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Comment Re:Irony of "affordable" German solar panels (Score 1) 735

Most of the "cost" of a nuclear accident is largely imaginary. What do I mean? The Government of Japan has convinced people that it's not safe to return to their homes and businesses in the areas around Fukushima. The science indicates that the levels are so low in the vast majority of the area, it *is* safe for people to go back, live their lives, and they'll be fine. However, when there's a small release of material from a nuclear plant that spreads over a very wide area, we say that all the property owners have to be evacuated and compensated for the property.

I'm sorry, but I don't accept that imaginary damages make nuclear power too expensive. If people had a rational, realistic knowledge of the real risks (or lack thereof) of living in the "Evacuation Zone".

Yes, there will definitely be some very real costs associated to cleanup - but the bulk of the "cost" apportioned to Fukushima are going to be imaginary damages for compensating people for their perfectly find and safe property.

Comment Irony of "affordable" German solar panels (Score 5, Insightful) 735

"In the case of my parents' house (southern Germany, pretty high electricity prices of ~0.25 Euros/kWh), I think a small photovoltaic installation might amortize itself within a few years."

So, the solar panels are cost effective because the cost of electricity is high. The next logical question is, why is German electricity so expensive?

In large part, because of Solar power feed-in tariffs which German utilities are required to pay people who generate surplus solar power with their power panels (so, yeah, it's cheaper to buy your own solar power, than buy solar power from someone else's roof or solar farm, and pay a middle man to markup the power and transmit it).

If they had planned to build a few more nuclear plants a decade or two ago, instead of planning to shut down their existing nuclear plants in a few years, they'd likely have cheaper power by now.

But, yes, if cheap power isn't available from the grid, then you may as well generate your own expensive electricity instead of buying someone else's expensive electricity. Grids make sense only when the power the grid can provide you is cheaper than making your own, or you can get it in quantities larger than you can produce with reasonably priced equipment of your own.

Comment That's only partly true. . . (Score 1) 55

"considering the "waste" of power plants is what you put in bombs."

Not in general - spent nuclear fuel from a reactor that's been running for 18 months has a lot of fision products and decay products which make worthless for use in weapons. If you really want to create weapons grade plutonium, you put fuel slugs in the reactor and only run the reactor for something like 30 days, then pull the fuel out - you breed enough plutonium to extract, while not producing much of the "junk" which ruins it for weapons use. But, you can't breed much in 30 days. So, you need to do this over and over and over, then take all that fuel, run it through a PUREX type reprocessing plant to seperate the Plutonium, and enrich the PU up to 90%+ purity.

Because of this, no nation has EVER made bombs from spent nuclear fuel - they use dedicated-purpose reactors for making bomb material. Now, on the other hand, *enrichment* facilities are of great concern, because if you can enrich uranium to 5%, you can enrich it to 99%, and make a Uranium bomb. But, for a uranium bomb, you don't need a reactor at all.

Comment Speed of light. . . (Score 1) 114

If your trading needs so little latency that you have a problem with the latency added by the speed of light over a fiber cable to somewhere maybe a couple miles away in NYC on higher ground, of 10-20 miles away on mainland NY, NJ, CT, etc, maybe you're abusing the stock market, and we shouldn't bend over to help you ruin our financial system.

Comment 99.99% reliable (Score 1) 235

Yeah, but what happens if something goes wrong and you don't end up stopping at the angle you intended to? It might be you can safely pull of the move 9999 out of 10,000 times, but it only takes something going wrong once. . .

"We'd like to come visit your star system. Don't worry, we've visited thousands of star systems and only obliterated 2. We're *very* careful to aim the wave of destruction out into the intergalactic void."

Comment Advertisers need reduce inventory (Score 1) 299

The problem with advertising is, there's just too much. The more there is, the less value it has. To illustrate, what do you think had more advertising impact. . . back when television shows were sponsored by one sponsor, and you heard three ads per hour, all for the same sponsor, or nowadays when there's a five minute commercial break and you go to the bathroom or the kitchen, or browse facebook, and ignore the ads?

Similarly with online advertising, there's so much of it, none of it makes hardly any impression on me at all. I just tune it out, scan past it with my eyes, or block it with ad block to begin with so never see it.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 217

I'm still a bit puzzled. I've heard it said that the major cost of nuclear is the capitol costs of getting it licensed, financed, built, and started operating. Once that's done, the operations, maintenance, and fuel are very low compared to most competitors.

So, in discussing this Wisconsin nuclear plant, either the original capitol costs have been paid for (most likely, since it's over 40 years old now), or they are still paying for it. If they were still paying for it, wouldn't they want to run it till it was at least paid off?

If it's paid off, shouldn't the plant have a very low cost to fuel and operate, and be competitive even with (temporarily) low-cost natural gas turbines? My understanding is that even at today's low prices for Natural Gas, the price-per BTU/kWh if you just look at fuel costs, is still favorable to nuclear. . . just not *as* favorable?

Isn't it reasonable to presume that in the next 20 years (and that plant just got a 20 year license renewal), the price of gas and/or demand will increase again? It just seems so. . . unbelievable that a *paid for* nuclear power plant would *lose* money.

All I can figure is they just want to reduce supply, so that prices go up. I mean, if they cut supply by 10%, and if that causes the price to go up enough (say 20 to 50% increase), then I suppose simply by reducing supply, all their other plants make more money.

Comment Oh, cry me a river (Score 1) 284

Go netflix. I have no problem with legitimate rights holders stealing from thieves. Spend your time working on something you have a legitimate right to (like your own, original creative works).

But, you say, translating is an original work - I won't even argue with that - copyright law is pretty clear that translations *are* a creative work that can be copyrighted; but since they were pirating the movies to begin with, I see no reason they should be granted any copyright on the translated subtitles.

Comment I think the emphasis is "between times" (Score 1) 351

First, I totally agree with you about the magazine/smartphone thing - I'm not sure why reading news and articles on your smart phone is any different than reading them on a dead tree - except that the dead tree is more likely to be 6 months old and only of historical interest.

"And didn't people make the same arguments about television? And then, later, about videogames?"

I think the focus there is that people weren't generally playing video games standing in store lines, or sitting at the doctors office (well, Gameboy/PSP, duh; so it still seems this article is about 15 years late to the party).

That is, in the past, when entertainments were more rooted to a particular place, we had more downtime in our lives that was forced on us, but smartphones (and probably gameboys, though they don't seem to be called out in the article) give us the chance to reach nearly 100% "occupation" of our minds.

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