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Comment: Re:it could... (Score 1) 128 128

The closest I can think of when it comes to real-world devices that have a large reduction ratio, would be something like the mechanical tachometer/hour counter combinations seen on old tractors and similar -- where the dial indicates something like "hours at 1500 RPM". That makes for a reduction rate of 900000 from the engine shaft to the rightmost wheel of the counting device if that were to rotate once per 10 hours.

But in these, the reduction would be done via several stages of worm-drives, and the reduced speed is important, not the increased torque. And they are thoroughly obsolete -- anything made since the 1980s would use electronic devices to do this.

For torque multiplication, this would require some seriously strong materials in the later stages. Even then, the total power would be limited by the maximum speed of the first stages as well as the maximum torque of the latter stages. Yes, with sufficiently strong materials it could move a house though it would have to do this over a period of several months. Hard to see how this could be practical outside of mechanical instrumentation applications.

Comment: Re:Reversing what now? (Score 2) 421 421

Why would that be a probable outcome ? Why couldn't we just add a little bit of the aerosols, measure the effect, and slowly add some more ?

There is pretty good historical evidence of what did happen when a big volcano blew out lots of ash and particles. Mount Tambora for example, that had an eruption in 1815, and the following year, 1816, became known as "the year without a summer", because of this. There is no good reason to expect a significantly different outcome from filling the atmosphere with other similar particles. It will become colder.

On the other hand, this does argue for the possibility that the system can behave somewhat predictable, with negative feedback as it were, within a smaller range of excitations, like varying the speed of an aircraft as long as it runs faster than stall speed. But once driven past some inflection-point that we can expect to be there, given that the system is chaotic, all bets will be off.

Still, this suggested solution seems to be worse than the problem. The possible increased temperatures and CO2 will just make for better growth conditions for all kinds of plants, of which many are food for animals which in turn are eaten by humans. Less sunlight, less heat, less CO2 and there will be less foliage, then eventually less food available. How can that good for anything?

And finally, back in the 1970s and 1980s, there was a lot of argumentation about acid rain, caused by partculate pollution from coal-fired plants, where the sulfur was precipitated as acid. Countries have managed to put a stop to this kind of pollution, though there are still localized problems with particulate pollution in cities. And now there are someone arguing that this sort of thing actually could be worthwhile in an attempt to halt a perceived warming process?

Comment: Reversing what now? (Score 2) 421 421

This is supposed to "reverse" the climate change? As in making it essentially perpetually cloudy? This sounds nothing so much like a nuclear winter, though without the nukes...

How something like that is going to reverse anything, now climate being that chaotic as it is doesn't easily move forwards or backwards along some line, like a car or animal does. It will change it, sure. Probably to the nuclear winter-like conditions, as if that were anything better than today's situation. Or maybe this would also keep heat in, so we would get what is essentially a runaway greenhouse... now wasn't that what was supposedely the problem initially?

This is just wrong on so many levels...

Comment: One day per hour, more or less (Score 1) 163 163

Going West (from Europe to the US for example) I wake up really early the next morning, then one hour later each subsequent morning. Takes about a week for a 7-hour time difference.

Going east is different. First morning after I am up around 7 or 8, second day I can sleep until 1 PM if allowed to. Then it alternates the following days like that, for about a week for 7 hours as well.

Seems there is some kind of 25-hour cycle active on stretching the day, and a 48-hour cycle in action on compressing the day.

Shorter differences, 1 hour or 3 hour are similar, but the transition time is correspondingly shorter.

Comment: For mathematicians and scientists... ? (Score 1) 224 224

What advantage does this offer over traditional Julian Day numbering. where each day is sequentially numbered and their number is divisible by 7 on Mondays? As long as it is necessary to refer to civil or traditional time that can be easily converted.

Comment: Re:GNU HURD (Score 1) 163 163

From what I remember, NT 4 didn't support USB very well, if at all. Windows 2000 however, did work reasonably well with USB. So unless they had upgraded to Windows 2000 or XP, they would still be stuck with the PS/2 -connected devices.

Interestingly enough, the summary indicates that Hurd still doesn't support USB ... that does limit the selection of useful hardware.

User Journal

Journal: My how time flies... last JE was nearly 5 years ago? 2 2

I'm still here though. But this "new-and-improved" thing, now, I haven't seen much of it yet, but the place is getting rather boring if all posts on all topics are just about how this "beta" thing sucks so bad -- like the worst thing since anyone can remember. Still, interesting to see the old posts about the terabucks and the Gjønnes station that now is a useful metro station again.

Comment: Re:Somewhat connected to that (Score 1) 810 810

Norway's large sales of electric cars is mostly driven by positive incentives: electric cars may use the lanes reserved for busses and taxis, they go free of charge on the toll roads, they are not taxed with VAT when sold, and the yearly vehicle tax is only on the order of 400 kr as opposed to the approximately 3000 kr for cars with gasoline or diesel engines.

Comment: Re:24h clock (Score 1) 309 309

But that includes the expectation that the change from AM to PM is somewhere between 11.59 and 12.00 -- not between 12.00 and 12.01. Seeing how messy the rest of this system is, with 12.59 giving way to 01.00, while still remaining AM or PM, I would not want to make any a priori assumptions about which of these are right, and hence whether 12 AM is supposed to mean 12 noon or 12 midnight.

It's either use the 24-hour system or at least use expressions "12 noon" and "12 midnight".

Comment: Re:No Key!? No E-Brake? NO SHIFTER!??? (Score 1) 1176 1176

That car model, the Renault Laguna, is especially made to be modded for disabled people. I don't know what kind of disability the driver has (the article doesn't say, although he did have two epileptic seizures because of and during the hectic drive).

Epileptic seizures, and going 60 MPH (or 100 km/h as this is in Europe) or more. Twice. And still stayed on the road? Makes one wonder if there isn't any other modifications like lane-keeping there as well. Depending on the degree of epilepsy, but at that speed, say 30 m/s, one cannot be out cold for much more than a second before leaving the road.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 909 909

Having once learned the so-called Imperial, US, system, here are some answers and translations:

The Ampere and Second are the same in SI and in the US systems of measurements, so the Coulomb would be as well. Sometimes the electron charge was more useful.

The force unit is pounds, abbreviated lb. The gravitational acceleration is 32 feet/second^2, and the mass unit is called the slug. Just like there is occasionally talk about the kgf (kilogram-force) in the metric system, there is also talk about the "pound-mass" in the US system, at the risk of confusion.

The electronic and electrical units were all SI- so the units were F/m and H/m (as well as Ohm*m for resistivity) -- no inches there. However, when specifying the sizes and shapes of microstriplines, inches were sometimes seen for lengths, widths, and thicknesses, in addition to millimeters calculated from the wavelengths of the RF signals. Wavelengths were calculated in millimeters using c=3*10^8 m/s, then converted to feet or inches as needed for antenna construction.

The US unit of work is foot-pound-force per second. (lb*ft/s) One of these would correspond to 1.3558 W. Horsepowers and BTU/s are other units that could be encountered.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 909 909

Our Norwegian equivalent of the 2x4 is still called "to-tom-fire", which refers to wood with cross-section 48 mm by 96 mm after adjustment. I'd think it is similar elsewhere in Europe; that size of lumber is specified in millimeters.

Even though we've been using metric for more than a century, a few inch-measurements mostly in building materials remain, names for lumber sizes and pipe threads.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 909 909

gallon, quart, pint, cup, ounce, tablespoon... all different names for what is really just volume -- why not stick with one of them and use multipliers for the larger and smaller sizes? There's also the advantage of the metric system that the cubic centimeter corresponds to 1 mL, so there is no real need for a separate volume unit (the Liter, originally the equivalent volume of a kilogram of water, being a cubic decimeter, is a secondary unit).

I'll agree however, that the inch can be somewhat convenient in metric and powers of 2: 1 inch is very close to 2^8 / 100 mm, which makes 5/8 inch very close to 16 mm. Provided the need for precision isn't too strict. Which also applies to binary representation of the decimal fractions, where the inaccuracy should be small enough so it doesn't matter for the job at hand. Most measured or calculated values won't have a nice exact representation in any numbering system anyways.

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.