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Comment: Re:Insurance? (Score 1) 98

by Rei (#49823191) Attached to: Cool Tool: The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator

Quite a few of us how have them, yes and that includes "environmentalists". Sure, they're not without their problems, environmentally, but they have a quite a few upsides as well.

What sort of environmentalists have you been hanging around with? Environmentalist opposition to dams is so well known that "blowing up dams" is one of the cliche stereotypes of "eco-terrorists".

The aspect of Price-Anderson that people complain about is that the US government foots the bill for the vast majority of costs in the event of a catastrophic accident.

Sure, but what I was pointing out (in a roundabout way), is that the same is effectively true of any large scale infrastructure system, especially when it comes to power generation on a massive scale. Doesn't matter if the cost comes from a hydro electric dam that fails, or a coal ash slurry dam failure, or a major oil spill, or indeed a release of radio nucleotides.

What on Earth are you talking about? Did the government foot the bill after the Deepwater Horizon incident? After any of the coal ash slurry failures? Of course not, the companies responsible did, and it cost them an utter fortune. The difference here is that unlike with nuclear power, their liability is uncapped. With nuclear power, the liability in the case of catastrope is a cost borne by taxpayers.

If that much money is at stake there are many ways for those that earn money off of the business to protect themselves from damage. Bankruptcy is always cheaper than insurance.

Which is why BP and the coal mining companies responsible are now bankrupt?

And FYI, industries carrying major risk are effectively required to have what amounts to insurance against those who go bankrupt. It's called Superfund, and it's supported by taxes on polluting industries - a "polluter pays" principle. Price-Anderson is based on a "public pays" principle. The money to cleanup in the event of a major nuclear disaster (over $12B) doesn't even come from a levy on the nuclear power industry. In fact, there is no money there for such a cleanup, the government is just supposed to come up with it if it happens. Fukushima for example is expected to cost over $100B in direct cleanup costs alone, let alone the much larger potential liability for claims.

So, it doesn't matter if the nuclear industry doesn't have insurance, since many/most other human endeavours on that scale doesn't either.

Um, yes they are. You mention Deepwater Horizon. Are you unaware that it was insured, with liability coverage?

To wit the Exxon Valdes spill and the legal aftermath. It didn't seem to hurt Exxon nearly as much as it did Prince William sound.

To wit, once again, the company didn't go bankrupt. They minimized the cost through a very effective legal campaign, of course. The government did not socialize the damages; it remained their responsibility to pay them. The fact that they managed to weasel out of having to pay a lot of what they should have paid doesn't change who the responsible party was. Nor does it make it logical that the solution to companies like Exxon weaseling out of payments is to have the government assume liability for major disasters and let those who caused them off the hook.

Comment: Bug the manager to get it fixed (Score 1) 407

by tepples (#49822959) Attached to: FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband

Wallmart and places used to have terminals setup in store for this but those are long gone - or still sitting there broken and never fixed.

Then be a squeaky wheel. Call the manager daily and recite the following script each time: "Hi, my name is [name], and I am interested in working at [address of store]. I noticed that the employment application terminal at that store was out of service on [date of last visit]. Has it been fixed yet?"

Comment: Subscription is broken (Score 1) 105

by tepples (#49822739) Attached to: Facebook Now Supports PGP To Send You Encrypted Emails

Slashdot used to offer HTTPS to subscribers, at a price of half a cent per page view (source: FAQ). But the subscription page is not only well hidden but also unavailable: "Buying or gifting of a new subscription is not available at the moment." The reason it was for subscribers only was that most advertising networks were HTTP-only, and browsers would block HTTP ads in HTTPS pages as "mixed content". Only in the past couple years did ad networks start to offer HTTPS.

Comment: StartSSL issues free S/MIME certs (Score 1) 105

by tepples (#49822649) Attached to: Facebook Now Supports PGP To Send You Encrypted Emails

CA-issued keys typically cost money

StartSSL issues individual S/MIME certificates without charge.

PGP is hardly common as it is, but it's likely more so than S/MIME.

Perhaps it's uncommon because its proponents have failed to give a clear answer to this question: If someone doesn't regularly fly to key signing parties, how should he get his PGP key signed into the strongly connected subset of the web of trust?

Comment: Re:Essential? really? (Score 1) 407

by tepples (#49822101) Attached to: FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband

County libraries near me are open until 6pm MWF

So how should someone who gets off work at 5:00 catch a bus there and have time to do any substantial self-education or search for a better job? Using the Internet only on Tuesday evenings and Thursday evenings isn't very helpful because potential employers who send a message on Friday morning usually expect a reply before Tuesday night.

along with all day Saturday

The county library branch near me is closed on Saturdays from late May through the end of August. (Source:

Comment: Re:Thorium (Score 1) 98

by Rei (#49822087) Attached to: Cool Tool: The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator

The Soviets were hardly unique in terms of bad reactor design. Have you seen the design used for the British Windscale plant? It makes you want to hit your head against a wall when you read it. They literally just stuck canisters of fuel into holes in the wall, hit them in by hand with ram rods, and hoped that the old canisters would fall out the back into a narrow trench of water. The designers got mad and nearly derailed it when one physicist wanted to put a really trivial pollution scrubber on the stack; they taunted him over it afterwards for wasting money. Now, saying "canisters" makes it sound fancier than they were, they were basically glorified aluminum cans full of highly flammable uranium, stuck into a hot reactor. Then they changed their fuel mix that they put inside without redoing any of the engineering. Including having them full of more flammable stuff like lithium and magnesium metal. And then they cut off the cooling fins from the canisters. Their monitoring was so poor that when the system inevitably caught fire they didn't notice it for days. They then went down there and started poking around in a hole with the ramrod; it came out covered in molten uranium.

Chernobyl was a paragon of safety compared to Windscale.

"Our reruns are better than theirs." -- Nick at Nite