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Comment Re:Very original idea (Score 1) 141

Amplifying light with a glass 'optic' would be quite original.

Optical fibre amplifiers use a length of erbium-doped glass as the amplification medium. They were invented in the 80s and are used around the world. An external source excites the erbium and as the signal to be amplified comes in it stimulates emission. The result is a signal coming out brighter than the one that went in.


Of course, it'd be daft to use one in this application as while they do amplify, it's not like they're >100% efficient.

Comment Re:Weapons Grade Production? (Score 1) 432

Quite simply, it's immoral to leave future generations the obligation to take care of a problem, both physically and financially, that we generate today.

I think future generations would prefer we left them a mountain or two full of radioactive waste than an entire planet catastrophically altered by global warming.

Comment Re:Ground source makes cents (Score 0, Flamebait) 215

If you ignore the mindless Greenpeace types, and your power is from nukes (like in France) there are no greenhouse gas emissions at all and the air stays nice and clean.

Greenpeace are a bunch of nutjobs and the more base generation goes nuclear the better, but it's not totally greenhouse-gas-emission free. Mining the ore and enriching it generates GHG. The many, many tonnes of concrete that go into building the plants (~200 cubic metres per MW) generate GHG. Sure, it's the total GHG/kWh is less than just about any other technology, but it's not nothing.

Comment Re:flicker crashes (Score 1) 303

Assuming the line voltage is run through a full wave bridge rectifier, there would be a 120 Hz flicker, imperceptible to most people. Toss a large capacitor across that DC output and you've got dramatically less ripple.

I certainly hope they're a wee bit more complicated than that. Can you imagine the power factor problem we'd have if we replaced all streetlights with LED ones that just use a bridge and large capacitor?

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 223

Electrolytic capacitors are one obvious place cost can be cut.

There are a couple of topologies that are applicable. Most computer powersuuplies are (I think) single-switch forward converters. The topologies with more switches provide better performance, but more switches means more expensive transistors.

Higher frequency switching generally provides more stable output, but requires "faster" transistors and transistor drivers, which again, are more expensive than "slower" ones.

Comment Re:Cory Doctorow, the only man we could trust. (Score 1) 174

As for the 'unpublishing' - to what do you refer?


Boing Boing deleted any and all mention of Violet Blue for reasons that remain unexplained but are assumed to be a lovers' spat. When people found out that Boing Boing had retroactively censored one of their contributors they felt that this was hypocritical given the editorial content of the site. Boing Boing tried to diffuse the situation by posting a non-explanation calling their actions "unplublishing". The term as used is an ironically Orwellian neologism for censorship, deepening the public outcry that the actions of Boing Boing editors were being childish and deeply hypocritical.

Comment Re:Nope, sorry (Score 1) 507

It keeps the term "marriage" to mean a man and a woman, that's all. Prop 8 has no effect on civil unions. Cohabitating couples can still live together. Couples can still get civil unions. Couples still have visitation rights, insurance rights, etc, just like a marrage. Except, it is not called a marriage. That is all. Nobody is "breaking up" anything.

People in your country once used the same sort of rhetoric to defend having doctors' offices with a door for whites and a door for coloureds. It'd be the same service, just different.

The fact of the matter is that marriage is something people world-wide regard as special and important. It has ritual and implications far beyond the legal rights it grants. It carries this importance and tradition for people of a huge range of nationalities, races, and faiths (or lack thereof). Civil Unions have all the gravity and importance of registering a dog. It's wrong to think that denying gay people the right to marriage is of no consequence because civil unions provide the same service, just different.

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