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Comment: Re:Cool idea with a problem (Score 1) 226

While that is true, when you actually want to move armour over long distances you actually load them on a train. Next best is a truck, granted, but a modern tank is really a bit too heavy for that to be your primary choice.

You don't drive a tank (or other armoured vehicle) if you can help it. The wear on the vehicle and the fuel consumption is out of this world. What an armoured unit actually does all the time is maintenance, maintenance, and more maintenance. In fact, being at war doesn't change the maintenance requirements that much, as in; they're constantly high all the time, whether someone is shooting at you or not.

Of course, the Russians already have a rail road to Vladivostok, so while a road wouldn't hurt, it'd be an extremely poor choice for moving armour from Europe to eastern Siberia. You'd have to have supply and maintenance depots every few miles just to keep the trucks carrying the tanks working. Tanks are just too damn heavy for anything but rail or sea transport.


Comment: Re:There is a comma (Score 1) 148

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49355043) Attached to: First Nuclear Power Plant Planned In Jordan

Ah, OK. It was more the "building" a reactor in Sweden that caught me off guard. We're not allowed to build any new reactors by law. We weren't even allowed to do research into building a new reactor, or technologies that could be applied to such, but that law was fortunately stricken a few years back.

But yes, we do "upgrade" our reactors to the extent that if they're reported as "building" in foreign sources that's arguably more correct than our current doublespeak.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 316

No of course they (probably) know if they break even today. But since they're not paying the cost, the loss of fish is an externality for them, that doesn't matter much in the final analysis.

Now, that no-one would actually build a new plant in the old spot when the old one is removed for purely economical reasons, is a given in most of these places. The economics have changed in the last 100 years, so they only make economical sense given that they're already there. They don't make enough to pay for their replacement, but since turbines lasts for several decades, current owners don't necessarily see that.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 316

You're assuming that these power plants are run by a commercial entity that knows of and can perform proper economic analyses. This is far from always true. Many of these are run by small co-ops, single farmers that inherited it, and the like. Thus many are run as a "hobby". So "duh" indeed.

And we have done the analysis, that's why we're forcing them closed. Since they don't generate any power to speak of, it's almost enough with a single fish to tip the scale against the plant.

And when it comes to reliability, the system isn't set up to take these tiny plants into account, that would cost too much to install after the fact. In case of "high tension" distribution failure, these plants would be shut down. They can't run in island mode, due to lack of control, and linesman safety concerns. But we only have a major distribution failure ("high tension" in your words) every decade and half, so that's not the problem anyway. Like I said, our problem isn't lack of generation (local or nation wide), or major distribution lines/network, it's that local distribution lines are cut by trees. We'd need every farm to have their own plant to make the system fine grained enough to make a difference. And that won't happen.

As a general rule though, the Swedish grid is very well run and maintained, with among the highest availabilities in the world. Since electricity is one of our exports, it's in the power companies interest to keep it up and running. (Our production is cheap, clean and abundant with about an even split between hydro and nuclear).

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 316

Sure they made sense, but this was way back when. These generators were put in place when Sweden was only just being electrified, aka 100 years ago. Many, not to say, most weren't connected to the grid, and have just been left running more or less, as the cost is already sunk and hence they're "free" to own and operate. So they were economically viable the same way a Ford model-T was. Today, not so much. Like I said, we get 94% of our hydro power from 10% of our plants. These are of course a lot more recent (and much, much bigger).

However, this being southern Sweden, the grid is now orders of magnitude more powerful and widespread. While we have a problem of people losing power during storms, it's due to trees on the lines, we're not losing any production capacity. This is why we're busy burying the local lines. Diesel is strictly for backup, and the local hydro plants we have don't help one bit, as it's the local (subscriber) lines that are affected. Regional and higher are so high up that trees can't affect them.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 316

Yes you slept through classes alright, I guess (macro) economy being the major one.

There you would have learned that the conversion in this case is "money". As in we don't get enough value from the electricity from this recipient to motivate the cost of destroying the biology to the extent that the power station/dams etc. do, for most smaller plants.

Like I mentioned in another post. We get 94% of all our hydroelectricity from 200 of our ca 2000 plants. That many of the remaining 1800 could be closed down with no noticeable effect on power generation should be pretty obvious.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 316

Presumably they did before they constructed them.

Not really. This is in Europe with a long history, many most of these power plants started out as mills (water weels) several hundred years ago where these questions (whether economic or ecological) were not understood.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 316

Yeah, well, the dirty little secret in the business is that fish ladders don't really work, and never have. Same with turbines. Fish don't survive them in any appreciable numbers. Leaving the river in place, makes a small plant even smaller, so not much future in that.

Of course you could make an "artificial" pump only station without even caring about fish, but then there's the problem of placing it somewhere. There's not a lot of places that are suitable.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 316

We did exactly that with our large northern rivers. Developed half of them, and left the other half. When it comes to the south, there's only one that's worth the bother, the rest we are trying to restore. As I mentioned in a previous reply, we get 94% of our energy from 10% of the plants. The rest are basically a nuisance. Tear them up for the fish.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 2) 316

Yes of course it can "work", in the sense that it can deliver electricity. No-one is questioning that. However, they destroy a lot more waterway than what they deliver electricity, so since we actually want fish (to eat), on the whole, small scale hydro is a net loss and that's why we're decommissioning them.

As a comparison there are about 2000 hydro electric power stations in Sweden, 10% (200) of those produce 94% of the energy... So there's clearly room for clearing out a lot of small plants without affecting production at all basically. (And then there are 2000 decomissioned power stations, many of which still have the dams intact, so tearing those out is at the top of the agenda).

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 4, Interesting) 316

and others are near running water.

In Sweden at the moment (where we have about 50% hydro, give or take), we're busy tearing down all the small dams and generation facilities in the south, since what puny amounts of power they generate doesn't outweigh the loss of fish habitat and migration routes.

Truth be told, small scale anything sucks (with the possible exception of solar panels on your roof for AC and possibly charging your electric vehicle.) Wind and hydro electrics in particular work better the bigger they are. And when it comes to hydro electrics it's better to royally screw up a large river or two and get your moneys worth of electricity and to hell with the fishies, than piss about and destroy every little stream with not much to show for it. And no fish whatsoever, anywhere.

Comment: Re:Nice idea, but the problem is elsewhere (Score 1) 1089

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49299459) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

I'll tell you another group of people that don't like to register: people with an outstanding warrant for their arrest, which they are evading. Please explain what is wrong with that.

Because the voting process should be as much as possible kept apart from the judicial system. (And especially for a country that puts out warrants for arrests because of unpaid parking tickets and the like. And often does so in error to boot).

The whole idea of "social death" and the like is a very dangerous thing, especially in a country that locks up so many people as the US. In Sweden you can actually vote in prison, and that's as it should be. If you have enough of your population in prison that they become a political factor, then maybe it's time to look at your laws?

For a country that prides itself on its "checks and balances" letting the law enforcement and judicial system have a direct effect on the voting public is a glaring oversight. The police only gets a say if ballot stuffing and the like is suspected. For everything else it's "hands off".

Comment: Re:do you really want the uninformed voting (Score 1) 1089

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49299445) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

They vote for tribal reasons - gun laws

Nope, I don't buy that (having no particular dog in the race). Voting based on the candidates/parties stance on gun control (whether for or against) is actually highly rational in a two party system like the US where the voters don't really have a choice anyway. Many of the questions affecting society and the economy are very complex and difficult to get a grip on in the first place. When you add to that that the powers that be don't actually present a choice between two different outlooks, but will actually pretty much do the same thing when in power anyway, as their options (given the current system and economic/political climate) are severely limited, it becomes highly rational to let your vote be decided by a single issue where the alternatives actually are clear and in stark opposition, and that you feel actually will have an effect on your personal situation (whether you're afraid of other people having guns or the only hobby you can squeeze in to forget the daily grind is a let of a few at your local range).

So, I don't see tribalism as much as rational behaviour in the face of an impossible situation. Doing the best you can with the limited information and scant possibility to change matters, in either case.

Comment: Re:what's the point (Score 1) 94

America did not invade Iraq for oil. The reason Saddam wasn't selling oil was because the US embargoed him. Why would we attack a country for the oil we refuse to buy from them, rebuild their fields, then start buying the oil from them? This argument makes no sense, there are far easier ways to get oil than spending as much money as we did on a war (which uses shitloads of oil that we shipped in) to "get the oil from Iraq".

The reason Sadam was embargoed, as the story goes, is that he did the one thing that is forbidden, namely convert his oil fund to Euros. Iraq was selling oil for Euros by 2002. This severely threatens the petro dollar, which in turn threatens the whole US economy and the dollar as the world reserve currency. It's noteworthy that when Iraq came back on the oil market, the dollar was restored. They didn't sell one drop of oil for Euros.

Now, I don't really have a dog in the race, but it's a compelling theory. Google it and you'll find it expounded upon in great detail.

Administration: An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. -- Ambrose Bierce