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Comment: Graphene: easy to use, hard to produce (Score 4, Interesting) 129

by tulcod (#48489731) Attached to: Graphene May Top Kevlar As a Bullet-Stopping Material

Essentially, right now it is really really difficult to work with graphene on an industrial scale.

If you want to work with it in the lab, you get yourself some graphite (essentially pencil lead), some scotch tape, some solvents and you're done. It is dirt cheap and, given a good microscope and a steady hand, not too difficult to work with.

But of course this is no way to work with it on any larger scale. You want to be able to produce a certain amount of it, reliably and precisely. No flaws in the graphene crystal. No multi-layer graphene (which in fact is one of the toughest things to avoid).

This is all really difficult right now.

The situation was similar for transistors, if you recall: the first solid-state transistor was invented in 1947 (by 1956 Nobel prize winners John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley), but it took until the 1960s for ICs to take off (Jack Kilby, 2000 Nobel prize winner, is usually pointed out as the culprit). It took until 2004 (!) for the first single-layer graphene to be isolated (by 2010 Nobel prize winners Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov). So expect the first industrial application of graphene somewhere around the end of this decade, and some patent wars around 2019-2025, and then a Nobel prize for the inventor of whatever industrial process we will be using, around 2040.

Comment: Re:Efficiency (Score 5, Insightful) 78

by tulcod (#48323969) Attached to: Enzymes Make Electricity From Jet Fuel Without Ignition

That is not how fundamental engineering works.

What do you think the first solid-state transistor looked like? A neat P-N junction on a silicon wafer, produced by one of those fancy ASML fab machines in Korea? Do you think the first solid-state transistor was capable of speeds anything like what we expect today? Do you think it was "efficient" for any meaning of that word?

The first solid-state transistor was a piece of plastic jammed into a block of germanium. It was dirty, crooked, difficult to make, and generally a pain in the ass.

But it was a proof of concept. It took a lot of additional engineering to make it usable in actual electronics. And then a lot more to make it smaller. And then a lot more to make it scalable. And then years and years and years and years of research brought us to what we know today as a transistor.

But the first transistor was just an impractical oversized proof of concept.

The research in this article is important. It shows that what was always theoretically an option is actually possible in practice. Scalability, efficiency, effort to produce - none of that matters at this stage. Obviously that would all be interesting next steps, but this shows that the principle works. And that is damn interesting.

Comment: AI as our only defense against AI (Score 2) 583

by tulcod (#48240309) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

If you regulate AI, and try to limit its influence, all that's going to happen is that hobbyists and/or terrorists will work it out on their own eventually, and /that/ could be dangerous.

If you want to protect yourself against the dangers of AI, setup some AI that you *know* will protect you, because it is designed as such.

If any superhuman AI is possible, then it *will* happen, and if it can be evil, then you better have a plan to defend yourself. Since we supposed the evil AI to be superhuman, we can't defend ourselves.

So we better start building something that will.

Comment: Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (Score -1, Troll) 398

by tulcod (#48194771) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

That's quite an accusation you're making there. Do you have any kind of reliable source backing up this claim, other than someone else claiming the same thing on some gaming forum you like to visit for your monthly dose of conspiracy theories?

In other words, [citation needed] biatch.

Comment: Re:Couples where one partner says, "Well yeah but" (Score 2) 447

by tulcod (#48129889) Attached to: Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

Well sure, but
- does the one partner saying "Well yeah, but correlation doesn't equal causation" cause the death of the spouse, or
- does the death of the spouse cause the partner to say "Well yeah, but correlation doesn't equal causation", or
- is there a third explanatory factor causing both the partner to say "Well yeah, but correlation doesn't equal causation" and the death of the spouse?

Comment: Wait, these are for real? (Score 0) 72

by tulcod (#47920901) Attached to: Astronomers Find Star-Within-a-Star, 40 Years After First Theorized

IANAA, but this sounds like an extremely unstable setup. What am I take make of this?

- Is the research reliable?

- How can such a thing be stable? Is there any particular process that keeps one star inside the other?

- What even /is/ such a body? If you were to travel from the outside to the midpoint of the body, would you encounter two barriers of destructing heat, with some emptiness (I'd like to say "vacuum" but of course space is not exactly a vacuum) in between?
Or is it actually just something entirely unlike what you would imagine when someone says "star within a star"?

Comment: Classic Khan pseudoscience (Score 0) 243

by tulcod (#47736877) Attached to: It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart

Your brain doesn't "grow" when you exercise it. It develops.

And to dispel another myth: your brain cells die and divide like in any other organ. But "growth" is definitely the wrong word here.

These kinds of mistakes are why you don't use Khan academy, and the old-fashioned sources are just more precise.

But congratulations on figuring out yet another key to life, allowing you to tell other people exactly how to live theirs - after all, that's really the only purpose of science, isn't it?

Comment: Re:Poorly Designed Roadways Addressed By This (Score 5, Insightful) 243

by tulcod (#47191147) Attached to: New Car Can Lean Into Curves, Literally

Less sensation of control loss is not a good thing. If the road was built badly (ie. opposite banking) then the driver should be aware of that, instead of thinking that he has control while in fact he doesn't.

This technology is a gimmick not unlike the pneumatics famous from the 80s (?) cars.

Comment: Times sure are changing (Score 5, Interesting) 147

by tulcod (#47061237) Attached to: Efforts To Turn Elephants Into Woolly Mammoths Are Already Underway

When Intel buys or invents some kind of a new chip process, everyone applauds. When engineers use 3D printing to save a crippled boy's life, everyone celebrates technology. Stick an arduino in a tumor and people scream in ecstasy.

But when the item of cloning comes in the news, suddenly people back away and ask what it's all good for. Because us humans are not allowed to mess with that.

Come on people. We invested thousands of years trying to understand the tricks of physics and evolution. We have now got to a stage where we can apply these tricks ourselves and see what we can make of the world.

Will it turn out for the better? Absolutely nobody knows. But telling scientists not to mess with this takes us back to the middle ages, where scientific incentives were influenced heavily by religious and cultural beliefs.

Let us show ourselves that we no longer need that. This is the time to end that society of religion and culture. Messing with life, and bringing back the extinct, those are exactly the kind of things that go against all rules of religion that we have adhered to for the past x thousands years. Humans are the new god on planet earth (and beyond?).

Comment: Re:Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (Score 1) 137

by tulcod (#47032735) Attached to: Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

I have always thought of the travel of electricity as the flow of the electromagnetic waves.

Then how does DC electricity "travel" from your phone charger to your phone? (again, there are no electromagnetic waves, even though there may be fields. a wave is a changing field.)

Comment: Re:Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (Score 1) 137

by tulcod (#47032723) Attached to: Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

How do you think electrons repel each other?

Electromagnetic fields, which do not "travel" in any reasonable sense.

The speed of light thing is actually more complicated if you involve relativity and quantum field theory and stuff, which is why I used the word "roughly" to protect myself exactly from people who pretend to know physics. If I had said "exactly at the speed of light", some theoretical physicist would have made some remark about this or that field theory or standard model solution or whatever kind of physics that I don't quite understand.

Comment: Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (Score 1) 137

by tulcod (#47032119) Attached to: Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

a short length of wire [...] sized to represent the distance electricity would travel in a nanosecond.

You cannot see such a piece of wire. Electrons drift at a speed in the order of 0.0002m/s, giving you a wire length in the order of 10^-13 meters.

Electromagnetic waves "travel" roughly at the speed of light. But when someone talks about the travel of electricity, the thing that people think about is the flow of electrons, not the electromagnetic waves.

Take an astronaut to launch.