767 posts • joined Tuesday 29th May 2007 21:16 GMT
... puts a whole new meaning on the word.
... just deluded themselves
It's said that a good liar will really believe the lie they are telling. Presumably there is a risk that self-delusion becomes irreversible.
"To prevent punters pulling out prematurely ..."
I see what you did there.
It would be handy if they can apply the technique to car bodies too.
Re: Reg units please!
As any ful kno, elephants don't fly.
Pointing out something much more damaging won't make Fukushima safe, but it might put the danger into perspective. 170,000 people received emergency medical treatment after the Bhopal disaster; 8,000 died within two weeks. The surrounding area still hasn't been cleaned up and there are still people suffering from this incident
As a whole, industrial chemicals do vastly more damage than radioactivity, but they just don't hit the headlines in the same way or cause the same knee-jerk panic.
"Scientists are coming to space ... infected"
It's not the end of the world if they take a virus up with them. The problems will start when they bring one back.
Max Tegmark was wrong
A couple of decades ago, Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose formulated their 'orchestrated reduction' hypothesis of consciousness. They suggested that the brain uses quantum coherent states for processing with repeated collapse of the quantum multiplicity providing a more or less continuous series of 'aha' moments.
Max Tegmark was one of their most severe critics, arguing that quantum coherence would only last for about 10-13 seconds in the warm wet brain, whereas thought processes observably occur in a timescale of ten or twenty milliseconds.
It rather looks as though Tegmark may have been wrong.
Re: Oi Google..
Best thing Microsoft ever did was their trackball. Then they stopped making them. I'm going to have to fit PTFE shims or something to mine to compensate for wear and keep it going a few more years.
The Moon's asymmetry
Isn't the crucial point that the Moon's density is higher on the side facing the Earth. Presumably, its the orbit and rotation having been locked for some while, the denser components have been steadily pulled more strongly towards and hence migrated towards the Earth-facing side.
Because the denser materials include most of the radioactive ones this side is a bit warmer than the far side.
I've been saying for decades that I'd happily have a container of radioactive waste in my garden that could provide background heating. It might not keep the asteroids at bay but at least it would help when winter comes along.
Re: Life formed in clay?
"Shouldn't we be able to observe that nowadays as well?"
We can indeed observe more and more details of plausible processes. Using your favourite search engine look for something like ["Jack Szostak" "origin of life" clay] and take a look at the research he and others have been doing during the past decade or so and the progress that has been made.
Not this first time for this notion
A few years ago Jack Szostak and his team at Massachusetts General Hospital had looked at how montmorillonite can catalyse the assembly of RNA and aid the growth of vesicles. Before that, in the 1960s, Graham Cairns-Smith at Glasgow had suggested that clay beds might act as something like an assembly line, making increasingly complex chemicals. Fascinating stuff...
I've met this before
"You can share your computer screen ... we offer a full money back guarantee."
There are some very nice Indian people who have been telephoning me from time to time to tell me about a virus that Microsoft services has detected on my computer. They seem to be saying much the same sort of thing.
Water doesn't have a "relaxation time" of the order of ten to one hundred minutes as these jokers claim. If it did then then measurements of specific heat would be all over the place, depending on the recent history of the test sample. In fact it's known very accurately.
The experimental realisation of the "relaxation time" to which they refer is more likely to be achieved in an appropriately warm bath, with salts and perfumes added according to personal taste.
A simpler magnetic connector
Two foils on the end of flexible wires make contact with pads on the Vulture's body. The foils are held in place using a horseshoe magnet. This is laid on its side, flat against the body, with the poles pointing in a forwards direction.
A thin sheet of plastic insulates the magnet from the foils, and it is attracted towards a suitably shaped piece of magnetic material behind the pads with sufficient force to keep the contact resistance down and to stop it falling off during the ascent. A bit of mumetal would be good; or pieces of transformer lamination. The attractor plate should have low magnetic remanence and high permeability
When the Vulture begins to depart, the magnet will move forward. As it does so it meets a suitably placed keeper, also made from high permeability stuff, to which it attaches quite firmly. When the keeper 'short circuits' the poles, the magnetic coupling with the attractor behind the pads is very much reduced; so the pressure on the foils is released and these are then easily pulled free from the pads on the Vulture's side.
If necessary an additional bar magnet can be suitably placed so that without the keeper in place the horseshoe magnet overcomes its field but when the keeper is in place the horseshoe is slightly repelled. The magnet, foils and wire will thus swing away enabling an unencumbered launch.
Plasma, MHD and 'let there be light' big bang
The antipathy towards plasma cosmology continues to puzzle me. Magnetohydrodynamics is widely accepted in explanations of, inter alia, the outward transfer of momentum when stellar systems form; similar outward transfer of momentum when galaxies form; the acceleration of huge plasma jets, some of which are of galactic scale; and a range of observable solar phenomena. Equally, observations of the rotation of polarised light show that non-negligible magnetic fields exists within most galaxies.
Yet any mention that electromagnetism may play a part in holding galaxies together is met with scorn, disdain and opprobrium.
I sometimes wonder that the electric universe idea, the notion that stars are a sort of light bulb powered by cosmic currents, is actually a straw man set up against plasma cosmology, spawned and promoted by the dogmatically religious supporters of orthodoxy in a similar manner to the way that creationists are said to conjure up bogus research in order to discredit regular scientific discovery.
The problem of excessive detachment force when using magnetic coupling can be reduced by holding the magnets apart with tape etc., as suggested above. It's also possible to remove one of the magnets by using a second pair which slide alongside as Vulture departs. In effect this switches off the magnetic coupling.
Connect from the heater via parallel copper foils which press onto contact plates. The foils/wires should be long enough to allow a bit of free movement. To hold the connections in place, fix a bar magnet (A) 'above' and between the contact plates. Use a second bar magnet (B) to press both foils from 'below' against the contact plates via a suitable insulator, the thickness being adjusted to give appropriate contact pressure. This second magnet is held in place solely by its attraction to the first magnet and is otherwise entirely free. Magnets A and B couple N-S-N-S.
Fix a pair of similar sized bar magnets (C & D) a short distance away so that as Vulture departs they straddle either side of the free magnet, B. Their poles should both be in the opposite orientation to A and B, S-N. As they come alongside B, they will largely neutralise the field from A, couple to B and steal it away. B's north pole will attach to C and D's south poles and it will decouple from A.
This idea is similar to magnetic base switching.
Black hat technology indeed
We need GCHQ and the NSA to make slow-cooker pots...
Re: quantum non-determinism
John Conway and Simon Kochen had a similar perspective when they came up with the first version of their Free Will Theorem:
"Do we really have free will, or, as a few determined folk maintain, is it all an illusion? We don’t know, but will prove in this paper that if indeed there exist any experimenters with a modicum of free will, then elementary particles must have their own share of this valuable commodity."
Re: Why not go F1 style
"The car could be constantly charging itself all day long."
Looking out of the window just now, I'm not entirely sure that this would work all that well in the UK.
Re: This is why the UK Governments PV subsidy is stupid
Nuclear power is indeed much more appropriate for countries such as the UK.
If there really had been a need to promote PV technology, perhaps the government should have promoted its use in developing countries nearer to the equator. Despite recent history there are still allegiances within the Commonwealth.
With the sun passing closer to directly overhead and with less overall cloud cover there can be up to four times more available sunlight than in the UK. Rather than the 30 p/kWhr or so that is guaranteed in the UK, with more sunlight the cost of locally generated electricity would be on a par with or better than other technologies. In many areas electricity distribution remains prohibitively expensive, and there are situations such as in agriculture where the daily intermittency would not present much of a problem and where electricity would be a real boon.
Instead of feed-in tariffs taxing the poor to help the rich it would have been possible to generate the same return on capital though increased productivity from truly appropriate technology. Rather than causing higher prices for ordinary folk this could have helped farmers increase production efficiency, improving their income and living standards, and, through trade of some of their increased food production to cover costs, reduced the UK's food bills.
What sort of detector is used?
Modulating the light isn't too much of a problem, assuming that an ultraviolet filter can be used to minimise signal degradation through phosphor glow. The main limitation with this sort of approach is, or at least a few years ago at least was that cheap and cheerful photo-detectors only get a frequency response up to MHz speeds if you're lucky. Detecting high frequency signals at low light levels tends to get rather expensive.
For a moment there I though this was going to be about Jimmy Savile's Friday club and Haut de la Garenne.
The reason some of HMRC's PDFs don't work may not be that "the government is still on xp". Older, tried-and-tested PDF writers are likely to fairly bug-free by now. It seems more likely that someone in playing with new software using flashy features that aren't necessary.
Power to their pedals
The stolen bicycles database looks like a great idea, though I hope that it won't be set up as yet another scheme to profit from crime.
A good few years ago I'd suggested something similar, both to the regional plod HQ and to the Operation Bumblebee team. The idea was to have a simple, freely available database front-end for owners to collect/store details and serial numbers in a consistent format. These could then be handed over in the event that a theft occurred and merged into a national list of hot items. I'd even offered to give them a free computer to store the data: a 386, which at that time was jolly whizzo. (Yes, it was some while ago. )
More recently I again tried to interest plod, at the time when Bill Cash and a few other MPs were trying to clamp down on street markets and to close down car boot sales.
In my naivety I had failed to realise that public benefit doesn't actually count for much. While those in the front-line services may be doing their very best, if there isn't any money to be made from crime prevention or mega-kudos then there simply isn't going to be any interest either from the insurance industry or from public service organisations.
Jaundice aside, it's good to see that the idea of Open Data is being promoted.
There's a fine animation which shows the effects of high frequency trading during five years of American trading here:
It looks to me as though the algobots take rather a lot from the market, presumably at the expense of 'ordinary' investors.
It's the party conference season again
“Books are essential for inspiring children to explore, dream, and achieve, yet far too many children do not have this basic resource... [We] can truly help enrich kids’ lives through access to books and by putting the fun back into reading.”
It rather looks as though they share a PR consultancy with one or other of the major parties.
They forgot Sun-tzu's words of wisdom
"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."
Or maybe the subtlety of such a notion was beyond them.
Security through obscurity ...
... would be better?
Essentially every organisation capable of orchestrating a serious attack will have one or more well-placed moles inside the banking structure or be otherwise informed of the state of their defences.
Remember Douglas Evans?
He did try to point out the implications of believing that "digital watches are a pretty neat idea".
Pyrolysis and plasma reforming
Within a couple of decades we might have a situation where we have sufficient nuclear generation and a significant amount of wind generation still running. If gas is then getting difficult, e.g. because of cost or carbon generation, then CCGT won't be as available to smooth out the bumps in supply and demand.
At such a stage, the intermittent output of wind farms would be vary cheap, as would off-peak electricity. This would benefit any processes that could usefully use intermittent power.
Plasma reforming of waste and pyrolysis to biochar, syngas and fuel both look promising in such a situation. The main problem is that long-term contracts have been established for waste disposal, where a potentially valuable resource is simply incinerated, and for electricity generation from wood-chip in the mistaken belief that these processes are green.
Re: Target market.
Re: so presumably..
"What have I missed?"
Maybe a large proportion of their patient records are now computerised?
No limits to what the CIA will do
It was bad enough when, back in the day, as part of Project MKUltra they gave people LSD without their knowledge and then followed them around to see what its effects its effects would be. Now they feed them games on Facebook and track them through the NSA.
For any non-participants curiously standing on the sidelines and wondering what all this is about, puzzling to see what might be so good about LSD, Dr Susan Blackmore writes eloquently from a conventional standpoint.
Is this to go with the matchstick-sized directional microphone that was announced the other day?
"What is wrong with this idea?"
Although the capital cost of solar will fall further, for it to be used externally the panels and supports use quite a bit of material. Unlike chips, there are fairly high transport and installation costs. Also omitted from the analysis here is that even if the cost of land use is low or zero, the cost of maintenance is always likely to be significant.
Hydrogen has been extensively promoted but it's not all that easy to store. What are real-world costs likely to be for smallish volumes?
What is really needed is a replacement for liquid fuels, not just for cars but for aircraft, farming and mining and so forth. It might be better to be looking for means to make methanol and ethanol from cheap energy.
Given that run-of-the-mill nuclear power stations are currently the best option for power generation, how does year round off-peak stack up against solar? In the UK I think this will work out to be considerably better value for some while.
Whenever I read of the CCC's latest exploits I experience a gentle and pervasive sense of security. That we still have people who do this sort of thing just for the fun of it goes a long way towards keeping the world sane.
It's all French envy
Like earlier changes to abolish GMT, this proposal for temps atomique is mostly down to the politics of envy. The French and others have long been envious of Britain's naval history and hate to be reminded of our fine tradition by the Greenwhich in GMT.
Looking to the navy's 'aircraft carriers' though, it's a puzzle why they should need to bother.
Re: "not the first time", and joke already done.
"... wrong about the Uni. Sheff" ?
Milton Wainwright at Sheffield has been associated with Chandra Wickramasinghe, who had been at Cardiff and is now at Buckingham, for quite some while. For example, they were both involved with the somewhat extravagant 'spores from space' story which purported to explain the red rain in Kerala in 2001 and which was kept going for years with suggestions that alien DNA might be identified in samples that had been collected.
Their latest concoction seems to be getting national press coverage. I've been wondering that this might be down to Benny Peiser, who is a Visiting Fellow at Buckingham and heads Nigel Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation. This is well connected at the Daily Telegraph.
How microbes from space might fit with a spoiler campaign against the latest IPCC report I don't know, but sadly something along these lines is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Re: Not a problem
But in any event as seen from above, looking down from an aircraft, it will appear to be a building lit up and decorated to look like the sky against a backdrop of ground.
Re: How do you like your porridge?
You think there's a choice?
Thank heaven they didn't forbid the use of post-it notes for passwords.
How strong is the wind?
In the region of the 'bow wave' there is a momentum interchange between the interstellar wind and the heliosphere. Presumably a large proportion of the resulting force is transferred to the sun via its magnetic field. Now that the extent of the heliosphere has been determined, and the strength of the interstellar wind measured, it must be possible to estimate this force.
Does anyone know how strong this force is and how it compares with gravitational attraction towards the centre of the galaxy?
"Funded by the BBC"
Do we know how much this cost?
Re: Bull Run & Edgehill
Does the use of Edge Hill as a codename imply that GCHQ only does partial decryption?
"... Duncan Smith will be the latest and most high-profile victim of the Universal Credit catastrophe."
Is he not the perpetrator rather than the victim?
Re: adverts already
At least it's asking if you would like to drive there, and not yet telling you that's where it's driving you.
Re: Explanation for the explosion
I was a bit doubtful at first, however...
A typical door is 6'6" x 2'6", or 2340 square inches. So a 1 p.s.i. overpressure would exert a force a little greater than one ton; ample to take the door off its hinges. 1 p.s.i. is about 1/15 atmosphere, so corresponds to a temperature increase of about 300/15, or 20 ºC. If there were no heat losses and enough air could get in without causing a draught, how much butane or similar stuff would it take to warm the air in a room by this amount? Not a lot.
Floors in domestic buildings are built to take an overall working load of around 1.5 kN/m2 plus a similar point load. This is under half a pound per square inch, so it's not surprising that even with a safety factor of two or three above design load buildings can come down in air-gas explosions.