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Comment Re:Can't wait for the same on supercaps (Score 1) 111

Carrying around compact energy devices instead of cash. What an idea! Think how dangerous Bill Gates's wallet might be (I was going to write 'Warren Buffett' and then thought he doesn't seem to spend much money.) You wouldn't want to be in the vicinity of an uncontained wallet failure. Bang! It's raining pennies from Heaven...

Websites That Don't Need to Be Made Anymore 161

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there is a finite number of social networking or selling websites that the world needs. Here is a collection of the eight kinds of websites that absolutely don't need to be made anymore. I'd add dating sites and anybody who uses pop-up ads myself, but I think that would eliminate half the Web.

Comment Convergent device (Score 1) 139

I've a couple of DAB+ digital radios that also have WiFi/LAN connection options so I can tune in or play music from UPNP shares on my home network and network radio (and FM broadcast too but I've no need for that as the broadcast stations of interest to my ears all broadcast digitally now). I quite like these Linux-driven devices and think the convergence quite handy - clock radios that can play practically any audio content I'm interested in. I hardly ever use them as network radios but, should I have a sudden desire for some Romanian Gypsy Pop Fusion, I'll know where to turn ;-)

Comment Value the classics (Score 1) 537

I once heard a teacher answer that question, 'Greek or Latin' - a somewhat elliptical response but he went on to explain the way he valued multi-lingualism over mono-lingualism and education over training. I saw his point. More recently, I've had the opportunity (privilege) to employ student cadets and early career CS graduates. I found that it didn't matter what languages they had experience with but, if they were smart, well-educated and well-motivated, the time it took to become productive in the required language was insignificant.

Comment Clean Coal is rubbish (Score 3, Informative) 883

Scrubbing a few percent of sulfur or nitrogen oxides from flue gas is one thing but let's suppose they develop technology to scrub all the carbon dioxide -that is, the vast bulk of waste gas from combustion -aside from the (presumably) environmentally benign water. Just how much of the stuff are they going to have to deal with? Stoichiometry and Periodic Table data help here. Ideally, one tonne of carbon (Atomic Weight 12) will generate 3.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide (Molecular Weight 44). So, roughly speaking, every semi-trailer (or train) full of the back dirty stuff brought into the power plant will require four trucks or trains to carry the waste away! Probably more due to the difficulties of bulk-handling compressed gases. Since we need to store the stuff safely for geological time-spans we also need to consider the volume of the waste collected. One cubic metre of coal will generate perhaps 5000 cubic metres of carbon dioxide at room temperature and pressure. (There's some uncertainty about just how much coal is in a cubic metre. It's not likely to be a solid lump but if it was, there would be 3.6 tonnes. Powdered coal would be somewhat less dense but you get the idea.) That's a lot of champagne bubbles! Obviously the waste gas, once collected, is going to need to be compressed and refrigerated to make the handling challenge more manageable but more energy will be needed for that. The Lake Nyos burp disaster killed 1700 Cameroonians in 1986, so large depositories of carbon dioxide are not to be trifled with. Carbon sequestration is just camouflage for corporate dinosaurs.

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In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.