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Comment better than using a PIN (Score 1) 141

My children have to enter a PIN when they buy there lunch. Extra charges are always showing up on our account because other kids can't remember their pin or mis-type it and there's no check. This way, with the biometrics, the charges (OK, the article is talking about free lunches...) would end up on the correct account.

Comment Re:uh, so? (Score 1) 127

No, no they're not. They had the option to build them and they decided it would be too expensive to tool up. Instead, they continue to purchase the engines from NPO Energomash. What you might be thinking of is the NK-33's being refurbished into AJ-26 engines for the Antares rocket used by Orbital; at least until one blew up a few seconds after launch in Virginia in 2013.

Comment Re:Indian Point == Ticking Timb Bomb (Score 1) 213

ALL power plants require external power for cooling once they're tripped. In big plants like that, if you don't shut the system down correctly and cool the boiler off in a controlled fashion, you're going to cause all kinds of damage. This can include catastrophic failure of the boiler. Only difference is a coal fired boiler doesn't contain nuclear fuel and radioisotopes.

Fukushima was a cluster fuck. American plants apparently have more redundancy on the emergency generators than Japan requires. In addition, there are emergency cooling systems, even in the older designs, that use (for example) the steam generated by the plant itself to turn pumps. In Japan, they'd never tested those systems; so, didn't know if they were working or not (they were not).

I would like to see the plants all upgraded to newer designs myself but that's going to take decades; and, in the current societal and political climate may not happen.

Comment Re:Indian Point == Ticking Timb Bomb (Score 3, Insightful) 213

What you're describing is true of any power plant, disconnect the load and you have to stop feeding the turbine and dump the steam or you'll destroy the generator and turbine. This is a standard capability built into any plant, coal, gas, or nuclear. The gotcha is in shutting down the reactor, which can take longer to bring up than a coal plant -- which takes 1/2 day instead of several days.

Comment Enough of this (Score 5, Informative) 250

This story is being way overblown. Yes, it's a bug. Yes, it should be fixed. However...

248 days of continuous operation is well past the scheduled major maintenance for the aircraft. By this point, a 787 would have to go through many minor maintenance cycles which would have required shutting down the electrical system. In addition, loss of all 4 generators would not result in a loss of vehicle because there are batteries, an APU (a backup generator) and Ram Air Turbines (RATs), generators that deploy from the wing if the APU won't start. To have to rely on any of these would not make for a good day for the pilots; but, they would certainly provide the necessary power to safely land the aircraft at the nearest airport. They might even be able to continue on and finish their flight if they successfully reset the generators.

This is not the OMG Planes Are Going to Fall From The Sky! event the media is making it out to be.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.