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It's funny.  Laugh.

Get an ACME Klein bottle! 263

ylle writes "I had to laugh when I found this webpage. If I only had found this before Christmas I know what I would have wished for. It's an amazing bargain; "You can convert your Acme Klein Bottle into an astonishing amount of energy, over 1023 ergs! Enough to power a small city for years. To get you started, we'll supply the necessary equation for free." " I was looking for a zero volume vessel just the other day. Ah well, its just wierd: enjoy it.
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Get an ACME Klein bottle!

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  • It might look like the bottle is INSIDE her, but when you stop to think about it...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There is the theory of the Moebius.. a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop.. time becomes a loop.. time becomes a loop.. time becomes a loop.. time becomes a loop.. time becomes a loop..
  • What the heck is "ACME" anyway? Half the time it's used as a ficticious company name, yet real products do pop up once in a while bearing the acme name? There's a bizarre history in there, I am sure of it.
  • Gasoline is actually more efficent both energy wise and economy wise.

    So generate your electricity with gasoline engines. Probably not a perfect response, but it does raise another interesting point in favour of electric gadgets...

    While using electricity, as you say, "...shift[s] the pollution to the power generation stations," that at least centralizes your work in improving energy generation. Say in ten years we figure out how to power engines with angel sneezes. Would we rather retrofit millions of automobiles, or thousands of power stations?

    Electric tools (motors, heaters, lights) are front ends that don't care what their back ends (generators, batteries, fuel cells) are doing. Abstraction in action.

    Consider the advantages for cities that are currently pollution-choked due to geography and weather (e.g. atmospheric effects trapping smog in valleys). Magically replace all gasoline-powered cars with electric ones, and then put generation plants sufficient to power them elsewhere, thus reducing the acute human impact of the resulting pollution. Meanwhile, you're working on those angel sneezes...

  • For true enlightenment I simply listen to Science Songs [] at Acme Laboratories [].

    WAY better than Schoolhouse Rock. Plus, it's, well.... ACME.

  • Or.. in star trek talk.. non-baryonic == anti-matter.

    That's a good example of star trek technobabble, since it makes no sense whatsoever. Anti-matter includes types of particles such as anti-protons, anti-neutrons, and positrons, which happen to be baryonic. Non-baryonic matter is simply a simple way of saying "non-proton, non-neutron, and non-electron, except for the antiparticles of the forementioned particles"

    Of course I could be exhibiting star trek techno-babble myself, but I think memory serves me right. As it usually tries to do, but occasionally fails (insert humorous quantum physics reference here). :^)

  • I'm a huge fan of cliff's; saw him recently on cspan debating some big time computer writer on the merits of the web. He was ALL over the place! Dancing atop the podium, wild gesticulation, pure stoll.
    He's right about the net/web not being a particularly good place to live one's life. Wetware sytems need intimate contact with other wetware systems to flourish and grow.
    Not to mention propagate... 8-p
    The site is an excellent read, too. A total hoot!

  • I found that bit hilarious myself. Tickled me mauve! You are not alone.
    We're everywhere!
  • It's a theoretical (?) construct.
    A bottle with no inside or outside. Both are the same.
    Very useful idea for cosmology and physics.
    Reflects reality rather well for certain situations.
  • Finally! Someone gets the joke!
  • Cliff rocks!
    Marketing Klein bottles is so... HIM!
  • No he meant continuous. Really. The hole means that a line drawn on the surface and then slid around would have a break in it at the hole, thus non-continuous. Math sucks =)
  • You're probably right, I keep thinking in 3 dimensions... But until they actually make it in 4 dimensions, I stick by the assertion that it holds water.
  • Design with more than needed: high-end audio equipment, SUV's

    Fuel injection can be done without computers, but that doesn't mean the computer can't improve the process.

    Oxygen sensors measure the completeness of fuel combustion and the computer improves the process. Why don't you unplug your O sensor and see if your car runs different (check your mpg too). The completeness of combustion varies based on several factors: fuel quality, air/fuel mixture, acceleration, engine load, spark quality, spark timing, ambient air temperature, engine temperature, amount of oil leaking past the seals, amount of oil/gas fumes returned to the mixture from the PCV valve, and probably several other factors I don't know of. The sensor helps the engine run more efficiently and thus cleaner.

  • Supposedly the same holds true of a person, as long as both their sphincter and mouth are closed.

  • > soposadaly !?
    hahahahaha - that's gotta be the most creative spelling I've ever seen for "supposedly". Thanks for the laugh!
  • Plus, in the meantime, it's far easier to control a lot of pollution from a handful of sources than it is to control a little bit of pollution from millions of sources. Convert cars to electricity and put better air scrubbers on your coal-burning power plants (or even gas-burning since there's now a huge surplus of gasoline), and you've just saved a lot of pollution. More, I would expect, than if you retrofitted all cars with air scrubbers.

    The problem is, like many other people have said, that there isn't enough public interest.
  • I've had one for months. It sits next to the
    bronze Buddha on my bookshelf. Never occurred to
    me to post about it.
  • Well, I think it's use as a ficticious company name was popularized by Wyle E. Coyote of Warner Bros. cartoon fame. "ACME high-powered rocket", etc. Certainly this usage seems to be a nod at that.


  • I don't believe in this conspiracy theory, namely: that electric cars don't exist because it's contrary to interest of car companies / oil companies. Why is it absurd? 1 - the car market is one of the most competitive. When launching a new model, car companies spend BILLIONS (and I'm not exxagerating!) in advertising. Would you believe that if one of them had the drafts to a very efficient revolutionary car they would just brush it off? 2 - If you still insist on that kind of conspiracy, what about all those developed country with more than enough brainpower but no car industry? Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland (look what happened to the Smart), Israel, Belgium, Norway, Finand, etc etc etc ...
  • It can hold water. The same way you can color a mobius strip. You just cant color one side and not the other. So you can put water in, it will just be inside and outside at the same time. (again, this requires a real 4d kline bottle, not a 3d projection. the 3d project is to a kline bottle as a circle is to a mobius strip).
  • Yep, we're geekin' out here all right... sorry. :)

    Mr. Fa-Cha says hello. But he also says "kill many people", so maybe that's someone else I'm hearing.

  • If you think about it, most high-quality dinnertable glasses and scientific glassware is one-sided, too. I could take a marker and trace a line all around this glass sitting here on my desk. It has a smooth lip so I wouldn't really say that it has one side or the other. Like the Klein bottle, this glass will hold water.
  • "X equals negative B
    Plus or minus the square root
    Of B-squared minus four AC
    All over two A"
  • There are many Acme supermarkets in my area (Philadelphia, PA, USA). I have also seen many other Acme brands. For example: Perhaps the Road Runner cartoons used the name because it is so widely used, just like using John Smith for a random name.


  • Well, the problem is that as the battery drains you lose your peak power output. There is just no way to prevent it - as the chemicals are "used up" there's just not enough charge in them. By the end of the day, you may very well be *unable* to accelerate to 60 mph. You need to factor in the additional "reserve" power required to meet that acceleration curve into your calculations. Don't ask me though about the precise measurements - I don't know what battery you're using, the energy density, ad nauseum. But - peak is very important....

    It would be more interesting to ask "how quick would it be to recharge these things?" Seriously.. if you had electrified strips on the freeway or at the "gas" station that refueled the vehicle, could you just get out, insert a credit card, and 5 seconds later be "full" again? If so, more frequent refills might not be such a bad thing...

  • So, how much does alchohol cost per gallon?

    Currently? If you mass-produced it?

  • To get a Moebius band, you take a strip of paper, give it a half-twist, and tape the ends together to get a loop. Unlike the strip of paper you started out with, it has only one side. A Klein bottle is like that except you tape the edges of the strip together lengthwise too. You get something that looks like a bottle but actually has only one side.
  • an orbital fan. dig it.
  • From the photos on YoJ's professor's web page [] it certainly looks that if you poured water in the bottom and turned it wide side down it would hold water. It's not that it has zero volume but a continuous, unbroken surface. That is, the mouth of the bottle is just a tube sticking out its bottom. Why does that sound like a politician?

    It's simply an impractical curiosity, not a revolutionary idea.

  • Why do we never see these claims along with math? I suppose that training in analytical thought processes actually does help one see the world.

    >We would have had cheap, clean, virtually limitless power

    Sorry dreamer, but the universe is against you. You cannot really "generate" energy, you can only convert from one form to another. So... what is the source of the power? How efficicent is the conversion process? Where does all the waste heat go?

    >...he caused the Tunguska explosion

    Ha ha, that's a new one. Calculate the energy released into the atmosphere. Calculate the strength of a magnetic field that would store that much energy. Design a mechanism for producing such a field. Design or demonstrate a means of converting that stored energy into heated, or at least really fast moving air. Show us how to do it quickly enough that the energy release(conversion) mimics an explosion. Show us the records of Tesla's purchases of such hardware or even raw materials. Show us evidence of the simple existance of the raw materials! Show us where he bought so many millions of tons of hay to burn and produce the energy...I grow weary.

    >Obviously, if Tesla's, rather than Edison's, paradigm had caught on..."

    Incredible, even when real world history supports you, you favor fantasy. Telsa's paradigm DID catch on. It's called AC(that's Alternating Current, not Anon Cow) power distribution and it is used world wide. It is far more efficient than Edison's DC method. Which of course is why it is used, not because of some conspiracy or fantasy.

    Finally, a simple fundamental: There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch(TANSTAAFL).
    Memorize it, comprehend it, realize it, apply it and you will be relieved of the burden of nonsense such as this.
  • It's certainly a nice curiosity. I can't imagine any practical use for the things. Then again, that fact alone makes them the perfect geek gag gift :)
  • energy content of alcohol 23.4 x 106 J/Liter []

    from the same paper, for gasoline:

    energy produced by combustion of 1.0 L gasoline 32 x 106 J

    From the tech newsgroups, Tom Box states:

    The composition of gasoline can vary significantly. Assuming for simplicity that it's pure normal octane, then 1,000,000 joules = 20.88 g. At room temperature and pressure, that's 29.7 cm^3. For the metrically challenged, that's about one fluid ounce.

    75 kWh corresponds to 8.03 litres of octane, or just over 2 U.S. gallons.

    And a word from the top fueler's on how tricky it is to get alcohol to burn like gasoline:

    And here's a good discussion [] how alcohol performs in race cars and why it is used in them rather than by consumers.
  • I'm sure you would have no problems with electric cars in cold weather. They are also very heavy, which may help out with pushing the tires through the snow.

    We use electric cars and trucks at work. They can go for days without a charge while being used non-stop. Granted, these are industrial cars and are not designed go too fast. That doesn't mean they can't. I did get a few of them to go fast enough for the road by weakening the field electromagnets on the motor. That little trick produced some needle pricking speeds and smoke. These cars have no speedometers, so I wouldn't know how fast they were. I do know the brakes had a hard time slowing them down!

    Big DC motors are fun. If you ever get to work in an industrial plant, you might have the chance to play with them. They have a rated horsepower, but they can really be abused!
  • Alchohol has half the energy density as gasoline. Double your fuel tank size and widen the jets on your carb or fuel injectors. So, how much does alchohol cost per gallon?
  • Well, the problem is that as the battery drains you lose your peak power output

    It might be a good idea to size your battery to last longer than what you would find in a race car.

    Its not a good idea to extract full power from massive batteries quickly due to the heat generated. Discharge a small automobile battery in one hour and it will become quite hot. A group of batteries discharged in one hour would be hazardous.

    Non vented cells, such as alkaline and lithium ion might operate better under long discharge conditions.

    What kind of batteries would you be using? Today, lead acid is mighty cheap (but very heavy!) A typical 6 cell lead acid battery has a full charge of 13 volts charged, 12 volts discharged, 12.5 volts halfway, etc... Its internal resistance is very low. Placing a heavy load on a lead acid battery might drop the voltage down to 11 volts. Not much.

    The voltage will never drop much below the 12 volts under load until it is completely dead. You can ride a lead acid battery at full power until its drained. I won't mention its a bad idea to drain any lead acid battery below its 50% charge if you value its life.
  • Would you like a 40 gallon tank of alchohol in your car? My truck currently holds 40 gallons and 80 gallons would really add some weight. Its just interesting to think about.
  • The guy who made these is the same guy who caught the German hackers who were soposadaly selling secrets to the Russians. As potrayed in the NOVA episode The Coocoos Egg as well as many books on hackers in the 80's.
  • I'm out of my own field here, and disagreeing with just about everyone else, but my recollection is that baryons are quark triplets, like protons and neutrons. Electrons are leptons, not baryons. So the Klein bottles are made of a mix of baryonic and leptonic matter...

    Here's a link [] in support of my view...
  • I must be the only person here who is completely in the dark. I assume a Klein bottle is some theoretical shape/structure that has wierd properties ... ? The site is /.d so I'm SOL, and all the sites I look at say things that are Greek to me, such as "Euler characteristic = 0" or "Möbius bands" or "4-space". Can someone fill the clueless newbie in?

  • Well, different way of defining volume. E.g. a bowl has no volume even though it can hold water (a math-major will point out that a bowl is an OPEN surface whereas a sphere or a Kline bottle is a CLOSED surface). Also, a true Kline bottle would be 4-dimensional. This is but a 3-dimensional representation of a Kline bottle. For a similar effect, draw a Mobius strip in 2 dimensions. It doesn't look as nifty then. The thing about a Kline bottle is the neck is supposed to go through the body w/o a hole, as it is 'up' in the fourth dimension from the rest of the body. Like I say, this is only a 3-d projection of a Kline bottle.

  • acme (km) n.
    The highest point, as of perfection.


  • Or.. in star trek talk..

    non-baryonic == anti-matter.
  • Well, alcohol-driven automobiles are even more efficient than gasoline. They're not as quick on acceleration (about, what, a 5% loss? I forget the exact stat), but they burn cooler and a greater percentage of the fuel is burned. It also generates non-lethal byproducts which is a definate bonus in places like California.

    No, more efficient cars aren't around for a very good reason: they make less money for the oil companies and the automobile companies. So they bury the technology or generate FUD about them not being "as efficient". Electrically-driven vehicles can be *very* efficient.. it's just that nobody wants to focus on making them commercially-feasible yet.

  • One question, though, can someone tell me wether a klein bottle is really embeddable in R^3, i.e. are these really klein bottles?

    A Klein bottle can be immersed ( as these bottles show ) but not embedded. These things self-intersect, which is why they are not embedded Klein bottles.

  • They have volume in a generalised sense. Since they are two dimensional ( ie they locally look like R^2 ), their "volume" is in fact surface area.

    Now you can *not* put something inside a Klien bottle, because it is non orientable. In otherwords, there is no "inside" and "outside" of a Klien bottle ( much like the Moebius band )

  • Sorry, I didn't read your post properly before writing the other response. A couple of things:
    • The ACME Klien bottle is the image of an immersion of a Klien bottle into R^3, it's not a Klien bottle proper, because in a Klien bottle proper, there is no self-intersection ( so if you embedded it into R^4, the water would not have to flow through the surface.
    • That you can put water in it doesn't mean it has nonzero volume. It's "volume" is the volume of the space it occupies, not volume of some part of the space around it that you embed it in.
  • Depends on the benefits to society of that research, along with the question as to whether that particular industry is focussed on short-term profit and would benefit from Government-industry partnership.

    "Government industry partnership" is a euphamism for corporate welfare, and is also known as fascism. And why would a company focus on "short term profits?" Companies stay in existence for the long term, and it would be stupid of them to focus on short term projects only.

    Also, what makes you think governments are immune from the tendency to focus on the near term? What generally happens is that the money goes to successful industry players who don't need it, at the expense of smaller companies with better ideas. The idea that government involvement is going to make for better long-range planning is just plain silly.

    Make any calculations you like. With that kind of money, accidents will happen. Nasty accidents.

    Exactly what are you saying? That they've sabotaged such projects, and/or killed the inventors? Do you have any evidence for this? And even if this were true, people have been doing research on this stuff for 50 years, and if a good alternative existed, it would've been found several times. Are you now going to tell me that the oil industry is guilty of sabotaging or killing several different research groups, with no one noticing? I think that's bordering on absurd.
  • I seem to hear this claim about the evil oil industry buying out better technologies a lot, and it is complete hogwash. Let's do the math:

    Let's suppose that the oil industry sells 10 billion gallons of gas at a buck a gallon, and it costs 80 cents per gallon to produce that gas. The industry then has an annual profit of 2 billion dollars. Now suppose that a technology comes along that can do the same job, but at a price of 40 cents a share. Let assume that it could do everything exactly as well as gas, so that it will completely supplant gasoline.

    What would the patent be worth? Obviously, if you have exclusive control over the technology, and the closest competition is oil, then you can sell your technology at slightly less than a buck a gallon and that gives you 60 per gallon profit. This means that the value of the patent is 6 billion dollars, multiplied times the number of years the patent is in use.

    So, the patent is worth more than the entire income of the petroleum industry. Unless the inventor is really stupid, it would be so expensive that it would eat up their entire profit and drive them into debt. The *only* way they could afford to buy it out is if they turned around and started using it.

    This sort of analysis can be done on any of the choices that compete with oil, and the conclusion is the same. If a technology were to come out that was cheaper or better than the alternatives, it would be suicide for the oil companies to "buy it out" and sit on it. In fact, the greater profit would be in producing it and growing rich off the fat profit margins. Since this has not happened, it's obvious that no such technology exists.

    As for Reagan, this is the kind of ignorant nonsense that gives leftists a bad name. Reagan does not have control over private R & D budgets, and so there's no way he could have killed such a technology. And if he killed government research on the matter, I see that as a good thing. I see no reason why taxpayers should be forced to pay for research that can and should be done in the private sector. If the government had such a hot technology in development, the researchers would have had no problem finding private capital.
  • No, more efficient cars aren't around for a very good reason: they make less money for the oil companies and the automobile companies. So they bury the technology or generate FUD about them not being "as efficient".

    You say that like there is only 1 oil company and one car company. This is simply not the case. If Ford were to come out with a car that had all the characteristics of a current cars except it had twice the range and had fuel that cost half as much, do you really think they'd "bury it?" On the contrary, they'd develop it to take market share from Chevy and GM.

    Don't forget foreign car companies. Even if there was a secret agreement between the American oil industry and the auto industry, it is unlikely they could also get control of auto industries in other nations.

    Car companies are fighting tooth and nail for market share. The idea that they are going to refrain from adopting a technology because it might hurt their competition or the oil industry is ludicrous. I wish people would think through the economics of a proposition before shooting their mouths off on /.
  • It just occured to me that if google is caching every site in the universe, /. could just include a small link to the relevant google site for every link in a story. This could be done with a little word after each link, i.e. link [abc] (cached) []
  • These elegant bottles make great gifts, fantastic displays, and inferior mouse-traps.

    I can't explain why, but I can't stop laughing at this.

    Well, MY day has been made more surreal. Thank you ACME.


  • how's the performance in the cold/snow? How many people or how much "stuff" can I haul? Can I get 3 hours of drive time on the highway out of a charge?
    Edmonton, Alberta, has several hundred electrically powered vehicles. It doesn't get all that cold there (rarely below -25 C), but I doubt many places in the US get any colder than that, either. The vehicles function just as well as or better than their diesel-powered equivalants, even in the snow (of which there's often a fair amount). They carry reasonable loads as well, up to 80 people or so (something over four tonnes).

    The only unfortunate part about these is that they're not usually battery-driven; they have batteries good for short periods, but the main source of power is overhead wires.


  • If we could harness the Slashdot effect, instead, we could provide enough energy to power the world's servers.

    By the way-- the site is down now. :)
  • imagine a diet based on this: You can eat anything you can fit inside it!

  • it's an engineering mistake to design something with more than needed!

    Bullshit! Good engineers design with margins -- margins for peak performance, margins for reliability, margins for safety.

    Why do we need computers in cars?! fuel injection is *NOT* that complex. Oxygen sensors?! WHY?!?!?!?!?!? are you going to be driving the thing in the MOUNTAINS?! You'll be at the same elevation for practically the entire life of the car!

    Computers in cars satisfy two requirements -- emissions and efficiency. Federal law (and environmental responsibility) requires clean cars that use a minimum of fuel. Consumer demand and safety requires a certain amount of performance at least from time to time. A computer allows the fuel/air mixture to be continually adjusted to meet these conflicting needs for a relatively small cost per vehicle. Rather than being a rantable offense, it's actually a fine application of engineering principles of which you seem to be woefully ignorant.
  • It's not that it has zero volume but a continuous, unbroken surface.

    Actually, a Klein bottle does have zero volume. Volume is a measure of three dimensional space enclosed by a continuous, unbroken surface (such as a sphere). A Klein bottle actually encloses no space (the inside is contiguous with the outside) and has no volume. That is really the joke of the page.
  • Every ordinary continuous, unbroken surface embedded in three dimensions has an inside, an outside and encloses a definite volume. A Klein bottle plays a trick by using a 4th dimension to connect the surfaces in a way analogous to a mobius strip (a two dimensional surface twisted in the third dimension so as to have a single side) and so that the inside surface (and inside volume) is contiguous with the outside surface (and outside volume).

    For example, you can use a continuous, unbroken surface to keep a toxic gas from poisioning your pet hampster, Hemos. A sphere, a cube, a cylinder, a torus, a duodecahedron -- pick your favorite shape. Just don't use a Klien bottle. There's nothing but the 4th dimension keeping the stuff on the inside from the stuff on the outside.

    A Klein bottle differs from an ordinary bottle in that an ordinary bottle is not a continuous surface -- it has an edge.
  • I got one of these for my Birthday. Was stupified for quite a while. They're very very cool. You see, Klein bottles are almost more venerable to our math club ("The Neighborhood") than the pet cows (i.e. stuffed animals).

    Also, check out the March 1998 issue of Scientific American. You can get a little preview here [].

  • They're zero-volume, but so's a moebius strip...
    ... and any other Manifold with dimension =2 measured with the 3-dimensional Hausdorffmeasure.

    The point with a Kleinbottle is that it is a connected non-orientable 2-dimensional manifold and one of the simpler examples of a non-orientable connected surface which are classified in the field of algebraic topologie.
    Z_2 is a direct summand in their first homology-group (blabla) which means basicaly that you can start at a point x, walk along the surface a certain way and come again to the point x but with your head in opposite direction and if you the go the same way again, you're headed like you started.

    One question, though, can someone tell me wether a klein bottle is really embeddable in R^3, i.e. are these really klein bottles?

  • Actually, there was some scientist who had constructed an apparatus to detect them... (Don't ask me how!) He claimed to have found one, but nobody could reproduce the experiment... Hence the poem.

    I think if you look long and hard enough you'll find something about it, it got quite a bit of publicity iirc.
  • Reminds me of:

    "My butter, garcon, is writ large in!"
    a diner was heard to be chargin'.
    "I HAD to write there,"
    exclaimed waiter Pierre,
    "I couldn't find room in the margarine."

    For more fermat-poems, see: poetry.htm []
  • True, they aren't real klein-bottles, but they are pretty good imitations....

    Kleinbottle or no Klein Bottle, I WANT ONE! Heck, I want 12!
  • "We warrant each Acme Klein Bottle for a period of FIVE YEARS to be absolutely free of any magnetic monopoles. If you discover one, contact us immediately and we will refund your purchase price right after claiming the Nobel Prize."

    That reminds me of the valentines day poem:

    Roses are red, violets are blue.
    The time has come, for monopole two.

    Or, the completely non-related poem:

    Roses are red, violets are blue.
    Space is warped, and so are you.

  • There are several problems with electic cars.

    1) You end up shifting the pollution to the power generation stations. Recent generations of autos have much better pollution controls than ten years ago.

    2) They have no range. The energy density of battery systems is just not up to par with the alternatives. You can't use them for long haul of large loads.

    3) Gasoline is actually more efficent both energy wise and economy wise. Several studies by notable geeks have proved this. See Don Lancaster's web site for the equations.

    Now some good things:

    1) Electric works for commuter trains, and smaller short range vehicles.

    2) Hybrids are showing promise.

    3) Fuel cell technology may make a lot of the problems with internal combustion engines mute.

    As far as Reagan, I am more pissed that he killed off the tax credits for engery efficent houses and set solar energy research back ten years.

    The rumour that the oil companies have secret caborator designs that allow the average auto to get 110mpg are bunk. Even Honda stuggles to get 60 mpg in a semi-average vehicle. But there are hydroelectric companies that have bought many of the patents on more efficent solar cell designs.

    Go figure.
  • (...and, I suppose, non-nebulae and non-everything-else-we-already-see-up-there)

    Dark matter is merely that which can't be seen on the telescopes.

    Some theories of what the dark matter is are (and as a certain 6-limbed, 4-eyed bearlike thing once said, may the humans who chose to use these stupid acronyms be made to swim in a river of piss):

    MACHOs: Massive Astronomical Compact Halo Objects; a bunch of sub-stars like Jupiter wandering around on their own (seems likely to me; since smaller stars are more common than larger ones, why shouldn't sub-stars be even more common?)

    WIMPs: Weakly Interacting Massive Particles; stuff like neutrinos that have a rest mass but you'll have a hell of a time seeing because they can pass through planets without affecting them (I can't really believe these would hang around in the galaxy for long enough to matter, but you never know)

    black holes: we'd probably be seeing them from the gravitational lensing and the particles screaming as they fall in (they have a lot of energy at that bottom of that gravity well, and they dump it as X-rays and such before they reach the event horizon), so these aren't too likely
  • 1) You end up shifting the pollution to the power generation stations. Recent generations of autos have much better pollution controls than ten years ago.

    Shifting the pollution from millions of automobiles to hundreds (or thousands) of power plants sounds like a big win in my book. It's a lot easier to regulate stationary power plants than roving ones, and economies of scale tell us that you can do pollution controlling cheaper at large plants.

  • Yes, sterling engines are wonderfully efficient, and I personally find them much sexier than internal-combustion ones. The problem with them is they have especially crappy acceleration. What this means is that they're useless as a drop-in replacement for the internal combustion engine that drives your car -- the alternative is instead you'd have to have a sterling engine constantly running and powering a battery that then drives an electric motor that drives your car. The problem with this is it suffers from all the problems associated with regular battery-powered electric cars.

    And it's really too bad, 'cause the word "sterling" has so much marketing potential. ;-)
  • That's what a sign on my math profs. door said
  • Village Games [] is the first place I saw these. They are located in London, so if you're in Europe, it'd probably be a more convenient source.

    I've been holding off for a while...perhaps it's the 'shipping shock'. They do look a little more artsy, IMHO, but I've been waiting for that MUG! Practical, yet impossible! ;)

  • No, it's perfect: " The document contained no data."
  • 2 is not prime.
    Really? Tell me then, what is the prime factorization of 16?

    2 is prime. You may be thinking of the confusion surrounding 1, which is not prime even though it fits the "no factors other than 1 and itself" defintion because defining 1 to be prime screws up the concept of a unique prime factorization of any whole number.

  • One is clearly not composite...
    True. So I guess that gives a three-way partition of the positive integers: primes, composites, and - in a class all by itself - 1.

    So I guess it's true: One is the loneliest number.

    (I am contemplating the percentage of /.'ers who'll look at that and say "Huh?", and feeling old. Wish me a happy 30th birthday tomorrow.)

  • acme is a real English word. Look it up in the dictionary. It means the "top, or highest point.", like summit, apex, or pinnacle.

    (I guess) it was just so overused in the early part of the last century of the last millennium (heh heh, didn't used to able to say *that*) in company and product names that people forgot, (or never knew) its real meaning. And the Road Runner cartoons didn't help people out any on that score.

  • Check out the link to the ACME faq []. Look who's running it:

    Who's behind Acme Klein Bottle?
    Just me, Cliff Stoll. Nobody else.
    Are you the same guy that ...
    Yep, same guy.

  • No one knows how Tesla did it? Well, that's not a particularly engrossing mystery, since Electric cars were already some 30-40 odd years old by then. Making one go 60 shouldn't have been a big deal, since Steam cars were already doing over 100.

    Your "turn of the century" comment is more amusing than anything else. You don't seem to know much about automotive history here, since back around the turn of the century there was some real competition between electrics, steamers and gasoline engines. Gas engines won the battle then because as their technology matured they became more reliable and longer ranged than their competition. The best technology won out back at the dawn of the 20th century, and the engineers have been working on refining it ever since. (And no, that doesn't mean moden electrics, or fuel cells, or something else, won't be better tomorrow.)

    For the record, Wankle style rotaries are mechanically efficient and marvelously smooth, but they're a bitch to get running clean and they're less fuel efficient than a comparable recip. We have computers in cars because carbs and mechanical fuel injectors aren't as readily adjustable as a computer controlled system. O2 sensors and the rest let the computer optimize the fuel mixture for economy, performance, emissions, and reliability, all on the fly. Think carbs are better, faster, and more efficient? Look at the induction system of an F1 motor some time. Heck, look at the whole car. Those things live by their computers.

    Mediocracy is the Enemy of Good.
    Better is the enemy of Just Good Enough.
  • I saw this link on NTK []) last April or May, so when I was in SF last June for JavaOne, I dropped in on Cliff Stoll in Berkeley to pick up a few bottles for my very own. He has a shack behind his house filled with Klein bottles and a bunch of old calculating machines, which he's rebuilding. He regaled me and my buddy for about an hour with stories about the intricacies of glass sculpture and a few other random topics. He was also planning to make knitted Klein bottles with a recently-acquired knitting machine. I was also privileged to receive an old sock sewn into a projective plane! Quite the guy!
  • From "Chuck Amuck" by Chuck Jones:

    The Acme Corporation stemmed from games the Jones tads played in their juvenile dotage. My sister Dorothy fell in love with the title Acme, finding that it was adopted by many struggling and ebmryonic companies because it put them close to the top of their chosen services in the Yellow Pages. Today of course, it is commonplace to see AAAAA Cleaners and Dryers or AABBBBCCCCDDD Drugs, which sounds like a Porky Pig establishment. But in those simple days, such verbal chicanery was unheard of -- Acme was a word; it was that simple.

    So, for many years later, it seemed logical to use Acme in our films, from Acme Dancing Academy for Infant Ducks to the Acme Corporation we put on our door when Chuck Jones, Inc., lived on the twelfth floor at Sunset and Vine, followed by our slogan: "We build fine Acmes."

    Long before that, however, the Acme Corporation had become the sole supplier to Wile E. Coyote. Whatever his needs were, the Acme Corporation was there to supply. It was a perfect symbiotic relationship; no money was ever involved. The Acme Corporation supplied the Coyote's requirements: Acme Jet-Propelled Roller Skates, Acme Burmese Tiger Trap, Acme Leg Muscle Vitamins, Acme Female Road Runner Costume, Acme Batman Outfit, etc. All of them *almost* perfect. But surely the jet-propulsion group should have eschewed the use of the Acme Little Giant Bobrick, even at the bargain rate of thirty-five cents.

  • The market for cars is obviously totally different. Cars are independent objects, and so not have to be "compatible" with any other car that comes before or after it. And the market for them has been hashed out for almost 100 years. They have basically one function, and there is no sense in which cars will evolve functionality like an operating system such as Windows. I can put a Model T and a Maserati on the same road and in the same garage. Does it bother you that your analogy is entirely without meaning?

    Anyway, your assumption is totally false. No one company has a monopoly on "one aspect of the Great Free Market". What on earth are you talking about? Some company has a monopoly on electric car technology? That's utterly ridiculous. The automobile manufacturers have tried to sell electric cars for at least a couple of decades, and they are just now drawing some real interest. Also, the barriers to entry in the car market are not high at all. There are thousands of companies that have the cash or credit to start such a company. Where do you think new car companies come from? You sound as clueless as a troll, but seem sincere in your ignorance.

  • Everybody says "it is postulated," but I wonder why it is postulated? Like so much in astrophysics and cosmology, it seems to be a bunch of fancy built on quite a set of presumption, like the descriptions of what the universe was like at age 10E-37 seconds. Does anybody know where this 90% figure comes from that one sees all the time? Sometimes I wish that in my branch (solid state) we had the privelege of having no experimentalists to make fun of our models - ha!
  • I read about a hybrid design that used the brakes to recharge the battery. I doubt it could be used exclusively. That would violate a law of thermodynamics.
  • It would be interesting to see the details of Tesla's nifty car. But anybody can make a car that goes 60. There are only about a hundred other factors to consider, like acceleration, safety, reliability, servicability, cost, etc. One thing's for sure - Tesla was a genius.

    There are points for and against all of these different mechanisms, but you don't have enough faith in the market to determine the winner. If you can build a better car, then go for it. Lot's of people buy them. All the conspiracy theories you are implying about Reagan, the oil companies, and automobile manufacturers just don't have any substance. This is not an Oliver Stone movie.

    But your silliest comment is that it is a mistake to design more than what is needed. This same sort of argument would have all of our clothes the same style and color, and our products indistinguishable. On the other hand, it would have saved us from bell-bottoms. :-)

    If you don't accept the usefulness of computers in car engines, then choose another automobile. But if you asked an automotive engineer, they would explain all the little adjustments and efficiencies that can be obtained, giving you a more reliable, less-polluting car.

    By the way, many of us to change elevation through the life of the car. My dad drives up a couple thousand feet to get to work. But there are a lot of other adjustemnts besides those related to Oxygen. And Oxygen can decreade for other reasons. Old air filters or faulty hoses, driving through tunnels, being in and out of traffic, driving in and out of the city, and yes, changing elevation.

  • Baryonic matter is the sort of matter we find in this universe. i.e. stuff made of protons, electrons and neutrons. non-baryonic matter would be made of other particles, which would be extremely strange, but some scientists have a theory that the "missing mass" of the universe may in fact be non-baryonic matter, which is why we have a hard time finding it.


  • You eat them to freak out your mundane office co-workers who have no clue there is such a thing as packing peanuts made of corn starch or rice starch or whatever they're made of.

    The look on their faces when I grabbed a handfull and shoved them in my mouth and then SHOWED them I had actually swallowed them was priceless...


  • "CAUTION! Acme Klein Bottles are crafted from glass, a supercooled, inorganic liquid in a solid, non-crystalline state. If dropped, they may shatter, possibly into paired single-sided Möbius loops. But then again, they may not. Other shocks -- including fast decelerations and Republican landslides -- may lead to similar fragmentation."

    "During earthquakes, your Acme Klein Bottle may jump off the table, in a mistaken attempt to connect with the 4th dimension. So just before major tremors, apply a dab of quake-putty to hold down your manifold during the Big One."

  • Oddly, our zero-volume bottles require shipping boxes of positive volume. To fill the empty space, Acme uses "eco-fill" packing peanuts, made from puffed corn. To get rid of 'em, just toss them on your lawn and squirt with a hose. Or put 'em in a sink under running water. Unlike our manifolds, the packing peanuts dissolve in seconds.

    Hmm, if the packing peanuts are made from Puffed Corn then couldn't you just eat 'em instead? Make a nice lite snack :)
  • That's why 90+% of the world uses Microsoft, right? Clearly the market picked the best product.
    There are two ways I could answer this. One is to say, no, not best; but rather good enough. Take your car as an example. Does it get the best fuel mileage and the best acceleration and the best cornering, and...etc., etc., of any car out there? Almost certainly not. So did you make a bad decision? Not necessarily. You got one that was good enough - one which you felt was a good trade for the money you spent.

    This brings us to the second answer - yes, it was the best - the best decision that they could have made. That last part makes clear something I think you're forgetting; people make choices based on a whole lot of factors, and they have to choose from what's available, based on the plusses and minuses of each; "Utopia is not an option", as they say. People don't need a perfect OS; they need something good enough for their purposes. Choosing something else would very likely involve small marginal gains for large marginal costs. (Terms I wish more people knew, and considered more often!)

    Asserting that 90+% of the world chooses the wrong thing is essentially asserting that you're smarter than 90+% of the world and know what they need better than they do. While this is gratifying to think, it's probably not true (for any of us!) Asserting that is asserting that the rest of the world is irrational in what it does - again, gratifying, but hard to believe when you look at what the rest of the world accomplishes.

