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Comment: Re:Fission is Dead (Score 5, Insightful) 214

by gewalker (#48171419) Attached to: Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

Let's say I had a tested, working LFTR design. Do you really think it would be very hard to convince the public that it is inherently safer than other fission designs. Safer than a coal plant. Safer than hydroelectric. It is pretty easy to understand that a plant that is inherently impossible to cause a melt-down might be a different kind of plant than a light-water reactor design.

True, there is radiation, but it is very modest. Few people seem to have NIMBY issues with LWR reactors based on the normal radiation. It is the fear of a Chernobyl event.

Comment: How about capitalism and freedom (Score 1) 348

by gewalker (#48165475) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

Current laws make it difficult to justify capitalism when it is known that the results of your efforts may be disallowed. Add the total uncertainty of tax treatment and you have 2 strikes. Add regulatory uncertainty 3 strikes. Hope may spring eternal, but big money investors would like a reasonable chance of return.

Tax dollars could fund prizes, research etc. but governments incentives are frequently little more than politically motivated distractions that distort the marketplace by specifying "how" not "what".

Promise a contract of x number of pounds delivered into LEO for y dollars (gold equivalent) by the year 2025 and you might get something more useful out of your public funding.

Promised contracts for other infrastructure advances -- energy, food, water, education, medicine, etc. could have dramatic economic impacts that would certainly help support space exploration as well as improve things on the ground.

Proper Incentives to solve social issues would also be very positive: curing generational welfare dependency, curing various forms of addiction, preventing crime.

Stopping negative incentives which abound in government -- e.g. war on drugs, huge amounts of money spent, direct and indirect. Say you like using cocaine, limited use may not be destructive at all. But if the behavior is destructive, there is a problem. Can you make it non-addictive, maybe never; we could change policies to limit the destructiveness. The criminal treatment is clearly not working too well for society as a whole. Crony capitalism? Comcast is an exemplar hate by liberals and conservative (though politicians benefit, the public does not). Lots of other possible examples. All of these waste money here and now, freeing up the capital to do better things would clearly help transition to a space economy.

I've ranted long enough.

Comment: Re:lost password process as an attack vector (Score 1) 546

by gewalker (#48135979) Attached to: Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

You can use email distribution of reset passwords at least a little intelligently. Make the reset password expire soon and make it a single use password so password sent via email immediately expires when first used.

Low cost support of users is important to companies too. Email based password resets are very cheap.

Comment: Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (Score 2) 546

by gewalker (#48106785) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Some guy named Guido said

          __slots__ is a terrible hack with nasty, hard-to-fathom side
          effects that should only be used by programmers at grandmaster and
          wizard levels. Unfortunately it has gained an enormous undeserved
          popularity amongst the novices and apprentices, who should know
          better than to use this magic incantation casually.

Using __slots__ to enforce your programming style is very much not Pythonish. It break pickle an other things too.

Comment: Re:Null hypothesis (Score 2) 294

by gewalker (#48089405) Attached to: NASA Study: Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

I believe that climate modelers have identified over a thousand feedbacks, many positive, many negative. The problem is that this really and truly the great unknown of climate models -- The early models (and probably later ones, since the results are somewhat consistent in overall sensitivity) pretty much all seem to be have estimated sensitivity to the CO2 as much larger than unity. From radiation emissivity calculation alone, a doubling of CO2 should raise average temp. by 1.1 def C, the earlier climate models that were used in the the IPCC reports, etc. all modeled the actual sensitivity as well in excess of 1 (which is why predictions were 3-7 degrees IIRC), i.e., more positive feedback than negative.

Positive feedback is well known in dynamic systems as a source of instability (although it is very useful in active control systems).

Personally, given that the known climate history is mostly stable over long periods of time, I would expect the overall sensitivity to be less than unity. I.e., if it was significantly over unity (unstable) the planet should have already been cooked or frozen by now.

I oversimplify, because real systems are non-linear, i.e., at near "normal" mid-range temperature, the net feedback could be positive, but a more extreme temperatures, the net feedback could be negative. But, this would tend to cause a meta-stable system in that the climate would initially overheat or freeze, then tend to stay at that extreme and require a significant external perturbation to flip the climate back to a "normal" mid-range (or even the opposite extreme). I suppose that this could arguably be a pretty considered a good match to the accepted temperature of the earth.

Comment: Re:Thermal capacity of rock? (Score 2) 294

by gewalker (#48089341) Attached to: NASA Study: Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

It is not really an issue of thermal capacity. The huge difference is that solid materials like rock, silt, etc. do not have convection currents (or other forms of mixing). Heat transfer via conduction alone is very much lower. If the oceans were magically raised by 1 degree overnight, it would take months to years to warm the underlying floor by half a degree 5 meters below its surface (depending upon the material)

Water has a higher heat capacity compared to just about everything else when considered on a unit mass basis, but a few meters of ocean floor cannot begin to approach the thermal capacity of the ocean.

Comment: Re:How badly coded are Windows applications? (Score 1) 349

by gewalker (#48060451) Attached to: Possible Reason Behind Version Hop to Windows 10: Compatibility

The has actually been intentionally. As the user see the error message they say to themselves, "stupid computer" -- Having salved the human's need for feeling superior, the software can continue about its business without the human resisting the computer's penchant for literalness.

I've actually read this, not just something I made up.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.