Random thing you love right now that doesn't deserve its own thread

Feeling an impending flu coming.

Oh wait, wrong thread.

A friend of mine from another site, and world's greatest troll, is gifting me permanent codes to download/stream the Dark Knight trilogy.

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:

A friend of mine from another site, and world's greatest troll, is gifting me permanent codes to download/stream the Dark Knight trilogy.

Hope you like Rick Astley.

Gravey wrote:
Bonus_Eruptus wrote:

A friend of mine from another site, and world's greatest troll, is gifting me permanent codes to download/stream the Dark Knight trilogy.

Hope you like Rick Astley.

Rick Astley is beneath him. The man has a lifetime ban from the XBox forums for staring a quasi-serious discussion/campaign demanding FemShep be blonde. He and I differ on the subject, but he is my Yoda.

According to Redfin, my neighborhood is in the 10 hottest neighborhoods in the US for 2013.

The fact that the Dark Souls thread is the fastest growing thread that I follow.

I had a good day!

Work was... negligible, whatever. But I came home at lunch and put a pork roast in the crock pot for BBQ pork. I said, "screw it" and tossed in half a glass of red wine. Turned out fantastic.

The girls got home, all in good moods. Played with them for about 90 minutes before they went off to sleep without a fuss.

Finally say down to play LoL for the first time in MONTHS. Not very many mistakes, I did pretty well and we won 2 out of 3. Now I'm drinking a glass of wine, going to read a comic or two and when I get up it will be to receive a new couch delivery.

Man, I needed a good day.

SixteenBlue wrote:
gravity wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

I'm having a kid.

Congratulations! When is the baby due?

July 27th, so we got a ways to go still.

We already talked about this on IRC, so I figured I'd announce it here too because I do love it...

I'm also having a baby, due a week before SixteenBlue.

I love that I'm finally moving out into my own apartment in February. Probably shouldn't be a big deal at age 26, but I'm pretty excited.

gravity wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
gravity wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

I'm having a kid.

Congratulations! When is the baby due?

July 27th, so we got a ways to go still.

We already talked about this on IRC, so I figured I'd announce it here too because I do love it...

I'm also having a baby, due a week before SixteenBlue.

Grats!

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, blue!

oilypenguin wrote:
gravity wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
gravity wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

I'm having a kid.

Congratulations! When is the baby due?

July 27th, so we got a ways to go still.

We already talked about this on IRC, so I figured I'd announce it here too because I do love it...

I'm also having a baby, due a week before SixteenBlue.

Grats!

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, blue!

My thunder is stolen.

Just kidding, congrats!

gravity wrote:

I'm also having a baby, due a week before SixteenBlue.

Wow, and neither of you were really showing!

(Congratz to both of you!)

LiquidMantis wrote:
gravity wrote:

I'm also having a baby, due a week before SixteenBlue.

Wow, and neither of you were really showing!

I'm just storing the developing fetus in another dimension for the next few months until it's ready. No showing and only a little transdimensional morning sickness. I highly recommend it.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Technology

I mentioned this in the Kickstarter thread. It won't work as claimed.

Miashara wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Technology

I mentioned this in the Kickstarter thread. It won't work as claimed.

Not enough light? By no means was I planning on throwing money at a kickstarter or anything. I just thought it was a fun concept, and I love the fact that LED lights require such little power (that's the technology love part).

For the curious.

Miashara wrote:

It's either a hoax or naivete. Either way it won't work as advertised. Don't waste your money.

Math:
Gravitational potential energy is roughly mgh at constant acceleration (normal world applications). That thing looked like it had a one meter descent arm. If the weight is 10 kg (~22 lbs), then the stored PE is 98 joules. 1m*10kg*9.8m/sec^2

A high efficiency LED typical for indoor uses takes about 6 watts minimum. (Wikipedia, typical high efficiency LED data sheet, Another HE-LED producer etc) A watt is a joule per second. So at 6 watts and 100% efficiency, the thing has the energy for 16 seconds of light. This is linearly dependent on mass and arm length, so doubling the travel distance doubles the time. Translation: if the weight drops 2 meters, the time is 32 seconds. This is all done at 100% efficiency. 50% efficiency is good, so half the above.

You could extend the time by making the light dimmer. By the time you get down below a watt, your light is so dim you can't do much. However you can get a run time in excess of a minute per lift for a 1m travel. At 1W, the LED is glowing enough you could probably find a keyhole in a door.

Edited for clarity

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
Miashara wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Technology

I mentioned this in the Kickstarter thread. It won't work as claimed.

Not enough light? By no means was I planning on throwing money at a kickstarter or anything. I just thought it was a fun concept, and I love the fact that LED lights require such little power (that's the technology love part).

Yeah, pretty much. If you'll excuse me a brief exercise in pedantry, the thing about LEDs isn't that they require little power. It's that they're very efficient. This is a very important distinction. Incandescents have efficiencies around 3%. LEDs can get above that by a factor of ten. But light intensity is a 1/r^2, so you still need a huge amount of power to do any real lighting. You just aren't going to get the power necessary from gravitational PE. It isn't happening unless you're rolling a Wimebago down a hill.

Kerosene, the competitor the article references, has a energy density of about 25 MJ/liter. That's 25000000 Joules per liter, compared to the 98J the contraption gets from its weight. They aren't in the same league. They're barely playing the same sport. Incorporating that factor of 10 in terms of light output via LEDs just going to change anything; you drop from six orders of magnitude difference to 5. Woo.

That's a shame assuming your maths and assumptions are correct. I simply skimmed the Ars article and would have thought they would have actually made a working and tested model before getting this far. Ah, well.

Edit: I'm not really sure what to think about your LED bit. The power consumption is low because of the high efficiency.

I'm not arguing your math Miashara, and you're right that these aren't going to provide the same degree of illumination as a kerosene lamp.

But....

A kerosene lamp requires fuel, and as the kickstarter noted, that can be crazy-expensive in remote areas. This, on the other hand, requires a bag of rocks. The ongoing fuel cost is zero.

That's significant. Bear in mind that every kerosene lamp out there isn't providing exactly the right amount of illumination. Many are providing way more than is necessary, merely because they're the only source of illumination available. Replacing those with these would be absolutely feasible, and make a large impact to a lot of people's lives.

EDIT - having said that I wasn't going to argue your math....

Miashara wrote:

Kerosene, the competitor the article references, has a energy density of about 25 MJ/liter. That's 25000000 Joules per liter, compared to the 98J the contraption gets from its weight. They aren't in the same league. They're barely playing the same sport. Incorporating that factor of 10 in terms of light output via LEDs just going to change anything; you drop from six orders of magnitude difference to 5. Woo.

How long does a liter of kerosene fuel take to burn? Because that 98J you reference is used over a half hour. Comparing that 25000000 Joules that a liter of kerosene will release isn't a fair comparison - you're comparing energy used over a week to energy used over a half hour.

A typical household kerosene lamp is used three to four hours per day with weekly fuel consumption of about one litre. At this level of usage, families can spend up to 40 percent of their income on kerosene.

So that's 21 hours of light for a liter of fuel. If we scale our numbers accordingly, we get a straight comparison of energy use for a half hour of light:
Kerosene: 60000 J
Gravity LED: 98 J (rounding up to 100 for easiness)
So we've got an energy density ratio of 1:600

Factor in efficiency - LED being 10 times more efficient, right?
So we get an energy ratio of 1:60

So, yes, there's still a large difference, but it's not as marked as your numbers suggested.

I have no comment on any of this, but I have a slight nitpick - I think Miashara meant that LEDs are 10 times more efficient than incandescent lightbulbs, not 10 times more efficient than kerosene. Unless you meant that too and I'm failing my reading comprehension - it's possible.

Out of curiosity, I really don't have time to research this. Would it be possible that this device that they haven't apparently made or tested or even researched yet, would be able to output the amount of light that a candle would? Maybe if you doubled the weight assumed to 20 kgs?

I'm just curious. That might be a better comparison. At that point you would think that it might be cheaper than the LED device to just use candles. I really have no idea how expensive candles are.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

I'm just curious. That might be a better comparison. At that point you would think that it might be cheaper than the LED device to just use candles. I really have no idea how expensive candles are.

Over a long enough timeline, it ain't gonna be. Candles have a non-zero cost. Bag of rocks has a zero cost. Eventually, you burn enough candles to break even on the cost of the device, and then you make bank for as long as it lasts. LEDs last a hella long time.

Rallick wrote:

I have no comment on any of this, but I have a slight nitpick - I think Miashara meant that LEDs are 10 times more efficient than incandescent lightbulbs, not 10 times more efficient than kerosene. Unless you meant that too and I'm failing my reading comprehension - it's possible.

Good point - after taking Miashara to task on his math, I make a boo-boo myself
Still, he suggested a 5 orders-of-magnitude difference, whereas it's closer to 3.

I wonder about the feasibility of using kerosene to power a small Sterling engine generator that powers an [array of] LED[s]. Obviously you still have the consumable cost, but you could put the kerosene flame outside and alleviate the health concerns. I doubt a Sterling engine has enough torque for this idea to really work though.

Maybe I should be talking to a patent lawyer rather than posting here.

LiquidMantis wrote:

I wonder about the feasibility of using kerosene to power a small Sterling engine generator that powers an [array of] LED[s]. Obviously you still have the consumable cost, but you could put the kerosene flame outside and alleviate the health concerns. I doubt a Sterling engine has enough torque for this idea to really work though.

Maybe I should be talking to a patent lawyer rather than posting here. :D

Why don't you use your 3D printer to make us a working model of this gravity light and we'll see just how crappy the light output is?

