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Comment We did this in 1967 on the IBM 1620 (Score 5, Informative) 88

The 1620 was an all digital machine built of discrete transistors. As an undergraduate, we wrote programs that caused the machine to alternate between two loops at a variable rate. The computer radiated so many harmonics that this could be heard all across the AM band where no strong station existed. We programmed it to play (mostly) classical music, "Flight of the Bumblebee" was the perennial favorite. Any truly all digital transmitter will generate harmonics outside of the allowable FCC band, so at the very least they need a really good analog bandpass filter on the output.

Submission + - A 270 HP, poo-propelled, manure-mobile.

k2backhoe writes: Developed for the less than desirable task of aerating and mixing manure pools, this vehicle is actually a very impressive engineering design. It is totally remotely controlled (of necessity). You drive it into a massive manure pool and it can then lift up it's wheels and then maneuver and propel itself by 10000 gpm jets of 'fertilizer'. has video, images and text for the mechanically or scatologically inclined. Amazingly, the prototype was designed and built in 10 days.

Comment Energy Harvesting is old (Score 3, Interesting) 46

I have an 80+ year old Atmos torsion pendulum mantel clock. It never needs winding, it harvests energy from atmospheric pressure changes (or temperature changes). Air pressure in a sealed can will run the clock for a week on just a 2F degree swing in ambient temperature.

Submission + - Amazon Prime Guaranteed 2 Day Shipping: Slipping?

k2backhoe writes: I have bought heavily from Amazon Prime for nearly 2 years. Is it just me, or do other /. folks notice delivery slowing down? First I noticed increasing use of USPS to do the final delivery, frequently 1 day later than the "Guaranteed delivery" date. Originally if I complained, I got a small credit to my account, now complaints get no response. Then (because I keep page copies of all my orders) I noticed that even though the "Review your order" page said "Guaranteed", the page listing a history of your orders sometimes shows "Delivery estimate" while other orders still say "Guaranteed delivery by:" And now I see them suggesting "Get a $1 credit toward your next book or ebook purchase when you choose FREE No-Rush Shipping" to NOT ask for the free 2 day delivery. All this with raising the price of Prime by 25% makes me want to ask if others are noticing this, or have an explanation (besides cutting shipping costs).

Comment Re:Old news for buses (Score 2) 176

Good article with some believable numbers. But when transmitting 100 kW at 85% efficiency, you have to wonder what is happening to 15 kW of magnetic field. Where is it going, who is it affecting? Will my fillings heat up, or my cochlear implant overload if I am near by?

Comment 20 HP average? (Score 3, Interesting) 164

This has 512 m^2 solar array, incoming sun at directly overhead is roughly 1 kW / m^2, assume solar panel efficiency of 15%. This is a total power of about 76 kW or about 100 HP when the sun is directly overhead. Averaged over a 24 hour day, this is maybe 20-25 HP. 89,000 kg of lithium battery at 200 Wh / kg is 17.8 MWh. This would take 234 hours to charge with the sun directly overhead. That is about 40 days of clear sky charging, assuming you are not running the propeller at the same time. Something is fishy here. Sounds like he charges in port, then runs to the next port on solar plus battery (otherwise there is no need for this large battery / solar cell ratio). Then he repeats. Is my math wrong, or is this story a bit strange?

4-Billion-Pixel Panorama View From Curiosity Rover 101

SternisheFan points out that there is a great new panorama made from shots from the Curiosity Rover. "Sweep your gaze around Gale Crater on Mars, where NASA's Curiosity rover is currently exploring, with this 4-billion-pixel panorama stitched together from 295 images. ...The entire image stretches 90,000 by 45,000 pixels and uses pictures taken by the rover's two MastCams. The best way to enjoy it is to go into fullscreen mode and slowly soak up the scenery — from the distant high edges of the crater to the enormous and looming Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual destination."

Festo's Drone Dragonfly Takes To the Air 45

yyzmcleod writes "Building on the work of last year's bionic creation, the Smart Bird, Festo announced that it will literally launch its latest creation, the BionicOpter, at Hannover Messe in April. With a wingspan of 63 cm and weighing in at 175 grams, the robotic dragonfly mimics all forms of flight as its natural counterpart, including hover, glide and maneuvering in all directions. This is made possible, the company says, by the BionicOpter's ability to move each of its four wings independently, as well as control their amplitude, frequency and angle of attack. Including its actuated head and body, the robot exhibits 13 degrees of freedom, which allows it to rapidly accelerate, decelerate, turn and fly backwards."

Comment Re:Seemed very slow (Score 1) 282

With rockets, faster acceleration means LESS total fuel to orbit, not more (assuming you can just use the same fuel either faster or more slowly). The shorter time you are fighting the 1G, the less total fuel you use up. Imagine takeoff to orbit at 1.01G (1G earth, .01G motion). instead of 2G. You take forever to achieve orbit and the first 1G is wasted all that time. The only advantage I see is (as you say) lighter engines and structure. Still seems low compared to any other rocket I have ever seen.

Comment Re:Stuxnet2 - What a great terrorist tool (Score 1) 253

Used for navigation. Provide wrong navigation coordinates to the pilots under conditions of reduced visibility. The humans will follow blindly in most cases. We have seen large numbers of aviation accidents like this. Remember the plane that got shot down over NK because the pilot had entered wrong co-ords into the autopilot? Sorry for your anger and lack of imagination. I just hope the terrorists have similar mind sets.

Comment Stuxnet2 - What a great terrorist tool (Score 1) 253

Cyber war gave us the stuxnet worm that was very selective and only activated when it could ruin gas centrifuges. The Ipad would make airlines vulnerable to a clever al qaeda hacker who makes a worm that activates when certain critical conditions were met (i.e. when a US airliner was over water, or during a critical landing maneuver). Are we conceited enough to think that USA and Israel are the only ones with master hackers?

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel