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Comment Re:From the laundromat (Score 1) 88

You can't get rid of it all - reprocessing actually generates more waste than you start off with - but you can at least get the really hot stuff out of the waste and make it easier to store what's left over and the now radioactive consumables you've used to get that far. People forget that Uranium has a high melting point and is very strong which makes it difficult to cut up fuel rods, which has made most reprocessing not much more than a proof of concept. It's all got to be done by robots due to how radioactive the fuel rods are.
One promising alternative is liquid reactors where expired fuel rods and expired weapon material can be thrown into the molten fuel instead of the incredibly expensive and messy operation of reprocessing. The US had a couple of thorium based reactors along those lines but lobbying from the uranium dependant US nuclear lobby let to that work being shut down. The US nuclear industry has eaten it's own children in that way so expect advances to come from elsewhere.

The Idaho National Laboratory developed a pretty effective method of reprocessing radioactive waste without much extra waste.... and the stuff that was left over was pretty much low level radiation stuff that could be handled in some of the existing repositories designed for that low-level waste. It does take operating breeder reactors, and the #1 problem with the technology is that it in theory could be used to create bomb-grade material out of the waste products in the same facility. The major concern is that if the technology was perfected in the manner that has been suggested and became commonly known to countries like Iran and North Korea, that they would have a much easier time building nukes.

I'm still undecided if that is an acceptable trade-off, and there may be some wise reasons for not going down that technology path. It should at least be a part of the conversation about nuclear reactors. If that really is the reason why the major governments of the world don't build those kind of reactors and waste reprocessing plants, I wish they would be a little honest too.

Comment Re:i still suspect Enron. (Score 2) 88

Of course it is by design. That is where those who want to see more government regulations "to help protect the little guy" end up being mere pawns in the grand games of these big companies and end up screwing "the little guy" far more than if they simply kept their trap shut.

The best way to cut down on bribery is to simply make the situation so elected officials can't do anything... because the government can't do anything. Nobody cares to lobby a government official who is on a committee with no responsibilities.... or at least only in charge of a budget so small that the lobbying amounts to be nothing more than advertisements in the Sunday newspaper. The problem is when you have officials in charge of trillion dollar budgets, spending a couple hundred million is just pocket change on any project you might be working on.

Comment very.very.stupid (Score 1) 478

Current location systems try in some way to relate to things geographically. I know that if I see house number 5, house number 7 is close by.

How do I get from complete.nonsense.garbage to this.really.sucks ? How would I even know to use those terms to describe where I'm going? From looking at those words, how do I know the relationship between the two points? Do I need to drive, fly, walk?

A rational system has a progressive level of detail. The state tells the postal carrier what state to get something to. Once in the state, the zip code tells them what post office to get to. Once at the post office, the street tells them what carrier to give it to. And finally the number tells the carrier was house to give it to.

A completely arbitrary naming system is of no value to anyone. Why would you assume that me and everyone else would use the same three words to describe a 3x3 plot of land?

But, then we need a lot of stupid things in this world because not everyone can make useful things but everyone needs a job.

Comment Re:An uncomfortable topic but still needed (Score 1) 294

They can't force anyone into any sort of treatment without a huge legal circus. Just look at the Jehovah Witnesses who refuse blood transfusions even if they will obviously die without one. The closest we get to this right now is vaccinations and even then, people who refuse to have their children get them generally don't receive the vaccination - but it doesn't mean everyone else has to accept their decision and have their children in the same school.

I'm quite confident that genetic analysis will only reveal a link to some generic mental disorder, but environmental factors plus nurturing during childhood are the real reasons for violent personality types. However this will always be a topic of speculation if we as a society refuse to explore certain topics because of our fear of the unknown and the political fallout.

It's like not even trying to cure diseases related to aging because humans have always had a finite existence and must die at some point. How can we tolerate watching loved ones go through a system that inevitably has them frail and in pain, carted around in a wheel chair so they can die high as fuck on morphine without even being in their own home?

Comment Re:Once in a Hundred-Year storm... (Score 1) 148

That depends on where you were and what you consider damage. Irene was much worse here in Connecticut in terms of wind effects (downed trees on roads/houses/etc) than Sandy. Several hours later as the storm moved north, flooding in southern Vermont was horrible and the effects still being felt 2 years later.

The wind effects were exacerbated by the fact that Irene hit in August - late summer - when trees and plants had full foliage. Lots of trees came down as a result - if you were lucky they didn't fall on anything important (I just lost a section of fence). Even more crowns and major limbs came down as well. It was pretty bad in terms of the magnitude of the destruction over a wide area. It didn't make big news because we're not New York/New Jersey and the population density here is pretty low. For what it's worth, power was out for 5-7 days for most people, which wasn't much fun either.

Sandy, on the other hand, hit in late October when the leaves had fallen, so despite somewhat higher winds, there was nowhere near as much damage. A few twigs fell on my roof and that was about it. I was out on the deck grilling dinner during the peak winds (to use up some frozen food in anticipation of the inevitable week-long power loss) and it was nowhere near as scary or dangerous as Irene. A few trees came down here and there in the region, but not nearly as many as the previous year. As a storm to be caught outside in, Irene was much scarier.

The flooding caused by Sandy was much worse, though limited mostly to the coastal towns here. The fact that the storm was larger in area and impacted regions with higher population density and correspondingly greater economic devastation was what made it newsworthy. Irene was the more damaging storm in terms of broad effect on the countryside from my observation.

Comment An uncomfortable topic but still needed (Score 1) 294

If we never bother to explore the question we just don't really know. There very well could be many biomarkers for violence. How we act on that knowledge is the real moral dilemma. I personally think they are too close to the subject and really if they want to help others they would just fund the research. However, we already have one linked biomarker, and that's lead exposure - but we can't just start rounding up everyone with higher blood-lead concentrations and force them into chelation therapy. Obviously the benign solution is to remove lead sources, such as paints and leaded gasoline. If the culprit turns out to be DNA, then obviously this becomes a much larger issue.

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