userexec's recent activity

  1. Comment on Healthcare rant thread in ~health

    userexec
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    This one really resonated with me. I don't think I've ever seen my doctor for more than five minutes, even when I've come in with specific concerns. I was getting random dizziness one time and it...

    This one really resonated with me. I don't think I've ever seen my doctor for more than five minutes, even when I've come in with specific concerns. I was getting random dizziness one time and it was happening so often I finally broke down and decided to pay for a visit. I got to see her for all of two minutes. She said it was vertigo, prescribed some meclizine, and rushed me out the door basically. I left with almost no more information than what I came in with. Ultimately Dr. Google fixed that one by letting me narrow down when I was experiencing vertigo, providing steps I could take to replicate the issue, and describing the "canalith repositioning procedure" which was a simple series of head movements that fixed the issue entirely in a couple of days. I hate that I had to be "that person" who diagnosed themselves on a search engine. I feel like that should never, ever be a more accurate and effective solution than seeing a professional. I was very lucky I was only gambling blindly on a benign issue, but I honestly don't expect my odds would be any better if I was actually in trouble.

    8 votes
  2. Comment on Beginning March 1, Amtrak’s popular “saver” tickets will be nonchangeable and nonrefundable, ending a popular policy that gave passengers the flexibility to rebook if their travel plans changed in ~news

    userexec
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    I'd love to use Amtrak more, but it almost never makes sense to do so. Once a year I take a trip that by rail takes about a day and a half, and I really enjoy getting an Amtrak sleeper roomette...

    I'd love to use Amtrak more, but it almost never makes sense to do so. Once a year I take a trip that by rail takes about a day and a half, and I really enjoy getting an Amtrak sleeper roomette for it, but it's wildly more expensive than flying if you get the roomette and you're still stuck in a normal coach seat for a good six hours on the more local train that doesn't pull sleeper cars. The price is competitive if you forego the sleeper, but then you're stuck in a coach seat for like 20 hours.

    In a couple of months I'm going to a concert across my state and thought maybe it would be fun to take the train since there's a direct route, but turns out it would be slower, less convenient, and more expensive even with the cheapest ticket than just driving.

    I'm sure there must be some locations where Amtrak is super convenient and sensible, but at least some of their network right now only makes sense if you really want to ride a train for the sake of it, are afraid of flying, or don't have a car. It feels like an option of last resort, which is unfortunate since rail has so much potential.

    8 votes
  3. Comment on Japan's next restroom revolution? Phasing out squat toilets for Tokyo 2020 in ~sports

    userexec
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    I would love to have a proper Toto toilet at some point. Even just installing a cheap bidet into ours was such a great upgrade, even if it only does cold water. Having one that heats the seat and...

    I would love to have a proper Toto toilet at some point. Even just installing a cheap bidet into ours was such a great upgrade, even if it only does cold water. Having one that heats the seat and water, deodorizes the bowl, and does an even better job of cleaning would be totally unnecessary, yet awesome. Throw some health metrics in there or something. I live in a modern, technologically advanced society, yet have basically the same toilet my parents had a generation ago--seems like a good place for improvement.

    4 votes
  4. Comment on How would you reduce speeding by car drivers? in ~talk

    userexec
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    I'm hoping this is a problem that will be solved to some degree by self-driving fleets. Once there are enough of them on the road following the speed limit, it will be harder for human-driven cars...

    I'm hoping this is a problem that will be solved to some degree by self-driving fleets. Once there are enough of them on the road following the speed limit, it will be harder for human-driven cars to maneuver outside of them. Past a certain critical mass, people will almost always be "stuck" behind a computer-driven car that actually follows the rules and doesn't care about their emotions.

    While this will possibly limit human drivers who go too fast, it's still at the mercy of human drivers who go too slow, though. There is little that annoys and frightens me on the road more than people who are so terrified of merging that they'll attempt it at half the speed limit, unintentionally endangering themselves and everyone around them. A modest proposal would be asymmetric cattle-pushers with aggressive algorithms to push drivers going too slow into the ditch...

    3 votes
  5. Comment on Any bike commuters here? in ~life

    userexec
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    I use either a bike or electric scooter to go to the gym or on shorter errands. Cyclists are somewhat rare here, but the roads are very wide. My advice coming from this environment is to always...

