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Comment: Re:Plain solar panels cost less (Score 1) 268

by trip11 (#47989299) Attached to: IBM Solar Concentrator Can Produce12kW/day, Clean Water, and AC
Actually it can be cheaper in some cases. Say 1 square yard (hey just using the units in the article) of solar cells costs $100. Then if you can focus 20 times the light on it you're generating slightly less than 20X the power for that $100 bucks plus the cost of the concentrator. If said concentrator costs less than $100 bucks * 19 you win. If it costs more, you don't win. But no cost announced so I'm guessing its stupid expensive or they'd be shouting it from the rooftops.

Comment: Re:decay rates based on season? (Score 5, Informative) 408

by trip11 (#33350768) Attached to: The Strange Case of Solar Flares and Radioactive Decay Rates
I read the article (yes yes I know). But in summary, your hypothesis (temperature fluctations0 was what everyone thought, but the groundbreaking bit was that they did an experiment that provides a LOT of evidence to the contrary.

The sun has a cycle of it's own (about 1 month). They did a much more accurate study and found the decay rate is tightly correlated to the sun's cycle.

Longer version:
The theory now is that it has to do with the neutrino flux. As we move further from the sun the flux goes down by 1/R^2. We saw that fluctuation first. But the neutrino flux also varies with the solar cycle which is independent of the earth's temperature.

This is very very cool experimental physics. Kudo's to them!

Comment: Re:Ironically (Score 1) 271

by trip11 (#32595106) Attached to: Fermilab Experiment Hints At Multiple Higgs Particles
The story told to me by Dr. Jackson (of electrodynamics fame):

It's catalyzed fusion because the muon isn't used up, it is released to catalyze again. When they discovered this, people were really excited because the muon *does* live long enough to get past the break-even point even when you consider the energy used to create the muon in the first place. There was all kinds of talk of cold fusion (this was back in the 60s I think). The catch is about a 1% chance that the muon gets ejected in such a way from the fusion such that it can't catalyze the next one. That argument is a bit more subtle, but it is apparently what causes the whole thing to fall apart when talking about a net energy gain. It just takes more energy to produce a muon than ~100 fusing hydrogen atoms will provide.

Comment: Re:For the love of all that is good... (Score 0, Offtopic) 363

by trip11 (#31093398) Attached to: Google's Experimental Fiber Network
I'm out west (Aurora), but I'm reasonably happy with AT&T's dsl service. I get 6.0 Mbps for $35/mo and I can substain pretty close to that all the time. About 500-600KB/s average download speed every time I do something that maxes it out. I've only had the service go out once (for 10 minutes) in the last 6 months, so I'm pretty happy with that too.

Comment: Re:Multiple bonded connections (Score 1) 180

by cdrguru (#29772405) Attached to: Affordably Aggregating ISP Connections?

24 lines? Uh, that is a T1. T1 is available everywhere, although it might get rather expensive in some places.

In general, a T1 seems to be much, much less latency than any DSL I have ever seen. A lot fewer routers in the way. End result is that a 1.5Mb T1 is a lot closer to 3Mb DSL, maybe 6Mb in some situations. Having had a business on DSL a couple of times but mostly on T1 connections this has proven itself several times.

Comment: Re:Like BF2142 (Score 2, Interesting) 81

by trip11 (#29634903) Attached to: Early Look At <em>EVE</em> Creators' <em>DUST 514</em>
The corp/alliance structure will really help with this I think. From the article, it sounds like as a merc you'll be hired personally. So yes, you might get hired to lead a random bunch of morons who won't do anything you say. OR you get hired along with the rest of your corp/alliance to beat up on the members of another corp.

In the second case, if the grunts you are commanding don't follow orders, kick them out the corp. Put black marks by their names. Tell everyone how much they suck. Refuse to command them again.

The question, I think, comes down to the DUST players. How many serious players will get involved in the corp/alliance structure? How many halo players will just want some laughs screwing everyone over? If there are enough of the former that you can avoid hiring the latter, this will be awesome. If the *only* way to populate your battlefield is to hire the casual players, then I agree, the RTS side of things will degenerate quickly.

But as long as there are some rewards for winning a fight, I imagine the serious players will gravitate towards the serious generals and form groups that are very hard for casual players to beat. All in all a win for user-driven content.

Comment: Re:How does this *free* Mac users? (Score 1) 276

by fluffy99 (#29328501) Attached to: A Different Perspective On Snow Leopard's Exchange Support

I don't think feature parity means you can use MS office documents. Feature parity means you can do anything in open office that you can do in MS office.

You're right that I did mix feature sets with interoperability. Both are valid points. There are still lots of things you can do with MS Office that you can't in Open Office. I'll be honest and say I use both. I like OO for basic stuff like simple word documents at home. I don't use it at work because the features simply aren't there. Impress and calc are toys compared to MS Office.

The only thing OO has going for it is the price and multi-OS support. It's quickly becoming slow and bloated though.

Comment: Re:Ok? (Score 1) 130

by trip11 (#27764745) Attached to: Scientists Build World's Fastest Camera
Eh, on the LHC at full steam, we have collisions at 40MHz. The ATLAS pixel detector, is an 80M pixel chunk (or rather ~28k chunks) of silicon. Admitedly, most of that data never makes it out of the on chip electronics, and it has to be triggered, and the pictures are VERY sparse (a few thousand pixels fireing in an event out of the 80M), but still. We can take those snapshots damn fast.

Comment: Cyclotrons, He, Muon detectors (Score 1) 249

by trip11 (#26883739) Attached to: Physics Experiments To Inspire Undergraduates?
Build a particle accelerator. Not a big one. I've seen homemade cyclotron on slashdot before: Point it at your cloud chamber when you're done, of course.

Superfluid He is also wickedly cool. If you can build something to house it, and pump on it until it gets cold enough, you should be able to do some cool experiments with it.

Though not as visually appealing as a cloud chamber, building a detector to measure the lifetime of a muon was one of my favorite undergrad experiments. Three scientilators stacked on top of each other wired into a bunch of electronics, along with the right formulas, and you can get a reasonable measurement. My prof gave us a Phys Rev paper describing how it was done years ago, access to the parts we needed, a scope, and a computer that had a labview application set up for counting experiments. We figured out the electronic logic from the paper, used the scope to debug and set all the triggers correctly, then had to figure out how to actually calcuate the lifetime from what we measured (along with systematic + statistical errrors). Hard, yes, but man we learned a good deal about real nuts and bolts experimental physics that quarter.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"