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Comment A Julian who didn't live in the basement (Score 2) 191

Julian Bethwaite. Aussie 18 foot skiff sailor and boat builder. His dad published a few books pushing the limits of hull design, drag calculations, and the theory and practice of high speed sailing. Julian did lots of the assist work and test drove many of the new designs - and is still willing to answer random questions from random people today. Pops up in various web fora to offer expertise.

Submission + - The internet-of-everything (

quiet_guy writes: Russian TV reporting that rogue wi-fi components have been found in everyday objects...irons, kettles, dashboard cameras... that actively look for unprotected wifi networks, connect to them and infiltrate the network.

Do you know what your iron really does?

Comment Missing the point (Score 1) 331

The US military stance is that the documents are _still_ classified. Yes, they've been leaked - but were never actually declassified.
So if you hit a website that posts photos/scans/whatever of any of the leaked stuff (complete with classification markings), you are viewing classified material on an unclassified computer.
Which by definition, is "spillage." Unnatural acts are then required to sanitize your machine.

Comment Re:So what (Score 1) 340

The problem is Congressional mandate: Any storage cask must survive 10,000 years without leakage (yeah, citation needed, looking for it). Staying intact through train wrecks and 30 foot drops is trivial - can you build a device that will withstand 10,000 years of erosion/corrosion/whatever? And be recoverable/countable for the duration... There are lots of technically possible disposal methods - I personally like the "drop it into the deep ocean trench off SoCal." As the plates move (Farallon plate going into subduction), the waste just goes down into the bowels of the earth where it came from. Problem? Congress wants it countable - and once it goes down, you can't get it back.

Comment Re:GPS transmitters can be faked/set up (Score 1) 279

Ah, not quite. You are describing Differential GPS, or DGPS. Your center-of-the-track receiver sits at a known location. It calculates a GPS posit based on satellite inputs, and figures out the error because it knows where it is. You then broadcast that error signal to any DGPS receiver within reach. The other receivers use their own calculated GPS posit + broadcast error signal to give greater precision. Just about every major port or waterway in the US does this.
Could you set up a fake posit? Maybe - if you can broadcast enough satellite-sounding signals to convince a reciever that it has a good lock. Most of them want at least 4+ to produce a position.

Comment Re:No redundancy (Score 1) 247

Yes, normal = all four pumps running. In a PWR, your analyzed safety margins generally say "percent total flow through the core must be equal to or greater than total percent power."

So to get full output from the plant (100% power) you need 100% flow - all four running. One pump trips, and total flow goes to ~82% (hydraulics, pump heads, etc. Not a simple 75%.)

But power hasn't changed yet. 100% > 82%, automatic trips kick in and shut the plant down. You haven't damaged anything because the designed safety margins and trip responses take the transient into effect.

Can you run on three pumps? Sure, just not at full rated output. And since your job is to produce as much electricity as you can, the typical civilian plant is binary - either shut down or 100%.

Comment Re:What does the US Navy use . . . ? (Score 1) 308

USN is quickly moving away from INMARSAT. Too slow for our needs today - at this point, only a few ship classes still use it (FFG, some amphibs). Everyone else is using an EHF/SHF link to the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) - several geostationary birds parked over the equator that allow T-1+ access. We share that out based on who is in the area - the big guys (carriers, etc) stay close to T-1 bandwidth, fairly typical for a destroyer-size ship to have something like 512 or less. We have several networks that ride over that data path. But that does need a pair of big antennas under gyro stabilization....since the best setup is a pair of primary SHF with automatic failover to the EHF pair (aimed at a different bird).

Comment Missing the point (Score 4, Interesting) 312

Their real point is successful intercept of the entire missile body != intercept of the warhead, not that the intercept missed entirely. Of course, the SM-3 system has actually done an exo-atmospheric intercept (failing satellite over the Pacific).... (speaking as someone who actually used to run a ship capable of doing this.)

Comment Not quite..... (Score 1) 196

Great quote from the UK article: "Since buyers are likely to have a lot of disposable income and not much sense...." TFA is wrong - malware is aimed at the Winbloz boxen, by offering a download of a "new iTunes" program. Macs and iPads are not impacted.

Comment Re:If you have physical access to a machine... (Score 1) 233

At the moment, this is being used as a defense-against-the-user, not against intruders. Problem came up when malware got loaded onto a clean network via a USB drive, unknown to the user. Many of the military networks are set up to protect against intrusion from the outside, with decent firewalls/etc between the internet and the 'inside' network. The USB used by a stupid user obviously jumps the the worm/trojan/whatever is loose on the inside. Network policies already say "don't use the same drive at home and at work"...but if everyone followed the rules, we wouldn't have malware....can't easily kill the USB ports since most of the keyboards/mice/etc are USB-only. Essentially, all this thing does is provide a way to sweep the networks and check for compliance. File transfers between classified and unclassified systems are a completely different problem.

Comment Waste disposal and storage (Score 1) 437

When you get right down to it, rad waste disposal is not technically hard - we've known how for a bunch of years. It is, however, _politically_ hard.

First: the 10,000 year mandatory storage requirement: not driven by science, fact, etc; driven by law. As I recall, there is nothing man-made (not piles of rocks) on Earth that old, but we wrote law to say we had to build something that would last that long. And prove that it would.

Second: If we really wanted to get rid of waste, we could - the oceanic subduction zones are perfect.
1. Shape all your high-level waste into chunks
2. drop it into a subduction zone
4. in a few years (profit!!) it goes deep into the Earth where it came from.
But, we (the US) have mandated that you must be able to check on your waste storage, ensure it is still there, happy, and no one else took it. So, lots of the good permanent solutions are out-of-bounds.

C. Yucca Mountain: the site was chosen by Congress, without actually completing a 'competitive' review. There were several sites under consideration; Congress picked Yucca, then told the DOE to perform sufficient studies to deem it safe. There actually is some evidence that surface water penetrates to the storage tunnel levels quickly (100s of years). (No, I don't have the link anymore; is from DOE site reports in the mid-90s.)

D. On-site storage: All the powerplants are currently storing high-level waste on-site; not in any 'secure' location. Why? Because the government declared that a high-level waste storage facility would be available in 1996....and yet we wait.

Lastly, somewhat off-my-own-topic: you can't usefully use a nuclear powered ship for electric power generation - a very small percentage of total power generated goes for electricity. It takes far more energy (in the form of steam, to turbines) to drive a hull through the water. Thus, if a hypothetical shipboard power plant was rated at 50MW thermal, it probably only produces 5MW in electrical power. You'd have to completely re-vamp the steam plant to dedicate the entire thermal output to electrical generation.

Disclaimer: Yes, I actually am a nuclear engineer. I've been running Naval power plants for 15 years, and spent a few years doing research on rad waste disposal. Just don't have any of my references handy (something about being at sea.)

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