458 posts • joined Tuesday 10th April 2007 10:04 GMT
Re: As with all Climate models
Exactly so. Middle Earth has always struck me as just a set of scenes spatchcocked together as background for the plot rather than as anything that resembles a possible world. Its languages and legends may be carefully designed, but the world and its laws of magic are not.
Dr Lunt would be better advised to try the same analysis on Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea: in that world both the geography and the magic are much better thought out.
Re: BTW am I right in thinking UK DAB <> Europe DAB?
Yes, the primeval DAB standard used in the UK is not compatible with DAB+ as used everywhere else. So, there's a lie by implication: you might reasonably think that DAB+ is a superset of the original DAB standard, just like Stereo FM is a superset of the original Mono FM, but it isn't. A mono FM receiver works perfectly when fed a Stereo FM signal, but a DAB radio can't deal with a DAB+ signal at all, so guess how well your shiny new in-car DAB radio is going to work on t'other side of the Channel.
I have a high-end FM receiver that I'm more than happy with (Quad FM3), or would be if the signal hadn't become noisy over the last year or two: it would be quite nice if Arquiva actually maintained the transmitters they're paid to maintain.
A bit late I know, but I agree with the consensus.
I don't think the slight surface roughness will hurt at altitude with or without with the rocket running, but given the wing chord and likely gliding speed once Vulture 2 is down where the air is thick enough for it to matter, the surface roughness will most likely help with boundary layer control and improve its glide.
Re: Moller Skycar
...but the Moller history is quite spotty to say the least. Its claimed the M100 flew but nobody outside the company seems to have seen it do so. Looking at their website, I see they've rewritten history too: the original M100 used to be a flying saucer, rather like a smaller version of the unsuccessful Canadian jet-powered flying disk. Its been renamed the Neuera 200G
As of 2012 the all-new Skycar 100LS has suddenly appeared with wings and two tiltable ducted fans and is suddenly of military parentage.
The M200M was just a 1:1 static display model. Now renamed the Skycar 200 LS, it has, like the 100LS, become powered by a mixed electric/Wankel ducted fan system, but for all that its still the same old M200M as ever.
Apparently the M400 did a few hovering tests, but always unmanned and tethered. That is now called the M400X but the all-new Skycar 400, always a canard design, looks much the same apart from replacing its high-mounted rear wing with a bigger low wing fitted with tips carefully contorted to have lots of built-in interference drag.
Thanks for the wake-up call: I hadn't looked at the Moller site for some time. Its always interesting to see how the ideas and site permute over time.
Good on them
I'm with anybody who wants to see the end of DAB. I'm more than happy with the current high quality broadcast FM combined with Internet Radio for specialist audio streams and iPlayer-style 'play it again' access.
Back in the day we were promised that DAB would provide "CD quality sound" and, IIRC, near 100% coverage with better-than FM mobile reception. What we got is shitty low bitrate MP3 quality, poor coverage and a system that won't work anywhere outside the UK. DAB's sponsors should either scrap it immediately with a public apology for the botched project or deliver on the original promise of audio quality and coverage.
PS: whatever happened to Radio Mondial?
The latest 3D printing done for Lohan shows how good the plastic work can be.
Not really. Look at the photos again. The only term you can use for the surface finish on Vulture 2 is 'rough', as the V2 team admit. As they've already said, they need to fill and smooth the surface before they can paint it.
I can do a much better job with sandpaper and a couple coats of cellulose dope on balsa. And its likely that my surface would be harder and more damage-resistant.
How to succeed in business
""We thought that because all the feedly users logged in to their feedly using a Google identity, switch to the Google+ identity would be simply mechanical - a different login popup," confessed a hapless company employee named Edwin."
WTF? They only thought the transition would be 'simply mechanical'? Nobody could be arsed to try it to make sure? With an internal culture like that, its a wonder Feedly are still in business.
Re: Interesting thought
This idea about clay shows it wasn't some science-hating[*] god that got life going here: it was Aliens From Outer Space who, being fearsomely scientific, knew all about the generative properties of clay and started the process running before blasting off for some place else that already had bright lights, booze and barmaids
[*] This is self-evident: all True Believers know that they are Made In God's Image, so if they hate science, then obviously He hated science. QED
Just add hardware
IMO the Stratus Computer approach works best here: You run two MPUs in lock-step off the same clock, both running the same code. You also have fast hardware that compares their outputs. If it sees a difference, it signals an error, turns the board off while keeping its output off the main bus. Nothing is lost, because there's another board doing exactly the same thing and synced with the first board. Meanwhile, the sysadmin sees there's a problem, pulls the failed board and plugs in a replacement, which fires up, gets synchronised and shadows the surviving board.
This approach can be made to work for all components of the computer and, of course, doesn't need anything special in the way of compilers or program organisation. Last but not least, Moores Law says that if this worked and was affordable in the late '80s, which it did and was, it will be dirt cheap by now. Even in the late '80s it was giving four nines uptime and, IME, was rather more reliable than Tandem NonStop kit, which required proprietary software structures and compilers to provide a similar service.
Go for mechanical or magnetic contacts
For sheer simplicity use a magnet to hold a pair of slide-off contacts together:
For each connection put a polished steel shim on Vulture 2 as its contact pad. This doesn't move and can be glued flush to the fuselage side near the rear and the heater and/or thermometer lead soldered to it. The truss side contact is brass shim with the magnet (use something like a 3mm disc magnet) glued to the non-contact side of it so, when connected, the brass shim is in between the magnet and the steel contact. Use flexible wire between the truss and the contact (laquer-coated single strand wire is probably best because it has no plastic insulation to stiffen in the cold) so V2 moving about before launch can't pull the magnetic contact off the steel one. The idea is that, on launch, the magnetic contact will slide off the steel one: this takes much less force than pulling it away vertically. If the sliding force is too high, simply put thin non-magnetic shims between the magnet and the brass contact - 0.4mm ply or epoxy board would both work.
Make the leads different lengths. Apart from making shorts after launch much less likely, this will make sure that the rocket doesn't have to pull all the contacts apart at the same time.
Alternatively, go with the previously described pure mechanical slide-off connectors. Using a servo to disconnect them initially sounded like a good plot, but is probably a bad idea. Apart from the need to keep the servo from freezing up, there's always a chance that the linkage it uses to disconnect the connector will freeze solid. It will also add weight, since very small service don't have much power and you might need a servo per connector.
I assume you'll be using just three connectors: a common ground, a positive line to power the heater and the third is the second line to the thermometer's sensor thermistor?
Nothing new here. Move along
This looks very much like re-inventing a single level memory architecture.
AFAIK the first implementation - a concept that IBM implemented in the early 1970s as Future Series and cancelled because of its project impact on the 370 series. It was revived as Syster/38 and put on the market late 1979. This morphed into the AS/400 range, which became, in turn, iSeries, System i and nor the Power Series running OS/400. This range has a single, large storage pool that contains the OS, programs whether running or not, and data objects. Everything held in disk-mapped persistent memory that is paged into a RAM cache for execution and immediate access. IOW, unlike conventional computers, which have two separate disk i/o systems (one for accessing files/directories and another for accessing virtual memory pages, OS/400 has just a virtual memory paging system.
The Apple Lisa also used a similar single level storage scheme.
Re: It strikes me though...
I agree that this approach will handle the final approach quite nicely since its pretty close to what is taught and I do in a glider, though I wouldn't dream of using it for speed control (the ASI does a better job). However it breaks down in the final stages of landing because it offers no help judging when to flair or for flying a fully held-off landing: that is best done by monitoring landing area perspective changes after flairing.
IOW, any algorithm based solely on monitoring the expansion of a view of the landing spot is unlikely to be successful for landing a fixed-wing aircraft because it implies that the aircraft speed will become zero at or immediately before touch-down. However, it may work for aircraft with hovering ability, e.g helicopters and quadra- or hexacopter UAVs.
Re: HDMI not compulsory
"Not all old TV's work - you seem to have to plug the audio cable in too and not many TV's I've tried have one."
Maybe not, but it seems that the 4.2" and 5" flat screen displays sold on eBay as part of DIY car reversing aids do: they come with the composite TV connectors pre-attached. from about 16 quid. Then add a USB mouse, speakers, a cheapie USB keyboard and a Pi case. This can all be had for no more than the cost of the Pi plus wall rat, cables and SD card.
Or, of course, you add your RPi 'B' to your home LAN with an ethernet cable, install one of the free X-server packages (VcXsrv or XWinLogon) on your PC and run the RPi headless - and all for the cost of the ethernet cable. My RPi has been run headless since I bought it: the only difference is that my PC runs Fedora rather than Windows+Xserver.
Want a switch instead of pulling the micro plug out of the RPi? Easy: you can get 150mm USB socket to micro-USB plug adapter cables for about a fiver. Another fiver at Maplins gets you a rocker switch and small plastic box to put it in. Just strip the cover off the adapter cable for 25mm or so, cut the RED wire and solder the ends to the switch and put switch into the box. Job done.
Showing my age here, but..
.. a flowcharting template made a good rubberband sniper's launcher if the bands were too short to use with a ruler.
Two punched cards and a pencil made a decent indoor glider.
Re: Here's a thought
How about something like this: any attempt to assert a patent will invalidate it unless you filed the patent in the first place, you're making products based on it or you're spending serious money on preparing to make products based on it.
IOW if its your original patent you can sit on it until it expires or you die but anybody else who holds it must either be using it to make something or be preparing to do so as soon as possible.
The threat of invalidation is there to stop a troll from selling the patent on and saying "Patent? What patent? Move along, nothing to see here" when called on being a troll.
'Serious money' means enough cash to hurt showing up in the published accounts starting no more than 18 months after buying the patents appeared in them, be clearly identified as spending for that purpose and be a significant chunk of your outgoings. No published accounts or nothing relevant in them about preparing to use the patent would be trollish behavior.
Re: Nothing in SciFi? Look again!
Read William Gibson's earlier cyber-punk novels and take note of Molly Millions' eyewear. She appears in Neuromancer (1984), Count Zero (1986), Burning Chrome (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988). Molly wears something very close to Googly glasses, though much cooler, and almost everybody uses immersive VR (both projected and via headsets) for gaming and accessing cyberspace.
Re: Maximise visibility
Additional thought: you could try using a filler to get a smooth surface. Some of the squeeze-tube spackles are fairly light once they've dried, are very easy to sand and result in a nice painted surface.
Try it on a V2 test piece first, of course. and check the weight that using it adds.
Use your yellow-black scheme, but replace the yellow with dayglo orange - the Halfords red-orange hazard warning paint's colour would be perfect. Reversing the colours should also be fine.
Reasoning: I've used that red-orange / black scheme on the underside of free flight model aircraft, a situation where visibility is very important if you want the timekeeper to see and time the whole flight and you want to be able to find the model easily after each flight: in UK weather flights of 2-3 miles are common. This scheme shows up very well against the sky and, because that red-orange dayglo is very bright and not found in nature, it also shows up well on the ground. The black stripes also help on the ground: straight parallel lines are not common in nature, so they really stand out.
Go easy with the paint, though: its heavy and will really impact Vulture 2's performance, so if possible use fine grit sandpaper to smooth the V2's surface before painting. V2 will weigh a tonne if you try to use paint to fill that rough surface. Also note that dayglo paints tend to give a matt surface, so while gloss black lacquer should be fine, you may want to use a light coat of clear lacquer over the dayglo.
Can you get any gash parts to experiment on before ripping into Vulture 2 with the sandpaper?
Re: How broken is retreivable?
When a hologram is recorded on a glass plate and the plate shattered, the entire image can be retrieved from pieces of the plate *BUT* it is a degraded image: the smaller the fragment used to recover the image, the lower the resolution of the recovered image. Its not obvious to me how this loss of resolution would affect the integrity of any data retrieved from a fragment of a data storage hologram. Remember that a hologram of an image is an analogue recording, so if the loss of resolution in a data storage hologram translates into bit loss, the data may not be recoverable without RAID5-like checksums.
Another thought: if you smash a 2D hologram, the fragments still have optically flat sections to illuminate. But, what happens if you shatter the block containing a hologram recorded in 3D, i.e. in the body of the block? Do you have to machine and polish a fragment to recreate a smaller version of the original block's surfaces and geometry before you can recover anything?
Blame where blame's due
If the contract and project managers in a commercial organisation had screwed a major project up as badly as those in the Department of Health have done, they'd have been fired. The same should apply in this case. The department's project sponsors don't appear to have known what the NHS needed, talked to the Trusts or considered patient requirements (medical privacy), so they should be on the exit queue as well..
"Wouldn't launching from the coast of Scotland (or England) add significantly to the cost of reaching orbit, compared with a tropical launch point?"
Probably, but it should reduce the cost of launches into highly inclined or polar orbits.
Re: Grubby little hands
But, if they don't increase revenue how can they give themselves the bonuses and pay rises they obviously think they deserve?
Re: Excuse me?
I bet the truckers are still there. Quite apart from anything else, somebody will need to act as load master and general stevedore at each end of a job because its quite unlikely that all endpoints will have either people with the skill of loading a truck so its safe on the road or robots that can do that job. Before you ask: I think trucks with built-in robot loaders would be unlikely. The bulk and weight of that equipment is likely to make self-loading trucks uneconomic.
"All these government project cock-ups have a single common factor.
s/The government/Senior civil servants/
There. Fixed it for you.
Re: Length of the rod/tube
Have you talked to anybody who flies S8E rocket glider? These are all launched from rails and, judging by the photos and what I remember from seeing them flown in competition, the launch rails are little longer than the glider's fuselage. More details are here: www.spacemodeling.org/s8/s8ercrg.html
Re: 10k over the standard car ?
Petrol and electricity costs, measured as pence per kilowatt-hour, have followed similar trends since I started analysing my bills in 2009. From 2009 through 2011 electricity stayed around 1 p/kWh more expensive than petrol. Since then electricity prices have risen more than petrol: during the first half of 2013 petrol has averaged 13.65 p/kWh while electricity has averaged 16.95 p/kWh.
I use supermarket petrol and have a 3 year fix on electricity. The conversion factor I use assumes a litre of petrol contains 9.7 kWh of energy.
So, any cost saving from running an electric or hybrid car is entirely down to the efficiency of the engine. A petrol engine is about 25% efficient. If we assume 80% efficiency for battery charging and that an electric motor is also 80% efficient, the overall efficiency of battery electric systems is 64% so, with electricity costing 20% more than petrol, you might save 20% on fuel costs for a pure electric car compared with a petrol one. A petrol hybrid will, of course, save less and the savings will depend on the amount of pure electric driving you do.
I don't track diesel prices so can't do the same calculation for diesel cars, but would point out that, while an electric drive train is around 40% more efficient than a petrol one, the efficiency gain for diesel is at best 24% because a diesel engine is more efficient than a petrol engine (up to 40% efficient).
Re: sinisterly deliberate or incompetently deliberate
The bypass is in the A505, the east-west road from the A1 at Baldock to the M11 at Duxford, which used to run through the town centre. Its bypass, built in the late '70s, now forms the town's northern boundary. The north-south road, known as the A10 south of Royston and the B1198 north of it, connects Hertford and Huntingdon. It still runs through the middle of Royston. The rocky cut of which you speak is on the A10 at the southern edge of Royston. From there the road north runs steeply downhill before turning right and curving left past the market square and the town park. After that it briefly joins the A505 bypass before, now known as the B1198, it heads north past Bassingbourn.
"What about ground effect? Textbooks say that the ground effect is noticeable up to a height of "a tenth of the wingspan" or similar. "
Ground effect is effective to rather more than a tenth of the span. It gives very noticeable drag reduction at 4-5m height to a 15m glider: I've flown an SZD Junior (35:1 glide ratio) in ground effect, starting at around 15ft altitude and 70 kts and, 750m later, was still at 15ft and still had 60kts on the clock, at which point I popped the airbrakes and landed, having flown most of the length of a grass runway into a light breeze.
Without ground effect and at its most efficient speed, 48kts, I'd expect a Junior to be on the ground in less than 175m from a start height of 15 ft. Above 60 kts its glide performance is rubbish, so evidently ground effect had a major effect.
Re: 1,000 Year M-Disc for Permanent Archival
Smoke and mirrors, pal. Smoke and mirrors.
