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Thread: Trivial or non-trivial technology that amazes you.

  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Just an aside...

    Many folks have "smart" thermostats on their HVACs. Texas just went through a heat wave during which many electricity generating plants were down for maintenance (they're looking into it) and ERCOT asked folks to turn up the thermostats. Those with smart thermostats had it done for them.
    I read about that. It was claimed that is strictly opt-in, though I guess there is some debate about how clear they were about what the customer was getting into. For instance, it might have been part of a deal to buy a discount thermostat with buyers not looking too closely at the fine print. I did get the impression that a lot of customers just weren’t paying attention to what they were agreeing to.

    For a couple decades here we’ve had something similar, where the power company will give you a discount if you allow them to install a device that will shut the compressor off for a limited time per hour to help with peak use periods. I steered clear of that, I like my house comfortable. My power company was very clear on what it would do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    This talk of 'remote control' reminds me of some of the changes being made in the mining industry. Flying staff to the remote parts of Western Australia and providing accommodation for them is one of the big costs in that industry here. So these days remote control of heavy equipment is becoming more common.

    Here is link about the "world's first fully autonomous, long distance, heavy-haul rail network." These trains are 2.5 Km long and carry 28,000 tonnes of iron ore". There are also 390 tonne remote control dump trucks operating at these mine sites. I have also put into a link from the company which is a bit of a "puff piece" but also gives an idea of the remoteness of these mines and the size of the trains involved.
    Another small step/giant leap towards Lunar and NEO mining, maybe possibly?
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  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Another small step/giant leap towards Lunar and NEO mining, maybe possibly?
    Maybe, but you have to deal with speed of light delay. That isn’t too bad with the moon (a bit over a second each way) so limited autonomy should be sufficient, but NEO asteroids can have many minutes delay.

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  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Maybe, but you have to deal with speed of light delay. That isn’t too bad with the moon (a bit over a second each way) so limited autonomy should be sufficient, but NEO asteroids can have many minutes delay.
    For NEOs, send out your Mighty Machines, rendezvous, wait until the object gets close to Earth, remote-operate accordingly.

    Time consuming, but asteroid mining is not for day-traders anyway.
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  5. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    In our new house, we can control the HVAC, Fridge, Garage Doors, and other stuff from our phones. Or could, if I was willing to let them connect to the WiFi. I'm not. Just don't need to.
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  6. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    In our new house, we can control the HVAC, Fridge, Garage Doors, and other stuff from our phones. Or could, if I was willing to let them connect to the WiFi. I'm not. Just don't need to.
    Mostly I agree, but garage door sounds handy because I keep losing my remote control. Likewise, I can see security systems as a reasonable smart device, especially if you had cameras. But a smart fridge ?? What does you fridge have to know? "Still cold, food still present. Will update report as events warrant."
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    For NEOs, send out your Mighty Machines, rendezvous, wait until the object gets close to Earth, remote-operate accordingly.

    Time consuming, but asteroid mining is not for day-traders anyway.
    Except even at closest approach they aren’t usually that close to Earth. Greater autonomy will be needed or a human crew.

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  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    But a smart fridge ?? What does you fridge have to know? "Still cold, food still present. Will update report as events warrant."
    At the extreme, they have internal cameras with "AI" that can tell when you're low on milk and push a notification to your phone, which will use geolocation to remind you to buy milk as you pass a grocery store. At a lower level, some just have internal webcams so that you can stand in the grocery store and check your fridge contents with your phone, to see if you need milk.
    So, like much of modern technology, they provide a safety-net for the hapless and a source of bemusement for the well-organized.

    Grant Hutchison

  9. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Except even at closest approach they aren’t usually that close to Earth. Greater autonomy will be needed or a human crew.
    The probable path is of more autonomy, as that's the way robotics is trending anyway, and it'd be much cheaper than setting up human habitation BEO.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  10. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    At the extreme, they have internal cameras with "AI" that can tell when you're low on milk and push a notification to your phone, which will use geolocation to remind you to buy milk as you pass a grocery store. At a lower level, some just have internal webcams so that you can stand in the grocery store and check your fridge contents with your phone, to see if you need milk.
    So, like much of modern technology, they provide a safety-net for the hapless and a source of bemusement for the well-organized.

