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Comment not necessarily different questions (Score 1) 203

Can anything be done to shift the demographics [of open-source projects], considering the issues that even large, coordinated companies have with altering the collective mix of their employees?

Since a large portion of OSS contributors these days, especially to the bigger projects, are employees paid to contribute, the questions of demographics of the tech industry, and demographics of OSS projects, are pretty intertwined. When you have so many gcc, LLVM, Linux, etc. developers employed by the likes of Red Hat, IBM, Google, Apple, and Intel, the demographics of those projects are going to look at least somewhat similar to the demographics of developers within the companies in question.

Comment Re:Current research in cold fusion (Score 1) 140

Sounds interesting. Do they have any estimate of the maximum rate of fusion? I can well imagine cold fusion being a reality that happens, but never produces enough energy to bother with.

And, of course, any limits they estimated at this time would be subject to improvement..

Not having a lot of capability of investing in something rather speculative, I'm going to consider this something more interesting than useful until someone with plausible knowledge says otherwise. (And I still won't be investing, but then I'll follow it with more interest.)

P.S.: SRI has, in the past, put effort into some rather questionable research. They hire a lot of people and some of them aren't above inflating their results. But they also do lots of really excellent work. You just need to remember that some of their researchers aren't exactly indifferent about the success of their research.

Comment Re:Hmmm .... (Score 1) 140

Nahh. Leave open the possibility that he's honest and really has something. But if he's incapable of sharing it, for whatever reason, then it's worthless to anyone else.

Remember, in the really early days of crystal radios there were frequently people who could get their set working, but couldn't help anyone else to do so. So leave slack to allow this to be what's happening here. Of course, it's still worthless to anyone else.

Comment Re:Uber is paying slashdot. (Score 1) 208

This has been standard operating procedure in a number of controversial industries: the critic Film Crit Hulk is on record as saying when he was a student of oceanography he was offered cash money, straight up, to write anti-global-warming papers. We only hear about this stuff when someone turns it down for whatever reason.

Comment Re:The Message (Score 1) 130

Yes, but if you're talking about a species survival in an environment, then cleaning the damage out quick, e.g. via failure to reproduce, should benefit changes of survival. You need to distinguish between the ability of a species to survive in an environment and the ability of an individual. With a greater proportion of the damaged individuals being weeded out every year a higher rate of genetic damage per unit time should be sustainable by the species. This is, of course, going to be quite unpleasant for those eliminated, but so is being eaten by a predator...and the predators are going to be experiencing the same winnowing.

That said, it would seem that the maximum length of a genetic code with a given capability of repair would get shorter at any particular rate of reproduction....unless, like the rats in the experiment I referred to, there was an inherent tendency to avoid areas with radiation.

P.S.: While cockroaches have been observed eating the insulation on the inside of fission reactors (i.e., in the high radiation area, not the high temperature area) I don't believe that this was ever tested over several generations. But radiodurans (Deinococcus radiodurans), a bacteria, has been tested for several generations.

Comment Re: Ban ALL NUKES NOW (Score 1) 130

Umn... You are aware that the Fukushima earthquake was well off shore aren't you? That was why it was followed by the large tsunami. And there isn't a place on earth that isn't subject to earthquakes. Some place are more likely to experience damage from them, but no place is safe. One of the largest quakes in US history happened in Missouri, but quakes can happen even in the middle of plates. And some of those are worse than most that happen along the edges.

As for not near an ocean:
it's further from the ocean than Fukushima was, but not far enough that tsunamis are irrelevant. It's right on a river. Most nuclear plants are, because they need the water for cooling. And tsunamis roll right up rivers.

All that said, I'll agree that TMI is less likely to experience that particular external insult. But the world is full of unlikely accidents. It's good to avoid the ones you recognize, but that doesn't make them the one you needed to have defended against. Where to TMI style plants store their spent fuel rods? What do they do if the power supplies are interrupted? (Be aware that Fukushima thought they had that covered before the accident happened.)

Many nuclear plants in the US are being run at longer than their rated lifetime and for more than their rated power output. Yes, the original ratings were conservative, but there are good reasons those ratings were conservative. And many of the plants have repeatedly failed safety inspections. That nothing bad has happened so far is as much due to luck as to proper care...because proper care has often be sacrificed to corporate agendas. (Much like Fukushima and other plants run by Tokyo Electric [TepCo] in that respect.)

Comment Re:The Message (Score 4, Interesting) 130

Well, there *is* evidence, but it's hardly conclusive. And how do you rate bacteria?

OTOH, IIRC there's evidence that rats preferentially avoid areas high in radiation, so perhaps the evidence that exists needs to have behavioral changes factored into it (unless you want to consider that a part of how they avoid damage).

Yes, the effects show up sooner. This means they are more quickly eliminated from the genepool, so theoretically it makes sense.

OTOH, when last I visited the topic the evidence was quite weak. So what I'm talking about is science that's probably 40 years old, and wasn't strong then. Is there anything more recent?

Comment Re: Ban ALL NUKES NOW (Score 3, Interesting) 130

TMI suffered an endogenous problem, not an external insult. The two cases aren't comparable, but if I were comparing them I'd rate TMI as worse, because it caused problems with far less provocation. And I've no reason to believe that it would have caused less damage if inundated by an earthquake followed by a tsunami.

Comment Re:Cool article... (Score 1) 130

If a serial killer killed you during your Uber ride, how would you give them a bad review?

Uber would know you didn't arrive. I suppose the serial killer could deliver your phone to your destination...

Also, you could start calling 911 or taking other action with your phone as soon as you realized something was going wrong. That wasn't an option for taxis when the current regulations were set up.

Comment Re:So when are they making something we can AFFORD (Score 1) 322

Because modern solar panels are just 20% efficient, which means you still get 80% of the heat. And the parts not covered by panels keep performing just like in any other car, so you can expect this thing to be what, 10% cooler in the best case?

It could run the AC, but then I suspect it'd get much less charging done.

I'm always looking for a new idea that will be more productive than its cost. -- David Rockefeller