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Comment: What old technology can't I give up? (Score 1) 635

by Hartree (#47789117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

Cooked food.

That's a very old technology that I just can't seem to give up.

Steak tartare just doesn't sit well with my tummy, and a glass full of raw eggs for breakfast is right out, regardless of what Rocky thought.

And don't even get me started about raw potatos.

(Clue: Technology is not just electronics.)

Comment: Re:Memory Troubles: (Score 1) 582

by Hartree (#47558887) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

In response to shelling from South Ossetia which you somehow don't think of as a violation (of an agreement that only Russia recognized). The history behind that war is long, and each side can come up with justifications.

By your logic, the current war in Gaza wouldn't be considered aggressive because Israel was responding to rocket fire.

It's all aggressive. Your logic seems to be "My guys are good, so they are beyond criticism." Horse hockey.

Comment: Re:Memory Troubles: (Score 1) 582

by Hartree (#47547515) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Sounds like you don't just have memory troubles, but factual troubles as well.

Russia is indeed a major player in BRICS, but the Chinese economy is fully 4 times as large. Even Brazil's GDP is greater.

Now, how a dust up in the Ukraine will sink an economic union that the rest of outweighs Russia by 6 to 1 in GDP is beyond me. The Brazillians, Chinese, and Indians are not being heavily impacted by this.

Start learning some history. This is about the fact on the ground that it's extremely difficult to defend Western Russia without having at least a neutral Ukraine. It's just not far enough from Europe to Moscow. The military in Russia has a long memory, and it includes Napoleon and Nazi Germany invading. The Russian high command knows that the defense in depth and the long cold winter retreat in both cases was what let them win. Without the Ukraine they get very nervous.

This conspiracy theory that it's all to undermine BRICS at the behest of the Rothschilds or some other bogeyman/illuminati is laughable.

Comment: Re:The failure mode is transformer core saturation (Score 2) 91

by Hartree (#47536957) Attached to: The Truth About Solar Storms

Or, the grid operators could monitor space weather information. (Which they do.)

We have multiple satellite systems (ACE, SOHO, STEREO, etc.) that can detect CMEs nearly as soon as they happen. The travel time to earth, even for the Carrington Event was 18 hours.

With an even shorter warning, you can do a lot to minimize damage.

In that time, you can declare nationwide power emergencies, shed load and shut down vulnerable systems.

Yes, it's ugly and takes time to come back up, but it's a lot better than zapping the whole long distance transmission system.

Much of the really critical infrastructure can disconnect and run on internal generators.

Are there places that will get caught by it? Sure. Will it be a major pain in the kiester? Of course. But it'll hardly be the "Collapse of Civilization"(tm).

Comment: Re:Really now (Score 1) 145


This is something near and dear to my heart as much of my job is rescuing and refurbing older instruments and lab gear. For an established professor with big grants it's not so big a deal. They can afford to buy the latest and greatest.

For our new professors who are just setting up their labs, reusing older gear can make a huge difference. That's research and grad students they might not have been able to fund otherwise.

I want more people working on the world's problems across the globe rather than just having some select few coming to tech centers in the west and leaving their countries behind.

Here in the US, we're good at coming up with solutions that work in our economy and society. Often, they aren't practical in other parts of the world. Having the research going in those areas tends to lead to solutions that work in those places.

Comment: Not a factor: (Score 1) 145

That's a complete failure of energy usage understanding.

The power use for one supercomputer is nothing compared to that used for even a small oil refinery, or steel mill (which all of those countries have).

When you have massive data centers like Google or the like, power cost becomes a big factor. This is only 40 racks total plus a high speed switch.

Any of those countries can easily afford the power for 40 racks of even pretty inefficient computer gear.

Comment: Re:Really now (Score 3, Informative) 145

Horse hockey.

South Africa (one of the destinations) is the tech hub of southern Africa and has long been highly competitive with Europe and the Americas in research and industry.

Supercomputers can be used for all sorts of problem solving and are part of the basic modern scientific infrastructure. You don't have to have the utter best and fastest to still be very useful.

To keep at the cutting edge you have to get ever faster systems. But most day to day research work doesn't need that much horsepower. (full disclosure: I work for the chemistry department at a major US university. I'm in the same group that supports research computation, though I do lab instrument repair)

How do you propose to train and keep researchers to solve the problems of those countries if there are no facilities?

Are you saying that they should shut down everything in their research centers and universities until every problem is solved? That's like locking the toolbox until the car is fixed. Doesn't make much sense does it?

That's like saying you should shut down US universities and research labs until we take care of the many civil problems we still face (poverty and crime ridden areas, for example)

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford