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Comment Re:Oh No! (Score 1) 172

I know. The problem is that the pro-nuclear slashdotters already think they know what is right and what is wrong before even seriously looking at the scientific literature, just because the "low doses of radiation are harmless", "LNT has been debunked", "there have been only 50 deaths from chernobyl", etc.. myths just fit so well with their prejudices. I believe myself that the radiation risks of nuclear power are quite manageable with good engineering and regulatory oversight, but as a professional scientist I cannot stand when they search for the biggest bullshit on the internet and misrepresent it as the scientific consensus.

Comment Re:Oh No! (Score 1) 172

My point is that you should acquire a bit of scientific literacy yourself, which includes being able to evaluate the quality of information based on its source. Then we can have a serious discussion. Ofcourse, if all you aim for are the cheers of the uncritical pro-nuclear crowd on slashdot, this is not necessary.

Comment Re:Oh No! (Score 1, Informative) 172

If you cherry-pick your sources as you obviously do, you will always confirm you ideas by finding articles like this, but it will usually be one published in a journal with no reputation at all. Both dose-response and Health-Phys are such journals operated by societies with an obvious bias. Dose-response is the journal by the dose-reponse society, formerly known as Hormesis Society which is a collection of "scientists" who think that a little bit of pollution is actually good for you. Needless to say, they get plenty of funding by certain industries. The Health Physics Society essentially became a "labor union for the nuclear industry" (as one of its own founders put it).

Instead, I suggest you try the following strategy: Try to come up with some reasonable keywords, restrict yourself to journals with high reputation (e.g.: Nature, Science, Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, Radiology, etc. ), and then look at all articles which come up. As a first approximation, you can look at impact factor or google scholar metrics if you want to know what journals have a good reputation. You may learn something.

Comment Re:And yet (Score 1) 172

Because, of course, both the IAEA and George Johnson are completely unbiased when it comes to nuclear power...

I honestly don't know about Johnson, but I've often seen guys of his age involved in science such as him to be quite pro-nuclear: quite enough for most to not be particularly thorough when it comes to researching positive outlooks.

I also see that it is very easy to get confused about what the scientific community actually believes about something. Especially if you are not a scientist and already have a bias. The reason is that science is very open and even fringe opinions are tolerated. So if you are looking for a confirmation for a something you believe in you can always find some study in an obscure journal which seems to confirm your idea. For science, this is not a problem because scientists are usually able to judge by themselves whether something is a reliable source of information. But It is a problem for pubic policy. Especially if there are special interest groups who fund those fringe-science communities. For example, this is clearly the case for all these people promoting the questionable idea of hormesis who get (or got) funding from all kinds of industries who want to downplay the risk of pollution (tobacco industry, industries causing air pollution, nuclear industry). Quite a few people and articles mentioned in the article are from this camp. Unfortunately, some pro-nuclear slashdotters fall for this nonsense far too easily. And don't get me wrong: Being pro-nuclear is not an unreasonable position, but believing this pseudo-scientific crap (hormesis, LNT is debunked, etc.) is.

Comment Re:Oh No! (Score 1) 172

The IAEA report on Fukushima is quite clear that no statistical increase in deaths is likely to be observed. Not for adults, children, or offspring.

This may be true, but it is rather irrelevant statement. Additional cancers causes by Fukushima are extremely hard to detect statistically because there are many people who get cancer anyway. For sake of argument, let's just assume Fukushima caused (or will cause) the death 100 people. This would not be detectable at all. Your argument is basically: Because we cannot detect it, it is not there or irrelevant. This is obviously nonsense. 100 dead people are very well a problem. Just be cause we don't "see" something doesn't mean it is not there.

A study from Stanford estimates "130 (15-1100)" mortalities. (Ten Hoeve and Jacobson, Energy & Environmental Science, 2012) But you know this. I told you before.

Interestingly, a tidbit is that the children thyroid exposure at Chernobyl was 1000 times that of a child in the Fukushima district. From what I can find, there is still no observed statistical increase in negative health effects associated with those exposures at Chernobyl.

You are kidding? There was a very obvious increase in Thyroid cancers after Chernobyl. And even conservative estimates are 5000 additional deaths from Chernobyl. And this estimate if for a subset of the population (of all people affected). So this is a low estimate.

Comment Re:The oceans have radically changed before ... (Score 1) 417


But my recommendation is to not just google for stuff which agrees with your opinion. You will always find some "arguments". Numbers how electricity is produced in Germany can be found here:

From that it is very clear that shutting down some nuclear plants did not cause any increase in coal consumption in Germany. I know a lot of pundits claim just that. They are wrong.

Comment Re:Ubuntu does not support hibernate (Score 1) 378

I tend to agree, although I would put the time point later when Microsoft screwed up with Windows Vista and the UI of Windows 7. Just before that time, we had polished and stable Linux distributions which were almost perfect. But then Ubuntu/Gnome/... all screwed up too by giving up all the stability and polishment for rewriting everything related to user interfaces. Since then, I never had a stable and feature-complete Linux desktop which worked well for me. It is just sad.

Comment Re:The oceans have radically changed before ... (Score 1) 417

"Environmentalists" fighting tooth and nail to dismantle carbon-free nuclear generation, and insisting that we can decarbonize with renewables alone will doom the oceans if they have their way

Ah, the "only nuclear can safe us" myth. When looking at this without ideology, one quickly learns that nuclear is simply too expensive. As such, it is not a solution to any problem - investing in nuclear makes the situation worse by wasting resources.

No, you are operating under the myth that we have the time to wait for renewables like solar and wind. We don't, decades of science and engineering are ahead of us.

Renewables are already today more cost effective than nuclear. There is no engineering needed. More engineering will only make it better.

Even then the ability to manufacture sufficient battery (or alternative) storage is unknown.

This is another myth. Renewables can easily be expanded by a significant amount without additional storage. In fact, Germany has a bit of pumped storage which are currently under-utlized today because renewables fit better to the demand curve.

We need nuclear as a bridge. The cost of nuclear is not an issue since we don't have the time.

Ofcourse it is an issue: It prevents us from deploying other more cost effective options.

We need to take coal offline immediately.

Yes, we need to take coal offline quickly.

However the shift to renewables combined with a shift away from nuclear is causing more coal to go online as a backup to renewables (i.e. no batteries or alternatives to store power in). Natural gas too which is admittedly not as bad as coal.

At least for Germany, this is another myth. There was - unfortunately - a shift from gas to coal, but this is a different matter. I also agree that it would have been better to remove old coal plants instead of nuclear plants. But that Germany has added coal because of the shift away from nuclear and as backup for renewables is simply not true.

Comment Re:With those figures ? (Score 2) 131

Libraries of big universities could simply provide the infrastructure to publish (online only) journals. There is not much needed as most of the work is already done by volunteers (reviewers / editors) so this could be really cheap.

The problem is the huge momentum to publish in traditional journals with big impact factor. Young researchers have few options to publish is lesser known journals because this would hurt their careers and most older researchers do not seem to care to much. The problem is that there is no direct incentive because the cost of the libraries to for the subscriptions is shared by all researchers of a university or paid by the tax payer.

The most effective solution is simply for the funding sources to require open access.

Comment Re:The oceans have radically changed before ... (Score 1) 417

Ah, the "only nuclear can safe us" myth. When looking at this without ideology, one quickly learns that nuclear is simply too expensive. As such, it is not a solution to any problem - investing in nuclear makes the situation worse by wasting resources.

But at least, I think that keeping our nuclear plants (it doesn't mean going all-nuclear) is better than investing in coal...

This is certainly true, (although at some point in time nuclear plants get so expensive to maintain that it is not worth any more - the total amount of energy nuclear will provide is negligible in the overall scheme of things).

We often use Germany as an example for "green" power because they do plenty of wind and solar but shutting down the nukes and replacing them with new generation coal plants is probably not the best for our planet.

Germany added so much renewables that the loss of nuclear plants was easily compensated for (from 2010-2014 about 55 TWh (for a year) increase in renewables vs ca 45 TWh reduction in nuclear). Coal was not needed as a replacement for nuclear - which you can also see by the fact that the use of gas went down at the same time by 30 TWh, The planned coal plants were mostly planned a long time ago, and were often replacements for older less efficient plants. But I agree that it would have been better to keep the nuclear plants running longer and shut down coal plants instead - which will also happen - just later.

Comment Re:The oceans have radically changed before ... (Score 3, Insightful) 417

"Environmentalists" fighting tooth and nail to dismantle carbon-free nuclear generation, and insisting that we can decarbonize with renewables alone will doom the oceans if they have their way

Ah, the "only nuclear can safe us" myth. When looking at this without ideology, one quickly learns that nuclear is simply too expensive. As such, it is not a solution to any problem - investing in nuclear makes the situation worse by wasting resources.

Comment Re:Stuff (Score 1) 128

The proof may show that the implementation performs a certain function according to a certain specification. Knowing this rules out a lot of bugs in the implementation. E.g. a sorting function can be shown to return a correctly sorted list. Once you have a formal proof of this property you do not need to worry about any pesky implementation details of this sorting function anymore. The actual implementation could really complicated because it is highly optimized and has many special cases which may make it difficult to ensure correctness only with testing. Design reviews do not help here.

A sine curve goes off to infinity, or at least the end of the blackboard. -- Prof. Steiner