Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:DGW - Dinosaurogenic Global Warming (Score 5, Insightful) 342

The Jurassic period. O2 in atmosphere was 130% modern levels. CO2 was at 1950ppm, 5-7 times modern levels. The temperature was a whole 3 DEGREES C over modern times!

The Jurassic period was really quite long, and long ago. Long enough for solar evolution to be significant. At the beginning of the Jurassic, the sun was about 2% fainter than now, at the end about 1.5% fainter. That is about 26W/sqm on the solar constant, or about 4.6 W/sqm of radiative forcing if corrected for albedo and averaged over the whole surface of the Earth. 5 times modern CO2 is about a radiative forcing of ln(5)*5.35, or 8.6W/sqm. So just the change in the sun cuts the effect into half, leaving 4W/sqm, which our current climate models translate into 3.2K of temperature difference. So even without taking other effects (minor orbital variations, configuration of the continents) into account, your claim agrees quite nicely with our current theoretical results. Of course, the sun is unlikely to get significantly fainter or stronger over the the next few thousand years, so there will be no free lunch from that angle. If we go back up to 5 times current CO2, we can expect about 7K of temperature increase.

And who wants more CO2 @1950 ppm, you know, to make all those plants and trees convert that CO2 into a higher O2!

Since our increase of CO2 produced by burning fossil carbon with atmospheric oxygen, at best we'll get back the O2 we sucked from the atmosphere. Not that a significant quick increase would be advantageous - it would play havoc with the biosphere and massively increase the risk of and by fires.

Comment Re:Glad I don't live in the US... (Score 3, Informative) 195

Socialized Heath Care is more efficient too. The waiting rooms double as morgues!

Socialised health care is not perfect, but it typically has a much better outcome for the average patient - both per dollar and absolutely. The US is neck and neck with Cuba in health care effectiveness (see e.g. this Forbes article). It spends 17.9% of the GDP on health care - Cuba spends 10% And since GDP per person is around US$55000 for the US, US$6700 for Cuba, the Cuban system is about 15 times more efficient.

Comment Re:people exhale co2 (Score 1) 191

Are we talking about the same CO2 that we use in fire extinguishers?

To quote Babbage: "I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question". But yes, the CO2 we exhale and the CO2 we produce by burning hydrocarbons and many other carbon-based materials is chemically the same substance that is used in some kinds of fire extinguishers, that is used to carbonate soda pops, and that is released by baking powder to raise a cake.

Comment Re:people exhale co2 (Score 2) 191

rapid increase in global population=more co2=climate change kill 1/2 the population=fighting climate change

am i doing it right?

No. People's biological processes are part of a short-term closed loop. The CO2 they exhale has been recently extracted from the atmosphere by plants (and maybe went through an animal or a few). If you don't understand that, your opinion is entirely spurious. See carbon cycle and Dunning-Kruger effect.

Comment Re:Wouldn't need subsidies (Score 1) 259

It repeat after me: only needs a "great deal of development" because of safety concerns. Lock some engineers in a room overnight and tell them to build a reactor with zero safety concerns and it will be quite simple. I'm not terribly familiar with breeder technology but it cannot possibly be remotely as expensive as uranium centrifuging. Here's my breeder reactor design and I'm 70% sure it'll work despite my knowing almost nothing: aerosolize the U238 or other isotope-to-transmute of choice. Set up a convection system that thoroughly mixes and circulates the powder near your neutron source--this could be done in a relatively neutron-transparent liquid or (maybe) a gas. Set up your neutron detectors and thermal imaging all around the area. When fission rates increase and/or when it starts looking hot, your neutron source retracts into its safety chamber and a series of fans blows away any residue dust off of it. Resulting powder is measured and melted or compressed into appropriate ingots for fuel usage. If it's going too slow, increase rate of neutron flow. If it's too fast, reduce it. If it's so fast that it blows up, oh well, stuff blows up with oil and coal all the time. None of this is prohibitively expensive unless/until you try to make it super safe.

By that design principles, I have three better proposals: First, lets go to fusion directly. We only need to set up a containment field for Deuterium plasma, heat the plasma with lasers until there is ignition, and then keep running the plasma through an magnetohydrodynamic generator which we can also use (with some tricks) to separate out the fusion products (heavier nucleus = less deviation in the electric or magnetic field). Easy peasy! Or we could go to an antimatter reactor - just feed hydrogen and antihydrogen into the reactor core in a controlled manner, and use the trilithium crystals to convert the resulting gamma- and neutrino flux to usable energy. The last option, and maybe the best one, would be a perpetuum mobile. I have a design with magnets and a wheel with paddles on hinges that only needs a little tinkering before it becomes a better-than-unity device!

More seriously, have you considered the problem of induced radioactivity? Everything in your reactor with be "hot", so that it will be extremely hard to do maintenance. Most sensors will not work well when constantly bombarded with neutrons and various forms of radiation - and neither will computers. Indeed, any serious neutron flux will make most construction material brittle over time, so they need extremely careful selection on materials, careful monitoring (with sensors being susceptible to radiation damage themselves, as stated above) and frequent replacement - leaving you with a heap of radioactive waste.

There may be reasons to consider nuclear to be better than coal, but it's not remotely as simple. To use an analogy, we don't have to chose buying "protection" from Luigi or from Guido - we can just invest in a working society with a working police force. It may be a little bit more expensive in the short term, but it has plenty of secondary advantages, and certainly is cheaper in the long term.

Comment Re:Two thoughts (Score 1) 73

Can you explain the ridiculous dancing in the background? Did people really think we'd dance like that in the future?

I think this is just intended to show that it's different from today. But if you look at history, I don't think this is too far from the envelope of human behaviour:

Comment Re:Two thoughts (Score 4, Informative) 73

Only seven episodes? Guess it was like "The Prisoner", where it establishes its premise and then wraps everything up. I wonder if the series ended when the spaceship achieved a victory -- or peace -- with the Frogs. (See Star Trek VI...) Surely it's just a coincidence that "frogs" is also a derogatory slang word for French people...

Actually, it ended because it was too expensive to produce - especially the special effects. They are not great, but then it was 1966, and Orion showed a lot more space action than Star Trek, where the redshirts beam down to whatever stage setting was available from the latest western or mobster movie.

The series used the English term "Frogs" even in German. Neither Frogs not "Frösche" is now or was then a derogative term for the French in German.

Comment Re:green fantasies (Score 1) 114

Wind is cheaper (in optimal cases) where you don't consider the cost of indetermittancy and reserves. But actual cost of wind in most real world large projects, even the most recent, it higher than nuclear. You just oversimplify things by using capacity cost rather than cost per MWH.

First, wind is only one part of a diversified energy portfolio. And secondly, no-one so far has solved the nuclear waste disposal problem, and hence no-one knows what it will cost. But we do know that it will be very expensive indeed. Current nuclear technology is a child of both cold war military subsidies and plenty of civilian subsidies, so complaining about subsidies for renewables now is a bit hypocritical.

Comment Re:Completely wrong.... (Score 1) 618

The purpose of the government is not to be your conscience and humor your universalist fantasies. It is to protect the way of life of our unique, and exceptional people. And it is absolutely not to impose burdens on our people in order to serve foreigners.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". -- Thomas Jefferson, with some help from Franklin and Adams, 1776, before there even was a United States you or anyone could be a citizen of.

"Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. [....] Liberty consists of doing anything which does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the enjoyment of these same rights." -- Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 1789

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." -- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

Those are exceptional thoughts by exceptional people. What you exhibit is small, petty and shortsighted egoism. Life is not a zero sum game.

Comment Re: Completely wrong.... (Score 1) 618

Why is that wrong? I live in the USA. I am an American citizen. It is wrong for the government to have policies that benefit its own citizens instead of those of other countries?

If you go by Adam Smith, in a voluntary exchange, both sides win. The university could argue that it has a fiduciary duty to spend taxpayer money as efficient as possible, and if they can buy the same service abroad cheaper, that's the way to maximise the amount of education it can provide for a given budget. So they can either give a better education to their students or increase the revenue of US companies. And the universities job is education, not subsidising the economy.

And on a national level, if the university needs fewer local IT people for comparatively low-paying jobs like IT infrastructure maintenance and help desks, that leaves more well-trained US people to go to Silicon Valley and invent the next high-value product. iPhones are made in China, but only 1.8% of the price stays with Chinese labourers, while nearly 60% are profits realised by Apple in the US. If Apple made the iPhones in the US, they would probably go broke, and neither side had any of the revenue (or phones).

Comment Re:Completely wrong.... (Score 1) 618

This university should lose it's state and federal funding for doing something like this.

Horrible insult to the USA, our students, and our educators.


That "argument" boils down to "USA! USA! USA!" - might fit a Trump rally, but really is not argument at all.

What is an argument is that service from abroad is likely to be unsatisfactory - at least because of distance, time zones, and the cultural differences, even if the provider is competent in general. And that last point is not a given.

Of course, the UC also thinks its ok to let torture lawyer John Yoo teach constitutional law to impressive young students. On the other hand, they gave us UCSD Pascal and BSD UNIX. Overall, it looks like some talents, no judgement to me.

Comment Re:Hooray! (Score 4, Informative) 163

Icelandic vulcanos produce more but thei don't count that. They can't do much about that either.

Well, good thing then that that claim is plainly wrong, by many orders of magnitude. Overall, volcanic activity produces less than 1% of human CO2 emissions. And Iceland is only a small part of the overall picture. This is based on a a well-debunked claim - currently no. 74 of pseudo-sceptical arguments.

Comment Re:Assertion without evidence (Score 1) 271

What is interesting is that the Berkeley Earth project, organised by then-sceptic Richard Muller did a different, completely independent analysis of the temperature record. BEST automatically detected discontinuities in individual temperature records, split the record at each discontinuity, and then spliced all the continuous subrecords together again, merging them into a global temperature record. The result is basically indistinguishable from the other major reconstructions (which are also mostly independent, but use more similar methodologies). Muller has adapted his opinion to the data and now acknowledges that the manual adjustments were indeed justified and done with skill and care.

Slashdot Top Deals

After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover, it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed.