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Comment Re:Dubious assumptions are dubious (Score 1) 207 207

Turning off lights in cities isn't going to help astronomers much.

Actually, no. City glow is a huge impediment to astronomy for an area hundreds of times the size of the city.

There's a middle ground here. Lighting can be designed so it primarily lights the ground, instead of going every which way. Goes a long way towards reducing problems optical telescope use faces.

Comment Re:Many gas stations to close? (Score 1) 726 726

According to the article, many gas stations will close once 10% of cars are electric, to the point of inconvenience.

Bullshit. I drove a vehicle with one of the most damn inconvenient fuels out there: Propane. In my province, 0.2% of vehicles run on Propane. In my city are alone (population: ~500,000), there's still 4 fueling stations and I'm never more than 15 km away from one.

Apples and oranges - you have [propane] fueling stations because they piggyback on the infrastructure that distributes propane for other uses. Gasoline infrastructure is unique to gasoline powered cars - and when the demand on that infrastructure drops, eventually even still active stations will find it hard to obtain stocks as the infrastructure starts to shut down.

Comment Re:Doubtful (Score 1) 726 726

I bought my iPod long before the iTMS was announced. The thing succeeded because it was easy to use, manage, and it could store your entire music collection (well, most people's entire music collection.) There were other MP3 players with one or two of those features, but not all three. The iPod needed to be a success for Apple to be able to sell the iTMS (the concept that is), to the music industry.

Electric cars I suspect could have the same selling point (well, minus the storage of all music. On the other hand, I don't know, you could put a big SSD in each one I guess) - part of the point is that this tremendously complex confusing device should be a hell of a lot easier to maintain and - until self driving becomes standard - drive.

Comment You have no idea what you're talking about. (Score 1) 62 62

No, you won't find this on a small cruiser - but you also don't find the poor little cruiser out in the middle of the ocean by itself.

Actually, yes, you do. The Navy does a lot more than just sail around in full carrier centric battle groups.

I imagine newer boats have full on CNC machines.

They don't.

Comment Actually, not even technically a laser (Score 1) 109 109

While this first proof of concept is important, significant obstacles remain to make such white lasers applicable for real-life lighting or display applications. One of crucial next steps is to achieve the similar white lasers under the drive of a battery. For the present demonstration, the researchers had to use a laser light to pump electrons to emit light. This experimental effort demonstrates the key first material requirement and will lay the groundwork for the eventual white lasers under electrical operation.

The thing they made is probably best thought of as nano-interleaved resonator cavity for a laser diode (which needs to have certain band gaps to emit the light). Apparently for this proof of concept, they actually had to excite this nano-structured cavity, with an actual laser. These nano-structures couples the energy to desired tunable optical wavelengths which are nano-interleaved and thus allows emission of "white" light from the laser diode structure.

As far as I can tell, the breakthrough is to manufacture these nano-structures (nano-wires or nano-sheets) on the same substrate near each other (nano-spaced). To do this they developed a ion-substitution process which allows them to build the nano-wire structure with one material with certain lattice constants and later replace atoms to create a different lattice constant (changing the resonant wavelength of the structure), This alllowed them to make "blue" which generally so different than "red" that it previously needed to be fabricated with a different structure (making it hard to make nano-structures next to each other).

Comment Re:This just in (Score 2) 62 62

US Navy ships have machine shops on-board, because they often need to fabricate objects while at sea.

Other than carriers and large support vessels however, the machine shops are generally pretty basic and operated by relatively unskilled/inexperienced people. (They're trained in the operation of the tools, but it's not their full time job.)

3D printing is a game changer even for the Navy in that it requires essentially no skill or significant training.

Comment Re:Not really (Score 1) 280 280

You know it's possible to be against both, right?

For example: the thread here is all about how big bad megacorps have been using sophistry to hide dangerous things on their labels.

And why did this come up? Because someone wanted a giant warning that a product may contain GMOs on every product this applies to.

That's a wacko position. Why is it wacko? Well, because it does nothing to help the problem they subsequently claim to want addressed, that labels are often misleading. It actually makes the label more misleading, by highlighting a non-essential fact, giving weight to it, and pretending it's something the buyer should be concerned about, while leaving the the manufacturers to continue to do whatever they want with the ingredient list.

GMOs that do not make significant changes to a product that would leave unusual chemicals in them are not dangerous. Their presence in a food product shouldn't be highlighted as something for a consumer to be concerned about. Doing so does not give the consumer more options, it confuses them and draws attention away from real health issues like sugars and potentially harmful fats.

Comment Ending Real-Name Policies on Facebook (Score 1) 306 306

Back when my niece was a young teen, she and her school friends used Facebook, but would wipe out their profiles every year and build new ones with new pseudonyms. Protected their privacy that way, and automatically fixes the "erase dumb stuff you said as a kid" problems.

Comment Re:DC power (Score 1) 213 213

Well, I think we are getting better at converting DC voltages, which is why HVDC is being used for transmission lines for example.

I suspect the reason is in part portable electronics. We're trying to eke out as much power as possible for multivoltage devices (one voltage for the processor, another for the screen, another for the HDD (portable electronics includes laptops too...) another for the USB bus, etc) from a single (DC it goes without saying) battery. The amount of R&D into the voltage conversion field over the last thirty years must have been extraordinary, yet not sexy enough to warrant much media coverage.

Comment Software Priesthood (Score 1) 351 351

The whole thrust of ESR's Cathedral and the Bazaar essay...

You're about 30 years late WRT your reference. When I said "back in the day"...

I first saw the term "software priesthood" in print in Byte magazine -- it was 1976, I think. It was already in play among those of us who had already been programming for a while, and even more so among certain sectors of management.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss