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Comment Re:That's not even all (Score 1) 302

Odd things happen, such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, yes.

Well, let's be honest: neither of those incidents were odd or unforeseeable. In the case of Chernobyl, we had an experimental reactor (and I don't mean it was new - I mean it was specifically built for them to screw around with and see what happens) designed with a highly positive void coefficient. It was an insane design that was not passively safe and it was purposely operated in a reckless manner. The "accident" that took that place down happened when they shut off the already limited safety features and ran more experiments. Keep doing that over and over in a design that isn't passively safe and you almost can't help but have it end in disaster. If nothing else, any rational person could easily see that what they were doing was dangerous as Hell. And the Soviets knew what they were doing was dangerous as Hell which is why they did it there and not next to, say, Moscow for instance.

In the case of Fukushima, the plant design's manufacturer (GE) identified design flaws in the plant's containment measures back in the 1970s. And they came up with a remediation plan and published it to everyone running that design. In the 1970s. And the company operating the plant at Fukushima chose not to do what GE told them they needed to do in order to ensure containment in the event of a catastrophic failure. And the regulators in charge of ensuring the plant was operated safely allowed them to do that. So the plant ran for decades with a known design problem and nobody did anything about it. So again, this wasn't exactly a surprise that as soon as something went wrong, bad stuff happened.

Ain't no magic here: if you run known-unsafe designs, you're risking bad things happening. If you run safe designs, then catastrophic failures do not (and, physically, cannot) result in catastrophic consequences.

Comment Re: Nuclear power is proven safe... (Score 1) 302

Contaminating the whole Pacific Ocean? ....

Were you absent the day they taught physics in physics class?

And again, nuclear power is safer for human life. Accounting for Fukushima, accounting for Chernobyl (which by the way wasn't a power plant - it was a research facility conducting extremely dangerous experiments and a weaponized plutonium factory which also happened to have excess power to dump into the local grid, but that's alright, we'll include that one anyway because it still doesn't change the outcome), nuclear power is the safest source of power generation we have. Per kwh generated, it causes less loss of human life than anything else, including wind, solar, and hydro.

It's not hard to understand: if it's safer per kwh generated, then scaling out with other options presents a greater threat to human life and supporting other options is directly supporting the needless deaths of human beings.

Comment Re: hazardous processes (Score 1) 302

Running coal and oil power plants affects (at the very least) the local environment horrifically if nothing goes wrong. What do you think happens in the case of a major issue with nuclear power? You think the whole world gets consumed by a black hole or something? Nuclear power is proven safe, effective, efficient, and capable of handling base power loads. It's safer and more scalable than any other option. We already have nuclear power plants on a large scale and in great numbers, but you don't hear about them because they run for decades without incident. They run at 90%+ capacity day-in and day-out quietly providing power for people around the world.

Nuclear power results in less loss of human life per kwh generated than any other source of power. That includes solar, wind, hydro; you name it. Nuclear power is simply safer. We can make it even safer by stopping the resistance to replacing older nuclear plants with newer, better ones.

Comment Re: mdsolar (Score 3, Interesting) 302

There were numerous teams around the world actively working toward powered flight at the time. As for the apparent quality of their design, you're applying modern standards of what a prototype should look and feel like to a vastly more adventurous era. It's one of the reasons we made massive strides during the first half of the 20th and now typically make far more incremental advances: we're terrified of failure, particularly if there's any risk to any human life. It's the reason a design like the YF-12 would never be allowed to fly these days. On paper, the design decisions made to allow it to fly as high and as fast as it does are laughably insane. But it flew, and its 1950s design set records we still haven't broken.

Comment Re:Can't wait to get one in my watch. (Score 1) 156

Not really that surprising: the physics is relatively simple and well-understood. As such, all we're really talking about is choosing to avoid negligently flawed design decisions. The overwhelming fear of huge medical lawsuits is enough to at least do that much (though unfortunately often not much more, particularly on the security front).

Comment Re:That's not even all (Score 2, Insightful) 302

No, yet more people die in the production, installation (this is the big one for solar), and maintenance of solar per kwh generated than they do for nuclear power.

Radiation is scary because you can't see it, but the dead don't care whether it was radiation or a fall or electrocution that caused it. Want to save lives? Push for nuclear.

Comment Re:mdsolar (Score 1) 302

We already have safe, reliable nuclear power plants. We have them all over the world. The challenge with nuclear is no different from any other project that deals with hazardous processes (and this includes coal and oil power plants among many other things): reasonable standards for building, operation, and inspection free from bribery, corruption, and incompetence, which are rigorously enforced. In some places (mostly the western nations), this isn't that hard to do. The designs are already rock solid and have been for a long time (minus the RBMK reactor designs, which were never a safe solution, but which weren't designed with safety as a high priority - they were experimental reactors and weaponized fuel factories). The plant at Fukushima was an early design which would have still be safe had the company operating the plant bothered to perform the remediation steps provided by the design manufacturer (GE) for known problems in the design. Had the regulators and inspectors forced them to perform those steps, even the plant's owners' negligence wouldn't have been allowed to carry the risk of the catastrophic failure following the earthquake and tsunami there.

We have great designs which have run at >90% capacity for decades on end without issue. We know exactly how to operate nuclear safely. In fact, per kwh, nuclear is the safest power production in the world. (yes, safer than hydro, solar, and wind - look it up, you'll find workers dying from falls, burning to death, drowning, etc). What we need to do is come up with a way to supply power to places with shitty governments at a rate that's cheaper than fossil fuel plants (for the environmental impact issues there) without giving them the opportunity to fuck up nuke plants or weaponize them. Solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal will all play their parts in our worldwide energy future, but the fact is that well-run nuclear is our best, safest, most sustainable option for a backbone. Nothing else scales like it except fossil fuels and those wreck our environment pretty badly until they're all used up (which is pretty shortly - relatively speaking).

Comment Re:Good News (Score 2) 355

Please visit Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, or any of the other former US manufacturing powerhouses, and specifically the factory towns within those states, and tell the people there about the benefits of free trade. What's been happening for the past 30+ years is that masses of people who are second, third, even fourth generation into factory jobs, who've worked those jobs since they graduated high school, who've been raised themselves and went on to raise their families on the salaries and benefits of those jobs, who have since watches as their friends and family members have lost those jobs one after another, who've stood on the factory floor to hear about how their job is going away in 12-14 months and won't be coming back, who've had to go home to their wives/husbands/kids with the knowledge that the only job they've ever had or ever known is going away, who've had their homes foreclosed and their kids go from great lives to a welfare Christmas, who've wiped out their retirement funds just to try and keep going a little longer - those people have been told over and over by coastal elites from BOTH parties all about how great free trade is because of the cheap shit stocking the shelves of Walmart.

Despite the very obvious feeling from everyone at the top of the food chain, these people are not stupid. As they watch everyone around them - and finally themselves - lose everything they worked their entire lives to build with their blood, sweat, tears, labor, long hours, and tired backs, they're told over and over how good this is for them. They're not stupid. They're losing everything. Everyone around them is losing everything. Those who haven't already lost everything are having sleepless nights over and over because they see the writing on the wall and know they don't have a path forward. Their only hope is to somehow luck out and keep their job until their kids are out of the house and they're close enough to retirement to skate by.

Conventional economic theory isn't doing a goddamn thing for those people, their kids, their spouses, their families, their friends, or their towns. They're getting fucked every which way. And I'm getting a blender that breaks after 2 months because it's a cheap piece of shit built by someone who doesn't care halfway around the world. This isn't good for any of us. And it isn't good for the planet, either.

You want to know why Clinton lost all those "blue wall" states? Here it is:

It's moments like that, repeated over and over again in places all across the rust belt, driven by globalization and free trade policies that both major parties supported. Trump is the first politician in a generation to really speak to those people in a way that made sense.

Comment Re:Yes! (Score 1) 412

She clearly broke the law and others in the same position have gone to jail. She isn't in jail because she's "too big to fail". People with wealth and power don't go to prison in this country except in extraordinary circumstances. If you're caught high out of your mind on coke and heroin and you're poor, you spend years in prison. If you're wealthy (or even just rich and famous), you go to a rehab facility that's more comfortable than most resorts for 6 months.

That said, it sets an immeasurably dangerous precedent to be involved in any way in jailing political rivals. However, just as the switch flipped with each of his Republican rivals after the primaries were over, the same appears to have happened with the Clintons and President Obama now that the general election is over. Trump's pattern of behavior has been to say anything and everything required to beat you, but once he wins, you're an amazing person and a challenging opponent (probably because it's no great accomplishment beating a total loser, but beating the greatest is). His victory speech was nothing but conciliatory (even humble). What he said about the Obamas after meeting with them? Again, nothing but the nicest praise and respect.

He isn't going after Clinton. He's on to the next thing. And thank goodness, because the rhetoric was terrifying.

Comment Re:Good News (Score 5, Insightful) 355

Free trade reduces the inequality between wealthier and poorer nations. Great if you're in the latter. Bad if you're not one of the few elites in the former who can make that benefit you. It's not a win-win for both sides as the two-sides-of-the-same-coin major parties have been preaching in the US. It's absurd to believe otherwise. If the Democrats were actually still the party of the working class, they'd be fighting to retrain younger blue collar union workers for realistic transitions and protect older union workers (for whom retraining isn't realistic) from job exportation.

Free trade isn't great for everyone. And as soon as someone came along and admitted that (instead of trying to explain to a 48 year old factory worker who's losing the only job he's had for 30 years to free trade, who has no other skills or education, who has no prospects moving forward, but does have a wife, two kids, and a mortgage, how this is all somehow good for him), all sorts of lifelong Democrats suddenly showed up to vote for that person (who was very much not a Democrat). Let's stop lying about this "rising tide raises all ships" bullshit and start telling the truth: if you're doing something where the skills involved are limited and the labor costs make up a sizable portion of the total costs involved, you're going to fucked first by free trade (because it's cheaper) and second by automation (because it eventually becomes cost-effective). Step one is admitting you have a problem (and this also requires recognizing that these people actually matter). Step two is figuring out what you're going to do for all the third-generation 48 year olds with two kids and a mortgage who are in this situation. And whatever that is, it better be realistic for them and it better pay at least 85% of what they were making before or no amount of belt-tightening is going to keep them going.

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