    I use either a bike or electric scooter to go to the gym or on shorter errands. Cyclists are somewhat rare here, but the roads are very wide. My advice coming from this environment is to always have a plan for when drivers screw up traffic patterns. People here have aneurysms when they see a cyclist entering a roundabout or turning at a stop sign. They frequently have no idea what to do and forget every rule of traffic. Whenever you have to interact with cars (intersections, merges, etc.) be thinking about your escape route if they spook.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on How to Actually Personally Fight Climate Change in ~enviro

    userexec
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    Does anyone actually buy Renewable Energy Certificates for residential use? I had never heard of this being a possibility, and with just some poking around it doesn't look like the places selling...

    Does anyone actually buy Renewable Energy Certificates for residential use? I had never heard of this being a possibility, and with just some poking around it doesn't look like the places selling them are considering drive-by REC purchases from residential customers either. It just struck me as an odd suggestion to be bundled in, but maybe it's common in places where utility companies support it?

    2 votes
  7. Comment on TV, or not TV: The story of our bike box in ~design

    userexec
    Link Parent
    I guess for me electrification comes down to being able to wear destination-appropriate clothes and arrive places without sweating. Like you say, it has benefits when used specifically for...

    I guess for me electrification comes down to being able to wear destination-appropriate clothes and arrive places without sweating. Like you say, it has benefits when used specifically for transportation instead of recreation. I'm a big fan of electric scooters, which I know are controversial, but they're just so convenient for trips of a couple miles or less in bike-friendly places.

    I still totally understand riding for exercise, and I do have a bike specifically for that, but I don't go places on that bike anymore. Having the option of both means I can exert myself when I want to, and simply move myself between locations without exertion otherwise.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on Effects of one year of Vitamin D and marine Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on biomarkers of systemic inflammation in older US adults in ~science

    userexec
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    When you've got to reach that hard for a cool acronym, maybe you don't need a cool acronym.

    VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL)

    When you've got to reach that hard for a cool acronym, maybe you don't need a cool acronym.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on Asynchronous communication: The real reason remote workers are more productive in ~life

    userexec
    Link Parent
    This is very true of where I work. We don't really have a policy on remote work, and we don't hire remote workers. Remote work isn't an option for most employees. The only way you go remote is if...

    This is very true of where I work. We don't really have a policy on remote work, and we don't hire remote workers. Remote work isn't an option for most employees. The only way you go remote is if circumstances dictate that you need to leave, but the organization doesn't want you to leave. At that point, depending on how your team and office functions, they may make an exception and keep you. Almost all of our remote workers are highly effective because if they weren't they wouldn't have been given the option in the first place.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on A PV Solar company wants to build a PV farm on our land. I am not sure what to do. in ~talk

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Well that certainly wasn't the photo I was expecting, but I had a great laugh! Poor grasshopper.

    Well that certainly wasn't the photo I was expecting, but I had a great laugh! Poor grasshopper.

  11. Comment on Fitness Weekly Discussion #2 in ~health

    userexec
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    I got Ringfit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch on release and oh wow is it fun. It's hilariously over-the-top exercise-themed visually, but does a great job of drawing you into the feeling that...

    I got Ringfit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch on release and oh wow is it fun. It's hilariously over-the-top exercise-themed visually, but does a great job of drawing you into the feeling that you're playing a game, not alternating cardio and strength exercises. You can go back and grind previous stages to boost your level and make surviving the next monsters and boss battles easier, and there's a Pokemon-like damage system where different enemies are weak to exercises that use certain muscle groups. Nintendo really went off the deep end with their classic weirdness with this one, and it absolutely works. I think they've got a hit on their hands.

    5 votes
  12. Comment on Collapse OS in ~comp

    userexec
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    I feel like if I needed a quick, ultra-barebones computer in the case of an apocalypse for engineering or planning or something, I'd just pick up a z80 system that's already assembled with...

    I feel like if I needed a quick, ultra-barebones computer in the case of an apocalypse for engineering or planning or something, I'd just pick up a z80 system that's already assembled with display, input, networking, interpreters, etc. and runs off incredibly readily available and easy-to-produce power. I'm talking, of course, about the venerable TI graphing calculator.

    7 votes
  13. Comment on Supreme Court allows blind people to sue retailers if their websites are not accessible in ~news

    userexec
    Link Parent
    So from a development standpoint, you have to ensure that your site meets an accessibility standard like WCAG 2.0. This effectively boils down to having good development practices on your front...

    So from a development standpoint, you have to ensure that your site meets an accessibility standard like WCAG 2.0. This effectively boils down to having good development practices on your front end like checking your color contrast to ensure those with visual impairments and color blindnesses can easily see text, using semantic, structured HTML so blind users can navigate your site with an audio screen reader, and not doing generally stupid things like making your site impossible to control or navigate unless you can manage unusually fine mouse movements or hear audio cues. If you have an image, it needs to have associated descriptive text, and you want to avoid things like embedding text within images a la 1998 flashing banner ads because screen readers can't magically read text-shaped blobs of pixels.

    So long as you have a dedicated development team and a small group of content managers this is by no means an unreasonable standard to meet. It only gets truly complicated when you have vast numbers of content managers who aren't "web" people. The organization I work for, for example, has hundreds of people editing website content with basically zero web qualifications other than what we can teach them and attempt to enforce, so web accessibility is something of an ongoing nightmare for my team. We try to limit their options and rein them into pre-made accessible content formats, but every now and then someone gets creative in an open entry WYSIWYG field and pops in some fun highlighting or posts a scan of a flyer with no supporting text. With a quarter of a million pages to check, it can be missed for quite some time, but when we find it we take it seriously, fix it, and try to educate the content author on why and how we changed it.

    For a site like Dominos where there are only certain workflows and not an encyclopedic volume of content with somewhat unqualified editors, it would ideally be standard practice to design everything in an accessible way by default, and it wouldn't be difficult to keep it that way after the initial design.

    14 votes
  14. Comment on Is programming science? in ~comp

    userexec
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    I don't really have much substantive to add here at the moment, but I'm a full time programmer and my degree is actually in English composition. I found the transition into programming to be a...

    I don't really have much substantive to add here at the moment, but I'm a full time programmer and my degree is actually in English composition. I found the transition into programming to be a surprisingly natural one. There are a nearly infinite number of ways to express what you're trying to express when you're writing a program, and you're drawing off the styles of an existing body of "literature" such as API documentation, others' code, and your own past work. In a way you're telling a story through code about how the user interacts with the computer, and you do so in your own somewhat unique composition style. This is especially true if you use conventions like behavior-driven development.

    1 vote
  15. Comment on Microsoft announces new Surface lineup, including two new dual-screen devices, one of which is an Android phone in ~tech

    userexec
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    I am so excited about this. Almost ten years now I've talked about how Microsoft had the coolest concept ever with the Courier and they just wasted it. And then I log on and out of nowhere, there...

    I am so excited about this. Almost ten years now I've talked about how Microsoft had the coolest concept ever with the Courier and they just wasted it. And then I log on and out of nowhere, there it is. That's the Courier. They actually made the thing! I am absolutely getting one of these and putting a Windows CE theme on it.

    5 votes
  16. Comment on What do you want someone to ask you about? in ~talk

    userexec
    Link Parent
    So not quite. You'll want a compressor like a shop one for inflating tires. A 1 or 2 gallon air compressor is fine, and all of them will go to a higher pressure than what you need. Once your resin...

    So not quite. You'll want a compressor like a shop one for inflating tires. A 1 or 2 gallon air compressor is fine, and all of them will go to a higher pressure than what you need. Once your resin is inside your silicone molds, you'll put it in your converted paint pressure pot and set it to about 50PSI to squeeze the hell out of any bubbles left in your mix. They're still in there, but it will make them too small to see. These pots are normally used to hold several gallons of paint plus air pressure so you can paint houses and stuff, but you'll need to convert it to just hold the pressure instead. Look up "converting harbor freight pressure pot" on YouTube. Zac Higgins has a great tutorial on those.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on What do you want someone to ask you about? in ~talk

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Actually yes, sorta! My first 3D printer was a RepRap. The whole idea was that someone would send you the 3D printed parts to make one, you'd buy the non-3D printed parts like the all-thread and...

    Actually yes, sorta! My first 3D printer was a RepRap. The whole idea was that someone would send you the 3D printed parts to make one, you'd buy the non-3D printed parts like the all-thread and motors, and then you'd print more sets of the structural parts and send those on to the next people who wanted to build them.

    1 vote
  18. Comment on What do you want someone to ask you about? in ~talk

    userexec
    Link Parent
    So many suggestions! To prepare for silicone casting, coat your masters with a release agent and let it dry. I use Mann Ease Release 200 in spray form. If you have a durable master and want...

    So many suggestions!

    To prepare for silicone casting, coat your masters with a release agent and let it dry. I use Mann Ease Release 200 in spray form. If you have a durable master and want extremely fine reproduction of the surface (like mirror finish on glass) skip the release agent. You will destroy delicate parts doing this, but the mold will come out fine.

    To consistently mix first get a digital scale, then mix however you like. How you mix will depend on the silicone you're using. If I have one with a long working time, I'll use an electric blender because I'll have tons of time to degas the mix. If it's a fast setting silicone I'll very carefully mix it with a popsicle stick to try to minimize the number of bubbles and speed up degassing. You'll probably want a vacuum degasser in most cases. It's not required, but it's nice to have and it can get you out of some tough spots if you've got bubbling issues.

    Reuse will depend on the type of silicone. I only have significant experience with platinum cure silicones since I work with very small parts that need extreme detail. You can easily get hundreds of casts out of them if you store them in a dry place with minimal temperature fluctuation and nothing pressing on them and apply release agent to them before and after casting so they stay conditioned.

    I basically only use products from Smooth-On. There's a distributor nearby, they have clean, consistent data sheets, and their Mold Star silicone and Crystal Clear resin line work exceedingly well for my use case. Whatever you do, do not get polyester resin. That stuff is the devil. You'll smell it for weeks.

    Sounds like you'll be doing rotocasting if you want hollow pieces, or you'll be doing some tight fitting molds. You'll want a resin that's rated for thin surfaces, probably a urethane. When you look into a resin line there should be several variations (e.g. Crystal Clear 200, 202, 204, etc.) with different properties. I sometimes cast very large pieces that are like an inch thick and I'll use a different formulation from the same product line I use to make pieces that are only 1mm or so thick. Pay attention to the recommended layer thickness because the resin generates heat when combined and that drives the curing process. Use a resin rated for thin layers in a giant mold and you'll have insane heat and warping and mold destruction on your hands. Use a resin rated for thick layers in a tiny mold and it will never generate enough heat to cure (but you can cheat and help it along with external heat).

    As for whether it's feasible for home production, I think it is. You're going to want a respirator and a fume hood probably, and gloves (get vinyl, not nitrile or latex--those two will ruin platinum cure silicone). Some of the resins will have big warnings about how they're not for home use. Definitely not legal or medical advice here, but just vent adequately and protect your skin and lungs and you'll be fine. In my shop I literally built a fume hood that vents out a window using some AC ducting, a few high RPM server fans, and an upside down plastic tote. It may look hilariously ghetto, but spray anything near my workbench and it will get blasted outdoors immediately. You'll probably also want a pressure pot and a compressor. You can buy very, very quiet compressors (mine is a Fortress brand) and paint pots that you can convert into resin casting pots at Harbor Freight. You'll find YouTube videos of how to convert the Harbor Freight paint pot--they're very popular with resin casters because they're comparatively super cheap yet perfectly adequate.

    Let me know if you have any other questions! I'm happy to help!

    2 votes
  19. Comment on What do you want someone to ask you about? in ~talk

    userexec
    Link Parent
    Currently some shapes work far better than others, and it depends what type of printer you're using which shapes will be ideal for the print process. 3D printers in general are really bad at...

    Currently some shapes work far better than others, and it depends what type of printer you're using which shapes will be ideal for the print process. 3D printers in general are really bad at objects that have two solid areas with a vertical gap between them. A fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer, for example, would have a very hard time accurately printing an outline of a square if it was standing up, but a very easy time if it was on its side. A stereolithography (SLA) printer is far better at large unsupported gaps, but they can still be tricky sometimes, and with those you often have the added challenge of print material getting trapped in the contours of what you're printing and being accidentally overcured into place.

    The hardest part of 3D printing is knowing intuitively which models are going to have problems printing on your equipment and how you might rotate and add support material to them to help the machine make them. It's something you have to learn through experience and failure, and every printer's limits are a little different.

    3 votes
  20. Comment on Icelandic company Flygildi has been developing a drone in the shape of a bird – which caught the attention of US investors during Mike Pence's recent visit in ~tech

    userexec
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    Well they're a little late to the game. Everyone already knows birds aren't real. On a more serious note, though, that looks incredibly annoying to launch and land. I could see it being useful for...

    Well they're a little late to the game. Everyone already knows birds aren't real.

    On a more serious note, though, that looks incredibly annoying to launch and land. I could see it being useful for surveillance fly-bys, especially if it's camouflaged as a bird of prey so it's not unusual that all the other birds are flying away from it. I'm curious as to what other use cases they're targeting though as it seems like there are a million simpler ways just to get a camera somewhere unnoticed.

    3 votes