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Everything posted by mmalluck

  1. I voted other. I thought about getting a hybrid. I really did. Then I started to ponder the technology; batteries, electric motors, gas engines, etc. etc. It's all great in theory, but what about the cost (environmental and fiscal) of replacement parts (batteries) and the reliability of a more complex fledgling technology packed car? I really wanted an environmentally friendly car that'll last me the next 10-15 years, uses a proven technology, and is fun to drive. I went with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI (turbo diesel injection). It gets 41 mpg highway / 36 city and only gets better once the engine breaks in. Hybrid's often dissapoint folks as the reported mpg is very hard to achieve. I got 41 mpg on my 600 mile trip back from the dealership (averaging 70mph) with my TDI. Some folks have gotten better than 50 mpg with these cars. As far as thermal efficiency goes these engines push 40%. These cars are far removed from the soot belching diesels of the 1980's. They get lower CO2 emissions than a similarly rated gas engine and run much cleaner. The introduction of ULSD will only improve emissions. The technology is much simpler than a hybrid system. No electric motors. No spark plugs. No battery packs. The technology has been proven and used for the past 17 years over in Europe but never really found it's way over here (USA). I think we'll see more in the next few years. The car is fun to drive. 177 foot pounds of torque at 2200 RPM will put a smile on your face and gives you plenty of power to pass. Mind you, you aren’t going to win any more drag races than you would with a hybrid, but still it's fun. Mods can easily lead to even more power from this compact engine (250+ foot pounds of torque). Sure, diesel may be more expensive than regular unleaded gas, but during the summer (when most driving is to be had) the price of diesel approaches or beats regular gas, like it is right now in the sunny state of Georgia. I also like the fact that this vehicle can be directly run off renewable substitute (bio-diesel) if necessary. You won't have that with these hybrids. Just some food for thought as people rush to buy into the hybrid-hype.
  2. Hold up. You can't just add the torque max of both the gas and electric componets or horsepower max of both the gas and electric componets that are running at different RPMs and call that the total horsepower or total torque. You need to look at a composite graph of the entire system and make those statments. Pulling from here http://www.theautochannel.com/newcardb/trim.html?trimid=18603&show=all or here http://www.edmunds.com/new/2006/toyota/prius/100668257/specs.html The 2006 Prius has a MAX horsepower rating of 110hp @ 5000 RPM and a MAX torque rating of 82 ft lbs @ 4200 RPM. The electric and gas componets have to operate at the SAME rpm. Well unless you had two seperate transmissions, which you don't. The accord hybrid nets a max of 253hp @ 6000 RPM and a max torque of 232 ft lbs @ 5000 rpm. The Prius is vastly underpowered.
  3. A random litany I came up with: Effects of magnetic fields on plant growth. Effects of various chemicals on plant growth. Cannibal plants: Grinding up plants to feed others. Effects of Caffeine on meal worms.
  4. Blimey! I though of a better way of looking at this problem while I was in the bathroom (where all great thinking is done). You really have two types of potential energy here: gravitational potential and magnetic potential, you are merely trading one for the other. Gravitiational potential energy has to do with the force an object will experiance (Fg) do to gravity, the mass of the object (m), and it's distance from some zero potnetial point (Hg). Potental G = m*Fg*Hg Magnetic potential, likewise, has to do with the mass of the object(m), the force it will experiance due to the magnetic field(Fmag) and it's distance from some zero potential point (Hmag). (I realize this is simplifying things a great deal but for the sake of this argument it should work) Potential mag = m*Fmag*Hmag In your system gravity and the magnetic force oppose eachother so... total potential energy = Potental G - Potential mag But get this, as you loose gravititational potential, you gain an equal amount of magnetic potential (you move the nail closer to the ground, so it looses gravitational potential, but the farther away from the magnet you move it, the more energy it will have as it comes crashing back to the magnet) and vise versa. The total amount of potential energy is conserved in this system.
  5. A force is still applied to the surface regardless if the magnet moves or not. No work is done, but the force is still applied. If you look at the system as a whole, the net energy still remains at zero. The magnet and surface it's resting (the earth) will move with a resultant momentum equal to that of the nail in the opposite direction. If I jump up off the earth, am I moving away from the earth, or is the earth moving away from me? Both are true. Both I and the earth move away from some initial frame of reference. The earth moves an incredably small amount because it's mass is so much greater and I move considerable more because i weigh less, but it still happens.
  6. It's all "goo" especially when you realize Netwon's third law of motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case the magnet is pulled down with the same force as the nail is pulled up. You have to apply a force to the magnet to keep it in place otherwise, it would be drawn towards the nail with the equal, but opposite force. In addition, if we add the vector with which the nail moves to the vector the magnet moves, the sum of the forces equals zero. No energy was created.
  7. It's most likely that the high voltage source in your plasma globe is wearing out or that the frequency of the high voltage source has drifted away from some optimal point. I once had a plasma globe that included two pots. One to select audio sensivity, the other altered the operating frequency. Yours may have the same. If it were a problem with the leaking gas (in or out), you'd see a dramatic change in it's intensity, but what you describe is a slow change, so most likely not.
  8. I don't believe windows would be using true flash ram, but more likely some form of battery backed up ram. Flash ram is only good for 1 million rewrites. While this sounds like it would last a long time, this sadly isn't so. Modern OSs write and rewrite to the ram countless times. You'd burn thru a stick of flash ram in less than a year.
  9. You're not going to find a battery that supplies 40,000 volts. Your best bet is to use the same or simular circuit your car uses to generate the spark. Google up ignition coil circuits. That should give you some idea of what you need to build.
  10. Why capture lightning? The electrical potential between the ground and the clouds exist long before lightning occurs. Lightning is just a last ditch effort to balance the charge and that charge can be utilized long before that. Lightning occurs when the charge potential between ground and earth becomes so great that it overcomes the insulative properties of air. Lightning is the conductive path (just like a wire) that connects the two dislike charges and cancels them out. There's no reason why you couldn't build your own conductive path (think long copper tower) and balance out the charges long before it builds up to the point of a lightning strike. In doing so you'd have electrons moving up or down your tower that you could make work for you. Sure, it wouldn't be as spectacular as harnessing the power of a lightning bolt, but you could get just as much power out of it, spread over a longer time period, in a form that's totally usuable by today's technology. In fact, building an array of these towers would see that the lightning strike would not occur. You'd be making the area safer.
  11. Couldn't you slow the projectile through the use of eddy currents? Probably have to be an incredably strong magnetic field to have any real protection.
  12. Deuterium and tritium are not mined, nor do I believe they will ever be. They are manufactured. I imagine we'd have to do the same with helium3 The general concept involves taking standard nuclear reactor and then adding hydrogen to the core in an effort to capture fleeing neutrons.
  13. But the latex balloons leak helium much much faster than the mylar ballloons. Choose the right balloon for your application: A latex balloon for better lifting capabilities, but reduced flying time or A partially full mylar balloon for a long flight time but less lifting power
  14. YT: I'm right there with you. I do the cooking. She takes care of the cleaning. There's no kids to speak of yet, but know it'll be a joint effort raising them. In My Memory: /me applauds . That's one of the best written critisims I've seen in a great while. ku: Your friend isn't a southern baptist by any chance? I ask this because a few years ago I went to a panel discussion on women's roles in religion sponcered by Georgia Tech. One of my friends was coving paganism, so I had to go show my support. The panel conisited of several female speakers who participated in and represented different religions. It covered many different groups(judaism, Christanity, Hinduism, Islamic, Paganism...). Many of the speakers gave really enlightened and empowered views and it was really good until we got to the girl covering christianity. The girl coving Christianity spouted off how a woman's role was first to be submissive to god and then to man. This was almost verbatum to what ku's friend said. She went on to say how the other speakers wrong (not directly mind you) and spent the rest of the panel cringing at many things the other speakers said. I was raised in a catholic household, and had never heard of any of this, so you can imagine, my jaw droped after hearing what this girl had to say. It really was amazingly bad. I later found out she was a southern baptist and as such, she thought all christians shared the same view. Ugh. It really was scary and scarier still to think that there are people and religions who directly advicate this.
  15. One place says the unfertilized egg cell of an osterich is the largest known, but I recall hearing that a single nerve cell from an adult elephant can be over a meter long! Here's a source: http://www.beyondbooks.com/lif71/4.asp I guess you need to define large.
  16. Nature can not be contained. No amount of protection will keep GM crops from mingling with regular crops. This being the case maybe we should plan for it and use it to our advantage. Lets consider this scenario: Hemp (Marijuana) can be and has been genetically altered to produce a far more fibrous plant. This allows for a greater harvest of hemp fiber to be used in paper, rope, and other such goods. One of the side effects of this genetic alteration is the plant produces almost no THC (the chemical substance that gets people high when it's smoked). The plant will readily cross pollinate with local hemp plants, but the resulting offspring produce far less THC and be more fibrous than the local wild plant. This being the case, it could be used as a form of drug control or at the very least, make the illegal growing of hemp more difficult.
  17. Question 1: The length of an antenna has everything to do with the wavelength it recieves and nothing to do with the amplitude of that wave. EMPs play on the fact that any piece of metal can be considered an antenna. The most hazardus to silicon semiconductors are the metal traces on the circuit boards themselves. Each copper trace can be seen as an antenna and given the right frequency create a voltage potential. Silicon doesn't like excessivly high voltages and often fuses., destroying the circuit. The trick is getting the right frequency of radio energy. Nuclear weapons make massive radio burst when detonated in the upper atmosphere. These radio burst cover a large range of radio frequenies and make them an effective emp device. Question 2: Gravity affect move at the speed of light.
