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Comment: Re:Cost Seems Low (Score 2) 215

by necro81 (#47515689) Attached to: China Plans Particle Colliders That Would Dwarf CERN's LHC

After all, prior to constructing the LHC, Europe didn't have that expertise either and yet all those devices got built just the same.

I disagree: there is a decades-long history of building similar, though simpler, devices in Europe and the United States. Sure, there was a lot of invention involves and new challenges to tackle, but a lot of the fundamental technologies already existed. More importantly, there was a substantial population of people who had experience in designing such (earlier) technologies, manufacturing them, getting them to work, and maintaining them. China does not have that kind of depth.

Comment: Re:Cost Seems Low (Score 3, Informative) 215

by necro81 (#47514831) Attached to: China Plans Particle Colliders That Would Dwarf CERN's LHC
The cost of the LHC has been estimated at $9 billion. I know there are different labor costs between Europe and China, but there are lots of costs that can't easily be brought down. The tunnel's gonna need a whole lot of concrete, steel, etc. - global commodities whose cost doesn't vary that much by geography. The LHC is packed to the gills with custom components: everything from the the superconducting magnets to the RF generators to the detectors to the massive computing systems to sift through all the subatomic debris. Even assuming China has the technical expertise to create that custom componentry (a question I can't answer - I simply don't know)...

does it pass even casual scrutiny to think that China can make a collider of twice the size at one-third the cost?

Comment: No concentrators. Really? (Score 3, Interesting) 110

The summary states "if scaled up, this setup will not require complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight". But the video itself says that all of their testing was done with light at 10x normal solar intensity. In other words - you still need concentrated sunlight, you won't be able to set this beaker out in the bright sunshine and expect it to start boiling. The authors contrast it with solar power towers that concentrate sunlight to 100x or 1000x, but it still sounds like you'd need concentration of some sort.

Comment: Re:Nevada is the only candidate (Score 1) 171

by necro81 (#47500093) Attached to: California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

Nevada is the only is the sole source ( as in only ) of Lithium in the United States

Yes, because moving lithium ore by rail from Nevada to California, or Texas, or any other candidate location would totally kill the economics of the endeavor. Nothing precludes Tesla from importing the lithium by sea, for that matter. They'll probably need to, in order to have enough for full production. The price of lithium is just one cost, and for a sophisticated manufactured product like a battery pack, not even the biggest cost.

Comment: Re:What are the other 99% supposed to do? (Score 5, Insightful) 171

by necro81 (#47500021) Attached to: California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

How many factory workers were middle class, during this heyday of which you speak

A surprisingly large number. Going back to the early days of the model T, Ford (the person) recognized that if he paid his people better than the usual factory wages, he would 1) have lower employee turnover, 2) short-circuit squabbles with the nascent labor unions, 3) increased productivity and throughput (see 1 and 2), and most importantly 4) be creating a population that could actually buy the product he was trying to produce.

More recently, during the heyday that the GP spoke of (1940s through 1970s, then declining through the early 2000s), an auto worker could expect a modest, but stable, middle-class lifestyle from his (it was mostly men) factory job. It was blue-collar, didn't require a college degree, and could support a family on a single income. The large tracts of modest homes that made up Detroit are a testament to this fact. The decline in manufacturing around Detroit has directly led to the general poverty of the city, the depopulation, the urban blight (whole blocks of abandoned homes), and eventual bankruptcy of the city.

If you can get it, the same can be said for an automotive job today, or building airplanes for Boeing. Or, until their decline, the textile industries in the American southeast or the lumber industries in northern states. There are fewer guarantees with a manufacturing job today - it may not be lifelong employment, and your prospects during retirement look less secure. Still, they are decent jobs for decent people, and (right or wrong) the kinds of jobs that cities and states climb over each other to get.

Comment: Re:Texas? (Score 5, Insightful) 171

by necro81 (#47499543) Attached to: California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

I mean, it makes perfect sense to reward a state that makes it as difficult as possible to sell a vehicle with Tesla's sales model.

It makes perfect (business) sense to locate it in a state with depressed wages, huge amounts of available land, little-to-no zoning restrictions, lax environmental regulations, and politicians that are at least a buy-able as the rest. Hell, if it's good enough for the oil and gas industry...

+ - Networked Gadgets Waste 400 Terawatt-Hours of Energy Every Year

Submitted by necro81
necro81 (917438) writes "IEEE Spectrum reports: "Your Xbox wastes a lot of energy—energy that could power the entire United Kingdom. Well, it's not just your Xbox, but your Xbox and my printer and your friend's television and 14 billion other networked electronic devices around the world....

"The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a new report on just how much power all those networked devices use...[t]he results are amazing: network-enabled devices in homes and offices around the world consumed 616 terawatt-hours in 2013, and 65 percent of that (400 TWh) could have been saved simply by using technology that exists today."

It's a problem of design: even though it's technologically straightforward to design products for better energy consumption, with little incremental cost, there's no incentive for a designer to do so. It's not their electricity going to waste, after all."

Comment: Re:TSA waiting line will be interesting now (Score 1) 162

by necro81 (#47430209) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

No need to wait for Fourth of July any more. Once this technology is fully deployed in all airports by TSA you would be seeing this. . The large donut and the thick pillar are parts of the Van de Graff generator

No, they aren't. Those are pictures of Tesla coils. A Van de Graff generator is like an industrial version of rubbing a glass rod with a piece of wool - it works via electrostatics. A Tesla coil is a resonant transformer with a huge turns ratio - it works via magnetic induction.

Comment: Re:The TSA has a new toy.. (Score 1) 162

by necro81 (#47430195) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body
I'd be skeptical that sticking one hand on a Van DeGraff generator won't do anything for someone with a pacemaker. In order for things to get weird, you need some other part of the body grounded (e.g., the other hand touching earth ground), such that current passes through the person. Just building up a large electrostatic charge on the skin of someone isn't such a big deal, because a pacemaker (and, particularly, its electrodes) are contained within the body. If, as the article suggests, they turn this into a phone booth-like chamber, it should be pretty easy to ensure that the person inside is "floating", electrically, and unable to complete a circuit with their body.

A person with the prosthetic arm that uses surface EMGs to control it, however, would need to think twice!

Comment: Re:why new balls (Score 2) 144

Actually there was a lot of complaints about the one used in South Africa in 2010 because it was said to be "very unpredictable especially over a great distance", by many players. So maybe it doesn't apply to the Brazuca, and maybe the complaints are just anecdotal, but I wouldn't be so categorical about

Which only serves to further my point: by "innovating" when there was no particular need, Adidas created a f^%$ed up ball in 2010, which they then needed further innovation to fix. Pointless - but they sold a lot of balls. If FIFA had stuck with the traditional ball this whole time, that issue wouldn't have happened.

Comment: Re:why new balls (Score 2) 144

It looks like every world cup but perhaps a couple has had a different stitch pattern on the ball. Is there really that much need for innovation?

In a word: No. Even to discerning players, there's no practical gameplay difference between this ball and the typical hexagons-and-pentagons design. There is no need for innovation in order to improve the sport - the outcome of the World Cup matches probably would have been the same with a $30 ball. There is that kind of need, however, for Adidas to sell a whole shitload of super-cool-awesome-double-plusgood soccer balls every couple of years at inflated prices.

Comment: Re:Google (Score 4, Informative) 46

by necro81 (#47398377) Attached to: How the NEPTUNE Project Wired the Ocean

Google put one of these on the floor of the East coast, rather they are currently engaged in placing one along the east coast for (as I remember) off-shore wind power bus connections

Aside from both using the word "cable", there is nothing in common between these two projects. One is an undersea fiber optic cable whose primary purpose is scientific exploration, the other is a commercial venture for transporting bulk electrical power.

Unfortunately, it appears that there is another important difference: NEPTUNE is built and operating, whereas the Atlantic Wind Connection appears to have not made much headway, let alone built anything, in the past couple of years. They haven't so much as done a press release in the last eight months. The current goal is to build one section along the New Jersey shore. Estimated completion date: 2021.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"