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Andy Dillon
1,259 followers -
Enjoying the high signal to noise ratio since July 2011
Enjoying the high signal to noise ratio since July 2011

1,259 followers
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7 Seconds with a Big Finish
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If you’re arachnophobic, I hate to tell you this, but spiders can fly.

Don’t panic—it’s pretty much only the extra-tiny ones that take flight, which is a behavior called ballooning. By releasing a bouquet of streamer-like silks, baby spiders ascend into the air to find new homes after hatching, and adult spiders do so to get around more easily and find mates and new food sources. Some have even crossed entire oceans using these silk parachutes to stay aloft on wind currents.

And though the behavior is widespread, scientists haven’t nailed down exactly how spiders are able to take to the skies. Moonsung Cho, an aerodynamics engineer at the Technical University of Berlin, wanted to find out, so he studied crab spiders to see when they decide to take off and how they do it. Crab spiders are decently large for spiders that fly—though still only 5 millimeters long—so Cho thought they’d be excellent test subjects, because he wouldn’t need a heavy-duty zoom to record their behavior.

He gathered 14 of them and placed them on a small, dome-shaped structure in a Berlin park to see how they reacted to natural winds. He also studied them in the lab using controlled wind tunnels. He found that before flying away, the spiders would lay down an anchor silk strand for safety. They would then reach one of their front legs into the air to evaluate how fast the wind was blowing, and from which direction. That’s the spider equivalent of licking your finger and sticking it in the air.

If the wind conditions were just right—which, for these crab spiders, meant less than 7.3 miles per hour (3.3 meters per second) with a nice upward draft—they stood up very straight, stuck their butts in the air, and produced 50 to 60 nanoscale silks that lifted them into the skies. On average, those silks were nearly 10 feet long. Once they let go of their anchor strands, they were gone.
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Weird-Looking Outfeed Table Mod
In progress
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6/8/18
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Weird-Looking Outfeed Table Mod

I was going to build a cabinet-based outfield table for the table saw, but found a cheap, spacious filing cabinet that would save me time and money. So I ended up modifying my existing (crappy) outfeed to sit atop the filing cabinet.

The weird bit, as you can see, is the white stuff. I occasionally run long pieces through my table saw, and sometimes the boards are not as straight as you might want. When running long pieces, I've always used adjustable roller stands. If the board is bowed, as is often the case, by the time it reaches the roller stand, the leading edge is too low, and it either stops the cut, or it collapses.

This design will right a pretty bowed board at nearly six feet, fully extended. It looks really weird, but my test pieces ran very smoothly.
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First fire is a critical milestone for the demonstration plant, as it validates the fundamental operability and technical foundation of NET Power's new power system, which is designed to produce low-cost electricity from natural gas while generating near-zero atmospheric emissions, including full CO₂ capture.
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Cheese & Crackers, and Something Else

Baked brie, Dubliner, water crackers, multi-grain crackers, and a butter and wine date puree. And walnuts.
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Funny and Sad. I haven't seen this in awhile, but it's well worth watching again, especially in the current environment.
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Well, I guess it's official.

Maybe it was a requirement for helping the government develop autonomous murder. :)
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Torture is just as evil as not being accountable for torture, if not more so. But this is a very nice reminder that accountability is what makes torture less viable.
"Gina Haspel."

sigh

Believe it or not, her involvement in the enhanced interrogation program (or, as John McCain and I call it, the torture program) really isn't enough to disqualify her. Shocking, I know.

No, the reason to oppose her nomination goes deeper than that, and is something worse than torture. Yes, worse than torture: something so foul it's considered the truly unforgivable sin of the intelligence professional.

Rule Number One is thou shalt submit thyself for judgment. Everything the spook does the spook must be accountable for, somewhere, to someone. It might be to an oversight committee, it might be to a DOJ investigation, it might be to the Inspector General's office, it might be to a civil lawsuit, it might be to a FOIA request.

In the absence of being judged, intelligence agencies spiral out of control. There is always a risk intelligence agencies will lose sight of American values. By passing judgment on their acts we force the agencies to stay connected to the touchstone of our principles. To lie to Congress, to destroy documents of a scandal, to help people escape our society's judgment — these are the unforgivable sins of the intelligence professional.

Torturing someone is bad enough. But concealing a torture program from Congressional oversight is even worse, because it means we'll keep on torturing. It means that incoming agents will hear about Bob who was quietly allowed to retire after something, as opposed to seeing Bob hanging in a gibbet by the front door with a plaque beneath reading "TORTURER". Incoming agents notice things like that and adjust their conduct accordingly.

Gina Haspel made it hard to hold people accountable for the torture program.

That's worse than torture. She should not be nominated as Director of the CIA.

https://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/07/washington/07intel.html
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Lonche de Lomo
In progress
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5/8/18
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