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Comment If you think that is bad, check out this other one (Score 2) 59

There is an article over at New Scientist where they power devices with a hardware-modified router that delivers an extra 20 Watts on an unused channel. They claim to get around the FCC's 1 Watt limit by transmitting only a carrier wave.

Is that really how the regulation works? If I don't put any information in the signal, I can use all of the power that I want?

According to the article referred to by this Slash Dot story, the received power is on the order of microwatts, while the camera requires milliwatts. Because of this, you need to wait many minutes between camera frames.

I think that if we are going to broadcast noise for the purpose of powering gadgets, we should dedicate some unused spectrum for this and not interfere with existing signals.

On another subject, I used to live within sight of a 50,000 Watt AM radio station. The signal used to get into the band's amplifiers. I bet that you could power a lot of gadgets from that monster.

Comment These aren't the droids you're looking for (Score 2) 376

They aren't even weapons at this point. (You know, the "W" in "WMD")

They are toxic waste.

Saddam had ammo dumps everywhere. Saddam wasn't a big fan of maintenance and upkeep, so you are going to find a lot of old, dangerous junk in these places.

The NY Times article suggests that the Pentagon did not crow about these finds precisely because they were pre-1991 junk and not the WMDs that we were promised. The press would have laughed at them. As to keeping the number of injured servicemen secret, that is the default behavior of the Pentagon going back to Agent Orange in Viet Nam. I have heard rumors that the Pentagon is keeping the number of servicemen injured by depleted uranium secret, also.

I believe that the Pentagon actually thought that Saddam had an active chemical weapons program going on when we invaded Iraq. A modern army such as the U.S. army has little to fear from chemical weapons. What they didn't know was that Saddam had given up making chemical munitions when Clinton bombed all the chemical plants.

AC above is totally wrong. Saddam was cooperating fully with the inspectors when we attacked him. He was begging us to inspect whatever we wanted. There were UN inspectors on the ground when George W. Bush told them to get out because he wanted to start bombing.

Comment You have to run the pumps when you have no steam (Score 1) 1148

You run the pumps before the reactor starts up and after it shuts down. You use the electricity from one of your other nuclear reactors to do this. Electrical power is easier to pass around than steam power.

If you are thinking about running a steam turbine on primary reactor coolant remember that it is highly radioactive.

Comment How hard could it be to prevent a hydrogen fire? (Score 1) 1148

Inject some halon or something. Or use big fans to disperse the gas.

The first day of the accident, when they were running on batteries, they should have got another generator in there and hooked it up. It's a week later and they are just now doing that. Now they have to dig through rubble and endure massive doses of radiation.

Putting the electrical switching equipment below sea level in a tsunami prone area was pretty stupid, too.

There should be a regulation to have a backup generator 50 miles away that can be air dropped into the reactor site. There should be connections already in place for hooking it up.


Submission + - Is there a silver bullet for reactor meltdowns? 1

Aku Head writes: In the context of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, what if you could cover the overheating nuclear fuel with liquid aluminum? Aluminum is a good conductor of heat so that you could spray the aluminum with sea water to avoid melting. Would this solve the problems of decay heat and hydrogen generation? What if you alloyed the aluminum with neutron poisons such as hafnium or cadmium? Any other suggestions of something that you could cover the nuclear plant with to mitigate the problem?

Building translators is good clean fun. -- T. Cheatham