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Siemens To Exit Nuclear Power Business

wronski Re:German policy costs at least 25000 lives/year (400 comments)

I didnt realize these plants generated power through human sacrifce. How does that work? I suppose that if you carve out someones heart and then Quetzaqual grants you a few gigajoules.

more than 3 years ago

Publicly Shaming Laptop Thieves Catches Bystanders in the Crossfire

wronski Re:Pics (372 comments)

Mind your manners, sir! This is Slashdot, not 4chan, we have standards here.

more than 3 years ago

The Press Reacts To Steve Jobs' Departure — in 1985

wronski Steve who? (207 comments)

Who cares about this Jobs fellow? Cmdr Taco has resigned!!

more than 3 years ago

Massive Diamond Found Orbiting Pulsar

wronski Diamond iceberg (diamonbergs?) in fiction (204 comments)

There were also diamond icebergs in Arthur C Clarkes 2061. Admittedly, a pretty mediocre book, both compared to 2001 and 2010 and to ADitS. And lets not forget F. Scott Fitzgeralds A diamond as big as the Ritz...

more than 3 years ago

SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon Make It To Orbit

wronski Re:This is pretty big. (200 comments)

Well, the USAF X-47B just returned from 270+ days in (constantly changing) orbit, doing god knows what. And it also has some downmass capability. From the space enthusiast point of view, I would call that good news too. Also, the X-43 is out of storage. For god knows what, but possibly to be fitted with a Merlin engine and flown underneath VG's White Knight II. Fun things are happening in space flight. They are just not happening (mainly) at NASA any more.

about 4 years ago

Google Considered Too Big To Fail

wronski current internet not inevitable or irreversible (366 comments)

*If* google fails, it won't be around one day and gone the next. In any case, there are other search engines that do a nearly as good a job as google, so we would still be able to do search. Migrating from Gmail would be slightly more complicated, but would still be doable, especially considering that all other free email providers would love to, and actively encourage and help anyone wanting to migrate. Generally, if google stumbles, there are plenty of others ready and willing to pick up the slack. -- Far more worrying would to have a systemic failure of the entire 'free stuff & ads 'business model. If providing free search and/or email (and social networking) is no longer profitable, we are truly screwed. It is not that we would have to pay much for search and email (marginal costs are very small); but the net would probably balkanize (if search isn't free, why would content? And in this case, why link to your competitor's content?) and stovepipe. Using the Internet use would end up looking like using a mobile phone. Useful, no doubt. But a shadow of what its former self. -- Sorry for the melodrama; but the current human architecture of the internet is very fortuitous, but was hardly inevitable. It emerged, largely unplanned, from a series of developments that could easily have happened elsehow. There are other ways of creating a world wide network, that would do almost all that the net does, but provide much more top-down control.

more than 4 years ago

Sony Prototype Sends Electricity Through the Air

wronski Re:Basic physics/electronics fail? (240 comments)

err... its only inverse-square if the energy is unfocused. Since we are talking about a *beam*, this is clearly not the case. The parallel is not exact, but we have known how to transmit EM radiation directionally for decades (what do you think all those parabolic dishes are for?), thereby avoiding inverse-square attenuation; the EM energy is 'beamed' to a receiving antenna, where it induces a current and hence transmits energy. In this case, the trick is constructing a primary coil such that most of the magnetic flux lines that cross it also cross a secondary coil (i.e., it preserves most of the magnectic flux). A AC current on the primary will induce a current in the secondary, and the energy efficiency will be the ratio between the magnectic flux in both coils. Interestingly, if you apply a DC current to one of these coils, you will end up with a very focused electromagnet. You could use it to manipulate a small permanent magnet far away from the coil (on the order of the AC transmission distance), for instance. This sort of remote, non invasive manipulation must have tons of application, from surgical (e.g., guiding a probe to a clogged artery), to military (defusing bombs), to whatever (safecracking anyone?) Anyway, very cool stuff.

more than 5 years ago

What To Cover In a Short "DIY Tech" Course?

wronski Designing and building (256 comments)

I'm sure there will be many interesting suggestions, but to me it would be preferable to focus on building simpler devices which the students design themselves, rather than something fancier that forces them to simply follow a blueprint (because they won't have the time/expertise to design it from scratch). Of course, there will be a continuum between 'built from scratch' and 'paint by numbers'-type projects, with different levels of student involvement in its design, and you'll have to find your balance.

more than 5 years ago

Shaolin Monks May Sue Over Tale of Defeat by Ninja

wronski Pirates vs. Monks vs. Ninjas (284 comments)

Yet more proof, as if any was needed, that pirates rule. Shaolin Monks use lawyers to intimidate; Ninjas are intimidated by lawyers. Pirates, by definition, are not afraid of lawyers, and have no use for them except as ballast. QED.

more than 7 years ago


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