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Comment: Re:Inconsistent fuel? (Score 1) 289

by QuantumPion (#48496447) Attached to: Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

The Endurance itself was large and heavy and full of fuel, requiring a large rocket to get to orbit.

The Ranger was a small, lightweight spaceplane which probably used something like a SABRE engine.

Here is a delta-V map of the solar system. According to it, you would need 6300 m/s delta-V to return to Earth from Mars. Which is about 2/3 the delta-V required to get to Earth orbit.

Comment: Re:The Internet answer (Score 1) 516

by QuantumPion (#48466159) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

The reason why no one switches energy providers whom put their cables underground because if such a utility did exist, its electric prices would be much higher and almost everyone would chose the cheaper, slightly less reliable option and drive them out of business. The problem isn't capitalism. The problem is people like low prices and our current system is good enough not to warrant voluntarily paying more.

Comment: Re: Market forces don't work on essential utilitie (Score 1) 516

by QuantumPion (#48466135) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

On the contrary, market forces work fine. The problem is simply a case of the leaky roof problem. You can't fix the roof it when it's raining, and when it's not raining there is no need to fix it because it isn't raining. When people's lights are on and working it's hard to convince them to voluntarily pay more to upgrade transmission systems.

Comment: Testable Prediction (Score 0) 427

by QuantumPion (#47861853) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

On the global scale, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 396.0 parts per million in 2013. The atmospheric increase of CO2 from 2012 to 2013 was 2.9 parts per million, which is the largest annual increase for the period 1984-2013. Concentrations of CO2 are subject to seasonal and regional fluctuations. At the current rate of increase, the global annual average CO2 concentration is set to cross the symbolic 400 parts per million threshold in 2015 or 2016.

Oh good, they actually have a testable quantifiable prediction that CO2 will continue to increase at the same rate and exceed 400 ppm in the next two years. If their prediction proves to be correct that will lend credibility to their models. But if CO2 does not do this, will they admit they don't know what exactly is going on with the environment? Or will they still claim that the less than expected raise in CO2 is also proof of climate change due to some previously undisclosed factor?

Comment: Re: Fusion Confusion (Score 1) 305

by QuantumPion (#47711637) Attached to: If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Despite having spent billions (22 Billion USD on hot fusion research by US alone) on the problem so far, with billions yet to come, we do not have working fusion reactors. Even ITER will just be a prototype with no power generation at all. Cost to develop commercially, unknown but bound to be a lot of money.

Despite $10 billion spent on the Large Hadron Collider, we have yet to see any production of commercially useful quantities of antimatter. Therefore, the LHC is a boondoggle waste of money and a failure.

Comment: Re:Cost to dismantle vs fix (Score 1) 343

These aren't just some random leaky pipes. We're talking about both steam generators, on both units. What happened was the old steam generators were at the end of their design life, so they were replaced with what was supposed to be like-for-like replacement. It turned out the new ones had a design flaw which caused the tubes resonate and vibrate, causing damage early on. The original cost of the steam generators was nearly $1 billion. While they could get new steam generators, it would probably take at least two years to have them made and installed. The lost generation during that time, combined with all sorts of regulatory costs, would be too much to make it worth it.

Comment: Re:Got mine 2 days ago. (Score 1) 57

This is very true indeed. I've had tons of fun playing flight simulators Elite Dangerous and DSC. The games where you have to move around in first person make me a little dizzy, especially when turning. I really wish there was a way to adjust the speed at which you turn, or implement some method of making walking feel more natural. Anyway, I also tried out a roller coaster demo, and that nearly made me sick after about 6 seconds. Simulator sickness, due to lack of IRL g-forces, is a very, very strange feeling

Comment: Re:medical services need a billing time limit (Score 1) 570

by QuantumPion (#47564789) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Because in America we have two groups of people - those that think they have a right to be provided unlimited health care for free at someone else's expense, and those that think health care is a service like any other that should be paid for by the consumer. The mess we have now is a result of government trying to please both groups simultaneously.

Comment: My LASIK story (Score 1) 550

by QuantumPion (#47525733) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

I had been considering getting LASIK for years but kept putting it off out of fear of damaging my sight, or the idea that technology would improve in the future and make the outcomes better/less risky. About two years ago though I started getting terrible headaches due to Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, caused by my glasses. Basically, the feel of my glasses on my face was causing me to contract my facial muscles so much that it was giving me severe headaches and sometimes even a jaw so sore I could not open my mouth. I tried contacts several times over the years but none of the brands worked for me - they were too dry, too irritating, and I was unable to focus on computer screens with them for some reason (necessitating needing contacts + reading glasses!).

So finally in spring 2013 I finally got the nerve (and HSA funds saved up) to get LASIK done. I went to a highly reputable doctor, whom has performed more procedures than anyone else in the country (including several famous actors and athletes). They told me going in that no surgery is perfect and to have realistic expectations. I was an excellent candidate, I had nice thick corneas and moderate myopia and astigmatism. The only problems were my eyes were a little on the dry side and my pupils dilate greater than the treated area. I went ahead with the surgery anyway, once I had the nerve to go through with it I was extremely excited and eager to have it done and be able to enjoy the rest of my youth without needing glasses.

My results came out very good, but not perfect. A friend of mine whom had LASIK just before myself was disappointed because they under corrected her. Knowing this, I asked the doc to not under correct, I wanted the full correction. I ended up getting about 20/15 in both eyes, so I was very happy. I had bad halos and starbursts, which made me somewhat worried. However, those aberrations very gradually went away. It was so gradual that I hardly even noticed that I could no longer see them - but it took over a year. I do have drier eyes even now, so I need to use eye drops once a day or every other day. But they are not irritated or uncomfortable, they just get kind of sticky over a couple days which makes my vision less sharp. The only other downside was my nightvision is kind of...weird. When my pupil dilates greater than the treated area, I see hard to describe aberrations - mainly in point light sources in a dark area that end up having a sort of blur or ghost around them.

Over all, I'm very happy with my results and glad I took the plunge. I don't even remember what it was like to have glasses any more and I love no longer being reliant on them. Especially now since the Oculus Rift is coming out very soon!

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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