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Comment Yeah for EM Drive! (Score 4, Insightful) 502 502

I've been following this invention for years; since the first announcements from Shawyer through his being trashed by various physicists and wanna-bees, through his redemption through work in China and NASA. It used to be very difficult to get information, but since the burst of activity on the NASA Space flight forums, there's now too much information to digest, especially for someone like me who only has an undergrad level of schooling in it. If you want lots of details and discussion, check it out - but please don't post unless you really know what you're talking about, as there's already been a hell of a lot of noise.

Comment not all Lithium batteries - (Score 1) 69 69

LiFePO4 are a class of lithium batteries which do not have this thermal runaway problem. The disadvantage is that they have less energy density when new, but because other lithium battery technologies quickly lose capacity, this disadvantage is eliminated at a year of age, and thereafter, LiFePO4 has a higher energy density. LiFePO4 batteries are what should have been used in the Boeing 787 in the first place, in order to prevent the problems that grounded the fleet.

Comment It's not a tax if they can specify how its used (Score 1) 161 161

This is a 'donation', not a tax. If it were a real tax, it would be written into law and/or tax code, and wouldn't be a one-time thing. The taxpayer does not get to decide how the specific taxes they pay are spent, and certainly a corporation doesn't.

They should have just donated the remains of Nokia to its employees.

Comment Re:Age old story of outsourcing (Score 1) 150 150

Many, many years ago I was a temp doing data entry for the sub-sub contractor for military night-vision goggles. the company was making the high-voltage power supplies. they had a QA spreadsheet in Lotus 123 that the results of QA test failures were supposed to be entered into, and because of bad 'programming', only the first 20 tests failures were tabulated, giving them results which showed a lower failure rate the more units they made. I pointed this out, was ignored, complained, was fired, tried to blow the whistle, got no response. But the company has since gone out of business..ha ha ha, they deserve worse.

Comment I started with SLS, but then switched to Slackware (Score 3, Funny) 150 150

Actually, that's only sort-of true. I started with MCC interim release, but couldn't get it to work properly. So then I spent a few days downloading SLS and it worked just fine - well, as good as you could expect with only 4MB of ram. But I didn't notice any alignment issues, and I wasn't instructed to reinforce the floor so I didn't. I had problems with overheating during compilation though, which I fixed by a powerful floor fan pointed at the air intake of the PC. I later fixed this more gracefully with a home-made triple-sized heat sink. Maybe that's what NASA should do, build a giant heat sink onto it.

Comment battery maintenance isn't so bad.. (Score 1) 330 330

When I was last shopping for a car (two years ago), I had narrowed it down to either a used Prius or a use VW TDI. I chose the VW only because I found a good one available locally at a decent price. I did a hair amount of research on the issue of battery reliability. What I found is...batteries are lasting far longer than their warranties, which are pretty long. I also found out that it's likely that a single cell will fail before the whole pack. The dealer may tell you that you need a whole new battery and want $10,000 for it, but often, for less than $50, you can just replace the faulty cell. Also, if you search for non-dealer entire battery pack replacements, they can be had for $1200 new. What's interesting about this is that there are ten year old Priuses out there for sale 'parts only, battery needs to be replaced', for reasonable cost. The reasons I didn't go this route was because I didn't have garage space to work on it, and I needed a car quickly and the cheap Prius I was seeing were kind of far away.

It's worth noting that the price of electricity makes this economy variable. The place I live now just had electric rates rise by 30% because they shut down a nuclear power plant. In other, more responsible areas of the US or in other countries, the situation may be better (or worse).

Comment Good news! (Score 1) 148 148

I already knew about this, but glad to see it posted here. I am sad that it has to be a Russian one instead of a US/Japan or French one, and wish it could be Thorium instead of Uranium, but those aren't available yet. They originally were going to build it at Aqaba, their only sea access, to make use of the seawater for cooling and also desalinate it with waste plant heat. I wonder why they moved it.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce