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efaardvark

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Status Updates posted by efaardvark

  1. 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. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      Interesting, never knew people would think of something like that just because someone has a (semi-)electric car. Probably seems still unusual for them?
      If Tesla brings out its 1 million miles battery out and graphene batteries really turn out to be all they are supposed to be (allegedly there already are car batteries that charge over 30x fater and go over 500 miles with one charge), or any other superior battery type, most gas cars will quickly become a thing of the past anyway.

    2. 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.

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      I'm interested to see how this PR disaster will impact Blizzcon this year, especially so with them repping it as "the biggest" yet-- expecting D4 announcement as well as a new Wow expansion and probably OW2. They really screwed the pooch and they know they did considering how long its taking them to address this situation with their playerbase. 

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

    1. LonelyPoet

      LonelyPoet

      Think of it as a sign from god or nature or whatever you believe in to change your ways. Burning bush lol

    2. 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.

  3. It is always "fun" training up a new boss.

    1. Seshi

      Seshi

      Ooh, sorry thats the worst 

  4. Here we go with a 3rd straight week of pounding, sawing, and general mayhem as they rebuild/repair the building for the Mars 2020 folks. This is right across the hall BTW. I'm literally taking this pic from my office doorway.

    Actually, if you include the server room construction, and the power supply therefor, and the asbestos abatement, and the restroom repair/replacement, and, and, and.... we haven't had more than a couple months' break in the pounding for several YEARS now.

    Ow, my head...

     

    IMG_4745.JPG

  5. Construction work pounding on the walls at work for the last couple weeks.  At least I think it is on the walls.  Might be in my head at this point.. I've had a headache for two days straight now. 🛠️🛠️🛠️🛠️🛠️

  6. Wait.. is that a zombie hiding in the shadows there on the left??
    zombie-maybe.thumb.jpg.46dc77ecf55245f0080353012f23952b.jpg
    I might have played too much minecraft this weekend.  ;) 
     

  7. 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. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      It is absolutely insane how much he has accomplished in a few years (especially compared to ESA/NASA). If he actually manages to achieve his planned goals in the next 5-10 years, I seriously think NASA should just hand over their budget to him 😂 

      My uncle (worked on astrophysics stuff) is a huge fan of his, so I always get the latest updates from him 😂 

    2. 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!  :) 

  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. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Seshi

      Seshi

      Ooh, nice to know. Pandora is like empty

    3. 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.
       

    4. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      I find they serve different purposes. Pandora seems to always play more music I'm familiar with, while Spotify actively tries to show me new music. 

  9. I'm always kind of sad to see a library close, especially one as historic and useful as this place.  Got to be a clueless beancounter to decide that closing a well-used rocketry library is a good idea.  Especially one established by no less a figure than Werner Von Braun himself!  My dad used to work at Redstone way (way) back in the day, and I've actually been to this place so there's a personal connection as well, though I was way too young at the time to get any actual educational or professional use out of the place.  At least some of the content is going/staying online...

    https://www.al.com/news/2019/09/rocket-scientists-mourn-end-of-redstone-arsenals-risc-library.html

  10. Lunch was kind of a good news, bad news thing today.  Went for "sushi" (sashimi), which is a good thing.. Yum!  Was too hungry though and swallowed a bit wrong, which sent some wasabi UP into the back of my nose instead of down where it was supposed to go!  That'll sure clear your sinuses!  Thought I was going to die!  :D

    Moral of the story:  treat that stuff with respect and enjoy it properly.  Otherwise.. watch out!

    1. Seshi

      Seshi

      First time I tried sushi my friend in high school told me to eat it with a big gob of wasabi on top... went straight to the sinuses 😳

  11. We got to play with the InSight Emmy when they brought it by for a photo op here in the SFOF today.

    IMG_4711.thumb.JPG.67404287a3ddc549e8b5bdc6214a51d9.JPG

  12. 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. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      listen to the turkey, it's already telling you how great it is 😂 

      What I find kind of weird is the whole anti-gluten trend that is so prominent in the US, and also starting in Europe. Are there so many gluten insensitive people in the US or what's up with that? 😂

    2. 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.

  13. So "USB4" is different than "USB 4".   Really now.  Has murketing really come to this?   😐 

    1. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      😂 reminds me of this

      expectations-meet-reality-false-advertis

    2. Ohiotaku

      Ohiotaku

      Both of which are different than UB40 

      :P

  14. How come all of a sudden all that side-channel crap (ad feeds, youtube "recommended", etc.) is showing me earthquake and disaster preparedness stuff.  Stop it!  It is Friday the 13th and you're making me nervous!  :D

  15. 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. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      "we have to run the desktop in 8-bit/256 color mode" 😂 I think that says it all.

