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Comment: Re:Those also sink (Score 1) 213

by necro81 (#46786559) Attached to: MIT Designs Tsunami Proof Floating Nuclear Reactor

Subs are designed to sink.

Its part of their mission.

Don't be a dolt. Submarines are designed to dive, not sink. Sinking is, more or less, a one-way trip, whereas diving is reversible. If subs sink, they and their entire crew are lost.

Since you've never been in a submarine (your post makes that obvious), I'll bet you've at least seen a movie or two with a submarine in it. When it's time for the boat to go under the water, the captain says "Diving Stations!" "Make ready to dive!" or simply "Dive! Dive!"? If you replace "dive" with "sink" in the previous sentence, it just doesn't sound right.

Comment: Re:wonder bout... (Score 1) 213

by necro81 (#46786521) Attached to: MIT Designs Tsunami Proof Floating Nuclear Reactor
If you build it at an appropriate depth, you don't need to worry as much about a pressure vessel, because the ambient pressure outside would equal the pressure inside. In other words, you use the pressure of the water column to pressurize the reactor.

Even better, situate it just a bit deeper and allow that pressure differential to assist in moving fresh coolant into the reactor.

Comment: Re:Make and W.I.R.E.D. (Score 1) 282

by necro81 (#46778795) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?
I still have a subscription to WIRED because I still find some new trends in consumer tech there. Other times they'll report on something and I'll think to myself "Damn, I heard about that through IEEE Spectrum, Make:, or somewhere online months or years ago. Where the hell have these guys been?"

About every other month one of their long-form articles will genuinely satisfy. I highly recommend the 20th anniversary compendium of their best long-form stuff.

I will note, however, that the satisfying long-form stuff is never their cover article. The development of the cover article, and accompanying eye-catching cover, usually goes like this:

1) take some topic that has been floating around the zeitgeist for a bit. For example - "The capabilities of 3D printers have been improving for years, while costs have been going down"
2) throw one or two contemporary data points at it, "The original RepRap was a piece of shit, and cost $$$ plus a year's worth of tinkering to build and get running properly. The latest $Machine produces passably good knicknacks, works out of the box (mostly), and only costs $$."
3) take it to its most illogical, hyperbolic, and unsupported conclusion. "Soon we will never go shopping, we will produce all consumer goods in our own basement for pennies!"
4) find a celebrity to put on the cover. Anyone, really, will do.
5) give the Art department a hit of LSD and Red Bull, then create the cover from (3) and (4),
6) ???,
7) Profit!

So, yes, I find WIRED to have enough useful and interesting content to continue paying a subscription price for it. But I open each issue with modest expectations, and drop it off at the gym for someone else to read as soon as I'm done with it.

Comment: Re:Well done (Score 1) 71

The DMZ for New Jersey has been 500% better ever since privatization

So many potential jokes... where to begin?

"The NJ DMZ: blocking border crossings at 1/5th the price since 1995!"

"The NJ DMZ: we'll blow you up, but won't break the bank!"

"I thought all of NJ was a demilitarized zone!"

Anyone else?

Comment: Re:Open the pod bay door HAL (Score 1) 71

presumably, in the event of a failure, they could just "park" the Dragon a convenient orbit

It's an operational hassle, to be sure, but I wonder if part of Elon Musk is hoping for just that opportunity. The Dragon capsule gets more flight time, and the chance to demonstrate significant orbital changes, start/restart of the engines - all on NASA's dime!

Comment: Re:Horizontal (Score 1) 44

by necro81 (#46726307) Attached to: NASA Setting Up $250,000 Mars Lander Competition

So the two issues (the landing position and launch position) are disjoint (only the lander has to land in a mostly upright position)

So the lander - a launch platform - is going to land on the surface of Mars with a long, horizontal rocket laying across it? That was the part that didn't make much sense to me.

Comment: Horizontal (Score 1) 44

by necro81 (#46723687) Attached to: NASA Setting Up $250,000 Mars Lander Competition

The Challenge would award prizes for successful demonstration of an end-to-end autonomous operation to sequentially accomplish the following tasks: picking up the sample, inserting the sample into a single stage rocket in a horizontal position, erecting the rocket, launching the rocket to an altitude not less than 800m, deploying a sample container with the cache internally sealed and landing the container at less than 6m/s terminal velocity.

I wonder why the rocket starts off horizontal. For an actual sample return mission, do they intend to land the return rocket horizontally? I always figured that the return rocket would be upright when it sets down or gets placed on the surface, like the Delta Clipper or Grasshopper.

Comment: Re:Energy (Score 1) 256

by necro81 (#46703271) Attached to: Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

but I don't see this supplanting the fossil fuels any time soon

Maybe yes, maybe no. We're probably going to continue using liquid fuels for a long time. Some folks talk about the hydrogen economy being the replacement for hydrocarbons, but I've often wondered why. Hydrogen is a tricky fuel, starting from its relatively inefficient creation, through the difficulties in storage, transportation, distribution, to tricky bit of transferring and storing it in a vehicle tor provide sufficient usable range. If you've got the technology for manufacturing huge quantities of hydrogen, why not go one step further and create low weight hydrocarbons (methane, ethane, etc)? Those are much more energy dense, easier to transport and store, and there's already an extensive infrastructure in place.

Comment: Re:Don't bother. (Score 1) 509

by necro81 (#46662219) Attached to: The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates

I've already heard three rants about the stupid, stupid government designing forms that the smart engineer can't use

What, that's not rant-worthy? I know the tax code is stupendously complex and all, but one should not have to be a professionally trained tax-preparer to be able to do an honest job of it.

Regarding the rest of the behavior you describe - yeah, that's just plain asking for trouble.

Comment: Re:Don't bother. (Score 1) 509

by necro81 (#46662171) Attached to: The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates
That may be, but for the sake of humility, I try to recognize my own ignorance. I do not bloviate about how fantastically wonderful my ignorance is, nor belittle the opinion of people who actually are experts. Not about things that actually matter - ya know, important stuff like life and death and the survival of nations. Then again, I'm not a self-serving politician in a place of power. That's why this kind of behavior from politicians drives me bonkers. Their celebrated ignorance and obstinance in the face of established theory isn't just some game - even if they are playing at one - this will have real, serious, and mostly bad consequences that they couldn't care less about.

At these prices, I lose money -- but I make it up in volume. -- Peter G. Alaquon