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Comment: Real world consequences (Score 4, Informative) 118

Now that the Slashdot Pundits have made fun of a number, here's what's happening in the real world.

According to researchers, monkeys in the vicinity of Fukushima City had detectable levels of radioactive cesium in their muscles, while the northern monkeys did not. Researchers also found that the Fukushima simians had significantly lower white and red blood cell counts compared with macaque troops almost 200 miles away.

The researchers suggested their findings mirrored studies conducted on human health impacts following the Chernobyl disaster, where researchers found decreased blood cell counts in people living in contaminated areas.

The Chernobyl site is in the process of having a New Safe Confinement structure built, which will keep radioactive material from the disaster site from entering the environment for 100 years. Once it is in place some of the radioactive material will be broken up and moved to long term buried storage.,

In contrast, one of the articles states "The plant is believed to be still releasing an average of 10 million becquerels per hour of radioactive material." The quoted 1.1 trillion BQ figure was the result from recent debris removal.

Up to 1.12 trillion becquerels of cesium was dispersed last summer as debris was removed from the battered building of reactor 3 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, with tainted rice later being found in Miniamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, according to Tokyo Electric.

The amount of cleanup and debris handling remaining is immense compared to the work done in this last operation. This means that the impact of future work will be proportionally larger.

Beyond that, the three damaged cores are still not stable or safe. There is no solid information on the state of cores, or even if the core material is in the containment structure. At least one of the cores is believed to have suffered a complete meltdown and become corium.

The already severely damaged reactors are still at risk for future earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons. Any one of these events could result in another large scale radiation event. The Fukushima disaster is not necessarily over. It's just less active.

So go on and giggle over a number. It shows that you have the collective intelligence of a retarded 11 year old.

Comment: Verizon customers are screwed (Score 1) 75

by Required Snark (#47520419) Attached to: Verizon's Offer: Let Us Track You, Get Free Stuff
Not matter what they claim, they will be tracking everyone, whether they sign up or not. I'm sure they already have some slimy lawyer bullshit in the existing terms of service that they can use to justify the practice.

It's not like users will ever know what they are doing. It could be going on right now and no one would be the wiser. Maybe the are rolling this out now because they have been keeping (and possibly using) this data, and they figure that pretending that there is an option available will give them plausible denyability. It would be consistent with their otther behavior.

The (pretend) government oversight agencies are a pathetic joke. The recent "net neutrality" clusterfuck shows that they don't even have to pretend that customers are stake holders or have any say in the matter. The FCC is now a fully owned subsidiary of the telecom industry. The only open question is how the monopolistic spoils are going to be divided. It's no different then gangs controlling their turf so they get all the profit from the various rackets that they run.

So what are you going to do, switch to TimeWarner or Comcast? The difference is the same as paying protection money to the Mafia, the Bloods, or the Crips or ...

Nothing to see here, move along. No capitalism, no democracy, no competition.

Comment: Re:But (Score 1) 110

A turbine is the wrong technology. I think that this would work better with a Sterling Engine. The steam temperature is (obviously) 100C, and the cold side could either be ambient air temperature or water.

The Sterling crank output could drive a generator, and there are some existing Sterling designs that use the linear motion of the pistons as magnets with a coil for electrical generation. The boiling water is a closed loop that is the hot side of the Sterling engine.

This lends itself to a modular design where the water boiling and Sterling power generation are a sealed unit, and you get more power (and protection against single points of failure) by replicating the module. The major limitation of this system is that it only works during daylight hours. Even so, if it has high enough efficiency and low enough manufacturing cost it could be useful for environments without extensive electrical grid infrastructure.

Comment: RTFA: real engineering is going on (Score 4, Insightful) 55

by Required Snark (#47436231) Attached to: A Peek Inside D-Wave's Quantum Computing Hardware
I have no strong opinion about the DWave machine. It might be doing quantum computing or it might be doing classical computing. I don't have the correct background to judge, and there is still a lot of controversy among those who do know this stuff.

However, if you read the article (which I did), they are doing real engineering. They are building very sophisticated superconducting quantum circuits. Their second generation machine has four times the qubits and cycles much more quickly. This is very difficult and advanced work, and they are making it happen.

So why is DWave getting so much flack on Slashdot? Somehow I doubt it's because there are vast number of quantum physics types just waiting to display their deep knowledge whenever the subject comes up. What I see are Slashdot Pundits: hoards of pseudotechnical wanna-be's who pile on with meaningless criticism. The motivation is not to have a useful debate but to pretend to be smart by talking trash. Maybe they impress each other, but from my vantage point it looks like a lot of eight year olds shouting curse words they don't understand and giggling over how cool they are.

Comment: What about the bankers? (Score 4, Insightful) 135

a "continuing criminal enterprise" charge that's better known as the "kingpin" statute used to prosecute criminal gang and cartel leaders.

Given the billion's of $US that various banks have been fined recently, for things like evading US taxes and money laundering for Syria, Iraq, and Somalia, isn't it about time that the legal system give the same treatment to bankers committing these crimes?

Why do they get to pay fines that don't have any real effect? Just look how their stock always go up after they announce a deal. If any individual ever gets fired it's always the low level person who takes the hit, and they all end up going to work for someone else and never face any real problems.

Oh, I just remembered: bribes/campaign contributions along with the revolving door and juicy high paying jobs for former regulators. To bad drug dealers can't have a revolving door with law enforcement.

Comment: Green Card Irony (Score 2) 401

by Required Snark (#47396603) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say
For the1H-B workers, the irony is that as soon as they get their green card, or even eventual citizenship. they face the same job discrimination faced by US residents. As soon as you have a stake in the US, they don't want you as a skilled worker.

American capitalism hates American workers. They put greed above all, even the sustainability of the US economy. Why the hell are we putting up with this?

Comment: Will human technical civilization last that long? (Score 1) 564

Assuming that our current technologically based civilization will prosper that long is not the only possibility.

It is conceivable that global climate change, perhaps with other unforeseen events, could wipe out civilized society. Bye-bye "superior" AIs.

This would be one answer to the Femri Paradox. The reason that we have not detected other technological civilizations is that technology is self destructive. If it develops it doesn't last very long.

Comment: What about everyone else? (Score 1) 178

So they opened a transparency center for governments. What about some transparency for everyone else who uses their software? Or are we going to continue to be left in the dark?

To give some context into user's response to Microsoft's products, Windows 8 market share just decreased. Comparative figures showed that Windows XP share went up. That's right, the just discontinued OS is doing better then they current system.

I can't help but point that this is one of a painful series of mistakes that all happen when Ballmer was in charge. The question for the future of Microsoft is whether he was in command so long that they will never recover.

Comment: Re:Climate Science (Score 1) 305

by Required Snark (#47357985) Attached to: How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?

When you say "politically influenced sciences" you are showing you political bias. You couldn't even finish a complete sentence without substituting opinion for fact.

Climate Science is a part of the physical science. It is subject to all the formal and social controls that other physical sciences are subjected to.

Economics is a part of the Social Sciences. The standards there are generally lower then the physical sciences. There is already an ongoing debate about the acceptable standards for reproducibility, and big changes are in the works. Psychology is already starting a methodological change to address this problem.

Even by current practice Economics is in bad shape. This latest study shows just how pervasive the problem is. It's an intellectually corrupt discipline.

At some level it's not surprising that someone of your dishonest stripe would pick Economics, with it's lack of formal rigor, as a way of smearing actual science.

Go back to your flat earth bible camp and leave the adults to talk about facts.

Comment: It's the Dick Chaney Playbook (Score 5, Insightful) 534

Remember when VP Cheney said he didn't have to comply with record requests because he not in the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branch of government? This is copy of his playbook.

It's become a rather common excuse. These days it is typically mixed up with corporate claims of privacy. Essentially corporate secrecy is used as a way if short circuiting the rule of law. That's how the police departments that use Stingray cell phone interception technology to shred constitutional protections avoid admitting what they are doing: they have a confidentiality clause with the company who makes the device. Same thing with fracking chemicals: they can pump any toxic crap that they want to into the ground because it's a business secret.

So where were all the right wingers when this was going down during the Bush era? You know, the ones who are now claiming that Obama is destroying the constitution? Massive amnesia and/or massive hypocrisy?

(Personally I am furious with Obama because he has continued the blatantly unconstitutional policies of the Bush years, but at least I am not lying through my teeth and supporting one executive while screeching like a stuck pig when a democrat does the same kind of crap.)

Comment: Re:DIAMONDS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY (Score 4, Informative) 112

by Required Snark (#47322505) Attached to: Astronomers Discover Earth-Sized Diamond
Warning: ACTUAL PHYSICS, not typical Slashdot half-assed speculation.

This class of white dwarf stars are a mixture of primarily oxygen and carbon. Depending on the mass the amount of carbon and oxygen are roughly the same, but sometimes there is more oxygen. As the star cools it goes through a phase transition where the core becomes crystallized. This releases heat through two mechanisms: heat of crystallization and the release of gravothermal energy.

The inner crystallized section is enhanced in oxygen. The outer fluid mantel is enriched in carbon. Calling this a diamond is simply wrong. Perhaps at some point in the distant future one of these will cool and part of it will become a form of crystal carbon, but considering that the cooling time without mantle carbon crystallization is on the order of 10 Gigayears, it is not likely this has happened yet considering that the universe is around 13.6 gigayears old.

The Cooling of CO White Dwarfs: Influence of the Internal Chemical Distribution

White dwarfs are the remnants of stars of low and intermediate masses on the main sequence. Since they have exhausted all of their nuclear fuel, their evolution is just a gravothermal process. The release of energy only depends on the detailed internal structure and chemical composition and on the properties of the envelope equation of state and opacity; its consequences on the cooling curve (i.e., the luminosity vs. time relationship) depend on the luminosity at which this energy is released.

The internal chemical profile depends on the rate of the 12C(, )16O reaction as well as on the treatment of convection. High reaction rates produce white dwarfs with oxygen-rich cores surrounded by carbon-rich mantles. This reduces the available gravothermal energy and decreases the lifetime of white dwarfs.

In this paper we compute detailed evolutionary models providing chemical profiles for white dwarfs having progenitors in the mass range from 1.0 to 7 M, and we examine the influence of such profiles in the cooling process. The influence of the process of separation of carbon and oxygen during crystallization is decreased as a consequence of the initial stratification, but it is still important and cannot be neglected. As an example, the best fit to the luminosity functions of Liebert et al. and Oswalt et al. gives an age of the disk of 9.3 and 11.0 Gyr, respectively, when this effect is taken into account, and only 8.3 and 10.0 Gyr when it is neglected.

Comment: Complete lack of US involvement (Score 4, Interesting) 86

by Required Snark (#47297165) Attached to: China Leads In Graphene Patent Applications
Note that the US is not directly involved in any of the major patent holdings. IBM is not really a US company anymore. They are "international". To a great extent they are getting out of the US. A few year ago they stopped listing their employment by country, because they wanted to hide what they were doing. So if there is ever a situation where US interests collide with IBM economic interests then the US will get the short end of the stick.

This is what happens when you let everything get privatized, including basic research. You end up with no stake in the future.

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182