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Submission + - Why do so many Terrorists have Engineering Degrees ( 2

Socguy writes: Slate Magazine discusses the studies surrounding the issue of why so many of the terrorists have engineering degrees and comes to the conclusion that engineers and engineering students are much more likely to hold strong conservative and religious views than a general cross section of the public. Further, engineers tend to hold a particular mind-set that disdains ambiguity and compromise.

Terrorist organizations have long recognized that engineering departments are fertile ground for recruitment and have concentrated there efforts there. A 2005 report from British intelligence noted that Islamic extremists were frequenting college campuses, looking for "inquisitive" students who might be susceptible to their message. In particular, the report noted, they targeted engineers.

Submission + - Google plans to fix old versions of IE (

Socguy writes: "Google plans to fix older versions of IE by swaping it's outdated rendering engine with one from their own browser. Google feels it has to do this in order to ensure the best possible user experience for the forthcoming Google Wave. When users of an older version of IE try to access Wave, they will be presented with a notice asking them to install 'Chrome Frame'. If users agree, the swap is carried out!"

Comment Re:The technology isn't important (Score 1) 150

Boys, let's not argue! Cost vs efficiency are both important, it's your application that determines which is more so. If you're planning to launch the things into space, the purchase cost is not going to be terribly important to you but if you're planning on selling solar accent lights through Wal-mart then you want the cheapest cells that you can get your hands on.

Comment The dissenting opinion (Score 1, Insightful) 853

I'm still not a fan of Nuclear power, however, I do understand it's current appeal. Yes, at the site of the plant, virtually no carbon is emitted. But this doesn't take into account mining and processing activities.

I fully understand that, like most accidents in the world, the majority of nuclear accidents were caused by human error. Unfortunately, humans aren't going to be cut out of the picture anytime soon. While extremely unlikely, the cost of failure at a nuclear facility is simply too high, and with every new reactor that is in operation the risk, however small, grows.


As much as government and industry wish to whitewash this issue, it remains unresolved. The fact remains that the world has a growing stockpile of material which requires careful storage and monitoring for hundreds of thousands of years. Most of the material is currently at temporary facilities and will have to be handled and moved at minimum to a permanent facility. I find that in most discussions of Nuclear power, almost nobody wants to talk about the ongoing cost of maintaining and storing the byproducts and anybody who expects industry to pick up that tab indefinitely is out of their mind. None of this cost is calculated into the cost of price of electricity generated. No, it will be dumped on government in the form of cleanups and public debt. Anyone who doubts this simply has to look at amount of cleanup the government is currently responsible for from industry long since moved on. Who's paying to build the current long term site? Which brings us to the concept of a permanent facility. I know /. is populated by lots of engineers who love nothing better than to undertake new technological challenges, however, a million years is too long of a timescale. This puts you in the realm of unforeseen earthquakes and meteor strikes and a host of 1 in 1 000 000 year events. Frankly, I find it unconscionable that we are willing dump such a tremendous problem in the laps of our children, especially when there is no guarantee that they will be in any position to actually fix any problems that might occur. Then there is that whole can of worms known as reprocessing, with the associated geopolitical implications.

unanswered questions
Finally, there remains one great unanswered question: Why do we need more nuclear power? I know why industry wants it. I know why government wants it. But why do we need it? I can see some limited small scale usage for medicine and perhaps deep space probes, but for our everyday needs Solar and wind ARE sufficient to take care of our energy needs, and when you consider that they are just at the beginning stages of their development they will only get better. Imagine how much better they would be if renewables actually had the same level of investment that the nuclear industry has been (and still is gifted with)? When you throw in geothermal, hydro, biomass, and some limited conventional generation it becomes very difficult to justify the risks and burdens of large scale nuclear deployment.

Submission + - Bubbling Cauldrons of Gas (

Socguy writes: "Unimaginable quantities of gas are stored in the Arctic. Some of it is leaking out.

The consequence of all that seeping methane has become one of the biggest questions in climate science.

Some say there's enough carbon in underground methane — including large deposits under tundra lakes in the Mackenzie Delta and along Canada's Beaufort Sea coast — to equal the carbon from all the Earth's remaining deposits of oil, coal and natural gas combined. Last week, a World Wildlife Fund report called methane the globe's single biggest climate threat."

Comment Let's postpone the problem (Score 2, Informative) 316

Any geoengineering solution that doesn't actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere is a waste of money because it fails to confront the totality of the problem. Though it garners the majority of the media attention, the biggest problem with increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is not climate change, rather that it leads directly to an increase in the acidity of the worlds oceans.

Comment It doesn't hurt to try. (Score 2, Interesting) 484

Reading through many of the comments on this site, it has become apparent that many of you are dead-set opposed to this idea. I find that a little bit surprising with all that this idea has going for it. I must confess that my first reaction was: this is a brilliant idea! Are there potential issues here? Of course, but it has so much going for it that it would be foolish to ignore it.

Lets look at some of the problems:

Can glass stand up to punishment? We're not talking about house glass here. Anyone who has been to a hockey game knows how much abuse glass can withstand. Truth be told asphalt requires a ton of maintenance or it quickly deteriorates. Snowplows? Of course they will do some damage, but the question is: how much? They're already very hard on asphalt roads. Dirty? Well, we may find that street sweeper technology is effective. Having said that, if we do decide to implement this idea, I suspect that we would end up with a hybrid system. It would be foolhardy to suggest that one solution should fit all. I suspect that concrete or something will take the majority of the punishing loads with these panels along the shoulders or in parking lots or sidewalks. This idea may be more suited in certain climates and not others. At least to start.

Yes, this is more expensive than asphalt. But what are you getting for your money? If the inventor is to be believed, this surface would last 3X as long and would also incorporate the energy infrastructure of the nation. When people throw out trillion dollar numbers in regards to redoing the entire country, that's a bit of a scare tactic. Much of that money will have to be spent anyway repairing what we already have. If you eliminate some of the ideas such as the ultracapacitors and LED lighting, the costs could be brought down further.

Future Possibilities To me, the most exciting aspect of the solar road is what sort of possibilities it opens up.
1. The electric car is coming. Imagine cars that charge while they drive, or at least when you park at a mall!
2. By incorporating the energy infrastructure into the roads, you eliminate the need for overhead power lines and the associated battles that accompany the building of new lines. Power lines are crucial for other renewables such as wind.
3. If done right, you start to build the mythical 'smart grid' Certainly there are an abundance of problems that may occur, but, I haven't read anything on this site that is not solvable. Everything required to make this project work is already a proven technology. The only question-mark is if they can be combined and if governments and business will embrace this idea.

Submission + - Nuclear disaster averted by laundry ( 1

Socguy writes: "More than 40,000 gallons of radioactive water leaked into the open when a 15ft crack appeared in a pipe leading to a cooling pond in the Sizewell A reactor in January 2007.

This was only noticed by chance as a worker was sorting laundry in the area when it happened. Supposedly, a leak of this type should have set off alarms, however, the alarm in question appeared to be defective. Should this leak have gone unnoticed, there was a real likelihood of a full-scale meltdown."


Submission + - Climate Change linked to huge coral reef colapse (

Socguy writes: "Published today in the online peer reviewed journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London-B, a new study stitches together data from hundreds of previous studies. The study has found that not only are reefs dying faster and on a wider scale than previously thought, but they are quickly crumbling after they die, in a process scientists call "reef flattening." This is robbing the oceans of biodiversity and increasing the danger posed by large storms and rising sea levels."

Comment Re:Girlfriend is not enough! (Score 4, Funny) 811

If your girlfriend can't compete with a MMO, she's not trying. Whether she should be trying to make it work is another subject and varies based on situation. Usually, though, the MMORPG is a symptom, not the disease itself.

The Girlfriend doesn't compete WITH the MMO, the Girlfriend joins and tags along IN the MMO. Once inside the game, she will alienate him from his merry band of adventurers by complaining that he doesn't spend enough alone time with her in the game. Eventually he will throw himself into his schoolwork just to get away from her for a few hours.


Submission + - Small firm wins $200m lawsuit vs Microsoft (

Socguy writes: "Privately-held i4i Inc. said that several years ago it approached the world's largest software company with a breakthrough product in data processing, only to be spurned and to see its technology show up later in versions of Microsoft Word.

Douglas Cawley, a lawyer for i4i, said Wednesday that e-mails presented during the six-day trial showed that Microsoft was aware of the firm's technology and sought to make it obsolete by including it in its own word processing software."

Comment Re:Not reversal (Score 1) 355

You make some good points! Here's another take: What the proponents of engineering our way out of this mess fail to realize is that the changing climate is not the only problem caused by the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The real elephant in the room is what all that CO2 is doing to the oceans... The really crazy part is that in North America this aspect is hardly even mentioned!

Any solution that does not involve controlling carbon must take our oceans into account, at least if we like to breath O2.

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