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Comment: "What's coming out of our high schools." (Score 1) 519

by emil (#47767637) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Recent comments by Alan Greenspan paint a dire picture of primary education in the United States:

"We cannot manage our very complex, highly sophisticated capital structure with what's coming out of our high schools."

"If we're not going to educate our kids, bring in other people who want to become Americans."

Under such dire circumstances and an existential threat, now is not the time for bias.

Comment: If we're poking holes in the accepted dogma... (Score 1) 109

by emil (#47684709) Attached to: Why the Universe Didn't Become a Black Hole

...then how about this one?

One mystery which has not been solved as of 2009 is the absence of red dwarfs with no metals. (In astronomy, a metal is any element heavier than hydrogen or helium.) The Big Bang model predicts the first generation of stars should have only hydrogen, helium, and trace amounts of lithium. If such stars included red dwarfs, they should still be observable today, but none have yet been identified. The preferred explanation is that without heavy elements only large and not yet observed population III stars can form, and these rapidly burn out, leaving heavy elements which then allow for the formation of red dwarfs. Alternative explanations, such as the idea that zero-metal red dwarfs are dim and could be few in number, are considered much less likely as they seem to conflict with stellar evolution models.

Comment: Re:But... but nucular is bad! (Score 2) 143

by Troed (#47625339) Attached to: Transatomic Power Receives Seed Funding From Founders Fund Science

No, there are exactly zero big catastrophes going on right now. If you want to find catastrophes you need look no further than the actual tsunami that caused Fukushima - which resulted in tens of thousands of deaths (compared to zero from the failing reactors).

I live in Sweden, one of the countries that was actually affected by Chernobyl fallout. We had to make sure we didn't eat mushrooms for a short while - and that was it.

The "Big Lie" is that there have been nuclear catastrophes. A statement not supported by data: http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/...

Comment: Re:But... but nucular is bad! (Score 3, Informative) 143

by Troed (#47621409) Attached to: Transatomic Power Receives Seed Funding From Founders Fund Science

40 years ago there were people just like you saying how perfectly safe nuclear power is.

... and here we are, 40 years later, and know it to be true. Even the worst failure scenarios possible have not resulted in catastrophe. On the contrary, nuclear has turned out to be the safest energy production method of all.

If we want to be rational and stick to the facts, of course.

Comment: Re:FUD filled.... (Score 1) 212

It sounds like this transformer had its center tap grounded and was the path to ground on one side of a ground loop as the geomagnetic field moved under pressure from a CME, inducing a common-mode current in the long-distance power line. A gas pipeline in an area of poor ground conductivity in Russia was also destroyed, it is said, resulting in 500 deaths.

One can protect against this phenomenon by use of common-mode breakers and perhaps even overheat breakers. The system will not stay up but nor will it be destroyed. This is a high-current rather than high-voltage phenomenon and thus the various methods used to dissipate lightning currents might not be effective.

+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

The best laid plans of mice and men are held up in the legal department.

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