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Comment Re:seems cheap (Score 5, Insightful) 138

considering the scale of this project I am surprised the cost is only US$272 million, has technology to do this advanced that far or are the Norwegians just very efficient. hell a lot of large buildings cost considerable more than this

Maybe they are good at doing this stuff, but maybe they use the by now "normal" process for public works: You lowball the cost to get the project going and then argue with the sunk money that you need to finish it at 3 times the expected price. If the tunnel is worth 272 million, it should still be worth 272 million to finish it after the first 200 million have been spent. After all, the money is gone, but the tunnel will still be the same, and half a tunnel has very limited use cases. Lather and repeat...

Compare the F-35 development or Germany's Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

Comment Re:Alternative Facts Again? (Score 1) 319

Whenever the surface of a sphere is represented as a plane in two dimensions, there must be distortions. The school has chosen its preferred distortion, Afrocentrism (Africa is the center of the map, which is projected in such a fashion as to maximize Africa's size).

That is wrong (as stated in the article). The Gall-Peters projection is area-preserving, i.e. it shows all continents in their true (relative) area. It also preserves the relative orientation with respect to North/South/East/West. The price it pays is distortion of linear measurements East/West vs. North/South (the farther out you get from 45 degrees, the flatter and wider areas become, and the closer you get to the equator, the higher and narrower they get). The areas least distorted include Europe and the Northern US. The Wikipedia article contains a nice visualisation of the distortions.

You can whine about "Afrocentrism", but Africa just happens to straddle both the equator and the null meridian. The second is an arbitrary choice, but no other choice would change the relative size of the continents (or any defined area).

Comment Re:Morons are running the USA (Score 4, Interesting) 649

There is some moronic stuff studied with federal funds. For example: Why some people see Jesus’ face on toast ($3.5 million) Do drunk birds slur when they sing? ($5 million) Does cocaine make honey bees dance? ($243,000) What type of music do monkeys and chimpanzees prefer to listen to? ($1 million) Why is yawning contagious? ($1 million) Where does it hurt most to be stung by a bee? ($1 million) Why does walking with coffee cause it to spill? ($172,000) Are cheerleaders more attractive in a squad? ($1.1 million). Who will be America’s next top model? ($2.9 million) What makes goldfish feel sexy? ($3.9 million)


With trillions in debt, uncertain future for entitlement programs, diseases we cannot treat, and financial gridlock, this seems like low hanging fruit to cut to save money.

Just because Senator Flake thinks his constituents are stupid enough to fall for the flaky misrepresentations does not mean the research described is "moronic". Unless you think understanding the effect of a drugs on organisms is not important (numbers 2, 3), or the operation of the image processing system is all understood and/or irrelevant, of course (number 1), or how pain reception works, or how resonances affect fluids (maybe coffee in a cup, but maybe water in a reservoir during an earthquake).

Comment Re: It'll never work (Score 2) 142

It sure as hech doesn't get enough sun at _night_ so this is clearly political boondoggle... pure pork barrel.

If you carefully (or even at all) read the blurb, you will find the magic phrase "53MWh Tesla Powerpack station". This is a big big battery coupled to the solar array and buffering electrical energy. When full, it can provide abut 2MW for 24 hours - or 4MW for 12h. Given that the 13 MW of solar generation are the best case, and that part of the energy goes to recharging the battery, the system can basically provide that 4MW (or a bit more or a bit less - I don't have the actual efficieny numbers in my head) continuously.

Comment Re:Seems like using buoyancy would be more efficie (Score 5, Informative) 238

Pumps are very inefficient. I wonder why they wouldn't just use the excess energy to drive a motor/generator to pull an empty sphere towards the bottom with a cable and then generate energy in reverse as it rises up?

Conventional pumped storage systems have about 75-80% round trip efficiency, which is not that bad. One reason for the loss is evaporation from the upper reservoir, which would not be a problem for this system, so round trip efficiency in the 80+% range is realistic. That is not to bad if you have free electricity to begin with.

Comment Re:But I thought global warming wasn't happening? (Score 3, Informative) 238

I thought now the EPA and other government agencies were banned from reporting on climate change and NASA has been essentially told it isn't getting any money to research it that the problem has magically gone away?! It seems odd that Trumps alternative truth wouldn't actually be the truth...

This was research funded by the German Federal Government, not the US Federal Government. We have not, so far, elected Trump or anyone of a similar disposition to a major government position.

Comment Re:Climate change deniers (Score 2) 401

When I get time, I'd like to use satellite photos of the arctic into a time lapse video, play it, then ask "Now, what was it you were saying about climate change being a scam?"

And presumably the other side simply pulls out this 2008 Al Gore video where he predicts that the arctic would be ice-free in 5 years:


And if someone actually listens to your video of Gore, he or she will hopefully notice that Gore does not predict anything like that at all - he cites two different researchers, one who says "by 2030", and the other who says "75% chance for the next 5-7 years". The first one is still very much on track. The second one lost his bet - if via the 25% chance or because his modelling was wrong is anyones guess.

Comment Re:Sea ice vs projections (Score 1) 401

Here's a more up-to-date graphic: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/plo... Not sure why yours shows less than 4 million square km in 2012, and the up-to-date one shows over 14 million square km currently. Maybe it's multi-year ice? I know the summer extent of ice in the arctic dips down to about 4Mkm^2 during summer...

Arctic sea ice always retreats in summer and regrows in winter. The original graph showed development of the yearly minimum extend (which typically happens in September). September 2012 was the record low for arctic sea ice extend so far, going down to 3.3 million square kilometres (although all the last years have been below two standard deviations). At the moment, we are shortly before yearly arctic sea ice maximum - that's why we have 14 million square km. This is a record low for this time of the year. Indeed, day over day, sea ice extend has been at record low for the last few month, compared to the same day in other years. There is an excellent interactive map at the NSIDC.

Comment Re:It's not office. (Score 5, Interesting) 557

I am starting my phd soon and when I do will have access to a discount office. There is no way in sweet hell I would use libre to write my thesis!

Well, a cheap office is nice for writing a thesis in. But writing a thesis in any technical field with MS Office (or Libre Office, or Apple Pages) is just masochism. That's what LaTeX is is made for.

Comment Re:Paging Dr. Faustus (Score 2) 481

I don't know where you live but it's not winter in Antarctica:

Well, good that you mention that. We were, however, talking about the arctic, where it is the middle of winter right now. In the antarctic, the situation is differently - every southern summer essentially all of the sea ice melts, and the winter maximum is the important indicator to track. This is because we have the arctic ocean, mostly surrounded by land (which limits sea ice growth in winter, as the ice mostly runs out of sea to grow on), and the antarctic continent (which stops sea ice melting in summer, as the sea runs out of ice to melt).

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