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Comment Gamma Burst Monitor Runs RTEMS open source RTOS (Score 2) 133

I thought it would be of interest that at least the Gamma Burst Monitor on Fermi is running the open source RTEMS real-time operating system.
There are multiple references but this is an easy to find one: This paper details the hardware and some of the timing characteristics of the system. And it has some nice pictures. :)

Comment Re:How long to a real revolution in engine tech ? (Score 1) 71

The study of nuclear rocket engines has a history dating back to the early 1950s. There was a Space Nuclear Propulsion Office until 1972. A NERVA is on exhibit at the US Space and Rocket Center. I also noticed that UAHuntsville and NASA Marshall appear to have been investigating this technology for at least the past few years based on news announcements and published papers. If you want to know what challenges are still ahead and how ready the technology is, checkout some of the recent published material.

Comment Re:Square Brackets (Score 1) 45

I wonder why all the names had square brackets around them: [Fermi], etc. I began to wonder if there was an alternate version of the article that had a different set of names. It was like I image it would be like to read a textbook in North Korea: "Then [Glorious Leader] invented the nuclear bomb." "Later [Glorious Leader] was the first person to walk on the moon".

Cut and pasted from a wiki?

Comment Re:locations.... (Score 1) 57

Google has announced the conversion of a TVA coal->steam plant in Stephenson Alabama to a data center. It is on the Tennessee River and they expect it to be a net energy producer. TVA has cheap electricity and they always have the river to aid cooling.

I am sure there were/are tax breaks but this is a plant scheduled to close in a small town. If Google's energy claims are semi-correct, it is a good move.

Comment Out of State Driving Trips (Score 1) 837

Assuming the per mile tax were acceptable, no one has mentioned that it assumes that all miles are driven within their jurisdiction. I drive approximately 10K miles per year including commuting and road trips. Being about 20 miles from the state line in one direction and 60 in another, the road trips end up with most of their miles out of state. This plan would have me fill up the car in another state and pay taxes at home.

Also consider the classic "Wally World" vacation driving trip. I live in the southeastern US. It is approximately 2000 miles to LA. In the past, I have done multiple three week driving trips to the west where my total mileage was between 5000 and 6000 miles[1]. All but say 100 miles of that was out of state but would be taxed by both where I actually drove and purchased fuel and by my state.

[1] The first day out and last day home were long driving days in shifts. We would knock out most of the distance to the first point of interest and actually be doing something the next day. Other drives were shorter and in between attractions. The trips would always include at least a couple of three-five day stays somewhere worthy.

Comment Twenty Years Ago in Ventura County (Score 4, Insightful) 395

That this would be a new idea surprises me. In 2009, the US had the Car Allowance Rebate System (aka Cash for Clunkers) program which likely helped reduce emissions even it was more of an economic program. Further back, twenty years ago Ventura County offered money to get old clunkers off the road strictly for emissions reasons. In 1995 per the article I link below, "More than 50% of the smog comes from vehicle emissions and a large percentage of that comes from older, pre-1974 clunkers." If you look at the distribution of cars, many are late model, well-maintained, and operating at or very near their peak. But as cars age and lose value, newer cars are built to higher emissions (and safety) standards, the parts get worn, routine maintenance gets done but many repairs aren't done because it isn't worth it based on the value of the vehicle. In areas without emissions testing, there is absolutely zero incentive to worry about it with an older vehicle. I realize this every time I get behind a vehicle that is smoking or burns my eyes because it is in such bad shape. This is not even about zero or low emissions, it is simply about getting extreme polluters off the road.

Bottom line: Encourage people to replace clunkers and keep their vehicle well-maintained.

As an odd aside, there are articles that show a similar distribution of costs in emergency room. A small number of patients dominate ER costs in the US because they have no insurance and chronic conditions. Google that one for yourself.

Ventura County Reference:

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