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Comment: Re:Inside of cameras (Score 5, Informative) 131

by Animats (#47445151) Attached to: Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It

I didn't research so forgive my ignorance

It gets this property from its fine surface structure, which is a forest of tubes. Incoming light has to be reflected many times before it gets back out, so a black material is effectively made even less reflective. It's the optical-scale version of the pointed absorbers used in anechoic chambers.

It probably is not going to retain its blackness when exposed to water, dirt, or wear. Superhydrophobic coatings such as Never Wet have the same problem - they work because they're composed of tiny points, so droplets of liquid don't have a surface they can grab. But after some wear, the effect stops working. (See any of the many "NeverWet fails" videos on YouTube.)

This is likely to be great for protected environments, such as inside optical systems. It should be useful for optical sensors in space, too. But it's probably an inherently fragile surface. That limits its uses. (The "stronger than steel" probably refers to the individual carbon nanotubes, not the bulk material.)

This s a problem with a lot of surface chemistry stuff touted as "nanomaterials". They have interesting surface properties, but the surfaces are fragile, because they're some very thin surface layer with an unusual structure. If you protect that structure with some coating, you lose the effect.

Comment: Can be used foor true 3D display (Score 1) 112

by Prune (#47444783) Attached to: Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best
Currently we do have auto-stereoscropic displays (no glasses), but they only account for stereopsis, not accommodation (different focal distances for the eye). In current 3D displays, the 3D cue of stereopsis conflicts with the information from accommodation to a flat plane, and the 3D effect is significantly diminished (and can even cause discomfort or headaches). With an ultra high pixel density display base, lightfield displays become practical, and they can reproduce both stereopsis and different focal depth per image element. Current prototypes I've seen at SIGGRAPH have been very low resolution, as you need a patch of 2D pixels under each microlens (lightfield displays are based on a microlens array with multiple pixels under each lens). I imagine a 1920x1080 microlens array with 32x32 pixels under each microlens. If the display is also high-dynamic range and with extended color gamut, it would be the ultimate visual equivalent to a window into other worlds.

Comment: Re: Not France vs US (Score 1) 251

Well, I don't know if anything in economics is provable per se, but Europe (more specifically the UK) is going through this debate right now. The EU is a giant free trade zone. How valuable is that? People who do business all think it's essential, but people are who are just employees aren't so sure. Let the debate commence.

Comment: Re: Not France vs US (Score 1) 251

Whatever the reason, they still boosted domestic production and economic growth.

That may have been true in the USA (hard to say given the lack of in-depth statistics back then and difficulty of knowing the impacts of such things even today) but it probably wasn't the case abroad. Sure, the USA didn't care one whit back then about the impact of tariffs on British or European manufacturers, nor did they care much if Americans couldn't afford superior foreign-made products for a while. They valued economic independence more, and given their situation that was understandable.

But putting military concerns to one side, free trade theory is correct. Those tariffs made the world as a whole economically worse off. If governments could be trusted not to use their economies as weapons of war, it'd be better for everyone if tariffs were reduced and removed, because it makes people wealthier in the long run and that's why every so often countries and trading blocs try to engage in free trade treaties.

Of course the problem is, governments do so love using economics as a weapon .... the USA more than most. So tariffs will continue to have non-economic justifications for the forseeable future, of the form "yes it makes us less wealthy, but the upsides are worth it".

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.