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* Posts by Chemist

1821 posts • joined 24 Mar 2010

Microsoft blasts PC makers: It's YOUR fault Windows 8 crash landed

Chemist
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Re: Let me get this right...

"that you don't have software maintenance if you don't buy the Windows flavour."

Certainly I build all my own desktops/servers and install Linux on them - for years I've had NO maintenance cost other than one flaky HD

Laptops are a more difficult matter - so far I've got by with 1 netbook (Linux from new) and 1 second-hand laptop (donated after a Windows Update disaster). I'm going to have to replace it soon-ish as various non-core bits are failing and the memory is becoming rather tight)

I'm going to have to look around rather carefully

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Hydrogen on demand from silicon nanospheres - just add water

Chemist
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Re: Wow. object with 100x surface area of other object reacts 100x faster on its surface

"But that's one big if."

Absolutely. Si surfaces rapidly coat with SiO2 so I imagine the nanospheres would need to be made out of contact with air. On exposure to water I rather think they would change their shape rapidly and indeed if they didn't much unexposed silicon might be wasted or the reaction rate at least limited.

Overall this is just one scheme amongst others that could be used as a portable source of hydrogen.

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Chemist
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Re: price of caravan fuel cell fuel

The energy content of methanol is ~~6kWh /Kg so that would argue for a rather poor efficiency.

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Chemist
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Re: Just add silicon nano-spheres too - Yeah BUT

"HUGE double mattress slabs of silicon, and have them churn away"

Sorry the reaction with bulk silicon is VERY slow probably because the surface rapidly coats with SiO2

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Chemist
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Re: Wow. object with 100x surface area of other object reacts 100x faster on its surface

"I like the low-tech aspect of cacium carbide."

It's not low-tech, just old-tech - it needs a stonking 2000K arc furnace to make , don't know what the energy efficiency is.

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Chemist
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" Water is a finite resource too"

Not really. Take this reaction 2/3rds of the water comes back from oxidizing the hydrogen in the fuel cell. The remainder is loosely locked-up in silicic acid.

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Chemist
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There are plenty of uses for a 'refillable battery' although a generator is really a better name. Already large units are available for motorhomes and yachts that allow silent power production on a considerable scale for many weeks from cassettes of methanol ( not ideal I admit ). You could use solar or wind but the energy stored in even methanol is significant and allows for heavy usage in darkness.

An example here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vWvPwiQazI

A bit twee but it gives some of the current possibilities. As far as I can tell the running costs are ~~£2/day for a 600W unit

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Chemist
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Re: Just add silicon nano-spheres too

"bear on making the spheres cheaply"

The silicon is just an energy carrier - you need to put energy in to get silicon from silicon dioxide. Generate the hydrogen and consume it as efficiently as possible and you might get back a modest proportion of the input energy. There's no way round that it's just chemistry and thermodynamics. If you can get really cheap energy it might be useful for certain niche application - basically it allows you to store the equivalent ~45L of hydrogen in 28g of silicon (+water)

Energy costs dominate this with the proviso that making the nano-silicon particles may in fact dominate the process. Material costs are irrelevant as the silicic acid can be converted back to silica if necessary

The minimum energy cost is ~1MJ/mol (=28g) and may be a lot more

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Chemist
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Re: Wow. object with 100x surface area of other object reacts 100x faster on its surface

"Can you re-cycle the wast product?"

Yes, but you'd need to provide some more energy to dehydrate it - it's basically similar to silica gel that's used as a desiccant often in little bags with "do not eat" on them.

I've covered some aspects of the energy cost in a post further up the thread

(The whole business is a little like the old carbide process where calcium carbide + water produced acetylene on demand for portable lights.)

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Asteroid-mining 'FireFlys' will be ready for action by 2015, vows space firm

Chemist
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Re: Now *how* does one get from lumps of rock -> pure nickel particles?

"All are big energy consumers."

I don't think your big is anywhere nearly big enough

Although I assume they are hoping to mine native nickel or nickel/iron from asteroids.

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Spanish startup to ship first Mozilla-phones

Chemist
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Re: Bleh

"Then it stated throwing up alerts and warnings and upgrade notices every time I launched it."

Funny, I'm now on v18.0, have used FF . from the beginning and don't know what you mean.

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Entire Reg readership would fill 205 Olympic-sized swimming pools

Chemist
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Re: All very well but

"to the ends of the unverse"

Truly a big bang !

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Global mercury ban to hit electronics, plastics, power prices

Chemist
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Re: CFL's

"Those cleanup instructions from the EPA tacitly assume a hard surface floor. Wall-to-wall carpeting is very common; just try to scrape up spilled mercury from it!"

You obviously didn't read the information the EPA provided.

It concludes :

"What if I can't follow all the recommended steps? or I cleaned up a CFL but didn't do it properly?

Don't be alarmed; these steps are only precautions that reflect best practices for cleaning up a broken CFL. Keep in mind that CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury -- less than 1/100th of the amount in a mercury thermometer. "

Whilst the total amount of mercury in all CFL may be significant the risk from one broken one is miniscule.

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Chemist
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Re: Yeah lets ban another element

"but with any poison dose matters "

Indeed it seems to and Bruce Ames who was partly responsible for much of the scare about zero tolerance to some carcinogens changed his mind in later life and published well-reasoned papers about why a threshold amount/concentration was probably more likely.

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Chemist
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Re: Quite correct

" factory still using the mercury process"

Really, I'd imagined most long gone. I'm certainly no expert being an organic chemist by training and a drug designer/protein modeller by profession, but I imagine that mercury could be stored as it's sulfide which forms easily (we always used to us sulfur powder to 'mop-up' stray drops from broken bits of kit) and is a natural ore anyway.

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Chemist
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"Mercury in the environment but I can't remember if its the top cause."

It used to be used in very large scale electrolytic production of chlorine and sodium hydroxide from brine . The mercury acted as the cathode and dissolved the sodium formed. The mercury flowed in a loop and once away from the electrolytic cell the mercury/sodium amalgam allowed to react with water to generate sodium hydroxide. I think it was waste water from this process that caused the Minimata incident.

These days the electrolytic cell has a membrane barrier that can pass current so no mercury is involved. The membrane is neat and rather expensive called 'nafion'

In fact I've used it myself in an experimental electrochemical removal of a protecting group off a synthetic antibiotic years ago

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Chemist
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Re: Fluorescents

AFAIK it's the UV spectrum emitted by the ionized mercury vapour, I presume also that it needs to be readily vapourized -it's heat of vapourization is ~59 vs ~230 kJ/mol for Indium and the boiling point is much lower too

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Chemist
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Re: Fluorescents

"Sooner or later someone will invent a really safe bulb"

In the link to Osram they had researched alternatives to mercury like xenon for generating UV in fluorescents but the energy efficiency was much lower than mercury, although doubtless much better than hot wires.

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Chemist
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Re: Errata

" mercury-filled fluorescents"

Not really a very objective way to describe a tube that (these days) contains generally a few milligrams of mercury. A trace would be more appropriate in common parlance.

That said I agree that phasing mercury out should be considered a good thing but AFAIK the likelihood that such efficient lighting can be produced without mercury seems very low (see http://www.osram.com/osram_com/sustainability/sustainable-products/sustainability-criteria/key-performance-indicators/mercury/why-mercury/index.jsp)

But there is always LEDs

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Longest-standing bug?

Chemist
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Re: KDE

"I've never experienced this particular bug."

Ditto

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Microsoft to end Windows 8 discounts on January 31

Chemist
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Joke

Re: Modern island life or a tale of simple countryfolk

""oh no, can't repair this. Has to be couriered to Dell. I'll build you a new one. I'll even dispose of the old one for you in an environmentally friendly way.""

You don't really understand life in a remote community, do you. Get caught at this sort of thing and you'd end up inside a wicker man with someone with a lit torch about to reprimand you.

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Chemist
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Re: Upgrade to a more useful, sexier, *real* operating system. Linux

"but everyone who believes that it will come without major issues will be disappointed."

