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Comment: What difference now does it make? :) Sunk costs (Score 3, Insightful) 168

by raymorris (#47419701) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

The F-35 probably shouldn't have been built. At least, it shouldn't have been built the way it was. "Been built" is the key phrase. Most of the excess cost is already sunk. Nine countries have signed on to buy it. We can't reverse time and get the money back, and starting over from scratch would both a) cost more and b) lose most of the partner countries, meaning the US would pay more of the cost.

Yes, maintaining planes costs money, and the F-35 is no exception. Is someone suggesting that the US should have no planes? Of course not, so maintenance costs will be incurred. There's no choice to be made there. I suppose we could spend nearly as much trying to keep F-15s flying. Would that be better?

Comment: for only $1,500 / month, average home. Plus night (Score 1) 287

by raymorris (#47419531) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

You can save a few bucks by pre-heating your hour water in the sun.

You can also power your refrigerator in the middle of the day, when you're not home , by paying $1,500 / month for solar electric. One of these two makes sense.

Every bit of money or time spent taking about solar electric is spent NOT working on something that can actually solve the problem, so it helps guarantee that we remain stuck with coal. If I owned a coal-mining company, I'd promote solar-electric to keep people distracted from nuclear and anything else that might actually be practical.

Comment: yep, thanks for pointing that out (Score 1) 287

by raymorris (#47419457) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

> just be careful with your numbers.

Absolutely, thanks for pointing that out. I want to post accurate facts, both for the credibility of the argument and I learn something.

Researching solar, I first found out that while solar electric MIGHT be a useful supplement at lunch time, there is zero chance of it ever being viable for primary power. However, in looking for accurate, objective data, I also learned that solar pre-heating by running my hot water pipe across the lawn can save me a lot of money here in sunny Texas.

Comment: 71 people. More from coal that year (Score 1) 287

by raymorris (#47419223) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

71 people died from Chernobyl. That same year, more people died from coal.

PREDICTIONS of increased cancer rates around Chernobyl vary. The average prediction is somewhere around 4,000. Compare 170,000 killed when a hydroelectric dam went. Nothing is perfectly safe, but the worst nuclear accident in history isn't as bad as the worst wheat accident.

Comment: Greenpeace founder says he was dishonest about tha (Score 2) 287

by raymorris (#47419139) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

Your post is based on a slight misunderstanding of radioactivity, a misunderstanding that guys like Patrick Moore of Greenpeace purposely created to trick you. Since founding Greenpeace, Moore has realized he was foolish to BS people and he's changed his tune. Moore now says:

Within 40 years, used fuel has less than one-thousandth of the radioactivity it had when it was removed from the reactor. And it is incorrect to call it waste, because 95 percent of the potential energy is still contained in the used fuel after the first cycle. Now that the United States has removed the ban on recycling used fuel, it will be possible to use that energy and to greatly reduce the amount of waste that needs treatment and disposal. Last month, Japan joined France, Britain and Russia in the nuclear-fuel-recycling business. The United States will not be far behind.

Moore skipped the fundamental lie / misunderstanding though. There ARE substances that emit radiation very slowly, over a long period of time (trees are an example of this type). There are also substances that emit radiation quickly, quickly enough to harm you. What Moore didn't tell you is that THESE ARE TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF WASTE. If you think about it for a minute, it makes sense. A candle burns for a long time. Gunpowder burns quickly, releasing its energy all it once. All that energy being released at once is dangerous. Gun powder dangerous BECAUSE it is fast. The energy from the candle isn't dangerous BECAUSE it's being released so slowly. The release of nuclear energy is just the same. There are some materials that take 4,000 years to release their energy. Since it's so slow, you'd need to sit next to it for 800 years to be affected. Then there is the waste that releases enough energy to affect you in only one year. In four years, it's released most of its energy and it is safe to have around the house.

Comment: Germany gets 2.3% (Score 1) 287

by raymorris (#47419069) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

Germany gets 2.3% of it's power from solar electric.

Not even for a moment did they get half their power from solar. The headline was wrong/,misleading times two.
More like 6%, unfortunately. That's nice and all, that when the sun is shining really bright, for five minutes you can get a significant amount of power from solar.

Then, within three hours, it's no longer 10AM-2PM and solar energy drops dramatically. (Our eyes see brightness roughly on a logarithmic scale, so what we perceive to be not quite as bright as bright is actually 90% less energy). For example, the moon looks to be maybe 5% as bright as the sun. Actually, the sun is 400,000 times brighter.

So yeah, solar is a great way to REDUCE the demand on your base sources during lunch time. Kind of like regenerative braking REDUCES the demand on the engine. Neither is, or ever can be, a primary energy source.

Comment: Too late. Fission 80,000 times safer than hydroele (Score 1) 287

by raymorris (#47417881) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

Fusion will be great when and if it happens. California will probably be underwater by then, at least if you believe in the boogeyman version of global warming.

In order to survive long enough to eventually develop some amazing energy source, we need to take action now, using power plant designs we can ramp up today and have reliable energy. Natural gas releases half as much CO2 as coal, so that's one improvement. Nuclear fission is awesome except for the worries about safety. Well, we've had nuclear for many years, and we've had other options, such as coal and hydroelectric for many years. Our experience shows that coal and hydroelectric both kill hundreds of thousands as times as many people as nuclear. Nuclear power has killed about 5 people, while just one hydroelectric dam failure killed 170,000 at Banqiao. So the "problem" with fission is indeed the WORRIES about safety - the actual safety is far better than any alternative.

Comment: Interesting, but not a Turing machine, unless is (Score 1) 23

We're way off in the weeds here, of course, but that's cool. I don't mind playing in the weeds.

What you've done there is analogous to Dear Leader's argument "it's Constitutional because it is not a tax and is a tax". You've tried to say "it can write the single value 00000001, which is eight values". Either that's one value or eight, pick one.

The definition of a Turing machine has requires very few capabilities. One of the very few things required by the definition of a Turing machine is that is has to be able to update memory one value at a time (block writes aren't good enough). That's the DEFINITION of a Turing machine - it's a machine that writes individual symbols to a strip of tape of other storage.

You've defined a language that can only update eight bits at a time, and additionally you've said it updates them only in certain patterns. That's not Turing complete.

If we want it to be Turing complete, we can interpret it as one value by saying that the LANGUAGE writes "1" and the HARD DRIVE happens to store that physically with eight molecules. The language would then be Turing complete since it's updating the single value "1". Fine. The language can write 1010101, 11111, 0000, 01010, or any other series since it's writing one value at a time. Perhaps the hard drive stores "10" physically as 1111111100000000, but the hard drive is going to read back what was written to it. Write a "1", get a "1" back. That's part of the definition of Turing complete because the storage in a turing complete system can be like a dumb piece of paper - it doesn't change what you write to it. Given that the tape doesn't change what's written to it, the language can write valid machine code and get valid machine code back.

You can't have it both ways. If "1" is one value, it can write "1", then write "0", in whatever pattern is needed to produce valid machine code. If it can only write the eight separate values 0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1 that's not a Turing machine.

Comment: ps - I wouldn't want to write COD in Postscript (Score 1) 23

Ps, it would certainly be EASIER to write Call of Duty in some languages than it would in others. It would be difficult to get it to run QUICKLY in some languages (actually that's true of all languages). It could be done, though, and that's point. The question isn't what CAN the language do, the question is what it's best suited for. Just because you CAN write a pixel shader in Perl doesn't mean you should.

Comment: sure it does. If you sandbox J, it's sandboxed too (Score 1) 23

If you sandbox Java in the browser, or sandbox a plugin written in C, it can't access DirectX either. The fact that people often choose to run a program in a sandbox doesn't mean anything about the language(s) the program is written in. Try writing a C compiler in C. It's not easy in any language. It's possible in any.

Comment: False. Einstein had a PhD from U. Zurich, top grad (Score 4, Informative) 274

by raymorris (#47407429) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers
Just FYI, that's quite false. Einstein passed his Matura (high school graduation exam), then attended Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zürich, where he got top grades in math and physics and earned his teaching degree. He did his PhD at University of Zürich. Alfred Kleiner, Professor of Experimental Physics, was his adviser for his thesis "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions" Kleiner didn't need to advise Einstein much - his previous paper, "Conclusions from the Capillarity Phenomena" had already been published in the prestigious "Annalen der Physik" (Annals of Physics).

Comment: I just might do this (Score 1) 116

I'm churning this over in my head to see if it sparks an idea that might actually be practical. My last major security-related software project was based on gender recognition, so this isn't too far off. Regarding my last project - captchas suck. People aren't much better than computers at recognizing squiggly letters. We are, however, REALLY good at spotting hot chicks.

Comment: true. All languages can do exactly the same things (Score 1) 23

Question, what does R do that other lingos cannot?

Nothing. I'm sure other languages can do everything R can do.

This is an interesting point, which I'm going to veer slightly off topic with. All general purpose programming languages* can do _precisely_ the same things. All fit the requirements to be "Turing complete". ANY Turing complete language "A" can emulate any other Turing complete language "B", and therefore "A" can do the anything that "B" can do. Since "B" can also emulate "A", the two languages can do precisely the same things. (Church-Turing thesis). An interesting example of this is that JavaScript can do everything that CPU microcode can do, as shown at .

Therefore, the question is never "which language can do more", it's always "which language can do it most quickly, most securely, etc." C is often faster than Java for many operations. R is more convenient for statistics, PHP 5.3 makes security bugs less likely than PHP 4.0, but all of those languages can run the exact same programs.

Contrast HTML and XML, which being markup languages rather than general purpose programming languages, are not Turing complete. Standard regexs are also not Turing complete, though Perl's extended regexs very well may be.

To be awake is to be alive. -- Henry David Thoreau, in "Walden"