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Comment Then again, there seem to be a lot going on ... (Score 1) 210

Well - the FEMA EAS test is happening:

0. One day after the IAEA delivers to the UN the report on Iran's uranium enrichment activities at Qom.
1. One Day after the Arizona State Emergency Management Office finishes their first nuclear terrorist incident scenario exercise
2. On the day that South Carolina has its annual earthquake response exercise starting at 9:30 am ...
3. On the first day of PACWAVE11 - the two-day military response exercise to a tsunami alert and recovery scenario involving PacRim countries.
4. Four days after incoming ballistic missile alert drills in Tel Aviv, Israel, to help the general public
          practice shelter location and toxic chemical/biological/radiological containment procedures.
5. Six days after test firing of an intermediate range ballistic missile from Israel.
6. Three days after the major north-south strike fault running under El Hierro in the Canary Islands started to unzip
          creating a chain of volcanic vents driven by a seismic energy release equal to over 600 tons of TNT since July 17th.
7. Three days after the Sparks, OK, 5.6 magnitude quake and aftershocks.

Anyone else can chime in here with other disaster preparedness training scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 9th, 2011.
Be safe out there!

United States

Submission + - US Blackout of El Hierro Volcanic Eruptions in Can (

DarkStarZumaBeach writes: "For US Slashdotters, you may not be aware from TV and newspapers that the El Hierro volcano is active in the Canary Islands. You may also not know that the western end of El Hierro is beginning to fail, and is likely to slip into the Atlantic with perhaps a hundred or more cubic kilometers of rock and debris, generating a mega tsunami. See the recent deformation data plot HERE. For mega tsunami simulation, follow the story URL to a YouTube clip of the simulated La Palma island volcanic landslide tsunami with an update for El Hierro.

If you don't know this, it isn't because the US government is talking about it. The USGS just posted a mea culpa page HERE stating that they are unable to monitor earthquakes in the Canary Islands — even though they have a historic working relationship with Spain's own National Geographic Service — and full access to the Canary Islands seismometer RSS reports HERE. It would seem odd for the USGS to ever fail to report any quake over a magnitude 2 — since that is well within the realm of underground nuclear testing activity. Yet, the USGS failed to report on El Hierro's 3.1 and 4.3 magnitude quakes in the week ending Oct. 14th, 2011.

Meanwhile, the earthquake quiet Eastern Provinces of Canada are planning on participating in the Oct. 20th "The Great Shakeout" public safety exercises — which originated with California. But, the US states on the Atlantic Coast don't even think earthquake awareness is worth spending time and money since protecting the life of citizens isn't as important as raising campaign money from corporate donors who don't want their financial markets to crash when the public realizes they are in great risk from El Hierro.

The Federal government isn't that stupid: It knows enough to preserve itself and coordinate the efforts of survivors: So, FEMA just had the first-ever activation briefing with broadcast engineers on Oct. 13th for the first-ever nation-wide test of the Emergency Alert System slated for Nov. 9th at 2pm; So, on Oct. 10th, Dobbins ARB ran a disaster recovery exercise for the fleet of Airforce Reserve C130s with an exercise premise of an exotic "flu" outbreak — which required airlift recovery of blunt-force trauma patients; So, the US Army Contingency Contracting Infantry Corps are put on mobilization alert without destination orders; And, so, the US chain-of-command is put on "campaign" and "foreign good will" travel so that they can survive a direct tsunami hit on Washington, DC. Meantime, all the troops in Iraq are ordered home by Dec. 31st — just in case the Feds need them to enforce martial law on what's left of the US Atlantic Coast.

Obviously, volcanoes are unpredictable — so alarming the general public is not useful if it crashes financial markets. On the other hand, not planning evacuation routes to safety areas at least 100 miles from the Atlantic Coast will result in huge traffic jams when the usable alert time is just over 5 hours from El Hierro landslide to mega tsunami landing on DC and Florida.

Oh, and by the way, unlike the US Pacific Coast, there is no such thing as an Atlantic Coast Tsunami Warning System.

Meanwhile, as a fellow Slashdotter with IT concerns, it is clear that major US data processing centers will be at risk, since many are built on, or near, flood plains. Worse, land-based telecom and power are likely to be disrupted. The only reliable sources of power will be backup generators and batteries. The only reliable communication system will be shortwave radio and Internet by satellite. For my IT team, for food, we have the staff fridge and the junk food machines. For meds, we have one first aid kit and a portable stretcher. For backups, we have Iron Mountain.

So, when was the last time you inventoried the emergency supplies at your data center? Do you even have waterproof matches and candles?"

Comment It's the cabin crew safety course in a mockup... (Score 1) 155

Darn - I do wish BBC America was everywhere since clippings don't quite carry the value of the course. The BBC coverage of this story would help readers understand the course offering better:

British Airways is offering the standard cabin crew safety course to passengers for a fee. Passengers get to actually activate oxygen masks, inflate life jackets, open escape doors, and jump down emergency slides - without shoes of course. There is even a smoke-in-cabin exit drill.

We could chalk this course offering up to smart marketing - or we could demand that US airlines begin doing the same thing for high-school age and above - especially for the smaller commuter aircraft - to help increase aircraft survival awareness and provide continuing education credits to frequent flyers.

I suspect an advanced course is available for air marshals and British SAS members fine tuning close combat techniques for passenger aircraft.

Getting the details right can mean the difference between getting out alive - and not.

I would expect the public to insist on a passenger safety course before flying on Virgin Galactic - but I doubt they have a free-fall from 100,000 feet simulator. Yet.

Comment Funny, there was a SciFi short story ... (Score 1) 68

... where a smart car discovered through car network chatter that the best way to optimize its service lifetime was to ... get rid of its aggressive driver owner through a series of false failures - and then find a little old lady for a second owner, who kept it parked in a garage 99% of each week.

Kudos to readers who can find the story citation and its authors.


Submission + - FUKUSHIMA core cooling pools R HOT (

DarkStarZumaBeach writes: "Reactor fuel cooling pools need to be kept at 26 degrees Celsius. The reactor 4 cooling pool caught fire when used reactor fuel overheated earlier this week because water either evaporated or leaked out due to primary structural failure. The reactor 3 cooling pool is also very low — and both 3 and 4 are exposed to open air. And, reactor 5 and 6 cooling pools are registering increasing temperatures ..."

Comment Re:Enormously stupid? - NOT (Score 1) 148

Not that stupid when the laser is a dynamically tunable Free Electron Laser (FEL) with two 10 Megawatt nuclear reactors behind it. With the number of ballistic nuclear submarines scheduled for decommissioning - there are a few that can be refit and put back to sea, with installations of orbital reaching FEL systems.

Besides, no one expects that punching holes in space junk with a static laser beam will amount to anything.

The key is that a FEL can be tuned to vaporize any material within its deliverable power range. Because it is tunable through tuning the frequency of the microwave resonance cavity used to capture and pump excited electrons - the delivered frequency can be boosted well into X-ray frequencies with sufficient power.

The optics system would "paint" the target - to create a reaction force by vaporizing the surface material. With dynamic feedback, the optics would be driven to selectively paint different surface regions as the target spun in orbit - and thereby cumulatively direct the change in orbital velocity required to drop a target into the upper atmosphere: Every available square centimeter of target could be turned into a precise reaction motor. This would effectively kick the can out of orbit.

This also should tell the audience a lot about the state of defense optics now orbiting in space, when defense contractors can propose real-time control systems that depend on "seeing" rapid velocity changes in a basketball-sized object over 24,000 miles high in orbit. Remember that there were originally only 3 mirrors created for the Hubble Space Telescope - and NASA has just one of them.

BTW: FEL's were first discussed in A.E. Van Vogt's "Weapon Shops of Isher" (1951) - an interesting spin on Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning about the modern military industrial complex and its threat to the practice of governing a democracy through fear, intimidation, and corruption.

Of course, NASA isn't in the business of space defense - but the US Navy is - having effectively demonstrated a working tactical satellite defense against a real failed US recon satellite before the US Air Force could - thanks to the systems programming ingenuity of Raytheon Missile Systems.

Then again, space aliens wouldn't expect their orbiting derrieres roasted by a hidden submersible fleet.

The Weapon Shops slogan??

"The right to own weapons is the right to be free!"

Comment The Garden Tier Internet Video Model still lives (Score 1) 3

Ack ... Atavistic capitalism: The Garden Tier pay-per-view model raises its prehistoric head.

Arguably the TiVo's ability to access Internet services is key to a move to Virgin Media cable services alignment since BSkyB started producing its own satellite DVRs. Without any Internet capability using current BSkyB satellite services, driving Internet video content over phone line connections are very trying.

On the other hand, next generation satellite services include the soon to be launched 4G broadband data services - which would obsolete the current BSkyB subscriber garden tier business model completely. This suggests that next generation TiVo models will be 4G broadband capable which would eliminate hardwired cable and satellite TV connections completely.

