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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Maury Markowitz Re:Send in the drones! (771 comments)

> full imperialism mode is good for noone but Russia

Given the full history of such, it's almost certainly not good for Russia either.

Learning how to be friends and trade successfully with your neighbours is the hallmark of successful long-lived anything. Not a lot of wars between Canada and the US, for instance, to the benefit of everyone, notably the bottom line.

yesterday
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New NRC Rule Supports Indefinite Storage of Nuclear Waste

Maury Markowitz Re:Spent fuel containment is required infrastructu (168 comments)

> Not that it matters. Only oil and coal companies have the financial clout to pay for reactors

If an oil and gas company could do it, so could Apple or Google. But they're installing solar.

Why? PV is $1.79/W in 2013, and nukes were around $8 to $10 depending on pre- or post-price-rise numbers (ie, Flamanville).

There is exactly one reason nukes are in the dumps now: CAPEX. When someone figures out how to get that back down to the $4 range, they'll start building them again. As long as it remains north of $6/W, its dead. That simple.

yesterday
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New NRC Rule Supports Indefinite Storage of Nuclear Waste

Maury Markowitz Re:What else can they do? (168 comments)

> Environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club [time.com] and campaigns like Solar not
> nuclear [atomicinsights.com] have often been financed by fossil fuel industries

And was the financing of attacks greater or less than the amount the same fossil fuel industries spent denigrating these same people that you say are the problem? I'd like to see the numbers, because it's relatively easy to find that millions of dollars have been spent on the anti-solar campaign:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/opinion/sunday/the-koch-attack-on-solar-energy.html?_r=0
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-solar-kochs-20140420-story.html#page=1
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/04/23/the-koch-brothers-extra-baggage/

yesterday
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New NRC Rule Supports Indefinite Storage of Nuclear Waste

Maury Markowitz Re:central storage or n^x security guard costs / s (168 comments)

> And now we heard from the High Schoolers who never heard of Breeder Reactors except
> in the context of Carter banning then because of proliferation risks.

And now we hear from the deliberate forgetfuls who fail to recall Superphénix or the fact that the economics of such systems are so marginal that every one of them has been a failure on those grounds.

Conventional plants are going in around $7.50/We on paper, but if you include the constant price overruns, it's closer to $9 to $10. No one can afford that, which is why everyone is giving up on it. Plans are being abandoned much more rapidly that they are going forward, and that is a simple statement of fac.

But let's not put the blame where it actually is, because that would require self-reflection. No no, let's blame someone else, it's the American Way! So who should we blame... hmmm, how about those patchouli-scented kids we all get our hater-aid out for. Yeah, that's the ticket.

It's a sad comment on any industry if you think a group of people who can't hold down a job at Starbucks have managed to bring down an empire consisting of the largest and most powerful companies in the world, like GE and Westinghouse.

yesterday
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New NRC Rule Supports Indefinite Storage of Nuclear Waste

Maury Markowitz Re:central storage or n^x security guard costs / s (168 comments)

> Even with cheap solar and wind we will still need nuclear, at least until somebody perfects a cheap,
> reliable and long-lived utility scale battery.

Or you do what everyone is actually doing, and using gas peakers in those periods.

And we already have most of what we need in that department for the "opposite reason", that most nukes don't power cycle for peak following.

It makes no difference to me if you have 50% of your load coming from NG turbines to make up for daytime peak that the nukes can't supply, or nighttime baseload that the PV can't supply.

It does make a difference to people who oppose renewables though. They say that building out renewables requires backup, and that you need to factor the price of the backup into the renewable. However, they fail to note that the exact same argument is true for nukes, or even coal plants for that matter, yet they never mention that fact. Imagine that.

yesterday
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NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

Maury Markowitz Re:In other news... (216 comments)

> And that is the answer. Too bad it eludes so many in search of their own vision of the holy grail of green

Oh don't go blame this on the "greens". The only green involved is money. *Everyone* selling a particular solution claims it is the only solution needed for everything. You hear this *far more often* from nuclear supporters than PV people.

Example. In this article, the engineer proposes that we should supply most of Ontario's power from a fleet of refit CANDU reactors. CANDUs don't throttle, so what does he propose? Spending billions on adding steam bypass, and then dumping the excess power at night into the St. Lawrence Seaway. So basically reducing the CF from around 90 to maybe 60 to 65%, and thereby increasing the price up into the 10 cent/kWh range FOR BASELOAD (which is currently selling for about 2 cents in Ontario).

http://canadianenergyissues.com/2011/11/09/ontarios-nuclear-electric-generation-can-be-more-flexible-than-natural-gas-fired-generation/

3 days ago
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NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

Maury Markowitz Re:In other news... (216 comments)

> Solar doesn't provide energy in the evening or nighttime

And nuclear doesn't (generally) peak. Either way you need some other generation capacity to make up for the peaks and valleys. Which is precisely why Ontario had the west's largest coal plant, and now has significant gas peakers, in spite of getting half our power from nukes.

In fact we now have so much load following capability that we can deploy a WHOLE LOT of renewables, essentially for zero upstream cost. Which is precisely what we're doing.

3 days ago
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NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

Maury Markowitz Re:In other news... (216 comments)

> US starts buying more nuclear power from Canada

Ummm, only one province in Canada really has any nuclear capacity, and we're shutting it down, slowly but surely.

A bunch of the reactors are already permanently offline. Another group at Pickering is slated to go in 2017. Darlington is slated for a rebuild starting shortly (but already 300 million over budget).

The last build was in the 1980s, and the last effort to build a new reactor set at Darlington B was cancelled last year.

Canada tried nuclear. We're done.

3 days ago
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The Evolution of Diet

Maury Markowitz Re:neo diet (281 comments)

> the bad health conditions of the modern diet probably won't kill you until you are least 40

Presupposes the conclusion. Perhaps you might want to look up the term "science"?

3 days ago
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The Evolution of Diet

Maury Markowitz Another just-so diet (281 comments)

"The popularity of these so-called caveman or Stone Age diets is based on the idea that modern humans evolved to eat the way hunter-gatherers did during the Paleolithic—the period from about 2.6 million years ago to the start of the agricultural revolution—and that our genes haven't had enough time to adapt to farmed foods."

We've evolved widespread lactose tolerance in a couple of thousand years and I'm supposed to believe that we haven't figured out wheat in 7000? We're apparently evolving so women can successfully have children later in life, and that's been going on for maybe two generations.

So I call BS.

BS like every other fad diet. I'm not *that* old, and have no interest in diets, and I've already seen the bread diet craze, the water diet, pineapple diet, low-fat diet, no-carb diet and now caveman diets. Every single one of these had plausible sounding excuses for why they would work that went something along the lines of "well your body [insert technobabble] so if you eat [insert types of food] you'll feel full while losing weight!"

And that's in my lifetime. If one looks even a *little* harder (which is all I've done, read one article on it years ago), you'll see this has been going on since people weren't continually starving to death, so basically the last couple of hundred years. For instance, about 400 (300?) years ago everything was mushy gains and/or covered in gravy. That's because "well, your stomach is a bakery, thats why it's warm, so we want to eat things that help the baking process". Then about 200 years ago we realized that was totally wrong. What you want to eat is meat and potatoes, because "well your stomach is a brewery, that's why you burp, so we want things that decompose down into liquids".

"It sounds like it should be that way" is not science, and turns out to be wrong most of the time. I suspect this latest fad will die just as quickly as all the other ones.

3 days ago
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Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

Maury Markowitz Meh (147 comments)

The spherical approach seemed like a great idea until they actually built them. Now it's pretty clear the economics are no better than the conventional MFP approaches. See the Disadvantages of this article, especially the first two items listed:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spherical_tokamak

4 days ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Maury Markowitz Re: Fusion Confusion (305 comments)

> The russians have been operating sodium / lead fast reactors for decades

Sure, especially on their submarines. Excellent safety record there.

> The next step BN-1200

Riiiight. Like the Gen III reactors were going to be so much better than Gen II. Look how that turned out.

about a week ago
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How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

Maury Markowitz Re:non sequitur? (143 comments)

> That $100 car battery? A lithium-ion equivalent that's 1/10th the weight for the same
> capacity and probably even more cold cranking amps might be $80.

Sheesh. Why not also demand it be made out of unicorn tails and magic dust?

Li-ion is 1/3rd the weight. 1/3rd, not 1/10th. It doesn't have to be any lighter.

