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Comment: Re:Yes, for any mission (Score 2) 307

by theIsovist (#46652309) Attached to: Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?
Sending them on a one way trip turns risk into reality. It's one thing to say there's a 20% chance of survival and another to say, we're not bringing you back. Short of suicidal people, there aren't many I know who would choose to die (not to possibly die) for the sake of science.

Comment: Re:I will believe it when I can buy it (Score 3, Interesting) 107

by theIsovist (#44865775) Attached to: Plasmonic Nanostructures Could Prove a Boon To Solar Cell Technology

"But at a solar/green event I went to, I use so little electricity that only after mentioning that was it *maybe* worthwhile for me."

This is a very good point. Homes, individually, don't take too much power, so powering each one of them with it's own generator (solar or otherwise) is redundant and expensive. Maintenance, too, is a pain for the average home owner. So centralizing power generation is great, for the most part. At least until you start factoring in transmission loss. What ideally will happen, and this will take time thanks to the cooperation it requires, is that district power plants will spring up. That a commercial building can produce so much power that it can sell the rest to local houses. You're starting to see this happen, and in the future, hopefully it will happen more. There's other benefits to this approach as well. Say, for instance, you run a massive server farm. This farm produces a lot of heat, and if you can capture this heat, you could use it to power your building and perhaps other neighboring buildings as well. It's an idea that's catching on in Europe and a few places in the US. So maybe solar power on your home isn't going to become viable, but that doesn't mean solar won't be in your future.

Comment: Re:there's always looking right at the camera (Score 1) 111

No where in the article does it say they are looking directly at the camera. And if you look at the photos they are showing, you should automatically realize that the viewer is looking away from the camera (presumably at the screen displaying the other person's face), and the image is adjusted to give the illusion that the viewer is looking into the camera (thus achieving digital eye contact). Come on folks, this is Slashdot. We used to be smart. Let's bring that back.

Comment: Re:Useless academic is useless. (Score 1) 462

by theIsovist (#44707657) Attached to: Scottish Academic: Mining the Moon For Helium 3 Is Evil
Cultural objections: The moon is something that everyone on earth sees, and you're right, it's in a vacuum. It's (on our time frame) unchanging. Have you ever seen how terrible our clear cut forests look? Imagine if you looked up at the moon and saw nothing but tracks and the left over garbage of years of helium-3 farming. There's something impressive about seeing man's alteration of nature on that grand of a scale, but we lose out on the pure grandness of something that we, for the most part, haven't corrupted yet.

Comment: Re: Those who do not study the past (Score 1) 135

by theIsovist (#44685335) Attached to: Elon Musk's New Hologram Project Invites 'Iron Man' Comparisons
Buddy, i am an architect. i spent years drafting in school and lament that we don't draft today. we don't draft because it is archaic, although we still sketch. the big thing you are missing is that drafting is a hard line drawing, meticulously constructed with rulers, parallel guides, circle templates, triangles, and a mess of other guides that help control your lines. we don't draw in mid air. even painters had a canvas to press against.

Comment: Re:Those who do not study the past (Score 3) 135

by theIsovist (#44678195) Attached to: Elon Musk's New Hologram Project Invites 'Iron Man' Comparisons
Can we please stop with the karma whoring that is "gorilla arm syndrome reminder"? Everyone keeps bringing this up every time a new interface is created, as if nothing new under the sun will ever work. If you want to fault this, you would probably do much better questioning the ability of a user to create refined designs on the level of rocket science with just his hands floating in mid air. There's nothing to press against, nothing to provide feedback. That would require very intricate control indeed.

Comment: Re:A natural progression (Score 1) 79

by theIsovist (#43916055) Attached to: Quadcopter Guided By Thought — Accurately
The fact that you have to learn how to produce these patterns makes me wonder what would happen if you "attached" these to a very young infant. From what I have read, their brains are wiring themselves based off of responses to their actions. I wonder if the thought controlled robot could become an extension of their own body if they are introduced to it at a very young age. I imagine it's harder to learn to control these actions once your brain has a basic understanding of what does what, hence the learning curve.

Comment: Re:Touch screen or big button? (Score 3, Informative) 98

by theIsovist (#43560031) Attached to: $5 Sensor Turns LCD Monitors Into Touchscreens
I was fortunate enough to see all the work that these guys are pursuing (there's some really fun energy monitoring that they've developed, using only a single device to monitor a whole house). From what it sounds like, the sensing systems are very low resolution, useful for exactly what you said. Is something there and how big is it? As the system is just noticing a flux in energy when your hand interacts with the field given off by the monitor, they (when they spoke with us a few months ago) said it seemed unlikely.

Fun fact though, they've used the same technology to monitor the fields generated by the lights in a room, so you can actually gain a picture of movement in the room based off of only the flux in the lights' power draws. Again, this is very low resolution, but you don't always need every system to be high res.

Comment: Re:Buildings smuildings (Score 1) 74

by theIsovist (#43304425) Attached to: Building Better Body Armor With Nanofoams
Buildings don't get bombed that often, but that doesn't mean it's not worth it to do so. All major government buildings are required to have blast resistant exteriors, and other facilities, such as factories often have blast resistant materials because, well, things sometimes explode unexpectedly. The point of the blast resistance is entirely there to protect the person. You want to minimize the amount of shrapnel that occurs when the material is hit by a strong force. In this case, with the foam, it could help disperse the force of blast, resulting in less damage, less shrapnel, and hopefully less structural damage.

As for demolition - buildings are gutted before demolition. There's a lot of scrap material that can be recycled or reused. There's also a lot of material that you don't want being blown out of the building when the charges go off. So a good portion of the demo work is stripping the building down to its structure. Blast proof material would be removed for many reasons, but in particular, you wouldn't want to mess with the precise calculations that go into dropping a building straight down.

Comment: Re:Rhino (Score 2) 218

by theIsovist (#43193453) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best 3-D Design Software?
I'll second this. I'm currently in grad school for architecture, and we use a ton of maker-space-esque tools. We have laser cutters, cnc mills, cnc plasmacutters, a waterjet cutter, 3d printers, and now a cnc fabric cutter, and Rhino's the tool of choice to design in here. It also has a ton of free plug ins that expand its power. Grasshopper's a great visual scripting tool if you're into parametric design (I'm not exactly sold on this yet), and through Grasshopper, you can use Firefly. Firefly is a plugin for Grasshopper that lets you talk to microcontrollers/other networks/webcams, and use the data to drive design. I just finished up a project where we used firefly to prototype a mechanical louver system to be controlled by Arduino, which was then fabricated on a laser cutter. It's a good tool, and very easy to learn.

Contemptuous lights flashed flashed across the computer's console. -- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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