Mining University

Fix Vulan 10 crash with the NVIDIA Control Panel

Ever since Vulcan 10 came out I've been hearing a lot of complaints about the software crashing. The word from the vendor seems to be that the problem was with the graphics card or the graphics driver. I can understand how they would want to blame the third party graphics provider but the crash complaints seem to come from people with very high end graphics cards. Not exactly the high performance results they were looking for.

I finally started encountering this problem myself while working with specific triangulations. The problem was happening with a specific, mid-size triangulation. I wasn't having any problems loading the file but when I would remove the triangulation Vulcan would crash. When Vulcan support couldn't reproduce my problem I started looking at my system setup. It turns out that my problem was with the graphics driver, just not in the way that Vulcan made it sound.

Here's how I fixed the issue:
  1. Right click on the desktop and select 'NVIDIA Control Panel'
  2. Select 'Manage 3D Settings'
  3. In the drop-down box for 'Preferred graphics processor:' select 'High-performance NVIDIA processor'
  4. Click on 'OK' in the bottom right of the panel
Vulcan 10 crashes can be fixed with the NVIDIA Control Panel
Use the NVIDIA Control Panel to fix crashes in Vulcan 10

That's it. Everything seems to be fine now.

The default for the preferred graphics processor was 'Auto-select.' This seems to toggle between the integrated graphics and the graphics card to save power. I think that Vulcan 10 doesn't interact very well with the 'Auto-select' option and this miscommunication was what was causing the crash.

That's what I did to fix the problem. I'd love to hear if this fixed your problem.

Calculus Finally Pays Off

Well I did it. I finally used calculus for something in my life after college. It wasn't work related and I basically had to re-learn how to do an integral but it has finally served a purpose.

The question I wanted to solve was: How far would someone fall in a tenth of a second? It sounds like a silly question, but it came from one of my most serious pass times: science fiction.

Recently I have been reading (actually listening to) a fun little book called 'Off to be the Wizard' by Scott Meyer (read by Luke Daniels). The basis of the book is a classic Sci-Fi topic: what if the world were a computer program and people were just sub-routines? The hero of the story finds out this is true and writes a program to make himself 'hover.' The program just increases his elevation by three feet and then refreshes ten times a second with him in free fall in between. Meyer describes this as being a jarring and uncomfortable way to 'hover' but I wondered how far would a person really fall in that tenth of a second interval. I also wondered how far the fall would be if the program refreshed 1,000 times a second like any real programmer would do?

After some serious internet research I was finally able to remember enough calculus to make sense of the non-calculus based physics equations that are posted all over the internet and convince myself that they were correct. It shouldn't matter that 0.5*9.8*t^2 looks different than the integral I remember from calculus bit it did.

Now that we had that cleared up I could calculate that in a tenth of a second a person would fall 1.92 inches. Falling almost two inches, ten times a second seems like a really rough method to use to fly. It might even be enough to injure anyone dumb enough to try it.

I don't think that any programmer I know would leave a flying refresh rate at ten times per second. Most computer things that need to be regularly updated happen at a rate of 1,000 times per second. Given this approach, a person would fall almost two ten thousandths of an inch in one thousandth of a second. This is a much more comfortable vibration to put up with when 'hovering.'

Thank you Calculus for making a totally implausible situation seem more realistic.

Rare Earth Elements - Greenest of the Green

The National Mining Association recently came out with an infographic on rare earth elements and their place in modern society. These elements are used in everything from phones, cameras and tablets to military technology including jet engines and night vision goggles.

Rare earth elements are also used in so called 'green' industries. Windmills and electric car batteries use rare earth elements as well as energy efficient light bulbs. Without rare earth elements large and fundamental parts of the 'green' movement would be unavailable.

Unfortunately, the United States is largely dependent on foreign imports for our rare earth elements. Chinese exports supply most of the raw materials that we are so proud of using to protect the environment. As a country, it is in our best interest to encourage the mining of rare earth elements is safe and responsible jurisdictions (America) in order to protect our ability to protect the planet.

Rare Earth Elements
Rare Earth Elements