National Sleepover Day Shortbread

Aww!

PC hardware, computing, and RGB LEDs

  1. Logitech G502 Lightspeed review @ PC Perspective
  2. Cooler Master SK621 compact keyboard review @ Guru3D
  3. Fractal is not even trying: Define S2 Vision RGB case review @ Gamers Nexus
  4. Asus ProArt PA34VC 34in monitor review @ KitGuru
  5. Plugable 0.8m Thunderbolt 3 cable w/ 100 watt charging quick review @ Legit Reviews
  6. Noctua NH-U12A review @ TechPowerUp

Games, culture, and VR

  1. Vincent Callebaut envisions sustainable restoration of Notre-Dame cathedral @ New Atlas
  2. Go back in time ten years with Minecraft @ Quarter To Three
  3. Fortnite is free, but kids are getting bullied into spending money @ Slashdot
  4. Video game 'loot boxes' would be outlawed in many games under forthcoming federal bill @ Slashdot

Hacks, gadgets and crypto-jinks

  1. Binance says more than $40 million in Bitcoin stolen in 'large scale' hack @ Slashdot
  2. Supercapacitors propel rocket to the skies @ HackADay (I bought one of these last year to play with a supercapacitor for the first time. It's not amazing, but it's fun and well worth $12)

Science, technology, and space news

  1. Filming how our immune system kills bacteria @ Slashdot
  2. Scientists discover a game-changing way to remove salt from water @ Slashdot
  3. Who can convince those who reject climate science? Maybe their kids @ Ars Technica
  4. Metamaterial-based acoustic lenses focus on the future of super-targeted speakers and microphones @ New Atlas

Cheese, memes, what have you

  1. This razor-sharp cheddar is the Sour Warhead of the cheese world @ vice.com
Colton Westrate

I post Shortbread, I host BBQs, I tell stories, and I strive to keep folks happy.

Comments closed
    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 months ago

    Go back in time ten years with Minecraft @ Quarter To Three

    I played this Minecraft first in browser and had a McForge server that was very busy at the time. With the limited blocks and elements, it was possible to create some amazing things. I made a reasonably accurate Notre Dame de Paris model, too.

    The simplicity of the game was quite fun and it is still amazing what hundreds of random people could collectively create.

    For the sake of nostalgia, I’m going to try it.

    • oldog
    • 7 months ago

    Big News! Jeff Bezos reveals his ‘Blue Moon’ lunar lander! It’s all over the net today.

    My question, why would anyone want to put a blue yoga ball on the moon?

    • thedosbox
    • 7 months ago

    Me-Aww!

      • drfish
      • 7 months ago

      You’re welcome. 🙂

    • blastdoor
    • 7 months ago

    More detail on desalination process:

    [url<]https://engineering.columbia.edu/press-releases/ngai-yin-yip-radical-desalination[/url<] It sounds too good to be true, but if there’s a catch I couldn’t find it. If this is as good as it sounds, it means very low cost desalination of water, and essentially an end to fresh water shortages everywhere. There MUST be a catch...

      • chuckula
      • 7 months ago

      One easy one is that they focus on “hypersaline brines” meaning this technique may require the input to have substantially higher salt than ordinary sea water. Which is fine for certain applications but not a cure all.

      Also, it’s a press release from a university looking for more grant money. We’d all be commuting in flying cars powered by fusion reactors if university press releases described reality.

        • drfish
        • 7 months ago

        Even still, it’s pretty easy to make a hypersaline solution in many of the areas where you have a lot of salt water and sun.

        • blastdoor
        • 7 months ago

        [quote<]Also, it's a press release from a university looking for more grant money. We'd all be commuting in flying cars powered by fusion reactors if university press releases described reality.[/quote<] Very true -- that in itself could be regarded as the catch.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 7 months ago

        Maybe it would be a way to process the hypersaline output of electrolysis-based desalinization plants.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 7 months ago

      [quote<] it means very low cost desalination of water,[/quote<] Nope. Hypersaline brines are the [b<]waste output[/b<] of current desalination efforts. So it sounds like if you have a source of this (normally) waste brine, you can eek a bit more water out of it. In effect, Desalination is Ocean -> Drinking Water + Brine, with the "brine" being the super-salty water that's left over after extracting (most) drinking water out of it. This new low-cost method only works on the brine, not on the ocean-water.

        • blastdoor
        • 7 months ago

        So why is this?

        Is the issue that reverse osmosis is particularly ineffective with the high saline brine, and so for that specific application, the proposed method has an advantage? But for conventional salt water, reverse osmosis is more effective than the proposed method?

          • Redocbew
          • 7 months ago

          Reverse osmosis happens by… osmosis, and I assume that means it’s slow for large volumes of water. Cranking up the salinity of that water probably doesn’t help. It sounds like there may be higher pressures required for the brine which would make the whole setup more complicated and expensive to manage. This new method has some kind of mojo which helps to fix all of that, but for some reason doesn’t work so well on “normal” sea water? Someone with a stronger background(meaning, any background) in chemistry would have to confirm that. I could have it all wrong. 🙂

          • dragontamer5788
          • 7 months ago

          I’m no civil engineer or chemist, so any specialist out there correct me if I’m wrong.

          Reverse osmosis is using energy (specifically: pressure) to reverse the osmosis process. Without a source of energy, reverse osmosis will fail to work. Presumably, the high saline brine has too much salt in it such that you need far more pressure (or energy) to complete the osmosis process.

          [quote<]so for that specific application, the proposed method has an advantage[/quote<] Seems like it. But I haven't read up on all the details here yet.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 7 months ago

            You’ve got it.

            When you have solutions with two different salt concentrations, the water wants to flow through the membrane from the weaker solution into the stronger solution, to make them even out.. The greater the difference in concentration, the greater the osmotic pressure. [b<]Reverse[/b<] osmosis applies external pressure to the stronger solution to force the water to flow "uphill" from the stronger solution to the weaker solution, thereby making the strong solution even stronger. In water purification applications, the even-more-concentrated stream is discarded as waste, while the cleaner less-concentrated stream is the desired product. The greater the concentration difference, the more pressure or more R.O. stages you will need. In a multi-stage system, the weak solution from the first stage of reverse osmosis is fed into a second stage reverse osmosis unit to produce even cleaner water as the output. The concentrated reject stream from the second stage is usually fed back to the pump that feeds the first stage. You can carry on adding stages for as long as necessary to get the degree of separation that you need, but each stage adds capital cost, maintenance (especially routine membrane cleaning or replacement costs) and energy costs for the pump required for each stage.

        • Godel
        • 7 months ago

        I suspect this is to concentrate the brine to the point where it can be turned to salt (or hyper-hyper-concentrated brine) by simple evaporation and the residuals then disposed of somehow.

        Whether this could be used for larger scale desalination would depend on cost.

        Edit: Reverse osmosis on hyper concentrated brine requires high pressures.

        • Pancake
        • 7 months ago

        If you think through it just a *wee* bit further you’d realise that the “waste” brine from this process can be diluted with seawater and the process continued ad-infinitum… It’s not like they just gotta dump the hyperconcentrated brine into a waste pit, black hole or something.

        The really revolutionary part of this process is that it can be powered by a low grade “waste” heat source at 70c instead of electricity or a high temperature heat source.

        Edit: thinking about what’s happening with the chemistry it will work with input water of any salinity. The little hydrophilic amine molecules are grabbing the water out of the brine then releasing when heated. They’re just using a hypersaline example to show off how powerful the technique is.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 7 months ago

          You have to close the mass balance for the total mass as well as for each individual component in the system.

