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Comment Re:Cheaper? (Score 1) 54

What I want to know is if it will be cheaper as right now even a small sample of areogel costs a small fortune. Its supposed to be one of the very best insulation materials but its ...cost prohibitive to insulate your house with it.

It should be less expensive than silica aerogel (which is made of quartz, and requires elaborate drying in an autoclave-like pressure cooker). That's because freeze-drying is a cheap way to remove liquid from the voids (and you NEED LOTS OF VOIDS).

It's unclear, however, if the mean-free-path for vapor movement is as small as a 'conventional' silica aerogel (the sample looks opaque, so probably the voids/walls are larger than wavelength of light). Silica aerogels for insulation are glass-clear (but slightly smoky) because the structure is nanometer-scale. It's unclear what cellulose does to 'improve' the product, and unclear that the product is durable.

It's called 'biodegradable' but does that mean fungus will nibble it to nothing inside a year? Even a slow-moving variant on wood rot could quickly destroy a nanostructure. It's shown as flexible, which would be good (part of the cost of insulating a house with aerogel, is that you have to size all the house stud spacings to exactly the dimensions of factory-cut aerogel panels).

Comment Re:Vidabox Vidapower adapter (Score 1) 81

Well, TFS is something about managed PoE switches, then something about 12V-5V USB power supplies (aka car phone chargers), and then about a PoE to 5V adapter not providing ethernet? So... something PoE 5V USB ethernet power something.

Ethernet switches enable all the wired Ethernet sockets in an office/house/building.

Managed PoE Ethernet switches are capable of both supplying power (that's the 'PoE' part), and turning power ON/OFF (that's the 'managed' part) by command from anywhere on the net.

The rest of the issue, is getting the Ethernet "PoE"-style power converted to 5V for a mini-USB plug that powers some random device that you might want power-cycled. To make it reset or restart. If it were a truly PoE-compatible Ethernet device, you could send it Ethernet commands, but the intent here is to control a non-Ethernet-listener.

Comment Re:Keyboards? (Score 1) 332

Keyboards should be replaced yearly given how disgusting they are.

With the right technique and knowledge, keyboards can be thoroughly cleaned. And by "cleaned", I mean soap-and-water - lots and lots of water, as in total immersion.

Unnecessary; a rag, a few squirts of alcohol-based cleaner, and a wipedown will take off all the fingerprints. The omnipresent 'hand sanitizer' goo is near perfect. Pop off a few keys and shake crumbs and hairs out (or run a toothpick between the keys).

Lots of modern keyboards use flexible-printed-circuit sandwiches, and will NEVER DRY if you try immersion.

Comment Re:Deja Voo of the Pentium 5 FDIV bug (Score 2) 122

The real problem with the FDIV bug is in how Intel handled it - they refused to replace an admittedly defective part unless ...

Well, that was the first response. Eventually, though, they bit the bullet

"Monday, December 19 [1994] we changed out policy completely. We decided to replace anybody's part who wanted it replaced... replacing people's chips by the hundreds of thousands... We created a service network to handle the physical replacement for people who didn't ant to do it themselves."

-- from Only the Paranoid Survive , Andrew S. Grove, 1996

It was estimated this cost Intel $475 million.

Comment Re:Complete Lunacy (Score 1) 228

This would be more like your neighbor filing a request to get the results of the rabies test of the bat that bit you. And actually framed in that context it makes the decision seem more reasonable IMO.

More reasonable, but not acceptable.

It is rather important to know if our neighborhood's bats are rabid. So important, that the information ought not to be suppressed when/if a neighbor is bit. This has nothing to do with a diagnosis of the neighbor, it's about the public interest in a health hazard.

The only reason for public records, is that they serve the public interests. If one loses that, the state is too corrupt to function.

Comment Re:Either Way (Score 1) 645

If we build a large number of reactors we certainly must have a much safer type than currently exist.

Half-truth. Probably most of the (dozens?) of designs now in use are safe. The only design that seems alarming to me, is the Chernobyl type (RBMK, or somesuch?). The Fukushima problem wasn't in the design, it was in the unprecedented earthquake followed by an unexpectedly large tsunami. The site was in the middle of a disaster that claimed tens of thousands of lives, after all: cleanup at Fukushima was a long news story, not a loss-of-life disaster.

We also must seriously consider what will be required in the way of waste products and removal of reactors that age.

That, too is a half-truth; in the US, 'serious consideration' means a not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) debate, and we don't need that. We need a decision, but it's easier (and so far, safe) to just defer everything. The reprocessing of 'spent' fuel is a good idea. It doesn't happen in the US because of NIMBY arguments. When Jimmy Carter decided not to do it, some of the NIMBY noise, mercifully, abated. I have mixed feelings about that.

Comment Re:Lack of fuel (Score 1) 645

There is no 'lack of fuel' problem for the nuclear-plant buildup, at least in the first millenia.

In order to make the argument work, one assumes measured 'proved reserves' of 'economically viable' ores.

The first problem, is that 'economically viable' isn't a fixed point. The production of oil from Canada's tar sands was deemed 'not economically viable' a few decades ago, but the price of oil rose. That's a general truth: as rich ores are used up, less-rich ores become economically viable.

The second problem, is that 'proved reserves' only exist because someone goes out and hunts for ores! When you get proof of all the uranium ore you need for a century, why do you keep paying prospectors for new exploration? Mainly, you DON'T.

It might be useful to note that on the scale of our planet's land surface area, and the depth of achievable mines, we've mainly just scratched at the surface in terms of exploration. That already got us enough fossil fuel to pollute the atmosphere to horrifying greenhouse gas levels. We need to be less destructive in our choice of what to scratch for. Our future can be bleak if we do too much coal.

Comment Re:Sounds awesome. (Score 1) 90

Sure you get the benefit of not having to pay for the installation (through taxes), but then the customers are stuck dealing with a for-profit monopoly.

What "monopoly"? Most cities already have multiple for-profit wired broadband providers, and even more wireless providers. Tacoma has at least five broadband providers according to the National Broadband Map

Tacoma has history of licensing providers with contractual obligation to include internet service, and getting the full buildout of everything except the internet service. They know not to trust a commercial entity (and don't, generally, do so). The 'five broadband providers' aren't doing enough, I'd guess. Tacoma knows what they're doing.

The one thing municipal broadband seems to be better at than commercial services at is delivering very high speeds. That's why geeks and intellectuals like it. But, in effect, the lower costs for high speeds are subsidized by...

Yeah, that's the value-add of being in a well-run municipality. Your basic services (water, sewer. electricity, gas, garbage collection, telecom, roads, stormwater drainage) needn't be negotiated with an engineer toting up-front costs and measuring your wallet. You pay according to the same formula as your neighbors or competitors, and minor costs (getting water to the top of hills costs extra, as does pumping sewage from the lower regions) are averaged.

The water connection to my home is the same pipe size and capacity as it was half a century ago. Maybe gigabit speeds are sufficient for the foreseeable future, and it's time, right now, to install the last-mile infrastructure. Geeks and intellectuals like it, because they have a vision of the future. I'm with them.

Comment Re:yeah, all built in Japan or France (Score 1) 366

US industry got out of the reactor business... all we have is servicing companies.

I guess if you think of Westinghouse (based in Pittsburgh, PA, but owned mostly by Toshiba) and GE-Hitachi (based in Willmington NC) as strictly Japanese companies. In any case, given that the two largest reactor builders Rosatom (Russia), and Ariva (France) are bordering on insolvency, perhaps it's best that US industry got out the the reactor construction business.

There's a small trickle of regular business in US reactor manufacture, for the military. Even if a company is 'out of the business' for a year or two, they might get back in, when another purchase order for submarines falls on their desk. More important, Rosatom and Ariva are presumably historically state-supported, and 'bordering on insolvency' is not an important condition for such institutions.

If global warming is more expensive than replacement of coal with nuclear, the worldwide enforcement of wise treaties will necessarily mean that government (the sole user of force) must mandate the nuclear power option. It will be a sound economic decision, and it won't look good on any corporate balance sheet. The return to investors is NOT the totality of economics, and this is yet another example of the undocumented cost of pollution, borne by us all, and not subject to accounting disclosure at PowerCoInc,com

Comment Re:Typing versus Reading (Score 1) 304

Mnemonics being easier to type is definitely a VERY good reason that FORTRAN used mnemonics. I mean, you try typing > on a 1966 era kyyboard which doesn't have the > symbol. You will find that doing so is exceptionally difficult. Even F77 was limited to +-*/().,'$:= because they couldn't rely on computers having anything else at all.

This is an interesting point: we use language symbols, other than full spelled-out words, for reasons of brevity. Boolean operators (not, and, or, nand, nor, xor, xnor) don't qualify for either a full set of symbolic representations, nor do there exist words that most folk would recognize for them. Numeric comparisons likewise aren't fully covered by conventional (ASCII) symbols.

The least confusing, most natural computer-language way to include all these, is with library functions x = a .and. b becomes x = and(a, b)

Alas, it seems everyone is so wedded to the math-formula expression syntax that the only perceived options are inline operators, with all the syntactic confusion that follows from the familiar use of "=" for assignment

Comment Re:Laws of physics (Score 1) 201

F=ma so a=F/m "Anything is possible"? No, basic physics can't be worked around. More mass means more fuel to achieve an equivalent acceleration.

That's a misread of the physics. Acceleration isn't the important energy sink, since the car starts at rest and when you park it, it's once again at rest. Regenerative braking is not unheard of, and it would be possible to get all of your forward-acceleration energy back.

What doesn't come back, are atmospheric drag, friction and tire-flex heating, and exhaust temperature (you paid for the fuel to heat that exhaust gas). None of those losses are proportional to the mass of the vehicle, or at least not directly, except for friction heating in brakes. Many hours of driving can pass before you use the brakes.

Comment Re:Pretty Laughable (Score 1) 311

... I thought the definition of a "core" was a unit that can run a process independently. Not "integer only" process. Then AMD should advertise it's CPUs as "8 integer cores, but only 4 floating point cores".

Cores don't run processes independently, however. They contend for memory, disk, I/O... You might be expecting something unrealistic, here.

...when you buy a CPU expecting 8 fully independent cores, as I did, because it says "8 cores" on the box, you won't be unpleasantly surprised that it can't actually run 8 processes in parallel

That's why AMD will prevail in this suit. The cores DO, in parallel, run eight processes. Few, if any, situations in a typical computer's workload are FPU-bound, and having eight queues for four FPUs is certainly an improvement over four-core (four queues and four FPUs) systems. That's because there are eight cores.

A good optimizing compiler that can handle this kind of system might do some novel things, though. A pre-compiled benchmark won't necessarily do justice to this architecture, and that means the trial situation could be a tangled mess. Lawyers for the complainant probably like that.

Comment Re:drones (Score 1) 318

The person in this article was in custody and being interviewed in a controlled environment by law enforcement. There seems to be no excuse for the FBI not following proper procedure and requesting his return for an appropriate interrogation and investigation.

Actually, the FBI is the wrong place to complain. He should instead point out that the State Department (in the person of one or more ambassadors) did not properly aid a US citizen being detained abroad, without any legal charge against hiim. I'm not sure what the FBI did, but simply finding the guy and asking questions seems like normal investigation procedure. Leaving him unaided in a foreign jail, however, is NOT normal diplomatic support for a citizen traveling abroad.

Comment Re:Really... (Score 1) 169

From the looks of it, the tech that got killed was unaware that the wire that got him was energized, due to...

Not to detract from the other, very real, issues that are being discussed here, but isn't this something that any competent electrician would test for before working on the wire?

Any competent, licensed, journeyman or master electrician would take responsibility for his safety in a number of ways: often, by disabling power to a box and applying a padlock so no other worker could reenable that power. It isn't clear from the article what the issue was, but the citation that went with the fine indicates a failure of an extended team to communicate. Some of the people involved knew that the box had live wires, while the victim did not, perhaps? Did the victim have his own electrical tester, or was he a semiskilled helper?

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