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Comment Re:The end is near? (Score 1) 481

The problem with a "cost" analysis is that you're comparing apples and oranges. If it was only a matter of cost/kWh then solar and wind would be fine and dandy. There'd be no question that that would be the way to go.

Unfortunately running on unreliable sources like solar and wind doesn't work as our use of the grid presumes stability of delivery and being able to follow load. We're already having problems in Europe due to wind having to be dumped at negative cost on the market (i.e. they produce more wind than we can use); wind being especially problematic in that the power delivered varies as the cube of wind speed. You only get nominal power in a very narrow range of wind speeds.

Now, of course, these aren't problems that are insurmountable, but it would take a substantial change of the grid with large scale long range interconnects (to even out differences in wind/sun) and storage (to further even out e.g. day/night). These costs are substantial, and must be factored in when talking wind/solar.

As it stands now we have the figures already. Sweden with a hydro+nuclar mix where we've switched as much to electricity as possible we emit roughly half as much CO2 per capital as the "forerunner" Germany. If we factor in industry production we're even better of. Germany's getting rid of nuclear means in actual fact that they have tied themselves to lignite coal (the largest source of particulate pollution in Sweden is actually coal power refuse blowing here from Germany and Poland). They pay about three times as much for electricity as we do, and hence do not use it if it can be avoided. They use fossil fuel for as much as is practical. (I.e. heating their houses etc.) Same is true of the Denmark to a large extent.

But with the current government here, they'll finish off our nuclear in short order, and we'll be changing our energy mix to the same dirty mix as Germany in short order. Don't you worry... All in the name of becoming "green". It's enough to make you bloody weep.

Comment Re:They took the worst part of Python (Score 1) 199

Doesn't change the fact that the Python block syntax can cause serious problems and offers *no* actual benefit over using delimiters like {} and using delimiters solves the problems Python's syntax can cause.

Yes it does have a benefit. Since people actually read indentation and not braces, a brace in the wrong position, aka wrong indentation, leads to bugs as well. Enforcing what people actually read, instead of differentiating between a convention for humans (indentation) and syntactic rules for the compiler lessens those risks.

That's not to say that Python's choices are perfect, and that there aren't gotchas. But to say that it carries no benefit isn't true either.

Comment Re:Not sure what to think.... (Score 1) 798

If we are interested in curtailing re-offense and encouraging re-integration after prison, I don't think that disenfranchisement is particularly productive. There is considerable doubt over deterrent effect of the death penalty - I suspect that the deterrenc effect of disenfranchisement is pretty small.

Exactly. Here in Sweden you can even vote when in prison. I don't see the point of excluding present or ex convicts from the voting ranks. You could even argue that, if you have such a large fraction of your population in prison that they become a political factor as a group, then maybe fresh blood in the legislative chamber would do you good...

Comment Re:We love functional languages except using them. (Score 1) 205

Functional Languages are really cool in theory. However I find that for Real World development. Your code is often too tight for proper maintenance. Where Procedural and OOP is much better at fixing issues.

That's not the experience we had at Ericsson.

I can't help but think that you haven't really been involved in designing, building, fielding, and maintaining large systems based on FP. I have. With Erlang in particular we saw a four to ten fold increase in productivity.

And "too dense to fix" didn't even show up on the radar as a problem. Not by a long shot. Quite the opposite in fact, not having to wade through page after page of boiler plate (that could still trip you up, mind you) does wonders for focusing the mind on what the real problem actually was. As a colleague of mine was fond of putting it "After a day with Erlang I feel like I've solved business/domain problems, rather than 'doing programming'.

And good/competent, to half decent programmers could be retrained in a matter of days. The ones that couldn't, we didn't want anyway. And you shouldn't either.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 285

Artillery ranges on the other hand, spread the metal further and thinner.

Yes, but that metal is mostly soft steel, that isn't that problematic from an environmental standpoint. OTOH it isn't that lucrative to collect either.

Fun fact, the difference between a live and training artillery shell is only the heat treatment of the shell itself. The hardened shell of a live shell burst into approx 50000 sharp fragments (155mm shell), while the soft training version bursts into dozens/hundreds of large dull fragments. (This according Bofors). Notably, the type and amount of explosive is the same in both versions.

Comment Re:Solar, Wind, Wave, Geothermal (Score 1) 293

So how would you propose to get the electricity to these remote regions.

The same way we do in Sweden. Build a line. Even though we have (close to) the least population density in Europe, all our rail is still electrified. And the mining operation, and esp. the rail to take away the ore was the driver. (We're still suffering from the technological choices made way back when, as they're not compatible with the rest of the grid).

Now, that wouldn't be a problem as our uranium is more centrally located, and Norwegian Thorium is the same. (They also have more electricity).

And that's just using conventional technology. Remember we're talking nuclear here. There's absolutely nothing stopping the siting of a small reactor so close to the mine that transmission won't be a problem. In fact "Blykalla" is developing a reactor that would be very suitable for such a use case, even if the use case they're aiming for is slightly different. Still very remote though.

As for the rest, if you call IPCC biased, I can't help you.

Comment Re:Solar, Wind, Wave, Geothermal (Score 1) 293

Nope. It's used by the greens in the European parliament. Big difference.

And "stormsmith" in any of its guises is not without problems and criticism. That it's been "peer reviewed" (and given that it hasn't been published I used that term loosely), doesn't mean "correct", it means "not obviously flawed" (but even that's debatable).

Witness instead the IPCC figures. They also state that which "stormsmith" doesn't, namely that you don't get much CO2 from nuclear LCAs unless you assume that the mining and especially the enrichment centrifuges run on coal powered electricity. Now, that may be "true" today, depending on the energy mix, but since nuclear power produce electricity, and there's nothing stopping the use of nuclear electricity in either mining or enrichment, that's a bit disingenuous. By that token wind and solar emit quite a bit of CO2 as well.

So that's a crap analysis, basing any decisions on that sort of reasoning would preclude increasing nuclear in the energy mix, even though that would substantially decrease the CO2 load from nuclear. (Same with "concrete". The reason that's CO2 intensive is heating. There's nothing in principle stopping that heat coming from nuclear or other sources as well. In fact we ran a nuclear reactor for district heating in Sweden for many years, with zero electric output).

Comment Re:Solar, Wind, Wave, Geothermal (Score 1) 293

The IPCC accepted data on this subject from Vattenfall, a company with heavy investments in Nuclear power.

Yes, it wouldn't make sense to accept data on this subject from someone who didn't run any nuclear power plants, as they then wouldn't have any data to share, now would it?!

Yes, Vattenfall, which is wholly owned by the Swedish government, owns and operates nuclear power (four sites), but they also owns and operates hydroelectric plants, coal fired plants, wind parks, bio powered plants etc. That's why they're a good company to ask, as while they have nuclear in the mix, it's not dominant by any measure, like it would be if you asked the French for example.

Yes, there's always the risk of bias, but if you exclude everyone with any connection to anything, you'll also exclude anyone who actually has any experience at all. You can't have it both ways. If you want the data, you have to talk to the people who have the data, and those are going to be the ones who actually run/use the things you are asking about. No way around that.

Comment Re: Agreed. Volvo gets it. (Score 1) 255

No, that's true. Volvo (and SAAB) picked the low hanging fruit earlier, but most others have more or less caught up. If for the fact that much of safety standards have been mandated by law in many/most countries these days. (Which is something that Volvo engineers complain about; "You can either do well in the EuroNCAP tests, or on the road, but not both...")

So they're increasingly trying to solve more niche cases; saving the life of the pedestrian you hit, for example. Or I remember when they looked at saving the unborn fetus in a collision (turns out you can't)...

But their main problem now is actually erroneous usage. They lament the fact that whatever they do they cannot make americans to put their children facing the right way, i.e. backwards. You keep insisting on turning them around, much, much too soon (they should stay facing backwards until 4-5 years of age. I.e. until their ear line is above the top of the seat). To the detriment of their safety. But no amount of work seems to be able to change that. So what can they do?

Comment Re:Goes conservative on gun control (Score 1) 385

Like every country, the US has issues which contributes to violence, etc. To assert that US gun culture is not a significant factor in gun-related violence seems rather ignorant.

Not if you actually study the statistics. Legally owned guns aren't used in crime either in the US (with liberal gun laws) nor Sweden (with very strict gun laws), but if I, for example, correlate the number of firearms related deaths with the number of known (criminal) gang members, I easily get very close.

We're in a recent spat of shootings here in Sweden at the moment, and like the US it's all perpetrated by criminal gang members (the rest are an anomaly). It's just that we have fewer gang members...

So the deciding factor is how easy it is for criminals to acquire guns. (Far too easy with the EU's open borders is the answer in Sweden at the moment.)

Comment Re:Sigh. Way too old for a career change. (Score 1) 90

...and damned if she's not making as much as an associate professor.

Well, judging by the contents of my (virtual) salary envelope they're probably underpaying her then... :-) (I have recent bachelor's and master's making more than I do).

Just saying that "associate professor" may not be setting the bar very high when it comes to payment for services rendered. (Depending on lots, and lots of factors of course, including field and where in the world etc., to on a more serious note).

Me, I wish I'd learned HVAC. People will always need ducts in their houses, and heat and cooling. And there's very little math, which is good.

I remember when I was a PhD student doing "the grind" and how we all used to say that we should have gone in to fine carpentry instead. However, even though I'm not precisely over the hill just yet, and having gone back and forth between academia and industry a couple of times, I've come to the conclusion that while the grass often looks decidedly greener from this side the fence, I almost never actually is, once you've crossed. So even though a man can (and must) dream, little is usually lost in not acting on them.

Comment Re:What Hollande says (Score 1) 328

Yes, well, the Germans aim to fix their problems with load balancing by leaning on the rest of us. Which isn't really solving the problem. They could have been well on their way.

And of course nuclear becomes "expensive" when you let solar and wind eat their lunch when it suits them (i.e. when the sun is out, and the wind is blowing just right) and then throw up your arms in the air when it doesn't.

Taking availability into account then of course nuclear is still dirt cheap. The only competition is hydroelectric (limited by environmental concerns and geographical limitations). And with political stability and production then of course the price would come down substantially, the ones you mention are one-offs. Even so, Swedish official calculations put nuclear at the same price as large scale biomass, and slightly more expensive than wind. (Sun is of course a fools errand for us). But that's not taking the low availability of wind into account (power output is the cube of wind speed, so optimal conditions are very rare).

So, my prediction. basically, we'll lose what industry we have left, and electricity prices will triple. Today, we release about half as much CO2 per capita (less when scaled for industry output) than German. But that'll change as well as we'll switch more and more from our 99% clean electricity to more and more fossil fuel. Just like they do in Germany. When the greens are done, we'll have damaged our economy and substantially increased our CO2 emissions...

Comment Re:Never Got It (Score 1) 227

Well, with your literary background I think you'll enjoy a writer that finally takes literary crime seriously! :-) (Our heroine of course being an officer of a the police organisation that polices crimes against literature.) That said, while they are in the general tradition of "The Hitch-hikers guide...", they're perhaps not quite up to that standard in execution. So don't get your expectations up too high. But a very enjoyable read, still.

And yes. It was mostly pulp. I suspect it's not so much a question of sci-fi getting worse, as it is of us getting older and remembering the experiences of our youth with the perennial rose-tinted glasses.

Comment Re:What Hollande says (Score 2) 328

Because the argument is always that "nuclear doesn't pay". And you did bring that up. That's not that interesting/persuasive an argument if it turns out that pretty much all the alternative don't pay either. Hydro-electric here in Sweden doesn't pay either. If one of those dams went, that would be it. (The fund that's supposed to pay would try up very quickly). But since they're (mostly) government owned, that wouldn't be a problem. Or rather that wouldn't be the problem.

And while France may be moving away from coal, Germany most certainly isn't. They'll keep polluting and polluting due to their "green" Energiwende for decades to come. When in fact, with their increase in renewables they could have gotten rid of all coal by now instead. Something that would have been worthwhile, rather than the mess they seem to prefer.

Comment Re:What Hollande says (Score 1) 328

But the same is true of coal in spades. They also don't pay their cost in full. Not even close. So if we allow coal on the government's dime, there's no reason to allow nuclear on the government's dime.

More importantly in France (as in much of the rest of Europe) the government also owns and operates the plants. So you could well say that they're insured in full, the same way that governments insure everything else it owns. I.e. they don't. If you own the press printing the money, taking out insurance from an external insurance company makes no sense whatsoever. (Here in Sweden it is in fact illegal for me as a government employee to do so.)

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