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Comment: TMI (Score 1) 196

by confused one (#46785505) Attached to: MIT Designs Tsunami Proof Floating Nuclear Reactor
Who told you that lie? Several reactors have suffered a melt down / loss of primary containment event where fuel slumped to the bottom of the pressure vessel and burned through. TMI is an example of such an event. This was always a possibility in Generation II PWR and BWR designs. It's one of the reasons we need to be building Generation III+ replacements.

Comment: Re:Couple problems (Score 1) 196

by confused one (#46785483) Attached to: MIT Designs Tsunami Proof Floating Nuclear Reactor
There was a drawing visible in the video for about 10-15 seconds. Mind you, it's not a lot to go on... The reactor itself was shown below the water level. The design appeared to be similar to designs I've seen which use passive convection cooling. In addition to that, the outer containment was labeled as "flooded with sea water" or something to that effect. To your other point, the shape of the outer containment was a cylinder. The appearance was similar to some Generation III+ designs that flood the building and rely on passive convection cooling to keep a reactor nominally within safe limits, should something serious go wrong with the primary and secondary systems. Again, that's based on a 10 second glimpse at a sketch in a video... so not to be taken seriously.

Comment: Re:Wait a second... (Score 5, Informative) 311

by confused one (#46782925) Attached to: Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"
yes, yes they did. Mercedes released a Euro B-class car using a drive train jointly developed by and supplied by Tesla. In addition, Mercedes is reported to be buying batteries for other projects from Tesla. Me thinks the Mercedes salesman is trying to protect his sales numbers and trying too hard to not look behind the curtain.

Comment: Re:attacked by a pillow (Score 1) 36

by confused one (#46782881) Attached to: The Squishy Future of Robotics
I do... I've seen large industrial machines that use what are essentially soft robotics techniques and soft manipulators. The examples given in the article are all small and target search and rescue apps. That's great. I've seen a 4 story structure lifted on airbags and moved across a smooth surface by an automated system. Point was you can't assume it scales to industrial scales and assume everything will be soft and harmless. When the "soft" robotics moves up to the larger scales, as it is just as likely to do as it is to move to smaller scales, you can't discount the energy involved. I hate to see someone make the assumption "They're soft so they're harmless" and let that idea get promoted as gospel regardless of scale.

Comment: Re:attacked by a pillow (Score 1) 36

by confused one (#46782821) Attached to: The Squishy Future of Robotics
Funny you should mention that. I happen to be an engineer working in a manufacturing plant. Absolutely safe... No. As safe as we can make them, yes. We put all kinds of safeties like light curtains into the systems, to protect human workers. The summary above says they are meant to work "cage free" and the worst that could happen is... Well, they're working with small scale and underestimating the damage potential. That's all I'm saying.

Comment: attacked by a pillow (Score 4, Insightful) 36

by confused one (#46777141) Attached to: The Squishy Future of Robotics

Sure.... attacked by a 500 lb Kevlar reinforced pillow that can wrap around a body and sqeeze it until it pops like a zit.

OK, some of the search and rescue applications using the soft robots are a great idea; and, robots, in general, are useful tools. But a robot is a machine. Machines break. Computers malfunction. A small S&R robot has a small but measurable risk profile. If it's in a med-surgical application then it has the ability to do damage to the body of either the patient or the attending medical staff, should it malfunction. If it can perform industrial tasks, like lifting a car, then it can equally as well crush a person. One cannot say, "Look, it's soft and squishy" and ignore safety factors.

Comment: The courts are a different branch and not elected. (Score 1) 780

by Ungrounded Lightning (#46776465) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

then why the recent decision ... that allowed individuals to contribute directly to *all* candidates, with no overall cap on contributions?

Because it'a a SUPREME COURT decision. We have three branches of government and only two are elected.

The supremes are appointed, for life (subject only to impeachment for high crimes, like the president). They have no re-election issues and can vote their mind without affecting their own tenure.

The court has repeatedly struck down campaign spending restrictions, because they're limits, not just on free speech, but on the POLITICAL speech that is the reason it is an enumerated right in the first place.

But it takes a while for a law to produce enough damage to give someone standing to challenge it, and to bring it to the supremes, and then they rule narrowly. Then, once a piece is struck down, Congress just turns around and does another version of it to evade the details of that decision, and the cycle starts over.

There are under 700 people that hit the max last time around, do you seriously think that decision will benefit the grass roots? Sounds to me like it's aimed squarely at giving the oligarchs more influence.

Of course it's the rich are the first who are bit and who have the resources to bring the suit. That's part of why the limits end up off the rich (like Soros) first, while they're still hobbling everybody else.

It isn't just the limits themselves that are an issue. There's all the reporting requirements, publication requirements, time limits, and maze of details that make compliance hard.

It's hard for candidates: They need a substantial political machine right off the bat. Getting dinged for campaign finance violations is costly, may involve jail time, DOES involve court time, and produces publicity that tarnishes the candidate's image and hurts his chances in future elections. This gives the professional politicians, especially incumbents with the machine in place, a massive advantage over any grass-roots upstarts trying to replace them.

And it can bring on reprisals against donors - including carreer-killing or physical retaliation. Who contributed to what political campaigns is public record and searchable online. This is an invitation to people with opposing views to exert social pressure or take revenge. (Within the last couple weeks we saw the CEO of Netscape forced to resign by just such pressure, as a result of the McCain-Feingold reporting of a past political contribution to a "politically-incorrect" campaign.)

It's the exact opposite of a secret ballot, which is secret to prevent such reprisals so the vote can be cast in safety. Why should financial support be any different? Why would publishing the amount and beneficiary of each contributor's political contributions be any less of a bias on the political system than publishing the way each voter voted?

Further, risking a job is far more of a hardship for a little guy living hand-to-mouth than a rich executive with millions in the bank and a golden parachute. So it's another force to suppress grass-roots opinion in favor of those who are independently wealthy or well-off.

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.