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Old 01-03-2017, 07:34 PM   #1461
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

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That's why it's weird and not sound business practices or completely insane.
Patents are cheap. Amazon can trumpet how cutting edge it will be for a while and then quietly drop actually building anything. If anyone does anything that can be claimed to infringe the patent Amazon can sue them.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:36 PM   #1462
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

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... and wagyu to Japan.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:43 PM   #1463
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

Power crystals (well, sort of):

Carbon-14 artificial diamonds as power source

I have grave doubts about the practicality of the idea, but it is a power crystal...
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Old 01-25-2017, 11:12 AM   #1464
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

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Power crystals (well, sort of):

Carbon-14 artificial diamonds as power source

I have grave doubts about the practicality of the idea, but it is a power crystal...
They're extremely low-power batteries, but you can't beat the charge life!
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Old 01-25-2017, 12:26 PM   #1465
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They're extremely low-power batteries, but you can't beat the charge life!
C-14's half-life is under 6000 years. Terrible! As long as extremely low power is an acceptable tradeoff for lifetime, I'll be happy to sell you some batteries powered by proton decay. Guaranteed for the life of the universe, or your money back.
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Old 01-25-2017, 01:14 PM   #1466
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

Isn't proton decay something that's never actually been observed?
These "batteries" may be abysmal, but they would at least produce something detectable.
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Old 01-25-2017, 01:26 PM   #1467
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

I can see a few uses for them, but they're specialized uses.

I'm not sure how much one costs. Even artificial diamond tends to be pricey.

In many ways its just a lightweight RTG with a particularly exotic container.
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Old 01-25-2017, 08:19 PM   #1468
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Isn't proton decay something that's never actually been observed?
That would be the point of the joke. No apparent decay; experiments put a lower bound of about 10^34 years, as I recall. Thus, rather remarkably low power (for any reasonably-to-humans-sized collection of mass).

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In many ways its just a lightweight RTG with a particularly exotic container.
More or less what I thought when I first read about them.

Apparently the real motivation was finding a way to do something useful with nuclear waste. Or "waste", I suppose, once it becomes a resource. It seems the UK has some amount of radioactive graphite bricks. Thanks to their use as moderators in nuclear reactors, the surfaces of these bricks have a lot of C-14. So you make the electricity-generating diamonds out of that, plus a layer of regular carbon as shielding. Now you've sealed away the radioactive byproduct, and produced something at least marginally useful for your trouble. So, it might be the case that all you have to do is make something just a little more valuable than sealing the waste in glass and burying it under a mountain, rather than something you'd manufacture from scratch purely for its own sake.

I presume the crystal structure has something to do with the way the beta decay electrons are captured and turned into tame electricity.
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Old 01-27-2017, 04:26 AM   #1469
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Default Re: Real-Life Weirdness

One tends to think that single-cell organisms are invisible to the naked eye? Well, not necessarily. Single-cell organisms larger than a human clenched hand are a thing. Some single-cell algae aren't much smaller.
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Old 01-27-2017, 03:13 PM   #1470
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Newsthump.com reports that David Cameron strenuously denies being involved in this process in any way.
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