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Comment Accent inference engine? (Score 1) 315

We have computers offering grammar and spelling checkers. Spelling checkers are not only active in MS-Word, they can be found on text entry on many Web pages.

Do you suppose a well-designed auto-correct system could make inferences regarding the selection of the word and automatically supply the accents? Or if there is ambiguity, to have a popup selection of alternative orthography -- just like in Visual Studio, Eclipse, or other such text-entry system for an (artificial programming) language?

We are talking about the Singularity being only 10-20 years away, and we don't have computer systems that cannot make reasonable assumptions to supply the accents in the French language?

Comment Duck and Cover works for asteroid strike (Score 2) 176

Ha, ha, and ha, very funny but completely unoriginal.

In the Chelmyabinsk asteroid air burst, there was a video of people who saw the flash and then stood there for multiples of seconds until the blast wave bloodied their faces with glass shards.

Duck and Cover is for real for all wide-are effect events in the kiloton to megaton range, whatever their source. If you are close enough, yes, you will be vaporized. If you are far enough away that you can be conscious after seeing the flash, it will take some time for the blast to arrive. Instead of just standing there with your mouth open, get your face under cover so people don't have to pick the glass splinters out of your hide.

Comment Energy Conservation Theatre (Score 1) 481

Don't get me started about Energy Star dehumidifiers!

(channeling Krusty from the Simpsons) Isn't anyone here going to get me started?

The Energy Star rating of dehumidifiers is a fraud because dehumidifiers are rated under continuous operation at a much higher level of humidity that anyone should have in their basement (who as it at 80 deg let alone 80 deg and 60 percent humidity in their basement?).

Furthermore, a dehumidifier should use a humidistat to cycle the unit on and off to maintain a reasonable level of dryness rather than run all the time to claw at the air and try to make it desert dry. Dehumidifiers these days are using constant-fan, which during the compressor off time evaporates all of the moisture sticking to the coils with surface tension that you paid for electricity to condense during the on time. This can cut the efficiency by half and is not accounted for in the Energy Star Standard. The Florida Solar Energy Center explains this effect for central air conditioning and suggests some "hacks" to increase their moisture removal, but I cannot interest anyone at FSEC let alone EPA-Energy Star in this for dehumidifiers.

Well, I guess Energy Star has "caught wise" to this issue because they started notating in their ratings which units run the fan continuously and which ones don't. But those clever manufacturers, they are running long run-on times of the fan that does the same thing as the units that cycle the fan off.

The only thing I can guess is that the dehumidifier companies are having a hard time with refrigerant leaks, and maybe they think corrosion is a problem and the fan run on time is to prevent moisture from being in contact with the coils 100% of the time. Manufacturers used to have 5 year warranties on the "sealed" system that are now reduced to 1 year, and manufacturers do not honor their warranty. They will not repair a leaked unit, ever. They give you a coupon towards the purchase of a new unit that won't cover the recycling fee required for disposing of the old unit in many municipalities.

I don't know. No one from EPA, the manufacturers, to Focus on Energy will talk about any of this and what can be done. It is energy conservation theatre of acting like they care about the environment rather than doing anything effective.

For anyone out their that cares about electricity usage and wants to hack this, the suggestion from people who have tried is to find the humidity sensor, remove it from the cabinet and put it remote from the humidity given off by the wet coils. This lengthens the on/off cycle time which will reduce the fan run-on losses in efficiency more than the larger swings in room humidity reduce the unit efficiency.

What I do is look at a humidity gauge in the basement every night and program an hour or maybe two of continuous running using the timer mode, checking the number of pints (pounds) of water in the bucket against the electric use logged with a Kill-a-Watt. I can get as much as 4 lbs moisture removed per kWHr vs 1.8 with the normal automatic mode of the unit.

But gosh is this labor intensive. I am acting as one of the "valve boys" tending a Newcomen steam engine before the invention of valve gear. This is the freakin' 21st Century and I am operating the dehumidifier like an 18th Century mine pumping engine. Thanks, EPA!

Comment Unsweetened cocoa powder (Score 1) 481

My wife's favorite beverage is unsweetened cocoa powder stirred into hot milk. It leaves this chocolate residue on all the tea cups that doesn't come off.

When we first got married, the solution to my wife hand (re-)washing every single cup coming out of the dishwasher was Cascade Complete.

Or Cascade Complete used to do the job on the cocoa cups, but it stopped doing it, I blamed the dishwasher as getting old, but then I read about the phosphate thing.

You see, we have really hard water, but I got tired of paying for salt and lugging it into the basement and loading the softener, so I run un-softened water and just replace the water heater when it limes up with un-softened water rather than when it rusts out from softened water.

Do you think using a few teaspoons of TSP instead of sending tens of pounds of salt into the wastewater is a good tradeoff? Or does Gaia not negotiate?

Comment TSP and the Day of Atonement (Score 3, Funny) 481

I had this discussion about the "ethics" of using TSP during a dishwasher discussion with my neighbors who attend synagogue and observe the Holy Days. I suggested the TSP thing (haven't tried it yet myself) but warned that this has to be balanced against ones conscience regarding the Environment.

I was told, "Thanks for the tip and not a problem. We are supposed to write our sins down on a piece of paper on the Day of Atonement, and I can just add this one to the list . . ."

Comment Not married, dude? (Score 1) 481

Men know that dishwashers sterilize the dishes because the dryer coil does double duty as a "hot water booster" to raise the water temperature to well above the pitiful lukewarm level that regulations allow for the water heater. Even if little flecks of dried food are still stuck to the dishes, those food particles are safe because they have been autoclaved.

Women, on the other hand, always manage to find those tiny flecks of dried food that are invisible to male visual receptors, and they will rewash every last dish that you carefully loaded into the dishwasher.

My wife has heard for the 100th time that I once dated the woman responsible for the lukewarm, bacterial-growing output of the water heater by helping draft the legislation meant to prevent kids from getting scalded from the hot water spigot. But dishes get washed by hand anyway.

Comment Car wash (Score 1) 481

Maybe its like a car wash where you have the Basic Wash that is programmed to leave all the road salt still sticking to your car up to the That Women Washing a Car in "Cool Hand Luke" level?

It is all the same wash only if you pay for the higher levels you get more neon lights that flash "drip cycle" and "spray on wax" or "Ooohhh, that gal doesn't know what she is doing . . ." to which Paul Newman snarls "she sure as heck does" and then he has to eat all of those hardboiled eggs to get back the respect of George Kennedy who is the ring leader among the prisoners in the chain gang.

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