          Simply put: If you feed your process with 100 tons a day of solution that contains 96½ tons of water and 3½ tons of salt, you have to get those same quantities out of the process as product or waste streams each day. If our goal is to make drinking water with ½ part per thousand salt, we could get a product stream with 85.552 tons of water and 0.0428 tons of salt, if we push hard enough to get a very concentrated waste reject stream that contains 10.9479 tons of water and 3.4572 tons of salt. That’s close to the saturation limit for the salt to stay in solution. That 14.4 tons per day of concentrated brine waste stream has to go somewhere.

          P.S.: We could feed the concentrated brine stream into a multiple-effect evaporator and make sea salt crystals to sell to hipsters, but that would consume a good deal of energy.

      • Wirko
      • 7 months ago

      Brine is cited as an environmental concern, but the output of this new process, somehow, isn’t. Wouldn’t that be (beside water of course) solid salt or super-super-concentrated brine?

      • spiketheaardvark
      • 7 months ago

      There is always a catch
      From my read it sounds like they have a solvent that dissolves in water depending on temp. When it separates out it takes the salt with it.
      My guess on the catch
      They didn’t say how you get the salt out of their solvent/secret sauce? Without that you’ve traded one briney liquid for another.

        • Pancake
        • 7 months ago

        If you watch their video their amine secret sauce latches on only to the water and when heated that separates into water and secret sauce which can be easily separated. The residue from the brine is concentrated brine.

      • anotherengineer
      • 7 months ago

      *lives in Canada – looks out window. There’s a lake a river and another lake and a swamp and ice and snow*

      what’s the desalination stuff?!?! 😉

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 months ago

        do you actually want to drink any of the water in Canada? our water is in pretty terrible shape. Granted, that’s globally the case too, but still.

      • Taxythingy
      • 7 months ago

      It can’t produce drinking water in one step, unlike RO & distillation. Reason: trace solvents in the water.

      My way to read the press release is to note the wide variety of claimed applications, and the placing of keywords and ideas such as water availability, sustainability, waste, emerging importance, “costly” alternatives, & clear path to commercialisation. Interpretation: one of these might fit if we can make this work. Dollars please!

      It hasn’t been demonstrated on real-world samples at reasonable scale, nor in the field, there’s no discussion of the solvent in use and its hazards, production & lifecycle issues (photo caption mentions amines), and they haven’t attempted projections of cost compared with existing tech other than to talk about potential input energy sources (still important).

      It’s a good idea, and will probably end up being used to concentrate waste, to reduce volume and therefore handling and disposal costs. It’s probably not going to free up “vast quantities of water” economically.

      • Mr Bill
      • 7 months ago

      [quote<]There MUST be a catch...[/quote<] There is an energy requirement... You do have to cool the brine and the amine solution to make the amine able to absorb water. Its not clear if the reaction with the brine also causes a temperature change. Then you have to heat the amine to 70C to get (looks like) 5-10% of the volume of the amine as water. Then cool the amine back down to go back for more water. A good example similar to this kind of cycle is [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_refrigerator<]ammonia absorption refrigeration[/url<] Heating one part of the system to separate ammonia from water and letting another part of the system cool the ammonia gas back to liquid ammonia and water separately to room temperature all so that part of the cycle can vaporize the ammonia into hydrogen (absorbing heat) and then absorb the ammonia into water while also separating the water from the hydrogen; and so forth. And hey! alkyl and Aryl amines are made from ammonia reacting with an alkyl or aryl group.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 7 months ago

        Look at the chart in the abstract:
        [url<]https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.estlett.9b00182[/url<] What the authors are asserting with the chart is that temperature swing solvent extraction is applicable to saltier source water and uses more energy than reverse-osmosis membranes, but it requires less energy than evaporation.

    • euricog
    • 7 months ago

    Just a rant I need to push out:

    [quote<]Fractal is not even trying: Define S2 Vision RGB case review @ Gamers Nexus[/quote<] Of course not, RGB's not their thing! They simply adapted the S2 to have an option for those who prefer bling over function (yeah, it's not even form). Nowadays bling sells much more than quality. Doing great cases is one thing and Fractal definitely does it well, but to do business they need to sell in volume so unfortunately they get pushed into doing this.

