Tech Tuesday, Bacteria Still Rule Edition (12/5/17)


Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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26 Responses

  1. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Some cool stuff from my world:

    Skyscrapers made of wood;
    Among other advantages, the massive amount of wood acts as a carbon sink.

    But it would be better if they were fashioned like this-
    Gothic skyscraper by Mark Foster Gage
    Take THAT, Mies Van Der Rohe!

    White elephant buildings; So weird, ungainly and horrid they are indistinguishable from those that win awards.

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      I love the wooden skyscrapers, partly because of the whole renewable material aspect, but also, steel, concrete, and glass can be kinda cold. I love looking at exposed wooden structure, brings a warmth to the place.

      The gothic touches are awesome, no one does that anymore, buildings have too many clean lines. I like looking at a building and thinking it’s a place Gozer would find welcoming.Report

      • Avatar lyle says:

        In a modern skyscraper the steel can be recycled, I suspect if the economics were there the concrete could be recycled also (not likley with it taking about the same amount of energy as virgin concrete and the large supply of limestone world wide). Also a wooden high rise would need a lot of fire protection or you would have a lot of Grenfell towers.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          There are multiple companies in my city that recycle both concrete and asphalt, although mostly for the aggregate. Much of ongoing road maintenance in the region is milling off the top couple-to-several inches of old asphalt and putting down new asphalt. The bitumen part is… well, up and down the Rockies there’s an immense amount of tar sands, as well as the bottom parts from oil refining. (The answer to the oft-asked question “How long can you maintain the roads?” is “If you don’t care about CO2, tens of thousands of years.”) I am always somewhat surprised when I visit other parts of the country where roads are predominantly concrete.

          The state is a net exporter of cement and almost all of that is, as you note, produced from local limestone, rather than recycled. There is at least one stretch of land tucked away out of sight in my city where busted up concrete from roads and buildings (plus cement) goes in one end, and large amounts of pre-stressed structural concrete stuff comes out the other.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Is there wood exposed to the external environment? If so, any issues with longevity?Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      I swear when I saw that “City of Culture in Galicia”, I thought I was looking at a picture of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge right before it collapsed.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    Steven Universe is brilliant and also spectacularly subversive in a remarkably non-preachy way. Fans, of course, ruin everything but the show itself is really something else. Yeah I know it’s a cartoon for kids but it’s also awesome. Also its episode on wrestling finally made me vaguely understand pro wrestling.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      @north @oscar-gordon Agreed.

      Also my student workers all love it and are the ones who introduced me to it. (Not as the obsessed tumblr persons do, more as “MARIBOU YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS HOW ARE YOU NOT WATCHING IT ALREADY???”)

      My favorites are the “how did we get here?” episodes (I’m a sucker for backstory)… but the wrestling one is pretty awesome.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Yeah I’m a huge sucker for the lion episodes.. like.. all of them. Also the “Make it gayer” meme around SU is flipping hysterical.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Not every episode lands for me (I’m still working through Season 2 on Hulu), but so far about 90% of them have been very enjoyable. I love the Steven/Connie dynamic, every episode they are in together makes me smile. I also love how the writer(s) seem to take delight in overturning tropes at every opportunity.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I have to admit, I’m a little jealous at you getting to watch it for the first time. Also while season 1 wobbled a bit in places I think it gets increasingly solid and entertaining as it proceeds so you’re coming into the real good stuff now. I find lion to be absolutely hysterical. And yes, the Steven/Connie dynamic is cool and gets even cooler.Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      I’m up to season 3 and I’m really enjoying it.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    Wife: “Honey, try this sauce, does it need anything?”

    Me: “Pretty good but hold on, let me get my Muon Detector it needs a little something else.”

    Wife: ” Stop!!! My sauce has enough Muon’s… do the holiday lights, the cats, the poinsettia my mom sent us and your pillow….Stop!!!”Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    AERO3: CERN contains about 7600 km of superconducting cable. It’s nobium-tin, so it’s only superconducting at liquid helium sorts of temperatures, but the stuff is easily formed however you like before cooling.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Yeah, the brake will need a warmer superconductor. It’s gotta be stored for the trip in a bundle that can unfurl, and while one can probably rely on temps in the -260K range at system entry, that ambient temp will go up as you get closer to the system primary.

      Or rather, if you are in view of the primary, your superconductor had better be a damn near perfect reflector, or it will warm up pretty quick (space is a vacuum so it doesn’t have an ambient temperature to speak off).Report

  5. Avatar J_A says:

    (space is a vacuum so it doesn’t have an ambient temperature to speak off).

    You know this is the first time I realize this is true!

    Live and learn, heheReport

  6. AERO2 – We should go to it and take samples, amirite?

    AERO3 – Maybe from the cigar.

    BIO7 – I remember reading something about plants changing around Chernobyl and Fukushima.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      IIRC, the cigar is moving at a pretty good clip, I doubt we could get a ship built and launched quick enough to actually be able to catch it.

      The plants do change, what DARPA wants is something that will change in very specific ways in response to very specific stimuli.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Engr1 What happens when the available biomass can’t keep pace with the energy demand, or the biomass supply dries up?

    Soylent Green Energy, Inc.Report

  8. Avatar James K says:

    WWW1 is a very good article, thanks for posting it.Report