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Comment: Re:Westinghouse too (Score 1) 206

by dj245 (#49188343) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Westinghouse's AP1000 is facing delays in China and the US causing huge cost overruns. http://chronicle.augusta.com/n...

To be fair, I have worked with some of these Westinghouse guys and they are fairly universally not up to the task of playing in this industry. I'm not surprised they have tripped over their own dicks.

Comment: Re:cutting corners (Score 1) 206

by dj245 (#49188295) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

The contract includes fines for delays, and the Finns (no pun intended) have now charged Billions worth of 'late fees' to Areva. Areva promised the moon and can't deliver. It would be great if public projects in the US would include the same sort of strong rules as what the Finns did here. No more overtime and over budget as the norm when building roads and bridges. A project being late would mean that tax payer money would increase instead of dwindling.

Most large utility contracts do have such clauses. They are called liquidated damages or "LDs". In new gas turbine , steam turbine, and wind turbine contracts, there are late fees for drawing and documentation, usually around $500-2,000 per day per document. Then there are late delivery LDs, which vary depending on the equipment but $50,000-100,000 per day for a gas or steam turbine isn't uncommon. Lastly, there are startup LDs, which are late fees for if the equipment isn't functionally complete and operating by a certain date. Startup LDs are a lot more of a headache because one vendor's delay often causes a delay with other vendors. Proving what is a "delay" and who caused it can be a major hassle. I'm glad I am not involved in this particular project because it sounds like a disaster.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 206

by dj245 (#49188251) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Right. Having the government cover all of your major liabilities, getting to write off massive debts, pass all of your cost overruns onto local consumers without them having a say in the manner, and so on, that's all "paying their own way", right? In nuclear power, the gains have always been privatized while the costs and risks socialized. And it's *still* been very difficult to find investors. Nuclear has always been more popular on K-Street than Wall Street.

Here's a paper going into the various massive ways nuclear has been subsidies. And they still can't bloody manage to stay afloat. It's one of the few industries with a negative growth curve - where technology gets more expensive with time, not cheaper.

The US government collects about $750 million in fees each year for nuclear waste disposal. Utilities have paid these fees for decades. The fund has 25 billion dollars in it. "Actions by both Congress and the Executive Branch have made the money in the fund effectively inaccessible to serving its original purpose." When it comes time to retire plants, utilities are forced to store the waste on their sites at their cost.

And consumers do have a choice in the matter. They are welcome to go off the grid. Electricity in the US is among the cheapest in the world, while also being one of the safest for workers and the environment. There is always room for improvement but electricity in Japan and Europe costs 2-4 times as much, and electricity production in poorer countries is often very unsafe for workers and the environment. The US does a fairly decent job at providing safe, reliable electricity at a low cost.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 206

by dj245 (#49188159) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

And i will say it again : nuclear power is prohibitively expensive.

And all the other ways of making electricity are prohibitively expensive too. In 2003, Calpine had a multi billion dollar lawsuit against Siemens and GE for a large number of gas turbines. GE and Siemens' F-series gas turbines were laughably defective at launch and the Siemens units, in particular, had a tendency to completely self-destruct under rather easy to achieve conditions.

Heavy industrial equipment is expensive. Fuel for power plants is expensive too. It just happens that the machines are so large and powerful that the cost is divided hundreds of thousands, or even millions of ways among all the customers.

Comment: Pity it is done in iD Tech 5 (Score 1) 53

by Sycraft-fu (#49186897) Attached to: New Wolfenstein Game Announced: The Old Blood

But other than that, wonderful. New Order was a fantastic game. Such a strong showing for a first game from a studio. It isn't often you can have a game that is good, silly fun where you do crazy shit like dual wield assault rifles, and yet still have a solid story that makes you care. Good mechanics, good levels, good story, good visuals, good setting, just well done all around.

Only thing I would ding it on is the engine choice. iD Tech 5 just isn't very good compared to Unreal Engine, Cryengine or Frostbite. Even on my system with a XP941 SSD I can get some texture pop-in when I move the camera fast and while the visuals are good from a distance, they break down close up. I understand the choice, Bethesda owns the engine so it makes sense to use it, but I can't help but think it would look more impressive in a better engine.

Comment: Re:I'm healthy... (Score 1) 127

by epine (#49186145) Attached to: Treadmill Performance Predicts Mortality

You're somewhat delusional if you believe this was pure fat loss. I regard it as a disservice to give people the impression that this kind of fat loss is either possible or healthy.

At the level of exercise required to sustain a caloric balance of -2700 calories per day over four months, the body would become severely protein challenged. Even converting fat to energy increases protein demand, as those organelles burn hard and wear out.

What happens with formerly fit individuals who then become obese is that these individuals actually have extremely large reserves of skeletal muscle (obese people tend to have extremely strong legs for practical reasons, it just doesn't seem like it as hefting their own body weight consumes most of their strength). As this kind of person goes into an endurance exercise program, he or she actually needs far less muscle mass than they have starting out.

If his story is true, I bet he lost a great deal of skeletal muscle mass in addition to a lot of fat. The muscle that remained would be extremely fit and efficient, but less strong.

A similarly obese person without the muscular reserve would be flirting with death in attempting to replicate these figures. If his story is even true. And if it is true, why did he quit and put all those pounds back on again? Could it be that his body figured out that the stress of the program was unreasonable to begin with?

Did he actually measure his body composition before and after, or did he just take a weight difference and presume that anyone who exercises that much couldn't possibly have shed any muscle mass?

I don't feel like digging up particulars I last read five years ago, but I distinctly do not recall having ever read anything credible which suggests this level of weight loss can be achieved on a pure fat-burning basis.

Comment: Re:Musashi (Score 1) 90

I'm curious what the narrative about the cradle of civilization is if the Romans hadn't gotten their shit together.

Who can say? Christianity is associated with Western civilization, for better or worse, and without Rome's political and military influence what happens to it? My guess is it never catches fire. A friend of mine in Israel is fond of joking that Monotheism is "his" and it was a historical mistake for the rest of us to get it.

A goodly portion of Anglosphere law and culture isn't traceable to Rome, so that might still emerge. Perhaps the Nordic region contributes more to Western civilization. It's impossible to predict the butterflies from the non-emergence of Christianity though. That's a really big deal, as much as it pains this agnostic pagan to say.... :)

Comment: Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 1) 259

by Shakrai (#49185909) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

es but your assertion about the presence of pilots being purely a damage limitation exercise is incorrect.

That wasn't my assertion. My assertion was simply that in spite of the ability of modern planes to fly themselves we still expect and demand a human to keep an eye on things, for a variety of reasons. Malfunction response but is one of them.

Personally, I don't wish to share my roadways with completely autonomous vehicles, particularly when I'm out walking or running on said roadways, without the benefit of airbags and crumble zones. It would be awesome if technology would advance to the point that human failures (I'm looking at you, asshole who texts while driving) could be mitigated. That's the really encouraging part of these technological advances, IMHO at least.

Comment: Re:Fascinating ship (Score 3, Informative) 90

They were never "obsolete", at least as the term is commonly used. During WW2 they were useful for all manner of things, from escort duty to shore bombardment, and the only reason you didn't see the envisioned clash of battleships in the Pacific is because Halsey blundered at Leyte Gulf and took the battleline with him in pursuit of Ozawa. If he had left Task Force 34 behind, as he should have, it would have been American battleships and cruisers clashing with the Center Force, rather than escort carriers and destroyers.

As it happened, the Allied battleships performed their envisioned missions with distinction, and even a single German battleship (Tirpitz) was taken seriously enough to tie down most of the Royal Navy's battleships until she was put out of action. It was actually pretty damned hard to sink a battleship with aircraft, even under favorable conditions, as evidenced by Tirpitz, Yamato, and Musashi. To my knowledge there was only one Allied battleship lost at sea to aircraft, HMS Prince of Wales. American battleships were damaged by aircraft at sea, but never sunk or even put out of action.

Comment: Re:no if strictly selfdriving (Score 2) 259

by Shakrai (#49185775) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

if you can't manualy control it do you really own it?

Oh Gawd, they'll be licensed like Windows:

"Car, please plot a course to Milwaukee and engage."

"I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that. Automotive Pro is limited to trips of 500 kilometers or less. Please enter your Automotive Ultimate license code."

Comment: Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 5, Insightful) 259

by Shakrai (#49185741) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

It should be down to the manufacturer to ensure safe, autonomous operation.

Thus guaranteeing that it never happens, at least in the litigious society known as the United States of America.

Aerospace is held to a far higher standard than automotive ever will be, with modern planes able to fly themselves from takeoff to landing, but we still expect qualified pilots to sit in the front seat and keep an eye on things. An autonomous automobile may well have more variables to contend with than an airliners autopilot. Children don't tend to dart out in front of airliners, the physics of air travel don't change drastically with weather conditions, and airplanes are built with more redundancy than automobiles.

Even if you can account for such things, how will your autonomous vehicle handle malfunctioning sensors? Aerospace has been working at this for decades and still hasn't figured it all out.

Breadth-first search is the bulldozer of science. -- Randy Goebel