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Comment Re:This is what happens... (Score 1) 166

Uh, no, the pools are not necessarily below ground level. In fact, that is what got the Fukushima folks. Their pools were nearly at the highest elevation in the plants.

Two of the spent fuel pools I've been to were about five stories UP from ground level. One was below ground level.

Not sure where the majority of them are.

Comment Re:And more facts. (Score 5, Insightful) 135

"But the inner tank was not designed to leak."

Of course it was, in a sense. All engineered systems have design lifetimes. The tank farms double-shells average around 30 years old. These tanks were not made to last "forever", unlike what the King-5 broadcast said.

It is a political failure, not a design failure. They were supposed to have been pumped dry many years ago. The permanent solution keeps getting postponed so we are stuck with various "temporary" solutions. This has been going on since before I came here after college (in 1979). We are making progress in cleaning things up, but it is very slow.

Yes I am an engineer. No I do not work at Hanford, but my friends and neighbors do.

Comment Re:Is Venmo international? (Score 1) 321

All financial institutions (FI) in the US are subject to OFAC regs.

Venmo's canned response is incorrect or at least incomplete.

Lots of ordinary words and names get flagged by OFAC. The FI is responsible for checking and then they can either: approve the transfer or forward the problem to the government to handle.

The money is required to be "held" subject to the review. If everything is innocent, the owner should eventually get his money back.

Comment Still use mine to teach kids about logarithms (Score 1) 220

I learned to use one in high school and bought my own as a freshman in engineering. Used it full time till I bought my first calculator in 1975 (HP RPN-style, of course).

I still pull it out to show students when they are learning about logarithms in school. I was doing just that earlier this week in fact. And my younger colleagues at work are always interested.

Comment Programming 43 years, admin about 30 of those (Score 1) 162

I started on punch cards in 1972. Worked mostly with punch cards on a CDC 3400, 6600 and 7600, and with punched paper tapes on a 12-bit PDP-8 minicomputer in the 70s, and it seems like I've touched everything under the sun since then: Wang, CDC, Cray, DEC PDP-11 and VAX minicomputers, Data General 16 and 32-bit minicomputers, Tektronix (4054?), Prime minis, HP minis and workstations, Silicon Graphics, IBM, Sun, UNIX from AT&T, UNIX from many others, UNIX-clones before Linux, Linux, old Mac OS, new Mac OS, NeXT, Symbolics, and various DOS, CP/M, and Windows of course.

And, of course, whenever possible, a command line to rule them all. Even the old Mac OS had command line tools for sale from Apple and other vendors, primarily aimed at developers.

Comment MUMPS is ok (Score 1) 166

I came to MUMPS late in life (programming for 30 years in a dozen other languages before ever encountering it), but I like it just fine. The hierarchical database is very flexible to use and very disk space efficient compared to the standard relational model. Keep in mind that most relational databases get their "efficiency" by creating indexes, which are basically invisible extra tables containing cross-references into the visible tables. You can explicitly do that in MUMPS if you want to; it just doesn't happen "automatically".

Some problem domains just beg for a relational solution and some work well with a hierarchical solution. A good programmer's toolbox contains many tools.

The language is pretty cryptic, but no worse than several others from that era. You can write "good" programs in any language and you can write "bad" programs in any language. You learn the syntax and learn the semantics and then practice for a while. The language itself has some very powerful constructs that can make a programmer's life easier or harder. Likewise with the database that backs it up.

MUMPS today is primarily used in the medical world, but the European Space Agency also uses it extensively as do Credit Suisse and others in the financial world.

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