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Comment: Re:Americans are bad at math (Score 1) 290

by dhj (#38105498) Attached to: The $443 Million Smallpox Vaccine That Nobody Needs

Lets examine how much time $443 million will buy us for budget examination... The 2011 budget expenditures are an estimated $3.82 trillion. So $443 million out of $3.82 trillion is 0.000116 of our budget. or 0.0116 % of the budget. If we spread that spending evenly throughout the year then 0.0116% of the 8760 hours in the year accounts for 0.99 hours. That's right -- less than one hour. That $443 million dollars will buy us less than one hour of time for budget examination. The cost of the wars in Iran and Iraq, however, was over $1 trillion. That would have bought us over 9 days per year every year over the last 10 years.

Comment: Re:Battery Comparison (Score 4, Informative) 103

by dhj (#36925962) Attached to: MIT Unveils Sun-Free Photovoltaics

Good point... The summary left off an important bit of information from TFA:

"Based on that technology, MIT researchers have made a button-sized power generator fueled by butane that can run three times longer than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight; the device can then be recharged instantly, just by snapping in a tiny cartridge of fresh fuel"

So... using this to convert butane to electrical energy it lasts three times longer than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight.

But if you look at energy density of the two fuel sources:

You find that butane/propane/gas/diesel is about 45 megajoules / kg and Li-ion batteries store about 0.75 megajoule / kg. Converted energy 2.25 megajoules (3x Li-Ion) out of stored energy 45 megajoules = 5% efficiency rate converting butane heat to electrical energy using this device.


Comment: Re:Linux support (Score 1) 214

by dhj (#36883316) Attached to: Blockbuster Trying To Woo Disgruntled Netflix Customers

News flash: There is nothing preventing companies from developing DRM or closed binaries on linux. nVidia already has closed binaries, hulu (with drm obviously) runs on a linux OS. The reason companies don't support linux desktop is solely because the linux desktop market is so small that companies do not see a profit benefit in supporting it. So email your favorite(?) company and let them know you are a linux user and you would like for them to support linux.

Comment: Rapid Keyword Searches (Score 1) 591

by dhj (#36240388) Attached to: Mozilla Labs: the URL Bar Has To Go

Replace the URL bar with a tool to support more than just one command? Isn't that what keyword searches are for? I find the firefox URL bar to be extremely useful when combined with keyword searches. Here's how:

Go to any search field for instance the google search box, right click and choose "Add a Keyword for this Search...".

Give the search a single character "keyword" (eg g for google).

Now when you want to do a search you can do the following sequence:

Ctl-L # access the URL bar
Keyword [SEARCH TERMS] # eg "g slashdot" will perform a google search for slashdot

These are some of the keyword searches I use most often:

p for pubmed
g for google
gs for google scholar
gm for google maps
w for wikipedia
d for duckduckgo
ed for english dictionary
sd for spanish dictionary

The URL bar is by far the most useful feature of Firefox!

Comment: Re:How can it be tied to local time zone? (Score 1) 673

by dhj (#36199742) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do When the Rapture Comes?

You and the GP are missing the point here. God, obviously, will borrow Santa Clause's sleigh. Santa doesn't deliver all the presents at once, right? It takes time for him to ride his sleigh across the sky. So *logically* God will be driving Santa's magic sleigh across the sky approximately 6 hours behind the sun. Or maybe he's hitching a ride with FSM.

Comment: Re:Hydrogen (Score 1) 436

by dhj (#36161036) Attached to: What's Your Favorite Renewable Energy

Ummm.. You guys do realize that "hydropower" means hydroelectric power? As in dammed rivers. Not "hydrogen power" as in hydrogen batteries? The parent is right, "hydrogen power" is just a form of portable energy. The GP whooshed. All of the alternative energies listed consist of converting a significant natural energy resource (like shining sun, blowing wind ... falling water) into electricity, with hamster power obviously being our most precious natural resource.

+ - The DoD Wants All Its Robots To Collaborate on the-> 1

Submitted by epdp14
epdp14 (1318641) writes "If the idea of being hunted by an unmanned aerial drone is unnerving the thought of multiple robots planning a coordinated attack is downright frightening. Unfortunately for those who have to worry about such things, the DoD is working on software tools that allow robots in the sky and on the ground to do exactly that.

The Collaborative Unmanned Systems Technology Demonstrator (CUSTD) system is explained something like this: Aerial drones can pick out subjects from the air, but depending on a particular drone’s sensor array (for weight reasons, different drones carry different sensors) it may not be able to follow a target indoors or through a crowded urban area. So it calls in a few friends."

Link to Original Source

Microwave Map of Entire Moon Revealed 82

Posted by samzenpus
from the quickest-route-mode dept.
Zothecula writes "The first complete microwave image of the Moon taken by Chinese lunar satellite Chang'E-1 has been revealed. Chang'E-1 is China's first scientific mission to explore planetary bodies beyond Earth and the on-board Lunar Microwave Radiometer has made it possible for the first time to globally map the Moon in microwave frequencies. Radar observations of the Moon are unable to provide thermal information, and microwave observations taken from Earth cannot reach the far side of the moon. So Chang'E-1's (CE-1) orbit was conducted at an altitude of 200km (124 miles) and allowed it to observe every location of the moon with a nadir view and at high spatial resolution."

+ - Self Assembling Photovoltaic Cells->

Submitted by dhj
dhj (110274) writes "MIT scientists have developed a self-assembling photovoltaic cell in a petri dish. Phospholipids (think cell membranes) form disks which act as the structural support for light responsive molecules. Carbon nanotubes help to align the disks and conduct electricity generated by the system with 40% efficiency. The assembly process is reversible using surfactants to break up the phospholipids. When filters are used to remove the surfactants the system reassembles with no loss of efficiency even over multiple assembly/disassembly cycles. The results were published September 5th in Nature Chemistry."
Link to Original Source

Morphing Metals 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the forge-ahead dept.
aarondubrow writes "Imagine a metal that 'remembers' its original, cold-forged shape, and can return to that shape when exposed to heat or a magnetic pulse. Like magic out of a Harry Potter novel, such a metal could contract on command, or swing back and forth like a pendulum. Believe it or not, such metals already exist. First discovered in 1931, they belong to a class of materials called 'shape memory alloys (SMA),' whose unique atomic make-up allows them to return to their initial form, or alternate between forms through a phase change."

Comment: Re:No Drivers for Windows (Score 1) 702

by dhj (#33587030) Attached to: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04

If only that were true. Video: intel i915.modeset=1, ATI nomodeset (until questionable drivers are installed). Downloading and compiling drivers for wifi (the new one I bought cause there was no chance of it working with an old card I dug up). Even after the headache of getting everything up and running X has crashed a few times. With Windows it just works. As much as it pains me to say that, its true. I am thinking I should go back to Fedora (first jump from Fedora to Ubuntu -- was with RedHat since well before Fedora split off and 10.04 has been a nightmare). You guys who say Ubuntu is best for hardware compatibility must be purchasing only hardware pre-screened to work. If you have a legacy system or didn't spec out every purchase for linux compatibility then it's a real pain in the ass. I would rather have out of the box hardware support over look and feel, bundled packages or anything else.

Comment: Good call... (Score 1) 870

by dhj (#33568794) Attached to: Preventing Networked Gizmo Use During Exams?

Good call not allowing an ipod in a physics class...

Get the 4 function calculators. You can test physics knowledge with a 4 function calculator. I would say a 3x4 index card (or a formula sheet) would also be acceptable. That way you could better test their ability to apply formulas rather than memorize them. If a student needs a translation dictionary then there are very reasonably priced self contained models available. Well worth the investment for any class that allows it.

Comment: Re:TOO MUCH! Tracfone is CHEAPER! (Score 1) 278

by dhj (#33568258) Attached to: Wal-Mart To Launch Unlimited Wireless Family Plan

And Tracfone/Net10 uses the ATT network which, in the US, is 10x better than T-Mobile. You couldn't pay me to use T-Mobile's network. You mean I get to have calls dropped, calls missed and a plain inability to call out most of the places I go for only $45 / month?! OH BOY! Where do I sign up!


Child Abuse Verdict Held Back By MS Word Glitch 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the messy-verdict dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week several defendants including one high-profile TV presenter were sentenced in Portugal in what has been known as the Casa Pia scandal. The judges delivered on September 3 a summary of the 2000-page verdict, which would be disclosed in full only three days later. The disclosure of the full verdict has been postponed from September 8 to a yet-to-be-announced date, allegedly because the full document was written in several MS Word files which, when merged together, retained 'computer related annotations which should not be present in any legal document.' (Google translated article.) Microsoft specialists were called in to help the judges sort out the 'text formatting glitch,' while the defendants and their lawyers eagerly wait to access the full text of the verdict."

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder