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Comment Re: Don't pirate software (Score 2) 94

I've heard the "if you use X GPL software, all the things you produce are open source as well!!!!" ie for GIMP, your pictures would be OSS, etc.

Such FUD bullshit but people don't seem to want to check the facts or get a real opinion.

We had an in-house "FOSS Briefing" paper structured like an interview. It was so, so full of errors it wasn't true.

Comment Re:Coming soon in Windows 11 (Score 1) 92

Oh, believe me, I was deeply uncomfortable about the whole thing. I think I even reported it to the IT department as a security problem (the certs they were using were self-signed and not even remotely plausible as belonging to our organization at face value - I thought it was a rootkit). I made a point of telling everyone I liked not to do anything even remotely compromising on their work machine.

I've since left that workplace and control my own infrastructure.

I think it was the routine analysis of all our VoIP calls in a voice-processing SIGINT program that really creeped me out though. I only twigged to that one because we used to get the IT dept changelogs for operational reasons) and they were talking about moving it's storage folder to a different SAN.

Comment Re:Coming soon in Windows 11 (Score 5, Interesting) 92

No chance.

This "install your own root CA" trick is being used widely in corporate environments to allow proxies to snoop your HTTPS connections ; caused no end of trouble with clients using independent Firefox installs (Chrome uses the system certificate store, Firefox has it's own) navigating to our pages (with properly signed certificates) and being told they were a security risk.

We also had something that directed traffic while we were out of the corporate network through a third-party proxy that used the same trick (Websense).

Comment Re:Cue the flood... (Score 2) 193

There are commercial drivers for battery and renewable research though - there are existing industries that will benefit, and clear advantages. Batteries and renewables are technologies in use NOW and the commercial sector excels at improving existing tech.

What it sucks at is basic research. We need more money for fusion, not less, and spread across multiple projects. Really, I wish they'd declare war on the energy crisis and have a Manhattan Project for fusion, alas, there's a more obvious target, and that's annexing what remaining fossil fuel reserves we have, and the money will probably be poured into that instead. $2T dollars for the Iraq war : total all time USA fusion research funding, adjusted for inflation, less than $30B.

Comment Re:Too Big To Fail (Score 1) 193

But the pulsed methods all face commercialization challenges on achieving rapid firing rates

You're not joking. You'd need 10 shots a second ; I liken it to developing the worlds most accurate and reliable machine gun, firing the worlds most expensive cryogenically cooled ammunition (while gold-plated uranium bullets are pretty expensive, the real kicker is the tritium, $30,000 a gram), into the heart of a machine that somehow combines a laser array several orders of magnitude more efficient than anything else we've ever developed AND the heat exchangers required to get the energy out somehow without anything getting in the way of the other stuff. NIF is a weapons research programme : the "energy" agenda is just a way to get it some extra support.

Yes, Lerner is a bit kooky. Kekule dreamed of snakes biting each others tails and discovered the molecular structure of benzene. If a working fusion reactor design comes from a weird and controversial idea about the origin of the universe, I'm fine with that. I hold out as much hope for the focus fusor as I do for ITER - ie, not a lot, but there is something there ; they get neutrons, and the size of their device means they can strip it down and refine it every few months, whereas ITER does not live up to it's name - a single prototype that takes 15 years is not "ITERative". At the very least they are learning stuff about plasma physics and doing it on a relative shoestring of a budget. If their reactor design can be realized as described, it's *very* elegant, doesn't require all those problems with tritium breeding solved, doesn't require a vast turbine array to make useful. It's a long shot but an attractive prize.

I think we'd both agree that for one of the most important challenges facing the human race, the total budget, manpower, and number of projects going on is pitiful.

Comment Re:But do we still need fusion? (Score 2) 193

fusion has the potential to provide more energy than harvestable insolation

Yeah, but we don't use anything like the amount of harvestable insolation ; the effect from reduced greenhouse gas emissions is likely to be more significant than the increased thermal emissions. If we're replacing existing energy consumption with fusion, the heat emissions shouldn't change. If we expand our energy usage, we can also look at methods of sequestering carbon or other forms of geoengineering.

Comment Too Big To Fail (Score 1) 193

I really hope one of the other fusion projects succeeds before then. The earlier we get it, the better.

Lockheed claim they might have a prototype by 2019 and a commercial unit by 2024.

Then you have the likes of the Focus Fusion thing, shooting for the big prize, proton-boron fusion (less neutrons, no need to breed tritium, efficient solid-state energy conversion), that has made more progress (in terms of particle energy * confinement time) in the last 5 years on a few million bucks than ITER has in 8 with billions.

Both approaches are a lot smaller than the aircraft-carrier sized reactor (no, not sized for an aircraft carrier, as big as an aircraft carrier) that tokamak designs predict will be useful ; a bunch of small, municipal reactors the size of shipping containers will make for a more robust, more democratic, less monopolistic and corrupt energy generation system.

In 1750 Issac Newton became discouraged when he fell up a flight of stairs.