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Comment Re:Ban humans (Score 4, Funny) 154

Green facism?... Surelly some wimpy Social Justice Warriors cause you worry?
In my time there were hardcore Maoistes, Trotskistes and Stalinists, those I was scared of, now these guys going on a gluten free diet, meh.
Screaming quotas, lower emmission, more recycling can be annoying, but facism?
Now if you want to breathe NOX gases, take some lead compounds into your system, drink water with benzene, please do.
But please, do it quickly. You need to increase the dosage it is clearly not working well enough.

Comment They made a bad bet (Score 1) 103

Or someone on the director's board was conned into buying a turd.
Nuclear power plant designs are a course into maximizing complexity with more active security systems.
Water cooled reactors with solid fuel bars are a bad design, even its inventor thought it was a bad idea in the long term.
The fuels rods don't burn all fissile material, they get less dense as gaz byproducts accumulate and leave out a lot "waste" materials that could be turn into energy.
The water cooling has to be kept at all times, failure in cooling generates a meltdown, exposure of the fuel rods to water will generate hidrogen.
This design is a testament to the power that certification processes have to impede new designs, of course there hasn't been serious money and political power into getting new safer designs out of paper.
There is an attempt to get fast breeders, but these have proven to be bigger disasters in the making by using reactive metals, like sodium, as coolant.
The nuclear industry has painted itself into a corner.

Comment Seriously... (Score 1) 296

When do UFO conspiracy groups becomes source material?
I have read all that crap material since the time of the usenet, using TIN to check newsgroups and buying OMNI magazine.
Jeezus!!... The material is repeated ad nauseam, at the time I was a teenager, but once one starts to see the inconsistencies that it is just a form of entertainment.
Much like the fantastic tales of the middle ages and renaissance, there is always market for grown-up faery tales.
If there is a large iron deposit in Antartica, great. But nothing like "Aliens" special.

Comment Coal is dying as a power source (Score 1) 111

But not hidrocarbons, people forget that in western europe and the us it was common to have acid rains.
Now for some time every coal fired power station has to have a scrubber for it sulfur and particulate emissions.
That is expensive to operate, specially if competing fuels have little or no sulfur content, or generate very little particulate emissions.
The problem that the coal industry has is that it is a very dirty fuel, it has a massive direct impact as we are seeing in China.
Because, most people are by nature ignorant of the historical facts this gets discounted or we get a nice green narrative.

On the other side, solar and wind are another nail in the coffin for coal. Mostly cause they mess-up with the break even points on the operation of a power plant.
A coal plant can't be put on and off all the time, it has a lead time before it starts generating power, equipments will tear up if put into too many cooling off and power on cycles.
Also, wind and solar costs are centered on the fixed cost of financing the installation and maintenance, no extra fuelled required. So they have an incentive to sell power at any price available once built.
Even if the first operator gets bankrupt, the next one buying the assets for peanuts can make a killing.
Unless it is bought by an adamant coal operator that has an ideological bent on destroying everything not emitting carbon.
That doens't mean hidrocarbons are dead, it is just shifting from fuel sources that require high priced installations and have very low flexibility, hence natural gaz.
Now, if solar and wind keep growing at the same rates, we will see more displacement of hidrocarbon fuel sources. Though we will have to deal with baseload problem on energy sources that are intermittent.

Comment Re:Political and Social Bias will kill us all (Score 1) 635

Actually overcrowding is the lesser of our problems...
The issue has been that large urban centers concentrate a lot of the good jobs that are available, so people aggregate towards them.
But that has a dinamic, of increasing the living costs in urban centers. This means people are less likely to have bigger families in big cities.
We see this in all through western europe, people are avoiding having kids and delaying parenthood because of the costs and loss of economical opportunities.
Actually in Germany one big reason to get into poverty is to have kids, cause childcare centers close early and mothers either have to rely on part time jobs or stay at home.

The issues with increasing population in big metro cities are mostly to do with jobs and opportunities being greater there than in the countryside.
If AI removes those jobs, then these cities become centers of unrest. But not because of overcrowding but because there is no hope.
Also the rats experiences where done in a way that rats would have space and plenty of food. What happened was that rats themselves turned against each other
and started denying food to those of lower status or with lower propensity for aggression.

Comment Political and Social Bias will kill us all (Score 2) 635

I think that, the new round of automation will kill a lot of jobs, that the those jobs that will disappear won't be replaced by new unexisting jobs.
Replacing jobs like taxi driver, truck drivers and related to driving transport machines is worrisome cause they represent a lot of the currently unskilled jobs available.
Also, replacing fast food restaurant workers will have a massive impact, even if these jobs are low quality jobs but they represent entry level and a way to get at least some basic income.
This will have a big impact, mostly cause what we do for a living is not only a way to provide our material needs but also our status.
Having a large percentage of the population with no possibility of getting a job, no income, and no status, it is a sure way for society to degenerate.
This will bleed into the middle classes, while the "safe" jobs get snuffed, like medical doctor, lawyer and others. Doesn't mean there won't be a need for them, it is just that will need less not more.

Now, think what a person that doesn't have any means to provide for themselves, what will they do?

- We, can expect a big increase in drugs consumption of the potent type, and alcohol.
- Sex industry would grow.
- Steady growth of petty crime, and possibility of high civil unrest.
- Systemic collapse of infrastructure.
- Breakdown in social cohesion, and morals will be either very loose or very strict.

Given the current political biases that complain against people living on welfare, at same time their solution is to time warp into the 19th century and privatize everything.
I find that libertarians, conservatives, neo-liberals and liberals are tottally out of tune with reality, there is a complacent ignorance of history, a tunnel vision that prevents any sensible action outside of a narrow field of interests.
Keynes was right when he said: "The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones." and "Ideas shape the course of history."

Comment Re:Do the Energy Math and Space is a Distraction (Score 1) 254

Unless there is infrastructure to mine the elements for fuel and materials outside Earth, then there is less need to bring out bulk supplies from Earth.
The Moon and Ceres might be obvious sources for volatile elements, there are a lot of challenges in doing this.
The first one is, that we have 0 experience in mining in low gravity environments.
The second and very important we need lots of energy to do mining, even if we accept processes that have very low yields or handle very low mass batches.
Also, mining an asteroid for volatile elements requires ways to extract and capture mass. Store the output and refine it, to get a suitable raw material that isn't too full of contaminants

The question that is more important is, how long someone is willing to foot the bill till all this supply chain starts scaling into a reasonable size. Where we are talking on the order of hundreds of metric tonnes instead of a measly kilos being transported.

Comment Most rich people's houses aren't in very... (Score 1) 332

Most rich people's houses aren't in very defensible positions to start with, even if they have tall fences or walls.
Ok, so they get into the bunker while someone is checking where the bunker door is... This is, in case all society goes to hell.
What are the odds of someone finding a way in, if it has enough determination and demolition experience.

I guess if it is a temporary situation, like a riot or terror attack then it does the trick. But a large event which causes societal breakdown??
The rich depend on scores of people that provide for them services and essentials. Some of these are necessary for what they need to project power.
Without institutions, without supply chains that support global economy, being rich after a collapse of society is not exactly a better position.

If people knew more about history, they would knew that in the American continent civilizational collapse was quite common.
In part due to geographic limitations, and not having cattle and horses, civilizations would disappear quite frequently.
This came with the usual abandoning of urban settlements, cannibalism, and loss of knowledge either technical, scientific or historical.
We might know more about the Mayas, but there were others in North America that built large mounds and cities and could work metals that disappeared without leaving a record.

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