The Unread Blog
06 Sep 2014
- You think your job sucks? Try this.
16 Aug 2014
- A video about the problems automation may cause in the future. As many have pointed out, automation usually creates jobs as well as rendering them obsolete. The question is, will it create as many as it negates? It seems likely that at some point, automated systems will be able to do anything a human can. If it's not a problem now, it will be eventually, and capitalism does not work without scarcity or when labor is worth nothing.
06 Aug 2014
- NASA confirms that the em/cannae reactionless drive works, at least a bit. It does produce thrust, which may imply an interaction with vacuum energy.
26 Jul 2014
24 Jul 2014
- Cenalo Vaz, following a suggestion by Stephen Hawking, suggests that black holes may never collapse beyond the Schwarzschild radius, instead being held up by vacuum energy, the creation of virtual particles in empty space. This is necessary because quantum mechanics requires that information never be destroyed, even if it falls into a black hole. The actual body of this collapsed object has a negative energy and is dominated by quantum effects. Light doesn't disappear into it, but it would lose so much energy (frequency) escaping, that it might as well have.
22 Jul 2014
- An interesting thread on Netflux's disc vs. streaming businesses. Netflix wants to go all digital because it's cheaper. However, the studios get to screw with them much more easily with streams than they can with discs. Hence the new Netflix TV shows that they own and can do with as they please. However, they may be underestimating the potential of their disc business. Hopefully someone besides redbox will take up the slack. Meanwhile, I'm still fighting to get all of Netflix's anime discs while they're still available. There's loads of older stuff that I haven't seen, much of which is not for sale anymore.
- An article on the real Johnny Appleseed, whose business involved guessing where settlers would go next and getting ahead of them to plant apple trees to sell when they arrived. Fruit trees helped them demonstrate that they'd improved the land they claimed.
- The UK has admitted that they have no practical way to stop digital copyright infringement, but will warn people they suspect of illegal copying, up to four times annually, that they're probably breaking the law. No other action will be taken, at least by the government. Meanwhile, lawyers are salivating at the thought of a public database they can use as evidence in lawsuits.
19 Jul 2014
18 Jul 2014
- Rachel Maddow reviews the history of passenger jet shoot-downs, including the US downing of Iran Air 655 (mistaken for an F14 fighter—really), the tenth deadliest aviation disaster in history.
17 Jul 2014
- A new version of the pushdo trojan has infected 11,000 windoze systems in 24 hours. These systems are now part of the cutwail botnet, whose masters rent it out for spam campaigns. As long as you don't use an unsupported version of windoze (or are too smart to run trojans), you're safe.
15 Jul 2014
- Harvesting energy (and water) from humidity. This is absurdly impractical, but cool, none-the-less.
12 Jul 2014
- Wichita Falls turns to urine-recyc. (Queue the Red Dwarf jokes.) "A glass of the finished product, sampled at a downtown restaurant, tasted about average for West Texas." Funny that the worsening drought in Texas hasn't convinced them all that climate change is happening.
- Hackers have built malware into hand-held scanners sold to shipping and logistics firms that infect the network they attach to and compromise crypto keys and certificates. "The reality is that pre-installed malware exists." (Yes, we already knew this, since our government used it against Iraq decades ago.) However, it's gotten much easier for anyone to make devices like this now.
"... the greater your capacity, the less cycle life matters. If you want an EV that battery that will run a 250Wh/mi vehicle for an average 20 miles a day for 15 years, then you want it to cycle through about 30MWh. If you use a 100 mile (25kWh) battery pack, then that's 1100 cycles. If you use a 200 mile (50kWh) battery pack, then that's 550 cycles. If you use a 400 mile (100kWh) battery pack, then that's a mere 275 cycles. Actually, the improvement is even better than that in the real world, because the greater your capacity vs. how far you're actually driving, the more you can cycle the cells through a less destructive state of charge range rather than doing deep discharges.
"A lot of people picture battery packs in EVs backwards, they think that things like hybrids stress the packs the least, PHEVs moderately, and EVs the worst. But it's reversed. If you look at how big hybrid packs are vs. how much electric range they hold, you'll see that they're disproportionately large, even after you factor in any differences in Wh/kg. The reason is that because hybrid packs get cycled so much, they have to keep the cycling in a very narrow state of charge range, only allowing shallow discharges. So if you only have a narrow discharge range, you have to make your pack bigger to make up for it. EVs can discharge through much more of their pack because they need fewer total cycles and only rarely go down toward the lower end of their allowable discharge range. Some EVs also let you limit the max that your pack charges up to to further extend lifespan (it's usually destructive both to use the very top end and the bottom end of the discharge range)." — Rei
11 Jul 2014
- Teledyne Scientific has produced the first working, self-guided bullet small enough to fit in a standard calibre rifle.
10 Jul 2014
- Were giant viruses involved in the genesis of life? These are some strange beasties, regardless.
9 Jul 2014
- Congress has effectively deleted an entire branch of constitutional case law without bothering to change the Constitution. This means that separation of church and state is now, at best, subject to the whim of a simple majority of congress. Enjoy your state-sponsored christianity.
- The problem with making the news up as you go along. The best part is not the conclusion of the story, which is probably wrong, but the brief history of hooker-related political scandals, including a gay, "military escort" with a white-house press pass.
7 Jul 2014
24 Jun 2014
- "The speed of light is wrong!," so medium.com shouts. Actually, the article is about a scientist speculating that the very long-term speed of light through the gravity field of our galaxy may be less than what it would be based on relativity. Very high energy light will turn into matter/anti-matter particle pairs at random intervals. These are affected by gravity while they exist, losing energy and very slightly changing the direction of the light they produce when they immediately annihilate each other. However, he's comparing their theoretical behavior with the ideal behavior of neutrinos, so this still sounds pretty dodgy. [The peculiar delay in the optical appearance of a supernova and the neutrino burst was mentioned recently in Cosmos episode 6.]
17 Jun 2014
- Wikipedia reflects all the knowledge and misinformation of our society. The main article here isn't what's interesting, it's some of the comments. Apparently, corporations, well-funded political groups (on every side of every fence), and government agencies are routinely overwhelming the unpaid editors of Wikipedia with torrents of propaganda. (Mind you, if you think that this is any different from previous generations of encyclopedias, you're fooling yourself.) Worse, this uncertainty convinces conspiracy theorists that all of their bizzaro fantasies are true, but being covered up by the liberal/establishment/right-wing/foreign/racial conspiracy.
16 Jun 2014
10 Jun 2014
- How Napolean's invasion of Egypt led to digital music.
- DC++ is a newer file-sharing client that might be safer than normal bittorrent clients. However, you'll always have greater legal liability if you're distributing something versus receiving it.
- A Canadian brags about Canada's laws that restrict dumping absurd amounts of money into election campaigns. A number of countries have made great progress in limiting the amount of damage that wealthy people can do, but it's always going to be an up-hill battle. Not surprisingly, they're all "socialist" countries (i.e. not oligarchies like the US).
- Human urine is the basis for new developments in materials technology. Truth is stranger...
09 Jun 2014
01 Jun 2014
- Materials that self-assemble in an oven. Sort of a cross between origami and shrinky-dinks.