    Grant Hutchison
    And we can imagine a fridge that always has fresh milk etc. Upon opening. It has a back door to be loaded by unseen technology and people maybe. It would be rather like having slaves or servants to prepare tea and coffee, etc. So removing the need to know what a fridge is. Many current ideas are democratising what privileged people have had for centuries. No need to actually do anything. But historically those were trained in leisure pursuits or could dabble in science.
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  11. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    At the extreme, they have internal cameras with "AI" that can tell when you're low on milk and push a notification to your phone, which will use geolocation to remind you to buy milk as you pass a grocery store. At a lower level, some just have internal webcams so that you can stand in the grocery store and check your fridge contents with your phone, to see if you need milk.
    So, like much of modern technology, they provide a safety-net for the hapless and a source of bemusement for the well-organized.
    Now if only they were smart enough to move the pickles so I could see if I need olives...or if my Raclette has become a science experiment.
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  12. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    At the extreme, they have internal cameras with "AI" that can tell when you're low on milk and push a notification to your phone, which will use geolocation to remind you to buy milk as you pass a grocery store. At a lower level, some just have internal webcams so that you can stand in the grocery store and check your fridge contents with your phone, to see if you need milk.
    So, like much of modern technology, they provide a safety-net for the hapless and a source of bemusement for the well-organized.
    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    And we can imagine a fridge that always has fresh milk etc. Upon opening. It has a back door to be loaded by unseen technology and people maybe. It would be rather like having slaves or servants to prepare tea and coffee, etc. So removing the need to know what a fridge is. Many current ideas are democratising what privileged people have had for centuries. No need to actually do anything. But historically those were trained in leisure pursuits or could dabble in science.
    See, to me, what Grant describes above sounds like the opposite of having servants. The machines tell us what to do, when to do it, where to go, and generally relieve us of having to think or plan for ourselves, we just check our phones for instructions.

    (I'm in the hapless group myself, but I have a disability that puts me there involuntarily. Reminders and alarms help me function but I'd prefer to be capable of supporting myself by myself, if I could.)
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  13. #163
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    I wonder what Doña Petrona would think of a fridge with a camera? Before becoming a world famous chef, an author and businesswoman, she taught people how to use gas ovens. That one development changed the way that people brought food into the home and set her on her path. The idea of having a pantry is very old, but the idea of every family having one stocked with food was "new again" at the turn of the 20th century. Most people shopped the market for fresh food daily. All kinds of economic changes created challenges as to what to eat when the only thing you have to cook is something from that pantry.

    She was brilliant because she anticipated the needs of people in the face of new technology and changing times. If you ever get a chance to read about her, I suggest the book "Creating a Common Table".

    Edited to add a link to her Wiki Article. Doh! Edit 2 - The Spanish article has far more info, even if you get a rough translation.
    Solfe

  14. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    See, to me, what Grant describes above sounds like the opposite of having servants. The machines tell us what to do, when to do it, where to go, and generally relieve us of having to think or plan for ourselves, we just check our phones for instructions.

    (I'm in the hapless group myself, but I have a disability that puts me there involuntarily. Reminders and alarms help me function but I'd prefer to be capable of supporting myself by myself, if I could.)
    You are right that these seem to be completely opposite, but the progress of technology tends to make it become invisible and to de-skill the operator. Cars are a perfect example. Now driverless, they used to come with owners manuals that included changing big end shells.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Maybe, but you have to deal with speed of light delay. That isn’t too bad with the moon (a bit over a second each way) so limited autonomy should be sufficient, but NEO asteroids can have many minutes delay.
    Yes, I don't think it would be a problem with operations on the moon. These mine site are some 1,500 Km from Perth with no ground lines or Mobile Phone Towers anywhere nearby so the signal already has to be sent up to a satellite and bounced down again to a ground station. So there is already a 'delay' in any process. The Dump Trucks have already been shown to react and make emergency stops when, as happened, a flock of birds flies in front of them. Of course the chances of a flock of birds on the Moon does seem less likely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    Yes, I don't think it would be a problem with operations on the moon. These mine site are some 1,500 Km from Perth with no ground lines or Mobile Phone Towers anywhere nearby so the signal already has to be sent up to a satellite and bounced down again to a ground station. So there is already a 'delay' in any process. The Dump Trucks have already been shown to react and make emergency stops when, as happened, a flock of birds flies in front of them. Of course the chances of a flock of birds on the Moon does seem less likely.
    A flock of Falcons?
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    Trivial or non-trivial technology that amazes you.

    There is already half an Eagle there.

    ETA: Maybe two halves.
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    You are both very silly - but amusing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    Yes, I don't think it would be a problem with operations on the moon. These mine site are some 1,500 Km from Perth with no ground lines or Mobile Phone Towers anywhere nearby so the signal already has to be sent up to a satellite and bounced down again to a ground station. So there is already a 'delay' in any process. The Dump Trucks have already been shown to react and make emergency stops when, as happened, a flock of birds flies in front of them. Of course the chances of a flock of birds on the Moon does seem less likely.
    Mining is very ancient, the flint hand axe period needed mines and the concept plus skills brought the bronze and iron ages. Coal mining was automated only recently but tunneling and mining can now be highly robotised. So mining off planet does seem likely both in human psychology and skills. It was and is a dangerous, dirty business, so sending robots seems sensible, only a philosopher would object on any moral grounds.

    Money values in exploiting resources come down to human payments, these apply only to the humans who build the robots, so we move from slaves to wage slaves to machines, and grab energy from the sun and other nuclear sources. That future does seem to be pressing our buttons.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Mining is very ancient, the flint hand axe period needed mines and the concept plus skills brought the bronze and iron ages. Coal mining was automated only recently but tunneling and mining can now be highly robotised. So mining off planet does seem likely both in human psychology and skills. It was and is a dangerous, dirty business, so sending robots seems sensible, only a philosopher would object on any moral grounds.