I have used SUSE & OpenSUSE since the late 90's - I've NEVER had major issues.

I currently run OpenSUSE 11.4 on my low-powered, file/print/odds&sods dual core ATOM server, laptop, netbook and dual-core Intel at our holiday home. I run 12.2 on my two work stations ( AMD single & dual cores.) I've almost always used KDE.

I have no problems with graphics including hardware accelerated 1080p/50 video, 3G dongles, serial/USB converters, scanner/printer & printer. I can process RAW DSLR files at 16bits/colour, video edit 1080p/50 video and heaps more. I use SSH to my file server for proxy access to iPlayer, etc whilst I'm away. Skype, GoogleEarth all fine.

I do use Libre Office which I find sufficient for my needs - big spreadsheets are slower than Excel but otherwise....

On the other hand I've got a great selection of programming languages , of which I regularly use C and tcl/tk & shell scripts.

I don't recognize this picture you paint

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Microsoft's ARM blunder: 7 reasons why Windows RT was DOA

Chemist
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Re: @Eadon - openness selling Android

"even the most radical Linux dudes have eventually returned to the MS Borgship after a couple of years"

Nonsense - in a big organisation maybe, before I retired I had 2 workstations - a Windows PC for (corporate) e-mail and attached Word documents and a big, powerful Linux system for the real work of data analysis, protein modeling & 3D displaying.The company insisted on the Windows machine.

Since 'retiring' - I'm a scientist we never really retire - I've use exclusively Linux - nobody has complained that documents that I've processed with Libre Office are a problem, people send me spreadsheet data as CSV in any case as that's the format that a lot of science uses as it can be processed more readily by all sorts of means.

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Nokia axes 300 IT bods, outsources 820 to Tata, HCL

Chemist
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" about an OS that isn't tied to one specific hardware manufacturer"

er, like Android, do you mean ?

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Chemist
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Re: Hardly

Me, I jumped from SC/MP assembler to 6809 assembler/Forth to C on 68K and the x86 C under Linux. I have used a MS 6502 ROM basic but it had a huge bug in its garbage collector.

Today all 6 current machines run Linux.

I suppose you don't believe any of this either, but I must admit I don't really care.

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Chemist
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Re: Hardly

Evening RICHTO, still plugging away at the cr*p

"much of the early home computer revolution was powered with Microsoft BASIC"

much of the early home computer revolution was hindered with Microsoft BASIC - fixed

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FAA grounds Boeing's 787 after battery fires on plastic planes

Chemist
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Re: Aircraft + fire just about the worst

"Spacecraft + fire the worst, then?"

Aircraft tend to have a LOT more people on board

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PR people 'put duty to the public ahead of employers' interests'

Chemist
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Journal of Mass Media Ethics

Good grief !

A very slim journal published every 100 years?

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Viruses infect vital control systems at TWO US power stations

Chemist
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"Linux.."

Evening RICHTO,

What you fail to grasp is that the 'examples' you give are bugs, which may or may not be exploitable. With older versions of Windows it was a design choice to let USB sticks auto-execute.

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Satnav blunder sends Belgian granny 1,450km to Croatia

Chemist
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Re: Non-information

""Hm... "Lille" may either give a coastal city in France, or a small village in the north of Belgium. Not always that obvious you must select country.""

What about the major French city of Lille that is neither of those ?

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Chemist
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Re: Question:

"Europe is pretty open, until you get to the extremes."

Agree entirely, go to the mainland a lot, 4 times driving last year. Only stops are Dover on the way out - motorhomes are a magnet for security checks, Swiss border but usually only to buy a motorway pass, and British entry check at Calais.

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Scientists spin carbon nanotube threads on industrial scale

Chemist
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Pint

Re: Full circle

"Power the CO2 to nanotube conversion with shale gas."

Power it with what you like - get the CO2 from brewing - Igor, more BEER !

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Microsoft flings out emergency patch for Iatest gaping IE hole

Chemist
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Re: Unfortunately,

Thanks for the laughs Michael. Not entirely a joke on my part as a I really did hand-assemble my first software on a Science of Cambridge Mk14 with the hideous NS SC/MP instruction set/arch

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Chemist
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Joke

Re: Unfortunately,

"Compile... Compile ! " - eeh, we used t'dream about compilers. We had t'make do wi' hand-assembling - wi'out hands !

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Unbelievably vast quasar cluster forces universe-sized rethink

Chemist
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Joke

Re: Buses, huh?

"...that would mean they'd all turn up at once."

IF by once you mean over >4 billion years then yes

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The 10 best … Windows Server 2012 features

Chemist
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Re: MS vs Linux

"SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP2 Kernel (3.0.10) Limits

max. # logical CPUs 4096 (x86_64)

OracleLinux 5/6

Max Number of CPUs/Cores Unlimited"

The above are quoted from the SUSE & Oracle websites.

https://www.suse.com/products/server/technical-information/#Kernel

http://www.oracle.com/us/technologies/linux/025994.htm

The SUSE limit may be logical cpus but Windows Server 2012 is limited to 64 physical cpus

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Chemist
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Re: MS vs Linux

"Microsoft - Server 2012 scales to 640 processor in a single server - linux kernel 3 scales to 512 processors in a single server"

SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP2 Kernel (3.0.10) Limits

max. # logical CPUs 4096 (x86_64)

OracleLinux 5/6

Max Number of CPUs/Cores Unlimited

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Chemist
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Re: MS vs Linux

@AC 13:33

Still punting the unpuntable eh RICHTO ?

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White House rejects Death Star petition: '$850qn too pricey'

Chemist
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Joke

Re: This @ dssf

"The Death Star on the other hand has already been built and is hidden in orbit behind the moon"

Due to massive budget cutbacks it's now the "Death Star starter edition" and is hidden behind the dustbin !

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Forget 3D: 13,000 UK homes still watch TV in black and white

Chemist
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Re: WTF?

And the signal is transmitted as a square wave ? With the harmonics going on forever ? Are you sure ?

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'Doomsday' asteroid Apophis more massive than first thought

Chemist
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Re: So Unlucky.......

Your chances of winning the lottery will be much better assuming you enter twice every week for ~23 years.

I'd make it ~~1 in 6000 ( if you just spent £1 a time )

Good luck !! ( either way). Of course your number might be drawn the day the asteroid falls.

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Chemist
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"isn't it a bit of a coincidence"

The only coincidence I can see is that between the rock and the Earth. Don't know how many countless others have passed by in the millenia when we couldn't track them. There are a lot of asteroids moving in chaotic orbits , even though the sol system is very big given enough time one will hit again.

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Chemist
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"what error I have made in reasoning"

I'd think the error is assuming the asteroid has been passing close to Earth regularly for millions of years - it may be relatively new, having been produced by collision between asteroids or the orbit may have just started to coincide with Earths recently. The orbits of everything are affected by everything else - hence my mention of Chaos Theory earlier.

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Chemist
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Re: Science fail.

"So what the hell are all those supercomputers doing?"

Suggest you read about chaos theory

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Microsoft pats self on back over Windows 8 sales

Chemist
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Re: @Chemist - Windows it's like the belly-button

Ah well, you reinforced the belief out there that it's not possible to live life without Windows.

I've heard & seen people saying such rot as "Oh, you need it for banking", "Can't edit HD video without", "3G dongles only work with Windows", "How do you manage RAW camera files ?" and countless others.

The one that amuses me most is "How do you manage as a scientist without Excel?) - well I managed for 20 years before Excel and most of the time Excel was available the data sets I handled were FAR bigger than Excel could handle. Even now I get people to send me data as CSV files and crunch the data with purpose-written C. That's the way to handle 7 million lines of data.

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Chemist
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Re: Windows it's like the belly-button

"actually it's pretty hard to avoid having one"

Well somehow we manage to. I'm not sure why you think that you NEED a Windows machine - it's simply not true.

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Nokia chief Elop: 'Android? Hey, anything's possible!'

Chemist
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Re: either

"Godminster chedder at the mo"

Godminster cheddar is magnificent !

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