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Comment: Re:The difference isn't the card. (Score 1) 291

I'll bite.

The cables do not make a difference. Considering the level of thermal noise and the difference between, say, 30 AWG wire and 16 AWG "monster cable" (we're talking about low-level shielded cable, right), the monster cable "difference" is below thermal noise.

If you are "hearing" the difference with better cables, you are most likely hearing the money and not the electrons. Not to say that there aren't such a thing as sub-par cables, but monster cable vs OEM pc cable, for consumer-line-level, please...

Prove me wrong, I dare you.

Comment: Inside the PC case? Forget it (Score 1) 291

If you really want low noise (perhaps you dislike noise or are planning to amplify the sound to very loud levels), you do not want a sound card inside a PC case powered by a PCI bus. Forget it.

Look for something that runs over USB with its own power supply. Or get an external DAC that takes SPDIF or TOSLINK from a motherboard -- motherboard digital outputs are just fine of course.

If you are really (or ever did) considering plopping down hundreds for a PCI sound card.... sorry, you bought in to the marketing.

Comment: Re:How did she get these figures? (Score 2) 394

by gnu-sucks (#47255247) Attached to: Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

The point of the article was that these boxes consume almost as much energy as a washing machine. That is definitely wrong. The article did not measure power consumption of either device. 500 watts is not how much current a DVR of any type consumes. I have a computer here at home that has 14 Xeon cores and a high-end graphics card. It doesn't even consume 500 watts, and yes, I measured it.

The article is a typical alarmist article with a misleading title.

Big energy consumers in homes: Electric dryers (1-2kw), lighting (1kw for a home), electric water heaters (1kw), electric ovens (1-2kw), coffee machines (800W-1kw), toasters/toaster ovens (500w), Vacuum cleaners (500W-1k), Hair dryer (500W), TVs of any type (200W-500W), computers (100W-800W), air conditioning (1-5kw). Each of these devices uses easily 10-50 times as much as a cable box/DVR. Only some of these devices are left on all day or for a significant portion of a day, but they all consume more than a STB/DVR.

Comment: Re:Nice Synergy (Score 1) 347

by gnu-sucks (#47249977) Attached to: Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

I expect that with a two-party system every single official in government has a political party affiliation. This is nothing new.

What I do not expect is for them to intentionally target groups which oppose some party they are adherents to. This is in direct contradiction to their job description, and of course, to the constitution.

What do I expect? I expect them to do better.

Comment: Re:Nice Synergy (Score 4, Insightful) 347

by gnu-sucks (#47249865) Attached to: Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

There's nothing "stupid" about naming a political party with a political name.

It's a real scandal when the party in power can leverage tax exempt status, or any other "treatment" from the IRS. You can agree or disagree with the political opinions or positions of these parties, but you must never use political power to prevent another party from gaining traction.

That's more than a scandal, it's pure simple corruption.

You'll probably reply with something political now, such as that you don't like the tea party or Romney or something. Totally irrelevant, save it for a real political discussion.

Comment: Espresso at NASA (Score 1) 192

by gnu-sucks (#47245351) Attached to: How To Make Espresso In Space

I don't know about in space, but here on Earth, I work at a NASA center and we have one of the best "underground" espresso clubs I have ever seen. Very sophisticated engineering techniques have been applied -- our machine gets serviced in the NASA machine shop sometimes.

You should see that place near launch deadlines. Poor grinder never gets a break!

Comment: Re:Ridiculous summary (Score 1) 267

by gnu-sucks (#47181941) Attached to: Why NASA's Budget "Victory" Is Anything But

Here's the thing though, the president sets the priorities for NASA.

NASA then gets a budget.

Then, NASA has to cut existing programs in order to execute the presidictactor's NASA goals. This kills off projects that have been years in the making. Or kills off projects that are already in space and now don't have the funding to take data.

So there are certainly benchmark levels of funding that would be appropriate to help NASA maintain and not waste it's current projects.

(Also, there is the political challenge of trying to fund missions that aren't in-line with the current administration's policy or desired image...)

Comment: Re: Two Problems (Score 1) 164


I have to reply to you because I feel you really don't get it. I understand, you're probably a grade-school teacher. And that's a hard job. And I think if the qualifications are set high, that's fine, they should be. After all, you are entrusted with the official education of, as you say, +20 kids. I don't mean to trivialize this.

You mentioned that I am trying to "retract my statement" by narrowing it down to lower grades. I'm not though, my argument isn't about college or high school. I know there's a time to learn some hard facts, and I wouldn't want someone that didn't have a firm grasp on chemistry teaching chemistry. My argument is that you don't have to be an "intellectual" to educate. There may be situations that call for it, yes, but we're in a thread here about Reading Rainbow. This isn't about taking Chem 101. This is about inspiring children to learn and create. That's what Reading Rainbow did.

It's a story I can relate to too. I found school completely boring. While the teacher was babbling on about grammar or how to look at nutrition labels, I was making notes about circuits I wanted to try out when I got home. In second-grade I designed a motor that used a rather novel placement of permanent magnets as a journal entry. The teacher gave me a zero because it wasn't creative. These motors are now common-place in electric cars.

On the other hand, when I was 5, I had seen how tubas are made on Mr. Rogers. And I saw how a composer uses a digital sampler on Reading Rainbow. I watched "Square One" on PBS and learned about fractions and division. I saw a "computer" on The Bloodhound Gang that could hold several books on a microchip. I watched Nova and learned about blackholes. One of my few memories from fourth grade was a behind the scenes tour of a check processing facility, where I saw enormous IBM mainframes with open-reel tape feeding them instructions. I knew it was outdated at the time, but it made an impression on me. I remember getting to sit in the cockpit of a 747 on a flight from NY to LA. I was only a child, but looking at the radar screens, comm systems, etc, it was awesome. I remember changing spark plugs with my dad, and learning about how combustion engines work. I remember looking at how the guy at the grocery store ground up the beef (specifically, how the motor was connected up to the grinder). I remember watching the recording engineer at a live show checking each microphone. I remember looking at a watermill grind wheat at the Eno in North Carolina. I remember my uncle's distortion and flanger effects on his guitar.

Looking back, of course there were "intellectuals" involved. I'm not writing them off all together. But you can't just write off the cast of Reading Rainbow because your favorite PhD isn't on the board. Look beyond the diplomas. If a TV show can get kids inspired, how about we support it.

Another point, a science teacher in junior high explained to me and a buddy of mine that if we kept goofing off in the back of the class and not doing his homework, we would never become anything. Well guess what... My friend dropped out of high school and started his own engineering company. I took a different path, but I ended up as an engineer at a top national lab. Saw that teacher recently (an intellectual), and you better believe he took back his statement.

Inspire people and they will learn to learn on their own. They will enquire about what they do not understand. This alone is more important than learning about derivatives or electrons. When I was in school they said electrons had "orbits", something we now know is completely wrong. But that never really held me back. When I took "real" chemistry in college, I got the full story. No harm done.

Please do your students a favor. Stop with the powerpoints, the graphs, and the dimensional analysis. Turn off the calculators, shut down the computers. Get the students into a school bus ("field trip") and slam on the breaks in the parking lot at 10 MPH. That's acceleration. Want to teach about Faraday? Maxwell? Stop with the integrals. Build some circuits. Get some walkie-talkies. If you create an interesting situation, the students will naturally want to learn more.

"I've seen the forgeries I've sent out." -- John F. Haugh II (jfh@rpp386.Dallas.TX.US), about forging net news articles