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Comment: That logic has it's limits.... (Score 1) 409

by dfenstrate (#46532521) Attached to: Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

If all the money spent on software licence had instead been spent on developing software, the government would have produced the necessary software ten times over and been able to distribute for free instead of still paying to this day.

I don't contest the logic of this statement in and of itself, but I do wonder were this kind of thinking ends. The Government has it's own critical tasks to perform, and officials should focus their efforts on, well, governing what they're supposed to look after. Should the government build it's own office chairs? It's own cars? How about servers? Handguns?

Comment: Re:Manners (Score 4, Interesting) 401

by dfenstrate (#46495279) Attached to: NASA-Funded Study Investigates Collapse of Industrial Civilization

Eventually, wealthy and liberal societies come to an end for other reasons

Those 'other reasons' are pretty simple: Liberal and wealthy societies become complacent due to the ease of their lives, and that makes them neglect the principles and practices that made them powerful and wealthy to begin with.

The default human condition is poverty, misery and violence. Escaping that is rare, and it takes a special society to make wealth, power and security seem normal. Once wealth, power and security are seen as birthrights and not hard-won prizes, the parts of a society that make it special are neglected (because, hey, they're 'mean' and 'hard work'), and rot sets in.

Comment: But wait, there's more! (Interest groups vs KXL) (Score 2) 144

by dfenstrate (#46440101) Attached to: Exploding Oil Tank Cars: Why Trains Go Boom

They've been trying to build one for years (Keystone XL) but have been stonewalled at every turn by Obama.

Not just Obama, but the by anti-oil people. They think by blocking the pipeline, they will be reducing CO2 in our atmosphere. The sad part is, they are actually INCREASING the amount of CO2 and other pollutants.

Don't forget that OPEC countries have been found financing anti-Keystone XL 'environmental' groups as a means to keep competition out of their oil markets and keep prices up. Then there's the railway owners, who would lose out if a pipeline was built. Much of the inland oil development is shipped by BSNF, a Berkshire-Hathaway company. Buffet is an Obama supporter who has publicly supported Keystone XL, but who knows what deals are going on behind closed doors? (my apologies if this is a repeat post, the last one didn't seem to take.)

Comment: But wait, there's more! (Interest groups vs. KXL) (Score 2) 144

by dfenstrate (#46440067) Attached to: Exploding Oil Tank Cars: Why Trains Go Boom

They've been trying to build one for years (Keystone XL) but have been stonewalled at every turn by Obama.

Not just Obama, but the by anti-oil people. They think by blocking the pipeline, they will be reducing CO2 in our atmosphere.

There's more though. Arab oil-producing companies have been found backing environmental groups, to fight the introduction of new supply into their markets, which would depress prices. Then there's the owners of the railroads, who would lose out if the pipe network was expanded. If I remember correctly, BSNF railway ships much of the recent inland oil development, and it's owned by Warren Buffet, a notable supporter of Obama. Buffet (again IIRC) has come out in support of the Keystone XL pipeline, but who knows what deals are going on behind closed doors?.

Comment: That would never actually happen. (Score 3, Informative) 157

by dfenstrate (#46306901) Attached to: Safety Measures Fail To Stop Fukushima Plant Leaks
There's no reason to think the melted core will get that far down, or even burn through the concrete floor, or even leave the reactor vessel in any sort of coherent form. Chernobyl's overheated core just spread through the lower parts of the structure (look for the 'elephant's foot' picture), Three Mile island's core was scraped off the inside of the reactor vessel, having only blued the metal.

'Corium' is basically molten ceramic (The fuel is a uranium-oxide matrix.) It has such poor heat conducting properties that during normal operations, it could be 3000F in the center of a pellet, and 650F on the surface of the cladding- 3/16" away from the center.

Comment: Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (Score 2) 157

by dfenstrate (#46305901) Attached to: Safety Measures Fail To Stop Fukushima Plant Leaks

why not just let the thing meltdown? It would essentially bury the fuel. After it drops down a 1000' or so, fill the hole in with cement. I wouldn't be too worried about volcanic eruptions, radiation is what keeps the earth core nice and soft.

The most important reason is that 'corium' isn't actually hot enough to burn through the earth like that, nor does it conduct heat all that well, even if any part of it became hot enough.

The integrity of the fuel rods is challenged at 2200F (zircaloy-water reaction, which released the hydrogen that caused the reactor building roofs to blow off on three of the Daichi units.)

Steel melts at about 2600F. Concrete breaks down at about 1800F.

In addition, the fuel is a uranium-oxide mix, a sort of ceramic. This class of material is generally known for poor thermal conductivity. That's why the pellets are the size of a pencil eraser, they need to be small and have a high surface area in order to conduct heat from the center of the pellet- which might be at 3000F in normal operations- to the fuel cladding and into the reactor coolant, which might be around 600F.

Anyway, from what I know about western reactors (it's my line of work, but i'm not a reactor engineer per se), I seriously doubt the fuel would 'burn' through steel or concrete. The fission products escape because of physical destruction to the facility caused by the Tsunami, or because of relief valves that limit reactor coolant system pressure, or primary containment structure pressure.

Chernobyl's release was due to a massive overpressure event that physically broke the reactor vessel. Nothing ever burned through concrete (check out the photos of the 'elephant's foot')

Three Mile Island's core was found in the bottom of the reactor vessel; a small amount of fission products was released by mis-operation of support systems. The integrity of the reactor vessel was never threatened, though the containment building (much larger than Daichi primary containment structures) withstood several hydrogen burns.

Comment: Re:Godwin's law (Score 3, Insightful) 683

by dfenstrate (#46072805) Attached to: VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage
The fascist actions of the Government lately cannot have escaped your notice. In case they have, I'll paste a summary for you:

Coincidence: Hollywood’s only conservative group is getting close IRS nonprofit scrutiny

Another Coincidence: James O’Keefe Group Being Audited by NY. Again.

Yet Another Coincidence: Dinesh D’Souza Indicted For Election Fraud

Still Another Coincidence: IRS Proposes New 501(c)(4) Rules That Just Happen to Cover Most Tea Party Groups

Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin’s ‘John Doe’ Subpoenas

Secret investigations targeted coincidentally at most prominent conservative groups in WI who can only now legally talk about their harassment. If you want to see what American fascism would look like, well this is it.

quote source: Here, with more links.

The power of the federal goverment, and some state governments, is being turned against those who oppose the powerful. If you don't have a problem with that, you're no better than a Nazi, regardless of Godwin's law.

Comment: Semi-seriously. (Score 1) 644

by dfenstrate (#46055411) Attached to: Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support
I was being sarcastic, of course, but this sort of news will certainly discourage guys from assisting lesbian couples. The couples will have to go pay full price at a fertility clinic for sperm. Is that not a logical consequence of this case? Does this not increase costs for the women involved? One guy gets screwed over by the court. Hundreds (Kansas) or thousands (National) of lesbian couples won't be able to find economical sperm donors. Buying sperm from a clinic will run north of $500. Yes, they ought to be able to swing $500+ if they want to have a kid. But should they have to?

Comment: Re:Not here! (Score 0) 324

by dfenstrate (#46008729) Attached to: In Greece, 10 Months In Prison For "Blasphemous" Facebook Page
Some folks have confused the United States prohibition on an established, national religion (congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...) in the first amendment with a ban on any intermingling of religion with public office or government function. This odd view has been entertained from time to time in various courts, and is pushed by certain atheist and 'civil liberties' groups who lack productive work to pursue. So kindly forgive the GP poster, his confusion is rather common place.

Comment: Re:Kill capitol punishment! Kill it dead! (Score 1) 1038

by dfenstrate (#45994727) Attached to: Controversial Execution In Ohio Uses New Lethal Drug Combination

Money's a bad consideration. Death Row inmates cost more than regular life-sentence inmates to house.

The argument is somewhat circular, because death-penalty opponents have made it so expensive. I'm not against all of the additional costs, mind you, in this day and age we ought to be damn sure we're executing the right person.

Comment: Willful ignorance (Score 2) 770

by dfenstrate (#45986513) Attached to: Creationism In Texas Public Schools
I don't understand how one can have any knowledge of the history of science, and think that Genesis would be a literal record. Accepting divine relevation of the Pentateuch, the record spans 4,000 to 1600 BC. Our understanding of Natural Law (Newton, Galileo, etc) has only really started to explode in the last 600 years or so- meaning that Moses-Era people lacked the knowledge necessary to understand the specific mechanisms of pretty much any aspect of how the current conditions came to be.

A lecture on natural law would have been out of place and unhelpful to the faithful for the following 5,000 years; the message was simply "I, God, made you and this world."

The fact that this short message was stretched out to a seven-day process in no way makes it literal. The specifics of creation were not the point, and would have been lost on those folks; so it was omitted. Those same young earth creationists must believe that the God of Abraham has a bit of Loki the Norse Trickster god in him, given that there is so much physical evidence contradicting a 6,000 year old earth. Either that, or they must believe that there's a massive satanic conspiracy to invent evidence for an earth billions of years old, an equally preposterous claim.

Religion gives us the 'Why' of life; science is the 'How.' They cannot serve each other's purposes.

Comment: Re:WW2 machiny and WW2 units of measurement (Score 1) 150

Explain 'Stones"

1. the hard, solid, nonmetallic mineral matter of which rock is made, esp. as a building material. "the houses are built of stone" rock, pebble, boulder More (in metaphorical use) weight or lack of feeling, expression, or movement. "Isabel stood as if turned to stone" ASTRONOMY: a meteorite made of rock, as opposed to metal. MEDICINE: a calculus; a gallstone or kidney stone.

2. a piece of stone shaped for a purpose, esp. one of commemoration, ceremony, or demarcation.

3. The stone (abbreviation st) is a unit of measure equal to 14 pounds avoirdupois (about 6.35 kg [nb 1]) used in Great Britain and Ireland for measuring human body weight.

Comment: Re:WW2 machiny and WW2 units of measurement (Score 2) 150

Isn't it about time a technical site such as slashdot started using metric units , eg kilos? You know, for the rest of the world outside the USA who has no clue what the hell 96,000 lbs means? Even in the UK hardly anyone under the age of 60 uses lbs as a measurement any more.

Explain 'Stones"

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long