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Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 591

The problem with using anesthesia is that organizations (the largest of which is the EU) forbids selling anything used in executions. So states that use anesthetics to execute the condemned will find they may be then unable to purchase the same anesthetics for use in hospitals. Nitrogen, being ~80% of the atmosphere, can't possibly be restricted.

FWIW I am completely against capital punishment, and for why one need look no further than the recent admission by the FBI that they were biased to decide a match in forensic hair analysis, which may have led to up to 14 wrongful executions. However some barbaric states are just going to continue to do it anyways, so they may as well do is as humanely as possible.

Comment: Nitrogen Asphyxiation (Score 2, Insightful) 1081

by MrKevvy (#49258335) Attached to: How To Execute People In the 21st Century

* Our atmosphere is around 80% nitrogen so usage can't be restricted, very inexpensive to purify, doesn't consume resources needed elsewhere (ie medically)
* Painless and humane: the victim just goes to sleep. They may become giddy beforehand
* No risk of leaks or poisoning as long as the areas around the chamber are open to the outside air... the chamber needs only be moderately airtight

Ideally this would be the time to reflect that perhaps, after numerous proven instances where innocent people were put to death or narrowly avoided it with a death-row exoneration, that a 21st century civilized society should abandon this barbaric practice, but if saner heads don't prevail at least there is this ideal method of it.

Comment: Re:How can it prove it when (Score 1) 129

by MrKevvy (#48530375) Attached to: How Astronomers Will Take the "Image of the Century": a Black Hole

I'm glad this long-overlooked idea is finally being remembered. It does lead to two further conclusions of course: how can these frozen collapsing stars have spin? And how can they have magnetic fields or (detectable) electric charge?

It doesn't seem they could have either, so all the physics done on rotating and/or charged/magnetic black holes with real singularities seems to be making the rather large assumption that there are any that were formed at the birth of the universe. They can't form now so quite possibly don't exist. It has been shown that relativistic jets, for example, can be generated by the magnetic field of the accretion disc without requiring a spinning black hole.

Comment: Re:No accommodation at all? Just asking. (Score 1) 356

by MrKevvy (#48351289) Attached to: Pirate Bay Co-Founder Peter Sunde Is a Free Man Again

"When I complained I was told that they didn't need to afford me any special accommodation as my diet was neither religious nor medicinal..."

Vegetarian and (preferably) vegan diet is part of Mahayana Buddhism and Jainism. Sweden is supposedly a secular society. Thus, if they would provide a special diet to a member of these two religions that they would not provide to someone who is not, then Sweden has ceased to be a secular society and has committed an act of government-enforced religious discrimination. It really is that simple.

Comment: If seawater is 832x denser, then not correct (Score 4, Informative) 216

by MrKevvy (#48302607) Attached to: Scotland Builds Power Farms of the Future Under the Sea

re: "since sea water is 832 times denser than air, a 5 knot ocean current has more kinetic energy than a 350 km/h wind"

Kinetic energy is an integration of the linear mv dv so equals 1/2mv^2 (whereas momentum is the simple product mv.)

So let's set the mass of a volume of wind at 1 and the mass of the same volume of sea water at 832 units.

The kinetic energy of the wind @ 350km/h = 1/2 * 1 * 350^2 = 61,250 units
The kinetic energy of the water @ 5 knots = 1/2 * 832 * (5 * 1.852)^2 = 35,671 units (1 knot = 1.852 km/hr)

Comment: Meanwhile in a suburban garage... (Score 5, Interesting) 151

by MrKevvy (#48121655) Attached to: Z Machine Makes Progress Toward Nuclear Fusion

... A high school student working on a Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor for their science fair project, capable of accelerating tenths of amperes, detects significant numbers of neutrons-byproducts of fusion reactions-coming from the experiment. This, they say, demonstrates the viability of their approach and marks progress toward the ultimate goal of producing more energy than the fusion device takes in.

Or not.

Comment: Mostly done by 1985... (Score 5, Interesting) 227

by MrKevvy (#47523765) Attached to: Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

Frozen Star by George Greenstein had as a central theme that due to gravitational time dilation that we could never see a star collapse beyond its own event horizon: it would asymptotically approach it as arbitrarily close as we liked given unlimited time but never cross it. So as a natural consequence there was always a tiny but measurable probability that trapped light and thus information could escape.

Although this is a layperson's work, it is based on his published papers which provide a mathematical background.

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.