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Comment Re:Top 3 promising fusion concepts: (Score 1) 193

Russia attacks their own citizens and neighbour countries because this gives Putin and his cronies more power. The US does so because a campaign donor gets to profit. While both don't give a flying intercourse about cost-benefit for their populations (much less others), the motivation differs.

Comment Re:Mixed Metaphors (Score 1) 316

>> genocide during the Reign of Terror.

> Really? Against who?

The Vendee, in a region mostly populated by the Catholics of France. The wholesale slaughter among them was one of the reasons the "Reign of Terror" was known as such. I do note that the genocide was not one-sided, the Verdee were themselves engaging in slaughter of civilians based on religious differences.

Comment Re:Winter is Coming (Score 1) 574

Actually it is you who needs to pay attention. The article claims that temperatures have plummeted since the middle of this year. It is not multi-year comparison if you are comparing to the same year. They go on to describe this as due to a "la nina" event which is happening now and so would make no sense to use this as an explanation if you were averaging over multiple years. What the article is talking about is this year's weather, not climate.

Comment Not Infinite but Still Useful (Score 2) 193

it has been fifty years in the future for the last fifty years. Given the recent success of renewables and advancing battery and storage technology, fusion is unlikely to ever see the light of day.

Actually it has been 50 years in the future for more like the past 70 years. However while fusion power is nowhere close to infinite and, given the complexity of the reactor unlikely to be cheap, it would still be very worthwhile to have. Renewable energy sources have limited capacities and require a lot of area which means they have a limited ability to fill our energy needs so while their capacity can certainly be increased going all renewable is unlikely any time soon.

This may not be much of an issue in North America but in places like Europe finding enough area for all the solar, wind and wave power needed is unlikely to happen because people do not want to live next to a wind turbine or even in sight of one. Building wave power schemes has similar issues as people complain about the environmental impact. Battery technology is also a very long way from being able to cope with the massive storage requirements to counter the variability which would then require enormous numbers of pumped storage schemes. So having a pollution free alternative to coal and gas will still be extremely useful.

Comment Re:Top 3 promising fusion concepts: (Score 1) 193

Yeah, I'm pissed off! Where's all the riches and oil we were supposed to get from Iraq after we invaded? The US got snookered on that deal. We went and invaded Iraq and everything, and all we got was a deficit increase!

If a company gets $1 when the taxpayers lose $1000, it's still pure profit.

Comment Re:The sync matters a lot (Score 1) 155

Actually, a lot larger effect is gained by the differing attentuation and reflection of the signal by each ear. This is how "2-speaker 3D sound" systems like QSound, A3D etc. worked - by slightly changing the actual sound pattern to simulate passing through your skull / around your head instead of just changing the volume.

The problem is that 0.7ms of delay is NOTHING when the primary data channel is operating over something like Bluetooth (i.e. a 2.4GHz carrier, data rates around 1Mbit/s, etc.). In those instances, 0.7ms is orders of magnitude greater than the base data rate even after error detection, retransmission (if you even bother), correction, etc.

What they are saying is that they are having to synchronous three separate wireless devices to within 0.7ms of each other. My wireless network does that all day long on similar frequencies, with base levels of hardware expense, with error correction, encryption and retransmission.

And if you're really that worried, you buffer ever so slightly (even a few ms will do) and spend more time on sync to make sure you keep the same idea of "now" on both earbuds.

Basically, Apple chose a crap design with inherent problems that everyone else has thus far avoided, and then they blame that for problems with supply, when similar - and far superior - solutions are sitting in everyone's phones, laptops, cars and access points already.

Honestly, if your pings across a local network spike more than a few ms, you have a crap network. Hell, I have to use the Linux ping tool as it does the proper floating point ping rather than just "1ms" which is all that Windows ping will give me.

And once you buffer and accept a tiny imperceptible difference between the audio source and the headphones for that buffer, then syncing two buffered speakers playing the same source is relatively trivial.

Comment Re:modern journalism (Score 1) 193

ITER is not a prototype of a commercial fusion reactor. It's more of a plasma physics lab, specifically designed to support various experiments and advance engineering required to build a real reactor.

Lots of ITER advances are as important for stellerators or other approaches as they are for tokamaks: neutral beam injectors (essential for open plasma trap systems), RF plasma heating (essential for stellerators), all the material science required to deal with tremendous heat flow with high neutron fluxes, remote robotic manipulators required to handle stuff within highly radioactive reactor, etc.

A tokamak was chosen for ITER because we know that it scales, it's a nice conservative choice. Lots of the ITER's complexity is actually due to its conservatism. For example, low-temperature superconductors are used for pretty much everything with high-Tc superconductors reserved only for interconnections with non-superconductive power systems. It's pretty clear that commercial reactors will have to use high-Tc systems.

/me follows all ITER news and press-releases.

Comment Deiterium-Tritisum Fusion no good for power (Score 1, Insightful) 193

I'm afraid that this design, like nearly all modern fusion designs, relies on deuterium-tritium fusion. Both are awkward, expensive, and even dangerous to produce and refine. Tritium, in particular has a quite short half-life and is best refined from nuclear waste at fission plants. If you are already producing enough tritium to run fusion reactors, you already have more than enough fission plants to provide far more and far more reliable energy. There are numerous old papers laying out the difficulties, such as http://fire.pppl.gov/fesac_dp_.... Note that it's theoretically possible to generate more tritium than is currently generated by switcing to "breeder" fission reactors, but those have proven extremely dangerous to manage due to their use in creating plutonium, which is quite useful for nuclear weapon building. It's a very dangerous technology, and the generation of tritium on a commercial scale would be tied to creating _far_ more plutonium than is currently created.

The only currently feasible, safer, and scalable source of deuterium and tritium for fusion reactors is solar sails, capturing the more refinable percentage of such particles in solar wind. Since a solar sail is already capturing approximately 20 KW/square meter of sail from electromagnetic solar radiation, that is a vastly safer and easier to handle power source than collecting and shipping the isotopes of hydrogen to the necessary fusion reactor. Much like building a vast array of breeder reactors to generate tritium for fusion reactors, there is _no point_ to trying to run a fusion plant when the collection and refinement plant itself generates far more directly usable energy than can even theoretically be produced by D-T fusion.

I'll simplify by using the metaphor a colleague gave me recently. The refinement of deuterium and tritium for fusion power is like heating homes by burning the signs and posters put up to protest nuclear power plants. It can be done in theory, but it is not efficient and does not scale well.

Comment Re:Question (Score 2) 39

Wouldn't one of the attacks simply be: $5 wrench attack against a microcode engineer?

(If you thought hacking an entire datacenter or hacking an entire operating system was bad.... Try hacking ALL INTEL or ALL AMD cpus..... pretty crazy.)

You mean, something like Intel IME? Already there, in your CPU. I'm for one using an old AMD (Phenom 2) but I see no upgrade path at the moment. AMD's version of the backdoor is less vicious (no path from the network card) but not nice either.

There's no outright proof of Intel CPUs being backdoored, but they made a number of very weird design choices that make absolutely no sense when the purpose is anything but hiding a backdoor. So let's think who gets the keys.

Comment Re:Mixed Metaphors (Score 1) 316

Stopping a revolution is considered loyalty to an existing nation and the country of which she was Queen. The revolution led directly to famine, from destruction of the economy, and genocide during the Reign of Terror. So yes, I'd say that Marie Antoinette's political behavior was "not doing anything wrong".

Comment Re:Mixed Metaphors (Score 1) 316

It also apparently wasn't Marie Antoinette who said it. She was actually quite sensitive to the distress of the poor, and the beginning of the French Revolution libeled her frequently for being foreign, not for anything she actually did wrong.

She was a fascinating woman, I can quite understand why the French king felt attracted to her.

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