2969 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008
"Better explanation would be a chronic lack of funds. "
There's plenty of funding, the problem is it's paying for management summer homes, not roads.
Classic example was a new bypass road around 2004 (I forget where but it featured on the Beeb at the time) which was closed for major repairs before it even opened as the contractors had skimped on the roadbed vs specifications and it started coming apart in freeze-thaw cycles. It had to be ripped up and started over.
Properly built road beds don't fall apart. Ask the Romans. Some of the best roads in the UK are laid over bases they put down nearly 2000 years ago.
Re: LED lighting
"Ah, that's because the regulations quote wattage and not lux/lumens/candelas per m2."
There are definitely lumen limits in there, the problem is that the eye's perception of brightness isn't linear, vs what a photometer shows (the eye is at least 10 times more sensitive to green than red as a f'instance)
Re: Fuse wire
"Almost impossible to retro-fit to an old vehicle, but previous proposals for a voltage of about 40 to 48 volts are being resurrected."
Given most EV and Hybrids run around 600V for the traction battery, pretty much any voltage is possible if you put your mind to it.
Re: Cruise control
"HGVs overtaking other HGVs while being prevented from going over 56mph, that's what *really* slows down the traffic on M-ways."
Or HGVs in all three lanes (illegal, but happens regularly)
I like the dutch approach. If there are 2 lanes in each direction, HGVs are prohibited from overtaking - if caught (and they WILL catch, as they have cameras all along those stretches), the driver gets pulled over a few km up the road (regular occurrance between R'dam and A'dam with french drivers who didn't give a shit about the law).
Re: Mr ChriZ Advanced Motoring
"in times past bad driving habits such as aggressive tailgating at speed would have been spotted and punished; these days the idiots simply get away with it."
I suspect that the rise of the dash/rear cam will help curb this issue a bit. They're mandatory equipment in Russia and will probably become so everywhere.
A couple of people commented that aggressive tailgaters back right off when they clock the camera peering at them through the rear window and I was bemused when they were proved right.
Re: Mr ChriZ Advanced Motoring
"But I didn't see you brake."
He probably wouldn't have seen you brake anyway. A decent driver isn't soley focussed on the car in front, (s)he's looking 12-20 seconds down the road to see what the traffic's doing and adjust accordingly.
I'm looking forward to self-driving cars. It gives a chance to seriously increase the requirements for getting a driving license.
By the way, what's the deal with the advanced driver's course in the UK coming with an INCREASE in driver premiums? (I checked. It's true)
"George Buehler in his book on yacht design comments somewhere that a correctly maintained Lister engine is unstoppable and asks how the country that produced the Lister could also produce the Jaguar."
Amen.Those and Mirlees: I had to do daily maintenance on a pair of 300kW 12 cylinder Mirlees diesel generators at one point., They were a thing of awe and beauty when running. Donkey engine providing the juice and air to get them started was a small Lister. They were all 60 years old when scrapped and still ran perfectly.
Re: Advanced Motoring
"Just be aware that when you don't touch your breaks your break lights don't come on!"
You're also decelerating a lot more slowly.
"If you're not careful you'll have someone to close behind you running into you!"
In which case they were 1: following too close and 2: not paying attention
There's a rule about 2 second following distance for a reason (it's expressed in metre per km/h or yards per mph, but it translates exactly to 2 seconds) and it's not to allow twats in fiestas to pull into your safety gap at 90mph.
Re: Depends on assumptions
"So much so that it's a standing joke for the apprentices at the dealers to be given these jobs then made to find the missing part which involves taking the back of the car apart..."
A friend and I made up a gooseneck with electromagnet for exactly those situations back in the 80s..A suitably modified boroscope would work better these days - and bear in mind that a strong enough magnet _will_ move the loose nut/part to where you can get at it, even through sheet steel
Re: Depends on assumptions
"that even changing a light* often requires a workshop and workshop tools,"
ISTR some EU design rule changes a couple of years back mandating that bulb changes must be doable at the roadside. The result was to hasten the move to leds, as they're not regarded as a user serviceable part.
Re: you can barely turn the undriven wheels by hand
"It's surprising how many people think a car gets better MPG when going downhill if they go into neutral!"
Depending on the car, slope and engine temp they may be right.
Using the Torque OBD app, the instant milage changes between overrun and coasting on a few local hills is eye opening (90 vs 180mpg when cold, 180 vs 240mpg when hot). I suspect that modern engines put a small amount of fuel through even on overrun to keep the cat hot (or light it in the first place), even when the manifold pressure is down around -13.5psi.
There are a bunch of techniques to improve milage. Ripping out weight to the extent shown is a bit radical, but it's probably improved reliability dramatically given my experience of 1960/70s british cars (somewhere along the line, "made in britain" became a warning label)
Other hacks: lighter/synthetic gearbox/diff oil, ditto on the engine, roller tappets, narrower tyres/higher pressure. The comments on the lights are valid, but they make so little difference that it's not worth bothering with. As for the alternator, dump it entirely - GM proved in the 1950s that an exhaust turbine-driven alternator was a lot more efficient, but had trouble with reliability under heat loads. Belt drives put asymetric pressure on bearings and sap far more energy than could ever be recovered by hacking the regulator circuitry. There are a couple of designs for electrical generation using turbocharger housings - and spinning at 15-25,000 RPM means the entire alternator can be a heck of a lot lighter/simpler.
Re: Are there
I'd be surprised if there were any younger than the _earth_
less than 1/10 the distance of any comet - that we know about.
At least one researcher suspects that there was a very near miss (less than 500 miles) in 1883:
And that a comet got rather too close for comfort about 12,000 years ago:
Legislation gets abused in 3...2....1.....
We've already seen people cracking bad taste jokes ending up in pokey.
How long will it take before the McCanns start using it to silence all those people who've pointed out that had they left their kids alone like that in the UK they would have been charged with child neglect?
Re: Interference on the line
There's no law against commercial interference with the regulators.
Given that the people making the decisions come from the telco industry and go back to the telco industry, they know that side their toast is buttered on - and what happens to regulators who displease their future employers.
Openreach needs to be completely cleaved off from BT(*). Once a fully independent lines company, empowered (and required) to sell duct space to 3rd parties, things would change rapidly, as they have elsewhere(**)
(*) Completely separate shares, board of directors, offices, administration and CEO. Any favouritism shown to any player gets heavy punishment.
(**) New Zealand has changed from a posterchild implementation of how not to privatise your telco, to a place with vibrant competition in the 3 years since they split the incumbent telco from its lines operations - as a condition of getting rural broadband installation contracts. UK.gov had the same opportunity and blew it.
All this stuff emphasises...
...that russia is essentially a mafia state.
NO, IT'S RUBBISH! WOT? WOT?
"Surely Amazon/Starbucks etc are prime candidates for automation? "
Nope, people are funny about wanting to be served by a human. What you'll see is increasing levels of table service,
Warehouse picking is increasingly automated, as are other boring/dangerous occupations.
I was wondering when Foxconn's workers would object to robots.
Japanese workers did when the robots started encroaching on jobs which weren't dangerous or dirty. In particular, there were heavy objections (and actual strikes) on car assembly lines when they moved beyond the welding and spray shops. As a result, japanese manufacturers eased up on automation.
That was the point when other asian countries started taking their business.
"Seems to me automation just means goods get cheaper and most people always find a way of earning money to pay for it."
This is exactly what happens. In a post-scarcity world the service industries are dominant.
Re: A dark future?
"I can't see us of even getting a chance of that until we can get an abundant, non-polluting energy source which is still many years into the future."
Abundant? - check
Non polluting? - how about "very low levels?"
Many years into the future? - prototypes built in the 1960s, commercial versions likely in 10 years
Profitable? - that's the unknown issue and unless it is noone will get to use it.
I'm talking about Thorium LFTRs.
Re: Rise of the machines.
"Clusters of companies operating this way aren't unique to China"
Indeed, it's quite likely that secondary industries will spring up around Elon Musk's battery factories.
Re: Will become a familar issue in coming years
"The kind of rethink that we would need at that point is far beyond what most people are capable of."
The 3-4 day week is one way of ensuring employment, but unless it comes with the same wage as you're getting now, it's not worthwhile.
In any case, the population bulge of the Boomers is going to make life hard for everyone soon - especially in China where it's even more pronounced.
The vast majority of government welfare costs has been in pensions for decades. Unemployement is only 10-15% of the total, but it's easy to demonise the unemployed as slacking parasites and because there are so few of them, their votes don't count - unlike what would happen if there was radical pension reform.
Re: Will become a familar issue in coming years
"The reason the BRIC countries have done so well is a direct result of this push to cut costs, they are in these countries for the low wages and light regulation, nothing more."
If robots can build things for lower cost than humans, then the production is best sited close to the point of consumption - which is going to hit BRICs hardest unless they develop economies not dependent on exporting products or importing jobs(outsourcing)
Re: Russia is a competitor to Galileo.
(BTW, strategically, three is a stable number. Every time one player gets ahead, the weaker two will assist each other until the advantage is nullified.)
You'll be happy to note that there are already 4 in action:
Navstar (USA), Glonass(Russia), Beidou/Compass(China, still being deployed but usable now), DORIS(France - mainly used for satellite/groundtstation positioning)
With 3 more on the way:
Gallileo(ESA), INRSS(India), QZSS(Japan),
Whilst the west may lump China and Russia together, historically there's no love lost between them and all alliances have been by necessity, not desire (China may sell the Norks Oil and Electricity for instance, but it's the Russians who created the country and keep Fatboy-un afloat)
"They will probably have some nominal contribution as an extra timing reference - but it looks like it's an insurance job"
The constellation order was specified with 4 spare birds to account for for launch mishaps. Because so many are being built the insurance value of individual units is low (they're production line items) and there are enough spares in hand to cope with the losses.
The real issue is that this pair was intended to complete the test cluster and they can't be used for that even if their orbits are stabilised, so the end result is yet more delays before Galileo goes into production use.
Losing a 4-stack of these on an Ariane launch would be the real disaster, but the Ariane V has been extremely reliable. The ES has already been heavily used and the relightable/long coast-time EPS upper stage has already seen action, getting ATVs to the ISS. One of the big advantages of the EPS is that it can be relit for deorbiting after payload deployment, which means less space junk to contend with.
Re: This ain't rocket science
"Liquid Helium is about a degree warmer than the cosmic background, which is still a tad frigid. I don't see any obvious reason why they're using it, but I don't design rockets"
It's used to pressurize the fuel/oxidiser tanks as they run down (amongst other things) and cryo form is used because otherwise you have to run it at insanely high pressures.
Most people aren't going to bother with the full report, but the essence is that this is an old design "flaw"(*) which was only triggered because of the longish delay between burns. Previous missions never left the upper stages idle long enough for the hydrazine to freeze and now the issue has been recognised, it won't happen again (a simple insulator will deal with it).
In any case, almost all future Gallileo launches will happen on Ariane V launchers for economy (more birds per launch). This was a test set.
(*) I put it in speechmarks because the usual short period before the upper stage is lit means than it's highly likely that thermal issues were originally considered and then put aside as not a problem.
Re: I work for a large company...
"Anyone who responded to the specially crafted message was targeted for additional training on keeping company data safe."
Presumably almost all of HR ended up on the training course?
Re: Won't reduce the need for power stations in the US
"When a bulb I almost never use burns out, like say the bulb in the hall closet, I replace it with an incandescent because they're cheapest. "
60W incandescent - 1 quid at tesco
4W LED - 4 quid at tesco (less when they're on special)
The most annoying thing about a dead lamp is that they almost always happen at an inconvenient time.
Re: @ scatter
"Thankfully halogens only last 1,000 hours also so they'll disappear just as quickly as GLS lamps once the transition starts."
My last set of MR16 and GU10 incandescent purchases were 10,000 hour jobbies. They lasted about 5 years before I replaced them with CFLs and then LEDs (Tesco's leds/cfls have been reliable, ones from other sources (I'm looking at you B&Q!) have not been.)
I finally got irritated enough with the RF and infrared hash emitted from all the ES and BC CFLs around the place that I changed them this year.
16W "corncob" leds easily outperform 21W ("100W equivalent") CFLs and apart from not having that pesky 30 second warmup period have a better colour gamut too.
The externals will be replaced with leds when the CFLs in them start to die (which should be next year) and at the same time I'll be considering "upgrading" to the robot ones which track heat sources as the existing cheap fittings are starting to craze due to UV exposure. I've seen the robot ones in action and you'd be amazed how fast a prowler can run if the light swivels towards him- and stays pinned on him as he moves. The only current issue is the cost.
Re: @ scatter
"what makes the difference is that they have a motion sensor, so there's no groping for the light switch."
This is going to be the big trend in security lighting too.
CFL AND Halogen based lamps need to be on for longer periods, else the on/off cycling kills them in short order. LEDs can switch on and off as often as required (assuming there are no issues of thermal creep on the heatsink and substrate), which means that outdoor security lighting can move towards a "dark skies" model (which attracts more attention when the lights come on than constantly on lights do.)
Even if this is counteracted by reducing the spread of constantly-on floodlights mounted high to keep them out of missile range of spotty herberts and putting in more "spot" security lighting, the overall power consumption trend will be "downwards"
LEDs are pretty much invulnerable to shaking from a thrown stone, unlike a hot filament - and the local oiks regularly knock out "inconvenient" incandescent security lamps around here.
Yes, power consumption from heating is likely to rise long-term, but only a fool would install an electric radiator based system when heat pumps already give heating operational (and installation) costs comparable with gas-based systems.
Re: Life cycle
"Household tungsten lights were cheap to manufacture and presumably to recycle - but with poor energy efficiency over relatively short lives."
"The cartel’s grip on the lightbulb market lasted only into the 1930s. Its far more enduring legacy was to engineer a shorter life span for the incandescent lightbulb. By early 1925, this became codified at 1,000 hours for a pear-shaped household bulb, a marked reduction from the 1,500 to 2,000 hours that had previously been common. "
It's worth noting that if you run an incandescent lightbulb at 5% over its rated voltage, it gives 10% more light but only lasts half as long. You get that much variation in supply voltage along the street from a distribution transformer.
Re: Let there be light!
"My large town switches off all the street lights at midnight - leaving only a few high level clusters on major roads."
LED plus sensors means that they can be dialled back 90%, but still fire up as cars/people go under them (the lamps communicate to adjacent poles, so it's not just the one you're under which lights up). This technology has been around a few years now.
As for energy costs, the single most expensive part of any streetlamp's operation is getting a bloke to change the lamp. Traditional ones are rated in on/off cycles as well as hours, so switching 'em off early may not make them last any longer and does bugger-all to save money overall. That sounds more like someone with a fetish for dark skies (Any amateur astonomers on the council?)
The pitch black conditions and increased nighttime accident rate sounds like a perfect oppportunity for compensation lawyers to wipe out any savings made - and then some.
Re: Like them
"Although I for one think some form of suspension is useful on London's roads."
If you have the right tyres (ie, not narrow racing bike tyres pumped up within a gnat's whisker of blowout), they act as quite capable airsprings.
Suspensions add far more weight than just lifting up on your toes on roughish roads. If you need one for road riding I'd say you're doing it wrong
"As for those fuckers who play an automated PPI or accident claim message from spoofed numbers, clearly I will NEVER give you a penny if your basic introduction is so impersonal and duplicitous."
Those ones should be played along and cajoled into giving over enough information to be able to identify the company(ies) involved. Apart from anything else, it keeps them from bothering the potentially gullible.
Workside, I get a fair number of calls where they've claimed to speak to XYZ and are following up - mute, ask, shake of head, means that we will put you on the list of companies to NEVER deal with. If you're willing to lie in order to make a sale then your product isn't worth our effort.
"Ever noticed how strange it is that there are pyramid structures in both Egypt and in central America? "
And Thailand/Cambodia too.
Re: Pyramid like?
Ditch the Ferero, it looks like a rock to me.
Re: Antactica is melting too
"Another hypothesis is that increased winds and/or currents move the ice around generating open water, which then freezes."
It's likely to be a combination of "all the above" - what is known is that the sea ice is very thin in most places and the slight increase in volume doesn't come close to covering the loss of land-based ice.
(As others have pointed out, sea based ice doesn't make any difference to sea levels anyway)
Re: What's the problem with this?
"I've tried making fancy layered drinks a few times. They're darned hard to make without a heck of a lot of practice."
Try making them with a few thousand tons of ingredients instead of a few grams.
The mixing layer is fairly turbulant and without constant freshwater topping off, the 2 layers would mix entirely fairly quickly - they do at some distance away from the source anyway, but that's far enough to allow ice to form.
Re: Antactica is melting too
"but to melt the ice; the air temperature has to be > 0C."
To melt the ice at the surface, yes.
Water is a funny substance. Under pressure it melts at slightly lower temperatures, but more importantly, extremely high pressure ice behaves more like molasses than the substance we put in our drinks and extremely high pressures are what you find under a few hundred metres (or a few km) of ice.
The end result is that there is a huge amount of fresh water, or "soft ice" sitting under every glacier in the world and that's what enables them to slide. This also causes problems when making deep core sampling holes in ice, as they close up after a few days and have been known to close up behind the drill.
The other odd thing is that the atmosphere only accounts for a small fraction of the extra absorbed energy from the sun. Virtually all of it (~90%) goes into the oceans and being much denser than air, they only heat up a little, but it's enough to make a big difference to life on the planet. That slightly warmer water has been enough to melt the arctic icecap (anything less than 2 metres thick is only temporary ice) and carve away at glacier underpinnings worldwide.
Re: Antactica is melting too
The antarctic landmass is fucking cold. Inland temperatures seldom if ever go above -20 and some areas have never been above -40 - but inland temperatures are rising and you won't see any change in ice until they hit melting point (at which point the visible change is sudden and spectacular), except for faster glacier flow.
The temperature around the antarctic caoastline is more-or-less zero. (It's below freezing above the waterline, but the seawater is above freezing or it'd freeze to the seafloor.)
Adding more cold stuff into the water reduces the temperature slightly and decreases the salinity slightly. That's enough to form more ice on the water, even though the overall _volume_ of ice is reduced.
A few years ago, people took an unusually harsh UK winter (3-4C below normal) as proof global warming was a fake, but completely missed that large chunks of canada and siberia were more than 20C warmer than normal.
Climate is not weather and local clmactic changes are not global ones. Large amounts of relative warming in one are can result in small amounts of relative cooling in another, but the overall change can still be relative warming.
Antarctic sea ice is different to arctic sea ice. It's entirely possible for the sea ice to expand, if the amount of land ice pushing into it increases - which it has.
Re: Antactica is melting too
"CryoSat data shows that the Antarctic Ice Sheet has been losing, on average, 159 billion tons of ice every year for the past three years "
To put that in perspective, 1 billion tons is 1 cubic km of ice.
On average is one thing. Cryosat has also been showing substantial increases each year.
I currently live 44 metres above sea level, but anyone living < 10 metres needs to think through their flood preparedness over the next few years. It's not just rises in sea level which are a problem, but increased storm intensities and surges which come with them.
Re: Antactica is melting too
"Name one freshwater river in Antarctica."
Pine Island Glacier.
Glaciers ride on fresh water (the pressure from above causes the ice to melt, just like an ice skate melts ice) and PIG discharges several hundred tons of freshwater per second from the bottom of the ice shelf.
Re: Antactica is melting too
"So pure water ice is melting from the land of Antarctica. Pure ice melts at 0 C.
It then goes into the sea where it promptly freezes despite the fact that the sea is saline and has a melting point < 0 C.
Can anyone see the problem with this? ;)"
Not at all. As is the case in New Zealand's Fjords, there is _so much_ fresh water coming off of Antarctica that it's forming a fresh layer a couple of metres thick sitting on top of the brine and reducing the salinity where it does mix in.
On top of that, 1km^3 of ice would be 1000 km^2 of 1 metre thick sea ice, and the antarctic landmass lost something in excess of 75km^3 last year alone. Most of the antarctic winter sea ice is fairly thin and it doesn't last long once the antarctic summer begins.
Re: I dont get it.
"If we all start driving electric, aren't we then placing more stress on power plants, therefore creating more pollution, which is kind of what the electric car is supposed to be reducing?"
You did miss something.
The overall efficiency of the average internal combustion engine on the road today is more like 3-5% than the 35% theoretical maximum (which is only obtainable at wide open throttle, full load) of an internal combustion engine.
The overall efficiency (fuel to wheels) of an electric car is about 20% and load/speed doesn't really enter into it.
On top of that, it's much easier to filter a power station smokestack than a car exhaust (or use nontraditional sources) and any increase in generation efficiency is immediately reflected across the fleet instead of only phasing in as newer cars replace older ones.
"I'd still love a Roadster, but that's because I view practicality as a downside! :)"
Something that heavy, landing upside down. How strong is the windshield frame?
Re: Charging issues? Range?
"Hinkley Point will not be enough."
Hinkley Point shouldn't be built at all. That's not from being anti-nuclear, but because boiling/pressurised water reactors are a bomb waiting to go off, quite apart fro the inherent inefficiency of the low heat level generated. There _are_ safer ways of building nuclear power stations and the best part is that they don't require the station be right next to a large body of water.
Re: Only 2 motors
4 motors would still need driveshafts and CV joints and be much heavier than a lockable/limited slop differential
The alternative (wheel motors) means too much unsprung weight, which is why those are currently only practical for low power use and HGVs.
Let down by a lousy UberX driver? They probably skipped the 'optional $65 customer service training course'
Uber isn't the same everywhere
UK Uber drivers have to be licensed to carry fare-paying passengers. That comes with its own background checks.
Whilst some might sing the praises of black cabs, 1: they're expensive, 2: many of the drivers are utter wankers when it comes to consideration for other road users and 3: Even though it's illegal to refuse a fare, it's not hard to find that "going south of the river" late at night is a no-go.
Re: About recording calls.
A recording of their system telling you that they record calls followed by them hanging up when you say you're recording, will make for a pretty good indicator of bad faith if it goes near an ombudsman or judge.
Businesses only object to recordings if they have something to hide.
Re: About recording calls.
"Note: Americans have to give that warning because it's illegal to record calls without permission and courts in the US will not accept evidence obtained illegally."
That is only true in 2-party states where the call is intrastate. Interstate and 1-party state calls only need the knowledge of one of the call participants.
"In the UK we have to give that warning because it's illegal to record calls without permission"
Factually and substantially incorrect. It's perfectly legal to record a call for your own use.
It's a privacy breach to publish a call without the other party's knowledge, however that's a civil case and the person on the other end of the call has to go to court over it with very low odds of claiming damages, especially if the recording shows them acting in bad faith. It's perfectly legal to publish a call transcript - and in a court case the transcript is usually provided with the recording being entered into evidence if/when the other party disputes it.
In the UK, you do not need the other party's permission to record a call, but if you're publishing it, you do need to inform them it's being recorded for the reason given above.
To my knowledge, noone has EVER been taken to court in the UK for publishing a recording of a call they've been on.
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