Blu Ray first appeared in public in 2000, 13 years ago, so lets be generous and say its development took as long and they had a prototype running in 12 months. This means the oldest disk that can be checked for readability was written no more than 25 years ago. If you'll believe some salesdroid extrapolating 25 year's experience by a factor of 40 and getting 1000 years of 'guaranteed' storage, you'll certainly want to buy that bridge across New York's East River off me for cash.
Comparing apples with oranges
"DVD and Blu-ray drives can still play 31 year-old CDs like Billy Joel's '52nd Street'" is a misleading statement. I'd be surprised if anybody with experience in the optical recording industry could make it by mistake.
The Billy Joel CD will have had the bits physically pressed into the plastic substrate, coated with aluminium to make it reflective and then sealed under another layer of plastic. IOW, assuming you have a working drive, the only things that can stop the disk being read are physical damage or the chemical destruction of the aluminium reflective layer. However, a disk burnt by a read/write drive has not been pressed: instead, a layer of dye has had its state altered by the write laser. This isn't nearly as permanent because it doesn't take much to affect the dye enough to make the recording unreadable. Storing it in a hot place or with bright light on the recording surface can both do that. I've had audio CDs recorded on computers become unreadable after about 5 years.
 Sony demonstrated this when it sold CDs in cardboard sleeves which had a high sulphur content: the sulphur diffused in from the edges of the disk and reacted with the aluminium mirror, converting it into non-reflective aluminium sulphide. These CDs became unreadable in under 18 months: Sony had to replace them.
 the disks were burnt by the original artist in case you're wondering
I wouldn't trust optical disks for archival storage at all.
The reason? All computer 'burnt' CDs and DVDs are using the laser to change the state of a dye and dyes fade with time. I've had computer written CDs become unreadable in as little as 5 years and there's no self-healing capability or even much error recovery available. I'd far rather keep my archives on spinning rust where I can use ZFS or one of the redundant RAID formats to get error recovery.
Last but not least, I keep hearing rumours that optical drives are likely to become obsolete thanks to their relatively small capacities compared with hard drives or tape. If this becomes true and drives become unobtainium or suddenly the recording formats change and, if you don't do something, your archives will become as inaccessible as, say, NASA's tape archives which can't be read (drives no longer available) or your old data on DS/DD 5.25" floppies (same reason). At least if the archives are on spinning rust you can easily and quickly copy them to the latest drive type.
My current archival method is to keep everything I care about online but backed by two offline generations of USB drives in a fire safe. This way I'll always have two copies of everything (even during a backup) and at least one copy is always offline where a mains spike/lightning strike etc. can't fry it along with everything else that happens to be online at the time. And I can always copy the archive to a new disk.
Patent expiry not necessarily required
"It's probably no coincidence that the mouse didn't really take off big time until the patent ran out."
That didn't seem to be a problem back in the day: I (briefly) had my mitts on a mouse in 1980, attached to an ICL Perq, which was demoing word-processing and drawing apps at an internal BBC technology show in 1980. That was a good 4 years before the Apple Lisa appeared. I used one of those too, but IMO the Perq was better, faster (and probably cost more as well as being a lot bigger): I remember being more than somewhat impressed.
That technology show was packed with great stuff, but the the two items I really remember were the Perq and the NRDC Surround Sound system, which beat the crap out of any other 3D sound system I've heard since.
Re: Dials of WTF handsets
Well, in New Zealand the dials turned in the same direction as here, but the numbers were arranged clockwise on the dial. It all worked perfectly: the NZPO defined the number of pulses per number its compliment, so dialling 1 emitted ten pulses and dialling 0 emitted one. And, before you ask, the emergency number was 111, not 999.
Re: As if there wasn't going to be another one?
"Maybe pay for it with lawyer mixed martial arts cage matches on pay-per-view."
Yes!! Read "Gladiator-at-law" by Pohl & Kornbluth to see what a great spectator sport that could be. It would also provide a much-needed lawyer cull.
Re: "... a possible obtain everything, analyse later approach"
The data volumes for Call Data records aren't that huge. They average out at about 400 bytes per call and are well-structured enough that they can be tipped straight into a conventional data warehouse's star schema.
If you do it properly, you even get data compression and deduplication for free because the key fields are a lot bigger than the soft DBKs you'd use to link the natural dimension values to the fact table.
I like "The Algebraist", but it pushes the limits of big and complex.
You can do a lot worse than start in on the Culture novels by trying "Consider Phlebas", followed by "The Player Of Games". IMO these, plus "State of the Art" are the best of the Culture books, but if you 'get' the Culture you'll probably want to read the rest as well.
I also like "Feersum Endjinn" a lot, but then I have a weakness for books written in not-exactly-English such as Antony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange". "Feersumm Endjinn" is another non-Culture novel.
Re: You're late to the party
"When a couple of friends and me were playing with the then rather new FreeS/WAN some of our US peers (who ran a home server) actually got some questions from some law enforcement agency because they had been showing "suspicious behaviour". This was around 1990!"
That's not looking nearly far enough back to find the roots of US Constitutional decay.
The early 'anti-Commie' witch-hunt promoted by Joseph MaCarthy and enthusiastically helped along by J Edgar Hoover in the early 1950s is a much better candidate for the beginnings of their democratic decay.
Re: warbots carry on
I'd suggest Philip K. Dick's "Autofac" (1954) as an early example of fully autonomous killbots.
Yes, the factories design, make and deploy war machines but the resulting harm to humanity is only collateral damage. The real purpose of the killbots is to beat other rival killbot factories to the resources for making still more killbots and consumer goods, thus using up the remaining resources ever faster.
Re: I don't much like drones....
@AC, who said "[The UN] did. Shame some countries refused to sign, but then who's going to force the US or China to give up their toys?".
Even the Americans and Chinese can be shamed into signing up to the landmine ban if they are rebuked sufficiently often about not doing so.
I don't much like drones....
.... and, having been in Afghanistan 2-3 times in the '70s, I'm damn sure the Afghans despise them and their operators, but for different reasons. Afghan society's guiding principle is personal honour, and killing people at no personal risk by pressing a button in some office in another country will almost certainly be assessed as bringing serious dishonour on the operator pressing it, their family and nation.
That said, land mines have caused death and injury to many more non-combatants than drones ever have. So, why is the UN wittering on about drones instead of getting on with the more important job of banning land mines?
Methinks they do protest too much
The truth is that wget isn't at all hard to use and is no more intrusive than a web browser. It can't retrieve anything you can't see with said web browser. In fact, arguably its less intrusive because it takes note of robots.txt files and, as a result, is prevented from retrieving some documents that any web browser would display.
"Is the lens up to this level of detail?" is exactly the right question to ask.
The short answer is that boosting the megapixel count behind a crap lens is pure ad-hype, even if its true, and does nothing whatsoever for picture quality. Here's an example: I have both a DSLR and a snapper, both made by Pentax, so direct comparison is a fair test.
The DSLR is a K100 with a 6MP 24x16mm sensor and uses good quality lenses - I use both the standard f5.6 35-100mm 35mm equivalent kit lens and the M-series lenses off my old Spotmatic F.
The snapper is an Optio WG-1 with a 14MP 1/2.3" sensor and the usual unspecified small, plastic lens found in this class of camera. The WG-1 has the lens and sensor entirely inside its body behind a waterproof pane of glass, so it makes a good comparison with a mobile phone camera.
Shooting the same subject at the same distance with both cameras (using the kit lens on the K100) clearly shows that the K100 has about three times the resolution of the WG-1, i.e. zoom right in on the image and compare sharpness: the D100 image is very obviously sharper. This shows that lens quality and sensor size are all that matters and pixel count is utterly irrelevant given the diffraction effects that limit resolution when lens and sensor are shrunk to the size needed to put them inside a 25mm thick body. Since no mobe is anything like that thick, it follows that their camera resolutions will be even worse.
Re: Round and round we go!
SQL's big advantage is that its a standards-based DML with implementations that are sort-of, somewhat compliant with the standard. Compliant enough, anyway, that devs and DBAs can work with most implementations with a minimum of training.
NoSQL might become flavour of the month if it acquires a standard DML that has a greater percentage of fully compliant NoSQL implementations than SQL has of its standard.
Recycling isn't necessary for minimal impact on the environment
When it comes to long life devices, who gives a toss about recyclable?
What matters is that every part can be replaced easily and cheaply and that replacement parts will be available as long as the owners want to go on using the phone. As long as it's usable and useful recycling is an irrelevance.
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