Archives for: April 2005


Permalink 06:59:29 am, Categories: Engineering, null, 132 words   English (US)

Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators

Another item in the list of "Things that are HOT"

There have been five known accidents involving RTG powered spacecraft. The first two were launch failures involving U.S. Transit and Nimbus satellites. Two more were failures of Soviet Cosmos missions containing RTG-powered lunar rovers. Finally, the failure of the Apollo 13 mission meant that the Lunar Module which carried the RTG reentered the atmosphere and burnt up over Fiji. The RTG itself survived reentry of the Earth's atmosphere intact, plunging into the Tonga trench in the Pacific Ocean. The US Department of Energy has conducted seawater tests and determined that the graphite casing, which was designed to withstand reentry, is stable and no release of Plutonium will occur. Subsequent investigations have found no increase in the natural background radiation in the area.


Permalink 09:15:06 am, Categories: Economics, null, 36 words   English (US)

Global supply chains

Here's a very interesting article that describes the nitty-gritty details of how Dell manufactures computer systems and who their suppliers are, followed by some unsolicited political commentary about how Dell is responsible for preserving world peace.

Permalink 07:25:16 am, Categories: Engineering, Papers, math, 143 words   English (US)

Dr. Feynman would be proud: HOT chips!

These IBM guys have some wicked good material-science kung-fu. They've figured out how to reliably integrate PFETs (on 1-1-0 silicon) and NFETs (on 1-0-0 silicon)

Its amazing how on the ball Dr. Feynman was about the angstrom-scale world...

"I would like to describe a field, in which little has been done, but in which an enormous amount can be done in principle. This field is not quite the same as the others in that it will not tell us much of fundamental physics (in the sense of, ``What are the strange particles?'') but it is more like solid-state physics in the sense that it might tell us much of great interest about the strange phenomena that occur in complex situations. Furthermore, a point that is most important is that it would have an enormous number of technical applications."


Permalink 07:07:31 am, Categories: Economics, null, 57 words   English (US)

Cuba, US, Health

Collin's post about Cuba got me thinking about health care...

..if you don't like these measures for health care, which ones do you propose we should use for comparisons?

From the CIA World Factbook:

Infant Mortality Rate (deaths/1000 live births)
-World 50.31
-USA 6.63
-Cuba 6.45
-EU 5.3
-Canada 4.82
-Japan 3.28

Avg. Life Expectancy at Birth
-World 64.05
-Cuba 77.04
-USA 77.43
-EU 78.1
-Canada 79.96
-Japan 81.04


Permalink 04:04:24 pm, Categories: Economics, 180 words   English (US)

The Car Matrix...

So here I am -- about to buy another car. What car will he buy, he's not going to buy another Civic is he? Well no.

The car matrix has been narrowed down to three choices: Honda Civic Coupe, Scion tC (non-customized), and the Mazda 3.

Yes, they are japanese-econo-boxes. (The estimated TCO @150Kmi of these cars is more than only two cars: Toyota Echo, Corolla)

If these cars were OSes they might be VMS boxen (or maybe its cheaper even uglier cousin, FreeBSD). Ugly, but with ridiculous uptimes. And that matters.

As someone who relies on my car to get me to work 100+ working days a year (2-person carpool), I can't really afford to get in the car and have it not work. Depending on what you currently do for a living, this may or may not make sense to you.

Sure I'd like a Porsche, maybe as a second pleasure car. But until I move out to car heaven, where parking is free, the roads have wonderful s-curves and are impeccably dry and paved - I'll stick to the econo box.


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