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Comment Re: Resistance and temperature (Score 3, Insightful) 133

Well-maintained power grid can have transmission loss of around 4% as in the case of South Korea and Japan.

I think this is a practical limit as far as conventional conductors go. Unless the superconductors are ridiculously cost-effective to install and maintain, the benefits will never materialize - i.e. become a game changer.

To put this into perspective, let's try this. A relatively small country like South Korea still has more than ten thousand miles of transmission lines. Say you replace all that and achieve 4% more power.

Since the installed power capacity is around 70GW, that means about 3GW, or about three regular nuclear plants. I highly doubt completely redoing the existing transmission infrastructure with conventional means is possible with the cost of building three nuclear plants, let alone a superconducting one. And I haven't even got to the current limits yet.

This is why, if there's a superconductor breakthrough, I think it'll have more impact on medical uses rather than raw power transmission.

Disclaimer: I work in the electric power industry.

Comment Re: You are worng [sic] (Score 1) 177

Actually, the US government has defined the imperial units as a converted value of metric units ever since the Mendenhall Order back in 1893.

In other words, the imperial values are pegged to the metric definition. The conversion values are not for "acceptable use" - they are the very definition.

NIST is where one of the copies of the standard kilogram is kept. NIST prefers SI standards.

Office of Weights and Measures "ensures traceability of state weights and measures standards to the SI", so while there may be "standard pound" of sorts, it's measured back to SI standard (kg) to keep them in check.

Comment Eye-Fi has its uses (Score 1) 179

I also own an Eye-Fi card that is installed inside a DSLR. I have it paired with my iPhone, and it sends a photo I take with the camera to the phone about 5 seconds after it is taken. I do agree that it is tad slow, but this direct camera-phone connection is pretty useful for me. It has effectively made my DSLR an iPhone accessory, so to speak, and I am able to upload high quality photos to Internet almost immediately.

Incidentally, I have never had any need for the card's ability to do automatic uploading on its own, whether to a computer or a social network because it was slow and redundant. It only acts as a direct-access path for my phone to the camera's photos.

Comment The LTE frequency conundrum is a big headache (Score 5, Informative) 81

The article seems to imply that the carrier should have adopted US LTE frequencies.

The problem is, the North American LTE frequencies are quite different from the rest of the world. You have to expect that any NA-bound LTE devices wouldn't work on Europe or any other place.

Here's a basic rundown of the major frequencies in use:

North America: band 2 (1900MHz), band 4 (1700/2100MHz), bands 12/13/17 (700MHz)

Europe/Asia/etc.: band 3 (1800MHz), bands 5/20 (800MHz), band 7 (2.6GHz)

Because of this, even the current LTE chips with multiple frequency support has to choose between North American and European baseband firmware, necessitating separate models for NA and Europe release.

In terms of number of carriers behind each frequencies, 1.8GHz is the second most preferred after 2.6GHz. So I think it was sensible for the UK carrier to get behind it.

Personally, I'm waiting to see if there will be an LTE iPhone with non-US LTE frequency support. If this happens, device provision issue should lessen, as it is a popular phone - there will be a lot of demand and the competitors will release models with similar frequency support to prevent losing market share.

Comment Re:35 million out of 39 million total Korean net u (Score 3, Informative) 21

How is the RRN meant to be a unique number that only you know, if it is used at most websites? This sounds like the sillyness of the US SSN -- its "secret" but everyone asks for it. I can see why Australia made it illegal for anyone other than the Tax Office, Employers or Superannuation funds to ask for your tax file number.

Unique number identifiers are useful to ensure records don't get mixed up, but they are not a proof of identity. Using them as proof is moronic.

Yes, it's crazy, but that's what's been happening for so long in Korea. When you register for a Korean website to create an ID, you almost always must enter your name and RRN, and it's checked with a third-party identification service that makes sure the information is legitimate (i.e. name matches recorded RRN), and that the RRN is not already associated with an existing ID. If you've passed this, the website regards that, pretty much legally, that the person registering for the site is the person with that RRN. Of course, you can masquerade as someone else by just knowing the name and RRN and make an ID on a website that the actual person has not yet bothered to register. It's true and it happens pretty often. If you do get caught doing this, you'll be liable for jail time and hefty fine, but what if this is done by some Chinese dude from mainland China, as it is often the case? Not much you can do, except send some paperwork to the company running the website and reclaim or suspend the ID in question.

The even damning aspect of the RRN leak from the SK Comm hacking is that RRN itself is permanent, with no possibility of re-issue (with possible exception of getting a sex change, because part of the number identifies your gender). At least most US websites don't ask for your SSN. At Korean websites, if you're a foreigner, you might simply be blocked off from registering, or at least ask you to provide Foreign Resident Registration Number that's analogous to RRN. Handful of websites let you go through without this. It's a very sad situation.

