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Comment Hand-spinup of a hard drive (Score 1) 210

At a DoD facility we were developing an app for SimNET, BBNs distributed entity-level simulation protocol, that would leverage some existing training facilities.

In our lab we used a Sun 68020-powered workstation with a 150MB external SCSI drive in a 'double shoebox' along with a DC6150 tape drive for backup. The target was a VME card cage with several 68020 CPUs and miscellaneous peripherals, running VxWorks.

We used that machine for eleven months, running it 24 hours a day for nearly a year, but one night the cleaning staff used one of our power strips for their floor buffer and the breaker tripped. When we came in the next day and tried to boot the system the drive wouldn't spin up. It just hummed.

Now, this was only 150MB, but back then 150MB was a full height 5 1/4 inch collection of a half dozen platters. There was a flywhel. I gave it a spin. I felt what I imagine was the heads unsticking from the disc surface... And the drive spun up in my hand. With significant gyroscopic action. I didn't dare turn it off - an associate informed my SunOS 4.1 was booting. I carefully held it there while my associate assembled the shoebox around it.

We finished our work on that project without another power interruption, but we definitely backed up every day.

Comment Re:Not to mention... (Score 2) 455

Typical absolute max storage temps are from -65 to 150 C (-85 to 302 F). 130 degrees F is only 55 degrees C, which even commercial chips are fine to operate at (they typically go to 70 C (158 F). I don't think a cop sitting in -20F temperature is giong to try to operate a laptop. Obviously, rotating drives is a different issue - I'd use SSD in my car for vibration sake.

Comment Re:Neutron Beam... Beer! (Score 1) 117

There's many drinks you'll drink, me lads, on every world that's new.
There's Saurian Brandy, Cranapple Schnapps, and a good old Tullamore Don't.
There's Busch and Beck and Bud and Bock and others dark and pale,
But I think you'll find the finest kind is Three-Oh-Seven Ale.

(chorus)
Three-Oh-Seven Ale, me lads, Three-Oh-Seven Ale,
The finest drink that any bar has ever had for sale,
It'll lay your whole damn world to waste, it'll make you fit and hale,
There's nothing that you'll ever taste like Three-Oh-Seven Ale, me lads,
Three-Oh-Seven Ale.

It started out at M.I.T. one lazy summer day,
When a couple of the frat-boy techies started in to play,
They'd caught up on their schedule with a couple hours to kill,
So they fitted up the cyclotron and made themselves a still.

(chorus)

They added choice ingredients to brew a little brew,
But they didn't know the wires were crossed in Chamber Number Two.
A tiny bit of space got folded, things were looking queer --
They turned the spout and then came out the world's first Hyper-Beer.

(chorus)

It bubbled and it burbled and it glowed a fizzly green,
And what it did to test equipment, frankly, was obscene.
It took awhile to find a vial it wouldn't burst to flame,
Then they measured out its potency, and that's how it was named.

(slower)
There's many drinks you'll drink, me lads, but this one beats them all:
One hundred fifty-three and one-half percent alcohol,
A beer, brewed in a tesseract, that'll shoot you through the roof --
And if you don't believe me, I've got lots and lots of proof.

(final chorus)
Three-Oh-Seven Ale, me lads, Three-Oh-Seven Ale,
The finest drink that any bar has ever had for sale,
It'll lay your whole damn world to waste, it'll make you fit and hale,
It sticks to your mouth like library paste,
With a stronger kick than toxic waste,
There's nothing that you'll ever taste
Like Three-Oh-Seven Ale!


(Words and Music: © 1989 by Tom Smith: http://www.tomsmithonline.com/lyrics/307_ale.htm)

Comment Here's an easier method.. (Score 2) 117

.. if you're handy with tools and your money: This solution will require you to put your thorium vessel in a vacuum chamber: Cut the end off some old but still functional 4-400A power vacuum tubes (as would be used in a surplus tube amp from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or an old AN/SQS-23 sonar system), and put a charge stripping plate (of heavy enough copper) biased to pull the charge off the electrons, at the business end. Glass-weld the tube and plate to a flange on the vacuum vessel. Fire up the cathode, put sufficient voltage on the plate, and you're streaming neutrons.

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