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Saturday Overnight Open Thread (9/23/23) | Main | 10/7/23 EMT
September 24, 2023

Daily Tech News 24 September 2023

Top Story


Tech News

  • India's Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander, after completely failing to catastrophically impact on the Moon's surface, appears to have successfully succumbed to the frigid two-week lunar night. (New York Times) (archive site)

    The lander wasn't designed to survive the lunar night in the first place, but they were kind of hoping it would wake up again when dawn arrived. So far no such luck.


  • Can philanthropy save local newspapers? (Washington Post) (archive site)

    Betteridge's Law applies. Doubly so, because that headline was used in the Slashdot story about this Washington Post opinion piece, where the piece itself is headed:

    Even $500 million isn't enough to save local journalism.

    Interesting to see that coming from the Washington Post, because the Post itself survives only thanks to the bottomless purse of Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs' widow Jeff Bezos, who is not Steve Jobs' widow so far as I know.

    Because when it comes to actually reporting the news, the Post is utter bullshit.

    So what does the $500 million fund discussed in the article promise? If you expected more of the same, piled higher and deeper, you win a Kewpie doll:
    That's changing, however, because American democracy and American journalism both need help. Though funding journalism was formerly viewed as being outside the "democracy tent," in Mr. Brady's formulation, it's now squarely inside, along with voting rights, civic education and other long-standing priorities of charitable organizations.
    Not mentioned: Reporting the news.

    "Democracy dies in darkness," threatens the Post, "smothered by a pillow, if we have anything to say about it."


  • The equinox is not what you think it is, ackshually. (Scientific American)

    The name means "equal night" but because it starts getting light before dawn and isn't fully dark until after dusk, it's not equal. In practical terms, days are longer than nights on average.

    Also amid all this pedantry they failed to note that what they were describing applies only in the northern hemisphere, and is reversed in the south.

    Edit: To be fair, there is a generic disclaimer at the top of the article; the author knows that the world is round. But when noting that the "actual" equinox is on a different date to the nominal equinox, it doesn't mention that this means that the "actual" equinoxes are on different dates in the different hemispheres - not just inverted, but off by several days.

    This disclaimer says:
    But also, just reverse the seasons and add six months to the dates as you read them, and you'll be fine.
    But for the precise detail under discussion, this is not true.

    So am I simultaneously criticising the article for being too pedantic and not pedantic enough? Yes. Deal with it.


  • New York has hired a 5'2", 420lb security guard to patrol Times Square subway station at night, and is paying $9 per hour. (Gothamist)

    Oh, and it's a robot.

    I'm sure this will solve all the city's problems. Or be destroyed by vandals in the first week. One of those.


  • The Eyertec (who?) AD650i is a mini-ITX motherboard with a laptop CPU and six M.2 slots. (WCCFTech)

    Which could make for a good small server. It only has two SATA ports, but you might be able to use an M.2 to SATA adapter to get five or six more, depending on the available room in your case below the motherboard.

    Downside: No PCIe slot, and only 2.5Gb Ethernet.

    Oh, and Eyertec is a brand of Minisforum, who make some good NUCs.


  • Sabrent is now shipping an 8TB SSD for the PlayStation 5. (AnandTech)

    It costs twice as much as the PS5 itself, or five times as much as a basic 4TB SSD.


  • The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District has partnered with OceanWell to explore desalinating water on the seafloor off the California coast. (Yahoo News)

    Why the seafloor?
    "Basically the weight of the ocean helps drive the reverse-osmosis process," said Kalyn Simon, OceanWell's director of engagement. "By taking the [reverse-osmosis] process to a place in nature where that pressure naturally exists, we don't have to create an artificial pressure gauge on land, as we traditionally do in desalination."
    Uh, what?

    Okay, presumably you never let the pressure equalise, because then it would immediately stop working, so we're not talking perpetual motion here. It just means that you need to pump both the desalinated water and - reading through the details - the salinated water from the other side of the filter, all the way up from the seafloor to the surface.

    Maybe that works out more energy-efficient, though I don't see how.

    Meanwhile:
    "Our policy is that ocean desalination should always be the last resort," said Charming Evelyn, chair of the Sierra Club's water committee in Southern California. "Water is not an infinite resource. It is extremely finite, and the ocean is not something we just get to dip a large straw in and pull whatever we want out, because even the ocean has to maintain a balance."
    Fuck off you human-hating retards. They're not shooting the water into space. Every molecule they process is going to end up back in the ocean.


Disclaimer: I wonder if, with a suitable filter, you could extract fresh drinking water from idiots, who do appear to be an infinite resource.
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