aecarol1 t1_jba5q5u wrote

There is no telescope on Earth today that could resolve the lander. Even telescopes planned over the next few decades, with perfect skies, probably can't do much better than a couple of pixels. The can't effectively can't do anything other than say "something" is there. But they can't produce a "photo" of the lander you would recognize.

But the astronauts will lay down retroreflector panels, just like the Apollo astronauts did. Any decent size university has the equipment to flash a laser at that part of the moon and see a few photons reflected. This is done all the time to establish the distance between the Earth and the Moon, as well as to study the wobble of the moon.

Before they go, the place that they will land will not reflect laser pulses, but after they lay out the panel, it will.

tl;dr it will not be possible to photograph the landers from Earth, but it's easy to shoot large lasers at the moon and observe the photons come back only from places where astronauts or other man-made objects have landed. This is because they carefully place retroreflector panels.


aecarol1 t1_j9aijaf wrote

You can't ask that kind of question without understanding the physics behind standardized measurements. What is the viscosity of the milk? i.e. whole milk or 2%? What is the relative humidity? Are the bowls glass or plastic?

The Cereal Experimentation Regulation Normalization board (CERN) has spent literally billons of dollars to analyze and study the sounds cereal makes and to standardize noise comparisons. At their cereal study facility in Switzerland they collide Rice Krispies at neatly the speed of light to calculate the noise they make.


aecarol1 t1_j6or985 wrote

Of course they are making foolish decisions. In your example they are simply gutting a division and possibly getting out of a specific business. My point was that companies were not "swapping" employees to keep wages low.

These companies are paying good severance, and the new guys would be coming in totally unprepared for the systems and projects underway. That would completely consume any imagined savings from driving wages down.


aecarol1 t1_j6ojrwd wrote

So they will lay off the people who know a particular system or process, then hire the other companies guy to do exactly the same thing?

But now they will have lowered productivity during the months it will take to train the ne guy in the old system + they will have the overhead of the generous severance packages they had to pay out.

tl;dr paying generous severance + training overhead of the "poached" people to learn your systems will easily destroy any imaginary savings.


aecarol1 t1_j1lzr8b wrote

For idiots who don't know how to market well, perhaps. Leaking is a no-win for the company.

If the leak is true, then on announcement day, nobody is impressed or surprised because it was "Nothing unexpected. Yawn". News outlets may not even bother to note the announcement.

If the leak ended up getting exaggerated, then on announcement day it's nothing but disappointment, "That's it?!?!?! They were supposed to mega-feature!". News outlets might talk about how the manufacturer is struggling and had to "drop features". Looks bad.

But if you can get a new feature out that people did not expect, then people go "Wow!". There is chatter online. News people might make a story about it.

tl;dr leaks are like telling people what they will get for Christmas in advance. If it's true, it ends up being nice, but no real joy or excitement because of lack of surprise. If false, nothing but disappointment Christmas morning.


aecarol1 t1_j1k5pgi wrote

Yea, people smugly think there is some cynical reason for leaks. But you nailed an excellent reason why not. The feature set is frozen quite a bit in advance because they have to line up the ability to make millions of them with bulk supply buys.

They can't "check interest" with a leak and then sell that phone in 8 months.

Most leaks are either people getting paid by industrial spies, or people who simply can't keep their mouth shut.

(Edited a word)


aecarol1 t1_j1idwjr wrote

That's not how it works. Nobody who knows what they are doing "tests the waters" with a leak. There's no control over it or the response. They study the market, they watch trends, the biggest contributor is talking with supply chain sources to find interesting new display, sensors, capabilities, etc to see how they can leverage it. (see note)

Leaks are always bad and companies work hard to prevent them.

If the leak is wrong, it sets customers up for disappointment. "But the next release was supposed to have feature XYZ!"

If the leak is right, competitors learn about your plans. Combined with what they already know about the supply chain it may give them a leg up on getting ahead of you. Don't discount first-to-market, or first-to-market 'done right'. Nobody wants to lose that.

Also, if the leak is right, it takes the thrill out of the actual announcement. It's not exciting, it's not news. "I'm supposed to get excited about what we knew all along?" That gets announcements put on the back page, not the front page. Companies want the front page.

Talking about the importance of not leaking, Steve Jobs said (exact words not recalled) "An unexpected major release is worth $30 million in marketing to Apple".

NOTE: Apple was the first to see the importance of the 5gb micro hard drives the supply chain was offering. Nobody else cared. That's how the iPod came to market with a pocket device that could hold 1,000 songs while competitors were squeezing 40 songs into their devices. No leaks. It changed their fortunes.

tl;dr leaks always disappoint customers in the end when the product is released regardless of if the leak was right or wrong.


aecarol1 t1_j0bvqmn wrote

They were there when you were born, but they could have mutated before your birth. There is a long line of cells between the fertilized single cell embryo that become you, until your oocytes were formed. Any of those cells along that line that develops a mutation may pass it on to their daughter cells until eventually the oocytes were formed, inheriting the mutation.

The egg they produce may well carry that mutation and then to your child.


aecarol1 t1_j0bv18q wrote

Any cell that can divide can become cancer. I don't think it's possible for sperm to become cancerous because they simply don't have all the machinery to divide, but egg cells certainly can divide (not normally) and can initiate a cancer.

The germ cells, which divide to produce eggs and sperm, can also develop cancer.


aecarol1 t1_j09b4u5 wrote

Any cell during your lifetime that acquires a mutation that is in direct motherhood of the egg or sperm you contribute, they can inherit it.

If your kidney has a cell that mutates, they will never see it. The same goes for 99.999% of the cells in your body.

But if a cell in your embryo that later divided to eventually (after several cell generations) become a sperm (or egg), then yes, they can inherit that.

EDIT: edited to clarify that it's "cell generations". There is a lineage of cells in your body that divided from the fertilized egg you came from, eventually leading to the egg or sperm cell you contribute to a child. If any of those cells develop a mutation, it's possible for your child to inherit that change.


aecarol1 t1_ixmafup wrote

You are entitled to unpaid time off to vote. But people work quite some distance from their polling place and many people don't own cars. They have to decide if getting a few unpaid hours off is worth it, or will even provide enough time to get to the polling place in time.

Even in places where it's a holiday won't help the poor. Big businesses and companies close on the holidays, but low wage jobs run every day of the year.

Suburban polling places are well funded and abundant. Most people need not wait but a few minutes. But poorer areas have fewer polling places per person and waits of many hours is not uncommon. This is by design.


aecarol1 t1_iximpej wrote

Yes. They figured if they made it harder, people who have to work, and have trouble taking off from their job, and might have trouble getting to the polls, or might not be willing to stand in long lines in undertstaffed urban places, might not vote.

While their demographic of white collar. retired, work-at-home, etc could have an easier time voting in well staffed convenient suburban voting places.


aecarol1 t1_ixila1h wrote

What's funny is that conservative counties, in solidarity with the Republican message against Saturday voting, may not offer Saturday voting, while Democratic stronghold counties will.

The Replubicans lost the case, and then will double dip by denying voters that tend to support them the chance to vote on Saturday. While their opponents will vote in great numbers of Saturday.

Hoisted on their own petard.


aecarol1 t1_iuiwon0 wrote

This is a serious issue. Not this specific asteroid in our lifetimes, but the idea that there are orbits that are mostly sunward and are hard to see asteroids in. It's a bit of a blind-spot from the vantage point of the Earth.

There was a mission planned a while back that would orbit the sun inside the orbit of Venus and look outward for Earth crossing asteroids. The idea was that being closer to the sun, most of the interesting asteroids would be well illuminated and easier to spot. I have no idea the status of this mission or if it's going to eventually fly.

When looking at the same asteroids from Earth, they are close enough to the sun that they are hard to see.

tl;dr asteroids that spend a lot of time close to the sun are hard to discover because of solar glare. Putting a probe closer to the sun looking "outward" may help find more of them.


aecarol1 t1_iuabsze wrote

My comment was simply to show that one technology being derided and then becoming a spectacular success (aviation), isn't applicable to another unrelated technology being derided. The critics being wrong on one, doesn't mean they are wrong on an another.

I am hopeful for this, but I think this technology has more in common with battery advancements than aviation. On so many technology subjects, we see press releases masquerading as news talking about incredible breakthroughs which reporters extrapolate to societal changing implications. Sometimes they are right (cell phones), mostly they are wrong (Segway)

I enjoyed debating the merits with you also! I hope this pans out, we certainly need as much power as we can obtain and the sun is a great source.


aecarol1 t1_iua37ps wrote

Absolutely! "Proofs of Concept" are valuable and this should be explored.

There is a plausible way forward. I think this is worth pursuing and experimenting with, but we should not be overselling this or its potential based on very, very, very early experiments with none of the obvious downsides being talked about in these press releases.

They advertise the costs of the panel to be lower, but they still need the same controllers, inverters, and wiring as regular solar panels and those cost the same. The required electronics typically cost 40% of what the panels cost. The price of panels has gone down, but per-watt generated, you will need to spend about 40% on inverters etc.

In small business level installations, the cost of the panels is typically 25% of the total cost. Even if they drop significantly in price, the other 75% isn't going down. The total price is lower, but not nearly as much as naively looking only at panel prices would imply.

For example, if the price of solar panels dropped 50% overnight, the total cost for an installation would drop by about 12.5%. Nice savings, but not the 50% we might have hoped for.

Bottom line, I like exploring this, there may be real benefits that are worth looking for. That said, I would not be counting eggs or presuming anything will come of it.

"They laughed at the Wright brothers, but they also laughed at Bozo the clown."


aecarol1 t1_iu9heon wrote

I think you're on the right track. Once you've exhausted the higher payout items (roof, light/heat/cooling efficiency, etc), then windows might enter into it. There may be ranges of configurations where it's a net win. I agree that tall buildings are the best bet, so long as they have south facing windows and some confidence another tall building won't be built in that direction in the decade or two.

I'm not sure what happens when the solar in a window malfunctions. Does the window need to be removed and replaced? Is that disruptive to the people in that office? This is one of the bigger issues with the "solar road" ideas. Nobody wants the utility digging up an otherwise fully functional road to "fix" a bad section of solar. It's disruptive.

I know some companies have decided to build their solar "elsewhere". If they don't have enough roof, they buy land quite far from their place of business and build a quality solar farm and use that power. Sometimes their generation facility is literally hundreds of miles away. They go where the land is cheap and the weather less cloudy.

Electrons are fungible, so if they put X watts into the grid, they get to pull X watts at their place of business. All of the benefits with little of the downside.

Roof and ground solar is easy to maintain because people can work without bothering other businesses or employees. Things can be built without regard to cosmetics, and the maintenance people have a dense consolidated area they can operate in.


aecarol1 t1_iu77mzp wrote

I'm "one of those guys" because the crowd that loves this idea heavily overlaps the "put solar panels on the roads" people. There is so much wrong with that idea it boggles the mind people don't think about it and rush to support a really crappy idea.

People like simple solutions to complex problems, especially those that show we "are doing something" especially with "out of the box thinking" technology.

This idea is certainly better than solar roads, but even with their "breakthrough" this isn't really ready for prime time. Even if this was "built into the windows" it still has to be wired into the building and all the support electronics such as inverters, controllers, etc, has to be wired and installed.

It's a lot easier to have a crew on a single flat roof, free to run conduit without cosmetic concerns, than it is to have electricians run extra wiring through walls and install extra electronics in every windowed room on every floor.

If all the ducks line up just right, this idea might well have a net positive, but it's far from clear and the history of this kind of announcement indicates it's not likely to.

We need to look at this holistically. After the easy fix of solar on the roof, is the money better spent on solar windows or on more efficient lighting or air conditioning?


aecarol1 t1_iu6zf7v wrote

My point is that this can be fixed, but requires a lot more than the dead-simple shared inverter. That goes against the central point that this is supposed to be "cheap" and easy to deploy.

Low windows are often shaded by parked vehicles, trees, and shrubs. Tall buildings are often in dense places with other tall buildings that cast shadows.

This can work, but not for most places.

Either way, they have only shown this lasts 500 hours and they've only tested something slightly bigger than one-square inch. This is no better than the endless updates we get on "breakthrough batteries" every week that almost never end up working as well as hoped and almost never ship.

When they actually get this to last years, and they get it to work on full sized windows, and they get it uniform to not look splotchy and they keep their efficiency, and they solve the shading problem. Then we'll have something exciting. Right now it's a press release and nothing more.


aecarol1 t1_iu6xm1e wrote

Because that's how solar panels work. There are technologies to mitigate this, but they require more complex wiring and more sophisticated electronics.

If all the panels share one inverter (least expensive option), and if one panel has shade (even partial shade) then the entire array shuts down. If it doesn't the shaded sections actually consume power and will become very hot. Bypass diodes will help, but not always.

If you have micro inverters (each panel gets its own inverter) then one shaded window only reduces the power by that specific window, all is good. But now you need an expensive inverter box for each window. This is not cheap,

There are lots of schemes and systems to work around this and they work to varying degrees, but the thing in common is that they require more electronics to make that work and the entire point of this is to be "cheap".

If that's not enough, I can provide endless cites for the solar panel shading problem and the current solutions.


aecarol1 t1_iu6l1nr wrote

I'm not sure what you mean.

First off, they are excited to announce the things last 500 hours.

They also talk about test surfaces 2.8 cm2. That's a bit bigger than one square inch. They are announcing a breakthrough that lasts 500 hours for one square inch. They have presented no evidence that this will scale to window size coatings and that it will be uniform enough to look like clear glass. Eyes are sensitive to windows that are "splotchy" or not uniform clarity.

This isn't ready for prime time and belongs in same bucket as the "amazing battery breakthrough" stories we see Every. Single. Week. That come to nothing.

But getting back to what they claim might be possible.... they don't produce much power (every bit of light you see, is light that's not converted to electricity. If 1/2 the light is passed in so you can actually see outside, that means its base production is only 1/2 of a normal panel.

No matter the technology, it's low voltage, which means it must be connected to an inverter to create AC power. You can combine multiple windows to a shared inverter, but if one window is shaded (even a bit), then all the windows must turn off. The alternative is to have micro inverters one-per-window (or at least sections that are shaded together).

All of that requires extra wiring. If the inverters are near the windows, you must have lots of inverters scattered around the building, wired together. If they are in a single location then you must have low voltage lines connecting each window to their inverter. Low voltage lines that are long must be very thick to avoid losses.

Low buildings tend to have trees or shrubs that shadow. Tall buildings tend to be built next to other tall buildings. Of course there are places where things line up and there is a lot of windows that face the sun, in that case you might get some measure of power from it.

If a company has thousands of extra dollars and they want to do more than make showy press releases, that money is better spent on roof-top solar, and if that's full, then they will save more aggregate energy with LED lights, better thermal insulation, and more efficient heating/cooling.


aecarol1 t1_iu65rjo wrote

Short buildings don't have a lot of windows to make it worth while and are likely surrounded by trees, bushes, and other things that case shade. Tall buildings have lots of windows, but tend to be surrounded by other tall buildings casting shade.

Roofs are flat and easy to work on and are more likely to have sun for more years and more of each day.

If the building is being built and there is money in the budget for "solar windows" even if they don't generate much power, the money would be better spent better insulating the building to lower heating/cooling costs or investing in more efficient heating/cooling.

Saving electricity on more efficient heating and air conditioning has exactly the same effect as generating more power using "solar windows". In fact, you might save more power because you can only generate electric from about 10am to about 4pm, but heating/cooling runs outside those hours.