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Comment: Out of the question (Score 2, Informative) 225

by Solandri (#47796995) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go
You want to keep spent fuel. It's not really "waste" - the anti-nuclear lobby just likes to call it that to hype up opposition. Current light water reactor designs use only about 5% of the U-235 in the fuel rods, and only about 1% of the total energy extractable from the uranium. That's why spent fuel remains "hot" for so long - the vast majority of the energy it contains is still there, and is emitted over time as radioactive energy as it decays.

So in essence, the "waste" is really fuel containing 100x as much energy as you've already extracted from it. If you send it to a breeder reactor, it can use the "waste" as fuel thus extracting more energy. The "waste" from that process converts it into a form which light water reactors can use again as fuel. You extract a much larger fraction of the energy from the original uranium, and the end product of all this would only remain "hot" for a few centuries instead of dozens of millenia.

"OMG - this solves the nuclear waste problem! Why aren't we doing this?" Unfortunately, breeder reactors create weapons-grade plutonium as a byproduct. That's the only reason we don't do it - it's a purely political reason, not technical. President Carter banned the commercial use of breeder reactors in the U.S. in the interest of non-proliferation (the military still can and does use them).

I won't judge whether Carter made the correct call - that's a political decision. But you can see why you do not want to be selling spent fuel to a country you frequently butt heads with on the geopolitical arena. First, you're selling them cheap energy (that we ourselves choose not to tap for political reasons). Second, you're selling them the means to make more nukes.

Comment: Re:customer-centric (Score 1) 398

by Solandri (#47793925) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government
While I generally agree with you that this judge's order is silly, I don't think it's as cut and dry as you make it out to be. If you base jurisdiction over the data entirely upon where the data is stored, then multi-national corporations will start criss-crossing their data storage. e.g. Data for their European operations gets stored in the U.S. Data for their U.S. operations gets stored in Europe.

If the U.S. government investigates Microsoft demanding they turn over info about their U.S. operations, Microsoft will say sorry, that data is stored in Europe. The U.S. will then have to go through the European legal system to get their hands on their data. Same if Europe asks for data on Microsoft's European operations. Microsoft says it's stored in the U.S. And they have to petition the U.S. government before they can get their hands on the data. The company gets double-protection - in order for a government to subpoena any corporate data, they have to first clear it with their court system, then clear it with the court system of the country where the data is stored. Both countries' courts have to agree to release the data before it actually gets released.

I don't know what the solution is. But it's not as simple as you're making it out to be. The relevance of the data to the country requesting it somehow needs to be taken into account.

Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 5, Insightful) 278

by Solandri (#47791549) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars
Put another way, if autonomous cars started off working on 0% of roads and you want them to eventually work on 100% of roads, well somewhere in between you have to pass through 1%, 5%, 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 90%. It's rather disingenuous to criticize them for not getting all the way to 100% in one fell swoop. I'm shopping for a new car right now, and the new autonomous-like features like adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, and parking assist are really nice (haven't gotten to play with lane departure warning or assist yet). By themselves, no they don't make a 100% autonomous car. But each gets you a small fraction of the way there.

It will be decades before these vehicles can handle real life situations. You will need AI that can improvise as well as a human. Good luck with that.

I see that problem mostly being attacked from the opposite direction. With cars getting radar and proximity sensors, and being able to electronically communicate their intent with each other before actually moving, you reduce the need for the AI to improvise. If an autonomous car wants to pull in front of your car, the two car AIs will communicate it with each other and work out a plan to make it happen before changing lanes. No improvisation required. Sure you might get the stray deer hopping through traffic that requires a human to take control and improvise. But the vast majority of improvisation situations can be eliminated before they ever happen with better communication. That is after all the whole idea behind brake lights and turn signals - to allow you to communicate your intent to the drivers behind/beside you so they don't have to improvise in response to your sudden moves.

Comment: Re:NOT LULZ - LIES ! (Score 1) 827

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#47789441) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

I have yet to hear George Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell or George Tenet weigh in on the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Or did you mean someone else?

SNIP

Because Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are not exactly the first people I think of when I hear the term "neo-con."

C'mon. Victoria Neuland, dummy. Appointed under Hillary. You don't think of Hillary as a "neo-con" - but there she is! Appointing the Wife of Robert Kagan and former foreign policy advisor of... Dick Cheney! To the role of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.

Or you don't remember her little phone call? "Fuck the EU!"

Neo-con rim job. You don't see it, because the distortion field that Cheney described is in full-effect. You believe that an evil, Russian potentate wants to slowly steal your freedoms - not that a gang of pirates took over the former Russian state of Ukraine - using actual NAZIS to do it.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actorsand you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

The original capital of the Rus, in the foundation of the state around 100 AD, was Kiev. No entity "Ukraine" existed. I figure even IF the Russians were agressive, they have a better claim on that land than the so-called Hebrews do on Palestine.

Comment: Merkel Indicates German Wish for Federal Ukraine (Score 1) 827

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#47786111) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

This also from an interview Merkel gave to public German TV yesterday:

A solution must be found to the Ukraine crisis that does not hurt Russia and which the Ukrainian people must choose for themselves, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday.
...
  "There must be dialogue. There can only be a political solution. There won't be a military solution to this conflict," she said.
...
  On Saturday, her vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel had suggested that establishing a federal Ukraine was the only viable solution to the crisis pitting Kiev against pro-Russian separatists.

Merkel said that if Ukraine opted to rejoin the Eurasian Union with Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, then Europe would not make "a huge conflict" out of it.

Especially the last point is clearly a big step back from the earlier all out "Ukraine is EU" position.

Additionally to the economic side, pressure on Merkel also grows because there is more and more doubt, even in German mainstream media, about the veracity of the Ukrainian propaganda and about the destruction of flight MH17. Why is there is no news about it? Is there a coverup (in German)?

Comment: Re:Except (Score 1) 18

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#47785819) Attached to: Foley is a Fake

You see what you want to see.

Just one point: Africa is in the aftermath of Colonial destruction and neon-colonial extraction. That has far more relevance than the practice of religion.

All people on earth are made of the same mixture of inclinations and inspirations. The mental proposition of a theology does little to change this, but provides one framework for justifying how desires are fulfilled.

God's grace arrives as a mystical occurrence, not the mental and emotional identification with theological proposition. "Morality" is how one behaves towards the creation, so that the opportunity to recognise the arrival of this grace is not clouded, or missed. Nobody can direct God, all are at the quality of absolute mercy. That is the root of real humility - the moral virtue from which all others are sustained.

Comment: Re:NOT LULZ - LIES ! (Score 1) 827

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#47785667) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Angela is not saying this anymore. Russia as resources and markets is necessary for an Industrial Germany. A de-industrialized US? Not so much...

The Kiev government are a coalition of hyper-rich oligarchs, wielding explicitly fascist militia. It is like Goldman Sachs running a country with the help of Blackwater and the KKK. The US is involved to own the gas-pipe to Europe. Look at where Joe Biden's son is, and what he is doing.

As to a WMD Neo-Con-Job?

The NATO commander making accusation, and touting photos no one has seen? He declared Saddam's WMD as "fact".

The NYT "reporter" putting this into public record? Co-author with Judith Miller on the famous lies of 2003.

Comment: Re:Welcome to Australia, Ferengi. (Score 1) 135

by Solandri (#47785121) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court

all taxes have to be included in prices

It's the government's fault that U.S. companies don't do that, not companies'. Most countries have a single unified tax structure. A store can set a price, and advertise that price inclusive of taxes nationwide.

The U.S. is an amalgam of tax-governing bodies. The States can set their own sales tax. The counties can set their own sales tax. The cities can set their own sales tax. Consequently, the sales tax rate differs, sometimes from city to city. A store sets a price and advertises that price + taxes, it's correct for one locale, incorrect everywhere else. The only way to advertise a "correct" price is without taxes. Not because the price varies or because they're trying to hide the final price from you, but because the tax rate varies.

There are currently close to 10,000 different sales tax rates in the U.S. With more states trying to impose sales tax on Internet purchases, it's actually becoming a barrier to entry for small businesses trying to start up Internet sales. The sales tax rates can change at any time if some local governing body decides to change it, so you have to either watch daily for new tax rate changes, or hire someone to do it for you (but you still have to pay if they make a mistake). Amazon tried to harmonize sales taxes in the U.S. because of this, but the States were more interested in casting it as "protecting brick and mortar stores from unfair Internet competition" than addressing the real problem.

The best solution (other than a harmonized sales tax) would be if the Federal government set up a website listing the ~10,000 different tax rates, and forced states and local governments to update their entry in the site before a sales tax rate was "official". Businesses could then just download all the different tax rates every night and be sure they're charging the correct sales tax.

and if you buy something you have all kinds of rights (two week period to send stuff back/cancel contracts

That's the case for nearly everything in the U.S. too. In fact most shops have 30-90 day return policies.

two year warranty on physical items and such) that cannot be taken away by ToSs.

Warranties are just insurance policies. Just because the law forces companies to provide them to everyone does not mean they're free. Their cost is rolled into the price of the item you're buying.

In general, insurance is not worth it (otherwise someone wouldn't be selling it to you). It makes sense to insure items whose prices are so high it'd be difficult for you to replace (e.g. cars, houses, maybe appliances depending on your income level). But for items costing a few hundreds of dollars or less, you actually save money by just replacing the things which break rather than taking out an insurance policy/requiring a warranty for them. This is why larger companies and organizations self-insure rather than buying insurance for things like mailed packages and fleet cars. You'll notice the more expensive items like large appliances and cars already come with multi-year warranties exceeding what's required by EU law. That's because being an insurance policy on something that's difficult for the buyer to afford to replace, it's additional profit for the manufacturer to provide the 5- or 10-year warranty and raise the price accordingly.

The one place warranties do help is setting a baseline for product durability. i.e. It weeds out products which are so shabbily made it'll break after a few months. The cost of providing warranty service is so high the manufacturer goes back and redesigns the product to be more durable. At least usually that's how it works. Sometimes it doesn't (e.g. hard drives, where manufacturers can refurbish enough drives returned under warranty to replace new drives which fail during their warranty period). But overall, very few products I've encountered are that shabbily made (in fact the only one I can think of was a portable DVD player made by a company which went bankrupt anyway a few months later, so I would've been out the warranty even if I'd bought it in the EU).

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