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Comment Re:Can somebody 'splain this? (Score 1) 361

I have always believed that the vast majority of today's financial instruments have been invented out of thin air for no reason other than to ultimately ensure the employment of bankers and brokers.

Most of today's financial instruments have very good legitimate uses. Unfortunately, the vast majority of actual total trading activity in these instruments is speculation.

Comment Re:It's that BetterPlace guy from Israel again (Score 1) 388

The first two locations made more sense. On a small island, electric cars could work - you just can't take a long trip. Since Israel doesn't get along with most of its neighbors, there's not much cross-border car traffic, and the country is small. But the SF Bay Area is a big step up from there.

Hawaii and Israel may be small but the Bay Area is full of people who may be willing to drive vehicles with certain limitations if they think they are more environmentally friendly. Ideological reasons can be just as valid as geographical reasons.

Power

Submission + - Nuclear battery patent and tapping oil shale (blogspot.com)

nanotrends writes: "The uranium hydride nuclear "battery" is a self-contained nuclear reactor. It is not a radioisotope thermal generator. With a good design it can achieve 50% fuel burnup instead of 0.7-2.0% for existing reactors. The company Hyperion claims that the first reactors will cost $1400 per KW (about the same as the claims for the latest conventional nuclear reactors). The patent info on the "nuclear battery" indicates how it will operate. The first target market is to help enhance recovery of oil shale, so this would address peak oil. They claim they can lower costs of insitu recovery down to 30% of the cost of using natural gas for the same purpose and no water is needed for reactor cooling. Thorium hydride could also be used. If the company is successful they would blunt peak oil. The USA could be generating several million barrels per day of oil from the oil shale fields in Colorado and the reactors could displace coal power which kills 30,000 americans each year from air pollution and 1 million people world wide. Teller tried to make a uranium hydride bomb but he could only get 200 tons of TNT equivalent out of it. Not much more than the recent russian father of all bombs."

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