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Comment: Desertec ... (Score 1) 450

by Wastl (#32652552) Attached to: Europe To Import Sahara Solar Power Within 5 Years
There is so much myth and misinformation spread in this discussion, and the original post isn't very helpful either. The whole concept is described here and worked out by a scientific foundation called Desertec. They have thought much beyond the common objections found in this forum. Some common ones:
  • inefficient solar cells: the power plants do not use photovoltaic cells, they are thermal power plants using mirrors to heat up a special heating fluid, very efficient
  • energy storage over night: this problem is addressed by huge salt tanks that can store heat with minimum losses over longer periods of time
  • unstable region: this is North Africa, not Middle East. Also, plants will be distributed over several countries, and energy production is part of a larger plan that does not only involve solar power from Africa
  • single technology: as said, the solar plants are part of a larger concept that also involves many different forms of renewable energy involving a Europe-wide "grid" that connects also with wind power in different parts of Northern and Western Europe and hydro power in the alpine regions of Central Europe

Lots of questions are also answered at Desertec's FAQ

Greetings, Sebastian

Comment: Re:Nuclear power is safe (Score 1) 327

by Wastl (#29382889) Attached to: Lichtblick and Volkswagen To Build 'Swarm' Power Plants
No need to make me aware of other sources of death - dying from Chernobyl radiation in Germany is probably as likely as dying from a terrorist attack.;-) According to other sources (I think it was on Wikipedia), the radiation stemming from Chernobyl for the average European is about as high as the radiation stemming from nuclear bomb tests and as the radiation stemming from regular, non-accident nuclear plants. I am actually regularly buying mushrooms from White Russia, knowing that it has been affected most severely by the radiation after the meltdown. Everything from car accidents over smoking and household accidents is certainly much more likely. Radiation is just a bit more spooky, but there is certainly no reason to panic.

However, this does not change the issue that nuclear energy poses an additional danger to mankind that could be avoided if we instead invested more in other, more environment friendly ways to create energy. I am not in favour of immediately shutting down existing nuclear plants as one of my parent posts suggests ("lights going out ..."). I am however much in favour of treating all fossil energy sources as outdated and putting considerable research efforts in renewable energy sources instead of betting on nuclear energy as the solution to our environment issues (this is IMHO more than stupid). Instead, we are still investing twice as much money in nuclear energy research than in renewable energy research, and we are spending many many times as much in trying to stabilise our oil sources. This is what I am criticising.

Going back to the original article: the environment friendly aspect of this approach is that it actually is a good complement for the renewable energy sources that do not provide a reliable stream of energy. At least for the moment. And therefore it is a nice thing to experiment with it.

Comment: Re:Nuclear power is safe (Score 1) 327

by Wastl (#29381553) Attached to: Lichtblick and Volkswagen To Build 'Swarm' Power Plants

Even though I am thousands of kilometers away, it is still recommended to not eat mushrooms more than a couple of times a year, and I want a better future for my own children.

Are you sure that recommendation is based on good science? Or is it like the Vaccine scare here in the USA about Thermisol? That has parents not vaccinating their kids even with thermisol free vaccines.

There is still a warning of the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection here and here discouraging the consumption of certain very popular types of mushrooms that still have a CS-137 contamination of over 1000 Becquerel per kilogram more than 20 years after the catastrophe and thousands of kilometers away from the site. A single serving of 200g mushrooms will result in a contamination of 0.01 milisievert, equalling a typical long-distance flight. The maximum allowed exposure in Germany is 1 mS alltogether, including X-ray treatment and natural sources.

Comment: Re:Uh? (Score 2, Informative) 327

by Wastl (#29377229) Attached to: Lichtblick and Volkswagen To Build 'Swarm' Power Plants
Since you are working in resources, your interest in and lobbying for fossil/nuclear fuel and FUD on alternative energy sources seems obvious, doesn't it? ;-)

Have you looked at the DESERTEC concept at all? It answers a lot of the issues you are raising with solar energy. True, it is visionary, but it is also backed by several studies and major institutions.

but i know you won't listen to reason, you've been spoon fed this nonsense for years. i'll just wait for your lights to go out.

Where is the "reason" you are offering? I could argue the same "spoon feeding" for your argumentation ("nuclear power is save"). Maybe we Europeans are more careful with such statements, being closer to Chernobyl. Even though I am thousands of kilometers away, it is still recommended to not eat mushrooms more than a couple of times a year, and I want a better future for my own children.

Regarding research spendings I could quickly find this resource, which has a really amazing chart: http://www.solarpowerrocks.com/solar-trends/a-sick-graph-iraq-war-spending-vs-spending-on-renewable-energy/, showing that US research spendings on solar energy are still only half of those on nuclear energy despite the fact that you claim that there is essentially no research on nuclear energy! ; figures are from National Council for Science and the Environment.

Comment: Re:Uh? (Score -1) 327

by Wastl (#29376043) Attached to: Lichtblick and Volkswagen To Build 'Swarm' Power Plants
I cannot here this boring argument about solar, wind and wave being no alternative repeated again and again. The argument does not get better over time. Had we invested a fraction of the research funding that we have given to nuclear power industries into renewable energy research, we would probably already have most of our energy from renewalbe sources.

Nuclear power is inherently dangerous, we do not know how to deal with the waste, the nuclear fossil fuel will last only a couple of decades, and huge power plants are as inefficient as it gets because of the long distances electricity is transported. By contrast, distributed generation of electricity as proposed by the article is much more efficient, because it happens very close to the consumer.

Solar-based energy is technically possible for Europe even with a 24/7 load. The initiative "Desertec" is following this approach, and there are several studies showing the feasability, financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conversation and Nuclear Safety, see http://www.desertec.org/en/concept/studies/ . The reasons why this initiative might still fail are purely political, and for me, this is no excuse.

Comment: Re:Vapourware my arse (Score 1) 135

by Wastl (#22383450) Attached to: Semantic Web Getting Real

For the record; I am a researcher working in the Semantic Web area, and I am primary developer of the system IkeWiki and the reasoning language Xcerpt. Since this discussion seems to pop up again and again on Slashdot, I didn't want to add comments to the same issues (trust, search) again. But your comment might add something new to the discussion:

Without knowing the details of your circumstances, it sounds like, maybe, the real point is that what you want is an object oriented database rather than relational one. RDF allows for much more of an object oriented design than a traditional RDBMS does.

In principle, you are right. But there is an important difference between RDF and Object Oriented Databases: while OO DBMS require that the data always conforms to a strict, pre-defined schema, RDF data is semi-structured and can be very flexibly extended. To give an example: in an OO DBMS, it is a problem if a person is defined only by first name and last name, and someone else wants to add a "friend" relationship to this person that is not foreseen in the schema. With RDF, this is not an issue: programs and repositories that were designed just for first name/last name will equally well work in the presence of a "friend" property. In a Web environment, chaotic as it is, this is a crucial property.

Greetings, Sebastian

Microsoft

Microsoft Segments Linux "Personas" 558

Posted by kdawson
from the facts-based-dialog dept.
RJ2770 writes "Microsoft has started a project for their partners to help identify the personas of different Linux users in an attempt to sway them toward Microsoft products. In addition to the web site there is a podcast on the market research behind the project, again directed at Microsoft's selling partners."
The Almighty Buck

+ - Creative Places to Work

Submitted by DieNadel
DieNadel (550271) writes "The company I work for as a developer pays a good salary and gives me some stability, but it has a total lack of creative work. We mostly spend our days looking into bugs and doing really boring development. I'm therefore looking for a job in a new and more creative environment, but it's hard to figure out a place besides the usual suspects (Microsoft, Google and Apple). So, the place you work at gives you the ability to be creative? Do you know some companies that fit the profile (in the US and Worldwide)? Please let us know their name and how to apply."
Role Playing (Games)

The Quest To Build a Better Warcraft 196

Posted by Zonk
from the better-than-a-mousetrap dept.
Red Herring tackles the rush into virtual space, talking about the MMOG goldrush and the business consequences World of Warcraft has had on the games industry as a whole. Though sometimes it doesn't seem to fully understand the difference between a single player game and a Massive one, the article still touches on a number of important points. Lots of folks are looking to cash in on WoW's success, and they're importing or licensing every Massive game they can find to get on the bandwagon. "The problem is that no one knows what the next WoW killer will look like. Creating a hit video game, which combines strong characters, a compelling story, and top-notch production values, is part art and part inexact science. Making a hit game can be much more difficult than producing an Oscar-winning movie. After all, the hit video game must be compelling enough to keep players coming back for more." Even if a lot of their conclusions are odd, and they call Puzzle Pirates silly, it's worth a look. What do you think it's going to take to crack Blizzard's deathlock on the Massive genre?

Biggest IT Disaster Ever? 405

Posted by kdawson
from the I-can-top-that-one dept.
lizzyben writes, "Baseline has a major story about a major IT disaster in the UK: 'In 2002, the English government embarked on a $12 billion effort to transform its health-care system with information technology. But the country's oversight agency now puts that figure at $24 billion, and two Members of Parliament say the project is "sleepwalking toward disaster"... In scale, the project... (NPfIT) is overwhelming. Initiated in 2002, the NPfIT is a 10-year project to build new computer systems that would connect more than 100,000 doctors, 380,000 nurses and 50,000 other health-care professionals; allow for the electronic storage and retrieval of patient medical records; permit patients to set up appointments via their computers; and let doctors electronically transmit prescriptions to local pharmacies.'" An Infoworld article from earlier this year sketches some of the all-time greatest IT meltdowns.

Funding Cut For Arecibo Observatory 161

Posted by Hemos
from the haven't-they-seen-contact dept.
satorchi writes "In a recent Senior Review conducted by the National Science Foundation, a panel of experts recommended the reduction of funding to Arecibo Observatory, the world's largest radio telescope. Unless other sources of funding are found, Arecibo faces severe cuts in its program, with the prospect of closure around the year 2011. Development of the global project called the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) is cited as a reason to decommission Arecibo, but with the SKA coming online around the year 2020, closure of Arecibo in 2011 is some ten years premature. Until SKA is up and running, Arecibo remains the world's most sensitive radio telescope."

How To Manage a Security Breach? 183

Posted by kdawson
from the how-much-disclosure? dept.
Salvance writes, "A friend of mine has recently been stressed over a security breach at the company he consults for. The company maintains dozens of Windows 98 desktops to support legacy software that cannot be easily replaced. Due to the inherent lack of security in Win98, a worm was able to infiltrate almost every computer and send gigabytes of data (possibly including sensitive company data) to a 'redirector' in Eastern Europe. My friend was working on other security projects at this company and stumbled across this massive hole. He quickly convinced company executives to remove Internet access from all Win98 machines, purchase better firewalls, and implement other data protection strategies. However, the sticking point was client notification. Due to the nature of the legacy systems, there was no way to know what data was transferred. For this reason the company wanted to play it safe and disclose nothing. Of course, my friend is all for disclosure and preventing harmful use of the potentially leaked data. My friend doesn't know what to do, so I'd like to know what others here think."

Hacking the Free "La Fonera" Wireless Router 67

Posted by kdawson
from the wisdom-of-crowds dept.
wertarbyte writes, "FON is still giving away their wireless routers for free in Germany and Austria until Wednesday — under the premise that the devices will be connected and used as FON access points. The router, called 'La Fonera,' is a variant of OpenWRT, but locked down to prevent modification, including a signed firmware image to prevent the upload of new software. It is, however, possible to get shell access by connecting to a serial port present on the circuit board. And now two students from Germany have discovered vulnerabilities in the CGI scripts used to configure the device, and successfully activated an SSH daemon on the device by exploiting them, giving owners a root shell on their router. They also provide a detailed description of the procedure and 'ready-to-use' perl scripts to open up your router."

This is the theory that Jack built. This is the flaw that lay in the theory that Jack built. This is the palpable verbal haze that hid the flaw that lay in...

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