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Comment Re:Where? (from TFA) (Score 1) 121

I had the opportunity to go and see a talk by Dr. Charles Till, he was the director of the Argonne National Laboratory West, and developed the Integral Fast Reactor. A great speaker and very passionate about his work there. I could hear the frustration in his voice still when he talked about their work being shut down during the Clinton Administration, and this talk was in 2013, many years after. I was extremely impressed with how far he pushed everyone to go to actually BREAK their reactor, he wanted near unrealistic safety, and he got it! Every aspect of the reactor had safety as the foremost concern and so much of it became completely hands off, robotic hands to handle nuclear products and stuff. He talked about how every single problem government wanted them to solve, they solved, nuclear waste, proliferation of weapons, etc. All except the cost, but it was shut down in the 90s, the cost would have dropped a lot since then, either with cheaper technology or cheaper engineering.

It really makes me sad--and I can understand his frustration--that this got closed, with those extra years of research who knows how viable nuclear power would be now.

Interview with Dr. Till

Comment Re:Oh boy... Nuclear! (Score 1) 121

That oil, gas and coal still get subsidies is almost unbelievable to me! All the talk of alternative energy, and instead of taking away those subsidies they just give higher ones to renewable energy. It would save governments a lot more money if they reduced those subsidies and cut off the polluting ones.

The bigger problem with Nuclear though, is that they are the only industry that is being held accountable for long term waste. In Canada we have lots and lots of tailings ponds from all sorts of mining, not just fossil fuels, and many of them have NO END LIFE. Last year there was a major break in one of them in BC because the company had been warned for 10 years to upgrade the barriers and they did nothing, the company was content to just leave it there as is until the end of time (or whatever end life that one may have had). Tailings ponds also leak through ground water, albeit very slowly cause of the type of ground they are built over and linings, but they DO leak. Not to mention what natural disaster could effect them and the cost to animals, birds sometimes will swim in them and get poisoned, there are precautions taken for that but it still happens. Why is nuclear waste the only one that has plans for long term storage? "Radioactive" vrs "Chemical" I think the public has been far too desensitized of the word chemical waste that they forget that it can be much more dangerous.

Nuclear power is only high cost because they are playing with a major handicap in that other businesses are not held to the same accountability as them, and maybe not all of them should be but this is the reason it is so expensive.

Comment Re:Unknown energy (Score 1) 72

Thanks for your very informative response. That superfluid calculation is extremely fascinating! For some reason I never thought of superfluids in moons and other objects, I have a tendency to think of that as specifically a man made thing--my bad!

I highly doubt neutrinos would actually be a heating source as well, I was just naming off mechanisms off the top of my head, not being series. As for gamma's, not in any large manner either, I was instead imagining VERY small pockets of heating, melting a small amount of ice. Yeah, not really a moon powering source.

Comment Unknown energy (Score 2, Interesting) 72

and yet again a moon/planet is getting power by some unknown mechanism, Pluto was the other recent find. This is fascinating news! I wonder if it could be a combination of many, many small factors. Physicists (and I am studying it as an undergrad) are very prone to hacking off small factors when calculating things, thinking small factors don't contribute to the overall result, and most of the time they don't. But all the tiny factors like neutrino's, radioactive particles, other stars, gamma rays, etc etc, is there any way that the combined contribution could add up to the energy, or even a part of it, that we are failing to find? The rest of that unknown could be...I don't know, one of those energy's we are still trying to figure out, like Dark Energy or the new evidence for the Z', W' force...

I'm just throwing spit at a wall here cause it's fun. And fascinating.

Comment Re:National Geographic magazine lost all credibili (Score 4, Insightful) 286

It's no surprise to me that same demographic worships at the faux science altars of Mythbusters, Alton Brown, Bill Nye, and Niel DeGrasse Tyson - they want science, but only if it's tarted up, made entertaining, and reduced to sound bites they can pass around like cargo cultists.

I hate this being paroted around like it makes any point at all. It doesn't. You know who like to read science articles? Scientists. And just because a scientist knows physics does not mean they can understand all the jargon of biology, it NEEDS to be explained in a way that by-passes that specialized knowledge. And guess what? Some of us LIKE well written/explained concepts of complex topics, which is something most scientists lack the ability to do well. Most scientists don't take any writing classes and it shows, so if a well written article takes their ideas and explains it better than they can, I will prefer to read that, especially if it's in a field that I don't know well. Saying you don't like NDT or Bill Nye does NOT make you special, it makes you an elitist who doesn't understand that communication skills are an important part of the scientific process. Science does NOT exist in a vacuum, it is entwined in everything; politics, daily life, love, etc. Communicating that part of the world is important, and frankly we need more people that can explain scientific ideas to everyone--yes, other scientists as well--to make a better world.

Sorry if that was not your intended point, but I hear this thing constantly and it really gets under my skin. I study physics but my understanding of biology is, frankly, atrocious; so I rely upon communicators to get a basic understanding of DNA processes. Shows like Quirks and Quarks make up a lot of my understanding of the current work in a lot of fields, hell, even a lot of the complexities of physics I need describes in a way that most scientists can't do.

end rant.

Comment Re:Documentary "Pandora's Promise" Highlighted Fra (Score 1) 484

Dr Charles Till came and spoke at my university. He's the guy who was in charge of the research project in the states to make the safe nuclear reactor in the documentary. He put his heart and soul into that project and had some of the worlds best physicists putting their faith in him. Makes me really sad that the project was cancelled even after they demonstrated that it was the safest reactor ever conceived and they had managed to solve all the problems the nuclear industry had been fighting against.

Comment Re:Actually, you CAN'T do that (Score 1) 65

Interpretations of QM's is not science since they can not be tested (as of yet, I hope it can be some day). However the different models of atoms can and have been tested very well and QCD's has fit the data to an amazing precision. I'm sure there are competing theories but I have never heard of any that fit the data this well. btw, I'm a fan of the many worlds interpretation as well. Took me a long time to come around to it, thought it was just a curiosity at first, but eventually I saw the beauty of it. You don't need to add anything else to QMs it just pops right out of the science.

Comment Re:why- just why? (Score 4, Insightful) 306

You should always look at the funding path. It tells you a lot about the quality of research. In the past 60 years funding towards 'think tanks' has gone into making bad science to combat good science research, all in an effort to move political goals. I'm not saying this particular research is bad, however it is good to know some of the funding came from the NSA.

Comment Re:Dark matter and dark energy (Score 1) 225

Why is parent modded up? Everything stated is wrong. Modified Newtonian Gravity (MOND) has been attempted to explain away dark matter for decades with no success. The Bullet Cluster pretty much put the nail in the coffin of MOND. Dark Matter is the simplest and currently only idea that actually explains all the observations. That's not saying anyone knows what it is but lots of experiments are getting close to getting first glimpses at possibilities.

Comment Re:Price of using scientists as political pawns (Score 1) 342

Scientists should be political, scientists are not separate from the world, nor is science separate from what it is to be a human being. Scientists need to take part in a democracy, and that does not just mean voting, it means participating. They should be sharing science to educate the public on issues, they will have a different perspective even if the science isn't the whole story.

Second point is Fox News can say anything they want for two reasons; they don't have to tell the truth because they and argued that they are an opinion station; 2, the policy on 'balanced reporting' is so utterly stupid. Any issue can be shown to be decisive if they want it to be, get an expert on one side and an 'expert' on the other. It's what they do anytime they talk about climate change.

Comment University (Score 1) 201

I took an astronomy course last semester and haven't given back my keys cause I still may go up there periodically for a comet or maybe to take more exoplanet data. The head of astronomy really encourages participation and made an extra project any volunteers, so if time is willing, I hope to measure the expansion rate of the universe this semester :-)

Comment Already doing this in Physics (Score 3, Informative) 106

Pretty much every physics paper is pre-submitted to arXiv and after it is published in a paper the final copy is again resubmitted. The arXiv archive is there for peer review too, so it goes through two rounds of peer review. This has been the case for a decade now, I don't understand why this hasn't been taken up by other fields by now.

Comment Not only Iron Maiden (Score 1) 246

MP3's have helped so many heavy metal bands gain exposure and allow them to tour. Most metalheads have found new bands by talking with friends and then downloading albums. This in turn gives the band enough exposure to allow them to tour. On tour they actually don't make much per concert, most make about 100-200 which would be losing money. However, at these shows they are able to sell album and merchandise. Can anyone think of another genre that people are so willing to advertise for? There are so many people walking around with metal band t-shirts and hoodies, and, like me, all they own are band t-shirts.

In talking to most of these bands, they are happy you hear of them through downloading MP3's. Most of these bands can't do it for a living, they have regular jobs so they just want their music out there. And every once in a while a band gets enough exposure that can do it for a living. But the only way to get that exposure in through the internet. Hell, you ask any metal band how they found their musical influences and how they find new bands, they'll all tell you they downloaded the music.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau