249 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007
Re: How is this "3D NAND" any different from stacked dies?
This 3D NAND process isn't stacking individual lumps of silicon, it appears to involve layering insulating material and new semiconductor substrate on top of a previous layer, etching and metallising that substrate, providing interconnecting vias through down into the previous layer and then doing it again as many times as they can get away with for decent device yields.
Why switch to non-fissile thorium when uranium is cheap and abundant, now and for at least the next fifty years and we already have a lot of experience using it to fuel existing reactors and their replacements currently under construction? Of course at the end of that time we can reprocess the spent fuel that's in store and fuel another generation of uranium reactors for fifty years and more from the "waste". If all else fails there are proven techniques to extract uranium from seawater, cost estimated to be about USD 300 per kilogram.
Thorium is difficult to use as a nuclear fuel. It's not fissile, it needs to be converted in a high-temperature high-neutron-flux breeder cycle into U-233 to make it into a fuel that can produce energy by being fissioned. The theory, and it is only a theory, is that this can be done in a continuous process. Further theory suggest it can be done in a molten-salt stream but it's never been achieved in the real world, just in Powerpoint slides and at TED talks.
No, the molten-salt test reactors that were run at ORNL and elsewhere fifty years ago didn't use thorium, they used U-233 and later U-235. Some reactors have used thorium, usually pebble-bed designs which were not a great success (see the German HTHR-300 for an example) and they were mostly fuelled by U-235 and in some case Pu-239/240 with a little added thorium to season for taste.
PRISM = Powerpoint
There's a lot of paper exercises, grad student TED talks and general blue-sky bullshit around in the nuclear biz. PRISM and all the other wonderful Great Ideas all suffer from one fatal flaw though; nobody's building any of them. There's research money around, a few million dollars here and there, enough to fund some computer modelling or materials testing and pay for some PhDs but no-one is bending metal and pouring concrete on the GE PRISM or any of the other glossy-brochure reactors in the public eye.
What IS getting built right now around the world is nearly all light-water reactors, GenIIa and GenIII designs based on fifty years and more of operation of hundreds of GenII reactors because the operators aren't interesting in advancing the technology but in generating cheap electricity. There are a few, a very very few experimental power reactors being built or commissioned like the Russian BN-800 fast spectrum reactor and the Chinese quasi-modular HTR-PM pebble-bed design but Russia and China are stamping out cookie-cutter LWRs by the dozen, the Soviet-derived VVER family and the Chinese CPR-1000, a home-grown version of the Westinghouse AP-1000 because they and their customers need the electricity.
Re: Thorium Nuclear Reactors
That's great, 500lbs of plutonium from a LWR in a year! Problem is it's a mix of Pu-239, the good bomb-making isotope and Pu-240 which is not fissile and which prevents a bomb going off "right". It's also intensely radioactive and self-heating to point where a bomb core would be at a temperature of several hundred degrees, not quite a dull red. It also takes a big expensive processing plant to get the plutonium out of spent fuel, lots of power and special chemicals, technicians and engineers. It's easier to make a few hundred kilos of pure Pu-239 for a small nuclear arsenal using a dedicated breeder reactor the way, well, everybody with any sense ever did (I except the North Koreans from this august assemblage).
The US has about a hundred tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium in storage at the moment, Britain about 70 tonnes, Russia lots and lots. The nuclear weapons states don't want or need more bomb-grade plutonium as they've got nothing they can use the surplus for but they've still got to keep it safe which costs money and effort. The non-nuclear states such as Vietnam tend to buy in their nuclear installations as turnkey operations where the reactor builders (in Vietnam's case, Rosatom) will supply the fresh fuel and take away the spent fuel afterwards.
Re: Value for money?
The 5K display in the iMac has nearly twice as many pixels as the 4K Dell monitor you've just purchased, it's not a small step up in resolution.
The iMac looks like a nice piece of kit but for me and my ageing eyes a 27" display is a little bit small. I'd like a 5K display with a 30"-plus diagonal but I'll probably settle for the Dell 31.5" 4K display as a Xmas present to myself. It helps that the display I've got my eye on has an IPS panel with a good colour gamut, the smaller 28" Dell 4K display is TN.
Re: but where are the 2TB Drives
You can buy spinning-rust 2TB HDDs in a 2.5" form factor but they tend to be thicker than conventional drives and might not physically fit in your laptop. A 2TB SSD would require twice the number of flash chips as the existing 1TB SSD offerings and getting all those chips into a normal thickness chassis (7mm or 9.5mm) seems to be a problem the manufacturers haven't solved yet. There's also heat dissipation to worry about.
Once the chips get denser then you can expect 2TB and larger 2.5" format SSD drives to hit the market. I'm still surprised no-one's released a 3.5" SSD with, say, 16 TB capacity to beat the spinning-rust record holders if nothing else.
Re: 80% within 66m?
I live in a terraced flat in a city centre. A 66m (actually 200 feet in old money) radius from the fibre box near our front door would cover thirty or forty "households", many of them shared flats with four or five students or single folk all of whom hammer the internet day after day as well as shops, guest houses etc. That fibre box isn't the only one in our street, of course. Lots of people in the UK live in high-population-density areas like this.
That 80% coverage figure by BT sounds about right and they've got the maps and infrastructure details to back up their claim. You've got, what, a feeling? Voices in your head? that makes you sure it's bullshit. I'll go with BT in this case.
From this strip
Spent fuel pool depth
Spent fuel pools in light-water reactor buildings are usually a little over twice as deep as the length of the fuel rod assemblies used in the reactor. When refuelling is taking place the reactor is flooded and a "gate" is opened to connect the flooded top of the reactor with the adjacent pool. The fuel assemblies are withdrawn from the reactor one at a time and kept under the surface of the water until they are dropped into a slot in the racks in the bottom of the pool. Later after they have cooled down for a time they are transferred, still underwater into a storage or transfer cask which is sealed and then lifted out of the pool.
It doesn't take much water to block the radiation from a spent fuel assembly after a day or two have passed since the reactor was shut down, a few centimetres will do a decent job of blocking most of it.
Re: So they force him to use Word hmm?
Most publishers want Word documents since that's what their office staffs are used to working with. Same with the writer's agents, copyeditors etc. That doesn't mean the writer has to compose their text in Word, just that there needs to be some kind of output TO Word format at the end of the composition process. That format could be as simple as .txt though or even .rtf as long as Word can swallow it.
Classically manuscripts on paper were submitted in a publisher-specified format, large margins and double-spaced lines for pencil editing notes and corrections, monospaced font such as 10-pt Courier to make word count easy, author name and book title on each page in case the loose paper got floor-sorted, that sort of thing. Old habits die hard in the publishing industry.
Re: Meanwhile, halfway around the world
What's wrong with getting a regular non-white cat and overriding its colour to #ffffff in the CSS?
Apple retail markups
The story I heard from a middleman supplier of Apple kit a long while back was that they frowned on deep discounting or even shallow discounting by suppliers to consumers. Discount too much, too deeply or too often and supplies would dry up and contracts would be difficult to renegotiate. This was before Apple direct sales really took off with the internet and high street iAquariums though.
Storage costs money
Liquid air, flywheels, capacitors, hamsters in wheels, they all cost money to build and run, they waste electricity in conversion and reconversion losses and they don't add any new generating capacity, just make the fluctuations and sudden peaks in demand a little smoother. Consumers are already up in arms about the bottom-line cost of energy, making it more expensive per kWh isn't going to be looked on favourably.
Sorry but the Juno probe wasn't going to be powered by "nuclear waste". Pu238 is the preferred fuel for radioisotope thermal generators (RTGs) for a lot of reasons and it's not found in other than trace quantities in spent nuclear fuel. It's actually manufactured by a complex and expensive process involving exotic chemical processing of spent fuel to extract neptunium-237 and exposing that in specialised research-style nuclear reactors to breed it into Pu238. The problem is that the research reactors in question are being shut down as they age and/or fall foul of tighter operating restrictions such as not using highly enriched uranium fuel, and nobody wants to cough up the money to build new ones to modern safety standards. This is also affecting the nuclear medicine supply chain.
Storage costs money
Assuming you have the right kind of geography with high and low reservoirs close to each other and lots and lots of water available, pumped storage costs about £200 million per GWh to build, a few million a year to run and it doesn't generate any electricity in itself so it's on top of the cost of renewables, not a replacement or an offset. It makes intermittent renewables more useful, their energy can be stored and released on demand rather than use it or lose it but storage also wastes a lot of that energy in the store and release cycle.
Dinorwig can store about 8GWh, the other big pumped storage station at Cruachan in Scotland is about the same. Together they can supply about 2GW maximum for a few hours or about 10% of our lowest consumption (midsummer night time). During the winter our demand peaks at about 50GW so we'd really need at least a dozen more Dinorwigs to make a dent in the supply situation for those times, or freeze to death in the dark.
Modern designs of nuclear reactors like the ones licenced to be built in the UK can all reduce output ("swing") quite readily if they, for some weird reason, produce "too much" power. Would that we were facing the problem of "too much" power...
As it is the existing British reactors are pumping out maximum base load power as much of the time as possible since the fuel cost is mind-bogglingly low and the grid is topped up with gas and coal with wind adding a small amount on top when the conditions are favourable.
Samsung on Youtube
Samsung put a Youtube ad up several years ago where their engineers RAIDded 24 SSDs (probably SATA-2 devices) and got 2 GB/s sustained throughput.
I have a Bernoulli 10MB drive on the sideboard, complete with a couple of cartridges. It'll come in useful someday.
I have an old Palm E running Coreplayer pumping out ambient "seashore" noise to a pair of cheap speakers at the head of my bed. Helps me get off to sleep at night.
Walk up to the doofdoof-car stopped at the lights, press the conveniently-located button on your briefcase when adjacent to the boot of the car and blow out the amplifier. Walk a little further and you can get the idiot's fuel injection computer too.
The reason it won't print B/W if it's out of yellow ink is probably because of the forensic yellow dots code printed on each page, courtesy (we think) of the US Government. The pattern of yellow dots encrypts information like time and date and a serial number of the printer according to the EFF.
I wonder if printing a faint yellow background on each page would defeat this coding scheme?
Pricey fruit and veg
Japanese specialist fruit and vegetable growers already charge eye-watering prices for premium produce like bunches of grapes for £40 a kilo and individually-packed peaches costing more than £4 each. They're not run-of-the-mill items but luxury gifts, unblemished and visually perfect. Most cheap fruit and veggies are imported and sold in Japanese supermarkets at almost-reasonable prices.
Folks who buy organic produce pay three times the "normal" price anyway and that's big business in the Western world. This sort of production qualifies as organic, no pesticides and herbicides required since it is literally a clean-room operation so the actual price is not unreasonable. I've seen reports of similar operations being launched in California and elsewhere based on sealed greenhouses fed with filtered air and water rather than repurposed clean-rooms.
Much of Germany's nuclear fleet is still in operation, actually. Some of the oldest plants were shut down promptly after 2011/03/11, the rest are on schedule to close over the next few years with the last one, if I remember correctly, closing in 2023. They're a convenient cash cow for the German government who tax refuelling operations, part of a deal/bribe made pre-Fukushima to allow the nuclear plants to keep operating in the face of Green opposition. The money raised with this extra fuel tax goes towards funding renewables and coal-fired plants which can be classed as "renewable" as long as they can also burn biomass.
The result of the fuelling tax is that at least one nuclear plant is shutting down early as it would only be allowed to operate for a part of its next fuel cycle before it reached its legal "end of life" and the extra tax costs make that uneconomic.
Re: Isn't it funny...
The launch vehicle is chosen to match the payload. I think the NRO has been the only customer for the full-fat Delta IV Heavy capable of putting about 25 tonnes into low earth orbit. The Atlas V mod 541 used for this launch is good for about 18 tonnes.
As for "new" engines, design and development has plateaued out with little extra performance to be gained from existing fuels. The aim now is simplicity, lower weight and manufacturing cost hence the development of the RS68/RS68A as used on the Delta IV, cheaper and simpler than the RS25 used on the Space Shuttle.
Re: My preferred route
If you get THEIR credit card number then you're golden.
The Scores on the Doors
I managed to get the supervisor after less than ten minutes of failing to type the Teamviewer URL correctly no matter how carefully they spelled it out for me, and I kept him on the hook for at least three or four minutes after that before he hung up on me. It only counts if they hang up, of course.
Re: What's the point exactly?
I resize windows by click-and-drag and release when the window looks right, for example when editing images. A wireframe won't show me the final view when I release the mouse whereas a render-during-resize will. I'd have to resize several times to get the window "right" with only a wireframe to go by.
As for "perf-sapping" I've not noticed any spike in CPU usage or even the graphics card breathing heavily when I manipulate windows on screen. Does this actually happen under Linux? I'm running Windows.
The KH-11 family of NRO satellites, the last series of big spy satellites we the public know much about have a camera mirror about eight feet across. On a good day they can image down to about 8cm per pixel at ground level, not quite able to read newspaper headlines but not far off. They can't be shot down by the Bad Guys and under international treaties it's OK to fly them over other people's countries without starting a war and they can cover everything from coast to coast in multiple passes and they're always operating.
The SR-71 could never get than a couple of hundred kilometres across foreign borders to take pictures of places of interest (usually ports and naval airbases) using small cameras from 20km up, assuming the weather co-operated, before they had to turn around and head back out to sea again. They were fuel hogs, a typical 12-hour mission involving several recon penetrations of the Bad Guys borders required as many as eight specialist air-to-air refuelling tankers orbiting safely in international airspace to keep the SR-71 flying. Eventually the Bad Guys developed SAMs that could in fact knock down an SR-71 even at altitude and speed and they stopped being viable aircraft for reconnaissance in enemy airspace except in the minds of starstruck nerds and military geeks.
As for the satellite images of sea debris we've seen being released, they're probably not degraded much if at all for public consumption. Image quality from satellites depends critically on the camera mirror size but it takes a big satellite like the KH-11 to get decent pictures and commercial observation satellites just aren't in that class.
have a 20" diagonal tablet for sale if you think you're person enough to handle it.
Re: As a lesser mortal...
I saw a posting on a blog by someone running server hardware as a workstation with 512GB of RAM installed. He did high-end music composition and kept over 300GB of music and sound samples in RAM to speed things up. I *think* he was running Windows 8 Pro.
M and B Radio
Anyone from Leeds remember that place when they had the M2 machine gun set up as an anti-shoplifting precaution? I don't know if it's still in business, I've not been in Leeds city centre for a few years now.
Didn't something happen...
...between 2005 and 2009? Knocked a few points off the Dow Jones, caused a mild worry among the international finance set, I seem to recall some events or other that might just have taken the shine off the dollar value of a tech business, now what could it have been...
The blundering incompetence of Mark Penn's organisation during the 2008 American quarter-finals was a major factor in costing Hillary Clinton her anointed place as the Democratic Party's hereditary nominee for the Presidential election that year. I assumed that after that debacle he had slunk off to find a big enough rock to crawl under and was lost to History and civilised company forever with only the millions of bucks he had charged her campaign in the process of sinking it to console himself with.
Ah, Larry Ellison's next boat
I thought Oracle's latest roadmap looked a bit, um, people-intensive...
The folks tracking fallout from Fukushima in the Pacific take samples at various depths, not just the surface. There's a gradient due to upwelling and mixing between layers being somewhat limited but a lot of the Cs-134 (halflife 2 years) that's obviously from Fukushima is in very deep water (hundreds of metres down). Fukushima-derived Cs-137 (halflife 30 years) measurement is more difficult as there's still a lot of it hanging around from the 150MT total of US thermonuclear test explosions carried out in the 1950s mid-Pacific and it's well-mixed by now after sixty years or so.
As for swimming in seawater naturally-occurring potassium-40 produces about 10,000 Bq/m3, 90% beta particles and the rest quite energetic gammas. The 2Bq/m3 resulting from Cs-134 and -137 measured a few kilometres offshore from the Fukushima Daiichi plant is barely noticeable in that regard.
Re: £1040 for an extra 52gb of ram???
The new Mac Pro only has two memory sockets IIRC, very limited in memory capacity for dealing with stuff like 4k video. The older Mac Pros could take up to 128GB of RAM although I've heard it said that OS/X limits out at 96GB, don't know if that's true.
Re: Not built for blimps.
REAL giant airships have hangars for smaller airships on board. See Castle Wulfenbach for an example.
Boxed DVD Win8
Lots of places selling Win8 DVDs, OEM or full-licence versions -- about 80 quid for Win8.1 and 110 quid for Win 8.1 Pro OEM from Ebuyer for example. It's where I bought my original Win8 disc from for my homebuild machine when it first came out.
"Okay. 1984. Who was making personal computers for sale. 2014. Who remains?"
HP, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic among others. There was a company called Apple Computer around back then but it doesn't exist any more since they stopped concentrating on producing computers and became a media distribution hub (iTunes).
From reading a bit about the situation I get the idea that there are actually two organisations based close together on the same site, the National Museum of Computing which has a reconstruction of the Colossus code-breaking computer as well as a lot of other non-WWII-based computing exhibits and on the other side of the fence (if there is a fence) there is the Bletchley Park historical site. It apparently costs £5 to enter the NMC and £15 to visit Bletchely Park. The guide in question was apparently taking Bletchley Park visitors on a trip into the NMC without paying to show them the Colossus reconstruction and got into trouble for doing so. Is that about right?
Putting together a museum of mostly-donated computer equipment is a lot less expensive than restoring a lot of old buildings, many of them built quickly and shoddily during the war, converted for other uses afterwards and then left to rot for a few decades. As far as I can tell from the press reports the £8 million from the Lottery fund mentioned has gone exclusively to the Bletchley Park restoration project and not been used to pay for anything in the NMC, even the Colossus reconstruction.
It might have been better to site the NMC away from Bletchley Park but having the two close together has been an advantage for the visitor interested in such things despite the confusion in some people's minds that they are all part of the same organisation.
Forgot Your Own Device
What happens in the BYOD world when you get to the office and discover you've left your "desktop" at home on the dresser? Or you drop it in a puddle waiting for the train or little Tarquin downloads a pile of virus-riddled porn onto your "desktop" the night before that big meeting?
Computing power today is cheap, data and connectivity are the expensive part of doing business these days. I can't see any benefits of a mobile device if it has to be docked to work well or at all in the office or workplace. Certainly a mobile device can be used away from the desk to keep it touch and do real work but docking it at a desk is pretty pointless if all it does then is replace two hundred quids worth of desktop PC or thin-client hardware. All the data should be on the company network, not locked up in a portable device and a cheap PC with GigE hardwired connectivity to the company servers (or the fabled cloudy-woudy thingy-wingy) is going to be a better option than trying to get a 4G signal in a typical office building.
Once a spook
Mr., Snowden claims he is still working for the NSA even now. Anyone claiming to be ex-NSA still has "connections", still moves in the same circles as his "ex" colleagues and if you use a product produced by someone like that to secure your data from the NSA then you are taking a lot on trust.