    Money values in exploiting resources come down to human payments, these apply only to the humans who build the robots, so we move from slaves to wage slaves to machines, and grab energy from the sun and other nuclear sources. That future does seem to be pressing our buttons.
    As far as payment, automating jobs is a mixed blessing as most people currently have to work for a living. The economy(-ies) of the future will be... interesting to say the least.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Mining is very ancient, the flint hand axe period needed mines and the concept plus skills brought the bronze and iron ages.
    And the mining technologies even then showed tremendous ingenuity. Stone age people used dry wooden wedges swelled with warm water to crack open cliffsides; the Romans washed the tops off whole mountains with manmade floods.
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    I find the ingenuity of the Stone age example greater than of the Roman example. Of course, actually making a manmade flood of sufficient strength on a high location is quite a feat, but coming up with the idea is as "easy" as looking at what water does in nature around you.

    The wooden wedges though...First you'd have to carefully observe stuff to see that it does swell when made wet. Then you'd have to assume (or rather, hope) that there is any strength in this phenomenon, then you'd have to try it and see if the rock does split. Maybe it was a purely accidental discovery, when people put dry wooden items in rock cracks for construction or storage and the rock split when it rained.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    I find the ingenuity of the Stone age example greater than of the Roman example. Of course, actually making a manmade flood of sufficient strength on a high location is quite a feat, but coming up with the idea is as "easy" as looking at what water does in nature around you.

    The wooden wedges though...First you'd have to carefully observe stuff to see that it does swell when made wet. Then you'd have to assume (or rather, hope) that there is any strength in this phenomenon, then you'd have to try it and see if the rock does split. Maybe it was a purely accidental discovery, when people put dry wooden items in rock cracks for construction or storage and the rock split when it rained.
    Tree roots are a fine example found in nature, especially ones that visibly swell after a rainstorm.

    The Romans had a habit of co-opting existing ideas and then scaling them up to extremes. They probably did not invent that kind of mining, just turned it Up To Eleven.
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    The Romans did have a tendency of doing things in a way that Discovery Channel can rightfully put "mega" in the title indeed.

    I don't live in a rocky environment; exposed tree roots are a rarity here so I've never observed them swelling.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    I don't live in a rocky environment; exposed tree roots are a rarity here so I've never observed them swelling.
    Where I grew up the sidewalks often got cracked and pushed up by roots, especially in the wet springtime.
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    High on the list of "things that bug me" is people who don't understand how the ancients could have done something, therefore it was aliens. In most cases they really don't understand how they do things now, either.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    When they don't understand some technology, they either say it's faked or it's aliens. But when there's footage depicting aliens and someone says it's faked, they don't believe it. It's too early in the morning for this kind of thoughts.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    It is the lack of written records that leaves us so unclear about ancients. Also they had (we assume) only knowledge handed down within families and oral routes like sagas and chanting. Apart from mining they mastered string and rope using hemp and the wonder material birch tar. The general technique of fire with restricted oxygen is pretty clever and these basic skills lasted for thousands of years unchanged, as far as we can tell.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  29. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    It is the lack of written records that leaves us so unclear about ancients. Also they had (we assume) only knowledge handed down within families and oral routes like sagas and chanting. Apart from mining they mastered string and rope using hemp and the wonder material birch tar. The general technique of fire with restricted oxygen is pretty clever and these basic skills lasted for thousands of years unchanged, as far as we can tell.
    Stone age technology did advance, though. Neanderthal and earlier lithic tools did not change much and changed slowly, but H. Sapiens innovated new designs relatively more, and built on past advancements in a way that makes the rest of genus Homo sluggish by comparison. Hunting tools likewise were not static for too long; javelin to atlatl to bow, with multiple stages of each becoming more efficient at every step.

    The fact that agriculture, domestication, selective breeding, irrigation, cities, and writing were independently invented several times across the world, is another amazing feat. Convergent technological evolution, so to speak.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    High on the list of "things that bug me" is people who don't understand how the ancients could have done something, therefore it was aliens. In most cases they really don't understand how they do things now, either.
    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    It is the lack of written records that leaves us so unclear about ancients. Also they had (we assume) only knowledge handed down within families and oral routes like sagas and chanting. Apart from mining they mastered string and rope using hemp and the wonder material birch tar. The general technique of fire with restricted oxygen is pretty clever and these basic skills lasted for thousands of years unchanged, as far as we can tell.
    Actually, I don't think it has anything to do with a lack of written records. Both the Mayans and the Egyptians, for example, left written records.

    Frankly, I think it is racism. You'll note that when Mesoamericans or Egyptians built such huge structures, you get the "it must have been aliens refrain", but you don't hear similar things for Greeks or Romans or Medieval Europeans.

    "Our ancestors were smart enough to build temples and cathedrals, but yours weren't".
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