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Comment Re:Current research in cold fusion (Score 1) 165

Sounds interesting. Do they have any estimate of the maximum rate of fusion? I can well imagine cold fusion being a reality that happens, but never produces enough energy to bother with.

And, of course, any limits they estimated at this time would be subject to improvement..

Not having a lot of capability of investing in something rather speculative, I'm going to consider this something more interesting than useful until someone with plausible knowledge says otherwise. (And I still won't be investing, but then I'll follow it with more interest.)

P.S.: SRI has, in the past, put effort into some rather questionable research. They hire a lot of people and some of them aren't above inflating their results. But they also do lots of really excellent work. You just need to remember that some of their researchers aren't exactly indifferent about the success of their research.

Comment Re:Hmmm .... (Score 1) 165

Nahh. Leave open the possibility that he's honest and really has something. But if he's incapable of sharing it, for whatever reason, then it's worthless to anyone else.

Remember, in the really early days of crystal radios there were frequently people who could get their set working, but couldn't help anyone else to do so. So leave slack to allow this to be what's happening here. Of course, it's still worthless to anyone else.

Comment Re:The Message (Score 1) 136

Yes, but if you're talking about a species survival in an environment, then cleaning the damage out quick, e.g. via failure to reproduce, should benefit changes of survival. You need to distinguish between the ability of a species to survive in an environment and the ability of an individual. With a greater proportion of the damaged individuals being weeded out every year a higher rate of genetic damage per unit time should be sustainable by the species. This is, of course, going to be quite unpleasant for those eliminated, but so is being eaten by a predator...and the predators are going to be experiencing the same winnowing.

That said, it would seem that the maximum length of a genetic code with a given capability of repair would get shorter at any particular rate of reproduction....unless, like the rats in the experiment I referred to, there was an inherent tendency to avoid areas with radiation.

P.S.: While cockroaches have been observed eating the insulation on the inside of fission reactors (i.e., in the high radiation area, not the high temperature area) I don't believe that this was ever tested over several generations. But radiodurans (Deinococcus radiodurans), a bacteria, has been tested for several generations.

Comment Re: Ban ALL NUKES NOW (Score 1) 136

Umn... You are aware that the Fukushima earthquake was well off shore aren't you? That was why it was followed by the large tsunami. And there isn't a place on earth that isn't subject to earthquakes. Some place are more likely to experience damage from them, but no place is safe. One of the largest quakes in US history happened in Missouri, but quakes can happen even in the middle of plates. And some of those are worse than most that happen along the edges.

As for not near an ocean:
it's further from the ocean than Fukushima was, but not far enough that tsunamis are irrelevant. It's right on a river. Most nuclear plants are, because they need the water for cooling. And tsunamis roll right up rivers.

All that said, I'll agree that TMI is less likely to experience that particular external insult. But the world is full of unlikely accidents. It's good to avoid the ones you recognize, but that doesn't make them the one you needed to have defended against. Where to TMI style plants store their spent fuel rods? What do they do if the power supplies are interrupted? (Be aware that Fukushima thought they had that covered before the accident happened.)

Many nuclear plants in the US are being run at longer than their rated lifetime and for more than their rated power output. Yes, the original ratings were conservative, but there are good reasons those ratings were conservative. And many of the plants have repeatedly failed safety inspections. That nothing bad has happened so far is as much due to luck as to proper care...because proper care has often be sacrificed to corporate agendas. (Much like Fukushima and other plants run by Tokyo Electric [TepCo] in that respect.)

Comment Re:The Message (Score 4, Interesting) 136

Well, there *is* evidence, but it's hardly conclusive. And how do you rate bacteria?

OTOH, IIRC there's evidence that rats preferentially avoid areas high in radiation, so perhaps the evidence that exists needs to have behavioral changes factored into it (unless you want to consider that a part of how they avoid damage).

Yes, the effects show up sooner. This means they are more quickly eliminated from the genepool, so theoretically it makes sense.

OTOH, when last I visited the topic the evidence was quite weak. So what I'm talking about is science that's probably 40 years old, and wasn't strong then. Is there anything more recent?

Comment Re: Ban ALL NUKES NOW (Score 3, Interesting) 136

TMI suffered an endogenous problem, not an external insult. The two cases aren't comparable, but if I were comparing them I'd rate TMI as worse, because it caused problems with far less provocation. And I've no reason to believe that it would have caused less damage if inundated by an earthquake followed by a tsunami.

Comment Re:Anti-science is a PR plague (Score 1) 320

Sorry, but no, you can't. Those test would need to be the same that are used to test a new drug, unless you can show that all molecular forms present are exactly the same as those in the unmutated food. Including double-blind studies of large populations.

So while tests are theoretically possible, they aren't simple, and they are never done.

Comment Re:Anti-science is a PR plague (Score 1) 320

FWIW, the people who got salmonella from lettuce didn't get it from organic lettuce. I think your prejudices are contorting your judgment.

That said, properly composted cow shit is reasonably safe on food. You won't get parasites. Raw cow shit has all the problems you mentioned. I *believe* that most organic farmers know proper composting procedures, and that most of them use them, but this is a belief, not a study. (OTOH, you didn't mention any studies either.)

That said, I *was* surprised recently to learn that there's a endoparasite of rice that can live through the drying, storing, and cooking of rice to multiply if the rice is left unrefrigerated. But this doesn't seem to distinguish between organic and regular rice.

Comment Re:How do they define GM? (Score 1) 320

Eee...ahhh.... sorry. I hate to argue when I basically agree with you, but there's a strong similarity. And there's also the historical cross-species gene transfer that's been managed by viruses and parasites. So GMO is not qualitatively new, only quantitatively. But that *is* an important difference.

Now sexual recombination *is* different from GMO, so the example of the tangelo isn't strictly to the point, nor is the nectarine. Nor even hybrid corn. But GMO isn't new, it's just been an extremely low frequency natural phenomenon. But frequency is significant.

GMO organisms should undergo rigorous testing to prove that they are safe, such testing being done by parties that have NO stake in the outcome. This isn't being done. Traditional foods hat were created through natural GMO have had centuries of testing to allow people to decide whether they are worth it or not, starting with small populations so there wasn't a large initial exposure. This doesn't happen with commercial GMO foods. And the pharmaceutical companies have shown us how much we can rely on testing by those whose profits stand at risk.

Even that, however, isn't my real objection. My real objection is that GMO foods centralize control over the food supply. This is a real, clear, and present danger.

Comment Re:How do they define GM? (Score 0) 320

Sorry, but if banning GMO foods is the only way to rein-in Monsanto, I'll accept that price. And banning GMO labeling is just authoritarian bullshit. Now requiring GMO labeling might be unreasonable. *MIGHT*.

I'll agree that people make a lot of silly choices, but as long as they aren't hurting anyone else its abuse of power to stop them. As an earlier poster wrote, if they want to wear a tin-foil hat, let them.

My main argument against GMO foods has to do the the centralization of power that it encourages. And because of that I am *almost* totally against them. Golden rice is pretty much an exception. (If I understand the license to that one correctly, you aren't allowed to sell it for profit. I could well be wrong, as I only looked at it once.)

Comment Re:It's not an error (Score 1) 100

What you say may be true, but this kind of error isn't one of advanced technology. This is more like the Mars probe that hard impacted because of a units mix-up. And that wasn't the first. Using high tech doesn't get you away from low tech errors. (Even with just metric you can mix-up cm and mm, though it's more difficult.)

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]