Comment 35 million out of 39 million total Korean net user (Score 5, Informative) 21

When quoting about this SK Comm hacking incident, it should be noted that the "35 million users" is quite significant. There are approximately 39 million total internet users in South Korea with 48 million total population. This means nearly 90% of all S. Korean internet users' information was compromised. That, or more than 70% of total population. It's suffice to say the incident practically threw all relevant Korean people's key personal information out in the wild.

Oh, and by key personal information, I'm referring to Resident Registration Numbers that were part of the leaked info. RRN is a unique, non-transferable, non-modifiable serial number given to every Korean citizen, and thus is used as a highly convenient way of identifying the person in question. You can retrieve someone's website registration ID just by knowing the name and RRN, so it's something you yourself are only supposed to know. Since password hashes were also leaked, and since lots of folks reuse same password over and over, it would be relatively easy to pick out someone out of the leaked database and use the information to login to other websites, and by doing so, get even more personal information out.

Now the Korean websites are "encouraged" more than ever to use alternative means to identify someone, but I fear the cat's already out of the bag.

Comment Re:My Apple Macbook experience... (Score 3, Informative) 485

I'm guessing you wanted to say that there's no native WRITE support for NTFS on Macs. Read support has been there since 10.4, IIRC. 10.6 has undocumented write support, but it's not enabled by default probably because the implementation wasn't stable enough. I tested this feature and blogged about it back when 10.6 was just coming out. Google it and you can find how-to's relating to this.

Obviously, novice users will see that they can plug in the NTFS-formatted drives from Windows and see the files, but not copy anything to it. I'm not sure how often this scenario would come up, though. In my experience, you'd deal with FAT32 far more often and that is fully supported by OS X out of the box.

In any case, once the user finds out the limitation, he/she can google and easily find that there's both a free (NTFS-3G) and paid (Paragon NTFS) way of getting write support. They've been out for quite some time and got polished, so it's not much of a hassle, either.

Comment Re:Need More Science (Score 5, Informative) 243

What the grandparent probably meant by 'stay afloat' is maintaining altitude for a considerate amount of time. SSO and X-15 reached the 100km point, but had to come down relatively quickly because, once fuel runs out, you just fall to the gravity well.

If you're in the atmosphere, you can glide without using all that much fuel. You can't do that in space - certainly not at 100km altitude. In order to 'stay afloat', you need to do orbital velocity.

Of course, since it's not like atmosphere abruptly ends somewhere, the 'where to draw the line' can be a bit arbitrary, but the currently chosen one isn't impractical.

World's Smallest Superconductor Discovered 72

arcticstoat writes "One of the barriers to the development of nanoscale electronics has potentially been eliminated, as scientists have discovered the world's smallest superconductor. Made up of four pairs of molecules, and measuring just 0.87nm, the superconductor could potentially be used as a nanoscale interconnect in electronic devices, but without the heat and power dissipation problems associated with standard metal conductors."

Comment Re:Bender said it best (Score 1) 434

When you think about, TV is probably the most effective birth control device known to man... all the countries with high per-capita television ownership also have low birth rates.

Maybe. Going by that reasoning, internet may be even more potent birth control device. Korea has one of the lowest birth rates and the internet penetration rate is one of the highest.

Comment Re:Putting two Google stories together... (Score 1) 227


"Recently announced Google Earth version 5.0 adds interesting new features like images of ocean floors and some detailed images of Mars."

up with

" upgrade to Google Maps that allows people to track the exact location of friends or family through their mobile devices."

plus a little hacking and amaze your friends and family as you wander along the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Or, stun your relatives as you climb up Olympus Mons or walk along with Opportunity rover. I know I would.

Internet Explorer

Triple-Engine Browser Released As Alpha 181

jcasman passes along a heads-up on Lunascape, a Japanese browser company that is releasing its first English version of its Lunascape 5 triple-engine browser. It's for XP and Vista only. There are reviews up at CNET, OStatic (quoted below), and Lifehacker. Both the reviews and comments point out that, in its current alpha state, the browser is buggy and not very fast; but it might be one to watch. "How many web browsers do you run? If you're like me, you regularly use Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari. Each of those browsers, of course, has its own underlying rendering engine: Gecko (in Firefox), Trident (in Internet Explorer), and Webkit (in Chrome and Safari). Today, a Japanese startup called Lunascape has released an alpha version of its Lunascape browser ... that allows you to switch between all three of these prominent rendering engines. The company says that the Japanese version of Lunascape has been downloaded 10 million times and touts it as the fastest browser available."

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