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Comment It's NASA (Score 1) 342

Can't they repurpose the tower? They are still developing new rockets, even if it's not the same one when the tower was designed. What makes it so this tower can only be used for a particular project that happens to have been scrubbed? This is NASA we're talking about; they can find a way to work with it.

Comment Re:Fixing the problem (Score 1) 177

I have to wonder, though.. what would happen if a substantial portion of voters left the ballot blank when there are only R and D options? Wouldn't an election where a large chunk of the populace pointedly abstained (as opposed to just not voting, which can be mistaken for apathy) make a point? What would it take to get a "None of the Above" option on our ballots?

Comment Re:Far hotter? (Score 3, Insightful) 189

Semantics, yes, but you can't grade "hotness" on either the Fahrenheit or Celsius scales by a percentage; otherwise 1 degree is infinitely "hotter" than 0 degrees!

To be fair, in Kelvin this is a 19% increase, so the semantic difference seems irrelevant. To put it in perspective, though, a 20% increase from room temperature (25 C or 298 K) would be 85 C (358 K); I'm pretty sure you'd agree that's "far" hotter!

Comment Re:So? (Score 1) 599

That's a fair question; though in the published article, they actually address gas as well too. And they come to the conclusion that, yes, nuclear is better than natural gas in both greenhouse emissions and pollution related deaths.

The problem with the other "clean energy" mechanisms is that none of them are very good for base-line power generation yet, except perhaps hydro. Not every location is situated in a spot where they can make use of hydroelectric power, though, so likely the best solution for the time being is nuclear supplemented with other clean energy production. I think that's essentially what these scientists are arguing for, but I retain the right to be completely off my rocker.

Comment Re:Kid's artwork? (Score 0) 351

You assume I didn't recognize the humor.

Actually, whether the OP intended the error or not, this is a good example of irony. If intended, OP is using verbal irony, saying one thing while intending or implying another: says that spell checkers prevent spelling errors while using a perfect example of a spelling error and checker can't find. If unintended, it's great example of dramatic irony: making an erroneous statement in a situation where readers are aware of the error.

Either way, I do recognize irony. Irony would never punch someone in the face; that wouldn't be subtle enough. I didn't expect the down-mod. Oh well, life goes on!

Comment Re:And thus... (Score 5, Informative) 141

Methinks there's far more to it than you imply... Reaching the tech to do what you're describing here takes more than just resources; it takes some significant changes in our understanding of Physics.

Let's look at your idea: you want something that can charge an electric car's battery in 10 seconds. Ok; a typical Prius battery is rated at about 4 kWh. That's roughly 15 million Joules of energy. To deliver that much energy in 10 s, you need a power supply that provides 1.5 million watts of power. At the battery voltage (~275 V), that's a current of over 5000 A, or only an order of magnitude less than a typical lightning strike.

Even assuming it's technically feasible to have a superconducting grid (unlikely without high, as in ambient, temperature superconductors), the cable from your power supply to the car battery probably won't be made of the same stuff if it's necessary for a person to manipulate it (eg. connect it to the car that is parked anywhere within a few 10s of centimeters from the supply). If copper wire is used, there is no standard size of wire made that can handle 5 kA for a period of 10 s, and even if you made one it would no longer qualify as "possible for a person to manipulate it".

So: building your superconducting grid itself requires new physics that we don't have yet, not just adequate resources. Even with said grid, charging a battery in the amount of time you suggest deals with extremely high currents that are likely unsafe to use.

I'm not saying your idea is impossible, just pointing out that there is much more to this problem than just a lack of resources.

Comment Re:Arduino, AVR, RPi, Beaglebone (Score 1) 228

Perhaps not, but the community is growing. Besides, how can the community ever develop if everyone says "don't bother, there's no community yet"? Communities can't grow if nobody moves in.

My opinion, between the two: if you just want to put things together, go with an Arduino. If you really want to understand how it all works and don't mind putting in the time, go with the MSP430. Then start contributing to the community (in either case).

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