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Comment: Re:my rant... (Score 1) 323

by Rising Ape (#48145621) Attached to: How English Beat German As the Language of Science

Yes that's right, but the Norman words are so well integrated now that most English speakers wouldn't recognise them as foreign. The German ones still tend to look German. I doubt too many people would see this post and know that recognise, foreign, tend, recent, doubt, people and post are loanwords. "Integrate" still has a foreign feel about it though.

NASA

How President Nixon Saved/Wrecked the American Space Program 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-nixon-could-go-to-luna dept.
MarkWhittington writes John Callahan posted an accountof a talk given by space historian John Logsdon on the Planetary Society blog in which he described how President Richard Nixon changed space policy. The talk covered the subject of an upcoming book, After Apollo: Richard Nixon and the American Space Program. Logsdon argued that Nixon had a far more lasting effect on NASA and the American space program than did President Kennedy, most famous for starting the Apollo project that landed men on the moon.

Nixon came to office just in time to preside over the Apollo 11 lunar mission. At that time, the space program was a national priority due to the Kennedy goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. However by the time Neil Armstrong made that first footstep, public support for large-scale space projects had diminished. Nixon, therefore, made a number of policy decisions that redound to this very day.

Comment: Re:BBC content paid for by Brits (Score 1) 363

by Rising Ape (#47869367) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Prescription drug prices in the US market are much higher than the NHS negotiated prices; without the US market and the high amount of US consumer spending on drugs, drug companies would have little incentive to invest in new drugs.

Your own doctors' and hospitals' inability to negotiate a good deal isn't the NHS's fault. You don't really think that if the NHS paid more the drug companies would say "oh well, we'll charge everyone else less", do you? They'll charge as much as they can get away with, just like now.

A more likely reason for drugs being so expensive in the USA is that they spend more on sales & marketing than R&D. How much cheaper would it be if they didn't do that? Don't blame your own dysfunctional system on the NHS "not paying up" because they do, and the companies make a fat profit out of it.

Comment: Re:BBC content paid for by Brits (Score 1) 363

by Rising Ape (#47864097) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

For example, American consumers and taxpayers are paying for most of the medical research that the UK's single payer system would never be able to finance on its own;

What? The NHS pays for is medicines and technology at prices negotiated with the pharmaceutical companies. It doesn't get them for free.

Comment: Re:Reprocessing? (Score 1) 258

by Rising Ape (#47802531) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

The fact that material with less than 2% fissile content can't go critical on fast neutrons is easily calculated by looking at the well measured fission and absorption cross-sections for U-238, U-235 and Pu-239. There's a *reason* why fast reactors use fuel with fissile content of 15%-20%, despite the higher cost of doing so.

Everything that happened at Fukushima can be explained by loss of AC power -> loss of coolant -> decay heat driven meltdown -> containment failure due to containment pressure & temperature beyond design limits. The decay heat is quite large - tens of megawatts for hours to days after shutdown. There's absolutely no need to invoke criticality to explain what happened, and absolutely no evidence that there was any such criticality. And a detector at the gate certainly couldn't provide any such evidence as the cores were and are inside enough shielding to block the neutrons that result from full power operation. You know, to stop the workers from getting radiation poisoning from normal operations. Any neutron pulse large enough to be detected there would have had to come from a fission reaction large enough to pretty much level the entire site and kill everyone nearby.

And before you mention the spent fuel pools again, the fuel in those has been inspected and found to be intact. So no meltdown there.

The weird thing is that my original post was explaining why a particular nuclear solution *wasn't* a quick and easy answer. I'd have thought that'd be the kind of thing you'd agree with.

Comment: Re:Reprocessing? (Score 1) 258

by Rising Ape (#47802265) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

What sort of neutrons do you suppose are involved in a meltdown?

What happens in a meltdown is irrelevant to my original post, which was referring to use of spent LWR fuel in a fast reactor and had nothing to do with meltdowns of any kind. Stop moving the goalposts.

But since you ask - in a meltdown like Fukushima? No neutrons. It was subcritical and the meltdown was caused by decay heat, as was Three Mile Island. Chernobyl was driven by thermal neutrons - it would have been subcritical on fast neutrons alone.

As you would know if you put a fraction of the effort into researching a subject as you do on talking about it.

Comment: Re:Reprocessing? (Score 1) 258

by Rising Ape (#47801073) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

No mistake. I said "You can't just dump spent LWR fuel into a fast reactor - the concentration of fissile material is far too low for it to go critical.". Which is true, without a moderator even fresh LWR fuel won't go critical, let alone spent fuel.

Do you even bother reading comments or just shoot off your anti-nuclear points as often and as fast as you can?

Comment: Re:Reprocessing? (Score 3, Informative) 258

by Rising Ape (#47796485) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

You can't just dump spent LWR fuel into a fast reactor - the concentration of fissile material is far too low for it to go critical.

Reprocessing's been done, but it's quite messy and there's no demand for the recovered fuel. Making MOX is much more difficult and expensive than making standard uranium fuel. It's cheaper, easier and probably safer to just store the spent fuel in dry casks until a suitable disposal site is found. Fortunately, those casks last a long time.

Comment: Re:Public cynicism about fusion (Score 1) 147

by Rising Ape (#47751377) Attached to: Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

If I were king of the world, I'd fund solar heavily because it can do good NOW.

We are funding solar heavily. Something like 37 GW of solar was installed worldwide last year. That's tens of billions spent in one year, more than an order of magnitude more than is spent on fusion development. And that's just for one type of renewable energy. R&D is cheap, deployment is expensive - so it makes sense to fund research into lots of different things in case one of them pays off.

Now, I think that fusion is probably going to be just too tricky - but I might be wrong, and there are helpful spinoffs in superconductor technology, etc.

Comment: Re: American car companies... (Score 1) 426

I'm from Europe myself (well, Britain), so I know about the kind of models we get. It's not clear what "fault rate" means - does this refer to number of faults discovered at legally required inspections (like the UK MOT)? A simple percentage is a bit vague as it doesn't give any indication of how costly the faults are to fix.

I was basing my original comments partly from the figures from here,as that tries to take into account cost of repairs too.

Comment: Re: American car companies... (Score 1) 426

Do you have a link to those statistics? I'd genuinely like to know, because everything I've seen suggests that the German brands are not as good as Ford for reliability these days. Especially BMW, which may be nice to drive but can have some expensive problems (cooling systems that break after 60k miles, high pressure fuel pumps, diesel engine swirl flaps which can come loose and destroy the entire engine...). The Japnnese brands are typically better than both though.

It's debatable to what extent Ford of Europe can be considered American cars anyway - they have traditionally had completely different models and manufacturing plants.

Torque is cheap.

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