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Comment: Re:Monster Business School (Score 1) 288 288

RCA connectors flex very little, and where they flex is not the same as where they make contact. The tiny contacts in, say, an HDMI or SATA cable flex a great deal. Flakes of metal would be a very bad thing there. Even USB has enough spring loading for this to become an issue, but that spring loading is on the device side, not the cable side, so nickel-plated USB male plugs would probably be fine. You're going to have to pick something else for the female end though, because of that spring-loading. Similarly, a headphone plug doesn't flex significantly because it is the jack that is spring-loaded, and nickel does just fine here.

Nickel plating is very sturdy when there are no tension changes in the underlying metal, but it utterly falls apart when there are. There are many nickel-plated musical instruments upwards of 100 years old that look wonderful (much better than silver, generally better than lacquer, and up there with untouched gold even though they are hardly untouched), so long as they have avoided taking mechanical damage. Once dented and repaired, the finish starts to fail in long, peeling strips and in smallish (1 mm scale) chips.

Nickel also has the drawback (as a musical instrument finish) of feeling "slick" or "wet", and of causing skin irritation in considerably more people than do silver or gold. Of course neither of these is a significant problem in a cable, but it does explain why nickel never really became a dominant brass instrument plating despite its durability (outside of drum and bugle corps, where they should be wearing gloves anyhow).

Comment: Re:Monster Business School (Score 2) 288 288

Nickel plating peels under mechanical stress. Gold and silver do not. They wear through because they are soft, but they don't flake or peel. Electrical contacts are spring-loaded to retain a good interface, and nickel is about the last thing you would want to use there.

Comment: Re:If it sounds too good to be true (Score 2) 243 243


It also works on NiMH batteries (1.2V.)

Excellent. I like Eneloop NiMH quite a bit, but my camera doesn't. It's very voltage-picky. In fact, its voltage requirement for the adapter is 3.7V, even though it's a 2xAA device. Needless to say, it reports "low battery" from the very first moment with NiMH -- and then runs for many hours flashing that warning. The problem is that I get no warning when it really is about to keel over, and that this happens only about 50% of the way through the charge.

The reason we use Alkaline batteries is for the long shelf life, not the use life.

Eneloops again. They'll hold most of their charge for months, and are shipped ready to use. Now with this fixing the voltage disparity, there's even less reason to avoid rechargables.

Comment: Re:Is it new youth or longer old age. (Score 1) 692 692

I think you're underestimating your own shelf life there. I know from personal experience that most people in their 60s are capable drivers (provided they were capable drivers to start with -- age doesn't imply competence). What they have lost in reaction time and processing ability (which is not as much as previous generations at the same age), they are able to compensate with experience. Just by handling less information through better front-end filters, they solve the problem just fine. At some point the two curves will cross, at which point it does become time to hand over the keys, but for healthy people this is probably going to be north of 70, and possibly even north of 80. By then, you might not even need to do the driving.

Even in my grandmother's generation (I'm about the same age you are), she didn't actually become a rolling hazard until she was pushing 80, and that was largely because she made navigation errors and then did stupid things to attempt to correct for them. The basic mechanics of driving and not hitting things still operated passably, although she really had no business being on the road. Fortunately, her circle of travel shrunk with her abilities.

Comment: Re:Why have children? (Score 1) 692 692

The rich having extra children is not a problem. In fact, it's part of the solution to wealth inequality.

First, more kids means cutting the pie into more pieces. If that means more education costs, that's fine: we get more educated people, and through much of history, people from the privileged classes were the only ones getting higher education at all. We still managed to make some headway then, so this isn't a show stopper. It's far from ideal, but it's not going to destroy society, especially if it just means the proportions remain skewed toward the upper class rather than being entirely made up of them.

Second, when the parents finally do die, the fortune will be distributed among more children. This has historically been shown to break up empires.

Third, even if the top 1% has ten kids apiece (which they won't), while everyone else has just two, that results in them becoming the top 5%. This will increase the population far less than the other 99% finding ways to cheat, even if the 99% cheats less often per capita.

Fourth, this is a treatment of aging, which could arguably be classified as a disease in its own right. It is not immortality. If that means productive and high-quality life span is greatly increased, but total lifespan is still limited by other factors, then all we have to lose is the concept of societally funded retirement -- a notion some of us already see as impossible for ourselves, and that in many places never caught on in the first place.

Comment: Re:faster than light never violates Relativity (Score 2) 226 226

Even simpler, you point a laser pointer at the sky, and sweep it manually over a very distant target (bigger than the moon, but further away as well). Clearly your hand is not going to move faster than light, but the point where the beam finally hits something very well might. Again, this intersection is not a "thing", and cannot be used to communicate faster than the speed of light.

Comment: Re:VPNs and proxies (Score 4, Informative) 138 138

Using outside DNS doesn't help if the carrier is blocking access to an IP address.

BTW another alternate DNS you can add to your list: Velocity Networks (Los Angeles): - it's not as easy to remember as or for sure, but some people don't want to be bound to Google.

Comment: Wrong question. (Score 1) 111 111

31-ET, applied correctly, goes a long way to fix the problems 12-ET has rendering pre-20th century music correctly. When this is not a viable option (as with most keyboard instruments), that's what unequal well temperaments are for. Meantone can be very nice for Renaissance and some Baroque but gets to be pretty rancid for Bach and his contemporaries.

If you deny enharmonicity, meaning E-sharp isn't equivalent to F-natural or any other note, and F-sharp is a different pitch from G-flat, then there are essentially an arbitrary number of notes per octave depending on how you want to generate your scale. There are seven uniquely named pitch classes no matter what kind of scale you're working in, meaning diminished scales and other octatonic scales must have a cross-relation in them somewhere (a F-natural and an F-sharp, for example).

So, I'd have to vote for microtonal, the only option that encompasses all of these possibilities simultaneously.

Comment: Still a hack, but way better than nothing. (Score 4, Interesting) 53 53

This fix still requires much of the resources of the previous method, essentially bracketing the shot and picking the best one. This means it will still take just as long to obtain each image, but apparently that wasn't a huge problem. What this saves is something precious though: bandwidth. Now the rover is picking the best shot, instead of sending a bunch of blind guesses and making us sort it out. I suspect that if the bandwidth wasn't precious, they wouldn't have bothered improving on the existing workaround, so it must have been worth all the trouble.

Comment: Amazon exerting pressure? Bullshit. (Score 2) 243 243

Each company will do exactly the same calculation Amazon has done, and figure out which method of accounting allows them to keep the most money while remaining able to operate in the jurisdictions they care about. If the others come to the same conclusion, it's not because Amazon said so, it's because the numbers and the lawyers said so.

"Any excuse will serve a tyrant." -- Aesop