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Comment: Re: Cd of 0.36 in the 21st century??? (Score 1) 128

by BeaverCleaver (#48678561) Attached to: Tesla Roadster Update Extends Range

Your commodore has a roof. An efficient sedan shape will have attached airflow over most of the the upper surface, with the air possibly leaving the surface halfway down the rear window but rejoining the skin somewhere along the boot (trunk) lid. A convertible loses this laminar flow as soon as the airflow leaves the top of the windscreen. I'm not sure exactly how big the effect is, but it's significant.

Comment: Re: Good (Score 1) 126

by BeaverCleaver (#48308189) Attached to: Flaw in New Visa Cards Would Let Hackers Steal $1M Per Card

I had a woven stainless steel wallet (for money) and be warned, their abrasive edges wear through your pockets really quickly.

There are Faraday cage wallets that are leather on the outside (presumably they have metal foil inside?) that will be kinder to your clothes.

I've traveled a lot with both kinds and never had any hassles.

Comment: Re:Last time I voted... (Score 1) 268

by BeaverCleaver (#47286501) Attached to: The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

Got any references for those "bird kill" numbers?

Early wind turbines, built in response to the 1970s oil crisis, were indeed a hazard to birds. However new wind turbines are bigger and spin at lower RPM, so they are easier for birds to see and avoid.

I don't know about the USA, but most countries also require and environmental impact statement before building wind turbines. These days, if they are proposed right in the middle of an area with high golden eagle populations, they don't get off the drawing board.

Comment: Not to criticise his efforts but. .. (Score 1) 83

by BeaverCleaver (#46846123) Attached to: Man Builds DIY Cellphone Using Raspberry Pi

I built one using a picaxe + GSM module in 2010. It was pretty challenging fitting enough AT commands in the limited eeprom on the picaxe. Worked great on the protoboard but I never bothered making a PCB for what is really a pretty pointless device. Even in 2010 I could have bought a better phone for $20. GSM modules are really useful: using one to make a phone seems like a waste! They're much more interesting for things like remote monitoring or smart SMS-enabled devices...

Comment: Re:A bigger x86 BeagleBone Black? (Score 1) 97

I got one from Adafruit - they run out all the time but seem to get new stock frequently. I've basically given up on Element14 though - I ordered from them in November. First the ETA kept slipping back, now they don't even show an ETA. It's a sorry state of affairs when Adafruit can ship one to me in Australia, from New York, about ten times faster than the local supplier (and still counting!)

Comment: A bigger x86 BeagleBone Black? (Score 1) 97

The $50 BeagleBone Black has many of these features and more GPIO, but lacks RAM and has only one CPU. The ODROID series can be specced with multiple ARM cores. This "Minnow" seems like the next step up, for users who really need SATA, lots of RAM and multiple x86 cores. There's probably a big enough niche for portable/cheaper PC-based hardware for this to find traction, but for anything that doesn't need x86 or huge RAM there are cheaper options. I just hope the supply issues with the BeagleBone Black get sorted out soon!

Comment: Re:To the dump!? (Score 1) 168

I remember the same thing in a a county library in Colorado, except the library would sell their unwanted books at ridiculously low prices. Older reference books worth hundreds would go for a dollar or two. A treasure trove indeed. Hopefully the the books sent to the dump were at least offered to the public first!

I should also add that a local university library near where I live now recently sent a bunch of their old books to the dump (except the ones I fished out of the dumpster) Shame on you, University Of Canberra.

Comment: Re:Boring cars (Score 1) 635

by BeaverCleaver (#46009663) Attached to: U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

Tinkering with cars is still fun. With an arduino and a few other components you could modify injector pulses [in real time!], build a new immobiliser, add water injection, build a GPS trip computer, active aerodynamics... all this is just off the top of my head. Sure the skills required are different from 30 years ago, but car modification is alive and well.

Let's also bear in mind that with modern cars you don't _have_ to learn so much maintenance. Re-grinding valve seats, decarbonising, so many "routine maintenance" chores are now so infrequent that they become pretty much unnecessary. Hell, my 1990 japanese hatchback has done over 330 000km (205k miles) and is still on the original clutch, gearbox, brake discs... This is a reasonably high-performance (for 1990) car - all-wheel drive, intercooled turbo... my point is, with advances in materials and manufacturing tolerances, most mechanical parts can be relied on to Just Work for hundreds of thousands of miles. This doesn't mean that there's nothing that a guy in his backyard can work on, just that the projects will be different. I am glad for the change - I'd rather be working on something new, than adjusting my points gap again, just because it's 3000 miles since the last time I had to do it.

Comment: Re:Murica Fuck yea! (Score 3, Interesting) 635

by BeaverCleaver (#46008937) Attached to: U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

All good points, and valid. However there were also some VERY shady deals to deliberately dismantle public transport on the USA, often misusing anti-monopoly legislation to gut the streetcar (tram) networks.

This is especially evident in LA, where the freeways have taken over the same routes that the old streetcars used to.

Yes, the example above is familiar - it was used [with some historical accuracy, ironically] in the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096438

More on the "streetcar scandal" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_streetcar_scandal

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