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Chevron Gives Residents Near Fracking Explosion Free Pizza

Rei Re:What the (207 comments)

The actual point of concern from fracking is not about the fluids, the water, or any of the bullshit you see people ranting about. The problem is that they are re-using old wells which were drilled a long time ago, and those wells go through the water table and natural aquifers in many cases. Those old wells tend to have shoddy and/or degraded casings (the walls of the wells are lined usually with some type of concrete or metal tubing to prevent them from collapsing), so when they are pumping the shit down the well they can tend to leak somewhat.

Well put. It's important to realize that by the very nature of there being trapped gas, that means that there is at least one (generally several) layers of highly impermiable cap rock above the natural gas, so thick and durable that they've contained a highly-mobile gas for millions of years (despite earthquakes and the like), all of which is several kilometers down - versus the groundwater which is a couple dozen to a couple hundred meters down. Creating cracks a couple dozen centimeters long several kilometers well below the cap rock down has essentially no effect on the leak rate from the reservoir up through *kilometers* of rock (which would take ages for anything they're injecting now to reach anyway). The problem is the well, which by its very nature must pierce through each layer on its way down - including your groundwater layers. Even new wells aren't perfect (as we well know). Reusing old wells is a recipie for leaks.

The solution to water shortages isn't to cry about frakking, it's to start advancing our de-salinization technology

I don't know... desalinization generally takes crazy amounts of energy to produce enough for agriculture, just by the very nature of the energy state of saltwater versus fresh. There is one concept I read about a few years back which I thought was pretty clever that might work around that, though - it was to use open evaporation pools to create super-saline water and to have it flow past two ion-specific membranes (one for negative ions, the other for positive) connecting to adjacent pools, creating a salt gradient pressure into those pools. Each of those pools in turn have their opposite ion-specific membrane connected to a final regular-saltwater pool. For an ion to follow the diffusion gradient and leave the super-saturated pool into an adjacent pool, that adjacent pool must suck an opposite ion from the final saltwater pool - which it will do if the gradient from the super-saturated pool is strong enough. The final pool stays balanced because ions are being lost to each adjacent pool. Eventually the final saltwater pool will become freshwater.

That which I find really neat about this concept is that it doesn't use electricity beyond basic water pumps and the like - the energy powering it is simply evaporation of seawater, which is ridiculously easy to achieve in many desert locations. In many places a mere jetty is enough to turn hundreds of square miles of ocean into an evaporation pool. The challenge is of course mass production of sufficient flow rate ion-selective membranes and keeping them from clogging.

about 2 months ago
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Chevron Gives Residents Near Fracking Explosion Free Pizza

Rei Re:What the (207 comments)

I'm not sure I'd call a sodium reactor more safe. Heck, liquid sodium explodes in contact with concrete, and the very reactor itself is built out of concrete. They have to clad it in thick steel as a precaution, and after a sodium leak in Japan, the sodium ate over halfway through the steel. Liquid sodium is not nice, friendly stuff.

And I don't think there's anywhere *near* enough data on thorium reactors. All the happy-go-lucky stuff sounds all too much like the sort of sales pitches that accompany each new generation of nuclear reactor.

If I had to pick one that I thought had the most promise, it'd be lead-bismuth. Now, they have their own set of corrosion problems, no question. But at least there's a damned lot of data from the former USSR on how to prevent it. Beyond that, leaks are pretty harmless (apart from economically) - your worst case scenario is that your reactor entombs itself in lead, which most people would consider *desirable* in a worst-case reactor leak. There's no explosion risk from lead-bismuth. It's a breeder approach like sodium, so little waste and highly efficient fuel usage. And the emergency circulation in modern designs is mostly passive.

But honestly, the biggest issue I have with nuclear is cost. The nuclear industry is one of the few industries out there that has demonsingtrated a long-term *negative* learning curve in terms of cost. That is, the longer we run nuclear power plants, the more added risks we learn we have to address (which costs money), the higher the disposal cost estimates versus earlier estimates, and on and on. Scaling factors mean that plants usually have to be very large which means that you don't learn as much from building lots of them with varying approaches. And the generally best way to deal with a problem of escalating costs on a design - start anew with a radically different design - means you start the learning curve over, which takes decades on nuclear due to the slow pace. And the newer approaches are often more complicated in order to solve the previous problems, which introduces new potential avenues of failure.

