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Comment Fooling the central HVAC (Score 1) 402

My military unit moved into a newly renovated building a couple years ago. In order to save energy, it had one of them new-fangled centralized-controlled HVAC systems.
Each office had a temperature sensor but no thermostat that could be set. The usual 'heat on way too early in the fall' stuff, as well as the 'indoor temp set to 80F in the summer' applied.
As the commo guy for the unit, I took it upon myself to open up one of these sensor, and found it contained a simple, exposed thermal resistor. I figured out that hotter temperatures lowered the resistance, and quickly tested my theory by shorting the circuit to kick on the AC.
But, a long term solution needed to be non-obvious, and a 100% temperature reading was going to be obvious. So I did the math, and added a small resistor in parallel to the circuit, basically convincing the central computer that it was always 10 deg F hotter in my office than it really was.
I had the coolest office in the building, until my bosses figured out that I had done something; I then I had to replicate my efforts in their offices.
This would make an excellent bonus question on an EE101 exam.

Space

NASA Probe Validates Einstein Within 1% 188

An anonymous reader writes "Gravity Probe B uses four ultra-precise gyroscopes to measure two effects of Einstein's general relativity theory — the geodetic effect and frame dragging. According to the mission's principal investigator, the data from Gravity Probe B's gyroscopes confirm the Einstein theory's value for the geodetic effect to better than 1%. In a common analogy, the geodetic effect is similar to the shape of the dip created when the ball is placed on to a rubber sheet. If the ball is then rotated, it will start to drag the rubber sheet around with it. In a similar way, the Earth drags local space and time around with it — ever so slightly — as it rotates. Over time, these effects cause the angle of spin of the satellite's gyroscopes to shift by tiny amounts." The investigators will be doing further data analysis over the coming months and expect to release final results late this year.

Feed Intel shows off "metro notebook" concept (engadget.com)

Filed under: Laptops

It looks like Intel has more than just wearable computers and newfangled UMPCs in mind for our future, with the company also recently showing off this slightly less far fetched "metro notebook," apparently aimed primarily at women. One of the most most conceptey elements here is the SideShow-esque e-ink display embedded in the laptop's lid, which promises to let you view your email, calendar, and other information even when the laptop's powered down. What's more, Intel also sees the entire laptop acting as a charging pad for your other gadgets, though it seems you'll still have to charge the laptop itself the old fashioned way. Even without those less-than-imminent additions, however, the laptop appears to be a pretty decent unit, measuing just 0.7 inches thick and packing a Core 2 Duo processor, along with Bluetooth, WiFi, and WiMAX connectivity.

[Via Tech Ticker, thanks Benaam]

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