Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Perhaps it wouldn’t pass today’s .. (Score 2) 285

by mirix (#49077111) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum

I'd imagine more harmful to ingest/inhale uranium ore... in addition to radioactivity, uranium is also a heavy metal like lead. (in both senses of the term "heavy metal".)

However most ore is quite weak, with 1% being pretty decent... I think it's economical to mine it as low as 0.1%. A few mines in Canada are near 20%, though (which I suppose is related to Canada being the biggest producer... 1/5th the ore is end product, instead of 1/1000th!). Ore will often have lead and such in it as well (decay products), which is also toxic.

Comment: Re:consumerism wins! (Score 2) 294

by mirix (#48995857) Attached to: Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy

It might be different in the US, but in Canada they always had terrible stock. So if your thing didn't have a broken lamp or speaker, or a dead battery - you were SOL, as they didn't carry anything else.

There's so much different silicon now that it isn't really feasible to stock even a small portion of it in every mall anyway, so most anything you fix you'll have to order in parts for...

It would have been more reasonable when I was a kid (and they only stocked a whopping 3 transistors and zero fets then, too).

Comment: Re:What happens to these at the true end-of-life? (Score 2) 143

by mirix (#48541467) Attached to: Using Discarded Laptop Batteries To Power Lights

Lithium cells are pretty benign in general. There are a few variants in chemistry, the worst would probably be the cobalt based ones. (others use various combinations of iron, nickel, manganese, and phosphorous, which are pretty tame). Though the cobalt variants are quite common.

NiCd is far worse, cadmium is fairly nasty... much more than cobalt.

Comment: Re:sorry, all my laptop batteries are dead (Score 2) 143

by mirix (#48541451) Attached to: Using Discarded Laptop Batteries To Power Lights

In every 'dead' laptop battery I've torn down, one cell (or pair, in parallel) is totally kaput, and the remaining cells retain at least 50% of their nameplate capacity. Protection circuitry will lockout recharging of the whole pack, which wouldn't work with the dead cell anyway.

So the battery as a whole is utterly useless for the laptop, but 2/3rds of the cells or more have some life left in them, for other purposes.

I imagine a lot of the too-cheap-to-be-true off-label replacement laptop batteries are in fact combinations of two dead ones, with the remaining functioning cells rewired into one working (but lower capacity) pack. Certainly seems about right judging by the performance of them, anyway.

Comment: Re:Herp a derp fast computers DEEERRRPPP (Score 4, Informative) 197

by mirix (#48537399) Attached to: Orion Capsule Safely Recovered, Complete With 12-Year-Old Computer Guts

I noticed that Intersil still makes a rad-hard variant of the awful RCA 1802. (you know, the CPU in a COSMAC ELF).

When I saw that, I figured NASA and or the DoD probably give them enough money to make it worth their while... so they must use that antique for something.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.