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Comment: Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (Score 1) 339

by Will.Woodhull (#48174601) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

So there can be no such thing as climate science then?

If reproducibility is a criterion of science in one field, then you must apply it to every other "scientific" field. So you would be wise to evaluate the semantics of your statements.

Cold fusion seems improbable. But to say it is impossible is to step beyond the limitations of science.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 1) 463

by Will.Woodhull (#48155983) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

Yes, you are expressing an alternative view, and you are certainly welcome to do that. I do not welcome your attempt to shout down any disagreement with your personal world view, but I recognize that is a not uncommon irrational response when something about your world view is important, and you cannot think of a rational response. There is a four year old in each of us.

The "facts" you cite are disputable. Some of them are just plain wrong. For instance, this is not the same virus as "what has been around since the 70s"; this is a new variant.

You demonstrate a lot more faith in the first world's ability to meet a possible global pandemic than I personally think is reasonable. How much of that faith is hubris? No need to answer; hubris is one of those labels that can only be applied after a disaster. By its very nature, hubris is blind to itself.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 1) 463

by Will.Woodhull (#48155657) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

Perhaps the terms are used differently in different parts of the world. Hmm. Not so easy to show what I mean given Slashdot's limited HTML subset. Here goes:

When I say geometric, I mean each successive term is the same multiple of its previous term.

When I say exponential, I mean each successive term is the previous term raised to some power.

Let Qn be the quantity on the nth day, and C be some constant value. then

In a geometric progression, Qn+1 = Qn * C, such as (when C = 2)

00002, 00004, 00008, 00016, 00032, ...

In an exponential progression, Qn+1 = Qn ** C, such as (again when C = 2)

00002, 00004, 00016, 00256, 65536, ...

I'm using leading zeroes to keep the digits nicely lined up, so each nth term is in the same column in both series.

With regard to the ebola situation, it might well be that the geometric constant will be a higher value than 2 while the exponential constant is a smaller value than 2. Say the geometric increases at 3 while the exponential increases at 1.7. Then (rounding to nearest whole number)

0000003, 0000009, 0000027, 0000081, 0000243, 0000729, 002187, ... (geometric, C=3)

0000002, 0000002, 0000005, 0000014, 0000084, 0001871, 365155, ... (exponential, C=1.7)

I think that shows how dismal Malthus' mathematics is. We need a breakthrough, like the impact the internal combustion engine had on food crops. But you just can't plan on miracles happening when you need them. That isn't part of the human condition.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 2) 463

by Will.Woodhull (#48149671) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

Hold on to that optimistic viewpoint as long as you can. We do not need to incite panic here.

But recognize that the ebola death curve is exponential. Production and distribution of vaccines, and of antibodies by transfusion, is at best geometric, and more likely linear.

It will likely be possible to provide immunity to select communities of several hundred thousand souls. But there are more than seven billion humans on this planet and the math for a good general solution to ebola just will not pencil out. Unless there is some miraculous breakthrough in some medical laboratory in the next three or four months, ebola is going to have a global impact: short of carpet bombing a big chunk of west Africa with nukes it will probably get loose. And the impact of an ebola pandemic will ripple through your neighborhood, even if your city is immunized and the nearest case is several thousand miles away.

This is not panic mongering. But this is a fast moving disease, and some of the persons who read slashdot need to be aware of its realities and we cannot afford to let them live in a fairy tale world. These are the forward-thinkers who can find ways to help us soldier on to what may be a post apocalyptic world.

At this point the question for these persons is not whether ebola is going to affect your personal life. The questions are how might it affect you, personally, and what could you start doing soon to mitigate that impact? Because saving as much of your own future as is possible is likely going to improve every other survivor's future as well. It's kind of a FOSS-like thing.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 1) 463

by Will.Woodhull (#48149215) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

So don't ever again go to a hospital. Because they are again becoming the places of death.


Well, something to think about. That elective procedure you were thinking of having done during Spring Break or Summer vacation? It might be wise to reschedule it for the upcoming December break, before ebola makes things crazy busy at the hospital.

There is currently no effective test to tell whether a person's presenting symptoms are from ebola or from the flu. None seem likely in the near future. That means a lot of persons are going to be quarantined during the next flu season. Including-- most especially including-- hospital staff who may have unwittingly come into contact with ebola. Or maybe the flu shot just didn't work for them. Who can tell? How much risk is the hospital going take, and when will high absenteeism become the norm as staff make their own decisions about level of risk?

I'm not a conspiracy theory kind of guy. I enjoyed the movie, but I think that conspiracy theorists do not have all their oars in the water. Yet if any movie writer set out to design a disease that would break hospitals and healthcare systems, it would probably look a lot like ebola.

Comment: Re:No mention on capacity though (Score 1) 395

Currently high energy flywheels are better suited to stationary installations. Typically the containment enclosure is more massive than the flywheel. IIRC, NYC uses these to store juice from regenerative braking on subways as part of its load leveling.

I would think that freight trains would be a good mobile application for flywheel power. You could probably put several on a freight car in a common containment enclosure, each gimballed so the gyroscopic forces would not be a problem. The amount of energy from regenerative braking while the train descended from the Bakken oil fields to Gulf of Mexico refineries would be significant. At a guess, more than enough to power the pumps that move the crude from the tank cars to the storage tanks. If you could capture a large enough fraction of the braking energy, you would have enough power to send the empty train back to the oil fields. But that is probably unrealistic.

+ - Wanted: ebola-proof suits and/or terrestrial robots 1

Submitted by Will.Woodhull
Will.Woodhull (1038600) writes "An open letter to the greatest philanthropists of our time:

Ebola is going to be an increasingly important thing in our lives for at least a couple of decades. An infection with a +70% mortality rate that is on an exponential growth curve is not going to be contained and eradicated any time soon. We are going to live with it, and some of us are likely to die from it, for years to come

We need something similar to a spacesuit to replace the protective garments that care givers are currently wearing. The suit needs to be immune to agents that can be used to assure disinfection of all its exposed surfaces. For instance, the wearer might need to be able to walk through an intense microwave chamber, or a massive bon fire, and probably through fog chambers of antivirus chemicals without being affected, and without destroying the suit's re-useability. The suit would also need to provide a good interior environment, including cooling, sip tubes for hydration and feeding, etc. Last, it should be bullet proof, since in many environments where it would be used there would be persons who would be willing to kill for the apparent advantages the suit might seem to provide. Finally, it needs to be mass produced: everyone involved in healthcare delivery should have one at hand.

Any well built ebola proof suit is likely to be a good basis for designing a spacesuit. Even in the unlikely event that we find some way to get rid of ebola in the next few months, the work done on the ebola suit would be of benefit.

Would someone like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Warren Buffet take this project on? We need these suits-- like literally yesterday when you think of the number of health care providers who have died from ebola, and some of those deaths have even been among persons who have the best possible gear now available, and the very best training in how to use it."

Comment: Re:whether metric or not, distance per volume rulz (Score 1) 402

Well said. It is all about RANGE: how many miles one can go on a gallon of gas. That is a measure of range. Whereas liters per 100 km or fluid ounces per mile is about engine efficiency, and has to be converted to be used in range estimations.

Comment: Re:metric you insensitive clod! (Score 1) 402

The figure we're discussing is far more useful for comparing efficiency of engines over long periods and types of trips and less useful to answer the "do I have enough fuel for specific trip X" question.

Yes, precisely. You have made my point very well.

In daily use, the MPG of YOUR vehicle the way YOU drive is the more useful measure. Only on those rare occasions-- maybe 2 or 3 times per decade-- is a measure of l per 100 km going to be useful to you.

Comment: Re:whether metric or not, distance per volume rulz (Score 1) 402

The places I want to go are NEVER on the direct route between A and B. Oregon sunstones are more than 70 miles from the nearest gas station, and the last 30 miles are gravel. That's 140 miles of poor gas milage with no chance for a fill up.

Back roads to trail heads at Paulina Lake, into the Strawberry Mountains, or the fossil beds are even worse.

Once you get out of Mama's basement, there is a wonderful world out there to explore. Using MPG rather than some other fuel consumption measure makes those explorations just a little bit easier.

Comment: Re:And systemd had nothing to do with it. (Score 1) 267

by Will.Woodhull (#48092551) Attached to: GNOME 3 Winning Back Users

I'm pretty happy with the XFCE on Ubuntu Studio. There is a lot of Gnome and KDE under the hood, as dependencies of specific apps that I favor, but that doesn't seem to be increasing my render times or anything (rendering CG in Blender is my most demanding work).

That said, I'm toying with the idea of trying the newest Gnome GUI. I liked Gnome. I hope they have it working again.

"Right now I feel that I've got my feet on the ground as far as my head is concerned." -- Baseball pitcher Bo Belinsky