Link to Original Source
Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!
We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).
Link to Original Source
The summary is misleading, and it seems that there is much confusion and emotion regarding this issue.
Let's look at the facts, shall we?
54,79% of Italians voted. Of those, 94,05% voted against nuclear energy.
I can't undertand why, but some slashdotters, despite overwhelming evidence, seem to believe that nuclear power is the only way to solve global warming, that it actually provides a considerable amount of relatively safe and clean energy, and that's it's the future. All of these propositions are wrong, based on the scientific data available.
A study published in July 2010 by John O. Blackburn and Sam Cunningham from Duke University details how electricity from new solar installations is now cheaper than electricity from proposed new nuclear plants.
An analysis published in Energy Policy by researchers from Stanford University and the University of California-Davis and authored by Mark Z. Jacobson and UC-Davis researcher Mark A. Delucchi states: "There are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources", and to power 100 percent of the world for all purposes from wind, water and solar resources, the footprint needed is about 0.4 percent of the world's land (mostly solar footprint) and the spacing between installations is another 0.6 percent of the world's land (mostly wind-turbine spacing). And we can do it before 2050, Jacobson said.
Another analysis shows how solar will become the cheapest source of energy of all, even chapter than coal, in justa a few years, while nuclear costs will keep rising.
Notice in the first chart how steadily manufacturing costs have come down, from $60 a watt in the mid-1970’s to $1.50 today. People often point to a “Moore’s Law” in solar – meaning that for every cumulative doubling of manufacturing capacity, costs fall 20%. In solar PV manufacturing, costs have fallen about 18% for every doubling of production. “It holds up very closely,” says Solaria’s Shugar.
The “Moore’s Law” analogy doesn’t necessarily work on the installation side, as you have all kinds of variables in permitting, financing and hardware costs. But with incredible advances in web-based tools to make sales and permitting easier; new sophisticated racking, wiring and inverter technologies to make installation faster and cheaper; and all kinds of innovative businesses providing point-of-sale financing (think auto sales), costs on the installation side have fallen steadily as well. The Rocky Mountain Institute projects that these costs will fall by 50% in the next five years.
And here's the paper from The Rocky Mountain Institute.
So, if you are still blinded by your emotional attachment to nuclear and can't seem to reason straight, think about this:
That 17 GW installed in 2010 is the equivalent of 17 nuclear power plants – manufactured, shipped and installed in one year. It can take decades just to install a nuclear plant. Think about that. I heard Bill Gates recently call solar “cute.” Well, that’s 17 GW of “cute” adding up at an astonishing pace.
This modular technology can be produced and installed at a pace far faster than most energy technologies. And businesses are getting amazingly efficient at doing so.
However, this comparison neglects the “value” of energy. Nuclear is a baseload resource; solar PV is more of a “peaking” resource. To compare 17 GW of global solar PV development to 17 GW of nuclear power plants ignores the fact that nuclear produces far more electricity than an equivalent solar PV plant.
With that said, solar brings a different kind of value to the grid. Not only can it be quickly deployed on existing infrastructure (warehouses, commercial buildings, residences) at rates that are orders of magnitude faster than nuclear, it offsets the most expensive peaking power plants – providing immediate economic value.
This year, the U.S. industry may install 2 GW of solar. The last nuclear power plant to come online in the U.S., Watts Bar 1, has a capacity of 1.1 GW – but that took 23 years to complete, not two years.
When looking at the time and cost of construction of new nuclear – as well as insurability issues – solar PV (in sunny areas) is already competitive with those plants. Again, I believe there is a big difference in the “value” of electricity from nuclear and solar PV given that they play such opposite roles; but these figures do tell an interesting story.
Now, before posting another "go nuclear or you are an idiot" and before modding (+5 informative) those idiotic comments, bring me some scientific evidence of your claims, or shut the hell up.
In any case, a robot will not survive 15 minutes in a classroom with average European (or american for that matter) kids. I know what my daughter will do. If she cannot get her hands on a screwdriver she will craft herself a replacement out of whatever she can find and start disassembling the thing until she has figured out what makes it tick or it is so dead that she will lose interest. That is probably still better than the reaction of her brother who would simply use it for target practice.
However this may be true for some children, today, you fail to recognise the cultural importance of this phenomenon. It is ultimately how we educate our children and the environment they live in that determines what they do. In TFA is described how these robotic teachers will be in support of their human counterparts, they will not substitute them. It is a necessary step, because on one hand AIs need need to develop significantly if they want to handle complex situations on the spot (children behaviour); on the other hand, the cultural spirit of the society needs to upgrade to the point that children will be interested in learning this way. Not to mention the (manly) nonsensical fear that people display in regards to robots, especially in the "Western countries".
It's a double process, technology and culture have to grow together, symbiotically. Let's not rush it, but let's not ignore the immense help that these possibilities could bring. A robot can explain something to a child 20 times over, in different ways, accessing databases of information beyond human capabilities, without getting pissed, bored, or angry. Children can learn without feeling stupid or ashamed if they make mistakes. Robotic teachers do not try to impose religious dogmas and do not abuse of children, unless they are specifically programmed to do so.
The problem is not the robots, but how they are programmed and tested. I propose that the software they run on must be publicly accessible, free and open source, as well as the database they feed from.
I would go for Euler's equation, but using Tau instead of Pi.
e^(i*tau) = 1
At this point, the expositor usually makes some grandiose statement about how Euler’s identity relates 0, 1, e, i, and Pi —sometimes called the “five most important numbers in mathematics”. Alert readers might then complain that, because it’s missing 0, Euler’s identity with Tau relates only four of those five. We can address this objection by noting that, since sin(Tau) = 0, we were already there:
e^(i*tau) = 1 + 0
This formula, without rearrangement, actually does relate the five most important numbers in mathematics: 0, 1, e, i, and Tau.
Most common question in response to this argument:
Are you serious?
Of course. I mean, I’m having fun with this, and the tone is occasionally lighthearted, but there is a serious purpose. Setting the circle constant equal to the circumference over the diameter is an awkward and confusing convention. Although I would love to see mathematicians change their ways, I’m not particularly worried about them; they can take care of themselves. It is the neophytes I am most worried about, for they take the brunt of the damage: as noted in Section 2.1,Pi is a pedagogical disaster. Try explaining to a twelve-year-old (or to a thirty-year-old) why the angle measure for an eighth of a circle—one slice of pizza—is Pi/8. Wait, I meant Pi/4. See what I mean? It’s madness—sheer, unadulterated madness.