* Posts by Peter Reid

13 posts • joined 10 Sep 2008

Baird is the word: Netflix's grandaddy gets bronze London landmark

Peter Reid

Re: His mechanical system, even enhanced, couldn't compete

All five of the US Lunar Orbiter missions used onboard film processing, scanning and broadcast back to Earth. Zero gravity wasn't the issue: vacuum, temperature and radiation exposure were the main concerns.

NASA starts countdown for Cassini probe's Saturn death dive

Peter Reid

Re: Wrong move

Wow -- thanks for that info: I hadn't realised that it would be possible! Extraordinary to think that it could have done that, and that they considered the option... (Understandable why they didn't do it in the end, though.)

Out of interest: where did you get that bit of information? It's always interesting to find background documentation on the engineering aspects of these missions -- some of the NASA history documents on probes like Surveyor, Mariners and Pioneers make for fascinating reading, and they certainly make you respect the planners and engineers involved.


Peter Reid

Re: Wrong move

Not enough fuel left, alas, to fling it anywhere else in the solar system: it's a permanent captive of Saturn. (Indeed, if you remember how it arrived in the Saturnian system, with a huge orbital injection burn, it would need a huge amount of fuel to reach escape velocity. And then, to roam forever (a la Voyager or New Horizon), it has to reach SOLAR escape velocity...)

Amazing achievement, though, this mission.

Samsung Galaxy S7: Big brand Android flagship champ

Peter Reid

I'd have bought one straight away, until I realised that they changed the camera format from 16:9 to 4:3. I take lots of HD-format images, so that was that. I wonder why they did (no-one in the stores knew). Was it hardware related? (New CCD and ancillary silicon from a new supplier? Fitting the SD slot and other things on the circuit board? Or is it a marketing ploy to position themselves closer to the 4:3 iPhone audience? Or is it because they finally got fed up with people filming things vertically, then posting a thin sliver of a film on Youtube......

Sob. (SD card! Extended battery!)

Boffins claim battery BREAKTHROUGH – with rhubarb-like molecule

Peter Reid

Re: Thermal stores would help too

Wind provides more than you think.....

I just retrieved the data provided by NETA's BMRS ( Balancing Mechanism Reporting System), at www.bmreports.com for the contribution to the National Grid by metered wind power between 9 Dec and 9 Jan, and graphed it at the link below. (The vertical scale is in MW.) [Apologies if a link such as this isn't permitted: there seemed to be no way to include images in the response -- at least, not for first-time posters.]


As you can see, it exceeded 3GW almost continuously, and 5GW on many occasions. And this, remember, is only the metered contribution. Another 50% is provided by embedded systems -- in other words, wind turbines providing electrical power that shows up only as a reduction in demand. (So this graph can be scaled up by another 50%, for a true reflection of wind's contribution over the last month.)

'Safest car ever made' Tesla Model S EV crashes and burns. Car 'performed as designed'

Peter Reid

Re: Video

Er, well, it might be rocket science... or at least, impossible science. Unless the phone physically forces you to turn it by 90 degrees (hell of a gyroscope :-), or rotates the CCD internally, it can only deal with the image as projected... We need youTube to either show the image horizontally (and we all get cricked necks), or they introduce a 'vertical mode'. (Actually, the last one's the easiest, I guess: an "idiot-aspect" button.)

Microsoft mocks Apple and new iPhones in vids it quickly pulls

Peter Reid

Re: Interview? An Hilarious....

Well, yes... there are loads of examples of 'an', out there. But if you asked someone to pronounce the word "historic", then almost everyone -- with the exception of Dick van Dyke in "Mary Poppins" -- would include the 'h'. And the general rule still applies. It's fascinating to work out just why some words like 'historic' are treated differently (even when it's harder to say 'an' with the 'h'). Lots of Cockney historians, I guess. :-)

Peter Reid

Re: Interview? An Hilarious....

In written English you'd never write "riding an horse", or "wearing an hat". Any word that is defined as having an aspirated 'h' at the front (such as 'horse', 'hat', 'hilarious', 'hotel' or 'historic') always takes 'a' rather than 'an' as the article...

Whether or not someone drops 'h's when pronouncing the words is a completely different thing... we add or remove all sorts of stuff when we speak. (For example, a linguistics study I took part in some years ago showed that large numbers of people -- especially when speaking quickly -- say "hambag" rather than "handbag"... and we don't notice. Apart from "The Importance of being Earnest", of course, when it would stand out a bit.)

Transit of Venus, live-ish from Australia

Peter Reid

Re: Welding goggles

Hi -- suitable welding goggles are prefectly safe -- for example, the glass used for arc/MIG welding or plasma cutting (welding glass 14) will completely block the UV and IR components, and will suitably attentuate visible light.

You might be thinking about the kind of glass used for standard oxy-acetylene welding: that wouldn't be safe, as that kind of welding doesn't produce much UV.

NASA releases stunning new moon-landing snaps

Peter Reid

Re: hmmmm

Not really: superimpose the old and new images and there's a slight variation: enough to suggest (along with the different sun-angle) that they're different photographs...

Peter Reid

Cernan's walk back to the LM from the LRV

If you look at the lunar surface video (http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/a17/video17.html#closeout3), particularly from 170:24:16 onwards, you can see that Cernan walks (in terms of the NASA photo on the Reg page) away from the LM and rover to the right, and then up and around, towards the LM. His tracks are as likely as not part of the whole set of tracks (rover and human) that can be seen running horizontally across to the LM.

Extraordinary photographs, these.

Jupiter spacecraft mounted atop bloody big rocket

Peter Reid

An extraordinary early advance

It's amazing to think that -- while the N1 was an over-complexly plumbed dead-end (30 engines in the first stage alone!), the NK-33 engines (which led to the RD-170 and RD-180 technologies) were decades ahead of their time. I remember a Horizon programme that followed the US engineers in the 90s (who'd been approached by the Russians), who just couldn't believe the thrust-to-weight figures the Russians claimed, until they actually witnessed a test. They were astounded that closed-cycle engines had been developed, so early on. It's also amazing to think that it was only because one of the chief engineers on the project disobeyed a direct instruction to destroy the stock of NK-33s that the technology survived; no-one else was even looking at closed-cycle engines with O2-rich preburners.

Today is not Hadron Collider Day

Peter Reid

@One quick question, please correct me if I am wrong.

The detector fields themselves are truly titanic (CMS alone is 4 Tesla, which compares with the Earth's ~50 microTesla), but the solenoids and toroids are constructed such that most of the field is constrained within the devices (and also the beam tubes) themselves; very little leaks out.

Mind you, near the detectors is another thing entirely. The ALICE detector has at its end two giant steel doors (leftovers from a LEP experiment), weighing 300 tonnes. When the magnet's turned on, the doors bend in by several centimetres.....

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