Hacker News Re-Imagined

Outdoor cats are using $500 Starlink satellite dishes as self-heating beds

  • 175 points
  • 1 day ago

  • @perihelions
  • Created a post
  • • 132 comments

Outdoor cats are using $500 Starlink satellite dishes as self-heating beds


@paulcole 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Elon in shambles that he didn’t think to charge extra for this.

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@NeoVeles 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Tesla has dog mode. Starlink has cat mode.

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@aspyct 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

So hang on! We named bugs so because we discovered actual bugs in the early computers (in the eniac, I believe)

Should we rename timeouts to "cats"?

"I tried pinging your website, but I had a cat"

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@fnord77 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

> Starlink satellites are responsible for 1,600 near-crashes in orbit every week, reports Futurism’s Dan Robitzski, a number that he reports is likely to increase as Starlink plans to launch more satellites.

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@elcapitan 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Hard truth: Cats simply enjoy sitting on absolutely anything that wasn't intended for them to sit on. It doesn't even have to be warm for that. It's one of the oldest constants of the universe.

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@dawsmik 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Maybe they could do a software update that rotates the dish if connectivity drops, or a least give the owner the option of remotely turning on a dish rotate function.

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@martyvis 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Clearly using a CAT5 physical layer.

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@plumeria 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

We now need a Starlink dish in Neko Atsume

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@qbasic_forever 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

If you built a small elevated box with an entry hole, placed the starlink on top, and then put a plastic dome or shroud around the starlink so cats couldn't rest on top you'd make everyone happy. The warmth of the dish would keep the little nest below it comfortable for cats, and you'd be happy with good reception.

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@Syonyk 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

> Starlink satellite dishes have a self-heating feature to melt snow...

No, they don't. They just run hot. There are a ton of little ASICs behind the flat plane running the various antenna bits required for the beam forming (directing the beam without physically moving the dish, once it finds a spot it mostly stays put), and they all put out some good heat. Plus, the high frequency RF involved isn't the most efficient in terms of antennas.

Yes, they're warm. No, it's not a dedicated heater mode.

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@ystuck 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

That is adorable

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@eyelidlessness 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Glad to see this is getting some lighthearted response. Surprised because lots of these cats are probably mousers ^_^

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@dboreham 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

I suspect this image was staged. I have dishy, and cats, and snow, and the dish doesn't get hot enough to interest the cats.

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Wow those things must be strong! That's 50+ pounds of cat in that picture.

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@usrusr 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Kessler's cat syndrome?

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@quickthrower2 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Cats. Always trying to take over the internet.

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@tw04 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

I still can't fathom why anyone thinks it's OK to leave cats outside to roam free. They decimate the songbird population and kill for fun. You want to talk about low-hanging fruit to protect mother nature? Keep your cats inside or tethered if they're outside... we expect it from dog owners, and rightly so. Not sure why people with cats think they should be free to roam.

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@drdeadringer 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

In my olde neighborhood, a neighbor of mine [due to an allergic husband] was an "outdoor cat only" meow-by-mouth only place for several decades. I took care of the feeding whilst they were on vacation.

It's been a while since, but stories like this make me smile if I was still having a going thing with these neighbors.

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@jcims 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Heats people too - https://twitter.com/lucysrausch/status/1477211906817413120

(Read some of the follow up comments)

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@leros 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

This is a great example of unexpected design challenges.

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@poulsbohemian 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

I wouldn't be surprised if the squirrels like them too.

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@smoldesu 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

I live in the upper latitudes, and have both a Starlink and a couple outdoor cats who like to get into trouble. Unfortunately, I haven't spotted any of them really approaching the dish itself...

I think it mostly comes down to two things:

1. The satellite dish doesn't warm up that much. It basically just heats itself to be hot enough to melt the ice, and that's more or less it. It still feels fairly cool to the touch on a winter day. 90% of the time, I'd imagine your router will be hotter than the dish itself.

2. The dish also makes a very faint whirring noise as it tracks satellites across the sky. You can only really notice it when you get within 5 feet of it, but I'm pretty sure my cats hate it. Sometimes they'll huddle at the base of the dish if it's a particularly cold day, but most of the time the motor sounds are enough to drive them away.

Knowing how much companies like Starlink like useless novelty features, maybe a "cat deterrence" button in the app would be in order. Make the dish spin around a few times until the cats get scared. I dunno, food for thought.

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@dghughes 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Having the dish on the ground isn't too smart either the snow will get deeper and cover it cats or no cats.

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@gorgoiler 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Starlink’s AUP lists quite a few types of behaviour that will mean you get cut off:

https://www.starlink.com/legal/acceptable-use-policy

If you are accused of being cruel and they uphold that complaint then bye bye connection. What if some crazy Twitter mob accuses you of animal cruelty for throwing your cats out in the snow?

The implication is there that they monitor all your traffic to be able to enforce these rules. If one were to encrypt ones traffic to evade SpaceX’s surveillance, is that too a violation of the AUP?

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@tyingq 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

I don't imagine a "can't sit on this" shaped radome would be too expensive.

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@Tempest1981 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

I'm impressed that it still works, albeit at at lower speeds.

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@uejfiweun 1 day

Replying to @perihelions 🎙

Haha, this is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. Wouldn't be surprised at all to see Musk incorporate this into the marketing in some way.

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