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UK Government Wants to Spring Ahead Two Hours

ultrasound Embedded Controls will have a problem with this (554 comments)

It may not be a problem for high end hardware, but lower end embedded controls with real-time clocks often use hard coded DST algorithms. For example the EU has defined standard DST dates for years in advance, these change-over dates are often hard coded into low-end devices, but with a default +1 advance. This allows a simple hardcoded table to be added to the hardware without the need for any user configuration, other than setting the initial time and date. Short sighted perhaps, but the reality is that there are huge numbers of these types of devices already installed.

There are lots of embedded controls used for time scheduling control of HVAC, Lighting and other timed automatic controls with this level of technology. I can foresee huge problems with equipment needing to be replaced or firmware upgraded if this occurs, or the need for 6 monthly manual time changes.

more than 3 years ago
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Sizing Up the Daedalus Interstellar Spacecraft

ultrasound Re:How many people? (191 comments)

It may be able to accelerate forever, however the rate of acceleration will tend to zero as your velocity tends to c.

more than 3 years ago
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The End of the Dr. Demento Show On Radio

ultrasound Re:I'm ignorant (206 comments)

Radio in the UK is growing stronger each year, from http://www.rajar.co.uk/:

Radio listening reaches all time high as 46.5 million adults tune in to radio each week Radio digital listening hours up 18% and digital share up 19% year on year DAB ownership up 9% year on year to over 1/3 of the population

Althought the commercial stations complain about the dominance of the BBC, the fact that there are so many quality channels on the BBC (no adverts, mandate to produce quality programming) forces the commercial stations to push similar content quality in order to remain competetive.

more than 4 years ago
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Geek Travel To London From the US — Tips?

ultrasound Travel advice (1095 comments)

Public taxis are subsidized by the Her Majesty's Government. A taxi ride in London costs two pounds, no matter how far you travel. If a taxi driver tries to overcharge you, you should yell "I think not, you charlatan!", then grab the nearest policeman (bobby) and have the driver disciplined.

It is rarely necessary to take a taxi, though, since bus drivers are required to make detours at patrons' requests. Just board any bus, pay your fare of thruppence (the heavy gold-colored coins are "pence"), and state your destination clearly to the driver, e.g.: "Please take me to the British Library." A driver will frequently try to have a bit of harmless fun by pretending he doesn't go to your requested destination. Ignore him, as he is only teasing the American tourist (little does he know you're not so ignorant!).

For those travelling on a shoestring budget, the London Tube may be the most economical way to get about, especially if you are a woman. Chivalry is alive and well in Britain, and ladies still travel for free on the Tube. Simply take some tokens from the baskets at the base of the escalators or on the platforms; you will find one near any of the state-sponsored Tube musicians. Once on the platform, though, beware! Approaching trains sometimes disturb the large Gappe bats that roost in the tunnels. The Gappes were smuggled into London in the early 19th century by French saboteurs and have proved impossible to exterminate. The announcement "Mind the Gappe!" is a signal that you should grab your hair and look towards the ceiling. Very few people have ever been killed by Gappes, though, and they are considered only a minor drawback to an otherwise excellent means of transportation.

I can't take credit for this advice, source

more than 4 years ago
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Private Donor Saves Fermilab

ultrasound Re:Why Is That Embarassing??!! (560 comments)

To quote Benjamin Franklin, "What use is a new born baby?".

Throughout the history of science and mathematics the development of many technologies has started many years before in esoteric areas of research. For example: developments in number theory leading to Public Key and other Cryptography, work in sub atomic physics leading to nuclear power (and weapons), quantum physics leading to the current and future developments in microelectronics and photonics, General Relativity to GPS, etc.

The point being that no-one, not even an expert in his field is capable of predicting what will develop from some obscure area of mathematics or physics.

The fantastic advances mankind has made rest on the shoulders of those giants with the intellectual curiosity to explore new subjects, or to look at existing subjects in a new light.

The OP was voicing a sadly prevalent attitude that reflects a decline in the funding of subjects that don't show short term gains, such as the ability to kill people more efficiently. Unfortunately for the USA this is simply one more step backwards whilst developing countries elsewhere are making large steps forwards.

more than 6 years ago

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