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Comment: Re:How about circuit boards? (Score 1) 264 264

OSH Park. Why even bother with the decades-old milling and/or toner transfer method? I get plated vias, soldermask and silkscreen.

Speed. I have an admittedly fairly nice dedicated pcb mill. I can make five revisions of circuit boards in a day, and then send the well-tested version out and wait a week to receive my beautiful soldermasked and silkscreened final revision pcb.

Comment: incomplete list of stuff we've printed (Score 1) 264 264

Mold for lost-PLA investment casting of complex intake manifold. Rat trap. (It was a very bright rat and wouldn't go near commercial traps.) Sewer system cutout plug. LCD bezel for the tachometer on my lathe. Same for the milling machine. Adapter for the PCB milling machine, to hook the metric vacuum output to my shopvac. Mounting bracket to hook a stepper motor to the back of the speedometer in my Little English Sportscar, that has never in its life until now had an accurate speedometer. Pogo pin test fixture for PCB testing. Bearing holders for a shaft hobbing mechanism for the lathe. LED diffusers for some task lighting in the shop. Outlet cover for an outlet combo that doesn't exist (sideways switches plus GFCI outlets in one box.) Power amplifier enclosure for automated test equipment. Fan shroud/grille. Adapter to mount LED lighting system on a microscope. Adapter to mount LED lighting system on the PCB milling machine. Replacement doohickey for a 6" digital calipers that had the little wheel that opens/closes the calipers break off. Adapter to mount 24" digital calipers to the back of the small lathe as part of a digital read out display. Adapter to mount Garmin 305 to an odd-size, odd-cross-section aero handlebar on my time trial bike. I could go on but that's probably enough for now.
I did most of the modeling in FreeCAD or HeeksCAD, by the way, with a little bit in OpenSCAD.

Comment: Re:Scientific worldview undermining own credibilit (Score 3, Insightful) 666 666

As a longtime user of homeopathy, I have watched with amusement a scientific studies have been published recently purporting to prove that homeopathy does not work. I know from my direct experience that it works, so if science is finding something different, there must be something wrong with its premises.

As a longtime user of a tiger-repelling rock, I have watched with amusement a[s] scientific studies have been published recently purporting to prove that tiger-repelling rocks do not work. I know from my direct experience that it works, so if science is finding something different, there must be something wrong with its premises.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 2) 830 830

Years 0-25: All signs replaced must print both measurements

We tried that once in the 70s. In some places people shot the signs down. Literally. With guns.

In most of the rural West, that happens regardless of what the signs say, especially if they're speed limit signs.

Comment: Re:KISS (Score 1) 557 557

1) Extra outlets and breakers. Having fewer rooms per breaker is nice to avoid finding out that a hairdryer plus your gaming PC will pop the breaker even though one is upstairs and the other is downstairs.

If you have the opportunity to wire your own house, wire room lights on a different circuit than wall outlets. That way you don't end up in a dark room when you pop a breaker. Some hoses are wired this way, but not enough.

Comment: Re:I have lots of junk and not much money, so... (Score 1) 258 258

Oddly enough, I'm currently working with injectors from a 1990 mustang (which I'm trying to put into a datsun inline four to go in a triumph spitfire.) These definitely have an open/close lag. Maybe I should get some more recent ones, based on what you've said.
It's easy to find flow at full open, and from that I can derive how much it should flow at 50% duty cycle. From that I can characterize, at least somewhat, what the on and off times are by the delta from expected, but from the data I have, it appears that the on and off ramps are fuel pressure dependent as well. (Which isn't too much of a surprise, but a lot more complicated.) Plus there's an entirely different subplot involving the voltage I use to drive the coil: like stepper motors, I can overdrive the coil briefly to get a faster response, but have to decay down to a much lower holding current to not cook the coil, aka peak-and-hold.

Comment: I have lots of junk and not much money, so... (Score 2, Interesting) 258 258

Old HP GPIB-based XY plotter with laser diode in place of pen, does a nice job of cutting gaskets for steam engines.
Broken 8 track player in ginormous am/fm/turntable cabinet, replaced with beaglebone, so when I hit the next track button it plays a 'clunk' sound and then fires up a random streaming internet radio station. (That one made hackaday.)
A nearby company went out of business and sold all their stuff and I scored an electronic balance with an RS232 output. Some arduino code later, and I now have a fuel injector flow tester: force known-pressure fuel in for a known amount of time and measure how much actually comes out, tare, repeat. It's neat to be able to characterize just how narrow a PWM signal the injector can register and react to.
My current work project is even a hack: I'm repurposing an abandoned semiconductor automated test system into an evaluation board characterization system. The test guys don't want it because it's too slow and limited, but I'm all "whoah, 192 arbitrary waveform generators? Let me at it."

Comment: Re:Hmm... (Score 1) 1094 1094

And the poor are more likely to put pretty much all their income back into the economy in their day-to-day living, whereas the rich don't.

I'm aware of the velocity of money and the perception that poor people pour money back into the economy rapidly while rich people don't (and it matches my personal biases, so I like the idea a lot) but -- I'm trying to figure out what the rich can do with money that actually takes it out of the economy. Unless they actually stick dollars in suitcases and store them in the wine cellar, almost anything else I can think of puts the money in someone else's pocket one way or another. Stuck in banks: used to back bank loans. Buying ferraris and Monets: money has gone to the previous owner. Investments, likewise. Taking money out of the country probably counts from a single country's economy standpoint, but not from a global standpoint. I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts on this.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 126 126

Are you mad? Do you know how many businesses struggle with payroll? Where owners take loans (or are late paying other bills) in order to cover payroll. This is SOOOOO fu*king common. Start a business and see how often it happens to you.

Large companies routinely get short-term loans to meet payroll. As far as I can tell, that was a major reason for the idea that banks were judged too big to fail: if a bunch of banks had all gone under, immediately thereafter a large number of fortune 500 companies would also have gone under because they needed those banks for day-to-day financial obligations.

Comment: Re:Inspections eventually become a boondoggle (Score 1) 395 395

Instead, place detection equipment like used in TFA on places where cars pass by single-file, like freeway on-ramps. This equipment would automatically measure the emissions of each passing car (or truck), and if a particular car was dirty it would snap a photo of the license plate. If a car was flagged repeatedly at multiple stations, the State could then issue the owner a notice requiring him to fix it.

In Colorado, this is exactly what's done. There are multiple fixed and mobile automatic emissions testing systems, and people generally know where they are. You drive through one, and if you pass, you get a card in the mail saying you're good for another year. If you don't pass, you get a card saying you have to go into the emissions testing station, where they do a rolling road test on your car and diagnose exactly what's going on. Importantly, it's widely believed that the automatic emissions testing systems are more lenient, so people have a strong incentive to try to go hit those and avoid having to spend the time and money on going to an emissions testing station. They save everyone money and time, massively reduce the number of cars that have to go through the full emissions test, and do a good job of making sure the only cars that do have to go there are the ones that need to. It's a great program, and as a result the state only has to fund a half dozen emissions testing stations in total, while having massively improved air quality in the heavily populated areas. (And by massively, I mean you can now routinely see mountains over 150km away, whereas I remember times in the 1970's where weeks would go by where we couldn't see the mountains 30km away even though the sky was clear: the smog was just too dense.)

Comment: Re:1st: Who Owns the 25% least well-tuned autos? (Score 3, Insightful) 395 395

The poorest drivers probably own the lion's share of them. Individuals are likely even aware of their vehicle's condition.

Hell, many of them probably wish they could afford to repair or replace the jalopies...sigh, fucking poor people are killing us again.

Some are, but some are also owned by wealthy people. I have a 1960's sportscar. I know a bunch of other people who do (coz we all belong to a british sportscar club.) I've added emissions control stuff to my car, and even then it has 10x the levels of emissions that my late-model daily driver has. Most of the other people in the club wouldn't even consider adding fuel injection, catalytic converter, and O2 sensors to their 1950's Jaguars, and when I'm walking around in the paddock at the track, it's pretty obvious that the best tuning they can do on their old carbs is still terrible.

Old cars and poor people are to some extent a self-solving problem: they can't afford to keep fixing them. When you see a car that's more than 40 years old, it's likely the driver has money and is keeping that car on the road by desire, not necessity.

Comment: Re:Mis-coding being perpitrated by doctors! (Score 1) 532 532

Back in the 90's I did some IT consulting work for a lady that had a consulting practice that their whole gig was they went into doctors offices and showed them how they could use different CPT codes for for various procedures and make more money from it. So instead of using a code for say "blood sugar blood test" then would show them to use the code for a generic procedure that had a higher cost. They would do a "free" analysis of the doctors current billing's then show where they could make the doctor more money by going bill by bill to show them where they could make more money by using different CPT codes. When the doctor would hire her company (pay them $$$) they would then show which specific CPT codes to change on each bill. She still has this business and is making good money as well she is also now a lobbyist for the medical industry....

My best friend in college was the child of a physician who was convicted of fraud for doing this, and that was fifteen years ago. I'd be wanting to know about their long-term success rate before buying their services.

Comment: Re:Subs as aircraft carriers (Score 2) 75 75

You look at things like the Heinkel 162 and think "yeah, if they had 10,000 of those, they could really have made a difference" -- and they did have a lot of really amazing tech.
But the thing is, so did the Allies. The Vampire and the Shooting Star would have been comparable to any of the German jet fighters, and were actively being developed and tested.
I'm no expert, but it looks to me like the only way you can say "oh, man, German tech COULD have won the war" is if everything they tried worked and nothing the Allies tried worked. Even at equal development success, the Allies could still out-tech the Axis because they had more people working on it and more resources -- the final proof of which was Hiroshima/Nagasaki. No matter how good your tech, once the other side has nukes and you don't, and there doesn't seem to be any credible information that the Axis nuclear weapons program was within even five years of developing that tech, one successful high-flying night bomber and everything's over.
That's why I think the German fetishization of tech saving them was borne of necessity, not of realism.

Comment: Re:Subs as aircraft carriers (Score 5, Insightful) 75 75

The germans had great engineering, but between this, the Bismarck, and the Tiger tanks (with engines/transmissions that broke down frequently and couldn't handle the load), they had major failings too in the economy department of bang for your buck [reichsmark]. Leadership was mostly to blame.

As the war dragged on, Hitler became increasingly convinced that technology would turn the tide for the Germans. The V-series rockets, the ME-262, the Tiger/King Tiger, all were intended to make up for the fact that they were increasingly sending young boys and old men onto the front lines. Numerous advisors and ranking members of teh military (at least claimed to have) attempted to persuade Hitler that these programs were a waste of resources but he was adamant in his support of them. I wonder if a lot of it was due to he increasingly deteriorated mental state as the combination of stress, drugs, and mental diseases (Parkinsons and possibly syphyllis if I am not mistaken ) took their toll.

I think part of it was that winning by tech was their only option: any rational analysis said they were outgunned and outproduced, so tech was their Hail Mary. They simply had to believe in it. Conveniently, it aligned with their sense of superiority.

Real computer scientists don't program in assembler. They don't write in anything less portable than a number two pencil.