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Comment: Re:I Usually Have A Few "Orphans" Over (Score 1) 340

by phme (#42048385) Attached to: On Nov. 22, 2012, I expect to be ...

I'm not an American, but I lived in NYC for a couple of years, and one of my fondest memories from that time is a Thanksgiving dinner cooked by a family we didn't know at all, invited by common friends we had just met. Great food, excellent company and the warm feeling of being included in the celebration.
Keep inviting these "orphans", and happy Thanksgiving to y'all!

Comment: Re:Sure to make an impact! (Score 1) 97

by phme (#41466849) Attached to: Austrian Skydiver Prepared to Leap From Edge of Space

As long as they leave the sound on:

"And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like ow ound round ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!
I wonder if it will be friends with me?"

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.

+ - Rat study links GM corn to cancer->

Submitted by phme
phme (1501991) writes "French scientists led by Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen (France) unveiled a study that said rats fed with NK603 corn or exposed to the weedkiller used with it developed tumors. NK603 is a corn made by US agribusiness giant Monsanto. It has been engineered to make it resistant to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup. The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, says it is the first to look at rats over their normal lifespan of two years.
In 2009, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) panel on GM organisms determined that NK603 was "as safe as conventional maize", based in part on a 90-day feeding study on rats.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-09-france-probe-gm-corn-safety.html"

Link to Original Source
Programming

+ - When Functional Programming Makes Sense->

Submitted by
snydeq
snydeq writes "Unless you've been living under a rock, you know functional programming languages rank among the hottest languages used by so-called alpha geeks, writes Andrew Oliver. While this brave new world is upon us, and before we take things too far, it might be a good time to pause and reflect on the appropriateness of functional programming for everyday application development. 'Functional programming addresses the concurrency problem of state but often at a cost of human readability. Functional programmming may be entirely appropriate for many circumstances. Ironically, it might even help bring computer and human languages closer together indirectly through defining domain-specific languages. But its difficult syntax makes it an extremely poor fit for general-purpose application programming. Don't jump on this bandwagon just yet — especially for risk-averse projects.'"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Not there yet (Score 1) 199

by phme (#40540561) Attached to: How Open Source Hardware Is Driving the 3D-Printing Industry

I agree with you, it is meant to be rapid prototyping, but it is not necessarily so. It really depends on the part you're making. If you consider the time it takes to design the item in 3D, adapting the design to the specifics of printing in 3D and your actual 3D printer, and the time to print the thing, it can take an awful lot of time. Sometimes, people would print in 3D something that can easily be done using classic machining -- or with clay, cardboard or papier-mâché, just because they can, it's fun or it's hype not because they actually need a plastic part or is faster.

What 3D printing is really good at besides highly complex shapes is rapid-iteration prototyping, where you print several iterations of a prototype with minor changes between each iteration. Then, you start saving a lot of time.

Comment: Not there yet (Score 1) 199

by phme (#40540073) Attached to: How Open Source Hardware Is Driving the 3D-Printing Industry

3D printers have indeed become more prevalent, and economies of scale might emerge for raw materials and the printers themselves -- but certainly no economies of scale for devices printed on them in sight just yet. Ask anyone who has built or used one if they would be ready to print "thousands" of devices without "significant retooling", or if current 3D printers are able to replace more traditional manufacturing processes even for small batches. Current open-source 3D printers are nice, but are prototyping tools only. Even qualifying them as "rapid prototyping tools" often seems stretching it to me right now. They do allow for rapid-cycle prototyping, though.

A poorly written summary that does not bring anything new that has not been discussed many times here since 2005.

Comment: Re:Um, no. (Score 1) 303

by phme (#40510929) Attached to: Making Saltwater Drinkable With Graphene

I know nothing of the subject, so I actually bothered reading a more decent summary of the initial article, and some definition of reverse osmosis.
From wikipedia:

Reverse osmosis (RO) is a membrane-technology filtration method that removes many types of large molecules and ions from solutions by applying pressure to the solution when it is on one side of a selective membrane. The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and the pure solvent is allowed to pass to the other side.

and from phys.org:

In contrast to RO, which uses high pressure to slowly push water molecules (but not salt ions) through a porous membrane, nanoporous materials work under lower pressures and provide well-defined channels that can filter salt water at a faster rate than RO membranes.

And same article displays a chart showing water permability of about 100 L/cm/day/MPa for graphene in contrast to 0.5 for high-flux RO.

Comment: Re:It is a RO membrane, just a really good one (Score 2) 303

by phme (#40510835) Attached to: Making Saltwater Drinkable With Graphene

From phys.org:

In contrast to RO, which uses high pressure to slowly push water molecules (but not salt ions) through a porous membrane, nanoporous materials work under lower pressures and provide well-defined channels that can filter salt water at a faster rate than RO membranes.
However, this is the first time that scientists have explored the potential role of nanoporous graphene as a filter for water desalination. Single-layer graphene, which is just one carbon atom thick, is the ultimate thin membrane, making it advantageous for water desalination since water flux across a membrane scales inversely with the membrane’s thickness.
[...]
The scientists explain that there are two main challenges facing the use of nanoporous graphene for desalination purposes. One is achieving a narrow pore size distribution, although rapid experimental progress in synthesizing highly ordered porous graphene suggests that this may soon be feasible. The other challenge is mechanical stability under applied pressure, which could be achieved using a thin-film support layer such as that used in RO materials.

Comment: Better source (Score 4, Informative) 28

by phme (#40472623) Attached to: Probing an 'Invisible' Exoplanet's Atmosphere

discovery.com, really? From ESO's press release (http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1227/):

The team used the CRIRES instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. They combined high quality infrared observations (at wavelengths around 2.3 microns) [At infrared wavelengths, the parent star emits less light than in the optical regime, so this is a wavelength regime favorable for separating out the dim planet’s signal.] with a clever new trick to tease out the weak signal of the planet from the much stronger one from the parent star.

This method uses the velocity of the planet in orbit around its parent star to distinguish its radiation from that of the star and also from features coming from the Earth’s atmosphere. The same team of astronomers tested this technique before on a transiting planet, measuring its orbital velocity during its crossing of the stellar disc.

Lead author of the study Matteo Brogi (Leiden Observatory, the Netherlands) explains: “Thanks to the high quality observations provided by the VLT and CRIRES we were able to study the spectrum of the system in much more detail than has been possible before. Only about 0.01% of the light we see comes from the planet, and the rest from the star, so this was not easy”.

The majority of planets around other stars were discovered by their gravitational effects on their parent stars, which limits the information that can be gleaned about their mass: they only allow a lower limit to be calculated for a planet’s mass. The new technique pioneered here is much more powerful. Seeing the planet’s light directly has allowed the astronomers to measure the angle of the planet’s orbit and hence work out its mass precisely. By tracing the changes in the planet’s motion as it orbits its star, the team has determined reliably for the first time that Tau Boötis b orbits its host star at an angle of 44 degrees and has a mass six times that of the planet Jupiter in our own Solar System.
[...]
As well as detecting the glow of the atmosphere and measuring Tau Boötis b’s mass, the team has probed its atmosphere and measured the amount of carbon monoxide present, as well as the temperature at different altitudes by means of a comparison between the observations and theoretical models. A surprising result from this work was that the new observations indicated an atmosphere with a temperature that falls higher up. This result is the exact opposite of the temperature inversion — an increase in temperature with height — found for other hot Jupiter exoplanets

Comment: Re:Why isn't Ruby thriving, though? (Score 1) 406

by phme (#40269119) Attached to: Why Visual Basic 6 Still Thrives

I second this. I'm not using VB6 anymore (not programming much anymore) but I'm still writing bits of VBA in Access on a regular basis, without any shame.
There might be now (if so, please tell me), but last time I checked, there was still nothing in the FOSS world that could compare to what Access was doing 15 years ago in terms of rapid database development. I've used .NET, several PHP frameworks, each of them took me several weeks to learn, and in each of them, a small database front-end took several days to write, while I would have done the same in a few hours with Access.

Comment: Re:If you're doing nothing wrong... (Score 1) 137

by phme (#36759184) Attached to: The Dangers Of Amateur Astronomy In Afghanistan

Did you have a :look at the pictures they took that night? That's no cheap beginner scope. Looks like a decent polar-mounted 8" SC with at least a good DSLR camera. The guy is not the typical stargazer, and believe me (I'm there right now), you don't find easily these scopes in the shops in Kabul. This might very well be the best (civilian) scope in the country.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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