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Comment Re:Green Energy? (Score 1) 572

We already create urban "heat islands" that cause afternoon rainstorms in places like Atlanta, so I do no think these towers do anything that has not been done already. They seem to be a brilliant idea that should have been stumbled upon decades ago!

The thermal updrafts now feed into thunderstorm cells and all of that energy essentially goes to waste, but with this technology constructed in the right locations perhaps the benefit would be two fold: Energy from the uplifting air, and essentially being able to control (or at least influence) the local weather in the area around the tower. I'm not climatologist but it seems like a little multidisciplinary collaboration could really pay off in big ways (i.e. where droughts seems to never end and where excessive rain/flooding is a problem).

If it is possible to build a tower and funnel hot air upwards, couldn't we also build a giant cone to take advantage of cold air falling? -- I guess this must get into pressure gradients and all sorts of other science... so I'll stop typing now.

"How many other brilliant concepts are just waiting for an untrained eye to look at them differently?"

Comment Re:cloud generation, gliders (Score 1) 572

The convective solar power towers are a really cool idea to me, and it reminds me of the Condensers in the first Star Wars movie (Luke on Tattooine).

I do not remember where I first read of these towers, and as such like to think I was one of the first people to think of them! Therefore it is a shame that I do not have an engineering degree to go along with such a brilliant idea!

I wonder if the desert dwelling lizards and other critters would seek shelter under the canopy of the tower?


Comment Re:Only on Slashdot is this in insightful (Score 1) 502

I'm not saying that an MBA assures a good life, or an engineering degree prevents one. I am arguing that from the sample size I have seen:

1. Damn hard working, ridiculously smart engineers make OK money, get a little recognition if their lucky, and maybe even a 9x12 cube instead of a 9x9 one.

2. Dolts with MBA's (many of them also with engineering degrees, though often shoddy engineers who had to go to plan B) often easily slip into some form of management, start life with a 9x12 cube, and get heaps of recognition when projects succeed (usually despite, not because, of their "leadership").

Just my distilled observations from 10 years in the trenches.

The most heartbreaking example I witnessed while at HP/Agilent was seeing one of they most amazing engineers I'd ever met take early retirement in disgust. He is the holder of many patents, and was the driving force behind numerous kick-ass microwave instruments (i.e. ones they were huge money making platforms for a decade or more). As the story goes his wife, who was originally hired on as a secretary as part of his recruitment, had worked her way up through management. She was not a bad manager, but nothing special either, and was making 2x what he was making as the best damn engineer in the company (at least in the top 1%, and widely recognized as such).

Just saying that the incentives as they stand today are against someone smart going into science and engineering. If you do the math, as smart hard working dude can make a lot more, and be a lot less stressed going for the MBA track, than if they go the science or engineering routes. Once you add in the relative portability of an MBA, versus being a pigeon holed expert in a corner of engineering, the MBA starts to look a lot better.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Irony toward the next generation

Irony, face the future: Absolutely zero government influence/regulation applies to conceiving a child - one only needs certain organs functional and certain conditions extant within them - Attempt to assist with rearing a child when one isn't part of the conception team, and, all-of-a-sudden, WHOOSH! Governmental paperwork adding up to at least an acre of former rainforest, red-tape, not less than 4 different sets of bureaucrats - they *claim* it's all "for the best interest of the child" -

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