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Comment Re:Who wants one? (Score 1) 117

Does anyone actually know a programmer who want such a thing?

I do. I have an Amazon Echo in my kitchen, and I use the voice recognition all the time. If I am cooking dinner, and I notice we are low on milk, I can say "Alexa, add milk to the shopping list" without washing my hands or touching my phone or laptop. I can use voice to turn lights on or off, request specific music, ask for news or information on specific topics, etc. The voice recognition works well, and it is a useful service.

Comment Re: Rule of thumb (Score 1) 224

A pizza drone is a pro tool for making money, you expect it to be more regulated than a "fun" drone.

No, you should not expect that. Drones should be regulated based on size, location, method of control (line-of-sight or not), and payload (camera, machinegun, etc.). Whether the pilot is a "hobbyist" or a guy trying to support his family is irrelevant. "Profit" doesn't make it any more or less dangerous.

Comment Re:Wouldn't need subsidies (Score 1) 194

This link shows the relative cost of operating a fossil vs nuclear plant through 2014.

Those are operating costs. Of course nukes are cheaper to run, but they are far more expensive to build. They are also more expensive to insure and to decommission.

When fuel and O&M costs are considered, nuclear comes out cheaper.

When ALL costs are considered, nuclear comes out more expensive.

Comment Re:How is this different from any university? (Score 2) 221

... or United Way (both often cited as "bad" or "misleading" charities)

The United Way is not considered "bad" just because of where their money goes, but also where it comes from. Every year they run a "Federal Campaign", to collect money from government employees. When I was in the military, each unit had a quota of contributions to collect, and commanders were judged on their ability to collect. This led to a lot of coercion and abuse. Anyone who didn't agree to sign up for a monthly payroll deduction was assigned to clean latrines or given guard duty when everyone else had a 4 day pass. There were privates with families to support, barely making enough to survive, getting their pay docked every month despite needing the money far more than most United Way recipients. United Way collects contributions, skims administrative fees off the top, and then passes the rest on to the actual charities. It is far better to contribute directly to deserving charities, and leave United Way out of the loop.

Comment Re:Wouldn't need subsidies (Score 0) 194

This is demonstrably and obviously much cheaper than constantly mining coal

This is the dumbest thing I have read so far today. Nukes have historically been about twice the cost of coal. If they were "obviously" cheaper, they wouldn't require subsidies, and they would have replaced coal plants long ago.

The higher costs of nuclear are entirely the result of safety regulations

Right. After Fukushima Daichi, all we have to do is convince the public that nukes are too safe and we need to start cutting corners.

Comment Re:Wouldn't need subsidies (Score 1) 194

Lets just subsidize it at half the level that we are for solar and wind on a construction cost and per mwh basis.

The justification for the wind & solar subsidies is that they are only temporary support while the technology matures. So far, this has more or less worked, as both wind and solar have become far more efficient and cost effective.

With nuclear, there is no such justification. Nuclear is not getting more cost effective. It is getting worse. Building and running a nuclear plant today is way more expensive than it was 50 years ago.

Comment Re:Wouldn't need subsidies (Score 1) 194

settling on a proven design and mass producing them.

That is exactly what the EPR was designed to do. It is being used for the Hinkley Point Reactor, and is expected to generate electricity for double the cost of the UK's already outrageously expensive power.

So maybe a standard design isn't a magic bullet after all. If nuclear power economics could really be fixed by a minor tweak, we would have done it long ago.

Comment Re: management (Score 1) 79

there's pressure to generate lots of publications rather than do good work.

True, but this is only part of the problem. There is also a huge problem of researchers producing trivial results (whether shoddy or not) because they are afraid to ask the big questions and pursue revolutionary results. If they go long, and fail, their career may be over since nobody publishes negative results. If they fake successful results, they will draw intense scrutiny and be exposed. So they play it safe and do research that nobody cares about.

Top tier publications like Science and Nature have some good papers. But if you go to the 2nd and 3rd tier publications, the research is mostly meaningless garbage. It doesn't matter if the results are bogus, because nobody cares about the results in the first place.

Comment Re:management (Score 2) 79

Couldn't have anything to do with short term outlook by poor management in companies?

Very few companies do any published research. This is about academia and government funded labs that seek grants, not industry.

The "short term outlook" in companies actually improves the situation, because it puts pressure on researchers to come up with real results that can be put into products, rather than bogus research papers.

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