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Comment: Re:Lives be damned (Score 2) 174

Can someone enlighten me as to why funky chemicals are needed to break rocks?

They are not needed to break the rocks, but to dissolve the hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are not normally soluble in water, so you need detergents or other chemicals to form an emulsion that can be pumped to the surface. After the hydrocarbons are separated, the "funky chemicals" are mostly recycled and pumped back down the hole. But they are temporarily stored in holding ponds, which can leak if not properly sealed. Some of the chemicals also leak because of bad seals on the pumps and pipe joints. It is unlikely that there is leakage directly from the shale, so the groundwater contamination is not an inherent problem with fracking, but rather with sloppy practices and corner cutting.

Comment: Re:News? (Score 1) 278

by ShanghaiBill (#49621405) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

many users inexplicably believing that programming requires a "special mind", dividing people in to two groups: "can program" and "can never program".

This is not "inexplicable". It is obvious to anyone who has taught programming to beginners, or any type of introductory abstract math. About a third of the population is simply incapable of abstract reasoning. If you think otherwise, I invite you to come to my house, and I will give you a free dinner while you explain "vectors" to my 15 year old daughter. Good luck with that.

Comment: Re:News? (Score 1) 278

by ShanghaiBill (#49621313) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

I mostly see the 'U' view of things in younger west coast programmers with fat wallets and a superiority complex

I am a west coaster, and have never heard of the "U" shape myth, and what you say makes no sense. What the "U" shape means is that there are many bad programmers, many great programmers, and almost no average programmers. Believing that greatness is common is the opposite of a "superiority complex".

I doubt that the "U" myth existed before the author of TFA made it up.

Comment: Re:Warp drive? (Score 1) 304

by ShanghaiBill (#49616483) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

Warp drive would involve fielding to warp space, not seeing the connection with this device.

If this device actually works, it means everything we think we know about physics is wrong. At that point, all bets are off, and anything may be possible. FTL travel is widely believed to be impossible, because mass approaches infinity as velocity approaches light speed. But if momentum isn't conserved, then we may be able to blow right through that limit. This is just like back in 1989, when cold fusion was first announced. The possibilities are endless.

Comment: Re:The 30 and 40-somethings wrote the code... (Score 0) 500

by ShanghaiBill (#49615651) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

What I find ironic is that the people who wrote the basic items that are taken for granted, be it the Linux kernel, apache, the HTTP protocol, the IP protocol, Mosaic and its derivatives... are all people likely over 40+.

Sure, but those guys aren't hunting for jobs in the classifieds. By the time a programmer is 40+, they should have a deep network of friends and ex-co-workers, and can quickly find a new job based on their reputation. If they can't, and are instead replying to your Dice ad, then the odds are high that they are a turd.

Comment: Re:"The Ego" (Score 5, Funny) 517

by ShanghaiBill (#49613137) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

How big is her ego exactly? Can you express it in Donald Trumps? (The standard measure of ego size.)

Wrong. The standard unit of ego is the microtrump. A full trump is way too big for any practical use. That would be like expressing the power of your lawnmower motor as 1.2e-34 solar outputs.

Comment: Re:"The Ego" (Score 4, Insightful) 517

by ShanghaiBill (#49613047) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

She's also always wrong.

This is the key issue. Some of the other candidates have demonstrated competence in executive management, and others have a legislative record, but it is unclear if they have the skill and talent to make a good president. What sets Carly apart is an unambiguous record of failure and incompetence in everything she has ever done.

Comment: Re:Yawn. (Score 3, Informative) 58

I get the impression they were trying to make her a more major character... However she had some personal issues that got in the way.

She said that she was not given a more prominent role, and was eventually removed from the series, because the producers wanted Kirk to have romantic relationships with different women in each episode, to make the show more interesting. So she was written out.

Comment: Re:Looks like the prophet's gunmen (Score 2) 1008

by ShanghaiBill (#49611585) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

So, how many people died when an artist showed his masterpiece of a crucifix in a jar of piss?

There were some protests about Piss Christ, but they were not directed against the artwork itself, but rather protesting that the NEA, a taxpayer funded organization, was (indirectly) involved.

Comment: Re:The nature of any polygamous religion (Score 5, Interesting) 1008

by ShanghaiBill (#49611467) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

One of the biggest problems in any polygamous society is getting rid of young men. Every man with 4 wives leaves 3 angry, young, horny men in his wake who got no wives.

This is not only a problem in polygamous societies, but also in countries with gender selective abortions, including China and India. There are already more than 10 million "missing" women in China, and the problem will get far worse in the next decade, as millions and millions of young men reach maturity to find there are no women available. This is very likely to have a destabilizing effect throughout East Asia, since unattached young men tend to support political leaders who advocate nationalism, militarism, and confrontation.

Comment: Re:Price won't come down (Score 5, Interesting) 297

by ShanghaiBill (#49608457) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Do we get fresh water with that lithium extraction?

Desalination plants work with reverse osmosis, which converts seawater to freshwater, with concentrated brine as a by-product. That brine is a better starting point for lithium extraction than seawater, so, yes, they could be co-produced.

But extracting either from seawater does not really make any sense. Some mid-east countries desalinate so they can pursue idiotic schemes to grow wheat in the desert, when they could just buy wheat for far less. California has a few desalination plants, because of dumb policies that vastly inflate the cost of water to urban consumers, while subsiding the delivery of rainwater to farmers growing rice and cotton in the desert.

Likewise, lithium from seawater is not economical, and is unlikely to be so in the foreseeable future. It is better to extract it from salt deposits, or existing brine pools. But the seawater extraction cost is a clear ceiling on the price of lithium, and negates any prediction of a lithium supply crisis.

Comment: Re:Price won't come down (Score 5, Interesting) 297

by ShanghaiBill (#49608271) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Model S battery pack uses 25kg of lithium.

Lithium costs $6/kg. So that 25kg costs $150, or about 0.2% of the cost of a Tesla Model S.

the price of lithium will skyrocket

There are 230 billion tonnes of lithium in the ocean. It can be extracted from seawater for about $20 per kg, with current technology. That is about 3 times the current price, but would still represent only a fraction of 1% of the cost of an electric car, and a modest portion of a home battery system. New technology could push the price of seawater extraction below the current world price. Lithium will not be a bottleneck.

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