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Comment: Re:Stop Now (Score 1) 173

by khallow (#46791929) Attached to: Cost Skyrockets For United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project

That's not a prestige project, that's a giant bell jar with really good vacuum pumps.

It started life as a status project. Sure, that's a sunk cost now, but someone burned a lot of money in the past on it which biases it as a model for our attempts to price similar scale projects now.

As for those giant tents, they may be prestige projects, but that doesn't really mean anything.

It means that the sponsor isn't particularly concerned about cost which is a strong bias upward in cost estimates for such projects.

If you're going to build a truly massive vacuum chamber on the cheap, then you can probably build it somewhere like Fall River Pass in Colorado so that you only have to hold off .65 Atmospheres of pressure, although I don't know if there are any suitable pre-existing depressions around there that you can use. Honestly, your plan sounds pretty neat and is probably practical. The problem is that inflatable vacuum chambers are still a pretty novel technology. So, you would be basing one highly experimental project on another highly experimental project.

Those other necessary highly experimental projects would be part of the cost and it wouldn't be just one such project. Some would be at a scale capable of being fit into a large garage.

Even the inflatable vacuum structure is itself another stepping stone to a large ground-based fusor project. The point is that a series of very focused and cost controlled projects can build up quickly and relatively cheaply to a competitive project, but you have to strictly control the design burden on these projects.

Building a project that does a very limited thing, even if it is at a scale which hasn't been attempted before, is far cheaper than building a project that does a number of disparate things at a very high standard of operation and a very large scale of operation in each of these things.

Comment: Re:Nothing new - Always had tech jobs (Score 1) 279

by khallow (#46791817) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

Wouldn't have happened because the supply chain would have imploded.

That is a swamp that needs to be cleaned out. GM will go bankrupt again and we'll be back at this same argument in a few years. I don't see to protecting a few jobs for a short time at the expense of the future.

When a company the size of GM + its supply chain goes under, the jobs go away too and aren't easily replaced.

Except by the next few major auto companies.

Comment: Re:google has no choice, like many others before t (Score 1) 115

Do you know for sure that condition is true? How? Again, I'm honestly asking you.

First, their efforts, such as supporting libertarian think tanks, tea party candidates, or opposing AGW efforts are much more aggressive and costly than merely exploiting tax loop holes, moving wealth into low tax areas, or bribing a few congresscritters.

Some of these efforts are clearly reactionary though not necessarily right wing. Resisting climate change mitigation can be done on other grounds than merely right wing ones. And while restoring the rule of law, individual freedom, and financial responsibility sounds reactionary and conservative, it remains one of the more out there aspects of liberalism.

People don't really want to live in a budget at the national level, respect laws (particularly legal restrictions on law and regulation) that go against their inclinations or ideologies, or observe the freedom of other people to do things with which they disagree. Those sorts of inclinations are ancient. The division of politics into left and right while it may have made lots of sense in past centuries and still does to some limited degree today, just isn't aging well.

Comment: Re:google has no choice, like many others before t (Score 1) 115

by khallow (#46775429) Attached to: Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

Well the like of the Koch brothers have made it so now


but you are obviously too indoctrinated by the US media to realise this.

Looks who's talking. Have some billionaires spend a little money and suddenly they own a whole political movement. Does that mean that Soros owns what's usually considered as the left by now?

Comment: Re:google has no choice, like many others before t (Score 1) 115

by khallow (#46775313) Attached to: Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

So how does that description not fit the Koch brothers?

If they really support libertarianism, then that's one way the description doesn't fit.

Koch is seen as the guy promoting keeping society the way it is (or was) against Soros' attempt to disturb stability through more change.

"Seen" is not the same as "is".

Comment: Re:google has no choice, like many others before t (Score 1) 115

that counts as right wing in my book

So what? Why should I care about your "book"?

I could not give a crap about the Gmail example, but the fact is that "libertarianism" in the US is just a front, funded by the likes of the Koch brothers (and others) and designed to facilitate a tax regime friendly to the richest 1% of the population. If that does not count as right wing I do not know what does.

You're right. You don't know what right wing is. Or facts for that matter. Libertarianism has been kicking around in the US since at least the end of the Second World War, long before the Koch brothers might have been a factor. It's never been a front for the rich. The ideology was developed long ago. Your "fact" is fraudulent.

Second, right wing vaguely means conservative/reactionary and someone who values social stability well over change. Libertarians are aggressive liberal on issues of personal freedom and economics even if that threatens social stability and other conservative notions. In those areas, they tend to be to the left of most leftists (aside from anarchists).

Comment: Re:But what is "nuclear waste" ? (Score 1) 429

by khallow (#46756987) Attached to: UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

Everyone seems to forget that half of the entire fucking nuclear power station is also "waste" - it's radioactive and damned fucking hard to get rid of.

You don't need to immediately get rid of it. Just leave it in place until it's no longer radioactive waste. And it's low grade waste too. There's a reason for the lack of drama.

Comment: Re:google has no choice, like many others before t (Score 1) 115

Well, I see you haven't established that the Koch brothers are actually right wing. And libertarianism != right wing (just one of the many ideologies that can't easily be shoehorned into a single sliding scale).

However, I can read the title and I know what Night Trap is, and I know that it has nothing to do with Gmail.

Which is why it was given as an example. It's a totally different example of the principle which doesn't involve Gmail at all by design.

My issue with your Gmail example is that Figueroa did not "want to ban it."

Destroying the business model is a classic political means for banning something. It's done all the time with adult video and sex product stores. The local government can zone the area so that the only place you can build such a store is well out of the way. As a result you get a lot less customers because your business is hard to get to. If that difference between a convenient and inconvenient location is enough to make the business unprofitable, then you destroyed the business's model.

Comment: Re:Stop Now (Score 1) 173

by khallow (#46745605) Attached to: Cost Skyrockets For United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project

But the point is that these structures are essentially _tents_

And my point is that these are essentially status projects. Well, the NASA one is a reused status project. Spending a lot more money than you have to is part of the project.

The same goes for pyramid shaped objects. Nobody builds a cheap pyramid just because even though it'd be relatively easy to do with a few earthmovers and other massive construction equipment. It's, for example, a place of worship, monument to your life, and/or a giant casino. Using historical examples for price estimates would give some amusing claims. "You would need 10,000 slaves to build a pyramid."

For example, I believe an inflatable structure of the appropriate scale with a medium vacuum in the center and properly anchored to the ground (or perhaps rather the inside of an abandoned open copper mine) could be had for low tens of millions of dollars (the inflatable components of the outer shell would be moderately over-pressurized cone-shaped wedges which would need to resist one atmosphere of pressure and wind loading with appropriate factor of safety). That includes building of smaller structures to get the many design issues worked out. That's not quite good enough a vacuum, but it's getting there.

High low Earth orbit in space has a similar density and composition to what a Farnsworth fusor would use, so you could just build a bare fusor in space, say 600 km up and use atmosphere (which would be mostly hydrogen and helium isotopes) at that point and see what happens. I haven't given it much thought past that point, the interactions with higher atomic weight atoms, Earth's magnetic or gravity fields, or the lower Van Allen belt might render it useless for most proper fusion research. But I think you could do such a thing for under a billion dollars today - even with today's high launch costs.

Comment: Re:Nuclear is obvious, an energy surplus is desire (Score 1) 429

by khallow (#46745479) Attached to: UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

Oh and GPP probably meant whenever reasonably possible.

That will probably be the excuse for the AI program that ends the world in order to produce hamburgers a little faster.

And it's always possible that he didn't mean it that way. I have seen the occasional bit of magic thinking where someone believes something is so good that it should be optimized at the expense of everything else and it is only after being confronted with the logical consequences of that statement that they decide they really mean "reasonable".

When speculation has done its worst, two plus two still equals four. -- S. Johnson