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Comment Re:Shift Work - Clarification (Score 1) 131

"Way lower production, too..."

That's kind of funny (and expected); I had the opposite experience at the plant. Night shift got things done, and done right! Might have had to do with a much smaller "uh-oh" crowd present in the wee hours.

I agree with you about how doing a meaningful study of this would be difficult. Maybe if the setting were say, in mainland China, which has a more compulsory (read: coercive) culture, then perhaps useful data could be obtained.... hmm....{Flame Proofing ON}

Submission + - Revealed: How the Soviets Planned To Go To War with America's Navy (nationalinterest.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Suicide on a mass scale. That was essentially the plan to destroy America's navy if a war between mother Russia and the capitalist west ever broke out. Besides the fact we would all be likely glowing from radioactive fallout, the plan called for "the Soviets planned to send a fleet of 100 bombers armed with anti-ship missiles against a US aircraft-carrier battle group, fully expecting to lose half of them to enemy action."

Submission + - States Ditching Electronic Voting Machines, Some Issues Occurring (thehill.com)

cold fjord writes: The Hill reports, "States have abandoned electronic voting machines in droves, ensuring that most voters will be casting their ballots by hand on Election Day. With many electronic voting machines more than a decade old, and states lacking the funding to repair or replace them, officials have opted to return to the pencil-and-paper voting that the new technology was supposed to replace. Nearly 70 percent of voters will be casting ballots by hand on Tuesday, according to Pamela Smith, president of election watchdog Verified Voting. "Paper, even though it sounds kind of old school, it actually has properties that serve the elections really well," Smith said. It’s an outcome few would have predicted after the 2000 election, when the battle over “hanging chads” in the Florida recount spurred a massive, $3 billion federal investment in electronic voting machines." — There are also reports of various issues, including "calibration issues" which have resulted in votes to the wrong candidate.

Comment Shift Work - Clarification (Score 1) 131

"Shift work" covers a wide range of jobs, from repetitive tasks (as in a factory) to technical support (as in a call center). TFA is really more interested in the disruption of the circadian rhythm because of those types of jobs. What would be interesting is if there was some differentiation in that study according to the types of jobs. Would working at a call center result in a different sort of degradation than, say, assembly? The former engages the brain (according to my firstborn, who seems to enjoy it), while the latter, well, I don't know if I could handle something like that for too long.

And having worked night shifts during our refueling (nuclear plant) outages, I can say that it was never dull, with all manner of problems to solve and people to deal with. There's definitely a nice camaraderie that develops on the night shift, so the term "anti-social" didn't quite apply.

Comment Re:Good job. (Score 4, Interesting) 43

I second. Drills are the way to identify and correct flaws, as well as to identify areas for improvement. It is unfortunate that it took a one-two punch to turn around Japan's nuclear culture, but hopefully they come out stronger, as we had following the Three Mile Island Unit 2 event in 1979. Here in the U.S., even now, emergency drills at nuclear power plants continue to optimize emergency processes, and to test a plant's (including and especially its staff's) response to a significant adverse event. The typical drill postulates a series of malfunctions that inevitably lead to a radiation release, which then triggers an evacuation. This latter part is designed to exercise local and state resources as well.

After Fukushima, the paradigm got turned a bit on its head: instead of a nuclear plant event causing the emergency, it's a natural calamity that degrades and destroys infrastructure that could lead to a radiation release. As a result, the lessons learned prompted at least one order, which requires all U.S. plants to be ready for events that are beyond their current design bases. In other words, if your plant was designed for a Category 3 hurricane, be ready to handle one that's much more devastating. As you might expect, this is no small expense, but the U.S utilities have committed to making the preparations, and you can find descriptions of these on the NRC website.


Oregon To Let Students Use Spell Check on State Exams 235

Starting in 2011, the Oregon Department of Education will let students spell check their work before submitting state exams. From the article: "The move is supposed to help the assessments focus less on typos and more on their writing skills. 'We are not letting a student's keyboarding skills get in the way of being able to judge their writing ability,' said state Superintendent Susan Castillo. 'As we're using technology to improve what we're doing with assessments as a nation, we believe that spell check will be one of those tools.'"

Submission + - Car? Plane? It's Both and Legal (telegraph.co.uk) 1

SixFactor writes: At long last, a street-legal plane (or airworthy car), has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Because of its size, weight, and lack of usual auto safety features, it's got decent gas mileage on the road. Only requires 20 hours of flying time to get a license, and a third of a mile to get airborne. At just under $200k, it's a bit expensive, but there are definitely some early adopters.

Submission + - US engineer gets 15y for spying for China

goG writes: A Chinese-born engineer was sentenced Monday to more than 15 years in prison for hoarding sensitive information about the US space shuttle with the intent on giving it to China. Carney called Chung's crimes a matter of national security, saying he had committed a breach against the trust Boeing and the country had placed on him.
"The [People's Republic of China] is bent on stealing sensitive information from the United States and shows no sign of relenting," Staples said. "Only strong sentences offer any hope of dissuading others from helping the PRC get that technology."

Submission + - Water found on a Saturn moon. (physorg.com)

siddesu writes: Scientists working on the Cassini mission (thttp://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm) have found evidence of liquid water on the planet's icy moon Enceladus, suggesting the possibility of life below its surface and further limiting parking availability in the solar system.

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