Of course this guy could be ex-NSA in the same way a lot of folks claim to be ex-SAS (aka a "Walter" as in Walter Mitty). No way to tell is there?
I hope he realises the new Mac Pro maxes out at 64GB of RAM which will put a severe crimp on doing anything memory-intensive. The older Mac Pro boxes could go as high as 96GB I think and the server-level Hackintosh community believe OS/X has a hard 128GB RAM limit as they have problems running it on anything with more memory (not a problem with Windows 8 though).
The output from metered grid connected wind turbines has been bouncing between 3 and 6GW for the past month while a series of Atlantic storms have been hammering the country with the newsreaders and pundits saying things like "unprecedented" and "worst flooding for thirty years". A couple of months ago the same network of over a thousand wind turbines produced about 50MW for a day or so as a calm high-pressure area sat over the UK.
Looking at the curves in the gridwatch site others have referenced the dataplate 7GW of installed wind capability produces on average about 2 to 2.5GW but that's an average and it can and does go way under that for hours and days on end whereas electricity demand is always with us, cyclic but predictable.
The problem is that demands change and today's custom silicon may be landfill a year after installation whereas general-purpose servers can be loaded with new or updated software and reused profitably for a few years more. The minor cost savings in power consumption per task completed are going to be eaten by the extra development costs anyway and the risk of having the investment written off because Facebook takes a dive or similar and dedicated hardware needs to be ripped out and skipped because it is optimised for one job and one job only is probably a bit too much.
The Top Knobs in business are usually on performance-related pay and bonus schemes, the better the company does under their steadfast and competent stewardship the more loot they rake in. Sadly for Mister Cook Apple's financial numbers aren't that hot -- the last quarter's earnings are flat to negative and margins (what Karl Marx called profits) are down as the company spends more to try and keep revenues up and they've also being indulging in yet more share buybacks to keep the stock ticker price inflated and avoid Wall Street looking deeper into their lackluster performance. No fat envelopes for the boss this year then.
Re: Nanana ... what is Facebook HW guy doin' there
Open Commute? What a great idea! Wonder no-one ever thought of it before...
I still have an ALR promotional T-shirt I wear when painting or doing anything messy. The slogan across the back says "Just upgrade the CPU!" as that was ALR's Big Idea, PCs with an exchangeable CPU card rather than a proprietary socket on the motherboard. It didn't work out for them for a whole lot of reasons and I suspect it won't work in the server market either, given the operating life of a server in a datacentre is three or four years before the I/O, network, memory interface etc. is obsoleted by the Next Big Thing(s) and a swappable CPU isn't going to fix that. Easier and probably cheaper to just swap out the server.
Organisations like banks are made up of people, some of whom may well be supplementing their meagre salaries by selling contact lists and the like to spammers, the same way people working for police intelligence centres get caught selling data to private investigators and newspaper reporters every now and then. It doesn't necessarily need to be a Mahogany Row level decision to spam or to sell the data to spammers.
A long while back I had to sort out a billing problem when signing up for cable TV service and I created a new home address for myself, basically 111a Mystreet, Mytown etc., not an address I ever used anywhere else or gave to anyone else. A few weeks later I got a large wadge of weird religious bumf mailed to that 111a address. I figured someone at the cable company had harvested my name and address privately and taken the opportunity to give free rein to the voices in his head while spending a few quid on postage (this was a thick wadge of A3 colour photocopies). There was no financial gain for the sender (at least as far as I could figure out) or even a solicitation for money, just disjointed rambling and Jesus clip art.
Bin and gone
Ah, found it -- http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B0018NRM9U/
3300 yen is about 20 quid in real money. If that's not enough computing power, try this:
Only three 4k displays? That all?
Just had a look on the Apple website -- apparently this monster of a workstation limits out at 64GB of RAM.
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