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Google and Mozilla: Partners, Not Competitors 151 151

Much has been said about the (perceived) rivalry between Chrome and Firefox, but Google engineer Peter Kasting had enough when he read an article trying to discern Google's true motives for signing a new Firefox search deal. Kasting posted to Google+ to clarify what value the company sees in funding a "rival" browser. Quoting: "People never seem to understand why Google builds Chrome no matter how many times I try to pound it into their heads. It's very simple: the primary goal of Chrome is to make the web advance as much and as quickly as possible. That's it. It's completely irrelevant to this goal whether Chrome actually gains tons of users or whether instead the web advances because the other browser vendors step up their game and produce far better browsers. Either way the web gets better. Job done. The end. So it's very easy to see why Google would be willing to fund Mozilla: Like Google, Mozilla is clearly committed to the betterment of the web, and they're spending their resources to make a great, open-source web browser. Chrome is not all things to all people; Firefox is an important product because it can be a different product with different design decisions and serve different users well."

Comment: Re:What does it have to do with Japan... (Score 2) 364 364

-Cost for a 100000 years mainenance of the waste was never in calculations when people argued prices

It's folly to claim that the "waste" that is 95% re-usable won't be reclaimed well before the "100000 years" that you claim it is dangerous. The only reason so few countries have bothered with reprocessing said waste is because it isn't economical right now, and it's actually dirt cheap for us to store it since there is so little of it. As uranium becomes harder to find in a few decades, do you honestly think scientists and engineers won't be looking at the spent fuel and say "hey, I bet we can reprocess that economically"? Side note: once reprocessed and run through a reactor again, high level radioactive waste is only dangerous for ~300 years. Surely that's manageable, compared to fossil fuels that dump poisonous gasses and heavy metals into the atmosphere at thousands of times the quantity that do not decay.

-90% of German (or American) plants would not withstand impact of a plane bigger than a Cessna.

In that event, what would the damage be? I'd imagine the worst case would be a plant that is incapable of running again and cost quite a bit to clean up, so it would be an economic disaster for the company that runs the plant. But would anyone be harmed outside of workers at the plant? Psychologically, maybe, but physically no. A much better "use" (in terms of damage/effort) of a terrorist hijacking a plane is to aim it for skyscrapers and highly populated areas.

Comment: Re:What does it have to do with Japan... (Score 1) 364 364

Our electricity sources will be 100% renewables by 2025[...] There will be use of natural gas before we are fully based on renewables

The best case (without nuclear) for Germany is that by 2025, you will be getting 25% of your energy from renewables with the remaining 75% as gas "backup" from Russia. Furthermore, your electric bills will be 5-20 times the countries as economically developed as Germany. Do you think all that work on the longest sub-sea gas pipeline in the world will be for nothing after another 14 years?

I'm sorry, but while I appreciate the tone that you provide in this conversation, your comment seems quite delusional to me. 100% renewable is a physical impossibility. A high of 35% capacity factors that are all tied to uncontrollable sources can not possibly power your country. You have a serious fossil fuel industry that not only has significant resources invested in supplying the fuels, but also burning them. That industry isn't just going to say "OK, we're going for wind and solar now." They will fight to the bitter end. Your country's hatred for nuclear will have to turn to a hatred of coal and gas, and even then I doubt your government will roll over and force them to do the "right thing".

Comment: Re:What does it have to do with Japan... (Score 4, Insightful) 364 364

A man has a pool in his back yard, but the neighborhood kids keep sneaking in at night and peeing in it. The man decides to expand his house around the pool and hire a small squad of 24/7 security personnel for $250,000/year. While the man is at work, a very dedicated psycopath with explosives and automatic weapons takes out the man's on-shift security team, kills his wife, rapes his kids, and pees in his pool. The man's neighbor (Germany) hears about all of this and says "good god, I'm getting rid of my pool now, it's just too dangerous."

Some people are smart enough to realise that while the earthquake/tsunami was the initial cause the same end result could occur via some other event causing cooling failure at a nuke plant.

I disagree. I'd say that some people are smart enough to realise that while the damage to the nuclear plants in Japan was unfortunate, it was a casualty of the earthquake/tsunami, not the tragedy itself. Nuclear plants may not be perfect, and they can cause a small amount of harm in incredible circumstances. Things like record-breaking earthquake+tsunamis, acts of war between advanced nations, meteors falling in unfortunate locations... these kinds of incredible circumstances are far worse for the populace than the anything nuclear plants can do. Perspective is important, and the German populace and politicians seem to be lacking it right now.


Mathematics Museum To Open In Manhattan 80 80

eldavojohn writes "If math gives you a raging brainer prepare yourself for MoMath opening next year to 'expose the breadth and the beauty of mathematics' in New York City. After raising $22 million from donors, Glen Whitney wants to challenge the average American's perception of mathematics. Whitney has proven himself with Math Midway a sort of traveling carnival exhibit, and prior to that worked on algorithms at Renaissance Technologies."

USPTO Rejects Many of Oracle's Android Claims 154 154

sfcrazy writes "In yet another setback for Oracle, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected 17 of 21 claims associated with one of the patents in Java that Oracle asserted Google had violated with Android. Groklaw reports, 'In the reexamination of U.S. Patent 6192476 the USPTO has issued an office action in which it rejects 17 of the patent's 21 claims.'"

+ - AP Report on Industry Capture of NRC inaccurate->

KovaaK writes: A recent AP article, discussed here, attempts to show that the NRC is bending to the nuclear industry's will in dangerous and scary ways. Do their claims hold up? An expert with 36 years experience in nuclear reliability and risk assessment says no. On the AP's claim that there is no official body in the government or industry that has studied aging problem frequency and impact, he writes "That is an incorrect statement which could have been checked on the NRC website. I suggest that one look at the NRC's web pages that are devoted to equipment reliability trends."

Read more on his responses here.

Link to Original Source
Social Networks

Crowdsourcing the Censors: A Contest 111 111

Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton is back with an article about how sites with huge amounts of user-generated content struggle to deal with abuse complaints, and could benefit from a crowd-sourced policing system similar to Slashdot's meta-moderation. He writes "In The Net Delusion, Evgeny Morozov cites examples of online mobs that filed phony abuse complaints in order to shut down pro-democracy Facebook groups and YouTube videos criticizing the Saudi royal family. I've got an idea for an algorithm that would help solve the problem, and I'm offering $100 (or a donation to a charity of your choice) for the best suggested improvement, or alternative, or criticism of the idea proposed in this article." Hit the link below to read the rest of his thoughts.

+ - News Reports on US Seismic Risk is Misguided->

KovaaK writes: With a large portion of the press in a frenzy to sell advertising, they seem to be picking up every story they can to make nuclear look bad. Most recently, there are hundreds of stories of how susceptible our nukes are to earthquakes, but very few have picked up on news that the original list is just used for screening purposes in the NRC, and it isn't indicative of how damaging an earthquake would be.
Is it just the press overreacting to nuclear? Someone please tell me there are some critical thinkers out there who can sort out the FUD from reality.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:april 1st already? (Score 1) 2254 2254

I'm another user stuck on IE7 at work. Last year they upgraded us from Windows 2000 running IE6 to Windows Vista running IE7. My laptop is completely locked down. Until a few months ago, I ran a Portable version of Firefox, but then I got a nasty email from IT saying that my Internet access would be revoked if I continued to run unauthorized programs on my laptop. 800 people on site, and the eight person IT Department just happens to be in the cubes right next to me... *sigh*.

Anyway, to the Slashdot programmers: this sucks. Not only do I have the same issues that other posters mentioned (Bars on main screen show up on the right covering the first half of all stories on the main page), but just going to completely breaks portions of my instance of Internet Explorer. After visiting the main page, google's gchat fails to connect and many sites don't load at all. Google reader also breaks down. Restarting the browser fixes it, but going back to Slashdot re-breaks it.

The buttons for any of the options pages don't have any text on them, neither do "Post", "Preview", or "Cancel". I'm hoping that the layout of the post buttons haven't changed, but I'm effectively running blind.

Yes, IE7 sucks. Unfortunately, some of us are stuck on it. I didn't ask to be a beta tester for this site, so I'm not pleased.

Comment: Re:Class Difference (Score 4, Informative) 671 671

You are correct that there is some difficulty for those with degrees in getting jobs, but the recession hit those with less education the hardest. December 2010's unemployment numbers are as follows: Less than highschool 15.3%, Highschool grad with no college 9.8%, Some college or associate degree 8.1%, Bachelor's Degree or higher 4.8%.


Comment: Re:Coverage? (Score 1) 252 252

Are there extraordinarily well engineered nuclear plants that can withstand attacks of idiocy?

Pretty much all of the US designs. Take a look at the EIA's data from 1998 through 2009. The two baseload sources that are supposed to be running 24/7 are coal and nuclear. Nuclear power has been ridiculously reliable in the past decade. Even with a select few nuke plants shut down for a year or more, the average for nuclear is way higher than coal.

The reason for this is simple - the nuclear industry is very effective in implementing predictive/preventive maintence programs and sharing operating experience between companies. Whenever anything goes wrong with a critical component it is extensively analyzed, and the important information is relayed to all other nuclear generating facilities in the US. External failure is treated with the same rigor as internal failure.

Of course, there are some exceptions to this, but the point I'm trying to get across is that the nuclear industry takes itself seriously, and the results of the dedication are self-evident.

Comment: Re:Coverage? (Score 1) 252 252

Thank you.

I'm quite annoyed by the people who are here pretending to care about the environment and safety of the public. Most people yelling about safety in these comments are just here because it contains the words nuclear and/or radiation. If they really care, they should be asking how it compares to other situations that happened near us, such as: the Gulf Oil leak, the Massey coal mine collapse, the Natural Gas power plant explosion in CT, the Natural Gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno CA, any non-nuclear related chemical plant that leaks dangerous substances, your average coal-fired power plant operating under normal circumstances...

All of these events have happened in the past year in or around this country, and no one seems to care any more. Should I list China's coal mine collapses too? I'm willing to bet that any given incident I listed was more significant in terms of damage to surrounding life and the environment than whatever has happened or will happen at Honeywell.

This doesn't appear to be too large of a story in the media yet. I wonder if they are giving nuclear commensurate coverage for once.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin