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Comment: Re:Global warming is bunk anyway. (Score 1) 264

Ah ok, so if something happened say 20 years ago - the cause of it now is not the same cause as it was back then. Meaning that your global warming "trend" has nothing to do with today's situation, if I follow your "logic". Or where do you draw the line? 100 year old data is ok but 101 year old is not? Why is 150 years ago relevant and 40,000 years ago not?

Comment: Re:It's a combination of problems (Score 1) 154

Hey, we're all right with making a distinct discrimination between two near identical problems, demonizing one while accepting the other. From various diseases (just think about the insane difference made between swine flu and common flu, despite not really being THAT different in impact... ok, actually your chance to die of the former was by some margin lower than the latter despite the general panic).

We're great at making mountains out of molehills that we don't really know that well while we're quite ok with volcanos in our garden as long as they grew slowly enough that we could watch them get large.

Comment: Re: It's still reacting carbon and oxygen... (Score 1) 141

by dgatwood (#48438297) Attached to: Coal Plants Get New Lease On Life With Natural Gas

- the nuclear plants require a lot of sweet water for cooling, 24/7, and the world is running out

Not really. Only once-through nuclear plants require large amounts of fresh water continuously. Most plants use cooling towers instead. Some plants don't even use water in the recirculating parts of the cooling systems (e.g. molten salt reactors).

Also, once-through reactors, if designed to do so, can use salt water instead of fresh water.

- it's pretty much unflexible regarding any peaks or lows in consumption

Only because they aren't designed to do so. You can significantly reduce the output of a plant very quickly, but you can't speed it up quickly, currently, because of the buildup of Xenon-135 as a fission byproduct, which is a strong neutron absorber, and the only way to get beyond that is to pull the fuel rods out far more than is safe, and once the uranium fission restarts, the Xenon is quickly destroyed, resulting in a rapid increase in neutron levels in the core, which would overheat the reactor before you could bring it under control.

However, there are a couple of designs that don't suffer from that problem—integral fast reactors and molten fuel reactors both allow the xenon to be separated from the fuel. And I think pebble bed reactors could also be readily made to be largely immune to this effect by cycling in different fuel pellets in while the xenon in the recently used pellets slowly decays.

- the latest generation concrete housings' carbon foorprint takes a decade to offset

I think your numbers are way off. According to David MacKay, spread over a 25-year lifespan, it only comes to about 1.4 grams of CO2 per kWh. In other words, it offsets its construction cost compared with coal in just a little over a month, by my math.

Comment: Re:Sounds reasonable (Score 1) 231

by Archtech (#48435807) Attached to: Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

"If you knew anything about our political system you'd know that US Senators have zero power to actually make good on those threats".

We stupid foreigners actually know a little about the American legal system, and not purely from watching old Perry Mason episodes. One of the glaringly obvious things we know is that it isn't so much the facts of the matter that count, but who has the most money and thus influence. If you have political clout - and anyone rich enough can get it - no prosecutor will even be found to indict you. ("Shucks, awful sorry, wish I could be more help, just too busy tracking down terrorists...").

US senators have an awful lot of power, but most of it lies under the surface. They know people who can get a surprising number of things done (or not done, as the case may be) and they are among the world's leading experts at trading favours for favours. The law is so immense and complex that almost anyone can be charged with crimes that would lead to extremely long prison sentences - the main thing that protects the normal, innocent citizen is that the police have no particular reason to want to frame them up. Try reading (for instance) Harvey Silverglate's book "Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent".

Comment: Re:Enceladus (Score 1) 56

It's not 100% certain that there's geysers on Europa, and if they exist it's likely that they're only sporadic. But it is 100% certain that they exist on Enceladus, and probably constantly.

Anyway, what I'm really wondering is: does this guy want to give extra funding to NASA for an Enceladus mission, or does he just want to rob other programs?

Nothing will dispel enthusiasm like a small admission fee. -- Kim Hubbard

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