I'm actually surprised that someone at university in the Pacific Northwest has not taken a sample of the rainwater and do some chemical analysis. If it is volcanic ash, they need to compare against the volcanic ash spewed out from Sakurajima just east of the city of Kagoshima in Japan or the Shiveluch volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, both of which have erupted in the last month or so.
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Here's the reason why: the cost of above-55" flat screen panels have been dropping rapidly, and you can now get a very good 70" LCD flat panel at surprisingly reasonable prices. Once you go past 60" screen size, you can start to see the pixels on even a 1080p display; I've seen Ultra HD display on a Sony 55" monitor and wow, it's so clear you feel like looking through a window. As such, Ultra HD Blu-ray will have a surprisingly fast uptake, especially since the technology is not significantly more expensive that Blu-ray is now, given they didn't have to go to a purple-spectrum reading laser, which would have made the cost exorbitantly expensive.
And with good reason: the default user interface of Windows 10 on desktop and "conventional" laptops is the Desktop user interface, not the "Modern" tiled interface that frustrated users transitioning to Windows 8.x to no end. As such, users of Windows 7, Vista and XP will be able to transition to Windows 10 quickly, and that means much higher consumer end user and corporate user acceptance this time around, meaning likely a much more "normal" upgrade cycle.
The big problem with the Concorde was not only was the plane very noisy on takeoff because you needed the Olympus 593 turbojets to run at full reheat on takeoff and acceleration, but you had to run a good amount of reheat (afterburner) to maintain the Mach 2.0 speed, which of course increased fuel consumption.
With a modern variable cycle jet engine, flying at below Mach 1 the engine runs like a high-bypass turbofan with its lower attendant fuel consumption, then changes mode to run at supersonic speeds (probably without reheat at speeds up to Mach 1.3; above that, some reheat operation is needed, but not as much as you needed on the Concorde flying at Mach 2.0).
....We may see a return of supersonic flight within the next 15 years.
Thanks to better understanding of how sonic booms are generated from the shape of the plane and definitely way better jet engine technology, we may be able to very soon build a business jet seating 10 passengers capable of flying at Mach 1.6 at ranges up to 6,000 nautical miles with just about no sonic boom audible on the ground even when the plane is fly at Mach 1.6.
How is this possible? First, aerodynamic research using computational fluid dynamics have identified ways to minimize the pressure wave buildup that causes the sonic boom in the first place with very careful shaping of the fuselage and wings. This makes to possible to effectively eliminate the audible sonic at speeds up to Mach 1.6. Secondly, modern engine design using variable cycle engines (GE Aero Engines successfully tested the technology on a engine intended for the Advanced Technology Fighter program that resulted in the F-22A Raptor) means high-bypass turbofan fuel efficiency at subsonic speeds but can change configuration to fly at supersonic speeds with a small amount of reheat (afterburning) to keep fuel consumption and harmful exhaust missions as low as possible. Finally, by keeping the top speed to Mach 1.6, it means less structural heating from flying at supersonic speeds and less need to run a lot of reheat (afterburning) on the engines, which means lower fuel consumption and less need for expensive high-temperature rated stainless steel or titanium structural parts like those used on the Concorde.
I've read companies that sell fractional ownership of private jets such as FlexJet or NetJets would immediately buy 50 of these supersonic business jets once approved for production. The ability to fly from New York City to London in around 4 hours as opposed to the circa 7.5 hours with current jet airliners makes it very attractive to business customers, especially since many live by the motto of "time is money."
I think the problem is that because we're so used to 24 fps on theatrical motion pictures, going to 48 fps can be quite jarring, since everything looks so much "clearer" that you have to rethink set design, costume design and even the use of special effects to be less obtrusive at 48 fps. (Indeed, this became a huge issue with Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy because everything looked TOO clear.)
The late Roger Ebert liked the 48 fps "Maxivision" analog film format, but that idea never took off due to need to use a lot more physical film and the increased stress of running a film projector at twice the speed of regular projectors. But with modern digital movie cameras, 48 fps is now much more viable.
While it's great to get super-fast Internet, we may run into a big problem soon: many web server farms may not have the bandwidth capacity to handle many millions of users who have above 100 megabit/second download speed Internet access at the "last mile" connection. It's going to require a major upgrade of content delivery networks to handle much faster connection end users.
I think people forget that the Mount Aso volcanic caldera is NOT small, and there is the constant threat of a major eruption there. There is a chance--though small--that Mount Aso could erupt with the force and volcanic ash output of Mount Pinatubo in 1991--a scale of eruption that could seriously affect the Japanese economy and could even substantially cool the Earth like what Pinatubo's huge ash output did.
The problem with diesel engines is simple: it's ungodly expensive to make a diesel engine just as clean as a gasoline engine. For example, the Daimler-Benz "BlueTec" system that uses common-rail direct fuel injection, a sophisticated particulate filter, and urea gas injection into the exhaust stream to break down the NOx gases for easier catalytic converter removal costs a lot of money per car, to say the least.
Besides, with battery technology rapidly improving, we may soon have 400 to 500 km per charge range electric cars without the need for a big an heavy battery pack, which means electric vehicles are now very viable for commuter cars.
I think because Windows 10 defaults to the Desktop UI on laptop and desktop computers, it is the true successor to Windows 7 in the corporate world. Indeed, I expect Windows 10 to cause a major uptick in PC sales because people familiar with Windows 7 and earlier could pick up Windows 10 a lot faster.
I think pretty much everyone who knew Cook at the time he was hired at Apple 16 years ago knew of his sexual preference. Indeed, today's announcement ended the "open secret" of his personal life that was pretty much known to everyone in Silicon Valley and the financial community that regularly dealt with him since the late 1990's.
As such, it should just be a "yawn," but alas, all those Internet trolls showed up and turned it into something where we can't have a civil discourse. (shaking head)
The QR code scanning is why this idea will completely fail. Not only will you be completely dependent on the cellphone camera doing a proper capture of the QR code (good luck with that!), but QR codes are easily hacked, as Alibaba found out the hard way with Alipay, which the Chinese government shut down.
Personally, I think CurrentC may never make it out of test stage for the following reasons:
1. It requires you to supply driver's license, Social Security number, and bank account information to store on CurrentC servers "in the cloud." Given the problems with iCloud lately, no thank you!
2. The use of optical QR codes is a BAD idea. People forget QR codes can be hacked rather easily, as Alibaba found out the hard way when it was tried with Alipay.
3. The process of paying using CurrentC is unnecessarily complex compared to Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Softcard's NFC solutions, which could make it very easy to make a mistake and the payment may not go through under CurrentC.
4. Given the problems mentioned above, there's a good chance banks and credit unions may NOT allow savings and checking accounts to be linked to CurrentC. And that will end the project almost immediately.
Just wait until the Surface Pro 3 gets updated to Windows 10 by this time next year. Suddenly, the Surface Pro 3 (or whatever successor is on the market by October 2015) will be a hot-selling item for corporate users.
What you saw is very common at "kaiten sushi" restaurants in Japan. In many parts of Tokyo, those "kaiten sushi" restaurants use touchscreen terminals for ordering that not only display in Japanese, but English, Chinese and Korean, too.