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Comment: Re:Safety margins (Score 2) 299

by orzetto (#47375029) Attached to: Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

Of course you can be exposed for a short period of time to 500 times the legal concentration of most chemicals. The "legal limit" is usually designed so that regular, 8-hour daily exposure has no long-term health effects, just like the legal radiation limits. Granted, legal limits back then were less conservative.

Then of course it depends how you are exposed. ingestion is not the same as having skin contact. Methanol has a legal limit of 200 ppm, but I can put my hand in liquid methanol (by definition 1 million ppm, 5000 times the legal limit) for a short time and suffer no consequences.

Comment: Re:US has imprisonment badge - BS (Score 1, Interesting) 56

by orzetto (#46659683) Attached to: Oxford Internet Institute Creates Internet "Tube" Map

You can't go to jail in the US just for illegal use of the internet.

Yes you can, google up Justin River Carter. He made a hyperbolic, sarcastic comment on Facebook, and he's looking at up to 10 years in jail. Another case is Cameron D'Ambrosio's. The magic word is terrorism: if anyone is scared by what you say or says they are, you are fornicated.

You can for looking at kiddie porn, or threatening somebody, but those things were illegal before we had an internet.

Same you can say about any country with the imprisonment mark. It was illegal to mock Mohammed in Pakistan before the Internet, and now too. The imprisonment icon means, "you can go to jail after unwarranted, sweeping wiretapping of your Internet connection".

Comment: Re:I dont get it (Score 1) 551

by orzetto (#46571939) Attached to: Russians Take Ukraine's Last Land Base In Crimea

[...]made open threats against the west, repeatedly defied the United Nations, refused nuclear weapon inspections, and ultimately defied UN resolution 1441.

You realise that if you change "West" with "Iran" and make "resolution 1441" into "a bunch of UN resolutions" you get a description fitting Israel, right? And if you change "West" with "India" it becomes Pakistan? With "South Korea" it becomes North Korea? With "Taiwan" the PRC (well not the UN part since they have veto right)? The world is full of militaristic nations threatening neighbours and defying UN resolutions. Cannot see any invasions there, possibly because these countries are either allies, or pose a credible military challenge, or are not sitting on a bunch of oil.

This is why Iraq was invaded by a coalition made of mostly the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Poland, Portugal, and Denmark with 33 other countries providing some form of troop support.

You are either disingenuous or a complete fool. Iraq was invaded because it was an easy prey, rich in oil resources and with a nonexistent defense capacity. Generals could be bribed off the field. It was an overwhelmingly US operation, with some support from a subservient UK, and only nominal support from a bunch of countries thrown in only for the effect of inflating the number you quoted. Some of these countries did not even have an army (Iceland, Palau, Micronesia, Solomon Islands), others were countries looking to appease the US (most Eastern European countries) or failed states whose leaders could be bought (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan).

The casus belli was that Saddam Hussein was manufacturing WMDs for Al-Quaeda; at least according to Colin Powell. That was a big, fat lie by the US. It was even less credible of a Polish invasion of Germany in 1939 (at least Poland had an army: Saddam Hussein had neither WMDs nor Al-Qaeda), and the execution of the invasion was a textbook war of aggression, the punishment for which in Nuremberg was death by hanging.

Comment: Re:Are we not advanced enough to use UTC Time? (Score 1) 310

by orzetto (#46453049) Attached to: Daylight Saving Time ...

If employers|government really cared why don't they just say 'our office hours are 8am-4pm from October to March and 9-5 the rest of the year' or whatever?

Because the government or companies cannot simply dictate when people or companies should work, that is usually written down in employment contracts. It is much more convenient to centrally move one reference clock one hour ahead or back than renegotiating millions of contracts every six months.

Are people such sheep that as long as the number on the clock is the same as yesterday they'll blindly get up whenever you want but if you ask them to get up at a different time they'll revolt?

Most certainly yes. Changing the common time guarantees that we can go on living our lives as normal, and follow the same schedule. There are no synchronisation issues since everybody switches at the same time.

More than sheep, we people are sloths, we don't like doing useless stuff. If the office hours change, we will keep our private schedule identical and still meet with friends at 20. The point of DST is to make sure people use more daylight and save power, so it needs to influence the habits of people in their leisure time as well.

Comment: Re:And Modern Chinese have no Native Cheese (Score 4, Informative) 64

by orzetto (#46367013) Attached to: Ancient Chinese Mummies Discovered In Cheesy Afterlife

Indeed that is correct, Chinese do not like cheese. However the mummies are from the Xiahoe tomb complex in the Xinjiang, whose name in Chinese means "New Frontier". People there are more central Asian than Han Chinese, and China gained control of the area only in the 17th century. Still today, Chinese characters are used side-by-side with Arabic in street signs and such (see Urumqi train station for example).

Point being, culture there is different, and was not even in contact with Han Chinese at the time of the mummies.

Comment: Re:until someone hacks it (Score 1) 216

by orzetto (#46358049) Attached to: Rolls Royce Developing Drone Cargo Ships

That's why the cargo and the ship are insured. The shipping company would not give a damn since they are not losing anything. In addition, it will be much more acceptable for western governments to make paying a ransom a felony when no lives are involved.

Shortly, pirates will learn they cannot extract quick money from hijacking a ship.

Comment: Re:Bah, fake posturing. (Score 1) 401

by orzetto (#46267855) Attached to: US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

Nuclear is, and always has been, an economic failure. No one ever built and operated a nuclear plant without one form or another for government subsidies (such as Price-Anderson in the US). The gargantuan investment costs have always offset the cheap running costs. That's why no one ever built nuclear on its own money—but it's a great way to suck money out of the government for gigantic projects.

New nuclear power plants are insanely expensive, look at Finland's Olkiluoto that now is expected to cost 8.5 billion euros from an initial estimate of 3 billions (and it's not finished yet).

That, and we in Europe have decided we don't like nuclear. Even if the fable that nuclear is cheap were true, I'd rather spend double my energy bills to avoid nuclear, thanks; my energy bill is not so high anyway.

Finally: nuclear power can only provide base load anyway. You can't ramp it up and down to follow demand.

Comment: Re:Another way of looking at it: (Score 1) 343

by orzetto (#46118825) Attached to: Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

Probably the most similar to Snowden was the German man who alerted the rest of the world to the German re-armament.

Carl von Ossietzky had a name that deserves to be remembered. The committee members resigned because they held positions in the government and would cause a diplomatic incident: the two were actually a socialist and a liberal (see the Norwegian Wikipedia for the details). The criticisms you report came from the conservative press, such as Aftenposten, Morgenbladet, and poet, Nobel laureate and Nazi sympathiser Knut Hamsun (who was condemned by other intellectuals such as Nordahl Grieg).

Comment: Re:Oh Dear. (Score 1) 192

by orzetto (#45669391) Attached to: Thousands of Germans Threatened With €250 Fines For Streaming Porn

unbefugtem öffentlichen Zugänglichmachen über eine sogenannte Tauschbörse

That translates to "having made publicly available without authorisation over a so-called exchange forum". The key is "Zugänglichmachen", i.e. they must upload something in order to be prosecutable.

When I lived in Germany, I remember colleagues telling me of acquaintances who received similar letters (for generic filesharing, typically movies), who then caved in and paid. This is however not so common and no one told me they actually received these letters (and most people did download TV series and movies, by their own admission). I still believe these letters are sent randomly, hoping to intimidate people who are likely to have downloaded something.

Comment: Re:they've had this place since what 2010? (Score 1) 115

by orzetto (#45480369) Attached to: Toyota Announces Plans For Fuel Cell Car By 2015

Electrolysis is terribly inefficent, if it was worth doing, that is how we'd get our hydrogen.

Huh, no, electrolysis is actually very efficient, 70-90%. The problem is that you need to provide the electricity yourself instead of using a energy-rich feedstock (natural gas).

We already have natural gas cars and they are good, but not nearly 10 times better than gas cars. You sure aren't going to get further improvement beyond that by using hydrogen.

Incorrect, you are going to get a significant improvement with hydrogen. Hydrogen can be converted with current fuel cell technology with 50% efficiency into electricity (and from there mechanical power), natural gas or gasoline cannot come anywhere near that, mostly because they need to go through combustion.

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 3, Interesting) 115

by orzetto (#45479575) Attached to: Toyota Announces Plans For Fuel Cell Car By 2015

I am a researcher working in hydrogen & fuel cells, so I'll just spill the beans:

And the hydrogen probably takes up more space than a gallon of gas (a guess --- does someone know?).

It does, but not so much. Storing H2 at 700 bar requires a hefty pressure tank. They are fairly safe but that doesn't make them lighter. That's why hydrogen is suited for larger vehicles (family wagon, SUVs, long-range trips, trucks etc.). Short range is better served by batteries.

What are we destroying to make the hydrogen?

If you have cheap electricity, then it's water. You electrolyse it at the station and do not need to ship hydrogen around or build a gas network. You can also reform natural gas, which is cheaper, but then you need to clean the hydrogen really well: requirements on purity are 99.99% hydrogen, and other components are very severely limited (e.g. sulphur down to 4 parts per billion). It is debatable whether the purity standard is really necessary, though, it may be unnecessarily strict.

Main reason not to use electricity directly, as in batteries: batteries are heavier, and if you want to double energy storage in a battery car you need to double the batteries (which is not going to double the range—the batteries are heavy too). If you want to double the energy storage in a hydrogen car, you only need to double the hydrogen storage, the fuel cell (the expensive part) is still the same. And hydrogen storage is not nearly as heavy as its battery equivalent, also factoring in that fuel-cell conversion is about 50% efficient.

Why is investing in a new infrastructure -- hydrogen distribution --- a good thing?

As I said above, a good alternative is not to have the infrastructure, but to produce and compress hydrogen locally at the station. The idea is that even with all the losses (hydrogen production, compression, fuel cell) the system is still more efficient that oil (drilling, extraction, transport, refining to gasoline, transport, combustion engine). More importantly, hydrogen can be produced starting from anything: natural gas, oil, solar, you name it. Gasoline comes only from oil (or coal if you want to go Fischer-Tropsch, but that's not really efficient and has large emissions).

Does this process change the net amount of water in the ecosystem in a way that would have impact in 50 years?

No, the quantities are minimal compared to the oceans. Any day you will have far more water passing through your shower than out of your exhaust. 100 km of travel in a fuel-cell Mercedes B-class (yes I drove it :-) produce about 9 kg (i.e. 9 liters) of water. Besides, that hydrogen was produced from water from the biosphere anyway, so no balance is disrupted.

Comment: Re: Installing FCs in servers/racks won't work (Score 1) 108

by orzetto (#45340715) Attached to: Fuel Cell-Powered Data Centers Could Cut Costs and Carbon
No, no, no, you don't understand what we are talking about here. First, this is hydrogen, a gas with a molecule so small it can diffuse through steel. I have never seen a rubber hose used for hydrogen and I think I know why it would leak like the sieve it would be. In the appropriate conditions hydrogen can leak through steel so fast it can sustain a continuous fire (which by heating only promotes more permeation). Natural gas is a very tame fuel compared to hydrogen. Second, a flammable gas, like hydrogen or NG, in an environment with lot of electronics (none of it ATEX-certified I presume) generates a mother load of safety issues I can't even begin to grasp the magnitude of. No data centre currently has to deal with gas explosions, and if nothing else the insurance costs will go through the roof. This would be only an enormous risk for no gain whatsoever.

Comment: Re:Installing FCs in servers/racks won't work (Score 1) 108

by orzetto (#45331613) Attached to: Fuel Cell-Powered Data Centers Could Cut Costs and Carbon

Efficiency of conversion for gas (any gas) compression and expansion is pretty poor, and requires turbomachinery for high yields (which are not so high). In addition to that you would need strong piping for the compressed air (the FC gases run at atmospheric pressure), and you open the gates to a whole new class of problems with high-pressure equipment.

Really, electricity is the most efficient and convenient way to move power around. Efficiency is essentially 100% with proper cabling and safety is well understood. I have no idea what advantages one might harvest from using fuel cells in that context.

Mind you: I am a researcher in fuel cells. I lead a multi-million project in fuel cells, dammit. There are lots of good applications for fuel cells, this is not one of them. This is as stupid as fuelling a vibrator with gasoline.

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