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Comment: Re:There's a few problems here. (Score 1) 137 137

5. In order to have a chance to regulate the temperature well - and not keep cycling through blasts of heat and cooling - they'll need multiple temp probes, and an awareness of the outside temp and humidity as well, since ceramic insulation or no, the external environment will play a huge factor.

If your PID controller is cycling like that something is seriously wrong. Even a poorly tuned controller should eventually stabilize, unless the gains are way out from where they should be. The controller should be easily capable of overcoming fluctuations in ambient temperature, even in New England.

Comment: Re:I seriously would like to know (Score 1) 45 45

NASA had a dependable spacecraft. Couldn't they have improved the Space Shuttle?

The Space Shuttle was far from dependable. Worst of all, when it failed, it failed catastrophically. The issues were due to its very basic design. One example being solid rocket boosters operating along side the crewed spacecraft. Once the boosters are lit, there is no turning back. They can't be turned off, and they can't be jettisoned.

The issues were much worse prior to Challenger. Structural changes were made to the stack to allow the spacecraft to continue to fly with main engine failures. From my understanding, the shuttles' main engines were capable of propelling the craft to orbit, but not the fuel. The solid rocket boosters were needed to lift that big orange fuel tank. If the shuttle's engines went out, the connections between the shuttle, tank, and solid rockets were not strong enough, and the whole thing would break apart.

Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 1) 105 105

Right up until the point you said "baseball." In the title.

It's actually more interesting than you might think. The Houston Astro's have been a poor performing team up until very recently. They hired a new manager that uses data driven techniques similar to those used in the book/movie Moneyball. Since they hired him, the team's performance has improved. There is talk of him having some "proprietary information" that has boosted the team's performance.

The game of baseball has evolved more rapidly in the past ten years than it has in the previous 100. It is more data driven than ever. I wouldn't be surprised if teams are building computer models of performance that they then try to optimize.

Comment: Re:Good god. (Score 4, Informative) 253 253

... you'd think the A400M engine software would have a *baked in* "go home without crashing" dataset.

From how I read the article, it does have a default dataset that it switches to when it detects a problem. From TFA:

The automatic response is to hunker down and prevent what would usually be a single engine problem causing more damage.

Limiting the speed of a ground vehicle is safe. However, limiting the speed of an aircraft causes a crash. It sounds like they need to reevaluate their "limp home" calibration, as we call it in the industry.

Comment: Re:How can they legally do that? (Score 1) 614 614

But in order to hire H1Bs, I thought a company needs to demonstrate that they have advertised locally for the positions and can't find any sufficiently qualified people to take them.

Companies often get around this requirement by writing the position's requirements to specifically match the H1B candidate's resume. The odds of getting another candidate with the exact same skill set are astronomical. I have witnessed this practice in person.

Comment: Re:Allow me to respond from the perspective of an (Score 4, Insightful) 614 614

There's a poster downthread who talks about how legal laws will bow to economic forces and that this cannot be stopped. That poster is right--this process CANNOT be stopped.

I can't disagree with this statement more. Business is about competition. Companies play these games because if they don't, their competitors will. If you make it illegal, and enforce it, the competitive landscape remains level. Everyone's costs go up. Sure, the costs will get passed on to the consumer. However, the company won't lose business, or market share won't be impacted.

The only downside is the risk of imported "goods" (I use this term loosely as it could be a service as well) from a competitor based overseas. We saw this in the manufacturing sector in the past. However, I'm not sure that would apply to other fields.

Comment: Re:I would spend as much money as I could (Score 1) 557 557

Then I would build a green house for hydroponics and grow my own food and weed.

That reminds me, houses don't have solariums anymore. Not one of those crappy things they used to attach to Burger Kings. A proper room to put plants. I want one of those.

Comment: Re:Toilets NOT in the bathroom (Score 1) 557 557

Toilets belong in an entirely separate room, protected by a door. Two doors would be better - one going to the hallway, another to the shower/bath/sink.

Because whatever idiot came up with the idea of having your toothbrush, comb, shaving gear exposed to the same air as your toilet had never heard of germs or fluid dynamics.

There should be a name for this room. I know! A water closet!

Comment: Re:Energy Conservation (Score 1) 557 557

Phase change drywall. Like this stuff, called "ThermalCore" from National Gypsum:


I don't know why it hasn't been commercialized yet (they've been stewing on it for years, and some places in Europe already have it), but it sure seems like a good way to make use of the latent heat of wax.

I believe it isn't approved in the US over concerns with fire safety. Something about lining your walls with hydrocarbons doesn't sit well with some people...

They probably just have to do some demonstrations that prove it isn't more flammable than traditional drywall.

Comment: Heating and Cooling (Score 5, Informative) 557 557

I would try to get my heating and cooling costs as low as possible. Something similar to the Passivhaus standard. I might not be strict to the standard if the cost benefit becomes too extreme. I would probably also use some sort of geothermal system as well.

When the power goes out, it would be nice to have some sort of battery backup and/or renewable source of electricity on hand. I also like the EPA certified wood stoves that are now available, like those made by Quadra-fire. They're much more efficient than old fashioned stoves, and don't require electricity. However, their output is likely too high for a house that meets the Passivhaus standard.

What can I say, I work in the energy field. Saving energy is fun to me.

Algebraic symbols are used when you do not know what you are talking about. -- Philippe Schnoebelen