Li-ion also has less *power*. Be sure you understand the difference between *power* and *energy*. A li-ion battery will have *less* cranking amps, not more.

about a week ago
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How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

Maury Markowitz Re:non sequitur? (143 comments)

> I know it's not XKCD, but there's relevant SMBC [smbc-comics.com] and PHD [phdcomics.com] comics.

Minor complaint with the second: we know from studies that the problem is not the university PR departments, but the researchers themselves.

about a week ago
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The First Particle Physics Evidence of Physics Beyond the Standard Model?

Maury Markowitz Re:Why gravity is treated as a force? (97 comments)

> Why do physicists insist on treating gravity as a force?

Because everything else works that way.

> Since Einstein, we know gravity is the curvature of space-time

No, since Einstein we know that Einstein's model is that gravity is the curvature of space-time.

Before Einstein, we thought it was a force between objects, or objects and a space-filling field.

There's no reason to suggest one model is inherently "more correct" than the other. Personally, I *like* the geometric model more, which almost certainly means it's wrong.

about a week ago
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The First Particle Physics Evidence of Physics Beyond the Standard Model?

Maury Markowitz Re:No, there is no evidence of BSM yet (97 comments)

The good news is that such an experiment is likely far, far less expensive than the LHC. Therefore it is also more likely to happen.

Someone needs to write a paper on the inverse relationship between CAPEX and chance that the experiment is carried out. Of course, that relationship is likely identical to many, many others.

about a week ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Maury Markowitz Re:We put all our eggs into the ITER basket. (305 comments)

> Except those who continue working on it.

Maybe. But there's a long history of people working on projects they know are going nowhere while keeping up a brave face. I'm sure you've worked on a few yourself.

> You may call this hand waving, but the best way to establish this is an actual experiment.

Absolutely! Which is why I brought up the Teller example. The pattern is *exactly* analogous.

about a week ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Maury Markowitz Re: Fusion Confusion (305 comments)

> This article from 2 years ago [slashdot.org] and its accompanying chart [imgur.com] make
> a good case that we'd have fusion already if we as a civilization seriously funded it.

It doesn't make a difference how fast you throw money at it. If the parts that go into the reactor cost more than the economic value of the electricity that comes out, then no one is going to ever build one. And right now, that's absolutely the case.

It's a little hard to do the math on something like ITER, which runs continually. On the other hand, it's really easy to do the math for something like NIF, where the inputs are nicely quantized. NIF burns a fuel packet that costs thousands of dollars. Under the most ridiculous future scenarios, they thing they can get that down to 50 dollars. Mind you we're not talking about the machine here, just the fuel.

When burned perfectly, which of course we can't actually do, we expect to get about 13 MJ of fusion. We might extract 25% of that energy as electricity. That sells for about 5 cents.

So $50 in, $0.05 out. And that's the best case scenario.

about a week ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Maury Markowitz Re: Who needs oil? (305 comments)

> Actually, it was shut down because Canada had a surplus of heavy water

Which says a lot about the industry as it currently stands. In spite of numerous technical advantages, actually selling a D2O reactor seemed beyond the capabilities of the country.

> Canada developed a new technology for enriching deuterium from water, based on catalyzed exchange

Currently small-scale system suitable for lab production and make-up supplies for the existing reactors, based on semi-enriched feedstock. That feedstock comes from LPCE.

about two weeks ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Maury Markowitz Re: Fusion Confusion (305 comments)

> I thought it was kind of a general purpose device that could do other things.

Oh sure, but no one was *banking* on it. The basic long and short is that if you detect the Higgs everyone gets a Nobel and a slap on the back. If you don't detect anything, you get nothing.

So the entire project is focused on Higgs, because we already know it exists, as opposed to actually useful science like supersymetric partners which no one really has any clue if they exist or how to really look for them.

It is entirely possible LHC will return really useful new science. It is equally likely it will not. In comparison, I *guarantee* you that the EELT will generate new science, science that the standard model can't explain. So in terms of cash-for-outcomes, it's no contest.

> The old FermiLab accelerator could do all manner of experiments

Indeed, and it spent the last decade of its life spending hundreds of millions measuring the top quark mass to the 6th decimal. One can imagine less useful ways to spend money, but you'll have a hard time doing so.

about two weeks ago

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