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Comment: Well worth reading? (Score 4, Interesting) 61

by Jack9 (#48201285) Attached to: Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas?

> Asimov's essay, which is well worth reading in its entirety:

No, it isn't. John Cleese's thoughts on the matter are much more thoughtful and thought provoking. He's had a lifetime to consider it. Although he didn't make much progress, it was more than Asimov.

Comment: Re:Robots (Score 1) 348

by Jack9 (#48173705) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

> we'd need to be consuming millions of times more energy in order to match what's currently being captured by our CO2 emissions

With backpack reactors, we'd have that. Our CO2 production would dwindle (fossil fuels are so 2015) and now everyone has a personal energy generator AND one in their car and their house, maybe one for the garage, etc.

> Energy: I don't see any evidence that it's energy limiting population growth:

Energy is always the limiting factor in a population. For most creatures, this is in the form of limited food sources, but for humanity it's about distribution, expressed by socioeconomics. I believe the population decline is combination of things. As modern humans have a rising standard of living (thanks to better information dissemination and distribution methods), they are increasingly reluctant to split resources with offspring, as it's a competitive disadvantage and the educated humans recognize it (children at half the fun or my high end lifestyle at 100% fun like those people I see on TV). The humans that are multiplying the fastest are generally not far above the poverty level and those beneath are pragmatically unable to afford it. So I totally agree on the basic premise. It's possible that humanity has had a unique response that mirrors the "beautiful ones" of the John Calhoun's utopian mouse experiments leading to this sub-replacement fertility effect. For the most part, we're capable of keeping our standard of living above barbaric levels, so some people just preen themselves in their niche. These are just casual beliefs from a white male, of course.

Back to energy theorycrafting....if I could generate useful energy (potential to kinetic) at will, I can move any resource anywhere. Price of milk and fuel would dwindle to nothing. It would wreck all types of havoc, economically. I can ignore friction and timescales by laterally scaling production, limited by the ability to automate with...power. Water in death valley, no problem? Let's just pump a river over there from our thousands of desalinization plants that we can setup with pocket generators. Waste production would require Mr Fusion style solutions.

> And assuming your ship, robots, corpsicles, reactor, etc,etc,etc can survive inert for thousands of years, why would you assume solar panels and capacitors would not?

Poor corpsicles. Currently, our energy storages are quite fragile, that I know about. At high velocity, almost any dust from say, a long dead rogue planetoid or comet, would shred most terrestrial materials in transit. I guess wrapping it all up in a tungsten steel alloy ball or rock (like an asteroid) wold work if we could get it to open after being frozen solid and semi-thawed in a couple thousand years, but your (whatever)engine that started up the transit will probably be non-functional. This is why I mentioned the nebulous "Durable" energy storages. You'll have to have the ship float around a start for awhile to store up enough for a landing routine or have an internal generator. Maybe a trick using fissionable material that brings 2 chemicals together after a 5k year halflife would suffice for restart. As long as the rest of the internals were properly shielded and I don't know how feasible that is as it would take a LOT of energy to move an asteroid at any reasonable velocity. I've never heard of aneutronic fusion so I'll have to look into that. It may change my thinking.

I may be wrong on a number of assumptions, but limitations are what I imagine based on my experiences. I'm no space geek, but I do watch a lot of TV and remember a time before the first space shuttle.

Comment: Re:Robots (Score 1) 348

by Jack9 (#48171307) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

I'm not trying to be overly negative here as you have a number of viewpoints that I agree with, but I don't agree with some particulars. Please take this all with a scifi heaping of salt.

> you can only destroy one biome at a time

Terraforming (badly) as we will at the start, I think it's well within the realm of possibility that humanity will be able to wreck a few at a time.

> We appear to be on the cusp of unlocking fusion,

A lot of your views stem from energy availability whereas I come from an energy scarcity standpoint. Even with pocket reactors, the human population will grow to consume a limiting resource (like fissile material), wasting most of the output trying to figure out how to best exploit it. Imagine the ignored terrors of a world without energy constraints (forget global warming, how about global heating of the planet from waste heat!, thx Niven). I just don't believe in virtually costless energy generation. That being said, I would like to see the Loch Ness Monster if it turned out to be a reality.

> Durable energy storage? Why?

Primarily to power the robots/terraformers of the future as they traverse the vastness of space. Even fusion energy is going to run out or flat out eat through containment in interstellar marathon, so you'll need something to wake up after a long hibernation with a small nuclear jump start. It's the only workable strategy I would even consider, for a 5k year journey and THEN it needs to do real work that will cost...more energy (simple to fabricate clause was to ensure the robot will be more likely to self-repair or multiply). Collectors will continue to get better, but only marginally so it's about material science and efficiency. Even if we populate the solar system with robotic helpers, we'll generally want them to exhibit the same behavior rather than have a random one take a meteorite and irradiate lifeboats or projects under construction, etc. Smaller is better for nuclear, imo.

Those are my thoughts, for what they are worth. Also, fuck Beta

Comment: Robots (Score 1, Interesting) 348

by Jack9 (#48164985) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

This is almost the same as asking how we are going to transition to a galactic civilization. From the mile-high-view, quit trying to put humans in places where they have trouble surviving for any period of time. You have to port an ecosystem with you and can still lose it all in a single incident. We haven't even conquered our own biome yet (at least not without a number of side effects). Spaceships with humans is not the answer. Everyone born on Earth will likely die on Earth (with rare exception). This isn't wrong or worrisome insofar as there are no good alternatives yet. System wide or interstellar, it's the same problems at different scales. Ain't nobody helping you halfway between neptune and pluto, nor between the stars.

Durable energy storages that are as simple to fabricate as possible, should be at the top of the list for expansion into the solar system. We basically know what materials are available and what energy sources we can play with. We have long-range communication down to the best case for overriding automation, but our computer science doesn't have a lot of science behind software reliability. One result has been that our automata aren't too bright yet. Let's keep working on understanding the mind while bumping up the work on machine learning. Work on genetics for the far-future possibility of launching biological samples interstellar distances (naturally we will test them in our own solar system first, if we get the chance).

Comment: Re:Summary (Score 1) 254

by Jack9 (#48119935) Attached to: What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

> Wouldn't it have been simpler, clearer to write something like:
> In the past 16 years, marathon runners have cut the world record from 2hr 06:23 to 2hr 03:23. But as they get closer to the 2 hour mark, further improvements will
> become progressively harder to achieve.

Maybe the intent would have been clearer to others (it wasn't confusing to me). Either way, I certainly like puzzles and this is /. Having a bit of fun with phrasing, is not clumsy from my perspective. The statement is, simply, clever.

Comment: Re:Yes. It's called "informed consent." (Score 1) 141

> I take it you didn't read the first half of my post. Seriously, this is not a complicated distinction.

I don't agree with the distinction. I stand by my statement. There is only a question of degree and depth of analysis.

> Remember, the entire point I'm trying to make

That's not what you are communicating and obviously not your point, as the majority of what you're saying is trying to convince me that my conclusions are spurious.

> So, not only are you not listening to what those people are saying, you bring out the content-free insults that don't actually address the arguments being discussed.

I abhor the selective application of logic, under the guise of logic and I don't equate that to insults. Cargo-cult (eg Bandwagoning) is not an insult, it's just a behavioral pattern.

Good luck with your efforts to change people's minds about nothing in particular.

Comment: Re:Yes. It's called "informed consent." (Score 1) 141

> Of course not. That kind of change is totally off topic.

I totally disagree. It's specifically the same. Many companies regularly perform macro/micro experiments (Digg, /. beta, etc), if we are going to call them such. There is only a question of degree and depth of analysis. You should really take up the ethical ramifications of paint colors chosen by market chains to influence human behavior.

> Why is it that people who are supposedly highly educated, experience [observation: your low /. UID] and used to dealing with complex issues have such an insane ignorance with regards to the Common Rule?

The Common Rule does not apply here. The Common Rule is a federal policy regarding Human Subjects Protection that applies to 17 Federal agencies and offices. It does not apply to federal agencies that have not signed the agreement (e.g., Department of Labor, etc.).

> This type of casual dismissal is what I was talking about above

There's nothing objectively special about name-calling it "human experimentation". That doesn't bother me in the slightest, when it's observably false.
Every single person who is offended by this, seems to be on a bandwagon to nowhere. I disagree with your interpretations and you have not added anything to my thoughts, on the matter.

Comment: Re:Yes. It's called "informed consent." (Score 1) 141

Changing how your website performs text output is not experimenting with users. It's really annoying when /.rs start buying into misnomer. There's no need for consent when I move a button, nor when facebook changes an algorithm. Take a breath and reconsider.

Comment: Re:And still nothing in the US (Score 1) 111

by Jack9 (#48041349) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

> So high-speed rail is a really good deal.

It was not and still is not.

> move the same number of people by air and highways (4,295 to 4,652 new lane-miles of highway plus 115 new airport gates and 4 new runways)

Those stats are completely made up and are modes of transportation are for orthogonal needs. You aren't going to stop that growth. This kind of quackery estimation is what has landed California in the money pit of the HSR Browndoggle.

Comment: Re:In space (Score 1) 470

by Jack9 (#48017131) Attached to: The Physics of Space Battles

> I believe a simpler and more sensible explanation for the roar of the TIE fighters flying through space is that nobody on screen heard them

A long lost recording on PBS, of Lucas speaking at UCLA, is where the theory of the TIE exhaust came up. I watched it as a child. I don't remember if it was Lucas or a student that brought it up...nor can I find a copy of the original recording. Whatever that's worth.

Comment: Re:In space (Score 1) 470

by Jack9 (#48014519) Attached to: The Physics of Space Battles

> no one can hear you explode.

Of course they can...if someone is sufficiently close and the shockwave hits a reverberating surface containing an atmosphere that can transmit the resulting sound waves to your auditory sensor. The TIE Fighter sounds were ion streams (from their engines) hitting the hull. That's how close they got to the Falcon!

Comment: Re:"Death to Gamers and Long Live Videogames" (Score 1) 1134

by Jack9 (#47828041) Attached to: Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

> She even admitted flat out on twitter to having sex for publicity,

Am I the only one who doesn't think this is wrong?

Prostitution is all but legitimized in modern culture. The social morays have shifted, I feel. Mad Men had an entire subplot dealing with this AS ENTERTAINMENT. This is just a spotlight on what practices are regularly hidden. If not, it's just standard defamation, but I'm not sure why people would be outraged.


The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-going dept.
mdsolar writes with this story about the rising costs of keeping Europe's nuclear power plants safe and operational. Europe's aging nuclear fleet will undergo more prolonged outages over the next few years, reducing the reliability of power supply and costing plant operators many millions of dollars. Nuclear power provides about a third of the European Union's electricity generation, but the 28-nation bloc's 131 reactors are well past their prime, with an average age of 30 years. And the energy companies, already feeling the pinch from falling energy prices and weak demand, want to extend the life of their plants into the 2020s, to put off the drain of funding new builds. Closing the older nuclear plants is not an option for many EU countries, which are facing an energy capacity crunch as other types of plant are being closed or mothballed because they can't cover their operating costs, or to meet stricter environmental regulation.

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.