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Comment Re:desalination (Score 1) 198

I am well aware of the magnitude difference between the heat load from the total solar flux to the planet and the electrical output of a nuclear power plant. However, that still doesn't change the fact that the statement "A nuclear plant does not contribute to global warming" is incorrect.

Comment Re:desalination (Score 1) 198

The generation of energy does contribute to global warming. What you are implying is that as the generation of power doesn't use fossil fuels, the waste products do not contribute to the greenhouse effect. However, 100's of megawatts of electricity will 100% turn into 100's of megawatts of heat. unlike solar and wind energy, nuclear energy is a net generator of heat. Solar and wind are heat energy neutral, as the energy is pulled from the environment, used as electricity, and then released as heat where the sun's energy was going anyway. The energy from the nuclear material never originated in solar energy smacking into the earth.

Comment Re:'Climatedot' again... are you sick of this yet? (Score 1) 198

With all due respect, this article indicated two factors leading to national water stress, the first is the currently recognized changes in rainfall patterns. The second is the political/population aspect to those nations. In many cases, it is not a total lack of water resources that will affect the population, but its distribution within the country and the lack of infrastructure or political will/means to match the distribution of water to the distribution of usage.

While many might focus on the "man-made" side of the issue regarding the changes in water distribution, the far far greater calamity is the 100% man-made factors that make up the political problems.

The US has unmatched monetary resources to easily manage the water distribution changes caused by changes to the climate, regardless of their cause. However, the political environment makes usage of those monetary resources to change the water usage distribution to match the future water resource distribution impossible. And sadly, there is next to zero chance of any change in the collective political will to alter US use of water to match future water distribution.

Submission + - Inflatable Space Launch Pad Patent Granted->

Punko writes: "Canadian space company, Thoth Technology Inc., has been granted the United States patent for a space elevator. Announced today in the USPTO’s Official Gazette, the freestanding space tower is pneumatically pressurized and actively-guided over its base. Reaching 20 km above the planet, it would stand more than 20 times the height of current tall structures and be used for wind-energy generation, communications and tourism.

The technology offers an exciting new way to access space using completely reusable hardware and saving more than 30% of the fuel of a conventional rocket."

Somehow making a tower out of gas filled pillows 15 kms tall without external support wires seems fanciful

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Space Elevator With Inflatable Tower Planned By Canadian Company

Dave Knott writes: Pembroke, Ont.-based Thoth Technology has patented an inflatable tower that could carry a "space elevator" higher than passenger jets fly – and eventually into low-Earth orbit. Their plans describe a tower with a space launch platform on top that could theoretically be built to more than 200 kilometres high, and reach into low Earth orbit. It would be made of stacked rings of Kevlar cells inflated with hydrogen or helium to an extremely high pressure. An elevator could ride up the tower, carrying spacecraft, satellites and other goods to be launched into space – along with tourists looking for an extraordinary view.
The traditional space elevator concept consists of a fine cable with one end attached to weight in space, orbiting the Earth, and the other end tethered to the ground. However, Thoth Technology thinks there are two challenges with that idea: (1) It needs to be built in space. (2) The cable would be degraded by meteor and lightning strikes, and have to be replaced every six months. Thoth claims their inflatable elevator tower could be built from the ground up, and easily withstand not just lightning and meteors, but even category five hurricanes, stating that the design includes gyroscopes to control the tower's movement and actively stabilize it during major storms
The company hopes to build a 1.5-kilometre-high prototype within five years – a height that would make it significantly higher than the current world's tallest building, the 830-metre-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai. They further expect that a tower elevator reaching 20 kilometres above sea level, starting from the top of a five-kilometre-high mountain, could be built with 10 years at a cost of about $5 billion US.

Comment Re:Fusion (Score 1) 337

Politicians haven't been instructed by their owners to pursue it yet. What is the point of owning oil and gas supplies if someone makes owning them pointless? Let us finish pulling the oil from the ground and making money with it, THEN we'll allow you to spend the taxpayers money to develop the technology that we will acquire to sell energy to the taxpayers. Let's just make sure we maximize our profits on oil/gas BEFORE we agree to make oil and gas worth less than they are now. Of course we realize that oil and gas will still have value in the fusion future, just they will be work a lot less than they are now.

So remember, maximize our profits now, spend taxpayers money a bit later to ensure profits for us in the future.

Comment Re:What plan? (Score 1) 88

One of the simplest questions is How big an NEO do we need to stop? Once you realize our ability to stop NEOs is very limited (in terms of mass) and is 100% dependent on early detection, the initial focus should be on improving detection of NEOs. And even then, the future may be : "INBOUND NEO >90% CHANCE OF EARTH IMPACT --- MASS IS ESTIMATED TO BE . . . oh crap" and now we're back at the current stage of hoping it misses.

Comment Re:No thanks (Score 2) 154

Sorry, but I'm having trouble imagining such a facility being run by a typical American for-profit entity. Bad morale, low standards, high staff turnover, no loyalty to the employee, so no loyalty from the employee back to looking after the public.

So how's about we agree, that we'll make the operating entity an crown (or state) owned utility (not for profit) and run with a well paid, well trained, workforce ?

Comment inside or out (Score 2) 171

Is the colour meant to display for the condition of the wearer (which could be a display in advance of coitus) or for the condition of the partner (which is a display after coitus)?

Folks seem to be focusing on the partner's condition here. I think this idea would be far more valuable to the partner. Here put this on and we'll - hang on - blue plus yellow means clamidia and the clap - sorry fella - no joy for you. Warning of impending risk is far better than - hey wow, she's was really loaded up with bugs.

A raincoat will keep you dry in the rain, checking the weather may keep you from going out in the rain in the first place.

Comment Re:Exponential Birthdays (Score 1) 126

this kind of nerd glee is nothing more than typical human pattern recognition. The fact that your brain picks out mathematical patterns, is your peculiarity. Some of us pick up on language patterns, on movement (dynamic) patterns, some on patterns in the layout of bricks in a wall. Humans are pre-programmed to detect patterns. Its how we survive things that are trying to eat us, and how we figure out how we can eat other things.

Comment Re:Not spider thread. Yeast string. (Score 2) 48

1) The yeast can make the same proteins. However, what makes spider silk's properties so amazing is what the spider does with them inside/with its spinnerets. simply making the building blocks of the silk does not give you spider silk. The chemical work has been done before in a lab.

2. My comment was that this material was made to be aritificial spider silk. Both the article and the summary headline read "spider silk". Even if this material was 100% exactly the same as natural silk,it would not be spider silk. t would be artificial spider silk, as true spider silk only comes from spiders.

So "spider silk is ready for commercialization" is not the same thing as "artificial spider silk is ready for commercialization". I was very interested in what innovation they had created to allow the commercialization of spider silk harvesting. The current methods involves actually tying the buggers down on their backs and pulling the thread out. Seeing that they had only managed to utilize yeast to make the replicate the principal ingredient in spider silk left me disappointed.

Comment Not spider thread. Yeast string. (Score 5, Informative) 48

These folks have come up with an idea to market a threat with some (but not all) the properties of spider silk. Using yeast. While I am more than willing to admit that this material sounds interesting, it is most certainly not spider silk.

But it's not the first time we've seen an utterly misleading headline in both the article and in the Slashdot post.

"Given the choice between accomplishing something and just lying around, I'd rather lie around. No contest." -- Eric Clapton