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Comment Re:13 deaths? (Score 2) 518

Cars would probably be a lot safer if they were made more simply, and they didn't change the design ever 2 or 3 years. Stick with time tested designs and get all the bugs out and you'd end up with a car that was reliable and safe.

That is a strong assertion. Can you back that up? Over the years, cars have become safer both for the people inside and other road users (well, the latter probably doesn't really hold for SUV monsters), and also got much better fuel economy. A lot of that you can't achieve by debugging an existing design. Think of aerodynamics and crumple zones, which are integrated into the entire car design. Over here (Netherlands), the minimum age and frequency for mandatory technical inspections of old cars have been relaxed over the years, apparently because of the increase in durability.

Comment Re:SHU (Score 1) 285

Who the hell actually knows the SHU of the food they eat?

Very few; at most they know what is written on the label or on some website. The standard (American Spice Trade Association) way is that Scoville heat units are a measure for the concentration of capsaicin in chili peppers, in terms of dry weight. Dry weight is about 10% of the fresh weight of chilis. For chili sauce, they rarely specify whether the Scoville rating is in terms of "wet" weight of the sauce, or on a dry weight basis - leave alone what the water content is of those sauces.

And especially for super hot chilis (Bhut Jolokia and so on), the numbers reported are for one particularly hot batch. That doesn't tell much abouw how much heat an average specimen, grown under average conditions, will get you, but you can be pretty sure that it will be less than the batch that was tested with the aim of getting into the Guiness book of records.

Comment Re:Depends on the dish (Score 1) 285

Protip: When the recipe says to use gloves and eye protection, use gloves and eye protection. Even if you think you're a big shot chilihead because you just ate some of your hot peppers the day before.

My experience is that the desensitization to capsaicin from eating chilis regularly is mostly body-wide, although I give you that the pain threshold differs from place to place. I have touched freshly cut chilis (including Trinidad Moruga Scorpions, which were the world record hottest) with my fingers without issues. Peeing nowadays mostly hurts from the capsaicin dissolved in the urine, not from what's left on my fingers. :-)

But the first time I handled hot chilis, the toilet visit was a bit more painful...

Comment Re:best pepper? (Score 1) 285

"Pure Capsaicin. We use it to make the curry as hot as we need to" says the chef with an evil grin.

Pure capsaicin is a solid that does not dissolve in water, so this does not sound very plausible to me.

Comment Re:Physical access? (Score 1) 150

"So, this method requires quite a bit of physical access to the ATM. "

I did once peek over the shoulders of a guy servicing one of those in-store ATMs (i.e., one that looks like a stand-alpne cabinet, not one that's integrated into a wall). Apparently, it's not all that tightly locked down, hardware-wise. The guy told me that only the compartment that contains the banknotes and the counting mechanism have heavy physical security, and that he couldn't access that part. That was why he was allowed to service the machine by himself, in the middle of a busy store.

Comment Re:Black box radio beacon ? (Score 4, Informative) 227

"they already have such beacons which ping for 30 days after activation. Why are they not picking any of that? "


Typical detection range is 5 km. Say the plane can be in a 2000x2000 sq km area. Then you have to search in a search path that is 200x2000=400,000 km long. That's 10x around the earth and will take a while.

And the ocean is 4 km deep once you're well away from land; because of the vertical distance you have less horizontal range.

Comment Re: Great (Score 1) 87

"you can only extract 20% of their capacity from them before you damage the battery by sulfating the plates."

You're confusing two issues, I think. Sulfation happens if a lead acid battery is kept in a (partially) discharged state for too long (weeks). That will happen with deep-cycle batteries as well.

The issue with starter batteries is that the plates are thin and tend to crumble during a deep discharge, when a large fraction of the lead plate is electrochemically converted.

Comment Re: Combined with the ringing phones ? (Score 2) 382

"individual phones actually *poll* towers every few seconds"

I highly doubt that. A 2G gsm phone left next to an audio cable will only generate the familiar "bidibip" noise once an hour or so. I assume it does that in response to an "are you still there" request from the tower.

The radio transmitter in a cellphone is about one watt. For battery lifetime, you really don't want the transmitter to activate every few seconds.

Comment Re:Not sure what you're talking about (Score 2) 254

"WIth a VM you have to install, maintain, patch and monitor everything yourself"

My experience with shared hosting is that they change system configuration all the time without informing me and thereby breaking my scripts. Never have that problem with a VM, but I admit that setting up a VM with dns, apache tweaks, iptables, and so on, is a major effort for someone who doesn't do that for a living, like me. But after that it's very little maintenance.

By the way, the site in my sig runs on shared hosting, including perl CGI and ssh, for EUR 7.95/yr. Cheaper than my time in figuring out how to setup multi-domain email in CentOS on my VM. But I had to tweak my scripts to deal with the peculiarities of this hoster and live error logs only available via directadmin...

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 166

front wheel drive for bikes in any sort of slippery conditions is dangerous because of the amount of acceleration from electric motors.

One would think that this problem solves itself because the motor uses friction with the front tire. Under slippery conditions, the motor has little traction as well.

Comment Re:NYC legal electric motorcycle? (Score 1) 166

the NYC law I wonder how it'd handle an electric bicycle that uses some sort of strain sensor to decide how much 'assist' to give the rider. IE you could set it to 100% and it'd try to match the power the user is putting into the bike

Well, it says: "motor that is capable of propelling the device without human power", so that should be legal. Here in the Netherlands, e-bikes have such a strain sensor; I think it measures strain near the back-wheel axis. And it is for legal reasons -- otherwise they would count as a moped and need a license plate and liability insurance.

By the way, e-bikes are getting rather popular in Netherlands, despite our lack of hills and bike-friendly temperatures. Still feels weird to be taken over at a considerable speed difference by an old lady sitting upright catching wind, with bags of groceries.

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