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Comment: Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (Score 2) 169

by sjames (#46796197) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

What contamination? The grain is heated to 170F long enough to kill anything harmful in it. There has never been a case of this causing a single problem anywhere. Even the FDA admits it doesn't know of any incident that would have been prevented by this proposal. It's like mandatory testing for antimatter contamination in coffee. It never happens.

Perhaps the FDA should focus it's resources on things that have been a problem like fungal contamination in drugs.

Comment: Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (Score 1) 169

by sjames (#46795841) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

Funny thing. I am very much to the left of where we are today, but I oppose the FDA implementing this proposal. The FDA in general needs to be curbed. They have made a pattern of expanding regulation without showing cause while at the same time neglecting and failing at their core mission.

Comment: Re:If Fuckupshima had not been designed by idiots. (Score 1) 213

by amorsen (#46795513) Attached to: MIT Designs Tsunami Proof Floating Nuclear Reactor

Coal kills at least thousands, most probably hundreds of thousands, every year. If we had a Deepwater Horizon, an Exxon Valdez, a Chernobyl, and a Fukushima every year, the harm from all other types of power generation would still not be as great as the harm that coal does.

Comment: Re:OMG! (Score 1) 64

by mikael (#46795039) Attached to: DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

After watching all those documentaries on air crashes and how the FAA do the reconstruction of the plane crashes, the biggest improvements for the pilots would seem to be a display system showing the current state of the plane as a 3D model - just like the crash reconstructions, and having the flight deck log and display all the control setting changes along with times in the same way that the reconstruction does. That would catch simple things like pilots switching off the autopilots merely by moving the control column, or having thrust reversers for opposite engines in different settings. Though there were other things like weather radar systems that actually had the display system wrap-around calculations areas of extremely high raindrop/hailstone size - theoretically impossible, but due to extreme updraft conditions were actually present in the superstorm.

Comment: Re:McArdle is astute (Score 1) 28

by mcgrew (#46794687) Attached to: Obamacare is Not a Single-Payer Conspiracy [Bloomberg]

When incompetence is pitted against extreme radicalism, I'll take incompetence any day. As bad as Quinn is, he's head and shoulders above Blago or Ryan. However, the Republican would have to be pretty bad, one I would fear would really screw the country up (anyone named "Bush" would do it). In likelihood I'll vote Greenie or Libbie, depending on their candidates.

Comment: Re:Floater. (Score 1) 3

by mcgrew (#46794655) Attached to: Mars, Ho! Chapter Sixteen

Not just Kubrick but damned near every other science fiction writer. Hell, Asimov had antique cars that were not only self-driving but sentient, six years from now.

But a few hundred years from now? I don't think ion drives driven by two fusion generators is out of line for that timeline. By then there will be technologies we can't even dream of today.

I did make a huge math error by not actually doing the math and I'm not sure how I'll fix it. Someone pointed out that you could get to Mars' orbit on the other side of the sun in three days at .8G. Damn.

User Journal

Journal: A Pretty Good Friday

Journal by mcgrew

For the last several years my Easter routine has been a three day celebration. On Good Friday I find somewhere to have Walleye for lunch, which isn't hard. Most places have it every Friday. Friday nights I like to find a bunch of Christians (not hard, most bars are filled with Christians) and get drunk with them on the blood of the lamb.

Comment: existing purpose-built headgear (Score 1) 35

by houghi (#46794553) Attached to: For $20, Build a VR Headset For Your Smartphone

This project screams for a ready-made commercial version; does anyone know of existing purpose-built headgear?

Seriously? This is a question after quoting: Not everyone can drop a few hundred dollars on a VR headset,
This means that there IS purpose-built headgear.

If you mean to say 'cheap' or 'not-expensive' or 'in a low pricerange' then say so.

+ - The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper 1

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Joel Werner writes in Slate that when Citicorp Center was built in 1977 it was, at 59 stories, the seventh-tallest building in the world but no one figured out until after it was built that although the chief structural engineer, William LeMessurier, had properly accounted for perpendicular winds, the building was particularly vulnerable to quartering winds — in part due to cost-saving changes made to the original plan by the contractor. "According to LeMessurier, in 1978 an undergraduate architecture student contacted him with a bold claim about LeMessurier’s building: that Citicorp Center could blow over in the wind," writes Werner. "LeMessurier realized that a major storm could cause a blackout and render the tuned mass damper inoperable. Without the tuned mass damper, LeMessurier calculated that a storm powerful enough to take out the building hit New York every 16 years." In other words, for every year Citicorp Center was standing, there was about a 1-in-16 chance that it would collapse.

LeMessurier and his team worked with Citicorp to coordinate emergency repairs. With the help of the NYPD, they worked out an evacuation plan spanning a 10-block radius. They had 2,500 Red Cross volunteers on standby, and three different weather services employed 24/7 to keep an eye on potential windstorms. Work began immediately, and continued around the clock for three months. Welders worked all night and quit at daybreak, just as the building occupants returned to work. But all of this happened in secret, even as Hurricane Ella, the strongest hurricane on record in Canadian waters, was racing up the eastern seaboard. The hurricane became stationary for about 24 hours, and later turned to the northeast away from the coast. Hurricane Ella never made landfall. And so the public—including the building’s occupants—were never notified.

Until his death in 2007, LeMessurier talked about the summer of 1978 to his classes at Harvard. The tale, as he told it, is by turns painful, self-deprecating, and self-dramatizing--an engineer who did the right thing. But it also speaks to the larger question of how professional people should behave. "You have a social obligation," LeMessurier reminded his students. "In return for getting a license and being regarded with respect, you're supposed to be self-sacrificing and look beyond the interests of yourself and your client to society as a whole.""

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