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efaardvark

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Status Updates posted by efaardvark

  1. Sooo hungry.  And hot.  Needed to run a bunch of errands this weekend so I ran out the door early w/out breakfast, then the place I picked for lunch was too crowded so I just skipped it.  Between that and the 107F temp... finally done and home but 🥵, 😫, and need 🍲    Think I'm just going to hide here in the air conditioning and eat 2 sandwiches.  :D  

    On the plus side I did manage to take care of all my errands so tomorrow is clear.  Maybe some anime?  Games?  Reading?  🤔

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      Work hard play hard! Take a day off, sounds like you've earned it. 

    2. Beocat

      Beocat

      Stardew Valley and soda....

  2. 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.  :)

  3. 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

      Yeah, same here.

    2. Vitis

      Vitis

      There are a few shoppes that will edit images for you if you can't pin down a specific image you want to use and simply have a character in mind. #Shameless Plug XD

    3. 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.

    4. Show next comments  3 more
  4. Contemplating an upgrade/refurbishment of the solar-powered lighting on the "back forty".  (This is Los Angeles so that's in square centimeters.)  There's no AC run out there so a number of years ago I installed a solar panel, battery, charge controller, and motion-controlled LED lighting system.  It has been working pretty well, but it is showing its age.  The battery is/was lead-acid (basically a motorcycle battery) and needs replacing and the LEDs were pretty dim from the get-go.  That's what was available at the time so I'm not complaining, but these days it could be done better.  I can reuse the panel and (maybe) charge controller, but I'm thinking a new, custom-built LiFePo battery (built out of 18650s or 26650s) and some modern, bright LEDs are definitely in order.  Maybe even some RGB lighting if I want to get fancy.

    IMG_4666.thumb.JPG.4c550478f09c9f9178d2ccbda17f3140.JPG

  5. Einstein, Newton, and Pascal are playing hide and seek. It’s Einstein’s turn to count so he covers his eyes and starts counting to 10. Pascal runs off and hides. Newton draws a one meter by one meter square on the ground in front of Einstein and stands in the middle of it. Einstein reaches 10 and uncovers his eyes. He sees Newton immediately and exclaims, “Newton! I found you! You’re it!”

    Newton smiles and replies, “No, you found a Newton over a square meter. You found a Pascal!”

    (This is the kind of thing I have to put up with at work. The offending party has been dealt with. 1f642.png )

  6. They delivered the two new widescreen HD monitors and stacked them outside my office, but they didn't deliver the computer they're supposed to be attached to. That's just cruel.  :angry:

    IMG_4643.thumb.JPG.9474072a4f82a0683fdc047daef084c7.JPG

  7. Mom's been bingeing ST:TNG.  I've been playing, "I can name that episode in <x> lines".  :D

    1. Seshi

      Seshi

      Sounds fun

  8. 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. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      I don't miss those back-to-back shifts, they're just cruel. Hope you can get at least a little bit of rest! I remember you did say you were expecting a busy summer- with any luck things will come back around and normalise for you?

    2. 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.  :)  

    3. Seshi

      Seshi

      “pretend to be intelligent in a meeting”

      ^^ relatable

  9. Found another lapel pin for my collection in my mailbox today..
    NASA_Apollo_pin.thumb.jpg.1fb42ef817cf5a05b4fdb0c0d0e48c28.jpg

  10. 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. Beocat

      Beocat

      Lol...at least it's only 2 days and not practically the whole month. Been crazy here, like some kid kicked over our anthill and we're scrambling all over the place trying to put it back up again. I'm so tired. 

       

      Enjoy the weekends :) are you having to meet a deadline or did something else come up at work?

    2. 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.

       

    3. Beocat

      Beocat

      I've been there too. We lost 5 of 9 once and it all fell apart. Right now, we did this to ourselves buying up more business than we can handle so I'm just trying to help cover shifts, give some overlap to help catch up and ending up working nearly every day. 

       

      I hope the new guy works out for you. 

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

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

    catgirls.thumb.jpg.6331ca229feb96f122d44075fce4d1c4.jpg

    :D

     

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      Yeah that can't possibly go wrong

    2. Nono

      Nono

      What if you had a cat that has human ears?😂

    3. 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  

  12. Well, looks like Chandrayaan-2 launched successfully.  Launches are fun to watch, but the DSN's job doesn't really start until they actually deploy and we start getting data on the ground, and the first few tracks after launch are apt to be .. interesting until the critical spacecraft checkout is done and things settle into a routine.  

     At least it is a swing shift schedule for me so I got to sleep in.  My boss had to be there at 2am for the launch.  :D  OTOH, I'm once again batting cleanup so I get to deal with any issues not caught in pre-launch testing that crop up.

  13. Thank you, USPS.  😠

    IMG_4593.thumb.JPG.1815ee16236521a13a92ab58e0c15cc9.JPG

    1. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      didn't they put it into a cardboard package? if so, what the heck did USPS do?

    2. 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.

    3. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      I think you easily have grounds for a complaint here. They should be obligated to replace the damaged item. 

      (we're not going to ignore the juvenile hilarity of it though, right? 😉

  14. Wow..

     

    1. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      I think my two cents might actually be relevant here 😂 My comment in one sentence would be that we are not even close to being ready to actually implement something like this in any reliable way.

      As it happens I both studied and now work in a closely-related field (although my focus has changed from empirical to theoretical/philosophical). I was quite enthusiastic in the beginning, but I can say with quite a high level of confidence afters spending some years in that field that we don't understand the brain. We have accumulated a lot of both empirical data and models, and we do know a lot more then just 100 or even 10 years ago. But we are far from knowing how the brain works when it comes to any function that is a bit more complex than simple neural networks or even action potentials (even those are very tricky if they deviate from the prototypical neurons usually studied).
      When it comes to BMI specifically, there is some interesting stuff going on right now. One of the research groups at my university is working in a particular field regarding BMI which got me interested in it, and we even established a new research group dealing with philosophical problems related to it (although I would not say that I have much expertise when it comes to the technical aspect of BMI). What Neurolink is showing here is promising in achieving the goal of activating certain sets of neurons but their possible application (at least as presented here) a bit oversimplifying how certain functions are represented in the brain (especially when it comes to localization). The basic idea is not new, but how they are implementing ('wireless chips') is something that has been notoriously difficult (but has been researched for quite a few years).

      When you take these aspects together, I think even if we successfully implanted even much more complex devices, we are still far from knowing how to use them in order to achieve something we want ("to tap into those representations") in any reliable way (meaning without serious dysfunction or non-functions). This can be used for research which might one day enable a much more successful implementation of course, but we should be realistic as to the actual mid-term achievements we can expect from it, given the current state of knowledge. This is disregarding the huge ethical issues concerning malfunctions and risks.

      So yeah, interesting stuff but as it often is with publications or innovations, the actual immediate usefulness is still quite 'hypothetical'.

    2. 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."   😮 

    3. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      the grey area pun was hilarious 😂

      I totally agree. And I think targeting something like the motor cortex is a pretty reasonable starting point since it at least seems to be less complex than, say, the hippocampus (or at least the parts they are investigating).
      This reminds me of people who lack substantial parts of their brain but show little to no impairment. A senior neuroscientists in our department told us of a case from someone who literally lacked most of what we consider to be a full brain but showed almost no symptoms. Such cases make brain science quite difficult because of the huge flexibility it portrays. But this is not to disregard the huge advancements, both in research and treatment, made in the last decades.

      Merging with AI, at least what people would usually understand, is however something I don't think will happen in our lifetime. Would be extremely interesting though to see what kind of effects it would have.

  15. A Joule is a measure of work energy. It is about equal to the kinetic energy of an apple dropped from a height of 1 meter as it hits the ground. A human being radiates about 60 joules per second of heat energy.

    A Joule is equivalent to 1 watt for 1 second, or a watt-second. A watt-second uses the same units as the kilowatt-hours on your electricity bill, and the power company could just as easily bill you in Joules as in kWh. If you use 1 kWh then you've used enough energy to light a 100W lightbulb for about 10 hours, or about 3.6 million Joules, or enough to get my car about 3.3 miles down the road.

    Yes, it has been a slow shift, now that you mention it.  :D 

    1. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      Oh gee, don't give them ideas. Some mad scientist is going to learn how to use this heat generation and next thing you know we're being put in human harvest power plants. 

    2. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I saw that movie..
      the_matrix_pods.thumb.jpg.aabd62a831902bf95bb1c6b00808bc0b.jpg

      (Not a very likely scenario I have to say.)

    3. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      Science fiction has spoken! 

  16. They delivered lunch to us operations folks here supporting the Chandrayaan-2 launch. However, as it turns out the launch itself was scrubbed due to technical difficulties. The schedule was pretty much cleared for the launch so there's really nothing to do for the rest of the shift, but plenty of grub. Best possible outcome IMHO.  :D

  17. 🎵Everybody's working on the weekend. 🎵

    wait.. what?

    1. Illusion of Terra

      Illusion of Terra

      if you work from home, there are no more weekends 😂

    2. LonelyPoet

      LonelyPoet

      Very true. 

    3. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      I could probably work from home.  All our monitor and control tools are unix-based, and I'm running Linux at home.  It Is a simple matter to log in and redirect the display(s) to my desktop's display server.  I've done it before, even over my glacial (1.2Mbps) DSL.  The voice nets might be a bit tricky, but everything is VOIP these days.  There's probably a software solution out there somewhere for that as well.

      However, just because you /can/ do something doesn't mean you should. ;)  

  18. The physics nerd in me loled..

    66198767_1260440734137653_5601041652140474368_n.jpg.7990f85fee628969b9abccedaf811c77.jpg

  19. Popcorn time..  Though I'll likely never personally work on the guts of my car  I do think it is fun and educational to see someone else tear into it.

  20. TGIF, on a Wednesday.

    1. Seshi

      Seshi

      For me it’s Thursday 🤣

    2. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      Weds are always my Fridays 🍻 TGIW

  21. I've been charging my car at work where they have a bunch of chargers installed in the parking garage.  They're charging (no pun intended) $0.12/kWh for the electrons so - since my car is a PHEV - I was wondering how that equates to gas prices.  IOW, at what point does it make more sense to fill up my car with gas than with electrons?

    Some base numbers for my particular situation, given California gas and electricity prices and Prius Prime as my car:

    Price for regular gas = $3.80/gal
    My car's miles/gallon = 60
    My car's miles/kilowatt-hour = 3.64

    According to my math, that means:
    A mile on gas costs about $0.63.
    A mile on electrons costs $0.33.
    At $3.80/gallon, electricity could cost up to $0.20/kWh before gas becomes the cheaper option.
    At $0.12/kWh, gas would have to drop to below $2.30/gal to make gas a better deal.

    FWIW...

    IMG_4546.thumb.JPG.bcdda81fba2ac8bbd342d1cea9a001e3.JPG

    1. Beocat

      Beocat

      Gas prices vary by state due to taxes. California and New York have notoriously high tax rates so they can be expensive. In my area (different state) we vary from $2.11 to $2.79 per gallon. The savings would still exist here but be less than driving in California. It's all about the taxes.

       

      Efaardvark, it's pretty cool that you can fuel up there. My favorite physics professor and I had a conversation once way back in the day about electric cars and the lack of "fueling" stations. Glad that isn't an issue for you. :)

    2. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Yeah, our gas (petrol) prices are subsidized in various ways.  A lot of the costs of oil - geopolitical instability for example - are "externalized" by the industry and picked up by the taxpayer, or in the case of environmental damage simply not fully accounted for.  (BP oil spill, pipeline failures, etc.)  We're also the world's #3 oil -producer-, which helps on the domestic supply side to keep prices down.

      Electricity prices are all over the place.  In the Eastern US coal and nuclear produce extremely cheap electrons, coal because the environmental costs of pollution from what goes up the chimney and whats in the fly ash are not accounted for, and nuclear because it is cheap and abundant.  It also hasn't been updated for decades so it is generally fully-amortized.  Some of the rates in the eastern US are as low as 3 to 5 cents per kWh.

      Here in the south-western US where I live we’ve been phasing out nukes because of safety politics surrounding earthquakes and due to lack of water for coolant.  We could use molten salt reactors to avoid both issues, but that would require more thoughtful, intelligent politics than we can apparently manage.  We never did have much coal, and for air quality reasons we've banished the remaining coal plants to nearby states, which means transmission losses and interstate politics drives up the prices.  As a result the residential rates around here are between $0.19/kWh for the "base" rate tier to $0.42/kWh for the highest usage tier.  Solar being much less expensive than even the lowest tier there’s been a big interest in that around here, since we have the sun for it.  I’ve got 10kWh/day (@ $0.17/kWh) coming off my own roof in fact.  Commercial rates are again subsidized in various ways, so that’s how I get to $0.12/kWh from the chargers at work.

