* Posts by kurios

33 posts • joined 30 May 2015

Overstock dot-gone: Surplus biz CEO now surplus to requirements, ejects after Russian spy fling, deep state rant


I suppose the company might look at this as an opportunity to change its name from laughingstock.com back to overstock.com.

Clever girl: SpaceX's Mars-bound Raptor engine looks like it works just fine


Re: Green

SpaceX' vacuum engines (second stage) are radiation cooled. No ablative, no regenerative circulating coolant. Just radiation to the 4°K background.


Re: Green

It of course depends on the root cause.

If copper is vaporizing, you'd look to cool it better as one fix.

a) Make the copper liner *thinner*, which would reduce thermal resistance between the hot liner surface and embedded regenerative cooling channels.

b) Redesign the size/shape/placement of the cooling channels for the same reason as in a).

c) Maybe it's cavitation bubbles in the coolant channels inhibiting heat transfer, in which case, modeling and redesign to eliminate cavitation would be the thing.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers


Re: Deep Six

Somewhat similar events made me look like a hero.

My dear wife likes a cuppa in bed before breakfast. She dozed off while holding said full cuppa, spilling it on the MacBook Pro she was using at the time. Result: a drowned & totally dead machine. Extremely expensive to fix, so she migrated to an old iPad.

I kept the dead MBP. About a year later, I decided to get rid of it and wanted to scrub its internal drive before I did. I plugged in the charger in the faint hope it would power up and let me clean the drive without having to disassemble the machine. To my surprise, it booted up. A year of drying out did the trick.

So my wife thought me a techie god when I brought the resurrected laptop to her. She nicknamed it Lazarus.

The Apple Mac is 35 years old. Behold the beige box of the future


Re: Typical el Reg

I'm with you.

My anecdata experience with Apple since the Mac Classic has been nothing short of excellent. Even when things went wrong.

I took a G4 laptop in for the nth time to replace a problematic hard drive. The Apple rep had seen me before at the Palo Alto store and said "not again? - give me a minute".

He came back with a new MacBook (or whatever it was called back then) that skipped me ahead two hardware generations and just gave it to me. He asked me to bring my old one back after I'd migrated my stuff to the new machine. Didn't even take my name.

This was three days before AppleCare on my G4 laptop would have expired. The guy could have blown me off for 72 hours and it would have become my problem.

Experiences like that really cement customer loyalty. I've had so little trouble with Apple gear that I don't know what the current customer experience is like, but I hope they're using their enormous cash position to treat their customers the way they treated me.

The most annoying British export since Piers Morgan: 'Drones' halt US airport flights


Re: 500g Drone vs 100 ton airliner


DDoS of an airport could be done with ~ two hundred drones, each carrying a 100g tungsten carbide ingot. Put ten up at hourly intervals, flying inertial paths (no GPS needed) intersecting the departure routes and nobody's going anywhere. Capital cost ~$300/drone. Operation capital cost ~ $US7K for 10 drones x 24 hr.

The rapid pace of technology is showing us how fragile our infrastructure really is.

Hubble 'scope camera breaks down amid US govt shutdown, forcing boffins to fix it for free


Re: Crazy

Well, we could impeach Pence first, then Trump.

Greetings, President Pelosi.


Re: the fact that it's not a real Hubble photos and proof is just one Google search away.

Every question you put to any search engine will eventually lead to something negative about Trump. That's because he's entirely negative.

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter


Re: Remeber those heady days of the Apollo missions well

Watched all of them, too, including Apollo 11. My boss gave me his pass so I could watch from the Space Flight Operations Facility at JPL. Best summer job I ever had.

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box


need an off switch

There are too many circumstances in which automation can be in control of some aspect of aircraft operation. If one of these instances goes wrong, it takes too long to identify which one has gone bad and run the appropriate procedure while under high crew task load. And that's if the aircraft builder has actually kept documentation up to date.

There should be a single switch that unconditionally inhibits all automation, returning full manual control to a pilot. Not a panacea, but it might have prevented this accident.

Meet the real spin doctors: Scientists tell H2O to chill out so they can separate isomers


Might the different hydrogen spin alignments provide different information in NMR, which is essentially imaging of hydrogen based on its nearby chemical environment?

BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'


Re: One evening about ten year ago...

It was North Carolina. I've stayed there, too.

Believe me, the cones were essential.

US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years


Re: how long before...

Even now, major US media companies are sponsoring research into reincarnating Sophocles, Euripides, and others so as to assert their media rights under the 4,000 year copyright extension to be introduced in the next Congressional session.

MacBook Pro petition begs Apple for total recall of krap keyboards


It's a pain for individuals, but this is an instance when (in the U.S.) small claims court is useful. If Apple had to respond individually to 100K small claims actions, it might make them a bit more careful in design decisions.

That's no moon... er, that's an asteroid. And it'll be your next and final home, spacefarer


Re: Will our Descendants Feel the Same Way?

Traditions and aspirations do change with generations. But on such a ship, the range of aspirations which new generations can adopt will be constrained to those that include survival, which will pretty much limit them to continuing the mission, however grudgingly.

They may hate us, they may feel no zeal whatever for exploration. Could get ugly. But they will carry on - or die. Survivors get to boot up a new world with an expanded range of opportunities. Others disappear in the deep void. Darwin at work.

Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation


Another answer to the Fermi Paradox?

I think aliens invent Bitcoin or its equivalent shortly after they develop cheap computation. The exponential energy consumption crashes their civilizations. But hey, Blockchain!

$14bn tax hit, Surface Pro screens keep dying – but it's not all good news at Microsoft


Re: The other MS disease

The latency required for this problem to rear its ugly head might indicate thermal cycling that's slowly degrading a critical thermal interface. Too many thermal cycles might separate an interface, increasing thermal resistance and the temperature of whatever component depends on that thermal interface as part of its heat transfer chain.

It might be interesting to run an ice cube slowly over the back of one of these that's showing the problem to see if the "freeze fix" can be localized. That might give a clue to what's failing.

Meanwhile, as an earlier contributor said, I'm on a MacBook.

Report: Underwater net cables are prime targets for terrorists and Russia


Space-based redundancy

A low earth orbit internet access network such as that in development by SpaceX (https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/4/15539934/spacex-satellite-internet-launch-2019) might mitigate this problem.

Can North Korean nukes hit US mainland? Maybe. But EMP blast threat is 'highly credible'


Re: Obvious question. Could you split the whole grid into smaller sections to be more survivable?

It isn't that the west coast is dead. It is that there's no longer the ability to allocate power between widely separated areas.

Those areas with an insufficiency of power will shed load until demand matches the isolated supply. Obviously, the folks who comprise "shed load" will go dark.

But it is not the case that taking down large HVAC or HVDC distribution lines will black out the west coast. There have been many lessons learned from the blackouts of 1977 and 2003.


Re: Obvious question. Could you split the whole grid into smaller sections to be more survivable?

Some grid reconfiguration is done in response to solar coronal mass ejection events of sufficient magnitude. We get at least one day's warning of these.

I'm not sure what could be done within the less than half an hour maximum time between launch and impact of a NOK nuclear ICBM.


Re: Telecommunications cables

The light sources driving the fiber optics are laser diodes running on power supplies that can be killed by EMP.

NSA pulls plug on some email spying before Congress slaps it down


Nobody who remembers Clapper's outright perjury believes NSA has limited itself in any way. No transparency == no trust.

NASA agent faces heat for 'degrading' moon rock sting during which grandmother wet herself


Re: Why does the US care if people own bits of the Moon?

Well, it does have rounded corners...


This is one more illustration of how my country's law enforcement has become militarized - or Rambo-ized, maybe.

In a just world, Conley would be fired and Davis would be compensated for having been abused.

US Air Force terminates Predator drones. Now you will fear the Reaper


Re: AI and blockchain and social media will replace these tired pilots!

We've been there/done that already. Grenades used to be called "pineapples". No word on how they went with pizza.

Avoiding Liverpool was the aim: All aboard the world's ONLY moving aqueduct


Never mind - found one:



Are there videos of this device in action? I looked briefly, didn't find any.

Judge rules FBI can hack any time, any, place, anywhere


Re: Merkans throwing their weight around again

..."I wonder what...":

Sorry to say, basically nothing. That's what they've done before, right?

Until somebody has the stones to say "no" to Merka and live with the consequences, nothing will change.

Daft Punk: Snowden goes electronica


So, just to conform to the adage that 90% of statistics are made up on the spot - just like this one -

I'll say that 90% of the readers of this article secretly admire Snowden for what he's done and for his forthcoming appearance in the entertainment world.

If *you* could have done it, wouldn't you?

Coding is more important than Shakespeare, says VC living in self-contained universe


Khosla has fallen to short-sightedness.

Given our progress, it's likely that "coding" as a specialized skill will not be broadly required in a decade or so.

By 2026, it's highly likely that I'll be asking my computer (phone or cerebral implant) to bring up Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet or please model a particular configuration of microwave power and gas mixture in a plasma CVD process rather than thrashing out the code myself.

All the same, in 2026, I expect still to be settling in with my paper copy of Will's compleat works for an evening in front of the fire, a glass of port, and some of humanity's finest and most insightful writing.

It's so easy to fall off the exponential curve. Hasta la vista, Vinod.

Taxi for NASA! SpaceX to fly astronauts to space station


Re: Boo, hiss

Hello? Earth to Endicott....

There were no unmanned Shuttle missions. It carried humans on its first and every subsequent launch.

Radio wave gun zaps drones out of the sky – and it's perfectly legal*


Re: Arms race coming?

Just so. If not laser controlled, then inertially guided, terrain-matching, laser target-designated, or simply drone RF communications shifted to different (hopped) frequencies.

Yet one more facet of the human arms race. Computation is so very cheap these days.

Tossed all your snaps into the new Google Photos? You read the terms, right? ... RIGHT?


Strong encryption

I presume encrypting uploaded photos would prevent The Google from doing evil with your pix.


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