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Comment: Meth cooks will love this technology.... (Score 1) 380

by Ellis D. Tripp (#47327867) Attached to: New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

Kinda puts the DEA behind the 8-ball when they have spent years and pissed away millions of tax dollars tightening regulations on anhydrous ammonia (used as a fertilizer), and now this comes along and promises to make the stuff available at every local gas station!

Comment: What? No mention of the SLAM or Project Pluto? (Score 3, Informative) 133

From the Stranger-than Strangelove dept:

Essentially a flying, unshielded nuclear reactor that flies around pissing out fission products, and crapping hydrogen warheads.

All to defend freedom and democracy,. of course...

Comment: The shuttle's failings were largely (Score 3, Insightful) 155

the fault of the USAF!

The USAF demanded the ability to launch, retrieve/deploy a payload, and return to earth in a single orbit. They also wanted the ability to get into a polar orbit, which required a huge cross-range capability not in the original design.

After forcing all this crap into the design (and sinking billions on a shuttle launch/landing facility at Vandenberg AFB), they gave up on the project entirely, leaving NASA stuck with a vehicle that was no longer optimized for what NASA wanted to do with it.

Comment: Re:remote doesn't equal secure (Score 3, Insightful) 213

by Ellis D. Tripp (#47074399) Attached to: Dump World's Nuclear Waste In Australia, Says Ex-PM Hawke

Also keep in mind, the size of the seismic activity needed to harm the facility in any way would have to be so large that any hazardous waste leak that resulted from it would be more of an afterthought compared to the destruction from the quake itself.

Destruction of what? The whole idea is to site a nuclear waste dump in the middle of nowhere. What would a local earthquake damage? Some mountains in the middle of a remote desert?

Possible leakage of stored waste would seem to be far more of a potential problem than toppling cactus and shifting rocks around.

Comment: That was a key plot point of the 1st season... (Score 3, Informative) 118

Once Walt and Jesse moved beyond making a few ounces at a time, they couldn't get enough OTC pseudoephedrine pills through their small network of "smurfs".

They had already committed to providing 4 pounds of product to a rather psychotic distributor, so Walt decided to use a different synthetic route (P2P from phenylacetic acid via high temperature catalyst, then reductive amination with methylamine and aluminum amalgam), rather than the standard pseudoephedrine reduction using red phosphorus and iodine that they started out with.

Comment: Blue color was a plot device.... (Score 5, Interesting) 118

It was necessary to have Walt's product be immediately distinguishable from everything else on the street. Otherwise, the DEA would need to run samples of every batch seized through the lab to check purity etc. to determine if a given product was cooked by "Heisenberg". While this might have been interesting to the science geeks here on /., it would have been boring to the average viewer.

I have a feeling that pinning the blue color on the P2P cook process was done by the writers before they had a scientific adviser onboard. By then, it was too late, and they were stuck with it.

The big scientific screwup on the show is exactly how Walt was managing to get nearly 100% purity from a process that in real life would result in 50% purity at best. Unlike starting from pseudoephedrine, the P2P process results in a racemic mixture of 2 different stereoisomers of methamphetamine, only one of which has any recreational value.

This bit of chemical magic could have been passed off as Walt's "secret process", but on the show both Gale and Declan's crew were also shown creating meth at significantly better than 50% purity using the P2P route, without benefit of Walt's knowledge.

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.