  18. Well everyone is bitching about the price of gas these days and I guess that's good, but most people are forgetting what higher fuel prices really mean. Go to any store and take a look at all the different products in it. How many do you think where made within a few miles of the store? How many were made within 50 miles of the store? 100 miles? 500 miles? Now take a moment and ponder how these products got to your store. Some may have come from over seas, loaded on large cargo ships, unloaded at ports onto trains, carried across the country, then loaded onto trucks where they were finally unloaded at the store. A lot of fuel goes into this process. Now consider the energy cost and petrolium that goes into the goods you buy. Oil goes into plastics, rubbers, fertilizers, and raw energy. With rising fuel prices you can expect the price of every good on the store shelf to increase as well. With this higher cost we can expect to see the economy slow and possibly dip into a ression again. Digging around I found an article on this posted back in April. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/apr2005/nf20050427_2905.htm They say economic slow down should start to kick in when oil prices reach $75-85 / barrel, but we shouldn't see this until 2007. Thanks to Katrina oil prices are now sitting around $70 / barrel. This article talks about Katrina and it's affect on oil prices and reserves. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/sep2005/nf2005091_5858_db094.htm This article also goes on to say that prices can climb even higher if a gas-panic sets in. I know I saw every car in Atlanta lined up at the gas-stations yesterday. I hope this doesn't catch on in the rest of the country. Hmm, it'll be interesting to see if what they say holds true.
  19. The arguments made here make a number of assumptions that may or may not be correct. 1. Assumption: We know enough about the composition and nature of the universe to predict it's age from it's structure. 2. Assumption: The regons of space we can observe are the same as every region we can't. 3. improbability != impossibility 4. Assumption: The rates of erosion and landmass structure have been constant. 5. Assumption: The ocean dynamics are static as well as the processes that introduce and remove salt. 6. Assumption: The earths magnetic field is complex. Lets wave our hands about and say god did it. 7. Assumption: Rocks act the same on the surface of the earth as they do when they are heated and pressurized while buried deep in the earth. 8. Huh? Only 10,000 years? Why are these experts screaming bloody murder about this ancient dna? Also where are my dinosaur clones if this dna/soft tissue/blood cells are so perfectly perserved? 9. Polonium-210 only has a half-life of something like 100 days. A halo made a 100 years ago is going to look the same as one made a million years ago. All of the polonuim will have decayed in either case. and on and on it goes.....
  20. True, it is fun. I'd just get annoyed with all the repetitive soldering that making your own keyboard would mean. Of course, this is being said by the man who's spent the last month soldering together his 1024 LED matrix board, which is only a little over half way done. I'm just a little jaded
  21. Why reinvent the keyboard? A standard computer keyboard is easy to interface with a PIC processor. You could probably get away uing a non-standard (I'm thinking a numberical pad add-on for labtops) just as easily. All you need is the list of scan codes to see what key is being pressed.
  22. I know some of the older TI calculators (82, 83, 85, 86) used the Z80 processor running around 2 Mhz. If you really wanted to build a calc, I suggest using a pic microcontroller. You just need to interface a keyboard and a display screen. That will be the easy part. The hard part is writting the software for the pic-processor.
  23. It's not that the U-235 is 'used up' much rather it is seperated from the bulk uranium ore. The left-overs are mostly comprosed of U-238 and often refered to as depeleted uranium. The U-235 finds itself in reactor cores and nuclear weapons, where the U-238 is dumped. It's the U-235 that's really radioactive and of a mass that is easily fusable.
  24. You could probably make a simple 4 function calculator, but anything more complicated than that will be a real pain, if not impossible. Graphing calculators are one part hardware and another part software. Both can be daunting to figure out and do on your own. You'd have better luck coding a calculator program for the computer. This will give you some idea of the complexity involved.
  25. Depelted uranium only becomes more radioactive over time (looking over 10000+ years). The U-238 decays into other elements and isotopes. With each decay some radiation is released. These daughter products further decay and release more radiation. Over time these daughter products build up to an appreciable amount and is evident through an increase in the radiation measured from a sample. So you can't deplete the waste any more than it already is by using it somewhere else. It also won't sit around and wait for you to use it. It'll become more radioactive all by itself. Every nuclear powerplant utilizes the nuclear fuel to heat water. U-238 doesn't release enough energy quickly enough to heat the water any appreacable amount. I could take something like 1000 tonnes of DU, plunk it into a swimming pool, and the sun would do a better job of heating the pool than the DU would.
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