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Comment Re:Bad regulation is bad, but some rules are OK (Score 1) 343


Never had the joy(?) of doing a hardware design spec, but I once spent about a year of my life on the software design and spec for a major contract.

Even (especially!) standards as complex as the definitions of programming languages come with dates or version numbers. Fortran 66 is not Fortran 77 is not Fortran90 is not Fortran 95 is not Fortran2003 is not Fortran2008. Close, and there's probably a common subset in there somewhere, but they aren't the same.

Ditto for any other programming language with an ISO standard -- the year is part of the standard number. (Although curiously, C89 and C90 are the same language, because the 1989 ANSI C standard (X3.159-1989) was adopted as the ISO standard (ISO/IEC 9899:1990) in 1990.)

So yeah, if you're spec'ing something as part of a billion-dollar project, hardware or software, get the details nailed down. At the very least, stick in verbiage to the effect that "all standards named here-in, unless otherwise specified, shall refer to those current as of the date of this specification."

Comment Re:"after billions of dollars in budget overruns" (Score 1) 343

And "clean" is also relative

It is when you consider the amount of mining, separation, transportation and disposal of the energy-equivalent amount of coal and ash -- 1 cubic centimetre of uranium is about the equivalent of a mile-long train load of coal.

(Or the amount of mining, refining, etc, etc, to manufacture and install the equivalent in solar panels or wind turbines.)

Most people have no comprehension of the energy density of nuclear vs chemical fuels. This might help.

(Fun fact -- the trace thorium in coal has more potential nuclear energy than the chemical energy of burning the coal.)

Comment What's that in Libraries of Congress? (Score 1) 343

promised to generate enough power to light up 1.3 million homes.

So how many megawatts is that? (And no, given the name of the plant, searching for "watts" doesn't help.)

And are we talking trailer park homes or mansions? Does "light up" include heating/cooling, running the electronics, etc, etc.

Who comes up with these freaking units, anyway?

(Grouchy because /me hasn't finished first cup of coffee yet.)

Comment Not all Li batteries are prone to thermal runaway (Score 1) 99

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are considerably more stable than lithium polymer and are not prone to thermal runaway.

They have somewhat lower energy density than lithium polymer, which is probably why they're not very common for phones, tablets, and laptops. They were used in the OLPC.

They are also somewhat common in RC cars and planes, in part due to their voltage (3.2V, so four series cells make 12.8V), and in part due to their higher possible discharge current.

Comment Re:For them theoretically hacking a private org? (Score 1) 352

But timezones match working hours, ip ranges and easy to discover code litter.

All of which are dead easy to fake if you're doing a false-flag operation, and should be at least obfuscated as a part of normal operational security.

Unless, of course, that's what they want you to think. (So clearly, I cannot choose the cup in front of you.)

Comment Re:Bigger problem (Score 0) 117

You can't have a country whose economic foundation was slavery not have a cultural problem.

You might want to review history. At the time the US was founded, slavery was legal and practised in nearly every other country in the world. (And historically, slavery was almost never about race per se, just different social/cultural/economic groups. Islamic holders of Christian slaves, for example.)

That doesn't make it right, but it does mean you're full of shit. (Or perhaps you have a point: the west African nations whose economic foundation was selling those slaves also have cultural problems. Or perhaps the cultural problems came first.)

But slavery was everywhere, since the dawn of agriculture (those fields aren't going to work themselves). It was the Industrial Revolution which made it economically unviable -- which is why it died out in the northern, industrial states sooner than in the southern largely agricultural ones, and in Europe before it did in the New World.

Comment Re:Van Allen radiation belts (Score 1) 145

Of course it depends where you are on the ground. I used to work in a data center in Colorado Springs, at about 6000 feet altitude. We saw quite a few correctable memory errors in the logs (and a few random crashes).

Might have been cosmic rays, might have been radiation from the mountain of granite (Pikes Peak) we were in the shadow of.

Either way, if the errors occurred several times in the same DIMM, it was probably bad memory and we replaced it. The odds of cosmic rays hitting the same DIMM every few days or so are pretty remote.

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In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982