Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Comment: Re:Storage (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49178851) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

"All it takes is the one company that is designing and building the installation to hide the real issues and, because it is "green", the installation get built. No conspiracy necessary."

That IS a conspiracy, because it assumes the company can hide that from everyone, or keep it hidden from everyone. It assumes the company has an extraordinary power to prevent any external focus or criticism, and they can keep every environmental aspect of the plan firmly under their control. It would require that the company can deny all access to the proposed area to prevent anyone having a look to see what species are there, and to see what might change, or if they do, having the power to silence them. This is frankly nonsense and the proposed Severn barrier not so far away was evidence enough that there's enough people in the area willing to examine the impacts and as I said already, guess what? they're really not concerned by them - it's not the company making the proposal saying that, it's the very people that have scrutinised the proposal saying okay, where the same people have said no to numerous other previous projects in the region. That means there is a conspiracy and they've all been bought off or silenced, or it is what it is - they're actually okay with it and see no real impact.

"Lets throw another variable into the grid balancing act. Engineers on individual production projects just don't care what issues they cause the grid and that is a problem."

Again, where is the evidence for this? Have you got evidence that we've had cases of too much power or too little power for the grid to handle? The only issues we've seen on the grid have been the unexpected shutdown of numerous base load plants due to a series of unfortunate events at those reactors, but even with that shutdown of a number of major plants we're still doing fine.

Tidal isn't unpredictable like wind, it's incredibly predictable, so factoring it into the grid is far easier. In fact, it's even more predictable than hydro, because even hydro can suffer drought or heavy rainfall problems- the seas levels and tidal patterns remain far closer to constant.

Comment: Re:5% Gross is a terrible deal (Score 1) 142

by Xest (#49173499) Attached to: Unreal Engine 4 Is Now Free

Right, but none of that stops it being a potential driver issue. Depending on how the data is passed to the card some cards might cough and others might not.

I'm not saying it isn't badly written either, it may well be a bit of both or just badly written by itself in such a way that certain systems struggle, but I'm saying that I can play it find on my relatively old and low powered computers even with bumped up draw distances and a decent resolution, whilst I'm well aware that others with more powerful PCs see their machines struggle, whilst some do not.

If clones work fine all that tells us is that they're written differently. Maybe they are written better, maybe whilst they work on your system well they wont work on mine, I've no idea and nor am I particularly bothered enough to dig too deeply into it.

But I was just making the point that whilst your point is well known, well documented and certainly fairly widespread, that it doesn't effect everyone, and last I checked the jury is out on whose at fault because no one has managed to find the root cause and explain why it's fine on some systems and not others seemingly without system capabilities being in any way relevant to why.

Comment: Re:What price is acceptable? (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49172229) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

Yes, you're right, the problem here in the UK is indeed overcrowding more than anything, but the problem is that it doesn't take £50bn to solve the problem and that £50bn is being spent such that it wont solve the problem.

For example, the line connecting the UK's 3rd and 4th biggest cities (Leeds and Sheffield) still isn't fully electrified, so you've got this absurd situation where it takes 50 minutes to travel the roughly 30 miles between them on 40 year old diesel trains that regularly break down, sometimes on the part of the line that is electrified and carries the East Coast mainline traffic to London delaying more major transit routes. This problem is repeated in other parts of the country like some of the lines around Manchester.

Then with HS2 itself you've got the further problem that it's not even clear what it achieves. You can save half an hour in practice from London to Sheffield for example, but the Sheffield stop will be at an out of town shopping centre from where it'll take you 30minutes (including walking/waiting time) to get a connecting tram, taxi, bus or train back into the centre meaning you lost any benefit of the increased speed. When the project was originally proposed there were two times listed - the theoretical maximum if the new trains ran full pelt from A to B with no stops and the actual times in practice with stops at each station. Nowadays all mention of the actual times have been deleted and only the theoretical times are mentioned by the government, but they're bullshit and will never ever be achieved in practice.

