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Submission + - Philae's lost seven months were completely unnecessary

StartsWithABang writes: This past weekend, the Philae lander reawakened after seven dormant months, the best outcome that mission scientists could've hoped for with the way the mission unfolded. But the first probe to softly land on a comet ever would never have needed to hibernate at all if we had simply built it with the nuclear power capabilities it should've had. The seven months of lost data were completely unnecessary, and resulted solely from the world's nuclear fears.

Submission + - 3D-Printed Materials That Change Texture on Demand (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: When it comes to creating surfaces, it's a simple task to either make ones that are smooth or ones that are bumpy. But now researchers at MIT have created one that can be both. The 3D-printed surface they have created can be either smooth, bumpy, ridged, or channeled and can dynamically change texture through the application of pressure.

Submission + - 'Warm Neptune' Exoplanets May Have Lots of Helium (slate.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Phil Plait reports on new research into exoplanets that came to an unexpected and non-obvious conclusion. Throughout the galaxy, astronomers have been finding exoplanets they call "warm Neptunes" — bodies about the size of Neptune, but orbiting their parent star more closely than Mercury orbits the Sun. When astronomers looked at spectra for these planets, they found something surprising: no methane signature (PDF). Methane is made of carbon and hydrogen, and it's generally assumed that most large, gaseous planets will have a lot of hydrogen. But this class of exoplanet, being significantly smaller than, say, Jupiter, may not have the mass (and thus the gravity) to hold on to its hydrogen when it's heated by the close proximity to the star. The result is that the atmosphere may be largely made up of helium instead. If so, the planet would look oddly colorless to our eyes, very unlike the planets in our solar system.

Comment Re:Who Cares? (Score 1) 476

1) If it's that cold out, why wouldn't the condensation freeze in the tank? I've never seen a heated gas tank...

It probably does and won't cause a problem in that case.

2) Most of the really cold places I've seen put 10% ethanol in the gas... this should help dissolve any condensation nicely into the fuel, letting it just run through the system without freezing up.

Not always.
3) Really Cold also means Really Dry, which should mean little to no condensation. The condensation happens when warm, moist air hits really cold things or air. Unless someone's making out with their gas tank, there shouldn't be much opportunity for warm, moist air to enter.

I Should have been clearer here. I have had it happen to me when the temperature went from -5C to -20C (approx). Plenty of opportunity for condensation to occur.

4) Anyone who has a major problem with condensation should consider using additives (methanol/ethanol) to take care of the problem. These are plentiful and cheap - I believe last time I bought the Walmart version I paid $0.50/pint (clearance after winter last year).

Doesn't refute my point that it can occur and when it happened to me it was a rental car

Comment Re:Who Cares? (Score 1) 476

Gas lines can freeze when it gets colder (-20C or colder) not because the gasoline freezes but because of condensation in the gas tank. The small amount of water will freeze when it comes in contact with the cold gas line restricting the flow of fuel. This can be avoided by keeping your gas tank full, limiting the amount of condensation.

Comment Re:So true (Score 1) 366

I use it keep from filling up my boss's inbox. When troubleshooting problems, there is often a lengthy back and forth email session involving several people. I will Bcc: my boss occasionally, so that he gets updated, but doesn't have to deal with every reply to all.

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