  • Finally ! 4D Bottles. Just what I always wanted. There is a small problem though.

    The people at klien bottles have only specified the height and the diameter. By knowing the diameter, I can calculate the area. So I know three dimension.

    However, before I buy the klein bottle, I want to know the 4th Dimension. Because I want to make sure that the klien bottle would fit my patent-pending 4D display case.

    [I submitted this a while ago, but for some unforeseen reason, it has not been posted. If it gets posted sometime later ( as it happened twice before, 15 minutes later ), please ignore that ]

  • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Sunday January 09, 2000 @04:24PM (#1390426)
    I see that they've structured their website to be topologically consistent with the capacity of their Klein bottles: my browser has just returned "Document contains no data".
  • A fellow named Klein once confided
    His bottle was not quite one-sided.
    But add a dimension
    To Felix' invention,
    Have mathematicians delighted.
  • by pen ( 7191 ) on Sunday January 09, 2000 @09:38AM (#1390428)
    And a few more links...

    What's a Klein Bottle? []
    Specs for nice Klein Bottles []


  • by Codger ( 8212 ) on Sunday January 09, 2000 @09:22AM (#1390429)
    If you look at the FAQ you'll notice that the man behind ACME is none other than Cliff Stoll! Last I saw him he was on MSNBC's ill-fated internet show as the resident wild-haired net skeptic. Nice to see he's doing something cool like this.

    Check out the 'jigsaw puzzles' for a good guffaw, too.

  • [If you don't know who Clifford Stoll is, run do not walk to your favorite bookstore, perhaps F atbrain [] or [], and get a copy of The Cuckoo's Egg : Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage. --PSRC] []

    Who's behind Acme Klein Bottle?

    Just me, Cliff Stoll. Nobody else.

    Are you the same guy that ...

    Yep, same guy.

    Do you make these Klein Bottles yourself?

    Not any longer. I tend to overwork the welds and have burnt myself too often. Worse, I take a long time to make a Klein Bottle. To keep prices reasonable, professional glassblowers make these to my specs.
  • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Sunday January 09, 2000 @09:24AM (#1390431) Journal
    Thus, from the definition of being perfect, people sometimes choose that as a company name. The Road Runner cartoons have now trained a generation of Americans to avoid making that choice.

    The fact that it places the company near the top of an alphabetical list may influence the decision...

  • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Sunday January 09, 2000 @09:50AM (#1390432) Journal
    I got my teenager an ACME Klein bottle to replace his bulky schoolbag. But when I wrapped it to hide it, the wrapping vanished and I couldn't find the bottle. Maybe I tied the bow in the wrong shape.
  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Sunday January 09, 2000 @09:46AM (#1390433) Homepage Journal
    Current home electrical systems and power plants would be overwhelmed if everyone ran out and got an electric car today.

    OK, I'm bored. Let's do some simple math.

    Let's consider the power involved and how much is generated by a typical 150 horsepower engine. That would be 150 horsepower(746watts/1` horsepower) = 112 kilowatts, or about 1017 amps at 110 volts.

    Driving down the highway would take, say, 30 horsepower. An hours worth of driving a day would be 30 horsepower(746watts/1 horsepower) = 22280 watts, or a ten hour charge at 110 volts would be (22280 watts/110 volts)/(10 hours) = 20.3 amps. How much would that cost for 30 days of driving at 8 cents per kilowat hour? (22280 watts/0.08 cents per kilowatt hour)(30 days)= $53.47. Ok, not bad. Don't forget industrial electrical rates are far lower at $0.02 cents per kilowatt hour and less!
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Sunday January 09, 2000 @09:08AM (#1390434)
    Aw, hell.. I can generate more energy by simply feeding my brother chili. The wind power could move turbines.. *cough*

    More seriously... the day somebody comes up with zero energy extraction is likely the same day the oil companies buy it out and don't let anyone else come near it for 50 years. No, I was serious about that - do you honestly think electric cars would NOT be around right now if Reagan (under the pressures of oil lobbying) hadn't pulled the plug (pardon the pun) on electric cars?

  • by MattXVI ( 82494 ) on Sunday January 09, 2000 @09:30AM (#1390435) Homepage
    "pulled the plug" - hehe.

    I've heard Reagan blamed for a lot of hilarious things before, but this one should win an award. What on earth did he have to do with the lack of electric cars? Maybe he tried to cut some DOE research funds. I would applaud such a decision. There's no reason for me to pay for the car-maker's research.

    The reason we aren't driving electric cars is because gas is cheaper than bottled water, and because they had (and have) pitiful acceleration. Also, it takes me a minute to fill my tank with gas, but hours to recharge batteries. Perhaps Reagan had the good sense to trust the market for them to open up on it's own accord.

    So, to answer your question, no, we would not be driving electric cars if Reagan hadn't succeeded in his evil conspiracy with the oil lobbyists. Do you have any evidence that would prove otherwise? As an aside, what makes you think Reagan would be more influenced by oil companies than by the electric companies and battery makers that would have benefitted? And what evidence to you have that he even talked to any lobbyists for eight years?

  • by pen ( 7191 ) on Sunday January 09, 2000 @09:21AM (#1390436)
    While the admins scramble to see what the hell just happened, and then curse those damn Linux hippies, you can access the site here: rch? []


Try `stty 0' -- it works much better.