Tech Tuesday – Post Doomsday Eclipse Edition

Only one link about the eclipse, and it’s minor. You are welcome.


Aero1 – I imagine that being able to get lots of data on a supernova in progress is an astronomer’s “Best Day Ever!”  And a strange supernova is like winning the lottery.  This is the kind of event careers are made upon.

Aero2 – I was 3 years old when Voyager 1 was launched.  I’ve been following the exploits of the little space probes that not only could, but did, and still do, all my life.  My favorite part of their story is how the engineers who put the missions together were not content with the politically determined mission parameters, and quietly designed probes that could have their missions extended.  The amount of information we’ve gotten out of those two little spacecraft has continued to pay dividends.

Aero3Turning pee and yeast into printable plastic, in space.

Aero4 – Taking a good look at the Seven Sisters.


Bio1 – Cancer gets the Gold Star Laser treatment of doom.

Bio2 – Breast milk can fight super-bugs.

Bio3 – 99% of the microbes in your body are unknown to science.  This is not actually surprising, since that percentage corresponds to how many microbes within the whole biosphere are unknown to science.  We have a pretty limited set of tools for culturing microbes in a lab, and most microbes do not thrive under those tools.


Enr1 – Well, it’s better than tons of coal dust in the air, and if you are going to have a nuclear reactor, having it surrounded by all the water in the world is the way to do it.

Enr2 – South Australia is going to build the world’s largest mass bird cooker!  Kidding aside, solar thermal in the desert is the way to do solar.  The birds will learn to avoid it (although some ultrasonic deterrents might not be a bad idea).

Enr3Solar Glass Block.  Sure, why not, we got solar window film.  Glass block makes sense.  Although, have you ever looked at the cost of glass block?  That stuff is pricey all by itself.  I’d want to see how long the power and insulation take to offset the cost.

Enr4 – Bring a new Thorium Reactor online for the first time in 40 years, courtesy of the Dutch.


Env1 – How orange peels restored a forest.  The part about the lawsuit is interesting as well.


Mat1 – Does this mean we can engineer spiders to spin our space elevator cables for us?

Mat2Freeze dried foam can soak up more than 3 times it’s weight in CO2.  Which is awesome, but we got way more CO2 in the air than we could readily use in industrial processes, so what do we do with the rest?

Mat3 – Turning plastic into diamonds with x-ray lasers (because theoretically it rains diamonds in the hearts of gas giants).  I would love to see a video of the two shockwaves flashing the plastic into diamonds.


Tech1 – The table is so very cool.  You can’t play Dejarik on it (yet), but it’s still the closest we’ve gotten to a holographic display.  But those glasses, we gotta do something about those glasses…

Tech2Light Field Cameras could vastly improve machine vision in robots and autonomous vehicle.  Yeah, a computer can do a lot when it has that much additional information about the light field.

Tech3 – First open air test of quantum encryption was successful.


Trans1 – If you have an open water fish farm, this isn’t a bad idea, as long as the port isn’t too far away.  And I’m willing to bet that open water fish farms are a lot closer to a new norm than you might think.

Trans2 – Everything old is new again.

Trans3 – Without the Mr. Fusion, the nostalgia factor is lost.  However, the coolness factor is still there.

Trans4 – I find the idea of an electrified road appealing, but man I hate the look of overhead wires and pantographs.

Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful

WWW1 – Turns out the Greeks weren’t the first to use Trigonometry.

WWW2 – If you missed the eclipse, here is a time lapse video I made of the eclipse at 93% occlusion.  I used a Nikon D5100 with a 300mm lens and a Hoya R72 near infrared filter.  The field keeps jumping around because I don’t have a tracking rig, so I had to adjust the camera every time the sun started to move out of frame, and seeing as how I was taking a photo every 20 seconds, I had to work fast.


Image by goatxa

Associate Editor

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget. ...more →

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25 thoughts on “Tech Tuesday – Post Doomsday Eclipse Edition

  1. Www1 – I thought we already knew that while the name comes from Greek, the ideas are older, as we get our degree measuring system from the Babylonians and the Egyptians were measuring angles and building orientation to within a gnat’s a** in all their famous wonders.


  2. Enr1 – there’s a difference between something sunk in the abyssal plain (e.g. Thresher and Scorpion) and something sunk on the continental shelf which has a lot more biospheric interaction.


  3. [Bio2]. Tasmanian devil breast milk kills pretty much anything. She devils (Tasmanian) have their babies very early, long before the little devils develop an immune system, so researchers wondered why the babies don’t all die from infection once separated from mom’s immune system.. It turns out that Tasmanian she-devils produce a whole new class of antibiotics which will lead to new classes of human antibiotics. The bad news is that researchers are running out of grad students, as they death toll from trying to milk a Tasmanian devil is extremely high, so it will probably come to nothing.


  4. Enr4:
    From the article:

    These reactors are significantly safer than the most advanced present reactors in terms of safety and nuclear weapons proliferation risk as well as much simpler in design, making them faster to construct and therefore cheaper. TMSRs also virtually eliminate the problem of long-lasting nuclear waste. The exponentially more efficient technology generates only a fraction of the waste of a conventional reactor with none of the persistent radioactive substances. This makes waste storage and disposal much more manageable.

    On top of that, Alvin Weinberg calculated that we have enough Thorium reserves to meet our power needs for billions of years. Assuming that he’s off by three orders of magnitude, that’s still millions of years. Assuming our power needs have gone up by three orders of magnitude since he did his calculations in 1959, that’s still thousands of years.


  5. Aero2

    Will people mock me if I say I got teary eyed reading the Voyager article?

    Because I totally did not get teary eyed. Is that clear? Pollen count is high today. That’s all.

    But I do remember watching Carl Sagan go teary eyed himself recounting it in Cosmos. And it did move me at that time.


    • Will people mock me if I say I got teary eyed reading the Voyager article?

      Not this guy, I totally understand dusty conditions.

      I know most of our other probes all have limited life spans by design, but I have to say I am still incredibly impressed with what we’ve been able to do with some very small spacecraft built on some relatively shoestring budgets. And not just NASA, Japan and Europe are doing some excellent work, and I expect China & India will be doing some impressive work as well in the very near future.


  6. Trans 2

    Everything new again is new again. I remember seeing this same idea in the 1980s while in college. At the time, it was to save fuel.

    Having said that, it is indeed a good idea,, and I’m still surprised it hasn’t caught up


      • The Quadriga sustainable shipping project – an initiative from Hamburg-based Sailing Cargo, aims to build the world’s biggest sailing cargo ship.

        The project outlines a plan to build a 170-meter (560-foot) car carrier, capable of carrying between 1,700 and 2,000 cars

        (em added)

        man, talk about missing the big picture.

        The spinnaker assist is nice because it’s win-win – you’re getting fuel savings but no off-axis distance penalty if you need to course adjust to catch the wind.

        This thing from the article is only going 10-12 kts to begin with so each knot you lose in your net speed of advance is another day on the Rotterdam to New York run (which is one of the shorter ones on the big international trade nodes)


  7. Env1:

    How quickly does the GOP decide that we should experiment with coal mining waste to see if it produces the same result?


  8. Fission, general: Duke Energy has filed a settlement proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission to abandon the Levy Nuclear Project, take a loss for ~$350M of the already spent up-front costs (rather than recover from customers), build at least 700MW of new solar, and make network upgrades to accommodate more renewable power.


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