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Comment: Re:this is opposite of economy of scale (Score 1) 128

by blue trane (#47970115) Attached to: The UPS Store Will 3-D Print Stuff For You

Have them print up a 3D printer for you, then after the purchase your only costs are material and energy, which could easily be less than even the scale costs + profit + shipping of a factory producer.

Conclusion: China's cheap labor advantage will become irrelevant. Manufacturing becomes decentralized and local, jobs decrease, leisure time increases, and (with a basic income) we are closer to utopia.

Comment: Re:Employer says Thank You (Score 2, Insightful) 108

by blue trane (#47941513) Attached to: Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Axes Silicon Valley Research

When you say "intellect-nots" and talk of shortages of "smart employees", you mean there are too many people who don't want to code intrusive ads to sell sell sell, right? Maybe you're the one who's not so smart, looking for robotic employees you're too stupid to code.

Comment: Re:Thermodynamic equilibrium is not required (Score 1) 211

by blue trane (#47877341) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

I know the feeling, so I'm taking the edx Thermodynamics MOOC to try to learn more about the subject.

Something I learned in the first week: the assumptions of Thermodynamics are astonishingly limited. According to Professor Gaitonde, the science of Thermodynamics is macroscopic (so it doesn't say anything about microscopic phenomena). The assumptions are:

1) No quantum effects

2) No relativistic effects

3) No scale effects.

So any limits derived by Thermodynamics only apply to a small range of phenomena, when you consider the universe. Dark Energy, Dark Matter, Quantum Physics, and Computer Science (since scale effects are very important) are not limited by the assumptions Thermodynamics makes. The laws of thermodynamics, based on these assumptions, don't apply as broadly as people commonly assert.

Comment: Re:Gibbs Free Energy (Score 1) 211

by blue trane (#47876895) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

What about information entropy? The entropy is lowered when the file is zipped, then raised when the file is unzipped. According to the "rule of thumb" cited above, if a process is reversible, the entropy remains constant. Zipping is reversible, but the information entropy is not constant; it lowers and increases.

Comment: Re:Gibbs Free Energy (Score 1, Flamebait) 211

by blue trane (#47876601) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

What cost does the absorption and re-emission extract from me, every time I use the lens to do the work I want it to do? What am I losing, what am I giving up to get heat of ignition from sunlight?

I had to buy the glass, and there was an energy cost in producing it. But those are one-time expenditures. Once it's made, the cost to light a fire is nothing.

Also, the first law of thermodynamics seems to be violated, as outlined above. U = Q - W. U (internal energy of the system, in this case the magnifying glass) should be negative, since Q (heat added to the system) is very small, and W (work done by the system) is relatively large. But the internal energy of the magnifying glass doesn't go down, if anything it increases slightly because of a temperature increase?

Comment: Re:Gibbs Free Energy (Score 1) 211

by blue trane (#47873789) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

"If you were trying to imply that Q is the energy added to the system that the light is being focused upon,"

No, I'm guessing Q would be the heat added to the magnifying glass on the sun side, which is very small compared to the heat produced on the side where the light is focused; the latter heat does the work you want (lighting a fire or whatever). Since Q is small, and W is large, U should be negative. But it's not.

"The process of compressing your data costs more than decompressing it. Rule of thumb holds."

Costs more in what sense? Energy cost? Lines of code cost? Time cost? In any event, it is not something that I consider when zipping a file. Zip and unzip are treated as equivalent from the user's standpoint.

"A magnifying glass, simply put, directs the energy that hits its outside lens surface to a much smaller area, at the cost of the loss due to diffraction of light."

The point that confuses me is: the energy on the outside lens surface can't light a fire, but the energy produced by the glass can. What work was done on the outside energy? It was redirected inside the lens, but how is that work? Doesn't work in thermodynamics reduce to the lifting of a mass in a gravitational field? How is the lens doing any work, in that sense?

Comment: Re:Empirical Data Trumps Information Theory (Score 1) 211

by blue trane (#47873633) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

All models are flawed, by definition. These holy "Theories" you have such emotional attachments to simply use models. In a 100 years, they will be superseded and allow us to do things we can't think of today. Like GPS wouldn't work if we relied on Newton's theory of gravity.

Comment: Re:Gibbs Free Energy (Score 1) 211

by blue trane (#47873319) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

Where is the waste heat, or change in internal energy, in a magnifying glass system, used to focus the sun's rays to produce a concentrated, high-temperature Airy disk?

U = Q - W

The U (internal energy) of a magnifying glass does not change appreciably during use. Q is heat added to the system; it is much less than the W, or heat produced by the focused rays, which do the work of lighting a fire.

U is small, Q is small, W is large. In theory, U should be large and negative. But it's not...

http://www.askamathematician.c... says: 'A good rule of thumb for entropy is, "if you can reverse it, then the entropy is constant".'

But a zipped file has lower (information) entropy than the same file uncompressed, and the process is reversible. So that rule of thumb doesn't hold for information entropy?

The other question I have about the "ask a mathematician" response is: it assumes the energy input to the magnifying glass system is the temperature of the sun. That is not true: the atmosphere, at least, reduces the sun's irradiance. The input to the system should be the temperature on the sun's side of the glass, which can be less than zero since you can light fires on cold or windy days when the sun is out.

Comment: Re:The real problem with buses: infectious didease (Score 1) 488

by blue trane (#47867723) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

Let's get away from the bus paradigm altogether. Use small (self-driving) vehicles to move people, instead of large buses. Small vehicles are more flexible and don't clog up traffic as much. They can be disinfected easily between uses by providing wipes or a spray for each new patron to clean the surfaces with.

Comment: Just replace buses with electric vehicles. (Score 2) 488

by blue trane (#47867621) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

Instead of a single bus driving around picking people up and dropping them off, have stands with small electric vehicles for individuals. Instead of waiting for a bus, you go to a stand and check out a vehicle and drive it to where you want. Or it drives itself. With self-driving electric vehicles, you could keep all the stands in supply.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz

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