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Comment: Re:This is so 2012. (Score 1) 92

by Rei (#47944167) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Oh, and in #2, sound insulation would also be very important, both for the compressor (if compressed air is used, rather than bottled oxygen) and for the jet itself (which is basically like a tiny rocket engine). And I guess the filter isn't just about removing any incomplete combustion products from the exhaust, but also any dust or the like.

Even if it ultimately isn't suited for, say, a quiet home office, 3d printing isn't really an home office task, we're more talking about a "garage workshop" sort of thing. I'm just curious whether anyone has pursued such an approach, because at a glance it sure looks to have potential for making a very broadly capable product. I mean, such a system should even be capable of printing electronics, including resistors, capacitors, etc, maybe even some types of batteries (not anything requiring extreme precision, like a CPU, and li-ion batteries would be right out due to the thin, sensitive and rather complex membrane needed, there's no way you could just deposit that, but still..).

Comment: Re:This is so 2012. (Score 1) 92

by Rei (#47944031) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

There's two types of processes that I'm surprised I've not seen more focus on.

1) Printing of, and then filling of molds, which can then be melted down and reused. That's how the higher-end 3d printed parts that you can buy online made, including almost all 3d-printed metal parts you get from online 3d printing services (the extra steps for metal being to coat the mold in a ceramic shell and melt away the mold). The only commercial 3d-printed metal that I'm aware of that doesn't work in this manner is iMaterialize's titanium, which uses laser sintering - and it has an out-of-this-world price tag.

It seems to me that if you used a mold, while in several ways it complicates the process (extra steps, preventing adherence to the molded object, etc), in others, it simplifies it. Your print heads don't need to handle a variety of materials or produce a pretty or durable product. They still need to be able to produce fine surface details but the ability to print thin structures loses importance. Once you've got a mold, you open up the floodgates to the sort of products you can fill it with, anything that will harden either through cooling or via chemical reaction, anything from thermoset plastics to candy.

(note I'm not envisioning a little hobby home printer that fills molds with molten metal in your office, mind you... although I could envision a more garage-scale or small industrial scale version that could handle such a task)

2) I've never even heard of a 3d printer being based on thermal spraying. With thermal spraying, you can choose the balance of precision vs. flow rate via nozzle size. Your materials are virtually unlimited, pretty much anything you can turn into a powder. It could conceivably even let you work with metals in a home environment, if the rate was kept low enough that heat buildup wouldn't be a problem (and you'd want an air filter on the exhaust, even though it should be pretty clean). You can choose the temperature and velocity you're spraying at by varying the pressures of compressed air and combustible fuel fed into the chamber with the powder, so you can work both with heat-sensitive and heat-requisite materials, as well as materials that can't stand high velocity impacts and materials that require them. Such a system could likewise do more than just print - it could add and then sectively remove substrates, it could engrave, it could change surface textures by sandblasting/polishing with various materials, it could paint or apply high-performance coatings - pretty much anything you can envision from a device whose fundamental workings are "shoot grains of material of your choosing at a velocity of your choosing (1-1000+m/s) and temperature of your choosing (cold to thousands of degrees)".

In both cases #1 and #2, I'm genuinely curious as to why there's not been more work done with them. Or perhaps there has been work done with them that I'm unaware of? I'm asking as someone who makes and buys 3d printed items online but has never printed one herself.

+ - Portland officer sued over arrest of Bar Harbor couple videotaping police action->

Submitted by KGIII
KGIII (973947) writes "Directly from the website:

"A civil rights group has filed a lawsuit against a city police officer on behalf of a Bar Harbor couple who was arrested this past spring for videotaping police officers on a public street.'"

That's the gist of things right there. In my opinion it's about time. While I don't support everything that the Maine chapter of the ACLU this is one of the times that the group is spot on. The ACLU site has this to say about the taping of police in general and has a number of links to more information. They can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/free-spee...

If you're going to video tape the police then this link has a number of good rules for doing so and is worth reading before you go out and just start filming arrests. http://reason.com/archives/201... It's worth checking into your local laws because here's a store about a guy facing up to 16 years in prison for filming the police,

Yeah, really, 16 years... Let's let that set in for a minute.

While you mull that over and froth at the mouth — here are a few links to sites that are dedicated to preserving your liberties:

http://www.berkeleycopwatch.or... — Where it all began (they got Cop Watch going there).
http://www.copwatch.org/ — Lots of information with a large database — or use this link: http://copwatch.com/AAAindex.h...
http://peacefulstreets.com/ — Yet another group advocating recording the police.


As for a technical remedy it seems like it would be good protection (for the person who's doing the recording) to figure out a way to have the video uploaded and saved automatically as it is recorded and, perhaps, also enable immediate streaming to the web. Having another copy of the video being automatically made and uploaded may help you in court should the police decide to violate your rights and with it streamed there's some chance that someone's watching it and can then be a witness should such be required. Is there software to do this automatically? I imagine you can find a couple of apps that will do this for Android, Apple, and Windows phones or even cobble one together on your own.

Thoughts? I imagine that people would like those features and that they may even pay for those features though giving it away to those watching the police would still be ideal. I suppose you could add more features and do a free and paid version. If there are any app developers here (I'm sure there are) then there's an idea for you to think about. I suspect it would be a good money maker as an app like that would have more uses than just filming the police. It's your million dollar idea and it is free for the taking but I suspect somebody has already thought of it and I'm just not aware of it. Either way, streaming and automatically saving to the web would be fantastic and, as a bonus, it would really irritate the cop."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:When can we stop selling party balloons (Score 1) 296

by Rei (#47883153) Attached to: WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Helium exists in the atmosphere not because of the helium reserve, but because the planet constantly outgasses it. It's a product of the radioactive decay chains within the planet.

And if it costs $7 a liter, you better believe people will consume it a *lot* slower. Mainly recapture, but also less frivolous usage.

Comment: Re:RT.com? (Score 1) 534

by Rei (#47880779) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

It's an important difference.

Fox News is a right-wing punditry operation. They spin everything that happens in a light that promotes the viewpoints of US right-wing policy. If right-wingers are in power, they spin to the government's favor, and otherwise spin against the government.

RT is a literal government propaganda outlet. They have a story of what they want to tell people happened (regardless of whether it did or not), and tell people that it happened, to the point of routinely hiring actors as interview subjects. (side note: the Russia media really needs to get a larger acting pool, though... it's funny but sad when the same actor claims to be several different people for different stations in the same week).

If you see something inflamatory claimed on Fox, it's almost certainly spun. Possibly outright false, but unlikely - generally just highly spun. If you see something inflammatory claimed on RT, it's almost certainly false. Possibly just heavily spun, but generally willfully outright false.

Example: Fox News will pick random true stories from around the country, overplay them, and tell you that there's a War on Christmas. RT will hire a woman to play a refugee from Slavyansk to weepingly tell you that the Ukranian army is crucifying children in the town square to torture their mothers before killing them.

Comment: Re:RT.com? (Score 1) 534

by Rei (#47880593) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Well, I have to say, I've noticed something about Russia, and also about most (but not all) of the other former USSR states: the exact same sort of thing has kept happening under capitalism. Things like injecting a mother of a dead soldier with a tranquilizer on-camera when she spoke up during a press conference on the Kursk disaster, assassinating dissidents with polonium, arresting and outright assassinating journalists, sham trials to sieze assets either for the state or for Putin allies, heavy media censorship and the requirement for all major blogs to register as media outlets, elections so rigged that Chechnya went 99.59% for "The Butcher of Grozny", and on and on. It's no different today.

So, basically, the presence of these things says nothing about communism; it says that Russia has a history of strongmen leaders who confiscate peoples' belongings, outlaw dissent, condemn people without fair trials, and so forth. And when you look at these third world communist states, you usually find that their third world capitalist brethren rarely behave any better.

