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Comment Delphi (Score 1) 132

This is a company that used to be a part of GM and when GM spun it off into its own business they used it as a way to jettison all of the most useless members of upper management. These folks ran the company into the ground in a very short amount of time and then went through the longest bankruptcy in US history.

There have been a number of really cool products that they were developing that they inexplicably shelved, so I won't be surprised at all if they get this working really well and then decide to pack it away and never do anything with it.

Comment Re:I also measure distance (Score 1) 190

While it's not a good thing, using Becquerels is a convenient way to make something sound worse than it actually is. It's 27 Curies, which is about 0.18% of the activity of the sources they use for some gamma sterilization machines (which can be around 15000 Curies or 555,000,000,000,000 Bq). Now that is a scary amount of radiation.

Comment Re:This is not going to work. (Score 3, Informative) 104

Some friends of mine did exactly this as a research project last year.They did some testing at NASA Langley using some of their low pressure testing facilities.

It should be possible in a few years for sure and it may even be possible now. That being said, it's quite possibly the least efficient way to do anything anywhere, especially so on Mars. The rotor blades have to be enormous in order to generate enough lift. They also made some assumptions about materials used that aren't realistic right now, 5 years from now, probably, but not right now.

Comment Re:Dammit Slashdot Editors!!!! (Score 1) 158

To me it depends on what the aircraft is doing, who is operating it and so what the intention of the owner/operator is.

UAV's and R/C planes both come in all shapes and sizes, so that doesn't have anything to do with it. The whole "all poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles," thing.

I'm a senior in aerospace engineering and our capstone project is to spend the year designing and then building a UAV for the US Coast Guard to be used in a variety of situations: search and rescue ops, patrolling harbors, monitoring coastal erosion, monitoring buoys, etc... Now, remove the intentions that the USCG has for the UAV and you just have a large R/C plane with a camera that points down and an off-the-shelf autopilot. Plenty of hobbyists use the same autopilot and camera hardware that we are using.

Comment SIR Spheres (Score 1) 35

A similar technology is a significant portion of the reason why my father is alive today.

They're called SIR Spheres and they can be used to carry chemotherapy drugs or a radioactive isotope.

In my fathers case, they used Yttrium-90 to treat the cancer that originated in his gall bladder and had spread into his liver. They allow for a very directed method for delivery of the chemo or radiation.

Comment Re:$40,000? (Score 1) 153

I've just recently begun to get involved in academic research and I've been amazed at how expensive things are. New manual spin coater? 3k. Want a better one? 5-8k.

Bearings in a turbomolecular pump go bad? 3k to repair, unless your boss lets them have it when said pump has less than 1000 hours on it and they decide pissing off a department that they make a lot of money from isn't smart. Same pump brand new is 10k.

Helium leak detector goes tits-up? 4.5k to repair. Of course that's better than buying a new one!

Let's not forget the 3.5k balance. Of course it's "accurate" to 0.00001g or some similar nonsense.

Completely insane.

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