* Posts by Michael Necaise

16 posts • joined 21 Mar 2009

US Navy's plane-hurling mass driver in tech hiccup

Michael Necaise

catapult test

I'm about 5 miles from Newport News Ship Building... When they test the catapults they often have a large concrete and steel mass attached, to simulate the mass of an aircraft. They'll actually launch them into the James River (big splash). If that mass was accelerated backwards, even a short distance, and left the shuttle, bad things could happen. Very bad things...

NASA tests amazing bailout rocket which will never be used

Michael Necaise

launch abort not just on the pad

The launch abort system is designed to pull the capsule free during the ascent as well.

Game developer's lost electric buggy FOUND ON MOON

Michael Necaise

clean up

Problem with owning a "expensive, broken, radioactive Soviet moon-car" is that, you're responsible for it. Leaking, radioactive, junker sitting in public view.... City council will tow it then make him pay for the clean up.

Chrysler dumps e-car plans

Michael Necaise

Chrysler not long for this world

I suspect that it will be Chrysler in name only. I find it worth note that they are spinning the Ram trucks and Jeeps out into separate divisions. They have stated they plan to replace the small and mid-sized cars with Fiat designs within the next few years. The Viper is gone, to be replaced possilby by a Ferrari derivative. There won't be much left that's Chrysler -- Full sized cars (Dodge Charger & Chrysler 300) and mini-vans.

T-Mobile takes on patsy role in Microsoft Sidekick fallout

Michael Necaise


Sidekick phones work on a client - server basis and store all their data on the server side. It's supposed to be a feature -- if you lose your phone, or it gets damaged, you're not supposed to lose your data because it's all stored on Danger's servers. There is some local caching; but, chances are the users lost almost all of their data including contact lists, email, pictures, and just about anything else the users had stored "on their phone".

Ammo rationing at Wal-Mart as panic buying sweeps US

Michael Necaise

@Lewis Page

"I should have remembered how Americans feel about their fave handgun ammo!"

There's a rule I've often heard, akin to the "Don't bring a knife to a gunfight" rule. It goes:

Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with anything smaller than "4".

I don't subscribe to that myself... With modern rounds there are several adequate calibers that begin with "3" (9mm being .356 -- it's acceptable).

Michael Necaise

.45 vs 9mm

Changing the US military over from .45ACP to 9mm had little to do with ballistics. It was done for two primary reasons (as I understand it -- I'm no expert so I may be wrong...)

1.) NATO. The NATO standard was defined to be 9mm. Changing the US military to the same caliber made it easier for US troups to share.

2.) Capacity. A 45 caliber M1911A1 only holds 7 rounds in the clip. The M9 holds 15 rounds in the clip. They're smaller and lighter so a soldier can carry more.

New NASA rocket fuel 'could be made on Moon, Mars'

Michael Necaise

@ Chris McFaul

Depends on the liquid fuel combo used. Some rocket engines burn pure liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. (no additives needed) Some burn rocket grade kerosene (RP-1) and liquid oxygen. Some burn hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, which is nasty stuff. The later, and other hypergolic fuels like them, are probably the one you're thinking of when you say "extremely toxic" and are often used in upper stages or thrusters. This isn't by any means an exclusive list of fuel combinations. You might find one or more of these combined together in separate stages on one vehiclet.

Rogue knob could ground space shuttle Atlantis

Michael Necaise

@14.7 psi

They can't overpressure the shuttle to 29.4 psia. There are things in there that won't take that much pressure, even though it's only 14.7psid relative to the atmosphere outside the shuttle. Little things, like cabin pressure sensors, pressurization control valves, and so forth. If you take the shuttle up to 14.7psid where it's sitting, you're gonna be replacing a bunch of other stuff. As it stands, they're only allowed to go to 3psid.

E-cars are a dangerous myth, says top boffin

Michael Necaise


Several posts comment that we'll run out of resources to build batteries. This thinking assumes that the components are limited and non-reusable like petroleum. The batteries use metals like lithium, nickel, iron, manganese and carbon.

1. All of these elements are available in large amounts. The so called problems with future lithium supply shortages are based on supplies of lithium salts that can, literally, be scrapped off the ground. Known readily accessible reserves are 30 million tons or so. However, it's a common enough element found in many minerals which could be exploited once these resources are used up. Technically, there is 230 billion tons of the stuff disolved in seawater; although, technically, it would be difficult to extract.

2. The batteries can be recycled. So, at the end of the batteries life, the metals can be put back into the resource pool.

Itanium: 'A special cause for optimism'

Michael Necaise

Embedded x64 chips

refers to Intel Atom. Some, but not all, of the models implement the x64 instruction set. ARM, Power and MIPS have better performance per watt and are well entrenched; so, Intel is facing a significant uphill battle. Intel Atom is more likely to (continue to) find use in netbooks, nettops, and thin clients than in "embedded" applications.

USAF slammed for pranging Predators on manual

Michael Necaise

Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle can land itself. Capability was added a few years back, although it could have been done much earlier. Pilots routinely complain the automatic landing is rougher; so, most land the Shuttle manually. NASA records; however, show that the automated landings do less damage to the landing gear.

Intel chips get new logos, star treatment

Michael Necaise


Currently Pentiums are a core2 duo's and Celerons are a core2 solo (single core), in both cases at lower clock speeds and with less L2 cache than the Core2 branded version. You didn't miss any memo -- these things are, and have been for some years now, a moving target.

DARPA: Give us solar cells you can use to build stuff

Michael Necaise

Perhaps you did not read the page

Perhaps you did not read the page you linked to. Project Pluto was cancelled, in large part, because the powers that be decided that flying an unshielded nuclear reactor fueled by highly enriched uranium which spit super-heated radio-nucleotides out it's ass end was a bad idea. Besides the bombs it was slated to carry, the plan was to crash the plane into an enemy target because the radioactive fallout from the reactor would do substantial damage. Let's hope it never crashes over our own or our allies territory. Yeah, this looked like a good idea all right. Sure.

Worm breeds botnet from home routers, modems

Michael Necaise

open source firmware

What the article forgot to mention is that this mostly affects MIPS devices running open source firmware. Generally it's not the OEM firmware because most OEM firmware will not allow root / Admin access via the WAN port(s) (although there are a few poorly written examples running on devices in general use). Apparently MANY too many people installed the OpenWRT, WRT-DD, or Tomato project firmware, used easy to guess passwords, and made ssh, http, telnet, etc., available on the WAN port. Many too many people also left older revisions running with known vulnerabilities. The worm takes advantage of either.

Boffin builds DIY solar cell from doughnuts and tea

Michael Necaise

Conducting glass

Conducting glass is just glass coated in tin oxide. Not terribly hard to do, even in a garage workshop.

Mine's the lab coat with the name "Mad Scientist" stenciled on it.

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