Still, I extend condolences to the loyal original BSkyB TiVo subscribers located on the Isle of Mann until 4G satellite services are widely available.

Perhaps someone could organize an online petition to extend the UK TiVo 1 service date until December 21, 2012?

Comment Ah so, bamboo composite wings? (humor) (Score 1) 339

The fun part of looking at other people's tech is figuring out how different cultural traditions might contribute to the product.

We do know that large graphite composite surfaces are being built for Boeing in China - from all the delays to the Dreamliner program because of ever so slightly incompatible tail components that took forever to get right - long enough to get all the right answers of course.

So just imagine what if carbon composites weren't available to Chinese aerospace designers:

1. Brocade silk cloth for wing surfaces in bright red and gold patterns?

2. Laminated bamboo airframes and bamboo tubing for hydraulic controls powered with mountain spring water?

3. Fly-by-wire-and-abacus-bead flight deck computers?

4. Rice paper display surfaces with mah-jong tiled control buttons?

5. Black powder rocket assist JATO launch systems?

6. Cricket-powered in-flight entertainment systems?

Aw, heck, been there and done that over a thousand years ago during the Qing Dynasty.

On the other hand, the forward canard wings - double delta main wings - rear tails and elevators - and the vectored thrust components - one could say that the design does resemble the latest Russian Sukhoi fighter more than anything we are building. The airframe length gives away the likely turbine power plant specs - and the bet is the prototype is more designed for high-G combat flight during extended patrol missions - and not as a tactical stealth fighter-bomber for really tight low-altitude missions against Soviet-era anti-aircraft radar surface-to-air missile installations. The big Lexan cockpit bubble tells you that - since that would be useless protection against ground-based canon fire.

The other dead giveaway is the bloody big nose on the fuselage: That is large enough for an old-style air-to-air targeting radar which isn't very stealthy at all. It tends to look like a honking lighthouse in the radar spectrum when they turn that baby on.

In any case, if we really want to know what's in the bird, we just have to put a classified ad up on Craigslist for an unhappy pilot with marriage problems to fly the bird to Alaska for a debrief and a nice big red envelope and keys to a ranch in Montana. (Some guys prefer sheep after a Chinese-styled marriage.)

Either that, or just have a neutral country buy a few for disassembly and ship to Nevada for flight test where the rest of the current MIGs and Sukhois are flying.

Then again, like the light cavalry, manned combat flight is really an affectation of national pride: Manned flight has no place in a fight against hordes of Cylon powered UAVs.


How Chrysler's Battery-Less Hybrid Minivan Works 347

thecarchik writes "Chrysler announced Wednesday that it would partner with the US Environmental Protection Agency to build and test prototypes of a different kind of hybrid vehicle, one that accumulates energy not in a battery pack but by compressing a gas hydraulically. The system in question, originally developed at the EPA labs, uses engine overrun torque to capture otherwise wasted energy, as do conventional hybrid-electric vehicles. The engine is Chrysler's standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder, the base engine in its minivan line. But rather than turning a generator, that torque powers a pump that uses hydraulic fluid to increase the pressure inside a 14.4-gallon tank of nitrogen gas, known as a high-pressure accumulator."

Comment Working Papers hardly working? (Score 2) 11

I just had a long hard laugh looking at some of the titles of their working papers, which remind me of the humorous article titles in the "Journal of Irreproducible Results".
Makes me wonder if there is a bright future in enology economics research.


AAWE Working Paper No. 67 Economics
Fraternity Membership & Frequent Drinking
Jeffrey S. DeSimone


AAWE Working Paper No. 68 Economics
Binge Drinking & Sex in High School
Jeffrey S. DeSimone


AAWE Working Paper No. 70 Economics
Return to Wine: a Comparison of the Hedonic, Repeat Sales, and Hybrid Approaches
James J. Fogarty and Callum Jones


AAWE Working Paper No. 71 Economics
Does Drinking Impair College Performance? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach
Scott E. Carrell, Mark Hoekstra and James E. West


AAWE Working Paper No. 73 Economics
Collective Reputation Effects: An Empirical Appraisal
Olivier Gergaud and Florine Livat


AAWE Working Paper No. 74 Economics
The Role of Viticulture and Enology in the Development of Economic Thought
Stephen Chaikind


Well that's an interesting research topic: Is the quantity of economic thought in direct proportion to the quantity of wine consumed?
Guess we would have to drink to that!


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