Tag Archives: test

Federal government builds a net-zero energy McMansion

I know what you’re thinking, how can a McMansion be green – especially with tiny homes becoming popular – and when you see the photo below you’ll be even more skeptical. Add in the $2.5 million price tag and it sounds like a bridge-to-nowhere disaster. But before you pass judgement let’s learn more about the home.

It’s a 2,700 square-foot house with two stories, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and an oversized two-car garage. Not your average American home, more like something designed for a wealthy neighbor. And that fits because this home has the best green fixtures money can buy. The multi-million dollar price purchases:

  • Configurable solar panels
  • High thermal efficiency building materials
  • Solar water heater
  • Smart thermostat (rooms can have different temperatures)
  • High velocity, insulated heating/cooling air system
  • Humidifier/dehumidifier
  • Ultra-efficient windows
  • Full details – pdf, page 2

The design allows the National Institute of Standards and Technology to turn the home into a laboratory, where they will test all the features – with no one home. Lights will turn on in the morning and after work. There will be fake microwaving and fake cheering for a football team on the TV. Garage doors will open and close several times. All to simulate the energy use of a typical family of four.

All kidding aside, this is a serious scientific experiment, “buildings account for 40 % of the primary energy consumption and 72 % of the electricity consumption in the United States, while accounting for 40 % of the CO2 emissions…will develop and deploy the measurement science to move the nation towards net-zero energy, high-performance buildings in a cost-effective manner while maintaining a healthy indoor environment.”

It’s a great goal – to have net-zero energy homes – but why did they have to do their research on a McMansion?

 

Learn more about the home – Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF)

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Mars rover Curiosity test fires the laser – pulverizes a rock just for fun (and science)

Johnny Five, aka the Mars rover Curiosity, continues its scientific journey. The nuclear-powered laboratory in-a-box pulled out it’s laser to blast a rock that got in its way. From NASA:

The mission’s ChemCam instrument hit a fist-sized rock named “Coronation” with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivers more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second.

The energy from the laser creates a puff of ionized, glowing plasma. ChemCam catches the light with a telescope and analyzes it with three spectrometers for information about what elements are in the rock.

 

NASA said the main function of this was target practice to calibrate the ChemCam.

You gotta love the sense of play NASA is bringing to this mission. Not only are they releasing these stories about test-firing lasers, but they are all over social medial, including fan art on Facebook, a first-person Twitter account, sharing stories on Google Plus, and posting articles on their much more user-friendly website.

A great idea for the much beleaguered space agency, that I assume is a bid to get them back into America’s good graces…and taxpayer dollars.

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‘The Example Show’ on Netflix – newest meme involves over-the-top reviews

There is a new meme floating around the internet and it involves finding the rarest of cult hits on Netflix. Anything from classic 80s comedies, to Japanese cartoons, even art-house flicks from the 50s.

Well, here is a new one, the 11-minute entertainment clips Netflix created to test out new streaming devices.

“This is television done right.” “Absolutely spellbinding!” “This wasn’t a show. It was a revelation.” These are only some of the raving customer reviews for Netflix’s first original TV show…I asked Netflix about it, and was told that the clips were produced a few years ago for testing purposes. Also, the moon-walking Shakespeare aficionado starring in them doesn’t actually work at Netflix. He’s a freelancer, specifically hired for this project.

Netflix’s secret cult hit

It’s silly and childish, I know. But where else can you write an over-the-top review just to make yourself laugh?

 

 

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Speed record set for all-electric airplane – 204.4 mph

Chip Yates does not like sitting still. Just a day after piloting his electric-powered Long EZ airplane to over 200 miles per hour – making him the fastest electric-airplane pilot in the world – he had to disassemble the airplane, pack it up and drive 2,000 miles east to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Here at Airventure, Yates continues to be busy answering questions about his record-setting run. And perhaps one of the more surprising answers is that Yates is a not a veteran test pilot. He just got his license in June and has about 58 hours of experience, including the record-setting run last week.

When the electric vehicle pioneer bought the used airplane it had a 118 horsepower, four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that is fairly standard for a Long EZ. Over the course of several months Yates and his team pulled the four-cylinder engine out of the Long EZ. They then pulled the 193 kW (258 hp), liquid cooled electric motor out of his record setting battery powered motorcycle and mounted it to the back of the Long EZ.

With the very well used (Yates calls it “abused”) lithium polymer battery back from the motorcycle in the back seat, the Long EZ was being prepared as a test bed for some of the technologies Yates needs to develop for his transatlantic flight. But after setting speed records for an electric motorcycle, first up for the Long EZ was a speed run.

 

Keep reading: Wired - The Story Behind a Record-Setting Electric Airplane Flight

 

 

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Take my Rorschach test – and then learn it’s history, effectiveness, how it shouldn’t be used

Two inkblots below. After looking at each one tell me what you think they look like (my answers at bottom).

 

I first came across the Rorschach inkblot test when I was training to be a clinical psychologist. I was shown a series of cards containing inkblots and asked to say what they looked like to me (Tester: “What does this look like?” Me: “A bat.”) I remember thinking that it felt more like a tarot reading than a proper psychometric test.

However, when the test was scored and interpreted, it produced a scarily accurate profile of my personality. It knew things about me that even my mother didn’t know. I’ve been a fan, if a rather sceptical one, ever since.

So, what is the Rorschach inkblot test? It’s simply a set of cards containing pictures of inkblots that have been folded over on themselves to create a mirror image.

By asking the person to tell you what they see in the inkblot, they are actually telling you about themselves, and how they project meaning on to the real world.

But the inventor of the test, Hermann Rorschach, never intended it to be a test of personality.

 

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Facebook Programming Challenge – solve a challenge, get a phone interview

 

How does this work?

Take the timed challenge. If your code passes the test, you will be contacted for a telephone interview. If your code is too similar to another applicant, you will both be disqualified, so please don’t share or post your answers online.

What position are these tests for?

These are for various positions in our Software Engineering department. You can check them all out here.

 

Take the Facebook Programming Challenge!

Advanced computers push science forward through millions of hours of processing power

Harnessing the power of supercomputers and their million hours of processing power has allowed some very intriguing physics calculations to take place. One of them is the study of matter in the universe on a subatomic level.

The question, how did we arrive at a universe composed almost exclusively of matter with virtually no antimatter?

The calculation took 54 million processor hours on the IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer at the Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S.

The new research, reported in the March 30 issue of Physical Review Letters, represents an important milestone in understanding kaon decays — which are a fundamental process in physics. It is also inspiring the development of a new generation of supercomputers that will allow the next step in this research.

“It has taken several decades of theoretical developments and the arrival of very powerful supercomputers to enable physicists to control the interactions of the quarks and gluons, the constituents of the elementary particles, with sufficient precision to explore the limits of the standard model and to test new theories,” says Chris Sachrajda, Professor of Physics at the University of Southampton, one of the members of the research team publishing the new findings.

The process by which a kaon decays into two lighter particles known as pions was explored in a 1964 Nobel Prize-winning experiment. This revealed the first experimental evidence of a phenomenon known as charge-parity (CP) violation — a lack of symmetry between particles and their corresponding antiparticles that may explain why the Universe is made of matter, and not antimatter.

via Science Daily - continue reading about the next generation of supercomputers, 10-20 times more powerful…

Argonne's Blue Gene/P Supercomputer

 

// Photo via Argonne National Lab - Article via Lauren Weinstein

Get 5GB of Dropbox space free – participate in beta testing for automatic camera uploads

To get the free space, download the latest build, plug-in your smartphone/camera, and upload all you can.

During this beta period, we are also offering additional free space to test automatic uploading of photos and videos. For every 500MB of photos and videos automatically uploaded, you’ll receive another 500MB space bonus, up to 4.5GB total. [Update: To clarify, you can get up to 5GB of free space with this feature, if you count the initial 500MB space for the first photo import].

1.3.12

  • 500MB of free space on first photo import
  • Cleanup UI in Windows non admin installation.
  • Fix infinite restart of Dropbox when database was corrupted.
  • Fix import error on iPhone with lots and lots of photos.
  • Better Handling of out of quota issues on first photo import.
  • Other small fixes

1.3 Features

  • Importing of photos from cameras, phones, and SD cards.
  • Batch upload/download of files.

 

Get started – Dropbox Forums

Do not go gentle into that good night

[testimonial company="" author="Dylan Thomas, 1951" image=""]

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, 

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

[/testimonial]

Or, if you prefer the audio version.

Rodney Dangerfield from Back to School.