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Comment Re:Why you need profits to motivate innovation (Score 1) 185

And Apple stuff basically works. Like the trackpad. Come on world, is Apple the only company that can make a really good trackpad? You'd think so. I'm typing on a 5 year old MacBook Pro 17" with a great trackpad and bulletproof construction. It's been over much of country, part of the planet and the only thing that's gone south is the video, which Apple fixed for free - out of the warranty period.

Yes, in a lot of ways it's a bog standard Intel box, but some of the smooth edges (and not just the rounded corners) and good system integration just really hasn't been duplicated by anybody else. My 2014 Dell XPS 13 is a nice machine, but Windows is still clunkier than OS X and the fucking trackpad is a POS. The keyboard is only a bit better. Why can't Dell fix those two rather important little bits? Beats me, but they haven't.

Comment Re:old fashined Cold War Nuclear Bunker Remedy? (Score 5, Informative) 117

Once it was a standard Item to Equip in your cool backyard or basement buried shelter medical kit.
Iodine Tablets that protect the thyroid form radiation?
They knew this in the 50's why aren't the children receiving this now as a precaution? Or is it now considered unsafe?

They thought about it.

Dr. Yamashita, former Director of Fukushima Health Mangagement Suryey and a leading figure of thyroid cancer study in the world, has been actively involved in thyroid cancer research in Chernobyl for over 20 years since 1991. Dr. Yamashita was a radiation risk advisor for Fukushima prefecture at the time of the nuclear accident. Despite his experiences in Chernobyl, he assured that distributing iodine tablets to residents in Fukushima, even in the evacuation zones, was unnecessary. However, the distribution of iodine tablets had been discussed within Fukushima Medical University (FMU), especially during the first 1 week after the accident.

But because no permission was given by the national government and the prefecture, the plan was never carried out. .

Surprisingly, there was a group of people who took the iodine tablets under the circumstances. They were doctors, nurses, administrative stuff and their children/relatives, and the students of Fukushima Medical University.

Comment Re:So... (Score 3, Insightful) 117

Are the usual pro-nuke ppl. here going to trumpet the same old "no injuries from Fukushima" line, over and over again?

Probably, but nobody except other wackjobs believes them. The more interesting but infinitely harder to address question is whether or not nuclear power, with all it's warts (Chernobyl, Hanford, Fukishima, bog-knows-what-all-is-left-in-Russia) is more or less dangerous than fossil fuels in general.

My best guess is that it's considerably safer since the data on coal looks pretty bad.

The only real problem for nuclear is that it's too damned expensive compared to fossil fuels and now even solar and wind. It's a horribly complex technology that it's adherents fucked up badly by not carefully and consistently holding to the highest of engineering standards (like naval reactors). They cheaped out and they are paying the price.

Comment Re:Survey bias (Score 5, Informative) 117

It's called population based screens. We have studied thyroid cancer for decades for obvious reasons. It's actually one of the easier things to (eventually) diagnose. We know what the baseline should be, the studies are getting higher than baseline levels.

The one criticism from TFA

Scott Davis, professor at the Department of Epidemiology in the Seattle-based School of Public Health, said the key limitation of Tsuda's study is the lack of individual-level data to estimate actual radiation doses.

Which apparently is true but does not invalidate the population based frequency data:

David J. Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center, took a different view. While he agreed individual estimates on radiation doses are needed, he said in a telephone interview that the higher thyroid cancer rate in Fukushima is "not due to screening. It's real."

It is something that should eventually be pretty clear, the issue now is to get as many cancers diagnosed when it's "easy" to treat.

Now, does anyone actually believe what TEPCO says about how much radioactive material went airborne? I certainly don't. They haven't said anything truthful since the disaster occurred unless they have had to backtrack after somebody else called them on it.

Comment Re:Setting a dangerous precedent (Score 2) 228

I suppose you've read up on the history and rationale behind Class B airspace? No? You should.

TL;DR - planes don't always go where they planned to go. Emergencies crop up. During said emergencies, the pilots are busy with the emergency and not terribly interested in looking for random balloons, Cessnas, drones and other rif raf. Radars tend to work best if they have a clear sweep of the sky. Five miles at several hundred miles per hour is a very short time frame.

And other important technical issues.

It's not because some power mad bureaucrat wants to make your libertine life harder.

Comment Re:Were you endangered? (Score 1) 228

The FAA may really have to change how it does Class B airspace. Right now it's 'to the ground' because it's easy and there really wasn't any reason not to do that. They may have to carve out low altitude corridors for drones only.

Of course, that effort just might be in a race with the heat death of the Universe, but it's a good idea.

Comment Re:Were you endangered? (Score 1) 228

New York is where both engines of USAir flight were hit by soft bodied geese weighing less than 20 pounds each and forced the plane to crash land in the Hudson river. The drones have hard metal parts and hard plastic. They would do far more damage to the plane.

No, a drone would probably not damage a plane in the manner of the 'Miracle on the Hudson'. Even if a drone took out a single engine, all planes and pilots are certified to fly on the remaining powerplant. The problem is that the US Air plane ran into a flock of geese which took out both engines simultaneously. At least so far, drones have not been flocking (that would be scary.

I do think that one answer to this is to develop small, low power transponders that will fit on a drone. Should be possible and then should be absolutely required for any drone over a certain size. If you can see them, you can avoid them. If they are serialized then you can go after the miscreant without a whole lot of fuss and bother.

Although a little heavy handed, you could rig a system where larger drones won't fly unless they have the transponder and the transponder is registered. Yeah, somebody would hack around it but most people wouldn't care and in fact you could use the transponder to find the thing.

Comment Re:Yeah, that's sound about right (Score 1) 228

You do realize the stupidity of your argument, though, don't you? The flights of wild geese cannot be controlled or regulated easily, but the flights of humanly operated aircraft can. Secondly, I can see no reason why people should be allowed to operate drones unless they at least have a VFR pilot license. Last but not least, you would change your opinion quickly if your wife and children all died in the plane crash caused by a drone. And there is really no reason to wait for it to happen.

I can see lots of reasons a drone operator would not need a pilots license. I have a little Hubsan X4 - it is six inches long and weighs about 100 grams. No real time camera. It's small enough that you lose visual contact with it at about 200 feet. Flight time is 5 minutes.

You don't need a private pilots license for this one. Maybe a brief class like a hunter's safety class to bring the idiots up to some sort of speed, but not something that takes thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to acquire. Way overkill.

Now, a drone operating in aircraft space - yes, I can imagine a much more rigorous licensing approach. But 'drone' is a very, very broad concept.

Comment Re:And they say we have nothing to worry about (Score 2) 131

Bacteria as a bioweapon probably won't ever work to wipe out populations. You certainly could wreck havoc in clusters of humans with poor infrastructure (refuge camps, slums, Trenton, New Jersey) but even without antibiotics we know enough to slow down the transmission to prevent mass catastrophe. Yes, it would be a good 'terror weapon' since at least the US population seems to be scared of it's own shadow much less any real boogy man (cf, the Ebola scare) but as far as a tactical weapon it has a lot of drawbacks.

Comment Re:Semantics (Score 1) 131

You do not know what the word "virulent" means.

Well, he's trying - from the OED:

Syllabification: virulent
Pronunciation: /vir(y)lnt/


Late Middle English (originally describing a poisoned wound): from Latin virulentus, from virus 'poison' (see virus).

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.