* Posts by Xalran

209 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Apr 2020


Never mind the Saudis: Here's a new OPEC for EV battery metals


Re: Didn't the Chinese try something similar with "rare" earth metals ?

there's quite a bit of nickel mined in the Pacific, on a French Island called New Caledonia.



Re: Imperial Copper

I beg to differ.

the largest copper reserves are in South America ( Chile ) :


Calamity capsule: Boeing's Starliner losses approaching $1B


Re: Just another McDonnell Douglas management clusterf*ck...

They won't try the corporate takover with SpaceX... They know if they try to do it Elon will just perform an hostile takeover and fire all the executives...

After all $44Bn is more or less pocket money for him.

Apple exec confirms iPhones will switch to USB-C because 'we have no choice'


Re: One in three chargers that is bundled with these products are never opened.

Actually, that's the end idea behind that law.

But like for the common USB plug, they don't want to force the issue right away.

At some point the companies that provides USB-C powered/recharged equipment will stop providing a charger/power supply, since they will assume everybody has one, and just mention the power the charger/power unit needs to deliver for the equipment to work/charge.

China dumps dud chips on Russia, Moscow media moans


Re: Russian SMO

Last time I looked there was no genocide in Ukraine before Russia invaded...

Since Russia invaded there's clearly a genocide of Ukrainian people performed by Russian paramilitaries ( Wagner, Chechens ) and Russian troops.

sorry for the French : https://www.msn.com/fr-fr/actualite/other/une-strat%C3%A9gie-militaire-des-soldats-russes-re%C3%A7oivent-du-viagra-pour-violer/ar-AA132K34?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=2454c9ee2b73452bbb2c8bf6f95d6792

Micro molten salt reactor can fit on a truck, power 1k homes. When it's built


Original purpose

"The designs at the time ultimately proved unusable for their original purposes. "

In the 1950s and 1960s the original nuclear powerplants purpose was not to generate power... but to generate Plutonium in enough quantities to build bombs.

MSR byproducts are a PITA to use in bomb making. the U235 is contaminated by U233 and separating them cost an arm, a leg, an eye, a kidney and a lung.

and if Thorium is used in the Molten salt, Pu can't be produced in large enough quantities.

And even if the recycling ability of the MSR is small, it's good to note that they can be used to recycle long lived wastes from the pressurized water reactors into short lived ones. Any way that can reduce the amount of long lived nuclear waste is something that needs to be looked at.


Re: How does one secure it?

First the radioactive material is in the form of liquid... molten in a fluoride salt.

The wort that can happen if an idiot plant a bomb on a MSR core is some square meters of fluoride contaminated ground. ( that chemical contamination is worse than the radioactive )

Fluoride spill are ( somewhat sadly ) regularly dealt with in chemical plants so it's not really an issue.

( it will just need another layer of precautions due to the radioactive material, but that's just adaptating a known process )


Re: I'm not a nuclear physicist

The worst that can happen is if an idiot pokes a hole into the reactor core and the molten salt spill over an area... if it's a bit of landscape some serious chemical fluoride cleaning will have to be performed ( the radioactive contamination is less dangerous than the fluoride one and will be delt with during the fluoride cleanup. ), like any chemical spill.

So if the spill occurs in a controlled environment ( don't expect these trailer sized plants to actually sit on a trailer except for military purpose ) you'll have a concrete with some lining pond under the core to keep the molten salt in a limited area in the event that an idiot poked a hole in he thing.

And since the radioactive material is mixed with the molten salt, if the core gets emptied, no metldown can occurs.


Not much.

As mentionned, it's designed in such a way that It cannot go boom even if you poke it the wrong way.

It will just go back to a safe, cold, stable state.

The worst that can happen is that some idiot poke a hole in the thing and the reactor content spill out over some area... And honestly if that happen, the Fluoride salt polution is probably worse & more dangerous than the radioactive one.

Fixing an upside-down USB plug: A case of supporting the insupportable


Re: Upside down 3.5" floppies

well with 8" and 5.25" disks there was no upside down...

Unless the drive was a double sided drive you actually had to turn the floppy to read the other face.

So for some people in the 3.5" floppies early days trying to insert it upside down was something they considered normal.


ever tried to connect paper capacitors between two phases in 380v ?

They make a nice bang.

But really the capacitors I was really worried about were the 1 farad monsters at the bottom of the Power unit racks when we had to actually put the 48v power on the rack...without the load resistors... it was all in the wirst movement to keep the fusein the huge fuse holder far enough to form an arc and spread it so that it didn't degrade the contacts until the humongeous capacitors at the bottom were charged enough not to explode.


not 6502 i/o ports but I remember one day in Lycèe ( that probably parse as High school ), in Electronics where we went through the whole supply of Thyristor control circuits in less than an hour...

One of us had found a way to make the IC make a nice Pop sound and shows, through the cracks the embers of fried silicon. the rest of the class promptly reproduced the layout with the obvious results.

After receiving brand new chips from the teacher, everybody promptly sacrificed it to the Pop-ember god.

Since the spares were all gone, the teacher sent one of us to the local electronic store ( for watever reason it was located about 100m away from the school ) with some money to buy new ones and told us that nobody was to connect our circuit to the power before he checked it. Sadly no circuit met their (un)timely death by pop-ember that day. ( but we spread the way to do it, so that other groups managed to reproduce it in a limited way [ teachers being teachers, the word on their side spread almost as fast as it spread on our side, thus the limited reproduction ] )

OVH opens less flammable datacenter at site of 2021 fire


Re: "the lack of [..] an automatic fire extinguisher system"

It used to be the case in all OVH datacenters ( along with some of them being built in wood ).

the only OVH DCs with a fire suppression system were the Canadian ones, because it was a legal requirement.

China discovers unknown mineral on the moon, names it Changesite-(Y)


Re: A question


There has to be another mineral called Changesite that does not contain Yttrium...

I haven't been able to find the chemical formula ( which is strange, it has to be clearly defined for the IMA to accept a new mineral name ) but since there'es that trailing Y and it's a phosphate it at least contains the following elemen/complex : Y and PO4

now for a complete answer, I'm going to use a similar phosphate : merrillite and merrillite-Y

Merrillite : Ca8NaMg(PO4)7

Merrillite-Y : Ca16Y2Mg2(PO4)14

As you can see, the Yttrium replaced the Sodium in the formula...

US Army drone crashes hours ahead of breaking flight duration record


Re: It's not 1984. Really. Trust us.

Belize is a country in Central America...

it went all the way there by flying over the Mexico Gulf and going around the Yucatan peninsula...


Re: It's not 1984. Really. Trust us.

It went as far as Belize at one point, before going back to making /signs in the sky/ over a specific area that was designated as it's test flight area.

Nuclear power is the climate superhero too nervous to wear its cape


Re: Waste

It's not a craton... It's the remnant of the Cadomian Orogenesis.

a craton is something that has been stable for one or more GA... ( billion years )


Re: Waste

yes, but not in UK, France, Germany, Japan...

I din't mention Australia, Canada or USA because they do have geological cratons, and there's lots of them in Africa too... and in Asia...

but are the European countries willing to send their waste in say Zimbabwe ( there's a nice craton there ) ?


Re: Waste

nope, the Pyrénées are définitely NOT stable, it's actually one of the earthquake prone area of France. It's riddled with massive faults ( SPF and NPF comes to mind ), at one point it was the *tectonic* rotation point of Spain and right now Spain is trying to plow it's way through the mountains.

Look up the geological definition of a craton... no earthquake, no fault, no fold, no sedimentary rock.


Re: Volcanoes ?

Actually glaciers are faster than tectonic plates... but that's nitpicking.

the best way to get rid of the actual nuclear waste stockpile is to recycle and reuse....

there's reactor types that can reduce the long half life wastes into short half life ones... and produce electricity along the way... but they weren't developed as it's ( extremely ) hard to get Plutonium or U235 out of them.


Re: Deaths are not the only metric

to answer question One : Yes there's exclusion zones around coal mines.

There's even ghost towns caused by coal mines....

Google Centralia

that's too bad for you... Exclusion Zones caused by Coal Mining DO exist.


Re: Bang On - except the death stats

actually if the ore came from Oklo it could also contain Plutonium....

I let people google the reason. ( and it's actually a reason relevant to the debate )


Re: Bang On - except the death stats

have you ever tried to measure the radioactivity downwind of a coal power plant ?

If you haven't, you should try... you'd be surprised... and usually it's not an exclusion zone.


Re: Waste

yes, but it's not given to every country to have access to a nice stable geological craton like the Kola Peninsula one.

