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Comment: Re:Come now. (Score 2) 96

by MachineShedFred (#47415833) Attached to: How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

The mass difference between Pu 239 and Pu 240 is so insignificant that it is completely infeasible to use any current production isotope separation techniques (gaseous diffusion, centrifuges, etc.) and Pu 240 reacts to chemicals exactly the same as Pu 239, so you can't cheat it by using a chemical bath to dissolve the stuff you want / don't want (PUREX). There are experimental techniques, but they are so unreliable or expensive that it's cheaper and faster to just build a reactor to make the stuff if you're that serious.

We're talking about national governments here. They don't need to clandestinely take some mixed-isotope garbage from a commercial reactor and recondition it at prohibitive expense and complexity for a weapon. They can just build a short-cycle reactor or one that allows adding and removing U238 slugs while the core is running and tell the UN to fuck off - seems to have worked out just fine for Iran (allegedly), North Korea, Pakistan, and India. The process is really quite technically easy after we figured out how to do it in the 1940s, it's just a matter of spending the money and having the feedstock fuel to begin with, which Japan has shloads of.

Comment: Re:Come now. (Score 4, Informative) 96

by MachineShedFred (#47414033) Attached to: How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

Except that "reactor grade" plutonium is unsuitable for weapons, and cannot have the undesired isotopes of plutonium separated out of it to make it weapons grade. There's a reason why the US built the special reactors at Hanford for weapons production - you can't just make material suitable for weapons in any commercial generating station.

But besides that, yeah we should all duck and cover.

Comment: Re:Sinking ship... (Score 1) 93

by MachineShedFred (#47406393) Attached to: Rob Pardo Says Farewell To Blizzard

The biggest issue with pay-for-advancement is that the quality of player diminishes rapidly. I don't say this from some kind of elitist perspective, but it used to be that if you saw someone at max level with a good set of gear that was hard to obtain, you had a reasonable probability that they earned it through effort with a group of similarly skilled people.

Now, not so much. As of the last time I logged into WoW (18 months ago) raiding has been watered down to being a weekly chore (in between collect 20 nonsense items daily quests and gardening) that you take care of in random groups, rather than something you actually made time to do with people you like, because it was enjoyable.

I have enough chores to do in the real world, I don't need digital weeds that need digital pulling.

Comment: Re:Embarrasment (Score 1) 198

by MachineShedFred (#47349351) Attached to: Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

Good thing that DisplayPort 1.3 supports a bandwidth of 32.4Gbps, and that the current DisplayPort 1.2 HBR2 that has been available since 2009 supports 17.28Gbps then, right?

The bandwidth has been there for far better than 4K for quite some time. Oh, and HDMI sucks - you're paying for royalty-encumbered down-spec'd garbage from a litigious organization in comparison to the royalty-free VESA standard that is DisplayPort.

Comment: Re:Maybe Moon not Mars (Score 1) 75

by MachineShedFred (#47349135) Attached to: NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test

Here's the good thing about NASA's hardware: it usually has a docking port. Orion might be small, but so was the Apollo Command Module. However, once in orbit, you can rendezvous with something else that is already up there (or launched on the same rocket stack if you want to go 1960s mega-rocket) that has the supplies necessary for the journey, landing and stay. Then, when they blast off the surface of Mars, they rendezvous with another remote-controlled spacecraft following behind that is in Mars orbit, which has all the supplies necessary for the trip back, as well as a fresh booster filled with fuel for the return trip.

The astronauts could even do the remote control of the second spacecraft for Mars orbital entry and docking from the first in order to get around the transmission lag time inherent in any Mars mission. After all, most astronauts are accomplished pilots, and they're all pretty smart.

Comment: Re:Why bother? (Score 1) 75

by MachineShedFred (#47349113) Attached to: NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test

Yeah, but your facts don't play with AC's narrative that each and every Republican is a bible-thumping science-denying women-hating redneck gun-waving racist who wants to fire you and your family in order to throw another nickel into the olympic swimming pool filled with cash.

Just smile and nod, even if the smile is just a thinly veiled wince. And don't even think about explaining that the Democratic party has it's own extremist flank of tree-hugging tax-and-spend politically-correct welfare-state socialists that want to outlaw guns, cars, electric light, private education, and all religious organizations.

Comment: Re:I am a drone pilot ... (Score 1) 199

by MachineShedFred (#47314469) Attached to: FAA Bans Delivering Packages With Drones

To extend your example, a baseball offers a large surface area when it hits something which spreads the applied force across that surface area.

Drones designed to carry any amount of cargo are likely to be pointy for aerodynamics, and have rapidly moving parts that do not present a large surface area in the direction of rotation (read: propellors or rotors) that will act like knives.

Comment: Re:I find this approach unsettling (Score 1) 79

Many of the 3rd stage boosters from Apollo are either in a heliocentric orbit, or smashed into the surface of the moon after the Command Module separated from them.

Historically, we aren't very good at not littering bits of spacecraft all over the place when we do these kinds of things.

Comment: Re:Good for Business! (Score 1) 106

by MachineShedFred (#47229365) Attached to: Portland Edges Closer To Google Fiber

Fred Meyer wanted to lease out unused space on their campus to a prospective company looking to open a call center in Southeast Portland (22nd and Powell) and the City wanted them to pay to install a traffic light and rebuild the intersection at 22nd to handle the "increased traffic." However, the anticipated traffic was still going to be less than it was 10 years ago when Fred Meyer was owned by an equity management firm and not a division of Kroger. So, kiss those added jobs and economic development goodbye, because the City didn't want to work with business to put in a damn traffic light - that building is still sitting empty, un-renovated, being used for storage of office furniture.

TriMet loves to run bus routes that deliver terrible service out to places that they have no interest in serving, just so every business within a mile of the route has to pay the TriMet payroll tax. They've been doing this long enough that suburbs are considering opting out of TriMet and starting their own transit agencies in order to save their local businesses money and get better service at the same time. Trimet is now a pension organization that also happens to operate a bus and train service, poorly.

These are two examples that happened in the last 5 years, or are continuing to happen.

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