      I'm surprised though, why didn't you guys get an upgrade a lot sooner? Is it just one of those 'as long as its enough we don't plan on upgrading' things? I know that public offices/institutions are not the richest, but that seems a tad outdated even for those standards.

    2. 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.

    3. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      "bureaucrazy" 😂 gonna steal that one 

  16. And now I'm 55.

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      Happy birthday! 

    2. Seshi

      Seshi

      Happy birthday 🎊😁

    3. Nova

      Nova

      🎂🎁happy birthday

  17. 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. Seshi

      Seshi

      Oop 🙊 I just changed it...

      At least you're "Honored"

    2. 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.)

    3. Seshi

      Seshi

      XD Right, I could see that happening for sure. That, or we gain a lot of satanic followers... Either way, not what was intended :P 

  18. Some days it just isn't a good idea to open your front door.  Happy Monday!  :)

     

    2019-09-09_17_22_59.thumb.png.f276041cf54cd0fb220cae0dd3f1ba80.png

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

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. 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.   :(

    3. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      One day working late is one day too much for me 😂

      Yeah, too bad for India, quite a lot of money down the drain, but let's see what the reason was.

    4. 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.

  20. 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. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      I know who I'll come crawling to if I ever need help building a good PC! I know nothing about that stuff lol

    2. 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?  :)

       

    3. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      You get what you pay for. Generally speaking, if you just go with cheap parts, they probably won't perform as well or last as long. 

  21. Happy Landing Day!  My dad worked on Viking back in the day so I got a day off from middle school (or "junior high" as they called it back then) to stay home and watch the second pictures ever from the surface of Mars come back.  Line. by. line.  The first pictures were from Viking 1 which landed a couple weeks earlier, but as that happened before school started during the summer break and I didn't get the day off from school I don't count it.  :D 
     

  22. I've been "working" on my computer today, just cleaning up and doing some file maintenance.  Found some *OLD* text files from an online game called Dragon's Gate.  DGate was a text-only multiplayer game hosted by GE's "GEnie" online service back in the early 90s.  Pre-internet.  Pre-MMORPG.  Dialup-only.  It may have even predated Compuserve and AOL.  One of the files shows a 2400 baud connection at the beginning.  :D  I think this may have been the first multiplayer online game I ever played. 

    Not for long though.  Long distance phone calls cost around $0.25/minute so playing for an hour was like $15.  This back when gas was like $1/gallon so that'd be around $50/hr at today's prices.  I knew a trick to call through a chain of "local" BBSs to pay about 1/4th that, but it was still expensive.  Especially for a lowly student whose only regular income was a monthly allowance!

    Blast from the past...

                               Welcome to...
     
                ...........|\...................../|.............
                 ........./  \..|\__..__/|......./  \...........
                ........./ /  \.\ _ \/ _ /....../    \.............
          _  .........../ / /  \.(I)\/(I)....../  / \ \...........    
         (_)  ..........| | | / \\/(oo)\/...../  // |\ \ .............
              ..........| | | |  \|V,,V|\... /  / | || \|...........
            ............| | | | / |A^^A| \../  / || || ||...........
               ......../ / /  | |  TTTT__ \/  /| || || ||/\  /\
                /\..../ / /  / /  |______/   /| \ \ || ||  \/  \    /\        /\
     /\      /\/  \../ / /  / /  /\_____/  |/ /__\ \ \ \ \ /    \  /  \  /\  /  \
       \/\  / /    \.| | | / /  /\______/    \   \__| \ \ \      \/    \/  \/
        \ \/        \| | | | | |\______ __    \_    \__|_| \     /      \  /
         \/          | | ____ /\______ ____     \_       \  |   /         /
          \          | |/    /\_____  /    \      \__     \ |
           \         |/ |   |\______ |      |        \___  \|    D R A G O N ' S
                        |   |\______ |      |            \_         
                _   ___/|   |\______ |      |          /\  \   ___    G A T E
               / \_/     \   \________\_    _\____/   /  \__\_|   \
           ___/ __     __/   /       __/   /__    \__/      __     \__
         _/    /  \   /  ___/       /  ___/   \            /  \       |__
        |     /      |/|/          |/|/        \__     \       \         |
    
    
    Usage charges started

     

    1. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      "text-only multiplayer game" "Dialup-only"

      This belongs in a museum somewhere 😂 Seriously though it's amazing how much they did in those times with only text!

    2. Seshi

      Seshi

      I remember watching my friend play Dragon Realms, same type of setup... I was soooo jealous 😁

  23. OMG, the hype for KSP2.  Have to admit I'm catching the fever too.  Hearing all the right things from Star.Theory.  I just hope they can deliver (somewhat) on time & w/out screwing it up.

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