It's a real problem. All issues of safety and the environment aside, if nuclear can't address the cost issue, it has no future. Cost kept investors out of nuclear more than NIMBY for three decades. They've been trying again with this latest round of nuclear construction (often with citizens picking up the financial risk if not outright the tab), but the results thusfar haven't been very appealing, with lots of cost overruns.

about 2 months ago
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Chevron Gives Residents Near Fracking Explosion Free Pizza

Rei Re:Scientists Create Pizza That Can Last Years (207 comments)

Cooked with natural gas, no doubt!

Seriously, though... I mean, "NEWS FLASH: Mass production of gas sought for its high energy and ease of combustion poses a fire risk!" Who here is surprised by this? Are there people in town going around saying, "My god, I knew they were producing *natural gas*, but I had no idea they were producing something that could *catch fire*!"

about 2 months ago
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Vikings' Secret Code Cracked

Rei Ég skil ekki (89 comments)

eir eru að tala um rúnir en myndin er bara rispur á spýtu. Hvernig ýðir maður rispur á rúnir?

about 2 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

Rei Re:Uh (545 comments)

First off, you don't make the problem I brought up go away by changing the subject. The sexualization and dehumanization of women *remains* a problem whether you change the subject or not. Seconly, are you honestly trying to claim that men don't treat women as disposable objects? Really?

about 3 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

Rei Re: Uh (545 comments)

According to US crime statistics, 99% of sexual assault perpetrators are men. 91% of sexual assault victims are female. That is, to put it bluntly, even when a man is a victim, the perpetrator is still overwhelmingly likely to be a man. And if you want to fall back to the "guys aren't as likely to report being raped by a woman because it'd be embarrassing" canard, you really think that it would be any less embarrassing for them to report being raped by a guy, given the male taboo about anything homosexual?

The simple fact is, statitically, it's almost exclusively men who rape. Not 100% exclusively - given the vast number of rapes, even 1% is still a large number. But, statistically, the percentage of perpetrators that are women is very small.

And let's get out of the BS denial mode. The simple fact is that about 1 in 4 women will be raped in their lifespan, and polls of college-age men show that approximataely one in 10 have already raped, and of those, about a third are serial rapists. These numbers aren't appearing in a vaccuum; you need to stand up and deal with the elements in male culture that treat it as fine to treat women as objects, conquests, and makes sexual consent out as optional. I find it incredibly disturbing the percentage of men who don't even know what consent *is* or that they have to get it ("If she passes out she's fair game", "She's my girlfriend so it can't be rape", "She didn't physically fight me when I forced myself on her, she only *told me* not to", "If she didn't want it she wouldn't have dressed like that", etc).

These are your friends, your family members. Stop turning a blind eye to the problem, admit it exists, and if you see these sort of attitudes expressed, F*'in say something. Your silence or friendly laugh gets interpreted as agreement.

about 3 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

Rei Re:I'm male but... (545 comments)

If you actually believe that, you do not understand people, much less women.

Because, of course, women are not people?

FYI, the statistical psychological differences between men and women are generally quite small. Blaming your lack of understanding of someone on their gender is not almost certainly wrong, but it's a defeatest attitude - it's blaming your failure on something you cannot change so why even bother, "They" are just un-understandable!

about 3 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

Rei Re:Uh (545 comments)

Right, so women sexualize men as much as men sexualize women? That's why... oh, let's just pick an example... there's at least 10 clubs where women strip for every one where men strip - and at least half of those are for gay men? That's why we have words like "booth babes" but not "booth dudes", because the former has to be at least an order of magnitude more common, even in fields where men and women are represented in roughly even numbers? I could keep going if you'd like. Heck, do I even need to go into the ultimate example of sexualization/dehumanization of an individual, sexual molestation and assault?

Don't give me this false equivalency BS. There's a serious problem with men - not all men, far from it, but a huge percent - treating women as though they're simply things to sleep with rather than people like themselves, and it is NOT anywhere near on the same scale in the other direction.

The first step to remedying a problem is admitting that it exists.

about 3 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

Rei Re:1.5% according to this month's LXF (545 comments)

Dead on. In a corporate environment, the misoygynistic BS is more likely to be reigned in.

about 3 months ago
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World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

Rei Re:Is no one else concerned? (161 comments)

I've seen different maps define it differently, but most maps of Reykjanes include all the way up to Mosfellsbær (to go any further is to be on Kjalarnes). But then again, when most people want to talk about closer to Reykjavík they talk about either Reykjavík or Höfuðborgarsvæði... so I'm not sure if technically it's part. Either way, it's close. There are known magma chambers that are considered a threat to Reykjavík if they went off.