What can be done in Finland and Sweden can't be done in UK, France, Germany, Japan or USA...

Oh Deere: Farm hardware jailbroken to run Doom


Re: John Deere failed to comply with its GPL obligations

There's probably a few gleefully sharpening their legal knives over it.

Sadly JD is probably going to pour millions in a legal team to tie that up in court for years if not decades.

Foxconn will have to forget about investing in Tsinghua Unigroup


the whole issue anyway is that one China hypocrisy.

There's two China :

- the Dictatorial, Communist Chinese People Republic mainland Asia.

- the Democratic Republic of China on the Taiwan Island

up until the 1970s it was Taiwan that had the UN security council seat, until the CCP threw a tantrum and waved nukes... which led to Taiwan to be expelled from the UN and the CCP to get the seat.

US car industry leads the world in production cuts over chip shortages


Re: Remember when

and some of those crank handle equipped cars didn't even have any battery...

And even better, since most of the cars were very light ( 3 or 4 strong men could lift them ), they had a small engine with a fuel economy that's impossible to replicate nowadays ( and weren't as polluting as people think )


yes, simple circuit :

a switch for up/down for the human usage, two actuator switches to open the circuit once the end has been reached, the human will then know it's time to put back the human usage switch to neutral.

No electronics involved just bits of wire.

The same goes for the electrically adjusting seat curcuits.

that can also be done for the mirrors, the optional opening roof, the back window thawing thingie, and probably a few more things I didn't think of.

The only things that can't avoid chips in a car right now are :

- the engine, because it was designed to be chip controlled to meet the green requirements ( or cheat on them ), and using a chip was cheaper than actually designing a new engine from scratch to meet them without chips in it.

- the radio/multimedia monster... becausse you can't avoid chip with DAB/RDS ( and that's just for the radio side )


Re: Here's an idea -

I don't know but...

30 years ago the only electronic in cars was in the radio-tape... and most of the time it was discrete components not chips.

Rolling back some of the digical car idiocy that was created during the last 30ish years would probably help a lot reduce the if not get rid of the chip shortage in car industry.

I know it can't be rolled back completely.... you need electronics in the modern engine due to how they were designed to *cheat*... err meet the pollution requirements. ( and it was cheaper to put some electronics than to completely redesign the engines ), but do the electric window needs an chip control ? ( when a simple button can do it ) doe example ?

Cheap cellular data list is out: And US doesn't make top 200


Re: It did not, however, look at the cost of roaming data when travelling abroad.

well, before the Brexit, the cost of roaming for UK, in the EU would have been nil.

Well the price of your normal data plan, as there's no data roaming fee in the EU.

Since Brexit... it's up to how much the $TELCO wants to lighten your purse.

NASA's CAPSTONE silence down to a software flaw


Sure, but it costs two arms, a leg, an eye a kidney and a large bit of the liver...

In telecom 30 years ago unitary tests of each and every path in the code was the norm ( and it was mostly automated ) on testbeds ( read : PSTN or MSC exchanges used as testbeds ), then a lighter 'Integration' campaign was done on the first exchange with the new software ( and eventually new hardware tied to the new software ) that did include traffic overload tests. And even then there still was funky weird cases of bugs that showed up months after the software was deployed everywhere.

The whole process was around two years : one year of development and testbed tests, 6 months of integration/comissionning on a new exchange, 3 months of local, on call babysitting by $TELCO equipment builder techs, 3 months to generalize the new software to the rest of the exchanges in a country.

5G C-band rollout at US airports slowed over radio altimeter safety fears


Re: The Fun is

Except that it's incorrect C-Band is used in airports all around the world.

True, they did some adaptation ( 500m distance between the strip and the antenna along with cell orientation in Japan for example, cell orientation and limited use of power in transmission in Europe. )

The FAA just went knee jerk because it blew up in USA after the rest of the world had already implemented other measures that didn't raise any concern from the Air Regulators there and they **had to be seen doing something** after the 737Max Debacle.

As for approach routes... you don't land sidewise on a landing strip, so it's from either long end, even with an airport that has several set of strips most of the time they are parrallel, and if they are not there's 4 to 6 approach vectors, hell even 8 at worst where adaptation could be used.... And I'm not even talking of the range... C-Band propagation is poor, if dots are used indoor the signal won't even be available on the planes. So with a good planned coverage, the signal will be inexistant beyond the ramp.


Re: I hate when AT&T is right

yes but the affected 737 radio altimeters are known to use sucky components... it's not the wide band filter itself that's the issue... it's the fact that the components used are beyond accepted tolerances.

put in simple term : when a 1% tolerance 100K Ohm resistor should have been used a 20% one has been put....

So for 100000 :

- 1% is 99900 ohm to 101000.

- 20% is 98000 ohm to 120000

the difference should be obvious.


reputation ? it's already gone to hell.

I think that after the 737Max debacle and the fact that they were the last country in the world to ground them the FAA reputation when it comes to safety ( or lack of thereoff ) has no need to be maintained.

They need to rebuild it from the bottom of abyss that scandal dumped them.


The Fun is

Japan has a C-Band 5G that goes to 4.1Ghz and there's been no issue there.

( they just made sure the main lobe from the antenna was not pointing down a landing strip )

Europe has the same C-Band... and there's been no issue there.

( nothing was done here... because of the EU power limitation in mobile phone antenna emissions already in place since 2/3G )

So the FAA twisted panty from my point of view is just a knee jerk reaction after the 737Max Debacle ( and they probably have a few other skeletons in the closets waiting to explode ) and the fact that US Airlines fly old planes bought on the cheap.

California's attempt to protect kids online could end adults' internet anonymity


anonimity ? Internet ?

ah, that wet dream...

Nobody is anonymous on Internet.

Just to browse El Reg, even without registering, my public IP is logged, and can be traced back to a specific ISP. That ISP knows who is connected at this IP since I'm a subscriber of that ISP.

Even if I use a VPN, I paid the VPN with some kind of throwable card ( like a google/steam/whatever card you cna buy at supermarkets ), the VPN provider still knows the source IP of the VPN, and we are back to stage one : the ISP knows who I am.

There's no anonimity on Internet, just services providers unwilling to give information on their subscribers ( or more than willing in other cases ).

Now to the topic of protecting kids from *things they are not old enough to see* , from my point of view it's the parent's responsibility to ensure their kids don't see them, not some regulator. ISP can offer tools to perform that protection. ( like a control panel in the triple play box configuration that say that for a given device [ 6 year old Timmy tablet for example ] he can only visit a very limited number of websites, while another device/set of devices [ 15 year old Ginny laptop & mobile phone ] can reach most of the Internet content.

South Korea's space ambitions stuck on the launchpad


For geosynchronous orbits yes they are quite North.

But given enough propellant that can be solved, now thats not economically viable, but for launches where the money don't matter it can be done.

On the other hand they have an advantage for polar orbits.

Now on the difficulty of sending stuff aloft in orbit... it's Rocket Science after all.

EV battery can reach full charge in 'less than 10 minutes'


Re: Full charge in 10 minutes?

it's a matter of scale and how it's handled.

Battery replacement stations could work if :

- the battery is considered to be the fuel, and not a compnent of the car.

This would allow cars to be sold without batteries, even if a battery with enough charge to drive a bit

would be provided ( like the few liter of petrol/gas you get with a new car )

[ if I went in corporate talk I'd say the battery is not a CAPEX like the car, but an OPEX like the gas/petrol

for the car ]

- the battery format ist standarized globally and for all the cars

lets say 2 or 3 battery size depending on the car size, all car maker will have to use these sizes

- the battery connectivity to the cars is standardized globally for all the car models.

- the current petrol/gas stations would have to adapt and provide a battery swapping service.

the fee would be the cost of a battery charge along with a small overhead for equipment maintenance.

- the swapping stations would have to be sized large enough that at least one fully charged battery of each

size is available at any time.

- the battery swapping would preferably be an automated process.

from the user point of view :

your battery is getting low, you go to the station, choose the relevant battery size booth, pay for the battery swap, wait for the swap to be done, and then move on... and when that new battery gets low, you pull again at a station, rinse, repeat.

The whole battery change process can eventually be longer than refilling a tank, but if designed well it shouldn't be much longer.

Now I agree that there's a lot of *if*.

If you want to launch Starship from Texas, here's some homework, FAA tells SpaceX


Re: Not too bad/onerous

There is that too.

For the time being lobbing rockets up to space has been done from governmental controlled tracts of land ( Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, Kourou, Pleseks, Baykonour, Woomera, [add the Indian, Chine, Japanese ones] )

But the Boca Chica facility is going to be a private launch facility, and there's no rules for that... yet.

So setting the rules around those facilities seems sensible... since at some point more will appear.


Re: Federal Aviation Authority ?

several things :

- It's almost as far south as you can get in Continental US so it's nearer to the Equator than Cape Canaveral.

- The NASA is worried of a (few ) rapid unplanned disassembly and does not want it's precious launchpads wrecked by one.

- having a Space X launch site would make them fully independant of NASA for launch schedule and other things.

Mars helicopter needs patch to fly again after sensor failure


well it's way past it's warranty date... After all it was only intended to fly 5 times.

It always amazes me how long beyond the mandated/expected lifespan the things we lob around the Solar System can still operate. ( and the tricks the engineers working with them finds to make them work just that little bit longer )


Re: "shorter days and dropping power levels"

Not really, or Perseverance needs to thrundle along.

Ingenuity is not fully independant, and needs Perseverance to be in range to receive flight path andto send back towards one of the Orbiter ( and eventually Earth ) what is collected/seen during the flight.

From what I've read, said range is more or less a kilometer... So Ingenuity can't go south unless Perseverance follows and stay in that kilometer range.

Brute force and whiskey: The solution to all life's problems


Re: Launch

It wouldn't have been Whisky, it would have been Rhum.

And before moving to French Guyana, the launch site was in Algeria... No way a local would have gone for whisky.

I'd go for Scotland, long, long, long, long ago.

Small nuclear reactors produce '35x more waste' than big plants


Re: even more safer to operate?

The technology used in the current commonly used nuclear reactor is safe... up to a point.

That's why there's some many failsafes and security systems.

The whole issue is that inherent safe nuclear power plant technologies were discarded because they couldn't produce in large enough quantities the all important isotopes used in nuclear bombs.

( and when they produced some it's a pita to separate them compared to PWR tech wastes recycling )

we could have had nuclear power plants that can't go Chernobyl or Fukushima in the same circumstances decades ago... but The Bomb was more important than a totally safe nuclear reactor that goes back by itself to a cold stable state if everything around goes FUBAR.

Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says


move the Social media out.

It all boil down to US incorporated companies ( the social medias ) being subject to US ( and local US State laws )

But what if these companies weren't incorporated in the US... but lets say in Ireland or Sweden, or Iceland... They would be subject to the local law of the incorporation country and wouldn't need to bother with all the stupidity of Trump cronies trying to give back what their Great Leader lost by being a wannabe Banana Republic Dictator.

US fears China may have ten exascale systems by 2025


super computers have other ( and more useful ) uses beside making sure nuclear bombs will go boom the approriate way.

let's see :

- particle physics ( as any CERN Boffin )

- weather forecast ( and the tied climate change thingie )

- astrophysics

and more.


Re: "declined to make public any [..] figures that would demonstrate their true performance level"

Well, they could have used Trumped up numbers like for the early days of the COVID.

Google Russia goes broke after bank account snatched


Re: Seize Russian ships

The system is similar on this side of the Channel Tunnel.

For presidential election, like the one that occured a few weeks ago, you need to collect 500 signatures from elected officials ( mayors, senators, ... ) before the deadline and you're set. Even if you are a political unknown ( i.e. : Zeymour ).

FAA to airlines: 5G-sensitive radio altimeters have to go


err, the issue is not caused by people using their phones ( not flight mode ) while being on planes.

the issue is caused by the fact that the radioaltimeters used in some planes ( including B737 ) for ILS were built on the cheap side and can be interfered with (under specific circumstances ) by the base stations ( on the ground near the airport ) emitting in the 5G C-Band...

This basically restrict the affected planes to Visual landings which means said planes can't land in fog and other foul weather where landing can only occurs through ILS.


Re: Qualifying new radar altimeters.

The small fix for MCAS on the MAX was so that it stopped killing people by plane loads.

Here we are talking of a small fix to something that might eventually, potentially, become unreliable while performing an ILS under very specific conditions...

And it's fun to note that the Japanese have found a solution that does not require any retrofit without any fuss despite the fact that their 5G C-band extend to 4.1GHz :

Just ensure that the ILS and the 5G C-Band radio emitters are separated enough when seen from the glide path of the landing planes.