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Comment: Hemispheres (Score 1) 5

by andy16666 (#46218259) Attached to: How About A Spherical Solar Collector ?
So, a partial sphere would work, but a hemisphere would be less effective. The reason being that part of the design ethos here is to be able to collect sunlight as the sun moves without moving the collector. That implies that the cross-section perpendicular to the sun must have maximum surface area. My understanding is that the sun completes nearly a 180 degree arc during the day, making at least most of a sphere necessary for maximum efficiency.

Comment: Where's the harm? (Score 1) 246

by andy16666 (#45714961) Attached to: The Business of Attention Deficit Disorder
Seriously, when I hear conspiracy theory crap like this, even if it's true, you've still got to tell me what the harm is if more people have access to treatment, even though some of them might not need it. It's the same with autism diagnosis: they favor the diagnosis over not giving it because it allow the child access to therapy which can significantly improve outcomes. If you're going to err, overdiagnosis for these disorders is a reasonable direction to lean, much safer than underdiagnosing them. And especially when there's no definitive test.

Comment: Re:Orders of magnitude errors dont inspire confide (Score 5, Insightful) 534

by andy16666 (#45433005) Attached to: Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated By Half
Wait, there's a debate about whether or not the climate is warming? That's news to me. There's certainly a debate about exactly how quickly it's rising, which is something the scientists have not expressed certainty about. But the fact that the planet is warming as well as the question of the main cause very well studied, well demonstrated and not heavily debated among scientists.

Science really isn't about confidence. It's about evidence. If holding the line, even when you know you're wrong, is what makes people feel confident, it's no wonder they turn to religion. But I'm personally thankful that at least one discipline isn't afraid to publish results that contradict earlier findings, if that's where the evidence leads.

As someone who understands this process, findings like this lend tremendous credibility to the scientific community, and yes, boost my confidence in the work they're doing and the integrity of the published results. It's what makes science the best method we know of for understanding reality.

Comment: Re:If it ain't broke... (Score 1) 336

by andy16666 (#44049101) Attached to: PDP-11 Still Working In Nuclear Plants - For 37 More Years
Well, one of the best arguments for upgrading from a system that old is computation power per watt. It costs a lot to run a very old power-hungry system to do something that a tiny micro-controller can do today for fractions of a penny on the dollar in power consumption. You're paying an exorbitant rate per CPU cycle with something like a PDP-11.

That doesn't quite equate to it always being worthwhile to replace a dated system. In some applications, it is critical that a well tested software/hardware combo not be messed with. I suspect this is one of those cases, where the difficulties and cost in maintaining such a system are deemed more economical than the alternatives.

Comment: Re:The problem with most environmentalist ideas (Score 1) 466

by andy16666 (#43206461) Attached to: Why Earth Hour Is a Waste of Time and Energy
Funny...CFLs are responsible for much less mercury emissions than traditional light bulbs if you count the mercury released during generation in even moderately coal rich generating mixes. They're not in any sense worse for the environment. Not that I'm an environmentalist...I've just taken the time to look into the topic.

Comment: Sits on a bit of a shaky premise (Score 1) 139

by andy16666 (#43201967) Attached to: Did Large Eyes Lead To Neanderthals' Demise?
The latest research I'm familiar with says the Neanderthals probably never went extinct at all, but rather inter-bread into larger human populations and essentially merged with humans. The large eyes thing might have played a role, but I don't see how since the premise that they became extinct due to a weakness (or at all) isn't broadly accepted anymore.

Comment: Re:no caffeine in chocolate (Score 1) 283

by andy16666 (#42914053) Attached to: I Get Most of My Caffeine Through
Theobromite has a weak CNS stimulant effect, although it does have other effects which may be more noticeable (elevated heart rate, ...), and you're right, there's more of the stuff. But with caffeine (the more potent stimulant) you're looking at somewhere in the vicinity of 40-50mg/ounce of 80% dark chocolate, which will have a greater stimulant effect than a cup of black tea. Two such chocolate bars is going to be equivalent to a small coffee. That's more than enough to account for the effects I feel when I eat chocolate.

Here's a good article:


Comment: Some false assumptions here (Score 1) 316

by andy16666 (#42755499) Attached to: Current favorite still-image camera type:
1. Film cameras < 35mm were once common and some retro photography enthusiasts still use them (For example the 110 and 126 formats which were both extremely popular at one time. If they're not still made, they were until very recently.) Although to be fair I'm impressed that the author of the poll knew about medium and large format cameras ( > 35mm)

2. Almost all digital cameras are neither fixed-lens (otherwise known as fixed-focus) nor SLR. The most common examples of fixed lens digital cameras are web cams and cheap phone cameras. I'm fairly certain the author actually means point and shoot or compact cameras (very few of which are fixed-lens), but terminology matters. (Read more here.)

3. Mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses also fit into none of the above categories and are increasingly popular. (Read more here.)

4. Many DSLRs, especially the more reasonably priced ones are not 35mm. If someone is using a DSLR for casual use, chances are its sensor is smaller than 35mm, generally cropped. I'm not sure what "conventional 35mm size" means here, as from the outside many medium format professional SLR cameras looked virtually identical to 35mm SLRs, especially through the 70s. (Here's one example.)

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