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Comment: Kessler Syndrome (Score 1) 118

by blackanvil (#47485777) Attached to: Preparing For Satellite Defense
So, how long do you think it will be before Kessler syndrome finishes the job all these anti-satellite weapons and tests start? As one professor back in college (the class was 'War in the Nuclear Age') pointed out, you could take out all of geosync orbit with a large bag of sand if you got it going in the opposite direction from Earth's spin. LEO and MEO are both crowded enough that we could get a spontaneous Kessler syndrome even if we don't keep blowing the satellites up there into shrapnel. I suppose we can start replacing the critical satellites in inch-thick titanium, but when every launch requires a heavy lift launch vehicle we're going to lose a lot of satellite functionality.

Comment: Re:Ah, Man (Score 1) 133

I'm pretty sure removing the arcades back in the 90s and oughties was a deliberate strategy by the Malls to remove the unwanted guests -- teens and tweens. They certainly villianized that demographic in other ways, often enacting policies to discourage that demographic from hanging out in the food court, loitering in the mezzanines, sitting quietly on the benches . . . having an arcade just attracted them like flies to roadkill, so they had to go. Since the demographic was viewed as not having much to spend, particularly at the big-box anchor stores, and what they did mostly going to the arcade, food court, music store, and maybe an alternative clothing store, out they went.

Comment: solar shingles for the home. (Score 1) 262

by blackanvil (#47262947) Attached to: Elon Musk's Solar City Is Ramping Up Solar Panel Production
I'm looking at solar for my house, not just to lower/remove electric bills, but to also get some backup power as my house tends to be cut off from the grid at least a couple of times a year. I figure some solar, a small battery farm, and an inverter will see me through most such outages.

Comment: Secret courts, broad secret warrents (Score 2) 173

So the secret courts will issue broad secret warrants with attached gag orders saying that for National Security purposes all cell phones will be tracked and the tracking information made available to certain government agencies. Achievement Unlocked! Problem Solved!

Comment: Re:Elephant in the Room (Score 1) 187

by blackanvil (#47120581) Attached to: US Nuclear Plants Expanding Long-Term Waste Storage Facilities

No - the pyramids are still there, but the contents were cleaned out ages ago. The entire history of humanity shows that we aren't very good at hiding, protecting, or forgetting things that are valuable, beautiful, or otherwise useful to other people. All the pyramids were broken into an looted. Building pyramid tombs were abandoned because they couldn't be protected, and the pharaohs started being buried in underground tombs in the Valley of Kings. Those, too, were rediscovered and looted. Tutankhamen's tomb was such a big deal because it was one of the few was succcessfully lost/forgotten, and thus not raided.

On the contrary, Tutankhamen's tomb was broken into before the modern era, though sealed back up again, and was quite thoroughly raided in the early 20th century, admittedly by archeologists using the best accepted practices of the time. I've heard modern archeologists and Egyptologists complain bitterly at all the lost opportunities because the tomb was discovered before current best practices were standard.

Comment: Re:Too late (Score 1) 297

by blackanvil (#47039589) Attached to: Cisco Complains To Obama About NSA Adding Spyware To Routers

Problem is that there is pretty much no possible way Cisco can put the toothpaste back in the tube. They have no simple way to prove to potential customers that their gear hasn't been hacked or compromised in some way. The actions (real or perceived) of the NSA have basically screwed a number of US companies in overseas markets where security is any sort of a concern.

Basically even the perception that the NSA may have compromised the equipment is enough to keep people from buying Cisco. Of course then the question becomes who do you trust? The Chinese make a lot of gear but they are probably trusted even less than the Americans if anything. Unless the gear is manufactured domestically under supervision it's unclear how you ensure that no one has introduced undesirable code/hardware.

I suspect Cisco's shareholders will insist they move production out of the US, and start doing final assembly of devices locally for their biggest foreign markets. The US will lose more jobs, costs will go up due to inefficiencies, and the NSA will start trying to get into the code (if they're not already.) If this sort of thing goes on, they may stop being a US-based company entirely, and move corporate offices, development, etc off-shore to avoid the stigma.

Comment: Re:Duck and cover (Score 1) 522

by blackanvil (#46996629) Attached to: Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

Come to think of it, I bet it would take less than a hundred nukes aimed at a carefully selected list of choke points in the transport infrastructure to doom everyone in North America to starvation. The same thing goes for Europe and (to some extent) Russia. Even a very limited nuclear war could probably be incredibly lethal if both sides were aiming to kill/incapacitate the other side's population.

Nonsense, all it would take is 4 or 5 EMP (200 - 400 miles up) bursts, each taking out a large chunk of the electrical grid and killing anything with a microprocessor for a radius of 500 to 1000 miles (depends on size of nuke, strength of the Earth's magnetic field, height, and probably stuff still considered Top Secret to avoid civilian panic.) One on each coast of the US, a couple to fill in the gaps and take out Alaska and Hawaii, and the US is done -- no food, no fuel, no electricity, famine virtually guaranteed unless the government is a lot more prepared than it seems to be. And, yes, such EMP bursts are in every first-strike plan, as it's the quickest way to disrupt enemy communications.

Comment: Re:They're nuts but right (Score 3, Informative) 1374

by blackanvil (#46891217) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

Fact is, guns don't do a fraction of the harm of automobiles. Yet we don't see the left calling for banning autos....

To legally use an automobile in most of the US, you need a state-issued license that has training and testing requirements, a state-tracked title to the car, a state-tracked registration for the car, clearly viewable identification tags, and usually safety gear (seatbelt, airbags, crumple zones, etc), insurance and a key. To legally use a gun in most locations, you need a gun and ammo. All these requirements were legislated into existence by "leftist" politicians over the loud protests by the right, usually claiming that they would destroy the automotive industry.

Comment: Re:How much energy? (Score 1) 172

by blackanvil (#46827569) Attached to: Asteroid Impacts Bigger Risk Than Thought
Unlike a nuclear weapon, meteors don't go boom at a planned optimal height to cause damage, and release their energy in stages. The Chelyabinsk meteor, for example, is estimated to have had the equivalent of a 500 kiloton nuke in terms of energy when it first entered. It weighed an estimated 12,000–13,000 metric tonnes and was moving at about 30km/s before it hit atmosphere, but the largest piece recovered was only some 654 kg, and most smaller pieces of the meteor hit the earth at terminal velocity after breaking up some 23km above the surface. Wikipedia says that some ~90 kilotons of energy equivalent was lost as heat as it entered, the rest in a series of 3 explosions as it broke up, the largest initial blast mostly being absorbed by the atmosphere.

Comment: Re:Welders make 150k??? (Score 2) 367

by blackanvil (#46827345) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance
Welders certified in welding to certain specifications can easily make this much, particularly if they own/run their own shop. Not common, certainly, but someone with their own equipment who can go onsite to a wellhead, oil platform, or nuclear reactor and make certified repairs on demand can pretty much quote their own fee. Welding certifications are very specialized, being able to TIG 1/4" stainless doesn't qualify you for 1/2" stainless, or 1/4" aluminum, etc. As a hobbyist, I find welding to be fun, but suspect the skill required to do larger projects to an ISO or Federal specification would be quite the reach.

Comment: Re:Trollolololol! (Score 1) 146

by blackanvil (#46750827) Attached to: The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight
Or, better yet, if enough people were actually interested in this sort of thing, we could get the day after such a late-night event a holiday, so we could all guiltlessly stay up late and party with other interested friends, then sleep in in the morning without having to worry about work or school. Also, imagine if we could get people to turn off their lights enough that you don't have to go out into the country to be able to see this sort of event clearly.

Comment: Missionaries. (Score 1) 351

by blackanvil (#46708661) Attached to: Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them
I wonder how much of this is caused by the inevitable invasion by missionaries, injecting memes into the local population that conflict with the indigenous culture and cause conflict, confusion, and the other symptoms of Christianity. Not to mention the purely physical diseases they bring with them. I know they mean well, but everything I've read about post-missionary contact of isolated tribes shows an increase in depression, aggression, and lowered quality of life.

Comment: Re:Canadian driving (Score 1) 723

by blackanvil (#46111841) Attached to: Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

How the fuck were they supposed to prepare? Purchase more snow management equipment on short notice? Maintain a large fleet of trucks for the rare occasions that stuff like this happens?

I do wonder if they could have rented some snow/ice gear from areas not expecting snow for a few days but which had the equipment and supplies on hand. Wouldn't even have had to be government-owned equipment, there's plenty of companies around that keep plows and salters/sanders ready for snow, who contract out to remove snow and ice from driveways and parking lots, private roads and similar. Yes, it would have cost quite a bit -- fuel for the trip from the snowbelt to Atlanta and back, hotels, logistics to make sure salt and sand made it down, time and materials for the vehicles, but if it's only once every 3-5 years, it should be doable with a few calls and cash in hand.

"How to make a million dollars: First, get a million dollars." -- Steve Martin