalyzed fusion because the muon isn't used up, it is released to catalyze again. When they discovered this, people were really excited because the muon *does* live long enough to get past the break-even point even when you consider the energy used to create the muon in the first place. There was all kinds of talk of cold fusion (this was back in the 60s I think). The catch is about a 1% chance that the muon gets ejected in such a way from the fusion such that it can't catalyze the next one. That argument is a bit more subtle, but it is apparently what causes the whole thing to fall apart when talking about a net energy gain. It just takes more energy to produce a muon than ~100 fusing hydrogen atoms will provide.

more than 4 years ago

Google's Experimental Fiber Network

trip11 Re:For the love of all that is good... (363 comments)

I'm out west (Aurora), but I'm reasonably happy with AT&T's dsl service. I get 6.0 Mbps for $35/mo and I can substain pretty close to that all the time. About 500-600KB/s average download speed every time I do something that maxes it out. I've only had the service go out once (for 10 minutes) in the last 6 months, so I'm pretty happy with that too.

more than 4 years ago

Gigantic Air Gun To Blast Cargo Into Orbit

trip11 Pumpkins (384 comments)

The real question on all of our minds though: "How far will it launch a pumpkin?"

more than 5 years ago

Early Look At EVE Creators' DUST 514

trip11 Re:Like BF2142 (81 comments)

The corp/alliance structure will really help with this I think. From the article, it sounds like as a merc you'll be hired personally. So yes, you might get hired to lead a random bunch of morons who won't do anything you say. OR you get hired along with the rest of your corp/alliance to beat up on the members of another corp.

In the second case, if the grunts you are commanding don't follow orders, kick them out the corp. Put black marks by their names. Tell everyone how much they suck. Refuse to command them again.

The question, I think, comes down to the DUST players. How many serious players will get involved in the corp/alliance structure? How many halo players will just want some laughs screwing everyone over? If there are enough of the former that you can avoid hiring the latter, this will be awesome. If the *only* way to populate your battlefield is to hire the casual players, then I agree, the RTS side of things will degenerate quickly.

But as long as there are some rewards for winning a fight, I imagine the serious players will gravitate towards the serious generals and form groups that are very hard for casual players to beat. All in all a win for user-driven content.

more than 5 years ago

Scientists Build World's Fastest Camera

trip11 Re:Ok? (130 comments)

Eh, on the LHC at full steam, we have collisions at 40MHz. The ATLAS pixel detector, is an 80M pixel chunk (or rather ~28k chunks) of silicon. Admitedly, most of that data never makes it out of the on chip electronics, and it has to be triggered, and the pictures are VERY sparse (a few thousand pixels fireing in an event out of the 80M), but still. We can take those snapshots damn fast.

more than 5 years ago

Slashdot Launches User Achievements

trip11 RE:ME ME ME! (1582 comments)


more than 5 years ago

How Much Longer Will Physical Game Distribution Survive?

trip11 Eve onlin (478 comments)

Check out the sales of Eve online on march 10th. They are putting it out in a box set for the first time (well practically the first time). Before now it's been download only. If the number of people playing shoot up, that's a good indicator. Likewise if the box set falls flat.

more than 5 years ago

Physics Experiments To Inspire Undergraduates?

trip11 Cyclotrons, He, Muon detectors (249 comments)

Build a particle accelerator. Not a big one. I've seen homemade cyclotron on slashdot before: http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/10/20/1626204&tid=134&tid=14/ Point it at your cloud chamber when you're done, of course.

Superfluid He is also wickedly cool. If you can build something to house it, and pump on it until it gets cold enough, you should be able to do some cool experiments with it.

Though not as visually appealing as a cloud chamber, building a detector to measure the lifetime of a muon was one of my favorite undergrad experiments. Three scientilators stacked on top of each other wired into a bunch of electronics, along with the right formulas, and you can get a reasonable measurement. My prof gave us a Phys Rev paper describing how it was done years ago, access to the parts we needed, a scope, and a computer that had a labview application set up for counting experiments. We figured out the electronic logic from the paper, used the scope to debug and set all the triggers correctly, then had to figure out how to actually calcuate the lifetime from what we measured (along with systematic + statistical errrors). Hard, yes, but man we learned a good deal about real nuts and bolts experimental physics that quarter.

more than 5 years ago

Earliest LHC Restart Slated For Late Summer 2009

trip11 Re:Some random points (229 comments)

I am one of those students waiting for data actually. I was even at the talk in question. One thing though is that the 2010 plan is just a proposed plan, nothing in stone. Apparently it has less support than the plan starting this summer, but they are still debating which is the best way to go.

There was another announcement recently as well pointing towards the summer 2009 plan, so it is probably more likely. We'll know more in Feb once they've had more chance to study the data from the incident.

more than 6 years ago

Researchers Getting the Lead Out of Electronics

trip11 Re:Lead solder replacement (178 comments)

Actually he's not completely wrong. When you say an object is at a given tempature, you are refering to the average tempature of the whole object. Individual atoms can be moving faster/slower than the average so really there is a whole spectrum of tempatures (this is very well known for an ideal gas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MaxwellBoltzmann_distribution/ )

While the same formulas won't hold for a metal, the same ideas will be true. Another example. When you sweat, your skin is cooled by the fact the water is vaporizing (evaporating) off of your skin. But of course your skin is far from 100C, however some of the water will still vaporize.

I don't know the specifics for lead, but there will still be some fraction of the lead that will vaporize off at well below 2000 degrees. If that fraction is big or so small that it doesn't matter is another point all together.

more than 6 years ago


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