The issue is the busy lines aren't the East Coast line and the Sheffield - St Pancras Line - I've caught these many a time working between Leeds, Sheffield and London both off-peak and on peak. I've never once seen them full, and the only time people have ever had to stand for a few stops is when you've had a cancelled service and everyone's had to pack onto one train. Where we have actual persistent overcrowding is on the relatively short-haul intercity commuter lines.

So it's not clear what exactly HS2 is trying to do, it's a phenomenal amount of money to give you no real time benefit due to requiring new out of town stations from where you have to get back into town whilst failing to resolve any actual practical overcrowding problem and capacity isn't currently an issue on the existing route it will cover (any current capacity spikes, and future needs can be dealt with by simply eliminating or reducing cancelled services, and by putting more trains on the existing lines- there's still plenty of scope for that).

You could resolve the real local commuter overcrowding problems with only hundreds of millions - it's widely known what needs doing and relatively cheap and easy to do. Instead we're blowing £50bn on a boondoggle that solves no actual problems in practice.

There are some major rail projects that make sense- Birmingham to London does need major work to speed it up, but for the rest of the North, like Sheffield and Leeds it's mostly just electrification and maybe a few Sheffield line / East coast line trunk line to connect the two in case of idiots on the line or similar major delays (though I'm still convinced idiots on the line is better solved by sticking meat grinders or chainsaws on the front of the trains).

Finally as I say though, even if HS2 was the right choice, there's still the glaring question of quite how they're managing to make it cost many multiples more than things that are far bigger, more complex projects requiring far more expensive materials and far greater logistics. For the price of HS2 we can have two cutting edge nuclear power stations, two multi-acre aircraft carriers and still have change left to ensure every single household in the UK has fibre optic broadband. Whatever the merits of the project - if the MoD which is known for it's inefficiency can manage far more complex projects for a fraction of the price then something is very wrong with HS2.

Comment: Re:5% Gross is a terrible deal (Score 1) 142

by Xest (#49171221) Attached to: Unreal Engine 4 Is Now Free

I think the problem with Minecraft performance is probably more to do with some incompatibility between JNI and some hardware drivers to be honest.

The reason I say that is that Java is perfectly capable of running a game like Minecraft well, and because I've never seen any performance issues in Minecraft even on my now 7 year old PC, or my 3 year old laptop but I am fully aware that some people have issues with it.

Minecraft performance problems certainly don't seem to be global and that's why it has to be down to some kind of hardware incompatibility somewhere along the line.

Comment: Re:130 hour weeks and "people first"? (Score 1) 167

by Xest (#49171075) Attached to: Marissa Mayer On Turning Around Yahoo

Yes, it basically means she never washed, and so was incredibly unhygienic, she never ate and so was suffering from severe malnutrition, or never slept which meant she was suffering the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation.

It has to be one of these things, because no one is super-human and can actually live under those conditions and still be healthy and useful.

So even if she did "work" for 130 hours, she'll have been a horrendous employee to have around, either smelling like crap and likely always getting ill or being permanently tired and unable to focus on anything.

If someone told me they did 130 hours a week I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole, having someone that unhealthy on your team would be a massive liability.

Comment: Re:Can scale back fossil fuel based generation ... (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49171023) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

Again, like what? People are saying it'll have an impact without explaining what that impact is and providing any evidence. This covers a relatively tiny section of the tidal zone, and even then doesn't in any way destroy the section it does touch only changes it somewhat. It creates a habitat much more similar to places like Spurn Point.

There's no evidence that just the couple of miles affected will have a net negative impact on any particular species, and it's clear that the increase in ecosystem diversity will create an inherent increase in biodiversity creating a more healthy ecosystem as a whole.

Comment: Re:Storage (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49170153) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

"Because many of these actual professionals just want the investment money so they can line their pockets."

