Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Boggled by farads

For technical or physics-minded folks: Recall when the news of a big capacitor was that a 0.5 to 1.0 farad capacitor would fill a good-sized barn? Well, I just heard from an old friend that there is this news that this company is now selling capacitors that are up to 5,000 farads in value!

As the friend puts it: "And I don’t mean 5000 units of a one farad capacitor… That’s 5,000,000,000 microfarads/part!"

But (and here's possibly one catch for some practical uses for these parts to replace batteries for emergency operations), the parts are rated at 2.7 volts.

Comments are welcomed.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Generation gap squeeze: Children in cyberspace

This NYTimes article about the social aspects of today's children, their interaction with electronic connections to cyberspace, the expectations they will have from those interactions, and what it will mean about the social divides between children only a few years apart in calendar age is a fascinating hypothesis and a disturbing one on the level of what it might mean in disruption to our society.

We who are older might be tempted to not think about this situation if it were not for articles like this which call it to our attention.

Comments welcomed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

50,000 hp in a used F-104 Starfighter body: Aiming for 800 mph on land!

When I used to take my mother's 1954 Plymouth out on the soon-to-open loop on the west side of San Angelo, Texas, I had nothing like this baby in mind. This fellow has lots of folks helping him get things lined up right, since there's not much margin for error at land vehicle velocity beyond the speed of sound. But the idea of cranking up 50,000 hp and lettin' 'er rip is somewhat attractive. The idea of death or months of hospital recovery if there's a mistake doesn't seem in the same breath, so to mentally speak. The subject says what happened and the plans for the future. Read the article for details.

Whoosh! Shazam!

Comments welcomed.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Old plaster walls yield no WiFi & little cell signal

Many of the places I lived in west Texas as a child had provisions for keeping chickens. I would never have thought of this problem back then. But, those places NEVER had plaster walls; they only had the wire in chicken coops.