These eruptions aren't little point effects. As the fact that they've poured out hundreds of square kilometers of lava fields should be pointed out. ;) Hafnarfjörður and parts of Reykjavík are on top of relatively young lava fields. Hraunbær (Lava Town) is just to my south. And thats just about flooding with lava, let alone ash and gas consequences. So yeah, it's a serious matter - it's just one unlikely to be affected for the worse by drilling.

about 3 months ago
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World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

Rei Re:Is no one else concerned? (161 comments)

Snæfellsjökull's melting should make it easier to find the entrance!

about 3 months ago
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World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

Rei Re:But will it work elsewhere? (161 comments)

Energy from magma chambers only works... wait for it... in places with magma chambers.

Any more easy questions?

If you want a "works everywhere" tech to watch, watch EGS. My favorite variety is a no-fracking variety where they branch off the well in the hot zone and use a conductive grout, turning the well into a giant heat exchanger. Totally closed, so it's non-corrosive and strata-indifferent - needs only heat. But of course, in the end it's going to be whatever's most economic that will take off.

about 3 months ago
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World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

Rei Re:1.3 miles? (161 comments)

So you think cooling down the magma (boiling water) increases the likelihood of an eruption? Do you think water will go through the pipe with enough pressure to break the pipe and rupture the surrounding rock, when they're controlling how much water they send down the pipe in the first place? You think dissolved gasses will come out faster somehow when they're doing nothing to reduce the pressure on the magma?

There's no logical reason why such a borehole should trigger an eruption. It should overall decrease the risk by taking heat out of it, making the magma more viscous if not outright solidifying it.

about 3 months ago
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World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

Rei Re:Fracking bad herp derp (161 comments)

RTFA. The "deadly chemicals" used were precisely one chemical: that deadly dihydrogen monoxide stuff.

Fracking is not all a single process. At its most basic level, it's simply water injection. You *can* inject all sorts of other stuff in for various reasons (most of them oil-specific and totally unrelated to geothermal power prouction), but they're not fundamentally required for all fracking.

about 3 months ago
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World's First Magma-Based Geothermal Energy System

Rei Re:Is no one else concerned? (161 comments)

Haha, actually it was accidental. When they broke through into a magma chamber, that wasn't the goal - they didn't realize they were that close, they were just trying to tap the hot rock near it. But after magma filled up the borehole a couple dozen meters, they decided to try to turn lemons into lemonade and produce steam... and it actually worked.

But yeah, I think a lot of people have a gross misunderstanding how drilling works. You're not creating some big open hole that magma can just shoot up. If you tried that, the hole would collapse before you got very deep at all. Your hole is full of "mud" that is at least as high pressure as the surrounding rock. The gas isn't going to suddenly come out of solution and trigger an eruption when you drill into magma, you're not reducing the pressure on it.

And I'm sure it's mentioned somewhere below, but whoever wrote this article is an idiot. The mantle isn't full of magma, it's solid. The crust is where magma is found They did not drill to the mantle, they drilled into a magma chamber.

The only thing I learned from the article was that they plan to try the same thing in Reykjanes. I fully expect people to freak out, given that's where three quarters of our population lives ;) Also, I didn't know the stats on the sort of power they were getting out of that well... 36MWe of 450C steam from a single geothermal well is bloody insane. Hopefully this will prove to be economical and thus an incentive to stop destroying all of our rivers one after the next for hydroelectric power. : Oh, and I'm not surprised to learn that Alcoa was helping. There's three aluminum smelters here, and even the smallest of them uses more power than all of the homes and businesses combined. They built the largest hydroelectric plant in Europe (in the middle of the formerly-largest-undeveloped-wilderness in Europe) just to power a single smelter.

about 3 months ago
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Kazakh Professor Claims Solution of Another Millennium Prize Problem

Rei Re:It kind of makes me sad... (162 comments)

Except that even that isn't largely true. Yes, it's true that the US heavily relied on German rocket scientists to build up its space program. What's *not* true is the concept that the Soviets did the same. The US actively sought out and brought to the US almost all high-level German rocket scientists after the war during Operation Paperclip, as well as over 100 V2s. The Soviets got almost nobody of significance (Helmut Gröttrup being the only noteworthy exception), and mainly only got line technicians and captured papers/drawings. What's more, for the most part, they didn't actively involve them in their programs - they interrogated them heavily, and once they were satisfied that they knew everything that they knew, they sent them back. Most were dismissed within a year, and by 1951, there were no longer any Germans at all within Soviet rocketry program (although the remaining ones were held for a few years after that to avoid intelligence transfer).

The real quote should be, "Our German rocket scientists are better than your Soviet scientists whose non-domestic contribution is largely limited to data from old documents and lower-level Germans involved in rocketry."

about 3 months ago
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Air Traffic Control "Telephone Glitch" Delays Hundreds of UK Flights

Rei Re:This was definitely not intentional. (40 comments)

The issue is, you deal with the system you're with, not the situation you wish you had.

We can't change a transmission protocol or route data over arbitrary connections. This is a collection of everything from very old hardware to brand new, protocols from very old to brand new, in every country in the world, and you can't just arbitrarily rework them. It's the same in the air, too. And when new protocols are made, they're generally in addition to existing ones, not replacing them. I'm not aware of any with error correcting codes or the like (there could be, I just haven't worked with them), but some of them (not all) use checksums (though that's a whole 'nother story... the documentation on how one common type of checksum, that used in datalink messages, is a big fat lie, caused by a screwup in whoever implmented the code the first time that everyone else now has to imitate... but it works, so...).

In the long run, the goal is to move as much traffic as possible to the more automated, more reliable newer protocols. But this is something that's invariably going to happen at a snail's pace.

As I've never messed with them directly, I can't decribe to you the protocols used for physical data transmission at every point over the FARICE and DANICE links - just the message layer on top of them, which is plaintext except for the header marker characters. I've never worked at anything more than the endpoints. But I can tell you this, there's no way we could just go in and replace all of the hardware along the way (you should see the graph of all of the hardware that exists just between Iceland and Britain). It would be an expensive long-term international effort with major potential for disruption in its own right. And it would only help for that particular link anyway. What you really want is how all of air traffic control messages are transmitted - aircraft, atc, tower, etc - everywhere in the world to be switched over to a single, reliable mechanism and a standardized set of international routing hardware. Well, great, join the club, I'd love that too! But it's just not going to happen any time soon without a massive funding surge.

You work with the systems that you have, not the systems you wish you had. Yes, we're working to modernize everything, just like everyone else. For example, in the past year I've spent a good bit of time working on adding in capabilities to one system to help take a sort of "middleman" server that it talks to out of the loop to improve reliability and error logging. But these things don't happen fast. And how many programmers / hardware engineers do you think we have, really? We're no Microsoft here.

about 4 months ago
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Air Traffic Control "Telephone Glitch" Delays Hundreds of UK Flights

Rei Re:This was definitely not intentional. (40 comments)

Oh, and I forgot to mention the voice communication systems problem. That one didn't affect me directly but I did get a memo about it.

about 4 months ago
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Air Traffic Control "Telephone Glitch" Delays Hundreds of UK Flights

Rei This was definitely not intentional. (40 comments)

It's just an unfortunate incident.

British Telecom has had an issue (which has happened a number of times) which led to a minor timing glitch in one of their systems. When this happens, the data reliability on the FARICE line to Iceland drops and you start getting corrupted flight messages. Shanwick was alerted to the problem and both sides consulted and decided that the best solution in the interrim would be something that had been done previously, disconnecting FARICE and thus forcing all connections through the backup line, DANICE, which appeared to be operating normally.

Unfortunately, the problem was even worse on DANICE. What appeared to be normal operation was only normal up to the data logger. Once it actually got to the flight tracking software, the messages were being refused, and corrupted messages being sent in the other direction. So while BT was working on getting their system fixed, flight control managers were being forced to basically manually dig up ATC messages and copy-paste them off to the air traffic controllers (as much was handled through voice as possible as well).

But it got even worse. A totally unrelated communications network, Datalink, decided to misbehave during all of this, which may or may not have been due to the Shanwick problems. On the Iceland side, the general solution is to force a switchover to the backup system. Which was done... except a critical component on the backup system immediately crashed. Repeated attempts to switch and ultimately switch back caused even more problems for the air traffic controllers.

Eventually the fixed FARICE line was brought back up, Datalink back online (with the switchover-crash problem postponed to be investigated during a low-traffic timeperiod)

It's terrible that there were so many delays, but these are extremely complicated systems with a challenging task, built up over decades with tons of computer components, protocols, lines, routers, radar systems, transmitters, and on and on, scattered all over the world. On a weekend. Everyone was scrambling and doing their damndest to fix it as soon as possible. It should also be noted that it was never a safety issue - even in the absolute worst case, air traffic control could go all the way back to the old paper-and-pencil method. What the systems give is, primarily, speed, and thus when there's big problems, there's delays.

And that was my weekend, how was yours? ;)

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Who's Killing The Electric Car Again?

Rei Rei writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Rei (128717) writes "Aptera Motors is an manufacturer of safe, hyper-efficient, highway-speed electric three-wheelers. Funded by Idealab, Google, and a variety of other sources, they have been working towards making (take your pick): A) one of the ugliest, or B) one of the most beautiful vehicles ever to be mass produced. When they started accepting pre-orders, over 4,000 people from California alone came running with $500 deposits. However, in recent days, the company seems to be imploding, where in the middle of wave after wave of layoffs, disastrous information keeps leaking out. Among the examples: the company's CFO, Laura Marion, was cited by the SEC in 2006 for running an Enron-style accounting scam at Delphi."
Link to Original Source
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McCain taps creationism-proponent as VP pick

Rei Rei writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Rei writes "By now, most people know that senator John McCain has tapped one-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. While the commentary has ranged from the positive, such as its potential to be a game changer for him, to the negative, such as her involvement in Troopergate, little attention has been paid so far to her views on science. According to the Alaska Daily News, in the 2006 governor's race, Palin was the only candidate to suggest that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. In contrast to her two opponents, one of whom suggested that such "religious based" lessons belong in a philosophy or sociology class, Palin stated, "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both." In response to the backlash, she later backpedalled and insisted that she would not apply a creationism litmus test to her school board appointees.

Evangelical leaders are reportedly thrilled with her nomination."

Link to Original Source
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Nanosolar delivers high-efficiency thin film cells

Rei Rei writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Rei writes "Thin film photovoltaic systems have been heralded as a way to make solar cells cheap enough for widespread adoption, but have also been criticized for their low efficiency. A number of companies have been working to fix this equation. Now, one of them — Nanosolar, a privately held company with funding from Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page — has finally shipped their first cells produced in a mass-production environment. Nanosolar's cells boast being the world's first printed thin-film solar cell in a commercial panel product, the world's lowest-cost solar panel (they plan to sell at $0.99/Watt, compared to the current minimum of $4.83/Watt), and the world's highest-current thin-film solar panel (5x the next closest on the market), among other things. Their Panel #2, made available as a collectors item on Ebay with the profits going to charity, has already racked up bids of over $10,000."
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Rei writes "Yesterday, Slashdot posted about what appeared to be puddles of water sitting on Mars. Unfortunately, according to the Planetary Society's blog, the authors of the paper didn't even bother to check the context in which the "water" photos were taken. The article notes that one shouldn't trust papers that haven't yet gone through peer review. "The white square shows you where the image comes from. It's in the middle of Opportunity's Burns Cliff panorama, on some of the steepest slopes that Opportunity saw before arriving at Victoria crater! Those can't be puddles — unless the amazing "liquid" that puddles here on Mars in a freezing near-vacuum also has antigravity properties.""
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "There has been a lot of buzz today over Al Gore: in the wake of revelations that his Tennessee mansion uses 12 to 20 times more energy than usual comes an assault in the New York Times over the accuracy of his film, "An Inconvenient Truth". The article's author quotes a number of scientists who are critical of some of his statements, and describe the film as "alarmism". Quick to the counterpunch is RealClimate.org, which has published a harsh rebuttal suggesting habitual dishonesty and deception of readers on the part of the article's author."
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "SpaceDaily.com is reporting the failure of a SeaLaunch Zenit-3SL rocket and its payload, leading some to question whether the damage will prove too much for the company. A split-second after separating from the tower, the rocket fell and impacted the platform with a firey explosion. The failure of the Zenit, a privately developed orbital rocket, comes as SpaceX prepares to launch a new Falcon I rocket after its last failed on liftoff after three successive, failed launch attempts. While the news for simpler private suborbital rocketry continues to look rosy, is private orbital rocketry perched on a precipice?"
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Rei Rei writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rei writes "Today, the prestigious Cambridge Energy Research Associates released a report dismissing the Peak Oil theory, suggesting that world oil production will continue to increase for the next 24 years, and then only level into a plateu. The report, which suggests that world reserves are enough to last 122 years at our current rate of consumption, also blasts Peak Oil theorists for repeatedly making unscientific predictions and then shifting them whenever their predictions fail to materialize."

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