I think that communism, at least in its pure form, is terrible as economic policy. But one can easily run the risk of over-conflating.

Comment: Re:When can we stop selling party balloons (Score 4, Interesting) 296

by Rei (#47868519) Attached to: WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Helium balloons are a minor part of the overall picture. The overwhelming majority of uses are industrial, such as cryogenics. The problem is that they don't recover it. If you want to make a big impact on the helium consumption rate, hard drives is pretty much one of the least effective places you could focus - focus on industrial recovery.

Note that humans will never "run out" of helium. Even if we assume that space-based resource extraction becomes realistic, one can always refrigerate it out of the atmosphere. Or more accurately, refrigerate everything else out and leave the helium behind. There's only a tiny bit in the atmosphere, but for important uses it'll remain a possibility. I saw page that says that neon is $2 per liter. If you're refrigerating neon out of the atmosphere, pretty much all that's left is helium, so you're co-producing it, at a ratio of 3.5 to 1. If we assume that helium demand vastly outpaces neon demand, then the helium cost would be $7 per liter. And maybe less in mass production.

That's not really an absurd price for many uses - such as hard drives. On the other hand, it's dramatically more than today's prices at about $0.005 per liter! You're not going to be making helium blimps at $7 per liter. But if industry learns how to recapture and reuse, they should manage.

(Of course, humans probably wouldn't have to resort to helium extraction from the atmosphere for centuries, pretty much any gas coming out of the ground will be richer in helium than the air)

Comment: Re:Autoplay is EVIL (Score 1) 108

by Rei (#47853175) Attached to: Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

I'm not lying, that's the actual size, something like 420k. It may have been a bit shorter playtime, perhaps 20 seconds (I didn't time it), but still, it was quite small.

Nobody said videos on Facebook are Blu-Ray quality. But you seem to have weird concepts about how big videos need to be to be good enough quality for a web page. Just as a test, I took an original high quality full-motion video of a concert, reencoded it with ffmpeg, audio codec aac, vbr audio quality 0.5, video codec x264, preset veryslow, cf 33, resolution 512x288 (half original size), 20 seconds. File size? 420k. Of course the video from facebook was darker and quieter, so one would expect it to compress better. If we give my sample concert clip an allowable size of, say, 550k, then I can up audio quality to 0.7 and cf down to 30. Either way, the resultant clip was fine, the sort of thing you'd expect to see on a Facebook wall.

Anyway, the key point is, Facebook feeds aren't loading you down with 50 meg videos, they're little couple-hundred-k clips, the same size as animated gifs. And while I haven't measured it, they don't appear to start streaming until you scroll down to them, and look to stop after you scroll away.

Comment: Re:Autoplay is EVIL (Score 1) 108

by Rei (#47849965) Attached to: Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

1) I just went and pulled the first anim-gif I saw off 9-gag, a fairly simple thing of Ralph Wiggum with little motion, so it should compress quite well for an animated gif. Size: just over 400k. I then pulled the first video that showed up on my Facebook feed, a 30 second full motion clip, and downloaded the entire thing (including the audio stream, full quality). Size: just over 400k.

So....?

2) Are you actually sure that it is downloading the audio stream when it does muted autoplay? Not saying that it oes or doesn't, but do you actually have evidence either way?

3) See the reply below.

There's really no argument. If you're going to allow animated gifs, you should allow autoplay videos. So that we can finally put the nail in the coffin of the awfulness that is gif by removing the last common use of it.

And FYI, 400k is not that much. Slashdot is a pretty simplistic website compared to most, and I just measured how much data is downloaded just to read the front page: 1.4M.

Comment: Re:Autoplay is EVIL (Score 1, Interesting) 108

by Rei (#47848645) Attached to: Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

Why is it any more evil than animated GIFs? Both play automatically, neither happen with sound, and compression on x264 is *way* better than with animated gifs.

I was initially opposed to autoplay on FB, but after thinking about it, I changed my mind. We already see tons of animated stuff on web pages, and the videos from people who show up on my page about are usually things I'd find interesting (if the user posting them didn't usually post interesting things, I'd have stopped following them). There's no unexpected sounds to bug me, and the quality to size ratio versus animated gifs is, what, two orders of magnitude better?

Comment: Re:I understand the FAA's position... (Score 1) 222

by Rei (#47843061) Attached to: FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters

It both scares me and pisses me of that the government can do whatever it wants with nuclear weapons, while my ability to use them is very, very restricted.

Who do they think they are, claiming the right to use things that the general public can't? Let me use my nuclear weapons!

Comment: Re:Responsible Agency Enforcing Law (Score 4, Insightful) 222

by Rei (#47843045) Attached to: FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters

Until I can be sure things are as safe as they reasonably can get I'd rather not have drones delivering packages yet

But that's exactly what drone proponents are asking for - a permitting standard that gives them the right to fly in these conditions and for these purposes in exchange for meeting a set of safety standards. Passive or automatically-engaged active safety features that ensure that "death by falling drone" is effectively an impossibility, whether that things like be cowled propellors, parachutes, an inherently low terminal velocity, fully independent backup propulsion, or whatever the case may be.

And in case you didn't notice, massive objects weighing hundreds of tons loaded with massive amounts of fuel and capable of taking out whole city blocks and/or skyscapers already fly extensively over your head. But you're worried about little plastic helicopters?

Comment: Re:Sigh... (Score 1) 789

by Rei (#47822107) Attached to: Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

It's not a "non-need", but it's not the end of the world, for several reasons.

First off, everything comes down to time. If one had, say a decade, they could build a full, brand new gas production infrastructure from scratch, designed to produce in different parts of the world and export straight to the EU.

Great, except EU gas reserves aren't that big. They have a max capacity of about 6 months, usually filled to about half that at this time of year, though higher than average now. Russia makes up 30% of EU imports. Basically, reserves provides something like 9-12 months of Russian cutoff.

Next we have instant displacement. Much of the EU has been working to shut down coal power plants, and ones that are in operation are often run at lower and lower capacity factors. In the event of a full Russian gas cutoff, these would be all fired up and used heavily, while NG plants would instead be mostly shut down.

Then we have slower displacement, which can take anywhere from a month or so to a couple years. NG power plants can be converted to other thermal sources. Industrial consumers of NG for heat can switch to other heat sources. Etc.

On the home and commercial perspective, the higher cost of gas will lead to more investment in efficiency on its own. Government efficiency programs can improve this even further.

On the production side, the spike in gas prices will instantly make higher-cost, formerly unecomomical European fields economical. Some of these will be available right away, some will require weeks, some months, some years to bring online. But it does put a lot of new gas into the picture.

On the non-European side, there's LNG. The US is really a read herring on this front, at least for the time being, as Sabine Pass won't come online until the winter after next, and others even later. The Middle East is the primary LNG exporter here, particularly Qatar, whose LNG capacity alone is more than all the gas Russia sells Europe. Thankully, the EU is loaded with largely idle LNG import terminals (nearly enough to replace all of Russian gas as-is), and LNG tanker rates are very low right now, there's a glut. Now, Europe would have to pay a very high price for it. LNG is expensive to begin with, and they'll be competing with the gas's current customers, primarily Asia. Europe, of course, would pay more, leading to all of the aforementioned things - increased production, increased displacement, etc - to occur in Asia to offset their reduced LNG imports. Interestingly, the US actually *can* help there - the US does have a Pacific LNG export terminal that was recently brought back into operation at Kenai, Alaska.

The net combination of these factors is that, no, Europe will not just "run out of gas and freeze to death" or any of those other doomsday scenarios that people throw around. But there's no question that Europe will have to pay more for gas, probably at least 50% more. And nobody's going to like the resumed usage of coal power - but in the short term, they're not going to have a choice.

On the other hand... for the EU, the extra energy costs for gas and oil may represent something like a 5-10% GDP hit. But for Russia, losing all of their oil and gas exports would be like dropping a nuclear bomb onto their economy.

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