That's just conspiracy theory though. If it's true then how do we ever get anything done ever? If everyone is just making stuff up for money then why is the world not in tatters? If your suggestion is that this industry is more prone to this, then I'd love to see some evidence for it.

Most likely engineers in this field are like engineers in every field and they do it because they enjoy solving problems, and would like to solve this problem as much as any other. I doubt they're any more a bunch of lying cut-throats just out for cash than in any other field.

"Maybe the wool has bell pulled over their eyes by professionals."

Again though why in this case when they were so able to see through similar bullshit in every other case from the badger cull through to the Severn tidal barrier project? Are you suggesting the environmentalists just lost all ability to think rationally, research and challenge things in the face of the word "lagoon" or something?

I think you've been drinking too much conspiracy juice, this is a fine example of the need for Occam's razor, why jump to some assumption of a massive lie based conspiracy when the alternative is more simple and likely, that it simply is what it is? That this is a decent new idea that solves some of the problems of other past ideas (again, like the Severn tidal barrier).

You have to understand that they've been looking at tidal energy in this region for a long long time - many decades. Many proposals have been put forward and shot down but with each learning from the last and improving. It's not impossible that lessons have been learnt over all those subsequent iterations and we're finally at the point that we have something decent and workable. This hasn't just been pulled out of thin air- it's the result of many decades worth of effort and research in the region including many decades of back and forth with environmentalists to try and deal with their concerns.

Comment: Re:A giant lagoon dam (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49170149) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

Well from what I can tell they seem to be complaining about this impacting fish moving upstream from the sea (I wasn't even under the impression many fish even do this given that most either stick to either salt water or fresh water- the species that move between are I believe incredibly small in number).

I'm having a hard time too seeing how this will have any real impact. That's why I get the impression that the supposed anglers are just a bunch of nimbys making up an excuse for the hell of it because change scares them. If there was any merit to their argument you can guarantee the sometimes almost militant (especially in this region) environmentalists would be right on it and that's largely why I think their argument has no weight.

On the plan I saw there was no obvious river the lagoon encompassed anyway, but even if it did the plan is that the turbines are open during the times the tide comes in (which is when fish would go upstream) and closed when it goes out, to create the differential in water levels that's then used to power the turbines.

Couple this with the fact that the lagoon itself would create a safe breeding ground for the fish which larger predators couldn't easily penetrate and that the area round the lagoon would similarly be a fairly safe reef like environment and I can't see how the few fish that get caught when the water is going out would make any real impact on overall populations.

Comment: Re:Brain drain (Score 2) 167

by Xest (#49170049) Attached to: Marissa Mayer On Turning Around Yahoo

"Telecommuting was a nice experiment, but it doesn't work for people whose work is not easily quantified."

And who are those people? I've always quantified my home working staff's work based on results. Have they got done what I've expected them to do in the time I expect them to be able to do it? It's not really rocket science.

"In theory, it may be possible to identify the people that are more productive, but that takes a lot of management effort"

Yes, it's so effortful to determine who is and isn't pulling their weight. Honestly, please don't become a manager. Ever. If you can't even begin to understand how you might gauge which of your staff are effective and not calling such understanding merely "theory" then you're really not cut out for such a role. If you've any experience managing people then it's fairly easy to see who does and doesn't get done what they need to do. Dealing with the problem is often the hard part, because you can often be hamstrung by company or national policies on the issue depending on who you work for and where you live.

"since, obviously, the people that do NO work at home are the people that like telecommuting the most."

Yes obviously. Thank you for the wealth of proof you provided for your assertion.

"Although it wasn't popular, Marissa was right to end the practice at Yahoo."

Yes, if by right you mean she found it easier to lose talent than actually do a job of managing any real or perceived problem. The problem is there are as equally unproductive amounts of people as your pulled out of thin air numbers in the office too. Unproductive people are unproductive, it doesn't matter where you make them turn up for work. It doesn't fix the root problem- they're unproductive because they're not motivated, and they're not motivated for any number of reasons- unhappy with compensation package, being managed by a hopeless manager that demotivates people, being repeatedly given the most boring work, being forced to do things not in their contract that they don't want to do, not being given a fair shot at career progression or training and so on and so forth. If you don't fix the root issues your people will still be entirely demotivated and unproductive. Some of these things are your fault as a leader and you can fix, others you can do little about- someone has to do the boring work and the best you can do is help them move on.

Meyer's actual claimed reason for getting rid of it was because she wanted people in the office bouncing ideas off of people to try and spur on innovation. I agree with this to a degree, I think during product conception phase this is absolutely right, but the problem is this whole bouncing ideas off each other open plan office mindset falls apart when it's time to stop coming up with ideas and start implementing them. Once those ideas have formed a product, and you've got down on paper what your bounds for this product are, and you need to start planning and building it, people need a few days a week to actually get on and do that in the environment they're most comfortable in where they're not going to be repeatedly distracted. For some people this is the office, some this is the local cafe, some it's in the park, and for others it's at home.

And that's why Meyer's blanket ban was bad. There's no question she'll have lost some talent doing it as she did. But when you claim your goal is to stem the flow of talent out of the company, then such blanket actions are doomed to fail. It's short sighted lazy management that makes great headlines, whilst shedding you real actual talent, and doing nothing to stem any apparent company wide problem of poor motivation. Even if she has got more people into the office coming up with more ideas, she's not enabling an environment that ever lets all her people put those ideas into practice- the only ones that will be productive are those who can be productive in an office environment, which isn't even close to the whole of the human race, maybe like you I'll make up a percentage, I'll say it's about 40% of staff leaving 60% unproductive. Yeah. That sounds about right looking at your typical office that doesn't allow home working and has hoardes of staff organising pointless meetings to break up the monotony of office interruptions, or hanging around the water cooler just to try and make time pass more quickly.

You don't fix productivity and motivation problems by pissing people off even more. This is such a simple rule, but I'm constantly astounded by how many managers and wannabe managers alike fail to grasp it.

Comment: Re:This is a great project, despite the issues. (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49169973) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

"I honestly think that "green" technologies will always be significantly more expensive to run and maintain than traditional ones like gas/coal/oil"

This is only because the likes of coal and oil have their actual costs hidden. The health impacts of burning coal are paid for by tax payers in their national insurance tax used to fund the NHS so coal and oil get these defacto tax payer subsidies to max their true cost impact.

Like for like, green power is often cheaper, but it has no ability to mask a large proportion of it's costs and have that masked bill footed by the tax payer.

If government shifted the burden of coal/oil damage onto the companies producing power this way and off of the backs of tax paying citizens we'd already be a nearly wholly green powered country because the true costs of coal/oil generation would make it impossible for power firms to stay in business by generating power using those techniques. They simply cannot survive without tax payer subsidy to pay for their negative consequences.

This is FWIW why nuclear is more expensive than coal and oil too - the stigma around nuclear waste means nuclear power is forced to factor in whole costs. If nuclear could just dump it's waste into the environment as coal and oil do and leave the health effects of that to the tax payer to deal with then it'd be by far the cheapest power generation method.

Comment: Re:What price is acceptable? (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49169959) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

If you want to find corruption in government funded projects, look to HS2.

It's going to cost 1.5 times as much to build a 300 mile railway and buy a handful of trains as it did to wage every aspect of a 13 year war in Afghanistan performed by UK forces including every soldier transported to and from, every bullet fired, every bomb dropped, every aircraft sortie flown, the running of a base the size of the entire city of Reading in the UK for the entire time, every soldier fed, every firebase built, every road built, ever IED cleared, every project carried out for locals, every medical operation performed, every minute of training of ANA soldiers carried out.

Most public sector projects including this lagoon, including the two new aircraft carriers, including our new nuclear plant, including our wars and so forth look like an absolute bargain in comparison to HS2. The trains alone are going to cost 1.5x as much as a multi-acre aircraft carrier and all it's equipment - HS2 is going to cost 2.5x as much as development and production of a whole new fleet of ICBM wielding nuclear submarines and the ICBMs and warheads to go with them.

Using HS2 as a reference this lagoon project looks basically bribe free judging by the costs put forward.

Comment: Re:Storage (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49169943) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

"First off, you can't shut down a coal power plant and restart it in only five hours. And it will operate at considerably (for values of "considerably" that vary from 10% to 30%) reduced efficiency for some hours after startup"

Why assume we only have one coal plant to handle this in the UK? If you stagger it across plants your point becomes irrelevant. We have a national grid for a reason.

"Secondly, pollution from coal plants are 30%-50% (or so, depending on type of pollutant) higher during the 24 (or so) hours immediately after startup. "

Why even assume we're talking about combining this with dirty old style plants? Why do you think it's not possible to instead combine this with gas? nuclear? even if coal, why not carbon captured coal?

"In other words, that won't work."

Or in other words you've decided to find a few arbitrary excuses why you don't like this idea, without even properly thinking it through or giving it a chance, because new ideas are bad and change is painful. Or something.

Why the fuck do so many people on Slashdot think they're smarter than the actual professionals who create these designs for a living and have already thought through and solved all these problems? Do you think environmentalists would be in favour if it upped pollution and harmed nature? do you think it would have been unveiled if it "wont work"?

I'm sure there are plenty of good reasons why this plan is far from perfect, but you're not providing any.

Comment: Re:Can scale back fossil fuel based generation ... (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49169903) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

"Not to mention the environmental impact of this."

Which is?

There's a reason the environmentalists are broadly on side on this one. The reef effect means this is like a newly created marine reserve area and a power plant all rolled into one.

Personally my only real concern with this is that which is coupled with wind power - we seem to be putting more and more of our power generation out to sea. That makes it far more vulnerable to sabotage, and far easier to sabotage. If we ever ended up at war, or if terrorists ever wanted to scupper increasingly large amounts of UK power generation then it's not terribly hard for them to do so.

I think the odds of this are incredibly low, but then, it was only 10 to 20 years ago we all thought in Europe that relying on Russia gas was a perfectly fine thing to do in terms of energy security and now countries like Germany are hamstrung, unable to deal with an aggressor financially because they've made themselves so dependent on them. Obviously things change, so it's worthy of consideration.

Comment: Re:A giant lagoon dam (Score 1) 187

by Xest (#49169837) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

Yes, but to be fair the people with concern about fish spawning sites seem to be entirely the angling community.

Now, as much as I respect their enjoyment of the sport, I'm not overly convinced that "Don't do that project, it might kill fish and we want to kill them instead" is really the greatest argument not to do something.

Let's be honest, if even the environmentalist, commercial, and political lobbies are all on side then this is about as good as it gets in terms of agreement. Those anglers are just going to have to go and angle elsewhere.

You're always going to find people who will disagree with any power generation scheme, but the handful of people disagreeing in this case have probably one of the least convincing arguments I've ever seen. Certainly their argument pales compared to the nuclear waste, oil spill, gas explosion, groundwater contamination arguments that all are a little more serious than "We want to be the ones that kill the fish". In fact, I think I'd probably even give more weight to the "wind turbines are a blot on the landscape" argument than that.

If there was a fair argument about endangering fish stocks by the environmentalists putting the populations at risk of being wiped out and hence subsequently destroying the local river ecosystems, I'd have concern, but that's not even the argument here. It's entirely just that anglers believe it's going to be a little harder for them to catch fish, which in itself is merely just an unproven theory they've cooked up amongst themselves.

Because it'll create a reef, the actual natural impact is going to be a massive net benefit, and that's why the environmentalists don't take issue with it.

Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?

Working...