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Comment Re:We need progressive nuclear programs. (Score 1) 81

> So for filling in the gaps we NEED something else, no way around it. Between 'cheap' coal, oil, natural gas, or covering land masses with biofuel crops, a modern design nuclear plant isn't a bad option.

Yeah, but the thing is, it is a bad option.

Forget fallout, meltdowns etc. Nuclear is expensive per kW.

Because of that nuclear plants are pretty much run flat out, as baseload, to get the kWh cost down to something that is remotely competitive. I mean, you can run them at half power, but when you do that, those kWh that are made are made at twice the price; and they weren't all that cheap to start with. So, using a nuclear plant to fill in for the 20% of time; isn't going to happen.

No, for filling in when both the wind and sun aren't producing, you need a cheap source of power; a gas turbine, or a hydroelectric plant or a diesel plant or similar, something ideally using a biofuel.

Comment Re:Welcome to the Trump future... (Score 1) 459

I've been following this story, and I expect we're not looking at the future, but rather stagnation in the status quo for the last fifteen years or so plus statistical noise.

Where things gets interesting when you start disaggregating the trends. If you look at the life expectancy data by county, the disparity is shocking: almost all rural and poor counties saw little or no improvement in life expectancy since the late 80s, but life expectancy has improved dramatically (5 years or more) in urban and wealthy counties. And here's an interesting fact: the gap between white and black life expectancy has narrowed, but this is largely due to stagnation in life expectancy among working class whites.

This indicates to me that poor access to health care advances for working class and rural whites has driven the overall stagnation in life expectancy. This is in part what Obamacare was intended to address, however it can't possibly improve the situation in rural counties without Medicaid expansion.

Comment I'm kind of surprised they don't do more tie-ins. (Score 1) 335

I'm not talking advertising tie-ins, but why not do additional story lines available for streaming purchase? Especially in those big ensemble superhero movies that are always so narratively cluttered because they have to give you a thin slice of so many characters.

Comment Re:China's Monster Three Gorges Dam (Score 3, Interesting) 134

I'll wager it pales in comparison to the effect of the 3/11 Japan earthquake or the Boxing Day quake/tsunami of '04. Those quakes lifted or dropped massive areas of the crust and I actually seem to recall hearing reports that the atomic clocks would need to have some leap milliseconds directly linked to the quake.

Comment Re:Sad (Score 3, Insightful) 186

Well, I dunno. It seems like blaming Fitbit for Pebble's financial failure.

Let's take a consequentialist view of matters. If the rule is you have to buy the whole business and continue to operate it, even though it's losing money, Pebble goes out of business and it's customers and debt holders suffer. If you can sell of just the good bits without the obligation to continue running the failing as before, the customers suffer but the debt holders get some relief. Which approach is better?

Comment Re:127 Mill Maintenance robot vs 4 Billion AF1 (Score 2) 38

Well, it's actually $3.75 billion. And it's not one, but two aircraft, so that's 1.875 billion apiece. That's to ensure the executive branch can function in a military crisis while one of the planes is being service.

Deduct 375 million apiece for the airframe, and we're talking 1.5 billion dollars in customization for each aircraft, including aerial refueling capabilities, which on a two-off job is a craft job; no economies of scale. Add defense and countermeasure capabilities that Air Force is extremely close-lipped about. Is there a actual escape pod on Air Force One like in the movie? Well probably not, but I'm sure the idea was at least contemplated. However it's pretty certain that if someone locks onto AF1 with a targeting radar the aircraft will have options that a stock 747-8 doesn't.

Next outfit each one so it can function as a replacement for the West Wing and the Situation Room for up to two months -- that's a deducible requirement based on the known fact that the aircraft stores 2000 meals for 100 people. That means three-of-a-kind electronics and communications systems (one for each airframe and one for the actual White House).

Is 3.75 billion too much for that? Probably. But it's hard to think of any weapon development program since WW2 that is less extravagant.

By that standard 127 million for an orbital repair robot is an almost inconceivable bargain, even if you factor in a 5x cost overrun.

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