Gyrfalcon's recent activity

  1. Comment on Timasomo 2020 Thread #0: Planning Thread in ~creative

    Gyrfalcon
    Link
    Still thinking I will make a post or two to my website that I worked on last year. Leaning towards one post right now, since I've got other projects going on, and I might also spend some time...

    Still thinking I will make a post or two to my website that I worked on last year. Leaning towards one post right now, since I've got other projects going on, and I might also spend some time converting my site to a different static site generator. It's currently on Jekyll, which is fine, except that it's written in Ruby, and any user defined code is in Ruby... and I don't know any Ruby. I managed to find some code from elsewhere to do some odds and ends that I needed, but I don't want to rely I on that for the future, so making a switch to Python would probably be much better for me.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Announcing Tildes' Make Something Month (Timasomo) for 2020! in ~tildes

    Gyrfalcon
    Link Parent
    Thanks on both counts! Things were stressful for me at the start of this year, as I graduated without a job lined up and had to work an unpleasant retail sales job for a bit. I did have the...

    Thanks on both counts! Things were stressful for me at the start of this year, as I graduated without a job lined up and had to work an unpleasant retail sales job for a bit. I did have the surreal experience of quitting that job and starting my current position remote right around the start of lockdown/quarantine in the U.S., so my life got much better at the same time many others' lives got much worse. I didn't manage to leave retail before being told the virus came from a Chinese lab a few times though :/

    2 votes
  3. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

    Gyrfalcon
    Link
    At work: Still working on some code that I think I've talked about here before. Earlier, I was merging two versions of the same codebase that no longer had shared history, one which had a lot of...

    At work: Still working on some code that I think I've talked about here before. Earlier, I was merging two versions of the same codebase that no longer had shared history, one which had a lot of engineering/feature development done, and another which had a lot of software/maintainability development done. I think since I've last talked about this, the guy whose job this was before I started has mostly rolled off to work on a widely applicable tool that sprung from this project, and we've gotten another engineer who specialized in testing the part of the codebase that got the feature development. Now it's just a matter of hunting down bugs and making sure that everything works as advertised and we can prove it, plus anything our client asks us for. Oh, and making up a development Docker container instead of a full VM as we had in the past, which has been my pet effort for a while.

    At play: I had been ignoring any projects for gaming for a while, but my air conditioning being broken has been a bit of a blessing as I have gotten back into it! I have been interested in trying out the Julia programming language for a while, so I decided to try it out on some old Advent of Code problems. I liked it there, and I've rekindled a previous interest in quantitative finance, though this time with equity options rather than in the foreign exchange markets. Unfortunately, detailed historical data for options is expensive, so for now I'm thinking I will try implementing something like a binomial pricing model to generate my own historical data to backtest strategies.

    4 votes
  4. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

    Gyrfalcon
    Link Parent
    This may not be a useful question, but is there any particular reason you have to use a decimal number? If not, would it be possible to convert your data to integers for the genetic algorithm and...

    This may not be a useful question, but is there any particular reason you have to use a decimal number? If not, would it be possible to convert your data to integers for the genetic algorithm and then convert back to fixed/floating point decimal numbers after it is done? I know some applications will do things like that to avoid floating point errors, not sure if it would actually help your problem at all.

    3 votes
  5. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

    Gyrfalcon
    Link Parent
    I really love these ideas, especially ding! At work I'm on a project that does a terrible job of partial compilation, so I have a lot of long compiles, and I'd love to have an audio cue when...

    I really love these ideas, especially ding! At work I'm on a project that does a terrible job of partial compilation, so I have a lot of long compiles, and I'd love to have an audio cue when they're done. The real question is if I can get it to make a beep on my host machine from inside a Docker container...

    3 votes
  6. Comment on For those new to working-at-home since the pandemic began: What purchases/subscriptions have most improved your life? in ~life

    Gyrfalcon
    Link Parent
    I'm not sure I've got quite the same level of issues, but then again I'm young still. I appreciate the resources, especially the stretches! I have been thinking with so much sitting that I should...

    I'm not sure I've got quite the same level of issues, but then again I'm young still. I appreciate the resources, especially the stretches! I have been thinking with so much sitting that I should work in some stretch breaks, and those would definitely be a good addition.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on For those new to working-at-home since the pandemic began: What purchases/subscriptions have most improved your life? in ~life

    Gyrfalcon
    Link Parent
    As someone who has been struggling to work on the posture side of working on neck pain, I think I might need one of these.

    As someone who has been struggling to work on the posture side of working on neck pain, I think I might need one of these.

    3 votes
  8. Comment on Announcing Tildes' Make Something Month (Timasomo) for 2020! in ~tildes

    Gyrfalcon
    Link
    Participant from last year here! It was a great time, and I should have more time to put into it this year since I am no longer in school (the good kind, I graduated and am very lucky to have a...

    Participant from last year here! It was a great time, and I should have more time to put into it this year since I am no longer in school (the good kind, I graduated and am very lucky to have a job). Unfortunately, with all the craziness of this year, I haven't put much maintenance into the website I worked on for last year, so I think I will probably challenge myself to create some content for it. I'm not sure if I will do one or two articles, but I am leaning towards two since I already have the idea and some PDFs floating around for something exploring the environmental impact of real vs artificial Christmas trees. Anyway, looking forward to seeing who all participates this year and checking out everyone's projects at the end!

    5 votes
  9. Comment on Fortnightly Programming Q&A Thread in ~comp

    Gyrfalcon
    Link
    Hello! I've been getting back into personal projects by trying out Julia on some old Advent of Code problems and retooling some personal projects. I did a writeup of a question I have that really...

    Hello! I've been getting back into personal projects by trying out Julia on some old Advent of Code problems and retooling some personal projects. I did a writeup of a question I have that really gets at moving from object oriented languages (Python/C++) to Julia, where multiple dispatch is the name of the game, along with grokking the nature of including other source files in Julia. If you know anything about that, I'd love it if you could post an answer here, or on the Julia forum. I'll also copy the post I made here for reference:

    Hello! I am a newcomer to Julia and I am trying to recreate something that I worked a bit on in Python in Julia, because I think Julia will be the better language overall for numerical performance. However, I am trying to do something that I am not sure Julia is suited for before I can get to that numerical aspect.

    The code needs to interact with several outside sources of data, like databases, web APIs, etc. What I would like is for a configuration file to be able to define which files to import for each of these sources. Then, the program will import those source files and use the functions within to download data, store it away, etc. In Python I would do this with an abstract base class, and dynamically import the module based on the name saved in the configuration file. In Julia, I am not so sure. It seems there are a few options possible with metaprogramming, but I am not sure they fit exactly into what I imagine. Maybe something like the following as a minimum (but not working!) example would help:

    # Main file
    include("ConfigImport.jl")
    
    function main()
        imported_file = ConfigImport.import_config() # where imported file is a reference to OtherFile
        imported_file.do_stuff()
    end
    
    main()
    
    # ConfigImport.jl
    
    module ConfigImport
    
    using TOML
    
    function import_config()
    
    config_data = nothing
        try
            config_data = TOML.parsefile("config/config.toml")
    
        catch e
            if isa(e, SystemError)
                println("It appears the config file is missing!")
            elseif isa(e, TOML.ParserError)
                println("It appears there is something wrong with the format of the config file!")
            else
                throw(e)
            end
        end
    
        include(config_data["OtherFile"] * ".jl")
        return Symbol(config_data["OtherFile"])
    end
    end
    
    # OtherFile.jl
    
    module OtherFile
    
    function do_stuff()
        println("Doing some stuff!")
    end
    
    end
    

    I feel like there has to be a better design pattern or a use of macros to accomplish what I am trying to do, I just have no idea what that might be.

  10. Comment on How to make biomass energy sustainable again: Coppicing, pollarding, and hedgerows in ~enviro

    Gyrfalcon
    Link Parent
    That looks very interesting. Unfortunately the dropoff of activity on the blog portion of the site does not make me optimistic that things are still progressing. Hopefully I'm wrong on that front!

    That looks very interesting. Unfortunately the dropoff of activity on the blog portion of the site does not make me optimistic that things are still progressing. Hopefully I'm wrong on that front!

    1 vote
  11. Comment on How to make biomass energy sustainable again: Coppicing, pollarding, and hedgerows in ~enviro

    Gyrfalcon
    Link
    The link above goes to their solar website, if that is down right now, the conventional mirror should be available. While I don't know that the techniques discussed in the article are likely to...

    The link above goes to their solar website, if that is down right now, the conventional mirror should be available.

    While I don't know that the techniques discussed in the article are likely to overhaul the energy infrastructure in developed nations, I did think it was interesting to learn about the ways people were solving their energy problems prior to the wide availability of fossil fuels and electricity.

    4 votes
  12. Comment on How will voting by mail work for you? in ~talk

    Gyrfalcon
    Link
    For me it won't, as I've moved to a state that only allows absentees and people who are disabled to request vote by mail ballots. Technically, they don't check so I could still do it, but I don't...

