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Comment: underestimates... (Score 2) 372 372

Underestimating time needed happens all the time in the software industry. It probably is worse in the gaming industry where publishing deadlines often get set 6 months or more in advance, but I still get hit with guaranteed release dates for customer commitments at my job now where I've put in ~100 hour weeks to fulfill (telecommuting many of these probably saved my marriage, as I would work 4 hours after my wife went to bed). Still, it is nothing like the 160 hour weeks in the office for a game release crunch (and no, that isn't all work - I slept on beanbag chairs in the testing room and they catered in meals, but at some point you're just so burned out and stinking of feet that you need a night sleeping at home and a long shower).

I can't think of any instance where I've cost a project, but I'm sure they exist. OTOH, I did have a workaround for a $5 million dollar contract where the customer was going to reject our Linux port due to a bug I found and reported. The developer and pubs person assigned the defect were laid off after 9/11 so the defect slipped through to the customer. Fortunately, I overheard a sales person talking about it and supplied the workaround, saving the contract.

Comment: Re:Profit over safety (Score 1) 127 127

Fukushima had generators that were floodable and a sea wall that was too low. Neither of those would be allowed for US plants (the generator issue was called out in the US and corrected years ago). The plant ran on battery backup for a day, but then was powerless. If they hadn't lost power, there would have been no meltdown.

I don't know about Besse (in fact, first I've heard his name), but at least the NRC has some teeth. I still think the nuclear lobby influences them, though. Vastly better than the AEC, however, where they had the dual job of promoting and regulating nuclear power, which created a conflict of interest.

Comment: Re:Antropologist (Score 1) 127 127

And the article then didn't have a single thing about nuclear accidents. It was about some protesters they broke into an enriched uranium storage facility's grounds. Had these been highly skilled terrorists, they'd need to break into the actual facility, kill or disable the guards, steal the uranium and escape before reinforcements showed up... and then would have to assemble a bomb with it. A dirty bomb with uranium would be a waste of time, as you'd do vastly more damage with conventional explosives - with a dirty bomb you want a fast alpha emitter like polonium that gets breathed in or eaten or a fast decaying gamma emitter (almost certainly too dangerous to handle without special equipment) if you want to do any damage at all with the radioactive part of it, so we're talking about a real nuclear weapon. That means either smuggling the uranium out of the country and assembling the bomb and then getting it somewhere for detonation or attempting to secretly manufacture and detonate it in the country with every authority in the country looking for you. Oh, and the uranium you stole needs to be enriched enough to be used in weapons. If you got the wrong stuff, it may only be useful for power plants.

I don't know about you, but IMO we're hitting impossibly unrealistic scenarios.

Comment: Re:Cell phone uses IPv6 (Score 1) 297 297

The addresses are longer, so there will be a bit of a hit because of that, but I suspect the routing table for IPv6 between you and that site has fewer nodes and those nodes are overloaded. Either that or the government is weighting certain nodes to route your data to specific places like England and back so they can vacuum it all up and use it for domestic spying. That would be the paranoid option, as they definitely wouldn't do something like that. Or would they?

Comment: Re: It's the end of the world as we know it! (Score 1) 297 297

I live in a moderately large city and a densely packed suburb, but have had that problem for years, but only because I refuse to do business with Comcast. The providers outside of Comcast seem disinterested in updating any hardware in the neighborhood because we lack businesses. Comcast, OTOH, has rolled out new services to my neighborhood first, exactly because we are densely packed and they care less about business services than selling TV package bundles (internet is secondary, businesses are a bonus, but not a big TV draw). CenturyLink has added service to the north, south, and west of me almost certainly because they are densely packed with businesses.

That said, Comcast's TV packages were too spendy for my tastes, and that caused me to go down the rabbit hole of not bundling with them, and then they charged me $10 a month for not doing that, and then that makes CenturyLink cheaper for internet, and so on. I honestly think it should be illegal to bundle your own products at a discount. It is anti-competitive to undercut competition only through bundling your own products, and especially when the competition doesn't offer the same range of products because you're a regulated monopoly (i.e. nobody else can run cable lines by law - they have a monopoly on this).

Comment: Re:It's the end of the world as we know it! (Score 1) 297 297

Now someone convince my ISP to upgrade their damn hardware already (PPPoE that only supports IPv4). My machines and domain were configured to support IPv6 for a decade-and-a-half now, but only one ISP supported it. Had to drop that line (run by COVAD) due to the expense and not needing 99.9% uptime requirements (because I stopped running a business on it - it now runs my hobby site).

Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 1) 308 308

The price of solar and wind construction is finally starting to get to parity with other energy forms and you tack on the expense and replacement cost of batteries, and probably patented designs that manufacturers will charge a fortune to use...

Your "2-5 years" is now pessimistically 22-25 years.

I'd put my money on mechanical storage in the short term (vacuum sealed flywheel). It is more lossy than battery storage, but for short term is cheap, gives on-demand energy, and well out of patent (though more efficient designs may be patented).

Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 1) 308 308

Last I heard, the exact opposite was happening - manufacturers like Honda stopped making the Civic hybrid and were cutting back on Accord due to customers buying cheaper fossil fuel only models due to dropping prices of fossil fuels.

Comment: Re:We have more than nukes. (Score 1) 308 308

One small problem there - wind turbines depend on rare earth elements for the motor used and China has a monopoly on them (95% of the mining). To get them, China requires manufacturing to be done in China. Sure the turbine blades and tower are built in other countries, but the motor is not. China leverages its monopoly to get manufacturing done there.

Yes the US has plenty of reserves of rare earth elements, but the NRC doesn't allow the US to just ditch thorium by the roadside like they can in China, making mining extremely expensive.

Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 1) 308 308

Zero emission coal will happen when hell freezes over. Between the cost of carbon capture and storage and the 33% efficiency loss, no profit minded corporation would ever do it on their own. Maybe if they get approval to double utility prices AND the government forces them to do it, but I don't see the former happening anytime soon (Obama has pushed for the latter, but I don't think the Republicans will let it happen - he'll have to Executive Order it).

Comment: Re:Nuclear? (Score 1, Insightful) 308 308

We know how to build reactors that burn nearly all nuclear waste but Democrats killed that program because they were too ignorant to understand that the design required passive safety and even succeeded in testing a worse-than-Fukushima scenario The ONLY valid concern they had was proliferation risk, and as the Russians have proven at Beloyarsk, a once through design without reprocessing still burns 70% of the fuel (you can then reprocess it at a secure site), MUCH higher than the 5% at best for current reactors and typically .7-1%. Integral Fast Reactors cost quite a bit more to build, but you more than make up for that with fuel efficiency.

There also has been renewed interest in stuff like LFTR and the like (I'm more a fan of Terrestrial's Uranium version - single fluid 30 year run before recycling - this was also proposed for the MSRE). The anti-nuclear people complain that leaves long lived actinides, but you can separate these and add them back into the fuel for the next 30 year run. The anti-nuclear folk then complain that you still have some highly radioactive fission materials, and I say yeah - and the worst of them decay to background radiation levels in 300 years, not millions. I'm also very curious about the skunk-works version of fusion. Tokamak design was never realistic and far too expensive.

Comment: Re:Aftermath (Score 1) 546 546

You have to wonder, then, what will happen in the United States a few years down the line when the many social programs implode. Digging out of it seems impossible given that unfunded liabilities are, as of this writing, over $818000 per taxpayer (see bottom line) and that is an optimistic number (pessimistic numbers more than double that). Food-wise, with cuts to Social Security, I expect we'll have senior riots - old and slow and easy to machine gun down, but who knows what kinds of people the failure of the health programs will bring. Since I will be approaching being a senior around that time, I've been hedging against expecting anything from the government and likely will move out of the country before then (my wife wants to retire to Ecuador, I'd prefer Europe, as my German is far better than my Spanish).

Comment: Re:Two questions need to be asked (Score 1) 546 546

While mainly attributed to Franklin, that quote and similar ones were used widely before and during the Revolutionary War. He also apparently said it in different forms at different times. The stairwell plaque in the Statue of Liberty says "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." and attributes it to him. Even Franklin apparently used it with different contexts at different times.

The context of the letter to the governor in 1755 specifically refers to weapons for frontiersmen, which were difficult to procure for non-military personnel (most likely out of fear of a revolution, which was still 20 years away):

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Such as were inclined to defend themselves, but unable to purchase Arms and Ammunition, have, as we are informed, been supplied with both, as far as Arms could be procured, out of Monies given by the last Assembly for the King’s Use; and the large Supply of Money offered by this Bill, might enable the Governor to do every Thing else that should be judged necessary for their farther Security, if he shall think fit to accept it.

We were so poor that we thought new clothes meant someone had died.