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Comment Re:What an incredibly stupid idea... (Score 1) 77

Well, my life probably has about 45-50 years left, so possibly. But the current lot of EVs don't seem spectacularly better than the EV1 of the 90s. A bit better, yes, but rather less than I'd hope for nearly 20 years of development. And here's nothing obvious in line to replace the diesel engine there in big trucks or big ships, or the jet engine in aircraft. I think it's more likely than not that I'll die before the combustion engine does.

Comment Re:What an incredibly stupid idea... (Score 1) 77

While it certainly seems unlikely to work, if it did then it would be useful to reduce the battery capacity needed on board the vehicle. Enough batteries for 300 miles of range doesn't come cheap, and is the main reason why EVs are niche vehicles for enthusiasts rather than the standard.

Comment Re:Criteria from TFA (Score 1) 138

Background exposure is rather different to the type of exposure the workers got at the plant. Most background exposure can't even penetrate the outer layer of the skin.

In which case it's not exposure, and not counted. Background exposure can come from inhaled alpha emitters (e.g. radon), beta emitters in food, external gamma from rocks etc. It's not qualitatively different from what the workers were exposed to in terms of effects.

It's also worth pointing out that where background levels are high, much of it is often due to radiation from the sun, and that is actually quite dangerous if you get too much exposure, especially if you have white skin.

It's dangerous because of UV, which doesn't count as ionizing radiation in this context and isn't included in the "background radiation" measurements.

The exposure that the workers got involved material like caesium, which got inside the bodies and can't easily be removed. When treated for cancer it was possible to examine blood or tumours that were removed and see these particles in them, indicating the source of the DNA damage that lead to cancer.

No, all it shows is that these substances were present, not that it was the cause of the cancer. There's no way to link a specific cancer to a specific cause. You can say it's highly likely if we're talking about a cancer almost entirely caused by one thing (such as mesothelioma), but that's not the case for leukemia.

Now, it's true that there may be cancers caused by the accident in the cleanup group. But nevertheless, most cancers among those people will be unrelated to the accident, just because cancer is sadly common.

Comment Re:Home depot sells similar devices (Score 1) 229

Yes, but what's the *point*? So you trick someone into destroying their computer... what does that gain you? It's not as though you can steal data or install malware that way (unless the idea is that they then throw their computer away and you "rescue" it. But that's a stretch.)

Comment Re:My ever shrinking HADRON (Score 3, Insightful) 52

The limitation for the LHC energy is the strength of the bending magnets, and for electron synchrotrons the limit is synchrotron radiation (which increases with the fourth power of energy, so more power in won't get you much further). It's not obvious how this can improve circular accelerators.

Comment Re:The kilogram is based on a chunk of metal? (Score 1) 278

The US doesn't even use the Imperial system, as it wasn't standardised until after the USA gained independence. So with imperial units, "a pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter", but the US saying is "a pint's a pound the whole world round" (hah!).

And then there's the mess of Troy vs avoirdupois weights. At least everyone agrees on what a kilogram is (well, the definition anyway).

Imperial/US/other traditional measures aren't more convenient for everyday living, they're just more familiar.

Comment Re:Ooh Oopsie (Score 1) 518

The xkcd author should stop putting his words in the mouth of a dead scientist in an attempt to give them more weight.

Without rigour, you can easily make experiments that show that homeopathy, water divining, ESP and perpetual motion machines are valid. As is most likely the case in the example of this article. An experiment without rigour is no more scientific than an anecdote.

Comment Re:Is FORTRAN still winning? Was Re:Poor Alan Kay (Score 1) 200

Maybe according to the strict F95 standard it's not allowed, but I've done it. I think it was officially introduced in F2003 (or some TR that I forget) but compilers supported it even before then. Similarly for allocatable dummy arguments to subroutines.

Not to say there aren't some weird quirks with Fortran arrays, like how if you pass an allocatable array to a subroutine where the dummy argument is not allocatable then it *must* be allocated, even if the subroutine isn't going to touch it.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito