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Comment Re:I don't come to slashdot for these stories (Score 1) 411

you're assuming that more people would fly if the scanners weren't there. that is not an assumption i think you should make.

i don't mind the scanners, and i fly just fine. knowing that they have confiscated weapons of all kinds, and the body scanners, and x-ray machines have contributed to that, makes me less worried about flying.

and in an ideal world, it would be

'millions for research not one red cent for defense'

but we don't live in that world

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid (Score 2) 110

By what standard?

The usual, mean time between expected accidents, radiation releases, etc... We're talking about an order of magnitude or two longer times.

By some ironic quirk TMI *is* one of the safest designs because it was designed to be resistant to aircraft impacts

Actually, it wasn't. It's just a quirk that a giant concrete pressure dome like what the USA and the rest of the sane world puts around nuclear reactors happens to sneer at plane impacts.

Coal and Nuclear are as bad as each other but for different reasons. Nuclear kills people for subsequent decades as the radioactive effluents make their way through our water and food supply, it also reduces the birth rate because pregnancies fail to come to full term. The key thing is it happens very slowly and the majority of effects are still years away as opposed to coal whose effects are almost instantaneous in comparison.

"radioactive effluents"? You do realize that nuclear reactors don't release any radioactivity under normal operating conditions? Major releases are on the order of once a decade or more, and that's with our aging GenII reactors, world wide. GenIII would be a lot safer.

Also, citation on the birth rates. Citation on "majority of effects" being still years away - if anything we should be recovering from the effects of post WWII above ground nuclear bomb tests.

From my understanding of this technology it's spent fuel product is 233 Thallium, IIRC, which is characterized by many daughter products with short half lives. I'm not saying it isn't better reactor technology however it would seem the central issue of current reactor technology, the long term storage of spent fuel products, is an issue for thorium reactor technology as well.

Question, do you know what "short half lives" amounts to? It means that the material in question is much more radioactive - but that means it also decays in radioactivity much faster. Something with a half-life of 10 days will be virtually entirely gone within a year. Something with a half-life in the decades will still be churning a century from now, but it's initially safer to be around.(Safer being a relative quality).

Until we have effective, geologically stable and appropriate spent fuel containment facilities then we will always have higher levels of risk with greater levels of impact as a result of accidents in the nuclear industry. For that reason it's important to reduce that level of risk and impact to the community regardless of what reactor technology is deployed.

Above ground caskets are working well. I figure that we'd be digging up anything we bury within a century to reprocess it anyways. Heck, let it sit in a cask for 40 years and so much of the 'hot' stuff has decayed that it should make reprocessing significantly cheaper.

Comment post-liability not always sufficient (Score 3, Insightful) 84

By the time 3-eyed babies appear, the perps or their trail may be long gone.

Indeed, this is why I support some regulation despite my libertarian tendencies. It's entirely too easy to cause far more damage than you could every repay in seeking what amounts to a 'modest' profit. By the time it could be handled in a post-liability fashion, the person is already dead or broke. Leaving potentially thousands or even millions of people injured without the ability to seek redress.

As such, stopping them sooner rather than later is a 'once of prevention is worth a pound of cure' move.

Comment Nut filter. (Score 1) 289

Anything popular is going to attract all manner of crazy from the general public.

Doesn't even have to be all that popular. Just be glad that we have professionals at the FCC listening to these nuts, and I figure the nuts probably write the FCC quite often, rather than us having to listen to them.

Comment Parts fail, it needs to be planned for. (Score 1) 84

Sensor manufacturers, for instance, may be untruthful about their abilities or, more likely, reliability. While the integrators will be inherently distrustful, as they will take the liability, one can see smaller vendors telling lies if they see it as the only way to get a big sale for their business."

I like how he pretty much answers his own question. Car manufacturers aren't going to give those making parts for them an inch. They'll test everything, like they're used to doing. Now, a defective lot of parts getting through is a known hazard. But ideally speaking, self driving cars will be made with the same redundancies as planes - IE one failed part isn't enough to cause a hazardous condition.

More likely, VW's shenanigans are likely to cause governments to require more independent testing before approval.

Comment Fukushima factoid (Score 3, Insightful) 110

While Fukushima was the latest accident, I always like to point out that the Fukushima plant is actually older than TMI, by at least by a few months, depending on how you measure it - do you start the time when construction started, or when criticality was first achieved?

Modern, actual modern nuclear plants would be far safer.

And yes, Coal power kills more people any given day than Nuclear does all decade.

I'd really like to see a high-efficiency high temperature molten salt thorium reactor deployed.

Comment Re:I don't come to slashdot for these stories (Score 1) 411

... even the people that are against the damn scanners aren't making the claim that they contribute even minutely to cancer risk; and the tsa agent probably has a bigger gripe then the passengers on that count.

the second intifada, you want to talk about the kind of stuff that goes on when islam gets real crazy on you?

you're talking about people afraid to take a bus or go to market because they don't feel like dying that day. you're talking about a chilling effect. the airlines lost 30% traffic immediately following 9/11.

you extend that to every aspect of the US economy and see what happens. Soccer mom, afraid to shop, soccer mom, afraid to ride the buss, soccer mom afraid to go out to eat, soccer mom afraid to see a movie.

It means something to have an airline industry to come back to. And the downstream effects of lost tourism, business, etc.

Comment Re:Anti-GMO does not equal anti-science. (Score 1) 277

What if it's a good product? I don't mean "good" as in "high quality" here, but as in "worthwhile", "makes the world a better place", that kind of thing?

I mean, if an evil company (presupposing Monsanto is/was evil, I guess that Agent Orange thing would be an example, though they were one of many, probably thought they were saving lives by shortening the war, and is that division still part of Monsanto?) suddenly decides it's going to save orphans, cure cancer, and solve (or at least do something to help solve) world hunger, do we really say "Nah, you suck", or "Yes, keep doing that, maybe concentrate on that kind of thing, and less on the Eating Puppies and Using Laser Weapons to Threaten The UN Building, type stuff".

In this case, no, Monsanto isn't saving orphans or curing cancer... but it is doing something significant on the road to helping end world hunger.

That's... good, right?

Comment Re:This is not about science. It's about dependenc (Score 1) 277

I'm struggling to figure out how Monsanto can create a dependency upon something that's self-replicating and for which any legal restrictions they try to impose can only last 20 years. Also how "20 years" constitutes an "indefinite monopoly".

Round-up doesn't have patent protection any more. And Round-up ready seeds won't have for much longer.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.