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Comment Most power plants run on supercritical steam (Score 4, Informative) 160

Most power plants (natural gas, oil or coal) run on supercritical steam anyways, at least in their designed power level. The technology is neither new nor rare. The need to run on "dry" steam for efficiency is known at least from steam locomotives. The only modern power-generating subcritical steam systems I know of are some nuclear power plants where the reactor expects some of the cooling water in it to stay liquid (read: dense) because it serves as neutron moderator as well.

Comment Re:Still a good deal (Score 1) 239

You can never be sure with Russian accounting. There is a lot of invisible (to the western mind) and implicit streams of goods and services from everything in Russia to military structures and then (besides everywhere else) to military technology companies. Those companies (including space-related) are then almost free (or meant to, in some cases) to cross-subsidy other products.

So in Soviet (and post-Soviet) Russia no one can really estimate the real cost of something even remotely related to military. So they never try. The space launches are outright politically priced.

Comment The same wrong idea over and over... (Score 4, Informative) 298

Every 1-2 years (or after a major air crash) someone, somewhere suggests this idea. Which amounts to:
1. Aircraft to become more complex (e.g. heavy, expensive, failure-prone, carrying less passengers per unit of fuel)
2. The idea works only when aircraft is at high enough altitude for the 'chutes to work reasonably. So no profit in takeoff and landing (when most of crashes happen)
3. The idea works only when aircraft is slow enough for the "bus" and it's precious contents to survive aerodynamic hit and turbulence without having shape and controls of an airplane, rocket or something similar. So no profit at marching speed, either.
And yes, 2 and 3 pretty much cover the whole flight.
4. Bombs inside and missiles outside still invariably fatal.

Sorry. Back to fighting terrorism, training pilots and engineering better avionics.

Comment Traditional smokers still cause more fires... (Score 1) 361

As a non-smoker, I really prefer occasional battery incident now and then if this reduces the ordinary fires caused by ordinary burning tobacco products. From the smokers view, it could be different. Smoker usually dies in the fire and that's all, vaper survives and complains. If you are concerned, QUIT SMOKING, after all...

Comment Re:Chernobyl is not in Russia (Score 1) 144

US are not in a position to invade Canada. The cost will pretty much outweigh the benefit, all other collateral costs put aside (electoral, diplomatic and/or others helping Canada, fearing the same fate). Then again, some crazy US ruler can try and even succeed. Ukraine is different. USSR (extended Russia) _failed to keep_ Ukraine in 1990s. Their populations of Ukraine and Russia are something like 1:2, their economies (sans oil pumping) are pretty much near that. Most sympathies (and help) are to Ukraine, Russia has more weapons. The result is unclear (except Putin keeping the office). Pretty unlike Russia vs Georgia (Russia clearly succeeded in 2008).

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