      • DPete27
      • 7 months ago

      It’s certainly a me-too case. I think the big issue was taken with the price.

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 7 months ago

        #metoo*

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 months ago

      Thing is, if they just phone it in, it won’t sell because reviews are going to be like this.

    • superjawes
    • 7 months ago

    [quote<]Video game 'loot boxes' would be outlawed in many games under forthcoming federal bill @ Slashdot[/quote<]"Hey. Loot boxes kind of look like gambling. Maybe you should back off a bit." "No, seriously. You're getting unwanted attention. Cut it out." "Countries are literally banning loot boxes because they are seen as gambling!" ::bill introduced to ban loot boxes in US:: Gaming industry: "Woah! Where did this come from!" "..." I'm not going to advocate for this kind of legislation (and I have a feeling this specific bill will die in committee anyway), but this was obviously going to happen if the industry refused to regulate themselves.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 months ago

      yeah, i really have little sympathy for the industry over this issue.

        • Mr Bill
        • 7 months ago

        Agreed, zero sympathy. Too many games ruined when loot boxes introduced. Furthermore I think it spells ruin for a game when players can buy resources in game with real money.

          • blastdoor
          • 7 months ago

          If “ruin” is defined in terms of my interest in playing, then I agree.

          But if it’s defined in terms of the financial success of the developer, then I’m afraid the evidence points in a different direction.

      • 1sh
      • 7 months ago

      It will die as soon as the Politicians receive their payments…

        • NovusBogus
        • 7 months ago

        They probably already did, hence the bill. Casino operators have gobs of money and serious political clout, whereas video game publishers mostly serve as comic relief. Gotta protect one’s turf.

      • blastdoor
      • 7 months ago

      It seems like we are awash in all sorts of schemes to use, abuse, manipulate, and defraud people. Loot boxes are just one example. Spam e-mail, texts, phone calls. Targeted, highly manipulative advertising. Behavioral psychology, big data, and AI have been weaponized to exploit ordinary citizens just trying to do their jobs, pay their bills, and raise their kids.

      I think it’s kind of strange that no politician has seized on fighting this pervasive fraud as the basis for their campaign. These issues seem more immediately real and compelling to people from all walks of life than just about anything else I can think of.

      • BorgOvermind
      • 7 months ago

      [url<]https://kotaku.com/u-s-senator-introduces-bill-to-ban-loot-boxes-and-pay-1834612226[/url<] Too bad it's only for minors, easy to bypass just by putting the 18+ stamp on any game.

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 7 months ago

      It’s really interesting because it’s the same business model as baseball cards. I guess the addition of instant payment and the pay-to-win aspect rather than the collection aspect has made it more offensive.

        • Krogoth
        • 7 months ago

        Nah, it is all about getting more tax revenue and justifying more bureaucracy. Uncle/Aunit *insert your governing body” wants his/her cut.

        • superjawes
        • 7 months ago

        I mostly just wanted to point out that the industry brought it on themselves despite getting several warnings, but I’d also add that baseball cards (TCGs might be more accurate) might fall under the same gambling or pseudo-gambling umbrella. I doubt trading cards ever got that kind of attention, though, since the economic scale is much, much smaller than the modern video game market.

        OTOH, video games might just be…weird. In contrast to trading cards, loot box contents generally have no resale value. I’m not sure if that helps or hurts the industry’s case.

    • chuckula
    • 7 months ago

    [quote<]Metamaterial-based acoustic lenses focus on the future of super-targeted speakers and microphones @ New Atlas[/quote<] I'm Muad'Dib and I approve this technology.

      • drfish
      • 7 months ago

      Villeneuve better not blow it…

      • Voldenuit
      • 7 months ago

      Chuckula? Muad’dib?

      More of a Sting, if you ask me.

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