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Comment: Fusion power applications? (Score 1) 18

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48462139) Attached to: NASA To Deploy Four Spacecraft To Study Magnetic Reconnection

It will be interesting to see whether this research on the phenomenon in the large scale produces insights useful at the smaller scale of fusion plasma confinement.

In case it's not clear, magnetic reconnection is a phenomenon of magnetic field/plasma interaction. (Without the plasma and its currents (or extreme accelerations like those around black holes) the magnetic field wouldn't be simultaneously twisted up and bent around so it can reconnect differently.

I see two ways this might apply to plasma confinement in fusion systems:
  * It may give insight into the details of plasma instabilities and lead to ways to suppress them - enough for a practical reactor.
  * It might lead to a way to use the phenomenon deliberately, to produce a (probably pulsed) past-breakeven plasma confinement, along the lines of Dense Plasma Focus.

Comment: Re:Well if two google engineers say so (Score 1) 397

by operagost (#48462087) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

OK and Texas: two states with lots of open land that is cheap.

Most of the other 48 states: not so much.

The cost calculations don't seem to include the cost of the sprawling real estate needed, plus the ongoing property taxes on that landmass. And SOMEONE is going to pay property tax: either the energy company, or all the long-suffering middle class folks with the 3 bedroom houses on 1/2 acre plots because the power plant got a nice subsidy from the crony capitalists.

Comment: More than half were minority owned, too. (Score 1) 920

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48461993) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

The hit is taken by the store owners and their landlords. [Insurance usually has escape clauses for riots.]

Just heard on the news that more than half of the stores destroyed last night in Fergusun were minority owned, too. (I think it was actually "black owned" but I'm not sure.)

IMHO the main point of the burning is so that, once the stores have been looted, the evidence of who did it is largely destroyed. Video survelience tapes, fingerprints, serial number records, ...

Comment: Re:the times they are a changin' (Score 1) 135

by operagost (#48458305) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030
The fact is that the ruling class doesn't like that. They want the middle and lower classes sequestered in the cities while they enjoy the privilege of living wherever they please. They support of high oil prices, while blocking any practical replacement for fossil fuels. They use the media to instill middle-class guilt for preferring safer, more private life in the suburbs.

Comment: Re:Dear Sony, I am delighted! (Score 1) 139

by operagost (#48458095) Attached to: Sony Pictures Computer Sytems Shut Down After Ransomware Hack
I loathe government interference in intellectual property, but since we're stuck with these oppressive copyright laws the least that should be done is to prohibit copy protection measures without requiring a media-cost-only replacement policy be in place. After all, the enduring *IAA argument is that buying the media just buys a license to watch it, so they should be replacing damaged media for just the cost of the media. "Digital copy" helps, but it's no use in this scenario with the kiddies because you'd have to turn over a tablet or rather expensive smart TV with an internet connection to them.

Comment: Re:$1200+ for a 15 min trip! (Score 1) 100

by operagost (#48457819) Attached to: "Advanced Life Support" Ambulances May Lead To More Deaths
The President himself sabotaged that possibility by accusing doctors of performing unnecessary amputations, which besides depicting surgeons as being suitable for the leading roles in either "Little Shop of Horrors" or "Sweeney Todd", is nonsensical because amputations actually are relatively inexpensive.

Comment: Re:I just don't understand (Score 1) 920

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48456227) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

To heck with the local charges - why the hell hasn't Holder's Justice Department filed federal civil rights charges against the officer?

They're working on it.

They generally hold off on those until the state's criminal justice aparatus has had a chance to product the verdict they want. They'll file once the state system has "failed". Like maybe this week or next.

Comment: No. The store owners take the hit. (Score 1) 920

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48456185) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Black Friday starts tonight. Insurance companies to take the hit.

No. The hit is taken by the store owners and their landlords. Insurance policies generally exclude damage during riots, along with other civil insurrections and wars.

The net result of rioting that involves looting and/or store trashing is stores that move out or go out of business. Lots of little family businesses are bankrupted, while the big box store chains look at all the red ink and don't reopen. (That's why the Koreans were on the roofs of their stores with guns during the Rodney King post-verdict activities in Los Angeles.)

Think there's a shortage of decent-paying (or paying at all) jobs in Ferguson? Just wait... (This is what happened to Oakland, California, which is mopping up the last holdouts tonight "in sympathy with Ferguson".)

Comment: Re:The "Protesters" (Score 1) 920

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48456149) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Lenovo's stupid touchpad destroys the posting, just as it's being posted, once again:

They're not interested in any kind of justice. They're only interested in revenge.

And loot.

Christmas is coming up, after all. Time to do a little shopping. You can afford a lot more stuff when you apply the five-finger discount.

Assuming you don't get captured or shot, of course. But so far the cops are just standing back and letting the looters go at it. The hundred forty plus shots reported (at last count) are all attributed to the "protestors". (No word on whether any are from those defending themselves their families, or their property from looters and vandals.)

Comment: Re:The "Protesters" (Score 1) 920

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48456131) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

They're not interested in any kind of justice. They're only interested in revenge.

And loot.

Christmas is coming up, after all. Time to do a little shopping. You can afford a lot more stuff when you apply the five-finger discount.
attributed to the "protestors". (No word on whether any are from those defending themselves their families, or their property from looters and vandals.)

Comment: My take is tech makes radios sound like noise. (Score 5, Insightful) 276

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48453589) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

I also subscribe to the "great filter" theory. About 25 years after the radio was invented, we were busy gassing each other in trenches, followed closely by a global pandemic, then mass genocide, then teetering on the edge of nuclear war. That's not a very wide window for aliens to notice our presence, if they rely on artificial radio waves to detect intelligent life.

My take is that technological improvements make radio sound like noise after a few decades. Early radios systems are very simple things which have signals (CW, AM, FM, ...) that are very distinct from electrical and thermal noise. Their signals were both drastically different from, and drastically stronger than, the background, enabling simple detectors to separate a signal's information from all that chaff.

Modern radios (such as spread spectrum systems, especially OFDM) squeeze nearly the Shannon Limit out of precious bandwidth (and also be frugal with transmit power) by using nearly all of it to carry information. This makes them virtually indistinguishable from a celestial object with a little extra heat (buried among things like stars, which have a LOT of heat).

It was only about 120 years from when Hertz and Tesla started making easily detectable radio waves to the Analog Television Shutdown, a significant milepost in the decommissioning of easily detectable radio signatures. I expect that, within anther few decades, the Earth will be emitting very little that might be recognizable as a radio signature of intelligent life, unless we expend a bunch of energy sending such a signature deliberately.

So my solution to the mystery expressed in the Drake Equation is that L (the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space) is short, not due to the falls of civilizations, but to economic incentives to use the aether only in ways that are no longer noticeable at a distance.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (2) Thank you for your generous donation, Mr. Wirth.

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