    For me it won't, as I've moved to a state that only allows absentees and people who are disabled to request vote by mail ballots. Technically, they don't check so I could still do it, but I don't feel like lying on paperwork like that would be a good idea. I plan to arrive early in the morning to an Early Voting polling place instead, wearing my mask.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on The case against American truck bloat in ~design

    Gyrfalcon
    Link Parent
    I bought a Prius V for exactly this reason. More internal cargo space than a Rav4 or any of the smaller SUVs, and it gets great mileage. It's a shame they stopped making it, though I think Toyota...

    I'm a big fan, and proponent obviously, of vans and wagons.

    I bought a Prius V for exactly this reason. More internal cargo space than a Rav4 or any of the smaller SUVs, and it gets great mileage. It's a shame they stopped making it, though I think Toyota is rolling out a hybrid Rav4 now that may fill that space in the SUV oriented driver's mind.

    1 vote
  14. Comment on A proposal for a purely electric-powered commercial airline industry in ~tech

    Gyrfalcon
    (edited )
    Link
    I think one important limiting factor here that we haven't considered is power, and especially power per unit area for the transmission system. Modern turbofan engines, of the kind that are used...

    I think one important limiting factor here that we haven't considered is power, and especially power per unit area for the transmission system. Modern turbofan engines, of the kind that are used on most commercial aircraft today, use a lot of fuel (On the order of metric tons per hour, even for a regional jet), and that fuel has a high energy density. Let's go through some math to see what that looks like for this idea.

    I will be using the Airbus E-Fan X, itself a modified British Aerospace 146. I feel it represents the state of the art fairly well, as it was in development up until this April, when falling air travel demand forced the project to be cancelled.

    The BAe 146 does its top speed at 426 kn of thrust, and it cruises at 404 kn of thrust, which leads me to believe that at cruise the throttle will be at around 94.8%. The E-Fan X replaces one of the four engines with a 2 MW electric version. For a hypothetical version of the aircraft that is the same mass and thrust with all four of these engines as electrical, this means the power usage at cruise would be 7.59 MW. I think this is a safe set of assumptions because the aircraft will need some battery capacity, and the energy density of jet fuel is on the order of 50 times greater than lithium ion batteries (43 MJ/kg vs 0.875 MJ/kg), so we are assuming 1/50th of the energy. In reality this would be less than 1/50th the endurance because an aircraft powered by fuel will be lighter at the end of the flight than at the beginning, allowing it to throttle down over time, while the electric aircraft will be the same mass throughout. I'll admit that battery technology is improving, but even a battery 5 times better than what is available now is an order of magnitude less energy dense than the fuels in use today.

    Now that we have the steady state power, what does the power per unit area look like? For a best case scenario, we'll imagine that the aircraft is able to absorb power perfectly efficiently, with no reception losses, and no losses due to travelling through the air. As a first case, let's say the aircraft can absorb energy from a complete rectangle with a size defined by the aircraft's length and wingspan. The longest variant of the BAe 146 has a length of 31 m, and a wingspan of 26.34 m, for a total area of 816.54 m. Using the 7.59 MW figure from earlier, that's a power flux of ~9295.32 W/m2. Direct sunlight is on the order of 1050 W/m2, so in this case our theoretical LASER or MASER system is 8.85 more concentrated than the sun. I'm not sure that this counts as low intensity, but it's not super unreasonable.

    A more realistic scenario that does not have the aircraft absorbing energy from area where it is not physically present would be to use the wing area. The engine nacelles are on the bottom of the wings, but we'll say the flat areas of those and on the bottom of the fuselage even out any losses there. The BAe 146 has a wing area of 77.3 m2, which gives us a energy flux of 98,188.87 W/m2 (significant figures notwithstanding). This is ~93.5 times more intense than direct sunlight. This is definitely no longer low intensity.

    I can see a lot of ways such a powerful beam could be dangerous, because it's a big powerful beam of radiation and if it hits something it's not supposed to that thing might die, and it could also cause some pretty serious thermal concerns on whatever is supposed to be receiving the power. At least for photovoltaics, thermal issues also significantly reduce efficiency. I think a better bet for electric aviation in the near term is for slower flights using smaller, electrically powered prop aircraft, as the first commercial electric flight or the Eviation Alice choose to do. The beaming idea is promising for long duration, low power applications though, with some suggesting it as a way to power spacecraft on their way to other planets.

    1 vote