Though now I feel a little inadequate as a dad. To be fair I never realized such a thing was possible.
I love this new 20% project from Google. They take a bunch of high-resolution Google Earth data and figure out how much sunlight individual houses get. Currently, this is live for the Bay Area and Fresno in California, plus the Boston area. So you can get a pretty good estimate of whether solar panels would save money on your house. Hint: solar makes sense for a lot more people than you'd think!
You can even connect directly with several different solar panel providers if you'd like to start saving money now. I hope that Google expands this even more widely at some point.
Edit: By the way, here's one more reason why this kicks butt. The price of solar is dropping so much that the cost of solar panel modules isn't the primary factor as much anymore. Instead, the overall cost of solar installation, including cost for solar installers to find customers, is one of the larger factors now. If Project Sunroof can help solar customers and solar installers find each other more easily, that just pushes solar to be even cheaper and more widely accessible. If you're interested, see http://rameznaam.com/2015/08/10/how-cheap-can-solar-get-very-cheap-indeed/ for a little more about this.
Though you do have to keep feeding it matter forever or within 100 years it will explode, so keep that in mind.
, one of the most consistently energetic and interesting people here on G+, recently wrote about how to make a black hole.
His recipe works like this:
INGREDIENTS: one small neutron star, one solar mass of hydrogen.
Take a neutron star 2 weighing solar masses. Gradually add one solar mass of hydrogen gas, letting it fall to the surface of the neutron star. Be careful: if you add too much too quickly, you'll create a huge nuclear explosion called a nova. When your neutron star reaches 3 solar masses, it will collapse into a black hole.
This is the smallest type of black hole we see in nature. The problem with this recipe is that we'd need to become at least a Kardashev Type II civilization, able to harness the power of an entire star, before we could carry it out.
Louis Crane, a mathematician at the University of Kansas, has studied other ways to make a black hole. It's slightly easier to make a smaller black hole - and perhaps more useful, since the Hawking radiation from a small black hole could be a good source of power.
Crane is interested in powering starships, but we could also use this power for anything else. It's the ultimate renewable energy source: you drop matter into your black hole, and it gets turned into electromagnetic radiation!
Unfortunately, even smaller black holes are tough to make. Say you want to make a black hole whose mass equals that of the Earth. Then you need to crush the Earth down to the size of a marble. The final stage of this crushing process would probably take care of itself: gravity would do the job! But crushing a planet to half its original size is not easy. I have no idea how to do it.
Luckily, to make power with Hawking radiation, it's best to make a much smaller black hole. The smaller a black hole is, the more Hawking radiation it emits. Louis Crane recommends making a black hole whose mass is a million tonnes. This would put out 60,000 terawatts of Hawking radiation. Right now human civilization uses only 20 terawatts of power. So this is a healthy power source.
You have to be careful: the radiation emitted by such a black hole is incredibly intense. And you have to keep feeding it. You see, the smaller a black hole is, the more Hawking radiation it emits - and as it emits radiation, it shrinks! Eventually it explodes in a blaze of glory: in the final second, it's about 1/100 as bright as the Sun. To keep your black hole from exploding, you need to keep feeding it. But for a black hole a million tons in mass, you don't need to rush: it will last about a century before it explodes if you don't feed it.
Unfortunately, to make a black hole that weighs a million tonnes, you need to put a million tonnes of mass in a region 1/1000 times the diameter of a proton.
This is about the wavelength of a gamma ray. So, if we could make gamma ray lasers, and focus them well enough, we could in theory put enough energy in a small enough region to create a million-ton black hole. He says:
Since a nuclear laser can convert on the order of 1/1000 of its rest mass to radiation, we would need a lasing mass of about a gigatonne to produce the pulse. This should correspond to a mass of order 10 gigatonnes for the whole structure (the size of a small asteroid). Such a structure would be assembled in space near the sun by an army of robots and built out of space-based materials. It is not larger than some structures human beings have already built. The precision required to focus the collapsing electromagnetic wave would be of an order already possible using interferometric methods, but on a truly massive scale. This is clearly extremely ambitious, but we do not see it as impossible.
I'm not holding my breath, but with luck our civilization will last long enough, and do well enough, to try this someday.
For details, see:
• Louis Crane and Shawn Westmoreland, Are black hole starships possible, http://arxiv.org/abs/0908.1803.
Here is Brian's post on how to build a black hole:
#spnetwork arXiv:0908.1803 #blackhole
Help me ensure I understood this right. Consistently Liberal and Mostly Liberal people tend to trust a lot more variety of sources across the entire spectrum. 28 and 24 respectively.
Consistently Conservative and Mostly Conservative people tend to trust a lot fewer sources of news. 8 (omg!) and 12 respectively. The lack of diversity of information sources might explain the existence of more (but not all) closed minds in such groups and more dug into their own points of view.
Is this an unreasonable understanding of this data set?
Additionally, the sources Consistently and Mostly Conservative people do trust, are less trusted by the other three groups of people! Fox News, Breitbart, Drudge Report, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh.
This explains why America is becoming more and more polarized.
Is this a reasonable understanding of this data set?
One bizarre data point: Everyone distrusts BuzzFeed more than they trust it!! And yet, as we know from competitive intelligence analysis, everyone is still reading BuzzFeed. :)
Data source: http://goo.gl/6eo9k5
When the subject comes up, though, there's often an objection to the whole premise. In the U.S., we're in a reasonably free labor market, so if there was real discrimination the market would have corrected for it. Maybe women just don't like programming.
I've ever found that argument very compelling - lots of relatively free markets fail in in certain situations, and markets are made of people who have all sorts of consistent, unconscious biases (myself included). This post says is much better than I could:
Mostly blue and green, I think it's probably the sparkling Aegean, viewed from the palace of Knossos. That kid is a nut for anything pre-Mycaenean.
It might be entirely true that Dustin Moskovitz was not always highly productive with his time, and also true that in some cases people work more than 40 hours a week and that is tremendously valuable to the organizations they are part of.
There is a lot of wishful thinking going on by people who imagine the world to be exactly the way they would wish it to be.
This is the the best example I have ever seen of hedge fund managers actually making the world a better place.
- Support Engineer, Search Quality Team, present
This is my personal account, but feel free to follow if you're interested in stuff related to Google, web design, programming, maps, photography, random funny things my kids says, and related geekery.
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China's Ingenious Online Dating Scams Put Ours To Shame - BuzzFeed News
A new study of the largest online dating site in China reveals hundreds of thousands of con artists.
The Upside of Irrationality - Books on Google Play
The provocative follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Predictably Irrational - Why can large bonuses make CEOs less productive? - How
We Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy - Existential Comics
Permanent Link to this Comic: http://existentialcomics.com/comic/29. Support the comic on Patreon · Follow on RSS Follow on twitter Follow o
Name This Couple's Baby & They'll Give $14,000 to Kids in Need
What do you think of parents who let the Internet name their baby? Think they're idiots who just want a little fame? Hold that thought. Beca
Spring Cleaning – 4 Steps to Rehab Your Old WordPress Blog | JasonMorris...
I'm thinking about doing a bit more writing, and to be honest I have left this blog pretty unloved since my last redesign in... hmmm... 2008
Childhood Development - Languages and Learning - New York Times
Do you know how many words your child spoke today?