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Comment: Re:RTG (Score 2) 520

by cirby (#48423657) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

RTGs only lose about one percent per year (less than that, usually). With the power bonus you get from RTGs (more power per weight when compared to solar panels at that distance from the Sun), you still end up with a large bonus of generated power, even when using the smallest types of RTGs that have been deployed.

A SNAP-3B would have started with about 52 watts, and after twelve years would have about 45 watts of power - compared to the 32 watts worth of solar power available from panels - for a total weight of about five pounds, and a much, much less complex system (versus solar cell deployment/pointing and batteries).

Comment: Re:With a RTG, it couldn't have got to the comet. (Score 2) 520

by cirby (#48423625) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

The SNAP-9A RTGs put out over 500 watts of power - about 16 times what the solar panels on Philae would produce at the time it intercepted the comet.

Those RTGs weighed only about 25 pounds each - much less than a set of solar panels + batteries. That power increase would have allowed a lot of extra options (such as a higher quality datalink) for about the same overall weight.

A SNAP-3B RTG could have put out about 50 watts - a bonus of about 50% power - and weighed less than FIVE pounds.

Comment: ...and Greenpeace... (Score 2, Insightful) 108

by cirby (#48422033) Attached to: The Software Big Oil's PR Firm Uses To "Convert Average Citizens"

Does the same. They hire the same sort of people, pay the same sort of money, and use the same tactics (and many worse ones).

Except they're getting all whiny because it's not working for them on the Keystone XL thing, so they're trying the old "those evil, mind-controlling oil companies" story on a different class of public relations targets.

Comment: The Highway Trust Fund (Score 4, Interesting) 554

by cirby (#48391221) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices "broke" because we're funding a lot of things out of it that aren't highways.

If the money was used as originally intended - to fund building and maintenance of the Interstate highway system - it would be brimming with cash. Instead, it's also being used for lots of other projects, like mass transit, bicycle paths, and landscaping for roads. About a quarter of the income from the HTF goes to non-highway projects.

Oddly enough, if you moved the non-highway spending out of the Highway Trust Fund, it would be completely solvent, with a decent surplus for more highway spending on things like bridge repair.

Comment: Re:Is that like...? (Score 2) 41

by cirby (#48389745) Attached to: How To Mathematically Predict Lightning Strikes

Do you ignore the recent extreme temperature records on purpose, or what exactly do you consider "severe weather"?

I consider actual severe weather as predicted, not the supposed "extreme" temperature records (which aren't that far out of normal).

We were told that hurricanes, for example, would be increasing dramatically in the short term. The incidence of hurricanes - and hurricane severity - has gone down, for much the same reason as the article gives for increased lightning strikes.

We were told that snow would be a "thing of the past" in many parts of the world (such as the United Kingdom) by now. Nope.

Tornadoes increasing in frequency and power? For the same reason, AGAIN? Not so much.

The only straw you have to grasp at is "temperature extremes" - which aren't that extreme, and which are mostly showing up in urban centers, due to the Urban Heat Island effect. They're having some severe issues with measurement. For example, they set a new high temperature record for May (102 F) in Wichita, Kansas - but that "record" was at a thermometer surrounded by asphalt, in the middle of an airport, which has been surrounded by developments since the original record was set in 1933...

You should note, by the way, that the "scientific" global warming prediction wasn't for high temperature records, but for higher low temperatures at night and at higher latitudes.

Comment: Re:Is that like...? (Score 1, Insightful) 41

by cirby (#48389701) Attached to: How To Mathematically Predict Lightning Strikes

An article about a study predicting increased lightning strikes due to global warming has nothing to do with all of the other (failed) studies predicting increased hazards due to global warming?

"All [models] in our ensemble predict that [the United State's] mean CAPE will increase over the 21st century, with a mean increase of 11.2 percent per degree Celsius of global warming,"

Do tell. How is this different?

Or is there some sort of rule about how things can be mentioned in stories, but not mentioned in the comments here?

Comment: Is that like...? (Score 1, Troll) 41

by cirby (#48388979) Attached to: How To Mathematically Predict Lightning Strikes

Predicting an increase in severe weather due to global warming (no, it hasn't happened)?

Predicting an increase in hurricanes and hurricane energy DtGW (again, no, it hasn't happened)?

Predicting a decrease in snowfall DtGW (once more, nope)?

Predicting the complete loss of the Arctic ice cap by 2014 DtGW (increasing, recently)?

Or any of the other myriad of weather-influenced increases or losses DtGW? That also, incidentally, haven't come to pass?

There is one almost-certain prediction that you can use: if someone predicts ANYTHING "due to Global Warming" with a target date of 2100, it's almost certainly wrong, wrong, wrong, and should be discarded immediately.

Comment: Re:As many have pointed out... (Score 1) 257

Actually, my reading skills are fine. It's his legal skills that are in a world of hurt.

For one thing, the actual complaint is that the bad review keeps turning up on the first page of his Google results. For another, the "right to be forgotten" was aimed at search engines, not content providers. Asking the Post to remove the review is, of course, way off base, legally.

He decided to use it to try and lose a bad review through using the RtbF as a censorship tool.

So everyone - yes, EVERYONE - should oblige him. You can't fire a shotgun and then pretend that only one pellet has an effect.

Comment: False (Score 1) 376

by cirby (#48156381) Attached to: Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq

The people who sold chemical weapons tech to Iraq were European countries like Germany, assisted by France and others. The weapons casings were from Spain and China. The ones made in Spain were based on old US designs (which is mentioned in the article, but the part where they were knockoff designs without US input was glossed over).

The US sold Iraq some smaller helicopters and some agricultural insecticides (which were not, in any reasonable fashion, convertible to chemical weapons). We didn't sell them any sort of chemical weapons - or weapons of any kind, for that matter.

We did send them some biological agents - again, for agricultural purposes, like anthrax. Look up "American Type Culture Collection" for how this works. Iraq tried to repurpose the anthrax for weapons (and failed, apparently).

Comment: 2075? Nope. (Score 1) 254

by cirby (#48118951) Attached to: What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

It's only "2075" if human performance follows a smooth curve.

What it will take in reality is two or three extreme performers in a group, each putting in a run equivalent to a Bob Beamon long jump. Actually, less. You're looking at about a five percent increase in performance versus the current world record.

There are certainly at least three people like that in the world right now - people with the right build, freakish VO2 max scores, and the sort of mental determination to stick with professional marathon running.

The problem is, they're probably not marathon runners - yet. Or possibly ever.

But sooner or later - and I'm betting sooner - it will happen. Probably closer to 2025 than 2075.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow