Bizarre Confessions

General => Science & Technology => Topic started by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 04, 2014, 01:04:26 PM

Title: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 04, 2014, 01:04:26 PM
(https://24.media.tumblr.com/ba6cd5e53f3759d5f4d143fdcd7109ca/tumblr_n3ipv1T0Bx1srbpb0o1_500.jpg)

Yep. It is what you thought. Shrink-wrapped pack of five 6250cpi 9-track 1/2" tapes. New old stock!

Lot of interesting things coming out of my old professor's office ... !
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on April 04, 2014, 09:26:13 PM
 :trance:

Do you want to go over to Computer Science and ask if they could mount those?
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on April 04, 2014, 10:18:29 PM
don't they have a a tumbler for that?  Mounting old storage.  Like that mounting statues or mounting furniture page...
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 04, 2014, 11:08:55 PM
:trance:

Do you want to go over to Computer Science and ask if they could mount those?

I think we were the last department to use them. We've also got a *lot* of laserdiscs, but they're all the telemetry from the CZCS mission and not the original cut of Star Wars, alas.

I threw out all my DATs in December though. I feel liberated!
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 22, 2014, 04:51:10 PM
In 1883 Josť Bonillla, an astronomer in Mexico, made some careful observations of hundreds of objects moving across the face of the sun, some with what looked like misty halos surrounding them. Nobody else, including other astronomers mere hundreds of kilometers away, saw them, so his observations and photographs were discounted as geese, dust, or in more recent years by crazier people, alien spacecraft.

Well.

Some modern astronomers, thinking about more recent observations, decided to think about the data from the point of view of parallax. The non-observations of the objects from other known locations and the geometry of Bonilla's photographs (and his shutter speed) constrained the problem and allowed them to estimate their relative size, distance and speed. And then there's those misty haloes. Yep. You know what's coming, don't you. You already figured it out.

They're pretty sure Bonilla observed a broken up comet, possibly a billion tons in mass, passing hundreds to thousands of km away from the Earth. They estimate that had it not missed, the result would have been upwards of three thousand Tunguska-like impacts on the planet (http://www.technologyreview.com/view/425780/billion-ton-comet-may-have-missed-earth-by-a-few-hundred-kilometers-in-1883/). Gosh, I wonder what that would be like.

Shall we play a game?


This and the Pleistocene impact have really got me wondering if anthropogenic climate change is really that big a deal. :shrug:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on April 22, 2014, 05:26:05 PM
COOL.

Anthropogenic habitat change of any kind tends to be a really big deal -- for us.  Always is.  We're wiping out other species at geological-disaster rates as it is, but we shit where we eat, and that's what makes the biggest difference -- to us.

Giant impacts are cool to imagine and probably miserable to survive.  :shrug:

I was thinking that sun-transit objects of unknown type were called 'vulcanians', but apparently nowadays it's vulcanoids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcanoid_asteroid)?  I think Fort called the 'vulcanians', but my memory is hazy.

Old-time astronomers used to get shit over moonflashes, too, and sundogs, but it turns out they're real.  There's a lot to see up there, and a lot of it is weird stuff you won't see every day.  God only knows.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Sidious on April 22, 2014, 07:08:48 PM
Holy shitsnacks.   :shock:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on April 22, 2014, 07:56:45 PM
That's pretty cool the way they figured that out, or that they were even curious enough to look into it in the first place.

There was a thing on the NewsHour (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/potential-revive-extinct-animals-raises-ethical-questions/) tonight about trying to reestablish extinct species, which sounds like a good idea at first glance, trying to right a wrong, and it's not like introducing cane toads, it's replacing something that was there naturally, but most likely in would end up in the same kind of snafu. As a biologist on there said, it would be better to spend whatever resources and technologies are available on saving the species we are currently wiping out, like the white rhino.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on April 22, 2014, 08:16:27 PM
What could go wrong :P
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on April 23, 2014, 02:08:44 PM
Almost always, species go extinct ultimately because of habitat change.  Repairing that is generally well beyond our resources and/or abilities.  (Screwing it up in the first place is way too easy.)

For instance, saving the nene is a good example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nene_(bird)#Conservation).  Relatively small, easy to keep, easy to feed -- nothing like, say, rhinos.  They almost went extinct mostly because of ferrets (mongoose), pigs, and cats were introduced to the Hawaiian islands.  They're common-ish in captivity, as rare endangered animals go, but re-introducing them to Hawaii doesn't solve anything.  Their habitat is still full of invasive species.

Personally, although I'm totally in favor of saving both vital species (and it's hard to tell which ones are, because, you know, ecology is interdependent) and charismatic megafauna, I think the best pursuit right now might be collecting DNA samples.  As varied as possible.  Put them in the seed vault (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svalbard_Global_Seed_Vault).  Down the line, someone may have the resources to actually save these species without having to go full Jurassic Park.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 28, 2015, 08:18:22 PM
Nature Publishing Group has lost its fucking mind (http://news.sciencemag.org/scientific-community/2015/03/editor-quits-journal-over-pay-expedited-peer-review-offer).

I have never heard of anything remotely resembling this. Ever. I'm 15% thinking all of this is a complete freaking hoax. It's insane.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on March 29, 2015, 12:59:46 AM
Not Found

These are not the nodes you are looking for
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on March 29, 2015, 01:01:58 AM
Found it clack (http://news.sciencemag.org/scientific-community/2015/03/editor-quits-journal-over-pay-expedited-peer-review-offer)
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 29, 2015, 10:20:46 AM
also fix0rated
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on March 29, 2015, 10:35:53 AM
:eek:

I . . . uh . . . I thought that was going to be related to the giant peer-review faked-for-money scandal (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/03/27/fabricated-peer-reviews-prompt-scientific-journal-to-retract-43-papers-systematic-scheme-may-affect-other-journals/).

I guess it's just a coincidence.  :nonplused:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 29, 2015, 04:48:45 PM
I'm finding it hard to believe, but it's in AAAS Science so, uh. Yeah. I've never heard of this, and I've never been approached by one of these outfits. I'd love to see a list of journals that use these services and a list of the companies that provide them.

And of course it would make that fake-peer-review scheme even more profitable.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on March 30, 2015, 09:31:20 AM
We could pitch to Fox that they come with Fox Science News Journal that does its own peer-review internally.  No fees except for 'processing', but of course the same old Kochs would get to choose what gets a pass and what doesn't.  Plenty of people out there desperate to publish.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on July 22, 2015, 05:26:07 PM
Just so's you know, the Asteroid Redirect Mission is getting real (http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId={A680142F-8F79-93C8-CED4-644C30C5F31A}&path=open).
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on July 22, 2015, 05:52:06 PM
Unbelievable, but a worthwhile endeavor. I suppose. Sometimes. Sometimes I say, "Bring it."
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on July 22, 2015, 06:19:35 PM
Asteroid intercept is a totally worthwhile thing, for a variety of reasons, but laser ablation is the only sane technological solution currently on the table for serious asteroid defense.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on July 22, 2015, 06:41:03 PM
Oh, well, they're pretty much only considering the insane ones then. Kinetic energy projectiles or repurposed nuclear weapons.

But this is just for the preliminary, robot flies to asteroid and retrieves boulder mission. Ion propulsion though, pretty cool.
SOMEDAY they'll actually start talking about redirecting an asteroid ... !
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Sidious on July 22, 2015, 07:23:21 PM
The physics involved when it comes to moving an asteroid that essentially has the mass of a mountain start rapidly bordering on the absurd.

Even when you're talking about a 30 megaton nuclear fusion device, the amount of effect such a thing would have on the trajectory of such a huge mass is surprisingly small when you work out the math, even under the best case scenario.

Granted, in an "if-we-can-slow-it-down-by-even-a-couple-of-minutes" in order for it to miss hitting the Earth and killing millions scenario, that might still be worthwhile, but man.  Talk about your long shots.   :(
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on July 22, 2015, 07:27:42 PM
I actually think the latest math - I think this is former astronaut Ed Lu's work - says the best thing is to land some ion engines on there and have them fire for a few years.

erm

Not quite. (http://edlu.com/asteroids)

Anyway, yes, it's all fabulously absurd.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on July 22, 2015, 07:50:30 PM
I just finished reading Seveneves by Stephenson.  Nice story.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on July 22, 2015, 08:16:18 PM
maybe some day they'll watch a movie to see what can go wrong.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Sidious on July 22, 2015, 10:19:33 PM
:lol:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on July 24, 2015, 10:44:08 AM
Quote
the best thing is to land some ion engines on there and have them fire for a few years.

Laser ablation is the same method except that you don't have to send any ion engines out there.  Instead, they stay in orbit, which makes maintenance and redundancy and so on way, way easier.  Also, in effect the engines get to the asteroid and get to work at the speed of light, which gives you far more time for detection.

Solar-powered laser in orbit.  Well, probably a battery of lasers.  Tag asteroid on one side.  Where the beam hits, material boils explosively off the asteroid, gradually pushing it the other way.  Doesn't matter if the asteroid spins (which it will) because the thrust will always be in the same direction without needing adjustments.

The sooner you start nudging, the less nudging it takes to turn a hit into a miss.

The lasers are still non-trivial technology, don't get me wrong, but we've already spent more money on megawatt and more powerful lasers than on ion engines, and the application here is at least an order of magnitude simpler.  And reusable. 

The major drawback is that the same laser system is also automatically a considerable weapon system -- not more powerful than a nuke, by any means, but more usable.  There are ways to reduce the weapon issue, but . . . realistically, as soon as people can build good laser weapons, they will.  Might as well get some peaceful use out of them.

A laser strong enough to deflect asteroids this way is also strong enough to launch vehicles from the Earth's surface into orbit.  I got your orbital elevator right here, no cables necessary.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on August 20, 2015, 11:26:38 AM
From https://www.facebook.com/david.gerrold/posts/10206287034867123

Dr. Kjell Lundgren revealed there are tribbles on the International Space Station and the crowd went wild.

 :popcorn:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on August 20, 2015, 04:59:24 PM
So I take it the Spokane police did not show up to arrest Gerrold for terrorism after all.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on September 07, 2015, 11:33:30 PM
http://qmackie.com/2015/09/01/mercury-rising/

Come for the archaeology, stay for the evil puns.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on September 28, 2015, 11:21:46 AM
OK so today they had a press conference announcing "strong evidence" of salty liquid water flows on Mars (http://www.theguardian.com/science/across-the-universe/live/2015/sep/28/water-on-mars-buildup-to-nasa-mystery-solved-announcement-live). This ... ain't actually a surprise to those of us who are reading space news all the time, but ok. Looks real good. The people who say it's all dust and rock flows causing the streamflow patterns on the martian surface have taken a real hit to the shorts here and they seem to be retreating in disarray. Some are saying it means a very high chance of microbial life on the martian surface, and that it makes the prospect of sending astronauts a lot more plausible because it'll be easy to find water :nonplused:

But the thing is, they're saying the salts that are in this water ... are perchlorates.

Yeah

OK

... there's not going to be microbial life in there. I mean the whole point behind chlorine bleach is to strongly discourage microbial life, and to basically degrade complex organic compounds in general. They seem to be putting a positive spin on this by claiming perchlorates are 'vital' which, what the fuck. It's a strong oxidizer. You get the water out of there and it's used as an oxidizer for fuckin rocket engines, maybe that's why they think it'll be cool for astronauts to have around.

But at least the water will be chlorinated already so the astronauts don't have to worry about microbial life contaminating their water.

Maybe I'm missing something important here but you can't evolve life in water with the presence of strongly oxidizing compounds like perchlorate. It's just basic organic chemistry.

This could be another critically embarrassing thing for NASA. I'm afraid it's going to be epically stupid, like the arsenate-using microbes in Mono Lake that didn't exist. Wish they wouldn't do such things.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 28, 2015, 12:04:58 PM
I'd prefer there isn't life on Mars, if we're gonna send people there, and so on.  You know what I mean.

Hopefully NASA won't go all crazy on this.  Some microbes can break perchlorates down, but (A) that doesn't mean they first evolved in that environment; they came from elsewhere and may have had a hell of time adapting to perchlorate habitats, and (B) I have no idea how much perchlorate they can stand.  I believe all the ones we have here are hot-environment beasties, hydrothermal vents and hot-rock archaea and so on.  Not very surface-of-Mars.

:shrug:

It's OK, and all, but I want more propulsion research.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Sidious on September 28, 2015, 03:29:16 PM
It's OK, and all, but I want more propulsion research.

This.

Maybe it's just the engineer in me talking, but our propulsion technology at this point is far behind what it should be.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 29, 2015, 09:25:21 AM
Rockets are tricky, and all that, and expensive, and they kerplode a LOT of the time.  I get it.  And mostly people have been concentrating on Stuff To Do In Space rather than infrastructure, which is mostly a budgetary issue.  And I get that, too.

But I still object to sending people to Mars when it's so risky and takes so long.  Talking about colonies when no assistance is possible is pretty crazy.  Arguably easier would be sending a bunch of people on a one-way solo trip to the bottom of the ocean to just live there from now on, and GOOD LUCK.

At the very least, we should be spending more money on laser launch.  From an engineering standpoint, it's a no-brainer to at least work on it.  Little test models work fine without even carrying any reaction mass; they don't get to orbit, of course, but it's proof of the basic concept.  There's nothing to stop you from training a laser on a water rocket and sending it up, and the technology has obvious military applications of many kinds. 

Water rockets have a low specific impulse unless / until you go to fancy plasma rockets, but you can do that without a lot of change in the design (as these things go), and water's cheap and comparatively safe.  And you can still use air as reaction mass until you get up to a considerable speed.

Water rockets work to send stuff to Mars, too.  You just want the laser to be up in orbit or on the moon, at that point.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on September 29, 2015, 10:55:57 AM
we aint doin' shit until we figure out a way to stop cosmic rays.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 29, 2015, 12:42:11 PM
Water's good shielding, but better propulsion means less time in space being exposed to a lot of radiation.  A colony on a dusty planet like Mars has no excuse for not having good shielding -- it's just too easy to build underground (and quasi-underground) shelters.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on September 29, 2015, 01:06:35 PM
right now there is no way to shield a shelter on mars. andy weir has done talks about it.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 29, 2015, 05:53:37 PM
Wat.  Let's not be ridiculous.  You're bombarded by secondary radiation from cosmic rays all the time, and it hasn't killed you yet -- or killed your computer.  Or the Mars rovers.  Water and polyethylene and rock can do a lot to block the nasty stuff, and, although it hasn't been fully worked out yet, electromagnetic fields can affect a lot of it, and so on.  Maybe metallic hydrogen.

NASA says five meters of typical Martian soil should provide as much protection from cosmic rays and their secondary radiation as the Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field do.  That's not even hard.  If you can get a colony group and its equipment from here to Mars, you can certainly build them living space underground once you get there.  Or build big domes out of sintered dust and soil, or dust and soil trapped under heavy polyethylene, etc.  Put them in a small crater (30m diameter kinds of small) and roof it over with a low dome.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on September 29, 2015, 07:36:06 PM
i don't mean underground. i mean a soft walled habitat on the surface.

as far as our constant bombardment, well, we have an atmosphere.

it was something that came up when he wrote his book.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 30, 2015, 08:51:21 AM
BAH.  If a soft-walled habitat won't work, then you don't use one.  You don't set up a pup tent on the ocean floor.  That's just planning, innit.

Although you can throw dust over a soft-walled habitat, gunk or sinter or layer it with fabric, and repeat.  Lots of dust on Mars.  Electrostatics make accumulating it pretty easy.  Power's always an issue, but you don't go to Mars without figuring out the power problem.  You're gonna want power.  A lot of it. 

The problem of smelting basalt over an inflated structure is an exercise I leave for the reader.  BUT I'm sure it could be done using solar accumulators, as a spot treatment, bit by bit, with automation.  It's not a race, especially since robots can start the work even before people get there. 

Does Martian dust pack well?  Can you compress it into even temporary bricks easily?  Do you have to add a binder (awkward, considering, but probably not impossible) or do you need to bake an exterior layer to keep it together?  There's certainly iron in it.  It's got potential as a building material, but I don't want to handwave endless convenient energy.

I think gravity remains the big longterm issue.  Martian surface gravity is like a third of Earth's.  I don't know how much of a problem that is, but it remains really hard to change.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on September 30, 2015, 01:57:26 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/PEgUHbN.png)
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on September 30, 2015, 02:16:12 PM
Well, I can't imagine what it's like to be crowded into a small space with a bunch of other people for long periods of time or this over the horizon effect thing at all OOOOOOOOH SOOOOOOOOO LOOOOOOOOONELLYYYYYYYYYYYYY clearly this means we shouldn't attempt long voyages of any kind

:nonplused:

We have already discussed point 6 in one of these threads somewhere. hmm. I think one of the actual big deals (not these time mag :cow: :shit: deals) is there isn't enough nitrogen on Mars and they'd have to bring big tanks of ammonia or something with them.

Gotta search for that thread.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on September 30, 2015, 02:20:01 PM
Yep right here (http://www.bizarreconfessions.com/forum/index.php?topic=137.msg181769#msg181769)

And of course pdrake had already read the book. :clap:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on September 30, 2015, 03:01:51 PM
Go ahead and brainstorm the challenges. It'll give us a list to check off.

FOR SCIENCE!
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 30, 2015, 03:37:15 PM
Time magazine, however, can bite me.  LET'S SEE:

1)  180-day trip IS bullshit.  I'm advocating for not sending people until we can do it much faster than that.  Now, I imagine that timeframe is reliant on transfer orbits, and I am not a rocket scientist, so I can't calculate transfer orbits.  In these modern times, you don't have to wait for the tide before setting out from harbor, and similarly maybe we should go to Mars until transfer orbits are less crucial.

They'll still matter, inasmuch as the relative positions of Earth and Mars will matter.  Sometimes Mars is comparatively really close to us, and sometimes it's on the other friggin' side of Mr Sun.  Be advised.  But a good colony ship can at least power right on over with a bunch of passengers.  A ship hauling many tons of supplies and such, that's different, and it can be a slow boat driven by automation.  Send it out early.


2)  The temperature?  Pff.  It gets lethally cold HERE, and I've lived in much colder places.  If I were going to live on Mars, I'd, you know, live indoors, mostly.  THAT isn't rocket science.  I'm confident that if we're in any condition to set up a colony on freaking Mars, we'll have central heat.


3)  CO2 isn't technically poisonous, but, yes, you can't breathe outside on Mars all by yourself.  I think most colonial planners would take this into account.  Crack soil moisture for oxygen?  I don't know.  We're hearing there's a lot of perchlorate up there, and that has a lot of oxygen in it.  Leave it to the educated people to know how to get it out.  Without kerploding the colony, I mean.


4)  This seems a trifle pessimistic, even to me.  There are therapies for staying healthy in low-G, and some are surely better than others.  Last I heard, NASA was hot on the sleep-in-a-slow-centrifuge technique.  Very low gravity is definitely bad for you over the long term, especially if you want to return to Earth-like gravity.  Mars, I dunno.  I'm sure NASA is studying it, but it's tricky to simulate.  I think this would be a Monitor It And Hope For The Best.


5)  If there are microbes on Mars, I think allergic reactions are the biggest likely threat.  There's also a serious threat of allergic reactions to Martian dust, etc, even if there aren't any microbes.  You'll need very good air purification and positive pressure at all times, for starters, plus electrostatics, and yadda yadda.  And good medical facilities.  Even so, it's a risk.  And you can't really be sure until you go there and see.


6)  You need redundant equipment; you need the ability to replace / repair / reproduce as much as possible.  Again, better propulsion makes this a million times easier. 

I don't . . . what are they saying about humidity?  It takes some tending.  It might be trickier in lower gravity.  I think it could be hacked.  A smaller number of bigger greenhouses is probably easier.  Oxygen explosions due to crops?  It depends on how crappy this colony is.  Again, better spacecraft mean you can take better equipment, and more of it.


7)  Shorter trip.  Yes, sure.  Will colonists go stir-crazy on Mars?  Are they going to be packed into shitty inflatable tents four meters across?  Then, maybe, yes, and I don't blame them.  Can we have robots build them a bunch of nice underground spaces so they have more room than they actually even need, and maybe we can even have simulated windows with pleasant scenes?  Then it's much less likely.

Look, if you're sending ten people to live in a tent in the middle of Greenland for six months on a budget of $3000, expect problems.  The lesson to take away here is that we're not ready yet to send people to Mars -- not with any safety or comfort.  There are still people crazy enough to go, and there are enough of them so that some of them are smart and skilled enough to do a good job.

Personally, I'd still spend the money on propulsion research instead, for now.  But I don't think it's unworkable.  Humans have already done a lot of amazing engineering projects.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 30, 2015, 03:42:36 PM
Nitrogen thing . . . I don't know.  Say you've got fairly cheap robot ship to Mars.  You have to deliver an effton of nitrogen at the colony site for the colonists who'll arrive a month after the nitrogen gets there.

What do you send?  Frozen ammonia?  Drop it down on a zillion parachute-airbag rigs?  Drop little pellets down a looooong hose? 
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on September 30, 2015, 04:49:24 PM
somebody already mathed it.

http://www.braeunig.us/space/interpl.htm
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 30, 2015, 05:40:44 PM
:lol:  A lot of people have.  Which is good, because I'm not going to.  I didn't do that well even in pre-calc.  I don't even usually do SF that requires me to do much math.

Those are low-energy transfer orbits, though, yeah.  Current-tech kinds of things, assuming 'short burns' where you blast off, coast, get there, and then burn again briefly to slow down.  Consider the difference between an underhand lob toss of a softball from person A to person B.  Acceleration at the throw, acceleration at the catch, ballistic coasting in between.  A typical old-school roller coaster works the same way -- a motor drags you up the first hill, and after that it's all calculated coasting.  (Hence the name.)

To get to Mars at a really decent speed requires a frequent or constant burn (thrust), which is more like driving down the highway than coasting.  Right now, the only hope we have of a constant burn is something like an ion engine, which gives you a constant low thrust -- in space, that's still terrific, but it doesn't scale well enough to build an ion engine like that (with current tech) that can give you a constant high thrust. 

Forget one gravity; current models don't reach an appreciable fraction of one gravity.  They're good for what they do.  They'd be fine for moving cargo to Mars.  They're not great for moving people to Mars.  And to get people to Mars fast, you need a lot of accelerating, and you can't do it all at once or else, you know, they get there as chunky soup.

We could build somewhat crappy, bulky, inefficient higher-power thrusters . . . but mostly using nuclear reactors, and the thrust-to-weight ratio would be abysmal.  OR we could keep the nuclear reactor here (in orbit or on the moon) and beam the power (as a laser, or probably a maser) to the spacecraft, in which case suddenly it's awesome.  Or maybe we could develop excellent small reactors, if we threw money at it and only put shielding on one side.

Lasers aren't the only kind of beamed power . . . there are hilarious crazy pellet drive concepts of many kinds, but, you know, laser beams are fast, which is great for various reasons.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on September 30, 2015, 06:11:23 PM
:galm: you and your laser beams. New rule. Whenever you talk about laser propulsion you have to say "on the one hand, ... on the other hand, ... on the gripping hand ...", fyunch(click).
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 30, 2015, 06:21:32 PM
Fyunch [zap]



Lasers are great, man.  You should try them.  You know you want to.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on September 30, 2015, 10:58:32 PM
I have a whole bunch of lasers, but even out of the atmosphere they wouldn't push anything to Mars larger than a molecule
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on September 30, 2015, 11:07:47 PM
 :rollin: :rollin: :rollin:

that was funny as shit picturing a molecule being pushed by a pulsating laser.

on the other side, hasn't propulsion by light been pretty proven? did the just do a successful solar sail experiment?
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on October 01, 2015, 09:52:46 AM
I . . . uh, yes, it's been done (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail#Projects_operating_or_completed).  OK, good.

I'm not actually talking about a light-pressure drive, though, although you can certainly use lasers for that, too.  I'm talking beamed power.  The simplest methods basically have you shooting the laser at something on the butt of the spaceship, and that something kerplodes and provides thrust. 

The Lightcraft people have instead used atmospheric craft, so far (that I've heard), where a laser hits the vehicle and superheats air inside a shroud, and the air kerplodes and shoves the vehicle along.  With a water rocket, you'd have a heat exchanger for starters or preheat steam at the launch site.  Then the laser would target the steam plume itself, just behind the rocket (or, if precision allows, inside the rocket nozzle), and heat it to very high plasma temperatures.

A maser is good for this for several reasons, outside the atmosphere, including that the lens (you need a big lens for long distance use) can be a big piece of aluminum foil with holes punched in it.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on October 01, 2015, 09:53:42 AM
And don't forget that big lasers are also the best way to make asteroids and comets miss hitting the Earth!  So the same laser system could be used for that, as necessary.

I may have mentioned this before.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on October 01, 2015, 09:54:18 AM
Although, yes, an orbiting maser in the gigawatt range could also be just a bit of a weapon.  Granted.  But so could the Shuttle Orbiter, etc.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on October 01, 2015, 11:52:02 AM
Everything is a weapon if you use it the wrong/right way, if only as a club. But, put a maser in a Sol/Terra La Grange point to minimize the potential danger. It still would have a lot of use as a propulsion system and anti-asteroid defense from that far away. If there were an array of masers, we wouldn't even have to time-share the beam for multiple projects.

I'm thinking out loud here and haven't even done the required reading yet.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on October 01, 2015, 05:25:28 PM
an orbiting maser in the gigawatt range 

Hey, just what you see, pal!  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIPCn-aYMoM)
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on October 01, 2015, 05:58:09 PM
I dunno, I can see an awful lot.

/Solo
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on October 07, 2015, 01:02:01 PM
Mayyybe this is the reason for Carmack's long silence  (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34462323) ... he's getting something together to compete for the Lunar X Prize, never mind the Waifu Age.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on October 16, 2015, 07:22:07 PM
Wow. The central nervous system of Alzheimer's patients contain fungi.  (http://www.nature.com/articles/srep15015) Non-Alzheimer's persons' CNSs do not.

Wow.

This could be very, very big. (or it could be very very wrong)
But they used microscopic observation and antibody tests. It's very persuasive.

Also doesn't guarantee causality, it could be the other way around: whatever causes Alzheimer's invites the yeastie beasties in. But still. This is kind of amazing.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on October 16, 2015, 08:11:51 PM
I remember prions being a leading candidate years ago, but I haven't kept up with the topic at all. Intriguing.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on October 17, 2015, 01:42:23 AM
well, don't tell the apes.

haven't read it, but did they identify the fungi? that's like another animal kingdom attacking another.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on October 17, 2015, 05:57:44 AM
Quote
but did they identify the fungi?

Several different ones, possibly unique to each patient. There were only 11 patients in the study, but findings were also backed up from other archived samples.

This looks very promising. It looks to be a sure step in the right direction at the very least. As you read (or try to read, as in my case) through the study, you can see as they discuss it how the investigation has progressed, and this really seems to fit right in.

Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on October 17, 2015, 09:58:23 AM
WEIRD.

Yeah, I thought prions were a great candidate, based on what I'd read.

This should get a bigger study rolling pretty quick.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on October 17, 2015, 01:29:20 PM
Usually this kind of heavily hyped study uses just one technique, and that's pretty thin. I like how they did both histology and immunochemistry. That makes the study a lot stronger in my book. Still plenty of chances for this to be wrong, but it's incredibly promising.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on January 08, 2016, 07:37:24 PM
... a black hole (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35258378)

(actually haven't seen it yet, hopefully next year)

but





wow

Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on January 09, 2016, 05:37:04 AM
Quote
Its black hole is much bigger and is known for blasting an immense jet of plasma into space.

(http://i.imgur.com/Dyikqpb.jpg)
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 08, 2016, 06:21:04 PM
They did it. Those crazy motherfuckers finally did it.

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/718561436201431040

Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on April 08, 2016, 10:11:09 PM
"Your skills are now complete."
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on April 09, 2016, 08:55:30 AM
I think the inflatable (http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/space-flight/space-habitat-on-its-way-to-iss-nasa-prepares-to-blow-it-up) is underappreciated. Not to mention the cabbage.

Really, the reaction to the landing surprised me. It's good to see people getting so stoked about this again.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on April 09, 2016, 09:03:08 AM
Also on that site, $250 LIDAR. (http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/sweep-lidar-for-robots-and-drones)

pdrake, what are you waiting for? I don't even have a drone and I want the LIDAR unit. I'll figure out what to do with it later.

EDIT: IRTFA. Still in Kickstarter stage. If they pull it off, they'll probably get gobbled up by Garmin or some other company, and the consumer will never see those kind of prices.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on April 09, 2016, 10:16:32 AM
I still think this is terrific engineering and so-so design.  If they ever use it anytime soonish on a planetary body that doesn't have a useful atmosphere, then . . . well, I'll be pleasantly surprised for a variety of reasons.  But I think there are better aspects of rocketry the money could have been spent on.

Frankly, I'm way more stoked about the inflatable ISS module.  :shrug:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 09, 2016, 01:02:48 PM
Yeah, hey, remember years ago when I said, keep an eye on Bigelow Aerospace? YEP. That's their inflatable.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on April 14, 2016, 05:47:51 PM
http://baconipsum.com/

Although I should have realized it was out there.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 14, 2016, 06:42:12 PM
Oh yeah, we discussed that way back when. It's delicious.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on June 06, 2016, 10:29:13 PM
http://www.tomdixon.net/us/tool-the-mathematician.html I'll just leave this here and go grab a mop.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on June 06, 2016, 11:48:55 PM
I have CAD software.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on June 07, 2016, 12:31:55 AM
Yeah, but he's already done all the layout work. And he's opening a store in Culver City soon.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on June 07, 2016, 08:35:21 AM
And what about Simon Bar Sinister?
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on June 07, 2016, 10:20:59 AM
He's still fighting the Collage of Heralds trying to get them to allow his black bar on a black background shield.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on June 07, 2016, 11:39:27 AM
if there was an architectural scale i'd be interested. although, it would disappear from my desk within a week.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on November 07, 2016, 05:34:38 PM
https://theeyeopener.com/2016/11/building-bots-for-unstable-archeological-digging/

I like the idea. It's a step in the direction of robotic mining of asteroids.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on November 07, 2016, 07:35:05 PM
The future of colonoscopy.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on November 07, 2016, 07:50:11 PM
The future of colonoscopy.

Band Name!
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on November 08, 2016, 01:05:35 AM
The future of colonoscopy.

Band Name!
That did not go where I expected.  :rollin:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on November 08, 2016, 10:19:46 AM
Probably the best way to mine asteroids is to vaporize them with concentrated sunlight, then use big electromagnetic arrays to redirect the ionized metallic vapor / dust ejecta.  Stream it through vacuum to a processing facility that then catches it.  Naught but essentially pre-smelted ore in the catcher.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Sidious on November 09, 2016, 09:48:15 PM
The future of colonoscopy.

Band Name!
That did not go where I expected.  :rollin:

Aaaaaaaand their first album name!
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on November 10, 2016, 10:05:24 AM
:lol:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 07, 2017, 10:48:02 PM
http://gizmodo.com/these-are-the-wildly-advanced-space-exploration-concept-1794125986

WHOA: it's not quite Axe's laser-powered rocket but a 100MW laser beaming power to photovoltaic cells on a spacecraft yielding a specific impulse of 60K seconds? Awesome.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on April 08, 2017, 03:17:21 AM
the future of space is commercial.

i love NASA more than anyone but, unfortunately they're USGOV.

dead end

makes me sad.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on April 08, 2017, 09:17:30 AM
NICE.  The Russians and Chinese, for starters, may object to an orbital 100 MW laser array, but everything in orbit is vastly dangerous if misused.  So it goes.


The profit motive isn't always helpful in these fields.  For one thing, so long as the money comes from the government, typically government agencies are at least as efficient as private ones.  A corporation wants to maximize its profits, not how much space travel it gets done, and we all know how efficient the government is at facilitating competition for contracts, regulating contractors, etc.

Empery might be a bigger deal.  Right now, a serious billionaire could own Mars, if he (alas, yes, he) got off his ass.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 08, 2017, 08:54:53 PM
I'm always puzzled by the arguments for the future of space being profitable to corporations. So far that's pretty much not true, except for communications, which doesn't have a lot of applications beyond Clarke orbit? I mean SpaceX  and every other space contractor are living on government contracts, and their big innovations are oriented toward putting a lower bid on those contracts, and maybe some space tourism (Mars is also gonna be space tourism for them). And with the asteroid belt being ignored by the present (temporary) administration, that just delays space mining from making money for anyone. Anyway, I don't get it. What am I missing?
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on April 09, 2017, 10:36:44 AM
There are vast profits out there, but mostly they're not Earthly profits.  It's as if the New World had been thirty times as far from Europe and Asia.  Worth going?  Sure.  Worth shipping stuff back?  Probably not.

There was an article today about Wall Street betting on asteroidal platinum mining, which is . . . well, it sounds Musky.  Lots of flash and little realism.  Last time I read anything about it, it was estimated that there were over a thousand asteroids in the belt that each had well over a trillion dollars' worth of metal in them, in a wide variety of types of metal.  And it's potentially very cheap to mine and smelt that metal.

But it's a long-term investment, and . . . there is no good way to get that metal DOWN HERE.  Never mind that a hundred billion dollars' worth of iron, alone, would destroy existing markets.  You can't just drop that metal and catch it.  Orbital elevators are a nifty idea, but I have a feeling they're like flying to the moon in a dirigible -- nifty ideas that will be obsolete before they're vaguely plausible, if they'll ever be plausible. 

And even with an orbital elevator, it'd be a long way from trivial to bring tens of thousands of tons of metal down safely, even in the form of a constant stream of tiny pellets.

And the problem with profits Up There is that you're starting from scratch.  After all, it does no good to have a hundred thousand tons of fine nickel-steel in an L5 position, by itself.  And moving large numbers of people from the planet and into space has an absurd number of complications in it, starting with We Don't Really Have The Technology (much less the infrastructure) and moving on through Even If You Have Somewhere For Them To Live And A Way To Feed Them, What Do They DO All Day?

Mars is better because it basically combines raw materials and basic infrastructure and (eventually) desireable real estate into one.  The moon does, too, in somewhat different ways, but if you can go to the moon, you can go to Mars, and you're probably freer from Earth politics on Mars. 

But if you're going to Mars, it's to build a Martian empire, not to ship Martian goods back to Earth.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on April 09, 2017, 03:53:01 PM
But if you're going to Mars, it's to build a Martian empire, not to ship Martian goods back to Earth.

I thought we wanted to go to Mars so we could finish destroying Earth.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on April 09, 2017, 10:35:05 PM
Start with iron and do reverse extrusion.  Build the elevator from space to earth.  I don't know how it'd work, but that seems more plausible than building up an elevator from earth to space.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on April 10, 2017, 09:46:58 AM
The thing is . . . typical space elevator designs are kind of a joke.  They're fun but ridiculous, like rotovators (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momentum_exchange_tether).

A typical space elevator goes from the Earth's surface to twice the altitude of geosynch orbit, and that's about 76,000 kilometers, which also almost twice all the way around the Earth at the equator.  It's a vertical suspension bridge that isn't attached to anything except at one end.  It's farking crazy.  It'd be more technologically plausible, in the near future, for us to just build a pyramid that was 100 km tall that had elevators on its vertices, or something, and could fling stuff into orbit that way.  Although catching stuff coming down would still be risky.

That's not the entire problem with the things, either.  For one thing, if the elevator falls over . . . bad.  Imagine dropping tens of thousands of Golden Gate Bridges from orbit all over the damn place.

Ultimately, if you want to bring a lot of material from Up There to Down Here, you're talking about a vast amount of energy you gotta keep under control.  Especially if you want to bring it down at any substantial rate.  Our record for controlled descent from orbit is OK, but . . . a shuttle orbiter weighed like 80 tons.  A big Earth-based foundry might put out a hundred times that much iron in a year, which would be equivalent to about two shuttle landings every week.

I doubt that would come close to covering costs, but even then . . . the first time they drop eighty tons of iron, they're gonna have to shut down for months, if not forever.

Mars has a much easier gravity well to drop stuff into, and the moon's even better, but economically the best thing is to just keep the metal in orbit.  Dealing with metal in a vacuum where you have endless solar power is the shit.  Between solar heat and electrostatics, it's like living in a 3D printer the size of God.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: pdrake on April 10, 2017, 11:14:15 AM
centripetal force is real even in space.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c9/Centripetal_force_diagram.svg/596px-Centripetal_force_diagram.svg.png)
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on April 10, 2017, 04:44:02 PM
Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 11, 2017, 10:34:06 AM
Yeah, I think mining the asteroids is preferred because, no gravity well. But you'd have to have factories out there or in orbit to build the stuff, and it would really only be useful in space ...

See I really don't see any corporate megaprofit in that. Which is why I think the likes of SpaceX are always going to be living off the government teat.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on April 11, 2017, 11:09:39 AM
Yeah.  If we continually need more and more satellites, then satellite lifting will be an industry, but the trend seems (no?) to be toward smaller satellites, and it doesn't seem like an industry with room for a lot of competitors.  Plus, there's always going to be a military angle, which means the feds will always be involved . . . .

Space tourism also seems like a small niche, especially until / unless there's somewhere up there to GO for your vacation.  It's not near-future.

No, I think the reason to go up there is to be up there.  You're gonna be your own economy.  It takes a very visionary mindset for a corporate oligarch to say, "Winning this game is great, but I could go start my own game."
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on May 02, 2017, 08:14:30 PM
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/how-science-fares-us-budget-deal

I'm gonna confess I didn't think Congress had the balls to take Trump's budget and just pretty much throw it in the trash. This is interesting. Now if they could only save the EPA, we'd be talking.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on May 03, 2017, 09:07:48 AM
Pruitt's fetish is poisoning children, I think.  But the GOP clearly thinks Trump's a chump, and everyone's trying to figure out who's really got any mojo right now.  Ryan seems to have lost every bone in his body, and the Turtle only goes after specific targets, so . . . lord only knows how this will shake out.

The funny thing is that the Dems now seem to think they can push the GOP around even before the midterms.  I'd like to see them really grow some gonads.  Even just for the entertainment.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on May 16, 2017, 04:10:49 PM
Hail Hydra! (https://www.buzzfeed.com/salvadorhernandez/hail-hydra?bffbmain&ref=bffbmain&utm_term=.xs4wdvwkw#.hj5gmYgqg)

Quote from: tfa
an IT worker from the Midwest

:hmm:

*looks in the direction of central Minnesota*
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Sidious on May 16, 2017, 05:57:10 PM
Hail Hydra! (https://www.buzzfeed.com/salvadorhernandez/hail-hydra?bffbmain&ref=bffbmain&utm_term=.xs4wdvwkw#.hj5gmYgqg)

Quote from: tfa
an IT worker from the Midwest

:hmm:

*looks in the direction of central Minnesota*

That's not me.

I checked the whois on it.  So I know for sure.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on May 16, 2017, 06:05:13 PM
It's not Thunder3Davis is it?
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on May 17, 2017, 09:40:17 AM
Quote
That's not me.

I checked the whois on it.  So I know for sure.

So you're saying it's not you, but you had to do research on it to be sure it wasn't you.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on May 17, 2017, 04:22:54 PM
Like you're cognizant of all of you're activities?  Of course he did.  :P
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Sidious on May 17, 2017, 09:30:19 PM
Quote
That's not me.

I checked the whois on it.  So I know for sure.

So you're saying it's not you, but you had to do research on it to be sure it wasn't you.


Yuuuuuuup.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Sidious on May 17, 2017, 09:34:12 PM
I own a very similar domain name. And that does sound like something I'd do and forget about.  :rolleyes:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on May 18, 2017, 09:18:02 AM
:thumbsup: x 10
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on May 19, 2017, 05:52:13 PM
https://i.imgur.com/tvFKaZy.gifv
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on May 19, 2017, 06:51:13 PM
When I saw Pink Floyd live with quadraphonic sound in '73 it was a bit like that.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on May 20, 2017, 11:31:28 PM
I own a very similar domain name. And that does sound like something I'd do and forget about.  :rolleyes:

This whole exchange was the best thing I saw on the Internets this week.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Sidious on June 21, 2017, 06:30:48 AM
 :shock:

Robot Sumo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCqxOzKNFks&feature=youtu.be)
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on June 21, 2017, 09:41:14 AM
 :lol: @ the padding the referee has on. (Or whatever you call the official in sumo.)

Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on July 13, 2017, 09:18:55 AM
This isochronous superconducting cyclotron that uses electromagnetic waves to accelerate proton beams is pretty impressive, I'm sure, but the rig to deliver the thing is amazing. (https://www.reddit.com/r/Atlanta/comments/6mz2cg/huge_proton_machine_being_delivered_in_midtown/) (click on picture for biggerer)
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on July 13, 2017, 11:15:42 AM
 :shock:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 10, 2017, 11:29:23 AM
When I logged into Hotmail today (shut up), the normally blank background of the login page now had photo wallpaper . . . a dark, slightly blurry photo of . . . a burnt cornfield?

What is this?  A marketing tie-in to a horror movie, or something?
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: stormneedle on September 10, 2017, 11:56:53 AM
All I know is that you do NOT go into the cornfield.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 10, 2017, 01:48:48 PM
:thumbsup:

I been avoiding Microsoft's cornfield for years.  If my Hotmail account didn't predate MS's ownership, I wouldn't still have that.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on September 11, 2017, 01:01:41 PM
my hotmail account lapsed over a decade ago.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 17, 2017, 03:38:58 PM
I've seen three college kids, now, wearing a . . . thing . . . on their arms, usually on the back of the arm above the elbow.  It's a small whitish plastic thing with a hole in its center, almost the size of a soda bottle cap but smooth all over.

I can't see how it's attached.  Frankly, if it were me, I'd constantly be hitting it on things.  Whatever the hell it is. 

What the hell is it?  It almost but not quite has an Apple design look to it.  There's a tall foreign kid (northern European of some kind, judging by his color and accent, maybe Danish) in here right now who's wearing one, and I'm trying not to stare at it.  Earlier, I saw a Chinese girl wearing one, and a more local girl before her.  It's starting to drive me crazy, but a clumsy google was no help.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 17, 2017, 03:46:43 PM
You know, honestly, it looks like an anti-shoplifting tag from a department item of clothing.

:hmm:
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 26, 2017, 10:16:28 AM
I have these GE LED bulbs I like, and I wanted to buy some more, and . . . holy shit, that market has not settled down.

I can buy LED bulbs direct from Banggood, usually for cheap (especially gigantic or novelty types), but bright ones that also have frosted shells are weirdly hard to find.  Ones with bare LEDs can be rough on the eyes if the bulb is visible.  I'm not sure painting the shell wouldn't cause a heat problem; scuffing it up would probably be OK.

In the US, the prices vary WILDLY.  Crazily, in fact.  I think it's because new bulb types go on and off the market so fast.  Amazon only has stupidly high prices on the bulbs I like -- more than twice what Meijer charges for them, when Meijer has them in stock.  I did a google, and (A) the prices vary by about 300%, and (B) people selling them online can't agree on what's a 60-watt replacement, 75-watt replacement, etc. 

A normal 60-watt incandescent does not produce 1600 lumens.  Probably half of that.  A good incandescent-replacement LED bulb typically gives you almost 10 lumens per watt, so a decent 8 or 9-watt LED bulb is probably a good 60-watt equivalent.  A 15-watt LED bulb is like a 100-watt replacement.

It's gonna take awhile for this to all settle down.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: mo on September 26, 2017, 02:57:40 PM
I was reading on reddit a few days ago where someone got a great deal at wally world on some LED bulbs because the local power company was sponsoring some kind of promotion. I've never heard of such. That was on the 'frugal' subreddit, which can be interesting sometimes.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 26, 2017, 06:48:58 PM
My local utility often has "deals" on CFLs, but it's usually limited to like two per household.

Of course, they also offer "deals" on blower-door house efficiency tests, which were discredited like thirty years ago.  Almost no one needs any kind of test to know how to better insulate their house.  If there isn't massive air infiltration, it's usually window coverings and foundation insulation, but contractors are set up to do walls and attics, so everyone pushes walls and attics.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on September 26, 2017, 06:54:20 PM
You know, honestly, it looks like an anti-shoplifting tag from a department item of clothing.

:hmm:

Heart monitor to go with their Dick Tracy 2-Way Wrist TV wtatches?
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: random axe on September 27, 2017, 09:20:50 AM
Maybe.  None of my clerks know, either.  They hadn't noticed them until I pointed one out.

Frickin' time travelers, for all I know.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on September 28, 2017, 05:59:05 PM
Maybe.  None of my clerks know, either.  They hadn't noticed them until I pointed one out.

Frickin' time travelers, for all I know.

I hate those guys. Always squashing butterflies and shooting dinosaurs and thinking nothing will come of it.
Title: Re: Geek Things I Didn't Expect To See Today
Post by: flipper on September 29, 2017, 12:25:53 PM
I keep waiting for my future self to help me out.  This does not bode well.