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Comment Re:Thorium (Score 1) 324

There's some other things to keep in mind about Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs):

Thorium is a natural impurity found in coal. It has been estimated, in fact, that the thorium in coal would, if used as fuel for LFTRs, generate eleven times the energy that you would get from just burning the coal. And right now, all that thorium is simply wasted in the coal ash, or worse, goes up the smokestack and becomes an environmental pollutant!

Also, due to the higher temperature LFTRs run at, they can directly supply heat to drive the Fischer-Tropsch process to convert the coal that we'll no longer need to burn for electricity into synthetic petroleum. This would allow the U.S. to completely supply all its petroleum needs (especially for transportation fuel) from coal for at least 100 years, and eliminate the need for foreign oil. This, in turn, would allow the defense budget to be cut in at least half, as much of that expenditure is to protect our access to foreign oil. And it also reduces carbon emissions, since, while we're still burning the coal (after it's been transformed into synthetic petroleum), we're not burning the oil it replaced!

None of this requires new technology; we were running LFTRs at Oak Ridge in the 1960's (and they proved their safety by literally cutting power to the reactor systems and going home for the weekend!), and Germany was using Fischer-Tropsch back in World War II. All it requires is some engineering refinements...and, of course, the political will to do it. The latter, sadly, is lacking.

Comment Dragonriders, stand to honors! (Score 5, Insightful) 181

Though she's more famous for The Dragonriders of Pern and The Ship who Sang, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for her Crystal Singer series. Look it up sometime; it's a nice little combination of music, mining, meteorology, and not a little romance.

She has passed for all time between; we accord her a dragon tribute. May she always sing the black, and cut well.

Comment Saw it here (Score 1) 451

The company I work for has a TV in the break room, which is fed by DirecTV. I was in there at the time of the test, and the TV (which was displaying the Discovery Channel at the time, I think) displayed a DirecTV "Emergency Broadcast System Test" card, and I saw the scrolling letters across the screen announcing an EAN for the District of Columbia, which is one of the things that was expected. When it was over, the TV displayed its previous program.

So it looked fine to me, although apparently there were a bunch of problems elsewhere. Ah well, that's why they call it a "test"...

Comment Re:not there yet (Score 1) 119

I had one of the PalmOS watches, too; it was called the Fossil Abacus WristPDA. I wore it for a couple years, and stored things like my address book and password file in it. Eventually, it, along with my iPod Nano and Nokia flip phone, was replaced by my iPhone. But I wouldn't mind wearing an Android-based replacement.

Comment Re:Algorithmic Trading is not trading (Score 1) 331

Trading is all about the banks taking out the stops.

And the HFT algorithms, in order to do so, deliberately manipulate the prices of shares, by stuffing the channels with quotes for bids and offers that the algorithms have no intention of executing.

Under long-standing law, any pattern of orders intended to manipulate the price of a security, as opposed to actually buy it or sell it, is illegal.

Where are the damn COPS? Where are the indictments, and the handcuffs, and the perp walks? Why aren't there bankster fraudsters currently doing time in federal PMITA prison for this?

Of course, you know the answer. The regulators have been co-opted. The government is looking the other way. And the "little guy" gets screwed. Again.

For more information, you'll want to look at's "Flash Crash Analysis" page.

Comment Re:Algorithmic Trading is not trading (Score 2) 331

It is absolutely this. I would go so far as to say that no individual investor has a chance in the markets when going up against these HFT algorithms run by the big banks and trading firms. No matter how good your analysis or how closely you watch the market like a hawk, you're going to be screwed, blued, and tattooed.

And this comes at the same time as The Fed and Chairsatan The Ben Bernank have pretty much destroyed all "safe" investments through manipulation of interest rates, forcing people to turn to the stock market if they want any hope of any kind of significant return on their money...and where they can be fleeced by the HFT algorithms and the bankster fraudsters. Not to mention destroying the purchasing power of those dollars via "quantitative easing" (read: money printing) games.

Probably a good time to invest in precious metals. No, not gold, silver, and platinum. I'm talking steel, lead, and appropriate forms, of course.

Comment Re:Thanks for all the Fish Wrapper (Score 1) 1521

Through several jobs, a number of projects, and at least one marriage, Slashdot has been a constant in my life, keeping me grounded in "who and what I am" always.

Good luck, Rob, and one more piece of wisdom: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around every once in awhile, you could miss it. (The words are not mine, as I'm sure you recognize...that doesn't make them any less true.)

Eric J. Bowersox - "Erbo"
Professional Java Developer and Geek among Millions

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Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde