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Comment: DIY Speakers (Score 4, Interesting) 249

by jIyajbe (#49023625) Attached to: How good is your audio equipment?

I obsess, but don't spend $$$$ on equipment. As someone posted above, once you have equipment that's better than "on sale at Walmar!", most people won't hear any difference between amplifiers, or CD players, or the audio from Blu-ray players. (You can in a side-by-side A/B test, but what fraction of people do that in their homes?)

My obsession, and my money, went to making my listening room/home theater as acoustically perfect as the floorplan of my house would allow. I put up walls to prevent most standing waves, acoustically treated the walls and ceiling (all in consultation with a professional acoustician; I didn't just stick stuff up on the walls randomly), and positioning my speakers as optimally as possible. Made a WORLD of difference in the sound quality.

And, the other really great investment I made was building my own speakers. Designs exists on the Intertubes (e.g. http://www.parts-express.com/project-gallery, and the enormous fun and satisfaction of building them yourself cannot be overexpressed. Plus--with all due modesty--my speakers sound as good as speakers that cost 10-50 times what I spent (not including tools, heh). Friends that hear them are astonished that they are DIY speakers.

(N.B.: I am not taking credit for the designs; I have neither the knowledge nor the skills to design quality speakers. I simply implemented the designs and plans I found. There are some seriously smart people out on the web.)

+ - Every Time You Fly, You Trash The Planet — And There's No Easy Fix->

Submitted by jIyajbe
jIyajbe (662197) writes "Christie Awchwanden of FiveThirtyEight.com writes "When the latest international Climate Conference wrapped up in Lima, Peru, last month, delegates boarded their flights home without much official discussion of how the planes that shuttled them to the meeting had altered the climate. Aircraft currently contribute about 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions...if the aviation industry were a country, it would be one of the world’s top 10 emitters of CO2. And its emissions are projected to grow between two and four times by 2050."

Beyond just volume of emissions:

Planes don’t just release carbon dioxide, they also emit nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and black carbon, as well as water vapor that can form heat-trapping clouds...These emissions take place in the upper troposphere, where their effects are magnified. When this so-called radiative forcing effect is taken into account, aviation emissions produce about 2.7 times the warming effects of CO2 alone...


Link to Original Source

+ - MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses by Walter Lewin->

Submitted by jIyajbe
jIyajbe (662197) writes "MIT is indefinitely removing retired physics faculty member Walter Lewin’s online lectures from MIT OpenCourseWare and online MITx courses from edX, the online learning platform co-founded by MIT, following a determination that Dr. Lewin engaged in online sexual harassment in violation of MIT policies."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Brick and Mortar (Score 2) 131

by jIyajbe (#47733713) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

If there is a decent brick-and-mortar store within a reasonable driving distance, I'd shop there. Of course, this won't change what quality batteries you find, but--Apart from the issue of supporting your local economy, if the battery fails within the warranty period, it's a heckuva lot easier to return/replace/exchange it than trying to fiddle with an online retailer.

Plus, some stores (my local Batteries and Bulbs store, for example) can open many devices that are not designed to be opened by the average consumer. Finally, they are a LOT more likely to sell you the correct one on the first try.

+ - Nightfall: Can Kalgash Exist?->

Submitted by jIyajbe
jIyajbe (662197) writes "Two researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics investigate the imaginary world of Kalgash, a planetary system based on the novel ‘Nightfall’ (Asimov & Silverberg, 1991). From the arXiv paper:

"The system consists of a planet, a moon and an astonishing six suns. The six stars cause the wider universe to be invisible to the inhabitants of the planet. The author explores the consequences of an eclipse and the resulting darkness which the Kalgash people experience for the first time. Our task is to verify if this system is feasible, from the duration of the eclipse, the ‘invisibility’ of the universe to the complex orbital dynamics."

Their conclusion?

"We have explored several aspects of Asimov’s novel. We have found that the suns, especially Dovim are bright enough to blot out the stars. Kalgash 2 can eclipse Dovim for a period of 9 hours. We also tested one possible star configuration and after running some simulations, we found that the system is possible for short periods of time."


Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Streaming vs downloading (Score 1) 339

by jIyajbe (#47123865) Attached to: The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

And in fact, when I buy a movie via iTunes, I have the choice of streaming it directly from Apple servers, or downloading it to my computer--or both. I generally choose to stream directly, because I'm lucky enough to have an internet connection that is both fast and reliable, and Apple's servers have been very reliable (not 100%, but close enough), so I don't have to use up my hard drive space.

But, if I choose to, I can have the full HD version on my local hard drive, and so can watch any movie I buy whether or not I have an internet connection.

(N.B.: I know I sound like an Apple fanboi (TM), but it's the only online service I've tried.)

Comment: Re:Avoiding Re-Buying (Score 0) 339

by jIyajbe (#47123679) Attached to: The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

Well, Apple didn't make me pay for the upgrade from Mountain Lion to Mavericks...

They didn't make me pay for the upgrade from iWork '09 to iWork 2013...

They didn't make me pay for some music I bought that was re-issued as remastered shortly after I bought it...

However, you're quite right about having to buy new equipment. That would be true regardless of whether I stream or use physical discs, though.

Comment: Only Relevant to Projection (Score 4, Informative) 261

by jIyajbe (#47123581) Attached to: Curved TVs Nothing But a Gimmick

In a movie theater, which uses projection, the curved screen is to alleviate the pincushion effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pincushion_distortion) created by the anamorphic lens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamorphic_lens) that the theater uses. This is utterly irrelevant to the image created by a monitor TV.

In short, yes; pure marketing BS.

Comment: Avoiding Re-Buying (Score 0) 339

by jIyajbe (#47123303) Attached to: The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

I decided to move completely to streaming (via iTunes), rather than buying discs. Two advantages:

1) When the next format comes out, I don't have to re-purchase the same movie yet again (VHS --> DVD --> Blu-ray --> 4K --> ???)

2) Less stuff in my house. I am trying to downsize, and I want my next house to be less than 1000 ft^2. The less stuff I have to store, the better.

+ - The Surprisingly Simple Way Egyptians Moved Massive Pyramid Stones->

Submitted by jIyajbe
jIyajbe (662197) writes "Few have traveled to the pyramids of Egypt and not wondered how an ancient civilization without modern technology could have constructed structures so large they can be viewed from space. Some have theorized they were built inside out..

On the flakier side, some say aliens did it.

Perhaps the most confounding mystery of all involves how incredibly large stones made their way to the middle of the desert without massive mechanical assistance. No camel, even the Egyptian kind, is that strong.

The truth, researchers at the University of Amsterdam announced this week in a study published in the journal Physical Review Letters, may actually be quite simple. It has long been believed that Egyptians used wooden sleds to haul the stone, but until now it hasn’t been entirely understood how they overcame the problem of friction. It amounts to nothing more, scientists say, than a "clever trick."

They likely wet the sand."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Faithful (Score 5, Informative) 283

by jIyajbe (#45217293) Attached to: 5-Year Mission Continues After 45-Year Hiatus

Baseline: I am a trekker; I really, really like all of Star Trek, old and new.

For all that it was the genesis of all things Trek, TOS is terribly painful to watch these days. Not an auspicious starting point for a fan-made series.

What's funny is that they managed to write a story that was the same quality as most of TOS stories--mostly low; the actors reproduced the acting "skills" of the originals (especially Kirk! Wow!); and it was just as cheesy as the original show. I fully expected it to be hard to watch.

But it wasn't! It was a labor of love, but they managed to go above that, and actually make an enjoyable episode, one that can hold its head up with the all but the best TOS episodes.

Hats off to them all, and I think I'll open my wallet.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.