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Comment: Re:We should move towards more nuclear and solar (Score 1) 256 256

Have you looked at what they are calling "Clean up"? I believe that in Britain they actually filled one reactor building (not just the reactor) with cement. I presume they removed the fuel first. And it's still considered a hazerdous area and entry is forbidden to most people. That's not anything I'd call "clean up". And, IIUC, the US hasn't figured out HOW to close down the Hanford reactors, and is threatening to pollute the Columbia river right down through Seattle. If we need to evacuate Seattle that will be a fair inconvenience. There have already been minor leaks.

I'm not really convinced we know HOW to clean up a reactor site. Even cleaning up after a gas station is a real problem.

Comment: Re:Scratching your head? (Score 1) 83 83

How the hell did the motor manufacturer prevent the flight?

As you say, it's a prototype on loan for testing, and the contract terms explicitly say Siemens get to say what they can and can't do with it.

The Airbus thing is complete bull; they'd have zero interest in preventing a test flight like this, and plenty of professional interest in seeing it fly.

Comment: Re:Unchanging UIs? Not just for old people (Score 1) 255 255

even the basic UI of a car does not change (clutch, brakes, gas, steering wheel, gear stick).

Only becase of state intervention. Before that, every new model had the pedals and handbrake in different places, sometimes to work around a competitor's patents.

I believe Ford had a patent on having all the switches on a single stalk on the steering column with the Mk1 Cortina (about 1962), so everyone else had to have two stalks, and then switch them around so you can squirt yourself in the face with the screen washer when you want the turn indicator in you partner's car, or go for the horn in an emergency.

Its not only computer UI designers that are a manace to society. The world has been subjected to this nightmare for quite some time.

The MS ribbon what what made my 80 year old mum switch to a Mac.

Comment: Re: pardon my french, but "duh" (Score 1) 255 255

I have emailed a whole bunch of TV dinner manufacturers explaing that if someone is going to eat the dinner, they first need to read the instructions, and if you print them in 75DPI resolution using 6 point type, in white on yellow, then this is unlikely to happen. Given that there is masses of space around the instructions, it would be easy to enlarge the print, and a change of colour might improve the contrast from 7/4 against.

Some of them reply politely.

Comment: Re:We should move towards more nuclear and solar (Score 1) 256 256

Doing it for research, with energy output being among the things studied, is something I'd support. The current system, though, is worse than nothing. It's setting up random time bombs all across the country. The older ones are just entering their critical period. The more recent ones weren't designed to last as long. Everything is being pushed to produce more power and last longer than it was designed to do. And there's no way to clean up when you shut them down.

OTOH, I don't expect a "China Syndrome", more many "Fukishima-like" incidents. With an occasional incident as bad as Chernobyl (though not through the same failure mode).

Until we can deal with the waste produced by reactors, they shouldn't be anything much more than research projects. Would a fast-breeded really consume all it's fuel? Perhaps that's the way to go. Perhaps some other design. Don't build twenty of a design that hasn't been well tested through decomissioning and cleanup. (Even then expect that you've missed some major problems, but that's no excuse not to do anything.)

Comment: Re:And where does the nitrogen come from? (Score 2) 256 256

Almost. Clover, beans, etc. cannot fix nitrogen. What they *can* do is host microorganisms that *do* fix nitrogen. But this doesn't happen automatically, and different plants host different fixing organisms, so you need to ensure that the proper host is innoculated with the proper fixer. If you buy plant seed this is usually (not always) already done, but it often comes with a coating of accompanying applied fungicides. Sometimes this is intentionally applied to prevent people from eating the seeds. (Check the history of Morning Glory seeds, I forget whether it was "Heavenly Blue" or "Pearly Gates".) Sometimes it's just because the most effective fungicides are somewhat poisonous.

Comment: Re:lettice under LED grow lights? (Score 1) 256 256

It's not clear that using sunlight to grow things is the best approach for urban farming. In fact, unless you are doing rooftop farming it probably isn't.

The real question is, "have they solve the energy problem?" The reason this approach hasn't worked before except for suppliers to real gourmet restaurants is that it's too expensive. Largely this means it uses too much electricity. As a result, it's only been viable where you need extreme freshness.

Comment: Re:Not kill the messenger ... (Score 1) 116 116

Unfortunately, by your definition I don't believe that there *are* any civilized nations. It's not that I disagree with you, exactly. But I believe that your idealized definition of civilized doesn't map to any country in the world either at the present time or at any previous time.

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.