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Comment Re: Black Mirror (Score 2) 204

It is worth pointing out that senator Ted Kennedy was on the No Fly List. There is currently no reliable way to find out what you did to get on the list or get your name off the list. So while it makes total sense on an emotional level to use the No Fly List to screen people for all sorts of things, the fact of the matter is that it is inaccurate and there is no way to fix problems without spending a lot of money on attorneys. Also, even if there were an appeals process how long would that take? Do you think a public service employee getting minimal pay will review your case and get you off the list when their fear is that if they let someone off the list and then they commit a crime and make their judgement look bad.

As to Ted Kennedy, he should have been on the Do Not Drive list for a host of reasons.

Comment Re:Time to take nuclear seriously.... (Score 5, Interesting) 234

The problem with the Titanic is that it failed because of an engineering failure. Something didn't work as planned. Reactors such as pebble bed reactors and molten salt reactors do what they do because of the laws of physics (vs the laws of engineering where everything gets screwed up if a valve breaks.). For example, with both pebble bed and molten salt reactors, they have run tests where they have turned off all coolant. Yea, they get hot but they self modulate because of how they are designed. For them to not work would require the laws of physics to stop working as well. To dive further into the example, pebble bed reactors are basically a giant tub of balls. Each ball has a specific amount of nuclear material in the center and are surrounded by an outside shell. As the reactor runs, they get hot as you'd expect. However, as the balls heat up, they also expand and when they expand, they push the neighboring balls away which slows the reaction. For pebble bed reactors to overheat, the laws of physics that cause hot items to expand would have to cease working. Molten salt reactors work a bit differently though not that much differently.

I like solar. It is great. I'm considering installing it on my house. It just doesn't have the energy density needed to drive modern societies. How many solar panels will it take to power a steel mill? The solar projects in the Nevada desert have been a failure by and large and are more a kickback for Harry Reid than anything else. Wind it cool too. Not many places where you can install it. My brother works for the company that fixes windmills. He says they are far from environmental and are frequently abandoned as soon as the federal funding runs out. The fiberglass blades need to be constantly repaired and then replaced while the old ones go to the landfill as there isn't any way to recycle fiberglass. They leak oil like a sieve and the gearing breaks down due to the immense torque needed to ramp up the RPMs. (They gear up the RPMs from approximately 6 RPM to 1,000 RPM to get the generators to work.) I'm all for alternative sources of power. In fact, I think that most new houses should have passive solar as a matter of course. I've always been puzzled why people don't do this as it is basically free power / lower energy bills. Even so, nuclear is the only power source that can power a modern society.

Comment Time to take nuclear seriously.... (Score 4, Insightful) 234

If greenhouse gases are truly a concern it is time to take nuclear seriously. As plenty of people on /. already know, our current reactors are based on nuclear submarine technology so there is cross pollination of ideas and techniques. However, there are plenty of alternative reactor designs such as pebble bed and molten salt reactors which are self modulating and are physically impossible to have a "melt down" or get into runaway situation. Similarly, there are plenty of ways to deal with waste that are safe and won't be disturbed for 100,000 years if we are willing to actually move forward and not get stuck in the same ruts we've been running in for the last 50 years. Nuclear is one of the few (if only) alternatives to oil that has the energy density to power a modern civilization like it or not. It's that or we continue to spew greenhouse gasses and in that case we should stop whining about it as we made our choice.

Comment Still Confused .... (Score 5, Insightful) 435

I'm still not sure how this points to the Russians... How do we not know that it isn't some dude sitting on the beach in Tahiti and bouncing it off a server or VPN in Russia? How do we know it isn't the Chinese doing the same thing? How about a disgruntled Lithuanian? Most anybody can look like they are from anywhere. In fact, on virtually any TV show where hacking is involved, they always talk about it not being tranceable because it is "bouncing all over the world" so it isn't like the Evil Lithuanians / Chinese / Icelanders / Argentinians / etc. hackers can't figure out how to use a few VPNs or hacked machines to do their job.

Comment Re: Might want to think about that... (Score 3, Insightful) 470

There was a recent study that found that mosquitos didn't serve as an important food source for other species as expected. I don't remember if it was one species of mosquito or all. (Though I have a hard time thinking how various critters could tell the difference while eating them.)

In many parts of the country or world spraying is used to control mosquitos. Spraying not only kills the fast majority of mosquitos in an area but likely kills other bugs in the area as well. If wiping out the mosquitos eliminated an important food source for other species, we would be seeing a significant decline of other species in areas of heavy spraying. While I'm not arguing for eliminating mosquitos without seriously looking at it, spraying will continue as will the environmental consequences of spraying until it happens.

Additionally, our politicians always are saying "if the life of one child can be saved...." give up your freedoms. People seem to be pretty ready to live under onerous government rule to save that one (or twelve) lives per year saved. Well, here we have a situation where we can measure what the worth of a human life truly is worth.

Comment Re: But of course (Score 2) 448

I agree that it isn't the governments job but, in many ways they have made it so. Since they have made it so, they have done it incompetently. You still have zoning and the areas near the river can simply be zoned for farmland. Yes, there is personal responsibility and while I feel bad when people lose their stuff due to a flood, I can only think that if I were moving into a flood zone I'd check to see how high the water has gotten in the past. Then I'd make sure I had a two level house and kept my valuables upstairs or built my house on a dirt hill that I constructed. Of course in Hawaii where I used to live, one house I lived in was up on stilts with the carport underneath. Smart. Even so, it still isn't smart for the Army Corps of Engineers to wall the Mississippi in so it has nowhere to expand to when the rains come. Btw: The Mississippi Delta is losing (as I recall) one football field worth of land daily due to erosion and settling caused by the mismanagement of the Mississippi.

Comment Re:But of course (Score 5, Insightful) 448

Absolutely correct. What people forget is that the Mississippi used to have flood plains all along its path. When there was heavy rain anywhere along its course, the waters would raise and it would overflow its banks depositing rich soil and silt all along the way. Now, we've replaced the flood plains with housing developments and mini-malls. The rich soil deposited by the Mississippi is under asphalt. (Well, not all of it.) Additionally walls, dams, and other barriers have been constructed by various municipalities and the US Army Corps of Engineers to keep the Mississippi from overflowing its banks. This creates a situation where additional water has no where to go other than to cause the water level to raise and for the river to run faster (such as water flowing through a pipe.) When it gets down to coastal LA, it is traveling much faster than it would naturally and is causing massive erosion. Additionally, it causes major floods as the pent up water finally has a place to go. Government planning at it's best. (Thanks US Army Corps of Engineers!)

Comment Re:But What About the Other 10% ???? (Score 1) 990

I have a sneaking suspicion that the "freemarket" already has a solution. People want the freedom to do what they want, when they want, and how they want. People own the cars they want now.

Uber isn't going to have Uber Trucks in small rural towns. They especially aren't going to have it if you live on a ranch far from a small rural town. Uber Trucks won't be happy if you dump a bunch of bricks in the back. I for one am not entirely excited about the idea of having to find a special vehicle every time my driving needs fit outside the norm or having to have accounts with 15 different companies to handle each situation.

Uber drivers and electric cars aren't going to take me on that dirt road for 60 miles at 4:00am so that I can capture that moment on (digital) film when the sun first pokes its head over the mountains at the far end of the canyons.

I'm not particularly excited about the self driving van hauling my kids. If I crash with my kids in the car, it is possible that it is entirely my fault. If it is a self driving vehicle and it gets into an accident because it slammed on the brakes because some sage brush blows across the road and it can't tell the difference between that and a feral hog, that is an entirely different deal. I'm not going to put my kid's lives at the hands of a programmer (speaking as one).

That's the problem with quite of few people in this world. Their solutions only work if you are exactly like them.

Comment But What About the Other 10% ???? (Score 1) 990

I'm not interested in a car that gets me to 90% of the destinations I need to go to. Odds are those 90% are able to be handled in lots of ways (including borrowing the neighbors car). I'm interested in the other 10%. Do they have an electric vehicle that can carry lumber and sheets of plywood from the hardware store? Do they have electric vehicles that I can take on a remote and rough dirt road so I can watch the sunrise from a vista? Do they have an electric vehicle that I can put the kids in along with all their friends? The answer is NO. The solution is simply to not replace the standard vehicle but to add an inexpensive and highly efficient vehicle such as the Elio that can be used for 90% of the tasks. Then I can use the truck / off road vehicle / minivan for the other 10%.

Comment Re: Umm, Curry (Score 1) 72

This brings up all sorts of questions... Indian or Thai curry? Massaman or Masala? Chicken or Beef? How spicy? Does coconut kurma count as a curry? Does this show a bias towards the Brits who will only be part of the EU for a short time? What about Chinese Or Japanese curry? Will they be fairly represented? Inquiring minds want to know....

Comment Re:Seems reasonable. Coming soon to USPS I hope? (Score 1) 183

Personally, I would be quite happy with Snail Mail delivery every other day. The US Population could be devided up into two groups. One gets their mail every M, W, F and the other would get their mail T, Th, Sat. Given that, you only need 1/2 the mail carriers. Priority mail would still get delivered as normal. Thus if it has to be there on a certain day then it will be if it was sent via Priority Mail. However, for bills, coupons, promotional offers and the occasional birthday/Christmas/Easter card, an extra days wait is no big deal.

Comment Re: The new McCarthyism (Score 1) 114

It isn't anything like the Iranian system. Virtually anybody can run for President with only a few restrictions. The parties can nominate who they want and the parties can fund who they want. Third party candidates do pop up Ross Perot being a good example and even potentially Trump if he gets all pissy if he doesn't get the nomination. (Better for him to go lick his wounds and play the martyr however.).

Comment Re:we're all scientists (Score 5, Insightful) 634

A scientist is someone who seeks to find the truth via the scientific process. Bill Nye is not this. He is an actor. He has the potential to be a scientist as we all do and he has some degrees that could allow him to have a leg up in being a scientist compared to some others. Even so, he has chosen to be an actor and an activist. At this stage, he is at most a science enthusiast. Once he starts a serious research project about something we don't already know the answer to and develops his various hypotheses and then proceeds to develop and run a methodology to test them, then I'll call him a scientist.

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