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Comment Re:Can't Subscribe (Score 1) 203

Basically this. It's more about the sluggish speed of Google's rollouts - they give competition plenty of time to cut prices and increase speeds before Google's available, and most people won't switch if they can just stick with their existing service and get, what many consider, the same thing.

They should have been far more aggressive in getting their service in as many places as possible.

I still believe Google will make it to my city... sometime in the year 2546, if my calculations are correct.

In Nashville, Google is being blocked by Comcast and AT&T who are stonewalling on moving their cables out of the way on NES utility poles. It's not that Google doesn't want to offer service, they literally can't because they can't run their cables.

What Google underestimated was how much of a fight the entrenched monopolies would put into keeping them out. Most of my neighbors would switch to Google Fiber tomorrow, if they had the choice.

Comment Re:Six million soon-to-be-unhappy Comcast customer (Score 1) 141

Sure, there may be some unhappy DSL customers remaining to poach, but thanks to their legally-regulated monopoly, Comcast's own service is unreliable, awful and badly, badly overpriced too.

There is one exception - when Google Fiber comes to your city, and then suddenly it's a whole new Comcast.

Google Fiber has only begun to deploy here in Nashville, and already Comcast has run new cables on the utility poles in my neighborhood, and offered everyone a no-contract $139 / month Xfinity X1 package with 300 Mbps service. Before Google Fiber, my Internet dropped out a couple of dozen times a day. Now it's rock solid. Phone support is still abysmal, but I can go to the local Xfinity store and actually have someone competent address any problem I might have. Plus, I'm paying less per month than I did before I upgraded.

Of course, I'm still going to switch to Google Fiber once it gets to my street. For now, it's just a matter of getting the best bang for the buck until I can rid myself of Comcast forever.

Comment Re:It Literally Does *WHAT*?? (Score 1) 34

You realize that fsn was a real file system viewer from SGI - right?

So in other words, one bad interface leads to another?

But thanks for the link ... I had no idea that someone at SGI actually created that mess. I thought it was some studio executive's twisted idea of what a computer GUI was supposed to look like. No wonder SGI went bankrupt. :-)

Comment Re:It Literally Does *WHAT*?? (Score 1) 34

This is what happens when Wikipedia has high school kids write their press releases, and Slashdot editors don't care enough to read them before re-posting.

Having looked at the website, I was thinking, "This is what you get when someone who watched 'Jurassic Park' years ago and thought the ridiculous 'UNIX interface' was fascinating winds up with too much time on his or her hands."

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

How about another source referring to a more recent Duke study? Further, coal slurry has plenty of heavy metals which are also ugly environmental contaminants that react poorly with human populations, particularly when they leech into water supplies (or just bury your town). In any event, I can't imagine anyone making the argument that it's good for humans or for the environment to have mountains of coal slurry hanging around. Outside of a coal lobbyist, I don't think anyone actually believes it's harmless.

And you have to admit the Wikipedia linked info about Shakti is pretty damn thin. An offhand comment in a publication appears to suggest that maybe possibly something somewhere could have come from Bill's father-in-law's third cousin twice removed on a stormy Tuesday...

Comment It does change the way you think (Score 4, Insightful) 399

Those incessant political Facebook posts have certainly changed the way I think.

First, they have changed my opinion of many of my Facebook friends due to their endless attempts to shove political arguments (of all persuasions) in my face (thank God for the "unfollow" button).

Second, they have changed my opinion of Facebook and social media as a whole. Social media continues to devolve into more yelling, screaming, threats, trolling, guilt by association, and mob justice. And what makes it bad for Facebook is that the harder they try to "fix" things, the worse it becomes.

I learned long ago to be extremely careful about discussing politics or religion, especially with friends. I sincerely wish more people would take that lesson to heart.

Comment No they can't, I'm special (Score 4, Funny) 990

Electric cars won't ever work because I drive 3,000 miles each way to work every day across all the peaks of the Himalayas hauling seven shipping containers filled with concrete. And if an electric car can't do that without me having to stop along the way, it's a useless piece of shit that nobody can ever use for anything. /UsualElectricCarNaysayers

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

You are saying that NOW after India used it to make nuclear weapons? Seriously?

Well, first of all, they didn't. They used the CIRUS research reactor in Trombay. The US and Canada gave it to them under an agreement that it would only be used for peaceful purposes.

Oh come on now, do you think the readers are really that stupid? Alex Gabbard pushed that line and the bullshit about terrorists building nukes from ash but he was getting paid to lie when he did it. It's no more real than his novels about hillbilly moonshiners.
It's as radioactive as fucking sand because that's what the stuff that becomes ash was before it ended up as impurities in coal.

I didn't say anything about building nukes from coal slurry, so that's a strawman. I made the point that coal has real, measurable impacts that one can actually see whether one subscribes to the concept of global climate change caused by human activities (such as burning coal) or not. The idea is that you can readily see severe environmental impacts from coal and oil power plants without having to get into any sort of complex interconnected open system dynamics. You can just see entire towns buried by fucking coal slurry like Kingston, TN and in Martin County, KY.

Also, coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste. But please, don't let facts get in the way of whatever agenda it is you're pushing. You done yet?

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

My point was not that it's a politically feasible plan. My point was that it's a technically feasible plan. The fact that it requires foresight and a supermajority of human beings actually thinking and acting rationally and in the best interests of the species as a whole (i.e. it'll never happen) does not negate the fact that there is no technical impediment to successfully implementation. Further, we'd all be far better off for it. But none of that matters because people - as a whole - won't agree to do things that make sense for everyone.

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

Two issues there: 1) CANDU actually is proliferation resistant (meets international standards for resistance anyway) and 2) No, India did not get it from there; they got the material from the CIRUS research reactor at Trombay that the US and Canada provided them under an agreement that it would only be used for peaceful purposes. So you're batting 1.000 somewhere, but unfortunately, this is Earth. :-)

But neither of those things really matter anyway for a simple reason: most of what you're getting out of a CANDU plant is easy to get if you have the technical understanding to actually build a working weapon out of it. If you're going for a uranium device and you want enriched uranium, build calutrons and get your uranium. They're old tech that's well understood and documented. A group of decent engineering grad students with a few hundred bucks could build one in a garage and get decent materials out of it (though anyone operating it likely wouldn't live too long). But most of what the CANDU plant is going to give you is plutonium and you aren't building a working device out of that without serious know-how. North Korea's been trying to make that work for decades and they can't do it. Plenty of others have also tried and failed many, many times. In that case, the plutonium is the easy part; making a weapon that can bring it to criticality is the challenge.

So what's the risk? A country that already has everything it needs for a bomb has one additional avenue, maybe, if they can bypass the safeguards? Nobody's joining the nuclear club because of CANDU - they're doing it because they've decided to do so and it really isn't that hard if you aren't trying to do the super cool shit.

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

CANDU has pretty solid safeguards against weaponization, but it's not like enrichment is all that difficult. Calutrons are fairly simple and old tech you can build in a garage (though you may not want to actually start processing material there if you enjoy being alive for long). You won't get amazing stuff out of them, but if all you're looking for is a uranium gun device, they'll do the job. If you're going with a plutonium based device, the synchronized, symmetric implosion is really your long pole anyway. Getting the plutonium will never be the real challenge there and an unlimited supply won't help you if it just blows itself apart prior to criticality.

CANDU designs are already prepared for MOX fuel cycles (and theoretically, they'll run on thorium as well but nobody's ever actually implemented it to the best of my knowledge), but you'll want to take that into account when actually building the plant or you'll be in for some expensive refitting later. They don't do it in Canada for the same reason we don't in the US: policy says don't do it. But they've reprocessed used fuel in Europe, Russia, Japan, and other places around the world for a long time. You can actually also feed weaponized material from decommissioned nuclear weapons into these reactors as well (a process the US Department of Energy is looking into, since we have a whole lot of that stuff sitting around now thanks to START, START II, etc).

That cuts a significant amount of your high level waste. You feed the rest into a fairly small number of fast neutron reactors. Yes, they'll be more expensive to run, but they're serving a greater purpose (turning dangerous waste into power and vastly less dangerous waste with significantly diminished time to reach non-hazardous status). House them in very safe, stable places like the US, Canada, and western Europe. We'll take what's left of the reprocessed material that the CANDU plants can't use anymore and extract most of what's left of its energy until there's just a tiny amount of waste with very little remaining energy. What remains is very easy to safely store and there's not much of it anyway.

And before you tell me the fast neutron reactors are a pipe dream of the future, EBR-II ran for 30 years (until Congress pulled its budget in 1994 - thanks GOP!) without issue. Not only did it work and actually produce electricity, but it was truly passively safe (tested in 1986 in a complete pull-the-plug test with all emergency systems offline - the physics of the design itself caused it to shut down naturally on its own in the absence of the systems that normally run it). The design was commercialized, but hasn't yet been picked up - largely due to NIMBY and the economic and political problems it creates with state and local governments. So we already have the tech developed and tested; we're merely choosing not to implement it via incompetence and ignorance.

None of this is politically feasible. It would require human beings behaving rationally and in the interests of the species as a whole. People on the right (no, not all of them) don't want to buy into the idea that fossil fuels are bad for the environment (even in cases where it's unquestionable that they are like towns buried under radioactive coal slurry) and people on the left (no, not all of them) have an irrational fear of radiation that rivals the anti-vaccine hysteria. Between that and the international cooperation it'd take, plus all the money required to get it kicked off, plus the coordination required, bureaucratic red tape to cut through, corruption to deal with, general incompetence, etc, it isn't going to happen anytime soon. But there's no technical reason we couldn't do it if we suddenly starting thinking and acting rationally in the best interests of our own species.

Comment Re:Captain Obvious (Score 4, Informative) 160

"Turns out it is very expensive to run wires -- or in Google's case, fiber optic cables -- to each and every house that wants service. "

Here in Nashville, the rollout has been hampered by Comcast and AT&T dragging their feet to keep Google Fiber off of utility poles. Dig a few feet anywhere in Nashville, and you'll soon hit limestone, so Google has to use NES (Nashville Electric Service) poles to run their cabling through residential neighborhoods.

The problem is that AT&T and Comcast are already on those poles, so Google has to tell NES which poles they need to use, NES sends a request to Comcast and AT&T to move their cables a few inches to accommodate the Google cable, and Comcast / AT&T send out workers to move their equipment. You can probably guess how slowly Comcast and AT&T act on those work requests. So far Google Fiber has only reached a few buildings downtown, and a couple of public housing projects.

So now Google Fiber is pushing for a "One Touch Make Ready" ordinance, which will allow them to move Comcast and AT&T's cables out of the way themselves, using a contractor approved by NES (the same contractor used by Comcast in many cases), in order to expedite the installation process.

There's going to be a public hearing on the ordinance in the Metro Council tonight. The rumor is that if the ordinance passes, Comcast and AT&T may sue the city next. On the other hand, the ordinance has a huge amount of public support. It should be interesting to see how it plays out with the members of the city council.

Comment Another zero-value mdsolar submission (Score 0) 254

Editors, please stop accepting submissions from mdsolar. The articles are always biased and filled with unscientific drivel. Frankly, they're garbage. But they align with mdsolar's agenda of pushing solar and bashing nuclear, so they keep getting submitted.

Please stop accepting their submissions. It's junk that reduces the credibility and the level of discussion for the site as a whole.

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 2) 254

It's mdsolar; they won't submit an article that doesn't bash nuclear power. It could be an article about Python, but it better have something about how nuclear power is bad and dangerous or mdsolar won't submit it.

Still waiting to see if mdsolar will ever respond to the fact that - per kwh generated - nuclear power is safer (causes less human deaths) than solar.

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 5, Informative) 254

Exactly. Give me a CANDU 6 plant that's actually reprocessing its "waste" any day of the week and twice on Sunday. It's safe, reliable, and oodles of power coming from a small footprint. But no, instead we'll elect to dump all our R&D into new tech that uses tons of rare Earth elements, uses huge amounts of space, isn't dependable (due to weather), can't handle base load, requires lots of toxic chemicals to produce, has to be replaced every other decade, destroys ecosystems housing endangered species, and basically just fucking sucks.

We have a solution to power requirements that doesn't cause any major issues. Replace all coal, oil, solar, and wind power with CANDU 6 power plants and reprocess the "waste" until it's so low energy that it can't hurt anyone. You'll end up with a relatively tiny amount of low-energy waste and a whole lot of fairly cheap, reliable, safe electrical power. If we made it a national priority, we could go 90% nuclear in 10 years in the US, but we'd have to wipe out a whole bunch of local government NIMBY regulations that do absolutely nothing to make anyone or any thing any safer.

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We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra