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Comment: Not enough Tirtium for any large scale usage. (Score 1) 315

by cheetah (#48099367) Attached to: Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal

Long story short, since tritium has only a half-life of 11 years and there is no natural source. These fusion reactors will need equal amounts of Tritium and Deuterium as fuel.

The good thing is that a fusion reactor can be jacketed in Lithium to create the needed Tritium. The bad news is that you can't really generate a whole lot of extra Tritium. Being really optimistic you might be able to generate about 50% more Tritium than you burn. In practice this could be as low at just a few single digit % more than you burn since we don't have any working fusion reactors.

So even if we had a perfect, ready to use fusion reactor design today that was cheap, we wouldn't have the fuel to burn in more than a very limited number of plants. One projection I saw that given the lack of Tritium and the way that it would have to be generated, that if you used Fusion plants to self generate the Tritium, we can't expect more than about 30-50GW operating power plants before 2200. This is such a big problem that people worry about having enough Tritium for research with Nuclear fusion experiments.

To make matters worse... Tritium is very difficult to contain If you have a sealed steel tube filled with it, it will leak right out of the walls of the tube. In short, it's likely to present real problems with radioactive leaks. I remember reading a paper where they suggested that if we had deployed several hundred GW of fusion reactors we might be leaking radioactivity at a rate similar to having a Fukushima happening annually. And if we don't change the laws in allowed radioactivity being released from a Nuclear plant we would never be able to build a Fusion plant. As each Fusion plant would likely leak many times more radiation(via Tritium leaks) than is currently allowed.

It sucks, Fusion is really cool but for these reasons alone likely not to be a big producer of power anytime soon.

Comment: Re:Probably not going to happen (Score 3, Interesting) 659

by cheetah (#44799051) Attached to: Should the U.S. bomb Syria?

"Gridlock" isn't the issue here, the public isn't behind this action. It's looking increasingly likely that this resolution will be defeated in the Senate(which is controlled the Presidents party).

The House leadership has already said they will not bring a vote until after the Senate has voted. If the Senate votes "no" the House won't even bring this resolution up for a vote(as it will already be dead at that point).

Far from being "Gridlock" this is looking like this will be VERY direct action from the Congress. It just won't be what the President says that he wants. I do agree with you, his actions really suggests that he doesn't want to do this at all... and it's baffling to me why he would spend the political capital to try to push this issue when he really doesn't want to bomb them.

Comment: Re:SDI's? (Score 3, Informative) 615

My understanding is that you are basically correct.

In-fact, one of the big points about the current anti-missile systems is that they do not have enough capacity to prevent strategic nuclear strikes from Russia or China. The goal is to make sure that they could always nuke us if they needed too. Which is a rather screwed up design feature; but it's understandable that we don't want to undermine their nuclear deterrence.

Comment: Old School order (Score 1) 867

by cheetah (#41468693) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Distros Have You Used, In What Order?

This is going to date me but...

sls --> Slackware --> Gentoo --> Centos

I started with sls in mid 92(I think it was the only distro at the time). After that I used Slackware until about three years ago. I started using Gentoo just because I liked the idea of having a system truly compiled for my current hardware. I recently switched to Centos on my server(not the desktop) because of stuff breaking when I did an update.

Comment: Re:Except we may have just as much (Score 3, Informative) 227

by cheetah (#40552755) Attached to: China Begins Stockpiling Rare Earths, Draws WTO Attention

Yeah, but we also have environmental regulations that make it VERY difficult(costly) extract the Rare Earth Elements. It's these environmental regulations that is the only reason that China is the leading producer of these elements. Getting this stuff out of the ore is a rather nasty processes which is expensive to do in the US.

Also until recently it was not clear it was worth extracting these elements. I know that there was a large mine that used to produce much of the worlds supply in the 80's-90's located in California. They shutdown because of the regulations and the fact that they couldn't compete with the low cost of stuff coming out of China. At that time it wasn't clear that these elements were that vital. Long term this action will cause other countries to re-open old mines or start extraction of new deposits. Rare-Earth deposits aren't really that rare it's the concentration of these elements in the "ore" that are low which is why they are called "rare".

This action by the Chinese has only caused people to start looking for new deposits and different methods of extraction. Last I heard, the Californian mine is in the process of being re-opened and should start producing in 2013.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 3, Interesting) 109

by cheetah (#40502917) Attached to: China Slowing Nuclear Buildout In Response To Fukushima

Basically everything you said is true.

The biggest advantage(and disadvantage) that I think they have from a political stand-point is the ability to make and then execute long term plans. It is something that is really missing with most of the democratic west. Granted, I don't think they always make good long term plans, heck often they do rather foolish things... but they can at least tackle problems that require long term solutions.

But I do think you are missing a one important point about China. You and I both agree that we wouldn't want to live with in dictatorship. But many Chinese feel that what they government has done has been for the best. Mainly due the the strength of the Chinese economy. While they do often fib on the exact numbers, it's impossible to discount that China has been growing the GDP at a rate of 10-15% per year for the last 20 years.

It's this fact more than any other that has won the hearts of the people in China. So much of the communist governments legitimacy is riding on ever increasing economic prosperity. If the economy faltered badly... who knows what would happen.

That is why the news from China isn't all that good. Most of the talk for the last few years has been about the "soft landing" that the Chinese Economy will soon make. It's just not possible for them to keep growing the way they have. It's much easier to grow a small economy than it is grow a large one. Most people expect that the "soft landing" will be a general slowing of the GDP growth rate to between 7-8%.

But over the last few months it's starting to become clear that China isn't getting a soft landing. As you point-out official numbers have been downright faked in the past. But metrics do exist that outsiders can look at and that have been reliable; for instance growth of electricity usage. In the past electricity use has closely followed the GDP. But it has basically been flat over the last 3 months. Other items point to a "hard landing" in China.

It's possible that this will all come to nothing and they won't slow that much... but I feel that long-term they can't have the massive corruption and mis-management if they don't also have the hugh GDP growth. I don't think the people would be nearly as happy with the government if they were frequently dipping into recession and had boughs of high unemployment like most other established economies. While also seeing the massive government corruption and mismanagement. Such periods of slow growth and recession are inevitable in the future even if they don't happen over the short-term.

Comment: Re:Still using 1920x1440 CRT (Score 1) 565

by cheetah (#40266593) Attached to: Where Are All the High-Resolution Desktop Displays?

You may not actually be seeing all of those pixels on your old Crt. Before I switched to LCD's in the early 2000's I had a 21inch Hitachi CRT. One of the big features of the CRT was that it actually had enough pixel elements(low enough pixel pitch) to actually truly display 1600x1200.

It was possible to drive it to 2048x1536 resolutions but the grill just didn't have the elements to show all of those pixels. Most of the other competing 21inch monitors at the time did not have a low enough pixel pitch.

Now the interesting thing... your irreplaceable 23 inch monitor if it has a pixel pitch of at least .25mm is likely displaying at 100Dpi. Matching the dpi that this page was complaining about. Given that a 23 inch monitor was really high end, you likely have enough pixel elements to see 100 Dpi. But it's something to keep in mind

Comment: My Day Job. (Score 5, Informative) 140

by cheetah (#40244625) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Enterprise-Grade Linux Networking Hardware?

Ok first thing first, I work for ImageStream as the Technical Support manager. So I might have a slightly biased viewpoint when it comes to the place I have been working for the last 16 years... But we have been doing Linux Based networking for the last 14 years.

What the OP wants to do is rather difficult for a few reasons. First, after shipping thousands of Linux based routers I can tell you that redundant power supplies that fit into standard PC hardware have a much higher failure rate than a standard Power Supply. Granted, if you have a failure you still have a functional power supply(which is now working twice as hard and is even more likely to fail).

Second, standard PC hardware just doesn't support multiple redundant components. Sure you can get redundant power supplies, but redundant buses or Cpu's your talking different about a totally different class of hardware(see below).

Third, If you truly have an Enterprise application, and your asking about hardware to support your application you are already in over your head. Sorry it's just the truth. The OP is talking about building a custom solution for a mission critical application and they have to ask on slashdot about hardware solutions. What happens when(not if) the OP has a problem. The real reason that many people buy our(ImageStream's) hardware is for the support. If something doesn't work they don't have try and troubleshoot a strange Pci bus condition or an obscure Linux Kernel issue that you only see when you have +5,000 networking interfaces in a system. It's one thing if your a Google and you want to build something that just doesn't exist like the OpenFlow switches they are using in their Gscale network. But for a normal organization you are going to spend money and time to develop your custom solution and in the end if anything doesn't work, you will spend more time fixing it.

Now if the OP still wants to do this... I would look at an ATCA (AdvancedTCA ) chassis. You can get support for a redundant dual loop back plane, multiple CPU cards, redundant power supplies and in most cases a out of band management module for the chassis. But this is VERY costly hardware. If your not budgeting at least $20k in hardware your likely not going to end-up with anything that had real redundancy.

Comment: Re:Enjoy your delusion (Score 3, Informative) 414

by cheetah (#39468913) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Manage Your Personal Data?

S3 storage for 5TB isn't what I would call cheap. We are talking about $580/Month(or almost $7k per year). For that amount of money, you could buy a new set of 5TB worth of hard drives each month and then ship them to a remote location and pocket about $200 a month in savings.

Not a perfect solution(no online access) but I think it underscores just how costly S3 still is for large amounts of data. If you are talking about a few hundred GB of data, S3 storage is cheaper(and better) than anything you could reasonably do yourself. But once you scale up the usage... Heck, you could buy and colo a remote server and ship drives back and forth for less than what S3 would cost...

Comment: Re:Thoughts and questions that have popped in my h (Score 3, Interesting) 432

I remember a big stink about a black minister putting up a billboard in New York. As I remember it went something like this... "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb." It was referencing the fact that African American's have about 3 times the number of abortions vs the general population. So that kind of stuff is out there. If it's out there in a proportion to the population, I don't know.

Comment: Re:1984 much? (Score 1) 612

by cheetah (#38886035) Attached to: Pentagon: 30,000 Pound Bomb Too Small

Totally agree, but I doubt it's done much if any real damage to the long term success of the nuclear program. And it's done nothing but inflame the Iranians; rightly so. Stuxnet delayed the Iranian bomb but that is all it did. It was much more effective than the car bombings and didn't create martyrs for PR reasons.

Ultimately I don't think the US or Israel can stop Iran from getting the Bomb. Short of regime change I worry that a nuclear armed Iran is just timebomb to a regional Nuclear war.

The US isn't going to put troops on the ground to topple the current Iranian government. And strikes against only the Nuclear program won't cause the government to fall(likely it would only give it strength). The best hope from the military action standpoint would be a general bombing and hope that caused enough suffering to topple the gov.

But that is a real long shot at best and would likely just result in REALLY pissing off the Iranians. It's also something I don't really see as having much support with the general public or administration in the US.

If I was in Israel right now, I would be building a bomb shelter. I think there is almost no way it won't be used given the way things are going.

Comment: Re:1984 much? (Score 3, Interesting) 612

by cheetah (#38882511) Attached to: Pentagon: 30,000 Pound Bomb Too Small

We won't have to be talked into anything. Israel will attack Iran sometime this year(almost for sure). And Iran will respond by counter attacking them and most likely US targets in the Middle East. If they attempt to close the straits of Hormuz due to the attack the US will not allow that to happen.

We don't have the do anything, I doubt that Obama will strike first(but I never would have expected the Libya action). I just don't think he will have too... Israel has less of an ability attack Iran in an attempt to shut down the Nuclear program. So an Israeli attack is likely to come before any US actions.

The sad thing is, I doubt that any Military action short of ground invasion will prevent Iran from getting Nuclear weapons over the long term(next 5 years). The program is just too well protected and to distributed throughout Iran to fully disrupt. Slow it down, yeah... stop it totally, no way.

A limited war now will only make a regional Nuclear war more likely in the future. The Iranians feel like they need Nuclear weapons to counter balance Israel and US conventional forces. If we give them a demonstration just how far behind their conventional forces are compared to the US it's only going to make them want Nukes even more.

I don't blame them for wanting Nukes, it's really the only counter to US forces. A Nuclear armed Iran is going to massively destabilize the Middle East. The Saudis would develop Nukes if Iran goes nuclear. Other states might follow. And between Iran and Israel both armed with Nuclear weapons and delivery systems with travel times of around 15 min... I feel it would only be a matter of time before someone pushed the button. We are talking about two states that don't have any communications directly. Iran refuses to believe that Israel has the right to exist. Israel feels that it must strike first to defend itself... Even if a Nuclear first strike isn't intended the likely-hood of mistake or miscommunication is just too high. Imagine what would have happened during the Cuban missile crisis if nether side talked to each other(back channel communications resolved the crisis)... we likely wouldn't be talking about it now. This is the situation that is going to happen once they are both Nuclear armed.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.