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Comment: The sad history of US nuclear weapons. (Score 3, Informative) 217

by Animats (#47971615) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

It's amazing how bad many nuclear weapons were, and perhaps are. The Hiroshima gun bomb wasn't much better than an IED. If the Enola Gay had crashed, it probably would have gone off. (The crew was under orders not to land with the bomb; if they had to return to base, they were to dump it in deep water.)

For a while after WWII, the US didn't actually have any functional nuclear weapons. This was a major secret at the time. The war designs weren't suited for long-term storage. Nobody wanted another gun bomb, and the first generation electronics for triggering implosion didn't store well. A "GI-proof" line of bombs had to be developed.

The first round of Polaris missile warhead wouldn't have worked. This was learned only after there were SSBNs at sea with functional missiles and dud warheads. That took over a year to fix.

In recent years, there was a period for over a decade when the US had lost the ability to make new fusion bombs. The plant to make some obscure material had been shut down, and the proposed, cheaper replacement didn't work.

There was a tritium shortage for years. The old tritium production reactors were shut down years ago, and no replacement was built. The US is now producing tritium using a TVA power reactor loaded with some special fuel rods. Commercial use of tritium (exit signs and such) is way down from previous decades. (Tritium has a half-life of around 11 years, so tritium light sources do run down.)

The US was the last country with a gaseous-diffusion enrichment plant. The huge WWII-vintage plant at Oak Ridge was finally dismantled a few years ago. There's a centrifuge plant in the US, privately run by URENCO, a European company.

The US had a huge buildup of nuclear capability in the 1950s, and most of the plants date from that era. They're worn out and obsolete.

And that's the stuff we know about. Being a nuclear superpower isn't cheap.

Comment: Re:There are numerous other obvious flaws (Score 2) 236

by Sique (#47967977) Attached to: Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light
You misunderstand the basic principle of the Moon landing hoax conspiracy. At first, prima causa, is the premise that the Moon landings didn't happen. Everything else has to fit this. There are pictures of the landings? The pictures are fake. There are people working at the Moon landings project? The people are liars. There are contemporary reports of the Moon landings? They are fabricated by a concerted propaganda blitz etc.pp.

The idea that you can topple the prima causa by attacking the conclusions is naive. The premise is all that's about it. The Moon landings have to be fake. Everything else is just a corollary.

Comment: Re:TFS BS detector alert (Score 1) 648

by Sique (#47966989) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything
Science works without even the existance of ultimate causes and absolute truth. They are nice projections of the expected direction research will go, but there is no reason for them to actually exist. Some famous scientists even voiced amazement about the apparent universal validity of their theories.

Comment: It has to be really cheap to succeed (Score 1) 48

by Animats (#47966675) Attached to: SkyOrbiter UAVs Could Fly For Years and Provide Global Internet Access

This service has to be really cheap and fast to succeed. Iridium and GlobalStar already offer a satellite-based service. Iridium really does cover the entire planetary surface; GlobalStar has most of the planet, but not the polar areas. So it's all about being price-competitive.

Comment: It's an easy rule of thumb (Score 1) 168

by EmagGeek (#47966331) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

Whomever wants you to go to the conference pays.

If you want to go to the conference, but haven't been asked to by your employer, you pay

If your employer asks you to go to the conference, they have made the determination that your presence there is critical to the company's mission, so they should pay.

Comment: Re:So educational! (Score 2) 648

by Sique (#47964723) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything
We do experiments with the Sun everyday. For instance we put up calendars and models of the movement of Sun and Earth, which predict that Sun and Earth tonight will be in such a position that the day-night-terminator will cross San Francisco, CA at 6.06 pm. It's a valid prediction, which can be tested very easily for people being in San Francisco tonight.

Comment: Not distributed (Score 4, Interesting) 75

by Animats (#47962527) Attached to: Researchers Propose a Revocable Identity-Based Encryption Scheme

I'm not qualified to judge whether it's secure, but it's not distributed. "Each user is provided by PKG with a set of private keys corresponding to his/her identity for each node on the path from his/her associated leaf to the root of the tree via a secure channel as in IBE scheme." So there's a tree of all users, maintained by somebody. I think; the paper suffered in translation.

Comment: Re:Now all they need to do... (Score 1) 132

by bmo (#47962167) Attached to: New MRI Studies Show SSRIs Bring Rapid Changes to Brain Function

Is figure out why so many who are on SSRI's or had recently stopped taking them, become suicidal or go on shooting rampages, or both.

It's people like you who encourage the stigma that we're in this mess where people go untreated for decades/lifetime, in spite of the fact that over 1/4 of everyone suffers from a diagnosable mental illness in any given year.

One in four adults - approximately 61.5 million Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 17 - about 13.6 million - live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.1

-- NAMI http://www.nami.org/factsheets...

I ask you, where the fuck is the Ice Bucket Challenge for mental illness? That's something I asked last Wednesday at my DBSA meeting. I'm asking it here. Where the fuck is it? We've got the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer, yet more women suffer from mental illness than have ever had breast cancer. But there is pink everywhere.

Unfortunately, NAMI is only there for caregiver support and even for that they are absolutely silent in the media. They do absolutely bupkis for people who actually suffer from mental illness. Support is nearly nonexistent. I don't know of any foundation that supports the treatment of mental illness, raises awareness or even works to end the stigma. And for people who suffer from mental illness, there is not anything in the way of patient support/guidance (like who you should see for what). It's all "fly by the seat of your pants" stuff, and when you are in the middle of a major depressive episode even asking for help from anyone is daunting or even impossible.

I came here to call you a jerk, but I figured I'd say something more informative.

Bye.

--
BMO/Dan

"it has to be emphasized that if the pain were readily describable most of the countless sufferers from this ancient affliction would have been able to confidently depict for their friends and loved ones (even their physicians) some of the actual dimensions of their torment, and perhaps elicit a comprehension that has been generally lacking; such incomprehension has usually been due not to a failure of sympathy but to the basic inability of healthy people to imagine a form of torment so alien to everyday experience."
-- William Styron, Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

Comment: Re:What has changed? (Score 1) 221

by Animats (#47960005) Attached to: Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

There was a time that a citizen could walk right up to the White House.

That lasted until WWII.

Until the 1980s, anyone could enter the Pentagon and wander around the corridors. (George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, decided during WWII that there was no way a building with as many people as the Pentagon could keep spies out, and requiring badges would give a false sense of security.) In the 1960s, anyone could enter most Federal buildings in Washington, including the Capitol and all the House/Senate office buildings, without passing any security checkpoints.

Comment: The President was out. The Secret Service did OK. (Score 3, Insightful) 221

by Animats (#47959581) Attached to: Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

It was a Friday evening. The President had left for Camp David earlier, and his main protective detail went with him. Most staffers had gone home. The guy got just inside the outer doors, where there is a security checkpoint, before he was tackled.

The Secret Service made the right choice not shooting the intruder dead on the lawn. They certainly had the capability to kill him. They would have been heavily criticized, with pictures of the dead body on national TV.

On September 12, a man wearing a Pokemon hat and carrying a stuffed animal jumped the White House fence. He was tackled and arrested. Should he have been killed?

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

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