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Comment: Re: It's still reacting carbon and oxygen... (Score 1) 142

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:innovation thwarted (Score 2) 131

by Richard_at_work (#48436373) Attached to: Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

If Aereo simply sent the received signal, unchanged, unaltered, and as-is to your device, chances are they wouldn't have ended up in court. What they actually did was reencode the signal and rebroadcast it to you. Entirely two different things.

  And its also why your contrived example falls down. Because they didn't run a wire which carried the same signal, they altered the signal.

Comment: Re:Small time thievery (Score 1) 46

Who is going to be fined? (I assume that is what you meant) The people doing the manipulation, so the people aNonnyMouseCowered allege that are manipulating the market. Who would do the fining? The SEC, the FCA or another countries financial authority. Wouldn't take much for them to do it either.

Comment: Re:Oh god, no. (Score 1) 158

by dgatwood (#48427743) Attached to: Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)

Almost by definition, some of those scientists and technology exports would be industry scientists and technology experts, though some wouldn’t be. There’s your range of viewpoints. What I’m arguing is that the range of viewpoints on a science and technology committee need not include the anti-vaxxers, people who don’t believe in evolution, and people who truly think that computers work because of magic smoke. It should mostly or entirely consist of people with some science or technology background in the real world, because those folks are going to have the actual experience needed to understand how their decisions will affect things in practice.

Comment: Re:Yet (Score 3, Informative) 212

by Richard_at_work (#48426117) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust

Really? Its 15.54 currently here in the UK, and its already dark. And I'm not even home yet. When I get home, there's the heating to go on (gas, luckily), food to be cooked (gas hob, electric oven), the house to be lit (electric), housework to be done (electric), and then entertainment for the evening (usually electric consuming). So from when I get home at 17.30 to when I go to bed at 22.30, there's 5 hours of electricity usage.

And that's not counting things like night storage heaters, economy 7 power use washing machines or dish washers that can be put on overnight etc.

So yes, the bulk of our power usage (and Im not the poster you replied to) is over night.

Comment: Re:Could be solved be VISA, etc. immediately (Score 1) 302

by Richard_at_work (#48424897) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

Bankers drafts *are* cleared funds - the drawer pays the bank the sum of money, and the bank issues a cheque for that amount in its own name - once the recipient is in possession of the bankers draft, the original drawer is out of the equation, all interactions are then between the recipient and the bank. Unless something very very very unusual happens at the banks end, its a guaranteed transaction. Without the bankers draft, the drawer has no way to cancel the transaction - even if he loses it.

Debit card transactions have never been cleared funds however, as they occur based on one of several basis and can be reversed.

BACS transfers can also be reversed (had a once major UK supermarket do this with my wages back when I had just quit - deposited my wages in the morning as normal, so I drew some cash out. Came to pay something by debit card later that day and it was refused - odd as I should have had a lot of money in that account, but it had all vanished. The supermarket employer had reversed the BACS because they had "miscalculated" my end wage - infact they had undercalculated it, but instead of just giving me the difference they reversed the entire payment and ... sat on it.)

Comment: Re:Oh god, no. (Score 2) 158

by dgatwood (#48422865) Attached to: Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)

The thing is coders are underrepresented as we have no reason to be there.

Actually, I would argue that science and technology committees should be populated almost entirely by people who understand science and technology, so to the extent that government is creating policy in those areas, there should be coders among the elected officials.

Comment: Re:IQ of congress (Score 1) 158

by dgatwood (#48422827) Attached to: Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)

Every change means more headaches when the bill goes to reconciliation between the two houses. That’s one of the big disadvantages of a bicameral legislature—there’s a strong disincentive to fixing problems by the time a bill gets out of committee, which means if you’re not on the committee, you usually have little to no say unless the problem with the bill is grave, in which case enough people vote against it (you hope) to keep it from passing, and the committee has to rethink it.

This also points to a serious flaw in the way committees operate. Instead of a committee consisting of everyone with an interest in an issue, with open discussion, the committees are carefully selected groups consisting of a proportional number of members of each party, and are not necessarily the people who are most interested in that particular issue, but rather the people who are ostensibly most interested in the broader topic of the committee (at best). This is pretty much the exact opposite of the way that things should be done, assuming the goal is to actually pass the best, most reasonable bill possible.

So yes, the entire system is pretty much broken from top to bottom, to such a degree that progress is always made in spite of the system, never because of it. And that’s part of the reason so many bills end up being basically prewritten by lobbyists.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson