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Comment: Re:More multi-billion dollar probes? (Score 2) 130 130

Put the antenna under everything so you can only communicate with it if everything goes perfect. Brilliant! Either a better location for the antenna or a redundant antenna in a better location would have solved this obvious design flaw. If they had done that, the odds of still being able to gather some scientific data would have been much higher even with reduced available power from undeployed panels. Part of NASA's success with their Mars rovers was being able to tell them to not use certain systems and do less stuff to conserve power when their solar panels got old and dirty and batteries got old.

Comment: Blood batteries (Score 1) 90 90

Slightly tongue in cheek comment, but who knows when it comes to the Chinese! I am guessing they are really looking to use all the blood to offset some of their energy needs by using some sort of technology like this: http://electronics.howstuffwor... Almost the Matrix in real life:)

Comment: Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 1) 602 602

Ditto, I have also had CFLs pop on me like that. Also have had probably 75% of the ones I have installed fail prior to their advertised lifetime. They don't really dim (there are CFLs that advertise being "dimmable" but they don't really dim much) and the light they produce is poor quality. I will NEVER install another CFL. OTOH, I have been mostly happy with all the LEDs I have installed so far. The cheap ones are cheap...not much light and the light is poor quality. But they all are efficient, don't contain murcury, have not had one fail yet (even the cheap chinese ones), and the latest Cree stuff dims well and puts off really good light.

Comment: Re:CDC "Estimates" (Score 1) 280 280

I take them with a whole salt shaker. An estimate is just an estimate and when it comes to human behavior and viral behavior, both of which tend to be very unpredictable, it's nigh impossible to provide any sort of meaningful prediction. Bottom line: The sky is falling, or it's not, nobody is really quite sure. ...Except the PTSD guy that broke into the white house the other day, he was pretty sure of himself.

Comment: Re:Replaced by what? (Score 1) 712 712

It would cost much more than $50 Billion to replace that generation capacity. Here are a couple options:

Coal currently produces a ballpark average of 200,000 Megawatts of power for the US continuously (based on the published annual generation totals). So we use that number to figure out how much of alternative generation sources you would need.

Lets start with Nucular since that is (relatively) simple with almost continuous output: Most recent power plan under construction in the US is Watts Bar 2 (look it up) that will produce 1180 megawatts at a cost of ~4.5Billion. To replace 200,000 megawatts you would need about 170 of those Watts Bar 2 plants at a total cost of approximately $763Billion in today's dollars! Wowser. Also note that there is a fuel shortage looming that makes spinning up new multi-billion $ reactors a potential waste of time and $. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10...

Ok, lets move on to renewables. There are lots of options here...wind, solar, concentrated solar, tidal power, ect. The thing with non-hydro renewables is that most of them are cyclical or random like the weather. So you need huge storage capacity to go with them. Projects like the Bath County Pumped Storage Station are a great solution for this, but for 200,000 megawatts of renewables, you would need about 70 of those at a cost of $100Billion+. Thats just for the glorified "battery" and does not count the cost of the generation facilities themselves which would be hundreds of billions if not $1Trillion+.

Just keeping things in perspective:)

Comment: Re:$129 for a freaking SMOKE ALARM?! (Score 1) 177 177

I have to agree. It is cool and can do a few things that a normal smoke detector cant (such as act as a sensor extension for your Next thermostat and notify your mobile if there is smoke and you are not home), but the price does seem a bit steep for what it is. If it was $50 I would have already ordered at least one to go with my Nest thermostat. $130 is painful.

Comment: Re:Isn't it empty? (Score 5, Informative) 608 608

1. Yes, Preliminary reports are that the suspect is a woman who had a child in the car. 2. "ramming" may have been an embellishment. I heard it described more like she "tried to go through the gate" but security stopped her. 3. There is no confirmation if the "suspect" even had any weapons. From the preliminary reports, it sounds like the shots fired were actually fired by the police to stop the car from getting away. 4. It was just clarified by the capitol police chief that the injured officer was NOT shot but rather struck by a vehicle.
Earth

Producing Gasoline With Metabolically-Engineered Microorganisms 233 233

An anonymous reader writes "For many decades, we have been relying on fossil resources to produce liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and many industrial and consumer chemicals for daily use. However, increasing strains on natural resources as well as environmental issues including global warming have triggered a strong interest in developing sustainable ways to obtain fuels and chemicals. A Korean research team led by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) reported, for the first time, the development of a novel strategy for microbial gasoline production through metabolic engineering of E. coli."

Comment: Re:Location, Location, Location (Score 2) 117 117

Sorry, forgot to mention volcanoes. Mount St. Helens could erupt again too. But the servers are located outside the lava and mud flow paths for all of these (there are maps widely available that show these things). Even a major eruption would be unlikely to pose a physical threat to the servers and damage to electrical or internet infrastructure would be temporary and easily routed around at worst. Probably the most likely thing might be ash from an eruption potentially clogging cooling systems...but that is easily mitigated by making sure the air handling systems in your data center have pre-filters installed.

Comment: Location, Location, Location (Score 2) 117 117

We have our servers in a data centers in inland Oregon/Washington. There has never been a hurricane or typhoon within a thousand miles, seismic events are rare, the area is used to large amounts of rain so flooding has minimal effect, the weather is temperate so there is rarely extremes in heat or cold and Tsunamis would have to get past the coast range mountains to be an issue. Basically, nothing ever happens there. I would recommend anyone with important data at least have a DR location in a low risk geographical area.

Comment: Re:Safe Batteries (Score 2) 301 301

Except Boeing would not be paying that fuel cost. It's customers would. And when you figure the per passenger flight hour rate of the extra fuel for that, it's about $0.0005. Yes, thats 5 100ths of a penny added to the ticket price of a passenger making a 1 hour flight. There is cutting corners and then there is cutting corners. The main batteries of a fly-by-wire plane is not the place to be cutting corners like this. It costs them more to carry the trash you make during the flight then it would to add 18 lbs of safer battery. And that is just figuring the gross fuel cost. That fuel cost would be at least partially offset by a lower maintenance cost since LiFePo batteries would not have to be replaced as often. Beyond that, I am sure that this fiasco has already cost Boeing far more than $1millon and has cost the customers who have had to take ground planes and re-shuffle passengers untold millions. It's all fun and games till a $200million airplane catches on fire.

Comment: Safe Batteries (Score 4, Interesting) 301 301

It really seems silly to me that they chose to use a lithium ion battery with a cobalt cathode for use as a critical component of an airplane. They are not environmentally friendly, prone to fire, and don't last as long as some other technologies. They could have gone with a Lithium Iron battery and been much safer and require less maintenance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate_battery That would have only added about 18 pounds to the entire aircraft, certainly worth the greatly increased safety factor. Just goes to show that this plane was built to be a cheap as possible with only cursory regard to safety.

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