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Comment Re:Y'know... Actually... (Score 1) 612

That rather depends on what temperature readings you choose to use in the last 100 years ;-). But, everyone loves a graph that goes up at the end, whatever that might happen to mean.

Is there a data set for global temperatures for the last 100 years that doesn't show a sharp rise at the end? Is there one that would have continued the rather prosaic rate of change displayed in the rest of the XKCD comic?

Comment I am so proud (Score 1) 105

As a member of the human race, I am so proud that centuries of technological and culinary progress has brought us to this. What a lovely day! I can't think of anything more useful for drone (or burrito) technology. All praise to our glorious overlords!

(perhaps the sarcasm was a little thick. The chip in my skull must be getting some crosstalk from North Korean propaganda - they've got that turned to full blast today.)

Comment Re:Great firefighters (Score 1) 243

Actually, the construction of the Tesla battery pack is designed with per-cell fusing. One of the patents that Tesla made available describes how each Li-Ion cell in the pack is wire-bonded to the bus bars. In a high acceleration crash, some of those internal wire bonds will break. (The wire bonds primarily act as conventional electrical fuses, breaking in the event of overcurrent.) Really you only need one bond in each series string to break in order to open-circuit the battery.

Comment Re:Why haven't we done Voyager 3 and 4? (Score 2) 61

Meanwhile, New Horizons just buzzed Pluto, and is now heading into the Kuiper Belt.

What is more, New Horizons did a flyby of Jupiter on its way to the outer solar system - quite similar to Voyager. However, this was not in the prime science mission, so they didn't gather all the data they could, it was really more a system test to make sure that they could take useful data.

Comment Boolean Logic (Score 1) 133

A hands-on demonstration of boolean logic: starting with two switches in series to show A AND B, then two switches in parallel to show A OR B. A more advanced portion of it might have a large plugboard (like from the old Ma Bell days), and a collection of gates and switches, with flashcards showing how to build up common circuits - a 1-bit adder, XOR, a 1-bit flip-flop, etc.

Comment Re:Stupid bet... (Score 2) 303

A much safer and more scientifically relevant bet would be that the average temperature of the entire 2010's will be at least a half degree Celsius higher than the average temperature of the 1910's.

We're only halfway through the 2010's, but the signs so far indicate that it would take an overwhelming global cooling over the next 3.5 years for this to be a losing bet.

There are many graphs that one could choose from, but I'll just use this one from NOAA. The 1910s were all 0.2 - 0.3 celcius below the average for the 20th century. The 2010s (so far) have all been about 0.6 celcius higher. 2016 is looking to be a banner year.

So as it stands, the 2010s are already about 0.9 celcius higher than the 1910s, nearly double the half-a-degree mark. In order for one to lose this bet, the next few years would have to be below-average. Given the tremendous inertia of the global climate, I think it would take a modest nuclear winter, or a handful of Pinatubo-like volcanic eruptions, for this to happen. I'd happily take that bet.

Though, given that it's an election year, that nuclear winter is still a possibility.

Comment Re:Humans have been doing it for 1000s of years (Score 4, Interesting) 258

In fact we've even evolved to keep the lactase enzyme into adulthood in the majority of the worlds population just because of drinking milk. So get over it cupcake and take your hand wringing animal rights agenda elsewhere

I don't know - I've had some vegan cupcakes that were indistinguishable from conventional.

You are correct that a segment of humans have evolved to take advantage of the milk production of other animals. That's been pretty beneficial to us as a species. But the traditional, pastoral production of milk that coincided with that evolution bears almost no resemblance to the industrialized production of milk in the modern world. There are plenty of legitimate problems about industrial dairy - and not just for the cows! - that are worth discussing out in the open. It doesn't have to be either 1) you don't give a shit about how the milk is produced orwhat's in it so long as it is plentiful and cheap, or 2) you're a dreadlocked vegan stridently and smugly preaching about the evil wrought by humans.

I, for one, welcome this development. So much food is wasted in industrialized societies - it is sickening. Past-date milk is one of the worst examples. If milk has a longer shelf life, then the entire industry can operate more efficiently, which ought to 1) reduce prices for consumers and 2) reduce pressure on producers to treat their livestock so shittily in the quest to produce more cheaply

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 77

I was also very disappointed: from watching CSI and other TV shows, I know that they can just hit the enhance button and get crystal clear detail. What a waste of taxpayer money!

I kid, I kid. I'm very excited about this mission, and can't wait for the first science pass. Those pictures are going to be stunning!

Comment Re:Warning : Autoplay video (Score 5, Informative) 131

The pictures are unremarkable too.

The camera and the rest of the science payload were intentionally shut down a few days ago, so that they are best protected during orbit insertion and cannot interfere with that critical maneuver. They'll be brought back online in a couple of days, by which point Juno will be relatively far from Jupiter in its highly elliptical polar orbit. The first scientific pass isn't until August. In other words: there aren't really any stunning images expected anytime soon.

The camera on Juno is mostly there for public interest - it is not necessarily a prime science instrument. This is a significant difference between this mission and, say, Cassini and New Horizons, where getting map-quality visual data was a prime mission objective. Galileo served that purpose for the Jovian system, and Juno won't be making any close approaches to any moons in any case. The camera will be able to provide our first close-up views of the polar regions, and those images should look pretty great given how close Juno will be.

Comment Re:What about the inverter? (Score 1) 109

What's the expected lifetime and warranty of the inverter?....There surely are It looks like they are warranted for 5 years but one would hope they would last longer than that.

One of the major limiting factors for inverter lifetime is operating temperature. Bulk electrolytic capacitors have a finite lifetime, and operating at elevated temperatures decreases that pretty rapidly. (The same is true in AC/DC power supplies.) This means that the lifetime is heavily influenced by how and where the inverter is installed: is it placed inside a poorly-ventilated attic that'll get above 50C (ambient) in the summertime, or in conditioned living space? These are things that the manufacturer can't really control, other than providing guidelines and doing their own testing under a variety of conditions.

Comment Re:Who sells their old drives? (Score 1) 207

,blockquote>or seek out a place that can properly dispose of them

My place of choice is the old gravel pit, where I can light off small amounts of thermite without much risk. If I'm all out of thermite, the same location serves as a handy shooting range, which also gets the job done, but the noise attracts unwanted attention.

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Mathematics deals exclusively with the relations of concepts to each other without consideration of their relation to experience. -- Albert Einstein