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Comment: Re:Paralytic analytics (Score 1) 482

by pupsocket (#47876549) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

But that's irrelevant.

Perhaps efficiency was the wrong label for how the "best" design undermined "good" design.

If nuclear power had short development cycles and small increments of purchase like the semiconductor market, then it would have sustained its leading technological edge. Instead, massive investment and long lead times ensured everything built was an insult to advanced research.

In the fruition of research as projected by the nuclear industry, fission itself would turn out to be an intermediate kludge.

Comment: Paralytic analytics (Score 1) 482

by pupsocket (#47869429) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

Seriously? Do you really believe a bunch of hippies put the breaks on something as profitable as Nuclear power?

Coal and oil lobbies, the folks paid to store nuclear waste instead of processing it into new power. Look at those folks. Follow the money. When anything of importance happens it's always money.

Companies like Bechtel, Westinghouse, and GE got special access to governments wherever they wanted, due partly to their oligopoly on big-project experience. Coal plants and refineries didn't damage the "we are the future" mojo of the big contractors who were just biding time.

They were paralyzed by their own analysis of the economics of fission-generated electricity:

1. All the efficiency is in breeder reactors. Nothing else comes close, so don't exclude them from the discussion. All the other options sound like a steam-powered motorcycle.

2. The only problem is that breeder reactors are vulnerable to being weaponized and would inevitably become vectors for the proliferation of fissionable explosives. But killing that research deflated the righteous and greedy zest to shove political decisions on a government -- but only in regard to nuclear energy, and only for the moment.

3. Fusion. Just wait. It's okay, it's not like you can't take take over the world with just oil-field services.

Comment: Re:Storage isn't valuable right now (Score 1) 245

by pupsocket (#47804783) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

As for 'why' they should pay for the storage, it's because they're seen as introducing the problem. Nuclear and coal at least operate all the time, and nobody is building another baseload plant that would exceed the demand limit.

By operating a high capacity full-time, "base lead" plants are shoving the problem of variability onto other generators and making the swings much worse for them.

If base load plants are cheaper because their capital costs are spread out over more energy, then they are cheaper only for the investors, not the customers. They do not decrease the net price of electricity. They just make peak-demand usage more expensive.

+ - Drone Developers Consider Obstacles That Cannot Be Flown Around - NYTimes.com->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A few days ago we talked over some of the difficulties faced by makers of autonomous car software, like dealing with weather, construction, and parking garages. Today, the NY Times has a similar article about delivery drones, examining the safety and regulatory problems that must be solved in addition to getting the basic technology ready. [R]researchers at NASA are working on ways to manage that menagerie of low-flying aircraft. At NASA’s Moffett Field, about four miles from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., the agency has been developing a drone traffic management program that would in effect be a separate air traffic control system for things that fly low to the ground — around 400 to 500 feet for most drones. Much like the air traffic control system for conventional aircraft, the program would monitor the skies for weather and traffic. Wind is a particular hazard, because drones weigh so little compared with regular planes." Beyond that, the sheer scale of infrastructure necessary to get drone delivery up and running in cities across the U.S. is staggering. Commercial drones aren't going to have much range, particularly when carrying something heavy. They'll be noisy, and the products they're transporting will still need to be relatively close by. What other issues do Amazon, DHL, Google, and other need to solve?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: they are just beating up the government (Score 1) 419

by pupsocket (#47800885) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

This same line -- shifting the discussion to the long legal process -- was identical in the prelude to savaging Federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson and overturning years of defeat in their trial for anticompetitive practices.

Microsoft won't accede to the power of the law. That's all. It has nothing to do with Microsoft's policy toward customers, though they'll say anything.

Comment: The Industrial Era disagrees (Score 1) 262

by pupsocket (#47651335) Attached to: Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Henry George looked from a high hill toward the growing San Franscisco in the 1870's and realized that rising land prices were a bug in in the industrial economy. They punished success.

His book sold more copies than any other in the 19th century in the United States: Progress and Poverty.

Comment: Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (Score 2) 165

by pupsocket (#47588337) Attached to: Was America's Top Rocketeer a Communist Spy? The FBI Thought So

An excellent characterization.

As I understand it, he was arrested for complaining that the war was not going well, which everyone knew but people in high places were forbidden to mention. His problem wasn't that the Nazis were Nazis, but that they were the losing.

As a technocrat under extenuating circumstances, he illustrates the worst moral worthlessness to which a technocrat can fall, and so should not be esteemed. He should never have been celebrated as an American hero.

Comment: Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (Score 2) 165

by pupsocket (#47588245) Attached to: Was America's Top Rocketeer a Communist Spy? The FBI Thought So

The kindest thing you can say about him was that he had tunnel vision. He was an ambitious man who did not find murderous slavery to be sufficient reason to just take orders. No one can be forced to lead as uniquely as von Braun or forced to fight so hard for control of a project.

Was his behavior understandable? Yes, if you believe he was blinded by obsession. Was it justified? Not by a moon shot.

Comment: Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (Score 5, Informative) 165

by pupsocket (#47579343) Attached to: Was America's Top Rocketeer a Communist Spy? The FBI Thought So

From the article:

"The actual manufacturing was done by prisoners from the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora. As the historian Michael J. Neufeld has documented, von Braun went so far as to handpick detainees with technical qualifications for this work. (The prisoners were worked literally to death. In all, about 12,000 died producing von Braun’s rockets; for comparison, the rockets themselves would kill an estimated 9,000 people, many of them civilians.)"

Comment: Re:Railroads killed by the government... (Score 1) 195

by pupsocket (#47490983) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

I'm not against trucks. I just think that trains that can carry 600 people downtown to downtown at 300 kph shouldn't be something citizens of the United States can experience only overseas.

P.S. If I wanted to hide, I'd head to the old farm. It's pretty hard to hide in a subway.

Comment: Re:Railroads killed by the government... (Score 1) 195

by pupsocket (#47487695) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

The Nordic report cited above indicates that deterioration from environmental effects is not significant. Doesn't sound right, but then none of this matches intuition.

Speculation based on cursory reading: Since trucks do their worst where pavement is rough, the freeze-thaw cycle doesn't get a chance to do its worst because the trucks are too quick at expanding fissures and pounding the edges of cracks. Once trucks start tearing up a roadway, the destruction accelerates because tires bang asphalt at all angles and concentrate their load on a smaller area with shuddering stress.

Comment: Re:The car will need a license. (Score 1) 435

by pupsocket (#47487645) Attached to: FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

... the least you could do is wait until someone is confirmed to be doing something 'bad' before you punish them ...

We are sympathetic to your point of view, Citizen, but the approach you advocate would delay the expansion of government control over your life. We trust you are not hostile to the radiant future where cars have more autonomy than you do.

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