Tech Tuesday for 11/20

Tech Tuesday for 11/20

Tech Tuesday for 11/20

[TT1] This is MASSIVE! The last of the physical metric standards is set to fall away, leaving the definitions of units under the metric system to be wholly described by universal physical constants.

[TT2] Russia has a functioning nuclear power plant that is not in a Navy ship or submarine.

[TT3] I’m frankly at a loss as to what the hell Boeing was thinking, putting such a system into the 737MAX and not bringing it to everyone’s attention. It’s a good system, don’t get me wrong, but you need to make sure the pilots flying the plane know about it, and how to deal with it. I mean, hell, when I got my new Subaru, with the Eyesight system, the sales guy made sure to tell me how to temporarily turn off the system, for when I was in the car wash (the brushes would confuse the system and it would think a collision was imminent, and thus apply the brakes).

[TT4] The APA says media reporting on mass killers does actually inspire the next mass killer. Also, I am certain this has nothing at all to do with mass killings.

[TT5] Researchers in Sweden have developed an isomer that can easily store solar energy for up to 18 years.

[TT6] This seems like an interesting concept for a cargo vessel. I like the outriggers, and the stabilization system. You have to watch the video to really get a feel for the dolphin propulsion system. (No, they haven’t harnessed a pod of dolphins to pull the ship across the ocean like a team of reindeer)

[TT7] At one point in earth’s history, the universe was seriously trying to dimple the planet like a golf ball.

[TT8] The San Juan has been found.

[TT9] China is getting serious about Fusion Power Research. Fusion power is 20 years away. And thank you, Trump, for making is so in my head, I always want to pronounce it ‘Ch-EYE-nah!’

[TT10] Say hello to Cosmic Girl!

[TT11] Some history, and cold water, regarding Quantum Computing.

[TT12] That’s a nice way to do a tidal turbine. Props are away from most marine life, and the whole system can be easily brought in for servicing.

[TT13] I love looking at the new ideas students come up with. Most of these won’t get very far, but there are a few winners in there.

[TT14] Back in the old days, we’d do this with strain rosettes.

[TT15] Lockheed intends to quiet to sonic boom for commercial air travel. Still not sure what to do about the cosmic fuel suckage of traveling above the speed of sound.

[TT16] Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll do some Bio-mimicry of worms.

[TT17] Parker Probe attempts to get renamed Icarus, but manages to avoid that fate.

[TT18] The Plimp Model J. Nice idea, but come on guys, ‘Plimp’? Sure, it’s a Portmanteau, but it sounds like an adolescent skin condition.


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. ...more →

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10 thoughts on “Tech Tuesday for 11/20

  1. TT4: I’ve come to the belief that these mass shootings are at least partially a result of social contagion. We’re seeing that they’re increasingly studying each other’s methods, improving on them, becoming obsessed with being the next Columbine. I’m not sure what you do about that. We had a similar thing with hijackings in the 70s and it sort of burned itself out.

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  2. TT1:

    That was a fascinating article on a topic that should be familiar to every elementary school student.

    “It’s a credible criticism, then, to say that this dependence on technology removes units of measurement from public ownership just as much as the use of the king’s foot did.”

    Indeed, I’m skeptical that the new definition of kilogram isn’t just as arbitrary as some prototype object, considering that the Planck constant is a proportionality constant. A skeptic or a Marxist might say that this change is more symbolic of the paradigm shift to technocracy than real improvement.

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    • All units of measurement are arbitrary. There is nothing universal about the meter or kilogram, it’s just an agreement that this length, or that mass, is the basis for a unit. Being able to mathematically determine that basis does liberate the unit definition from a physical object.

      Requiring a highly precise balance to figure out the necessary values to compute the kilogram is, well, it’s better than the physical object, but less than ideal.

      These days, we could probably come up with values for units that are easier to measure. The push to separate metric units from physical objects has always been something of an effort to push a round object into a less than round hole*, but I understand it, given how difficult it’s been getting some countries to change unit systems. Getting everyone to toss out their old, say, meter sticks, because the meter is now a bit longer or shorter than before…

      *Instead of the meter being 1/299,792,458 of the distance light travels in a vacuum, it could be 1/300,000,000.

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        • A kilogram is a litre of water (or, more precisely 0.001 cubic metres of water, since a litre is defined as a kilogram of water). After that we get into the required precision.

          For day-to-day use, a litre of tap water is basically a kilogram, but to be exactly 1kg you need exactly 0.001 cubic metres of pure water at 4 degrees Celsius (impurities and temperatures change the water’s density). The canonical SI units need to be measurable at extremely high precision to ensure they are consistent. It’s measuring a kg that precisely that is difficult.

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