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Okay, I was thinking about the math problem a bit more. Say you upped the weight to 20 kgs (not necessarily unreasonable) which would give you 196 J and stuck with the 1 m drop. If you assumed a 30 minute drop time (not sure if that's reasonable or not), your wattage (J/s) would end up being 196J / 1800s = 0.11 W. You might be able to get 90% conversion of energy efficiency or something so that would give you about .1 W for that period of time. According to this, an LED gets between 30-90 lumens per watt efficacy. So, let's say 60 lumens per watt efficacy on average. That seems to match up with what Wikipedia was showing. So, .1 watts would get you 6 lumens. A typical headlamp at max brightness produces 23 lumens. I could imagine that a light at about a third the brightness of an LED headlamp might actually be useful. I need to know what 6 lumens looks like in a dark room.

They really just need to say how many lumens the damn thing emits and for what period of time before needing to reset it.

A candle produces approximately 13 lumens. So 6 lumens aint' a whole lotta light. That said, candles are roughly omnidirectional, whereas LEDs are directional. Which is why your 23 lumen headlamp seems a whole lot brighter than 4 candles.

So 6 lumens of directional light would be subjectively brighter than having a candle burning.

Okay, I was thinking about the math problem a bit more. Say you upped the weight to 20 kgs (not necessarily unreasonable) which would give you 196 J and stuck with the 1 m drop. If you assumed a 30 minute drop time (not sure if that's reasonable or not), your wattage (J/s) would end up being 196J / 1800s = 0.11 W. You might be able to get 90% conversion of energy efficiency or something so that would give you about .1 W for that period of time. According to this, an LED gets between 30-90 lumens per watt efficacy. So, let's say 60 lumens per watt efficacy on average. That seems to match up with what Wikipedia was showing. So, .1 watts would get you 6 lumens. A typical headlamp at max brightness produces 23 lumens. I could imagine that a light at about a third the brightness of an LED headlamp might actually be useful. I need to know what 6 lumens looks like in a dark room.

They really just need to say how many lumens the damn thing emits and for what period of time before needing to reset it.

Edit: If you made the height 1.5 m, that would give you 294 J. Then, if you only made it a 15 minute span, you could get .33 W or so. With a conversion at 90% efficiency, that would give you roughly .3 W. With that kind of power, you could get nearly 18 lumens. That's about what some headlamps will output. When out camping and whatnot, I've found headlamp light to be surprisingly great. It allows you to do basic tasks. If it's just a general light in a room, it probably wouldn't be suitable for reading, though.

I dunno, I'm still thinking this might be rather useful. I'm still not convinced it's utterly worthless.

I've been wondering recently about spring-stored energy. Essentially, would it be feasible to use a hand-crank to store use energy in a spring (using reduction gearing for ease of cranking, obviously), and then expend that energy via a gearing mechanism to drive a dynamo?

While I'm not seeing any numbers that worry me, I think you guys are underestimating the perception of light under those conditions, and the extent that the human eye can adapt to darkness. And the emotional impact of having even that tiny bit of light in the very big darkness.

I grew up in an extremely rural place. We didn't have running water in the house until I was 9. We were 100+ miles by air from the nearest road (and that was a 1 lane gravel road that doesn't quite count because it didn't connect to anything - nearest pavement that is actually on a map was another 50 miles or so). The light in our entire house was provided by 2 Coleman lanterns (pic there would be a twin to ours), or one single 60-watt bulb if the generator was on to power the radio phone. That is a very different world that the one you're used to, and I don't think you're taking that into account.

Brightness is one thing. The feature that would improve things for the users beyond all bounds is the loss of flicker from both a lantern or a candle. That flicker and the attendant constant need to adjust and refocus the eyes is what causes the lion's share of eyestrain when trying to read or sew or do any number of tasks in low light.

This thing may be very dim by our sub-station powered standards, but when you're in a darkness that deep, it's amazing just how bright even that one candle can be and how much of a difference it can make in your life.

momgamer wrote:

While I'm not seeing any numbers that worry me, I think you guys are underestimating the perception of light under those conditions, and the extent that the human eye can adapt to darkness. And the emotional impact of having even that tiny bit of light in the very big darkness.

I grew up in an extremely rural place. We didn't have running water in the house until I was 9. We were 100+ miles by air from the nearest road (and that was a 1 lane gravel road that doesn't quite count because it didn't connect to anything - nearest pavement that is actually on a map was another 50 miles or so). The light in our entire house was provided by 2 Coleman lanterns (pic there would be a twin to ours), or one single 60-watt bulb if the generator was on to power the radio phone. That is a very different world that the one you're used to, and I don't think you're taking that into account.

Brightness is one thing. The feature that would improve things for the users beyond all bounds is the loss of flicker from both a lantern or a candle. That flicker and the attendant constant need to adjust and refocus the eyes is what causes the lion's share of eyestrain when trying to read or sew or do any number of tasks in low light.

This thing may be very dim by our sub-station powered standards, but when you're in a darkness that deep, it's amazing just how bright even that one candle can be and how much of a difference it can make in your life.

What she said!