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Comment: Re:Awesome! (Score 1) 36

by Rei (#49519659) Attached to: NASA's Rocket Maker To Begin 3D Printing Flight-Ready Components

The first patent (which had no attempt to commercialize) was in 1979. Most early research, with largely failed attempts to come up with a commercially viable product, were in the mid 1980s. The tech has slowly advanced since then, and nowadays is becoming rather mature.

I don't know why this is seen as a way to diss 3d printing. Some people's hatred of makerbots and their ilk is so great that they can't accept that 3d printing broadly has developed into actually useful production processes in some fields. Rocketry is a great example. It's just silly to have to make (and warehouse) moulds or stamps for parts that you only need a couple dozen of and which you may revise after just a couple launches. Now that 3d printing technologies have advanced enough to produce high quality metal parts, it's properly taking of. It even pairs nicely with CNC, there's now hybrid 3d printing / CNC machines out there. CNC gets you the coarse, primary shape and 3d printing adds in the intricate and/or jutting out components.

3d printing is a very useful technology for low volume or rapidly evolving part runs. No need to play it down just because Makerbots exist.

Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 1) 593

by Rei (#49513227) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

That's actually the point. Warm temperatures and near constant sunlight = high productivity - if you import water. Ag in California takes up 80% of the water, but ag + mining together is only 2% of the economy. It's fine when water is abundant, but when it's in short supply, ag has to give.

Comment: Re:Me personally? no.. (Score 1) 340

It depends. a dipole in your apartment/condo is just fine at QRP power levels. if you plan on transmitting at 1000 watts, well things will get really exciting for you.

I have a 10 Meter dipole ran at the peak of my house in the attic, works great for the directions I want to talk.

Everything else I use a current Loop antenna that is smaller and easily turned. or if I am portable when camping I use a BuddiPole/BuddiStick setup. Those also work indoors, but again, if you are at 100 watts or higher, RF feedback and RF exposure to yourself get's really wacky. I have seen guys fry their own gear when running 500 watts on an antenna that was only 30 feet away from themselves due to induction.

A lot of hams claim that more power is good. It's not. 5 Watts QRP you can easily talk around the world on. and it's a lot easier to do in an apartment/condo setting.

Add PSK31 digital mode into the mix and suddenly you are talking to people barely above the noise floor 1500 miles away.

Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 4, Interesting) 593

by putaro (#49510565) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Do the math - bottled water doesn't even move the dial compared to agriculture. Total US consumption of bottle water per year = 10 billion gallons or about 31,000 acre feet. An acre-foot is about what one household uses per year, so it's the equivalent of a small city. In contrast, California uses 38 billion gallons a DAY. Stopping bottled water will not solve the water crisis. Alfalfa would certainly have a bigger impact.

Comment: Re:Practical use? (Score 2) 149

by Rei (#49507405) Attached to: Mandelbrot Zooms Now Surpass the Scale of the Observable Universe

I don't think the Mandelbrot Set itself persay is all that useful, but its 3d relatives like Mandelbox, Mandelbulb, etc sure generates some amazing landscapes... I could totally picture that used in games or movies. It's amazing the diversity it can do with some parameter changes - steampunk machinery and evolving spacescapes, reactors / futuristic computers, art deco, extradimensional beings, alien cities, floating viny landscapes, transforming robotics, things hard to describe, etc.

I'd love to have a house / secret supervillain lair that looks like this one ;)

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky