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About Carrock

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  1. Storing Renewable Energy

    Storing energy with trains going up and down a hill sounds ridiculous but it's already becoming commercial.
  2. I did it, accidentally, then thought I'd cancelled it. I'm beginning to think the board software is a disguised intelligence test.
  3. So use tunnel diodes rather than the ordinary ones. I had thought transistors had overtaken them but not not entirely it seems as of 2013.
  4. I largely agree with Strange. However... The Josephson Junction is a (not very) handy esoteric alternative. Then there's Quantum Computing with Atomic Josephson Junction Arrays 1 and 0 at the same time (sort of) - two for the price of one. (Liquid helium not included.) Tunnel diodes, although quite fast and quantumy, never became fashionable as switches for some reason. 'Transistor' is a bit of a generic name. If they'd been invented after bipolar transistors, I suspect valves would have been called 'vacuum state field effect transistors.'
  5. There's the additional complication that most of these fruits are cultivars bred to be much less variable than wild fruits. I'd think lack of sunshine is the main reason tropical cultivars are selected to be sweeter than temperate cultivars. From mainly childhood memory in Scotland: Ripe wild strawberries are tiny and less sweet than cultivars but with a much better texture. They were quite rare in Scotland and I may have mostly eaten them from one large patch spread by runners. I preferred them to cultivars but that may have been because they were so hard to find. Wild blackberries aka brambles are much more variable. Ripe blackberries range from very sweet and tasteless to very acidic. I prefer the somewhat acidic ones and I suppose some birds and animals do too; there may be nutrients lacking in the high sugar blackberries. When I've bought blackberries they've never been as sweet as the sweetest wild blackberries. An interesting question is whether wild tropical fruits are typically sweeter than wild temperate fruits. Bit more complicated. Many fruits taste bad and/or may be poisonous to some animals so that only preferred creatures e.g. birds spread them more efficiently. e.g. deadly nightshade tastes quite good to humans but you won't come back for a second helping.
  6. We have a clash of values here. As I never wanted to be a professional programmer or write safety critical applications I went the quick gratification route. My idea of 'good programming practice' is to copy and paste from well written software and edit in my own variables, code, comments etc without understanding the source software more than I need to. phpbb has good software which lends itself well to this approach. +1 to Strange for an excellent exposition. I'd suggest to the OP starting with free software as you can waste a lot of money on commercial software you find too late you don't need. Xampp is basically an apache server with many safety features disabled so that it can be easily modified for developing e.g. a virtual server or website offline. It's not a PHP interpreter. Better but harder to use alternatives are available.... (I'm too lazy to try them.) I'm a bit dubious about the W3Schools PHP online "try it editor." Anything slightly unusual tends not to work on it. I went the xampp route after wasting hours trying to debug software that had nothing wrong with it. (W3Schools has probably improved since then.) Xampp is very easy to install. There's even a windows version but it's easier to manage the security implications on Linux. /edit It's also worth installing a database which can work with xampp. Database management is another valuable type of programming.
  7. I've dabbled around and found php by far the easiest to learn if you want to do something rather than pass a course. It's a server side scripting language used e.g. in any website with .php in the title. Unlike eg the similar C++ it usually still runs (with helpful warnings and bug reports) if you make small mistakes. My understanding of php is strictly 'need to know' but it seems to be a sort of hybrid of a compiled and interpreted language. I ran a phpbb board for a club for a while. There were things it wouldn't do that I wanted so I installed xampp and phpbb on my computer. On my computer I set error reporting to full (big security issue on a server) and soon learned what I could and couldn't do with the open source code. I was told by a club member there was a serious shortage of php programmers even at my (very low) level but wasn't interested in it professionally.
  8. A forum with a stronger interest in practical astronomy might be better than here. I haven't looked at in years, but it's probably worth a try.
  9. That depends on what philosophy you want to do. Even discussing this with you requires the assumption there is "something called 'I' which is conscious of thinking" associated with you (e.g. you're not an unthinking AI program), and myriad other assumptions. Do some philosophy using only "There is something called 'I' which is conscious of thinking." X composed with Strange.
  10. A tip: using google saves typing for this sort of question and gets answers quicker.
  11. i.e. If you assume there is an 'I' which thinks, that is proof I exist. Wut? Problem here too. How can there be thoughts without an awareness of thinking - i.e. 'I' as an additional assumption? You could hear from me or my computer “There are thoughts, therefore there is thinking” or "I think, therefore I am". Like any other natural phenomenon e.g. a waterfall, neither can be proved to require thoughts or consciousness without assumptions. The original could be put as an axiom. There is something called 'I' which is conscious of thinking. Doing philosophy on the basis of that axiom requires many more implicit assumptions/axioms.
  12. Problem is that to detect with reasonable efficiency your telescope aperture needs to approach the size of the wavelength (e.g. quarter-wave). Ability to detect drops off as you get away from this. I was hinting at that with 'very very very large.' Wut? I had thought the names were more imaginative... It seems astronomers actually limit themselves to only two words per telescope of 'very, large, long, giant' etc. Very Large Array (VLA) Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS) Large Latin American Millimeter Array (LLAMA) Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) etc and in fairness Very Small Array (VSA).
  13. Origin of the domestic dog.

    Failure to tame a Scottish Wildcat isn't good evidence to you that they can't be tamed so even if none have ever been tamed there is no way to change your opinion. Attempting to tame a Scottish Wildcat is now illegal as well as cruel so there's unlikely to be further attempts. Tameness is indeed rather subjective. The chow/labrador cross in this video certainly thought the child he attacked's cat was a vicious brute. The forum seems to have been 'improved' to prevent embedding videos....
  14. Perhaps one day in the dim and distant future there will be a very very very large baseline array microHertz telescope, with astronomers lobbying for a nanoHertz telescope. BTW I think astronomers could learn from chess, where they stopped at 'hypermodern' in the 1920s rather than continuing with ultrahypermodern, superhypermodern etc.
  15. Origin of the domestic dog.

    Would you expect your ancestors to be able to eat with a knife and fork? You claim that two million years of separate evolution is insignificant in a species that breeds at about one year compared to humans' 20ish+. Domestic cats have lived in Britain for about 2000 years. If your definition of species requires 'never interbreeds with other species' then there are far fewer species than generally accepted and the Scottish Wildcat has been extinct for at least 1500 years as has the British domestic moggy. Cro-magnons interbred with Neanderthals so perhaps H. Sap. isn't a species either... On the other hand. if you accept that Scottish Wildcats that have some domestic cat dna, but not enough to affect their aversion to humans cannot be tamed, then we seem to be in agreement.