      My particular car has a relatively small 8.8kWh battery.  (Which gives me about a 30 mile range.  Work is only about 7 miles one-way so that’s plenty for the commute and local errands.)  There’s basically 2 types of chargers around here, “level 1”, and “level 2”.  Level 1 uses our standard 120V AC.  My car came with a L1 charger that just plugs into a regular household AC outlet.  It takes about 4 hours to fully charge a completely discharged 8.8kWh battery.  A L2 charger uses a 240VAC outlet and will take about half the time to charge a battery (vs a level 1 charger).  Level 1/2 are something that most people can install at home.  They’re relatively cheap and don’t require any special infrastructure beyond that required by the typical residential electrical/building codes.

      There’s also a “level 3” charger, but it isn’t really a standard.  Level 3s cost thousands of dollars, generally require access to commercial-level power infrastructure, and not all cars can accept a level-3 charge.  Tesla’s “Supercharger” is a L3 charger that works with Tesla cars, but I don’t know of anyone else’s car that can handle it in level-3 mode.  I know my Prius, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt don’t.  Even the original Tesla Roadster can’t use the Tesla Superchargers.

    3. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      @Beocat Charging used to be a BYO thing at work, and even then there were fundamental issues, like who was going to pay how much and where you could plug in your charger.  Then a few years back the parking situation became intolerable and they (finally!) built a parking garage, including about a dozen charging stations initially and an infrastructure that could support a bunch more.  It was a huge hit, what with all the engineers and their toys on staff :D, and we now have over 50 chargers in the parking structure and a couple dozen more up the hill in the old lot.  It is first-come, first serve parking so it is still a bit of a challenge to find an open charger spot for "normal" people.  Never a problem finding an open charger on the off hours when I often work however, and as long as I can plug in maybe every other day then I pretty much never have to buy gas.

      All I need is a "PowerFlex" app on my cellphone to manage the billing and control the charger and I'm good.  I just park, plug in, scan a barcode on the charger, and tell it to start.  While it is charging I can look at the app in realtime for how the charge is progressing.  I can stop it at any time from the app, and of course my car can stop when it is "full".  If I can't find a spot to plug in then I can add myself to a queue and get notified when someone else finishes charging.  If I'm charging, someone else is waiting, and my car finishes then the app also notifies me and asks me to move my car to free the slot for the next guy.  The service is pay-as-you-go and the app can be loaded with funds in various ways, including a CC, paypal, apple pay, etc.  So far it is all working out pretty well.  If they'd just cover the top level of the parking structure with solar panels it'd be perfect.  :)

    4. Show next comments  3 more
  22. Earthquake out in the California desert at China Lake, which is also (kinda) near Goldstone @ Ft. Irwin. Pretty good shaker at 6.4, and a few 4+ aftershocks too.

     
  23. They took out all the computers on the console that the Spirit/Opportunity project people used to use today.  Not sure what's going in there to replace them yet, but InSight is possible.  Also Mars 2020 is coming up.

    IMG_4536.thumb.JPG.913bedc2a3246105fa65f0a3a142d305.JPG

    1. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      In a word, No.  :)  There is other lighting available however.  The lights for that console are just powered down while they work on/in it.

      My console tonight for instance ...

      image.thumb.jpg.c9ca4f45a3c748deb6f28db3fb7b90d8.jpg

    2. Wedgy

      Wedgy

      They don't even give you a light-up keyboard! 

    3. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      Heck no.  That keyboard is probably 20 years old.  It isn't even USB!  LED backlighting is one of them newfangled inventions that hasn't yet been supplied to us yet.  :) 

    4. Show next comments  3 more
  24. Checked the work schedule & this month I'm only scheduled to work 28 extra hours.  I even get the holiday off.  Not as bad as I was expecting.

    1. Seshi

      Seshi

      Only a ~70hr workweek no biggie 🤣 just assuming. Dang at least you get the holiday 

    2. efaardvark

      efaardvark

      No, that's for the month.  There's 4x40=160 hours in a work-month so 28 extra hours in a month is like 47 hrs per week.  Basically working 6 days per week instead of 5.

      A lot of the days are 12hr shifts tho, so I actually wind up with about the same number of days off.  IOW I get to keep my "weekends".  Yay.  OTOH my weekends will be th and fri instead of sat and sun so I'll be a bit out of sync with the regular workweek world.

       

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