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efaardvark

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Status Replies posted by efaardvark

  1. Moderately excited to hear about a feature-length Red Dwarf movie...
     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I kind of did the same with Stargate.  The first couple/few seasons were ok, but it succumbed to the mindset that said every season had to be "better" than the last and eventually went off the rails entirely.  By the time the Ori came along I had pretty much stopped watching.

      As for embarrassing media outlets, at least you don't have FOX.  :D

       

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  2. Weird.. today I've had several people ask me if my car is ok, or if I'm worried about it. 

    Ok, rewind a bit for some recent local history.  Over the past couple days my area has had some very dry, warm, high-velocity winds come through.  In the past these sorts of conditions have caused power lines to get knocked down into dry brush and the winds whip up the resulting fire(s) into extremely dangerous wildfires.  Fires, evacuations, and/or electricity outages have been a hot topic of conversation around here for the past couple days.  The power companies' web sites have hundreds of thousand of customers in the area on notice for potentially having their power cut off, either by the power company itself, ostensibly for preventing downed power lines from starting said fires, or by the fires and wind taking out the power distribution lines.

    So back to the strange question.  At first I was like, "huh?".  Did I not get a memo or something?  Did I park somewhere I shouldn't have?  Did they see my car on the news get run over or pushed off the road by a fire department bulldozer?  (Sometimes this happens when the fire department needs to get access to a fire and their trucks or other firefighting gear is blocked by cars parked on narrow streets.)

    In a word, no.  Apparently people are concerned that people like me with electric vehicles might have trouble evacuating if they have to because of the power outages that tend to accompany the fires.

    Again, "huh??", but with a different tone of voice this time.  Thanks for the concern, but of all the stupid things to worry about that's .... not a problem.

    First of all, I don't even have an EV.  I have a pluggable hybrid.  I do have an electric motor (or three) and batteries, and a charging socket on one side of the car.  I also have the usual slot for gas (petrol for you crazy furriners) on the other side, connected to a gas tank and a somewhat normal internal combustion engine.  Not worried at all here.  I'm covered either way.

    Second, if the power is out then gas cars would have exactly the same problem as pure EVs because gas station pumps run on electricity.  No electricity, no charging (duh), but also no gas.  I've actually had this problem before with my old (gas) car.  In fact, standard operating procedure around here is if you hear that high winds or dry/dangerous fire conditions are in the forecast then stop at the gas station on your way home from work and top off the tank, just in case.

    Third, that typically doesn't matter because gas or electrons, there's always going to be something left in the "tank".  (Unless you're one of those people who is always running on "Empty", but that's a whole other discussion.)  When the police/fire department comes pounding on your door and tells you to evacuate then you just get in your car and leave with what you have.  Gas or electric doesn't enter into it any more than the color of your socks.

    (That said, even if you're one of those "I'm not out of gas the car is still moving" people, chances are better your electric car will be at least somewhat charged.  More than when you parked it anyway.  Unlike a gas car, you can "refuel" an EV at home by plugging it in, and most take only a few hours at most to fully recharge.  Assuming you're not so extremely lazy that you can't even be bothered to plug in your car when you park it in your garage, chances are that by the time the power goes out and/or you have to evacuate you'll have at least a partial charge on your EV.  A gas car's gas gauge of course would still be on "E", and the nearby gas station that's out of power is not going to be able to help.)

    There is one actual problem with gas cars however.  It has even been reported on the local news, and warned about at press conferences with the fire department spokespeople.  Sometimes when people wait a bit too long to evacuate there's so much smoke in the air that it can clog the air filter and cause a car to stall.  Cars have to breathe too you know.  At least gas cars that rely on oxygen in the air for combustion do.  EV cars obviously don't have this problem.  (And again, don't worry about me.. my hybrid has an EV-only mode that's only a button-push away.)
     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Apparently there was a "news" story citing losing electricity during an emergency as one of the drawbacks of EVs.  Probably FOX.. they're always pushing the "burn, baby, burn", anti-climate agenda.

      And yes, EVs are the future. Not only do they make city planning SOOO much easier, their TCO is much lower because there's none of the complicated or fiddly mechanical bits like crankshafts, timing belts, or transmissions to go bad.  The writing is on the wall.  Daimler ("Mercedes") has already announced that they're not going to develop their internal combustion engines any longer.  Going forward all their R&D is going into electric drive trains, and eventually all their cars will be exclusively electric.  Even planes will be electric in a few decades.

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  3. Aaaaand here we go with the brushfires now too.

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      This happens every season, often multiple times.  Especially like now when the hot, dry Santa Ana winds come down from the desert, sucking the moisture out of everything (some places are reporting relative humidity in the single digits) and fanning every spark and cigarette butt into a full-blown fire.  This latest started along a freeway so my guess would be a cigarette butt.  That or an accident, but nobody is reporting one.

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  4. holy guacamole, just saw the first dubbed episode of Nichijou. I didn't even know there was a dub. Gotta say, it is insanely different from the Japanese version! I knew dubs could change a lot but it really shows with Nichijou

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I've seen the same thing.  Dubs really are different shows than the originals they're based on.

  5. How’s the binge going?

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I fell asleep!  :D   I'll try again later this weekend if I get some time.

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  6. Just saw Elon Musk's SpaceX anniversary talk.  The guy is crazy... in a good way maybe, but still crazy.  Hard to believe it was only a year ago when he announced his "BFR", and now he's already got an engineering prototype that's supposed to start test flights in a matter of months, and "to reach orbit in 6 months".  True, those are "Elon months", but still.  It'll be interesting to see if he actually gets 2 of these rockets done in time for an unmanned Mars test flight/mission at the next transfer window in 2022.  He's also previously said that he might land one on the moon during testing.. because "It may literally be easier to just land Starship on the moon than try to convince NASA that we can."  😮  

    https://arstechnica.com/features/2019/09/after-starship-unveiling-mars-seems-a-little-closer/

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I would love to see that happen.  NASA has their own planes and such for research purposes, but they don't own and operate their own "NASA airlines".  In the same way I'd like to see NASA do the same for space R&D and regulation and just buy transportation to/from space like they do for air travel.  Cost-plus contracts and Congressional pork seem to be the main obstacles to commercial space these days.  Don't get me wrong, NASA does a lot for air travel, safety, research, and regulation.  That first "A" in "NASA" is for "Aeronautics" after all.  I'd really like to see NASA do things the same way for the "S" and drop the semi-operational, perpetually over-budget NASA-sponsored programs like SLS in favor of buying commercial services from the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin.

      NASA does have a "COTS" - commercial off the shelf - program for some space operations like satellite launches and cargo delivery to the ISS, so there's some progress there.  I'm hoping space travel will quickly commercialize as a transport industry like it did for airplanes back in the day.  The time between the Wright Flyer in 1903 and the Ford Trimotor (airplane used in the first commercial airline in the US) was only about 8 years, and the DC-3 was in service by the end of the 1930s.  I'll make allowances for space travel being harder - not to mention that there's no established extraterrestrial destinations to justify a scheduled service to - and give them a little more time but I'm really looking forward to the first regular commercial "spaceline" service!  :) 

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  7. You know you're a game nerd when stuff like this rotates through your Spotify feed during your commute...

    IMG_4723.thumb.JPG.b322aa1d9192252e27a9c456256c2604.JPG

     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Yeah, I subscribed to Pandora for a while too.  Spotify is better.  I even found stuff like the sound tracks for games like Kerbal Space Program and Minecraft on Spotify, and the anime tracks are extensive as well.  A lot of it is covers of varying, sometimes dubious quality, but there's plenty of high-quality gems too, including quite a few OSTs, in both English and Japanese.
       

    2. (See 4 other replies to this status update)

  8. You know you're a game nerd when stuff like this rotates through your Spotify feed during your commute...

    IMG_4723.thumb.JPG.b322aa1d9192252e27a9c456256c2604.JPG

     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      And after that was Tetris.

      And now it is stuck in my head again.  :D 

      Apparently there are whole albums of this stuff on spotify.  Lots of anime titles too.

    2. (See 4 other replies to this status update)

  9. There's some weird .. food(?) that shows up in the break room's "donations accepted" snack stack at work.  Anyone seen this one?  Is it safe to eat?  あやしい :D 

     

    WeirdSnacks.jpg

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I don't quite understand it myself.  There was a time when anything added to foods during processing automatically became a bad thing.  Extra sugar, extra salt, etc.  One of the things added was gluten, to bread to make it rise faster so the baking process can be started sooner, and a given "assembly line" at the factory can produce more bread per hour.  Of course, gluten was already in flour, but the manufacturers added more (and more yeast as well).  Because gluten was an added ingredient, it somehow became something to avoid, and from there a murketing buzzword. 

      That much I can kind of understand, though I think the issue was severely overblown.  Now though, even stuff that never had any gluten in it - like drinks, or candy, or meats - have the "gluten free" tag.  It has clearly gone far beyond anything rational at this point.

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  10. Episode 100 of Black Clover is fantastic. Was very skeptical about Black Clover but it's getting quite decent.

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I usually wait for any anime to end before I even start.  The ending is half of any story anyway!  If it doesn't have an end it is only half done at most.

    2. (See 5 other replies to this status update)

  11. Episode 100 of Black Clover is fantastic. Was very skeptical about Black Clover but it's getting quite decent.

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I can't imagine sticking with one anime for that many episodes.  Never seen one that long that didn't start seeming repetitive and/or mostly filler by the time it got to triple digits.  My limit is about half that at most.

    2. (See 5 other replies to this status update)

  12. So we're getting a dozen or so new workstations at work that will be running Oracle Linux.  Hardware is Dell quad-core Xeons (W-2125s), several with dual ultra-wide HD monitors.  The systems that these new systems are replacing are old Sun-branded sun/solaris unix systems (thus Oracle) that we are running system monitor and control software from/on.  It is getting impossible to find parts and they're coming up with unpatched/unpatchable security issues now so they gotta go.  They're also incredibly slow by today's standards, and the GPUs are so ancient we have to run the desktop in 8-bit/256 color mode to be able to bump the resolution up to something that modern monitors will even accept.  Sorry, not sorry to see them go.  (What gfx card were YOU using a decade ago?)  The taxpayers certainly got their money's worth there!   

    Big hardware/software upgrades like this are always "interesting" in a 24/7 operations environment, but the end result should be so much better than what we've had to deal with up to now.  I'm optimistic that things will go smoothly.  I mean, what could go wrong?  Heh.. I'll let you know later. ;)  First system is scheduled to go live next week to replace a relatively unused system.  After that system soaks for a while in the ops area & we take care of the inevitable issues there we'll install the rest on a more aggressive schedule.  Probably sooner than later.  The guy who ordered the systems has already received the boxes and had no place to put them except his office.   14 CPUs, ~20 widescreens, and assorted cables and accessories have basically taken over his office to the point that he's hardly able to move in there.  He wants them OUT!  :D

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      We haven't upgraded mostly due to (mis)management and bureaucrazy.  There's a organizational boundary-crossing to overcome between the people using the equipment and the people buying it for starters, and the system weren't technically broken, just old/slow.  Since Sun went under & was bought by Oracle it has also been hard to find parts & support.*  When we do find support it has been expensive.  That tends to eat up the replenishment budget, so there was no "extra" for hardware upgrades like this. 

      At some (much earlier) point management /should/ have gotten a clue (IMHO), but speaking technical to the MBAs running things has never been all that productive, and even the money angle didn't work when there's a risk involved in changing platforms, no matter how minor.  I guess they figured it is better to be safe when it was only a problem for the people actually using the systems rather than risk being the ones all the fingers point at if things go wrong.  It was only recently that these systems started appearing on things like security scans or breaking in other unfixable ways.  That *IS* a management problem, so now suddenly we're getting new systems.  Funny how that works, right?  :D  Hell of a way to run a railroad if you ask me, but at least we're finally moving on.  We should be in a better situation in the future as well.

      *Oracle only bought Sun because Sun made the enterprise server hardware that ran Oracle's DB software and Oracle didn't want to chance possible disruption to their business if Sun went under and Oracle customers started having a hard time finding hardware to run Oracle's software.  Oracle really never wanted to be in the hardware business, and certainly never in the business of desktop hardware like we've been using.  For a while now Oracle has been pushing their old desktop unix customers inherited from Sun towards Oracle's Linux distribution on standard PC hardware.

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

  13. And now I log in to AF to find my reputation is "666".  🤔 Yeah, that's about how my day's been going. 
     

    1544032786_Screenshotfrom2019-09-0918-48-58.png.26d5784f17c32bdf1d8500537f6d0dee.png

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Thanks.  That or change the "honored"  to "horned".. just to see if anyone noticed.  Hey!  AF could make that a thing.  Who has access to the site source code?  😈

      (I know, probably not a good idea.  Some people have no sense of humor where those sorts of things are concerned.  Probably complain and/or claim that AF is a satanist site or something.  Party poopers.)

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

  14. Got to sleep in late today, but also working until midnight on a Friday. :( 

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Yeah, too bad about the lander but they still have the orbiter, which has most of the science instruments on it.  It would have been great to have the lander (and rover) to ground-truth things, but it isn't the end of the mission by any stretch.  ESAs MEX lost Beagle, but years later were still tracking them every day.

    2. (See 4 other replies to this status update)

  15. Got to sleep in late today, but also working until midnight on a Friday. :( 

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      This was a one-day thing supporting a special event.  Looks like it isn't happening though so I'll likely be going home early after all.  They did feed us at work too.  I guess I should be thanking ISRO?  They might not be in a mood to appreciate it much at the moment however.   :(

    2. (See 4 other replies to this status update)

  16. Just thought I'd poke a bit at an entry-level threadripper system.  I know, that's kind of a strange thought when all the gamers are still salivating over a i9-9900k for the single-core performance, but it turns out that a low-end 1900X CPU, 2 sticks of 16GB, 3200MHz DDR4, and a really (like, really really) nice motherboard can be had for less than $1k.  The motherboard is totally overkill for the initial RAM and CPU, but with AMD it should be upgradable for many years.  Maybe in a year or so - when the bleeding edge has moved on - you replace the 8-core 1900X with a 16-core 2950.  At some point you buy another couple sticks of RAM.  Did I mention the MB supports quad-channel?

    If you already have a decent case, power supply, etc., then swapping out the guts for an 8-core system (that would have been considered a monster just a couple years ago in the old Intel era) might make sense.  With that MB you could go all the way up to a 32-core/64-thread CPU and 128GB RAM.  It also has *3* nvme m.2 slots, not to mention dual network ports (one of them 10Gb).  For games.. ok, maybe not so much.  (Yet?)  But if your workflow includes things that might benefit from a lot of cores..... maybe.  It is also quite possible I'm just a tech geek looking for new toys.  :D

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Sure.  I don't mind advising, and I like planning new builds, though do I tend to spend way too much time obsessing over little details.  I'm also not a "cheap at any cost" advocate.  The systems I build for myself tend to be a bit on the pricey side.  (My current system, for example.)  Unless I'm building a system for a specific task I like giving myself a bit of elbow room.  Consider yourself warned?  :)

       

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

  17. It has been a while since I cleaned under/behind the bookcases.  :D 

    tinybopper.thumb.jpeg.e00ddfe6501d0635b621141c0f977f8c.jpeg

    In case you're wondering, this is a "tinybopper" from a microgame called "RIVETS" that was released in the mid-late '70s.  I bought them all as they came out, and still have most of them.  Er.. somewhere.  :)

  18. Its Finally done! I dont have a lot of stuff yet but now I can actually progress without having problems where to put it. (god damn it, the room is to small to be able to get the full shelf on photo :( )

    20190824_204013.thumb.jpg.299a8487cb9925ac0602f95255311efc.jpg

     

    Also Some new additions to my collection

    20190824_151754.thumb.jpg.9fcd4aa4c727d3091f0472ffcd4ad6a2.jpg

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Having a place to put stuff is half the battle of keeping chaos at bay.  :)  

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

  19. Trying out a new avatar pic.  I'm thinking I like the old Taurus better, but I'll keep Hachirota for a week or so.

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Once upon a time there was a guy in the local mall who did walk-in portraits/caricatures.  He was good, but kind of expensive.  Enough so I that I never did it, but I always thought that would be the best avatar.  If he was still there it'd be fun to see what he could come up with if asked for something anime-ish.

    2. (See 3 other replies to this status update)

  20. Trying out a new avatar pic.  I'm thinking I like the old Taurus better, but I'll keep Hachirota for a week or so.

  21. Shift over at 11pm then home to sup, sh!t, shower, and shave to get back to work by 7am for another full shift. Getting too old for this kind of thing.

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Fortunately today is only training the new guy.  I don't have to sit the ops console or pretend to be intelligent in a meeting or anything like that.  :)  

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

  22. Found out I "get" to work 2 extra days this week.  Joy.   😿 

    At least that means my weekends are back in sync with the rest of the world's.

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Kind of a combination of factors here.  Higher than average workload this year with chandryaan-2 launch and testing/training for them plus a bunch of cubes going up on the one hand.  On the other, in the last several months we've also lost 2 workers.  3 actually, one retired, one got fired, and then one of the replacements didn't work out & we had to start over.  We're a 2-position, 24/7 operation so losing two out of 8 people .. we're feeling it.  2019 has not been a good year so far.

      I talked to my boss today & he says he's hired a replacement for the replacement so there's light at the end of the tunnel.  However, even best case it'll take a couple weeks for badging, background check, and other bureaucrazy before he can even start training for the actual job, and another couple/few months after that before he's pulling his weight.

       

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

  23. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02275-3

    One thing they can work on......

    catgirls.thumb.jpg.6331ca229feb96f122d44075fce4d1c4.jpg

    :D

     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      @Wedgy Actually, now that you mention it I think I did see that movie.  It didn't turn out well for the humans.  :)

      @Nono Not kawaii at all!  :D  

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

  24. Thank you, USPS.  😠

    IMG_4593.thumb.JPG.1815ee16236521a13a92ab58e0c15cc9.JPG

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      🤷‍♂️ A few cm^2 from about a dozen pages or so are simply gone.  Looks like a small dog took a chunk out of it.

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

  25. Wow..

     

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I totally agree that we don't understand the brain.  It has had literally hundreds of millions of years to evolve, and genetic algorithms are notorious for producing idiosyncratic designs.  I'm reminded of one research project that used a large chip with an array of identical circuits that was used to develop some software using a "genetic" process to evolve the software.  Each bit of software was slightly modified/mutated and assigned one of the array elements to use, then evaluated against the software design criteria.  Evolve, repeat.  It worked extremely well, with the best software being roughly 5x as good as the software developed using more conventional means.  Then they tried to figure out why.  Turns out that the "evolved" software had figured out that the supposedly identical and independent hardware cells were NOT compeletly independent and was actually using the undocumented interaction between cells to achieve its results.  :)

      So yeah, there have been and will be moments of confusion and misunderstanding on a science and engineering level.  Politics and public sentiment will no doubt also play a big role beyond that.  (Though both will be decades behind in actual understanding that's never really mattered before.)  That said, there is progress being made as well.  I view this as basic research.  There are goals, and the researchers know enough to think and expect those goals are attainable.  I tend to agree, but there's a HUGE grey area (no pun intended) that they need to navigate through before they get where they want to go, and plenty of opportunity for things like frustration, serendipity, and even tragedy along the way.  It will not be easy or quick.  It will definitely be interesting, and very likely extremely useful, though perhaps not exactly in the way(s) expected at this point. 

      I do think that the gross motor areas they are targeting now is a good first step.  They're not trying to put anything INTO the brain, just read the motor signals that the brain is outputting.  That's ambitious enough, but also limited enough, that they can make progress towards their goals in a reasonable time frame, and if they reach those then they'll be in a good position to move on from there.  Clearly though Musk is thinking beyond that however.  "Having the option to merge with AI is important."   😮 

    2. (See 2 other replies to this status update)

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