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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Aerial or underground ? (469 comments)

Aerial, or underground, that is the question.

BOTH in the future, but keep in mind that none of these day to day repairs have anything to do with re-tooling the grid, which would will take $ trillions of dollars.

Aerial power lines are the practical rule in many towns and cities because space is tight and there is already ~80 years of infrastructure under ground. Ours has two electric utilities, in some intersections their feeders cross on two upper levels. In new subdivisions electric primaries have been buried in alleys with ground level transformers but in most places it's pole transformers and drop wires.

I routinely dig water and sewer mains in these places and cannot describe the rush of raking a backhoe tooth against a buried primary that was ~2.5' off the mark crossing over our sewer main. No flash-pow, it was just there. When it was laid boring crew did not realize their tool had gone halfway through a customer's sewer tap, not plugging it completely but breaking our main and causing problems for years. Imagine a rotating plumber's snake grinding against a 7kV power line (not in conduit). I still feel that electricity needs to be underground as a rule but in these areas better mapping to the inch would be a plus, and each utility presents its own locating challenge.

Aerial lines suck during ice storms and high winds and there is a constant battle with trees, but the plus is that everything is out of reach of people and floods, and the power company can visually inspect everything right up to your home. Considering the level of danger this is a BIG plus. And when you realize that the cost of putting everything underground in your neighborhood is an incredible capital expense that would not yield a single erg of new energy... well, I say don't hold your breath, live with it.

High voltage pylons between cities are another matter entirely. If a few buildings in your neighborhood go dark it's an inconvenience, but what of when whole cities go dark? There are too few alternate paths in our long haul grid. There is also the need to move to HVDC to couple the grids, to build more redundant overlapping 'loops'. This would improve efficiency and survivability. Here is where State and Federal government could make a real difference.

We have these superhighways you see, and all that is missing is a method to cut-and-drop a channel into them. We should be building electric pipelines in addition to oil pipelines. Robert Faulkner is a lone voice in this HVDC wilderness, and I tell of his quest in this Slashdot post.

Please see Thorium Remix and my own letters on energy,
  To The Honorable James M. Inhofe, United States Senate
  To whom it may concern, Halliburton Corporate


Study: Space Rock Impacts Not Random

TheRealHocusLocus Please, help stamp out postage! (78 comments)

So you're just a little rock drifting in space, perhaps you have a bit of slow elliptical gig with the Sun or some heavy vector from rude encounters with other Astrobumps and potato-lumps. But these vectors have mostly cancelled each other and you're copa-centric with the solar system, just chillin'.

Every now and then you wiggle-woggle as a giant vacuum cleaner that is Jupiter or Mars passes, which leaves you a bit perturbed but its song is so enticing. You do a little dusting now and then to spruce up the neighborhood and your day/night sides fill you with just enough electrostatic tickle and a tug of graviton tockle to gather little bits. Just a big lovable clump, like a giant iron-filled molar enjoying the solitude of space grooving on the universe.

But the groove is changing. You are humming with beacons and bitcoms and bacon commercials, ringing with SATCOM beams and HF RTTY streams, and music and bouncy over-the-horizon PAVE PAWS and wave claws of a modern age. And music, voices! Millions of voices. Single sideband gwobbles and gwerps, AM throbby-bumps and gurgle-beats, quavering FM and chaotic barking bursty bits channelized and encrypted for your protection. Lissen up party people, meat is in the house. And it's talking.

And IT is the source, that THING, a rolling blue ball with puffy white squiggles tumbling towards you. Clearly this is a bad place to be because it is headed in your direction and its inhabitants are too stupid or inconsiderate to move it aside.

Its mass tugs at you as a thin layer of atmosphere sears blazing heat through your little rocky self. It becomes thicker and you dissolve in an explosion of heat and light. Your elementary particles will add mass to this malevolent menace as a few creatures point their stubby fingers at your death and say, "Ooooooooooooooo!".

Then they will get on their cell phones and blabble over the radio accusing YOU of attacking THEM.


2 days ago

What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

TheRealHocusLocus Re:That's the problem, you can't get U238 anymore. (519 comments)

This is one of my primary goals in life. Get nuclear more accepted in the US, then start building Thorium reactors across the country.

Glad to hear it! If we love our children, there really is nothing quite as important.

For every 1000kg of U-233 bred with thorium in a LFTR, ~15kg of Pu-238 is produced. Here is Kirk Sorensen discussing the waste stream of a two-fluid LFTR and a series of slides.

So every 1 gigawatt LFTR reactor would produce the necessary amount of Pu-238 to fuel ~3 Voyager-class (4.5kg) space probes, every year. Beyond Voyager's simple purpose and its 400 watt electronics package, think of what our space probes could do with more energy. Locomotion, drilling, small maneuvering adjustments or a steady acceleration using ion thrusters.

For more, see my letters on energy:
To The Honorable James M. Inhofe, United States Senate
To whom it may concern, Halliburton Corporate
and the the collected rants of the Trix Rabbit of Thorium.

about a week ago

Facebook Testing Lithium-Ion Batteries For Backup Power

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Li-Ion batteries aren't good for this role (41 comments)

This is not really about the use of Lion batteries. So Facebook is going to change out lead-acid systems that give ~20-30 minutes (MY guess, TFA does not say) to one that gives only 90 seconds for generator start.

That 'dragster' remark is cute but it falls flat with me. There is a whole class of real-world fail opened up here. 90 seconds is scarcely enough time for humans to respond, let alone diagnose and solve a problem. As a critical infrastructure IT admin I'd never want to commit to this. It is an example of one of those 'Faustian bargain' compromises over time that are making modern technology fragile (in a sneaky way that is no one's fault) , where the UPS maintainers are 'absolved' of responsibility for the Big Fail when it happens. Blame is shifted onto the generator maintainers --- who might have been able to solve the problem had they had more than 90 seconds in which to do so.

Not to mention that lead-acid batteries are mostly water and non-combustible sulfuric acid. A Li-Ion battery fire is 50 times nastier than a lead-acid battery fire, and produces a hell of a lot more noxious gases.

If you design a commercial class server farm without a physical fire/vapor room/wall between batteries and servers and a real DC bus you have already lost the battle, abandoned Bell Standard Practice. I remember when telling someone they were violating BSP was the worst thing you could say. Now it's like, "Bell Standard Practice? What's that? Look it's cool, we just unpack this stuff from the box, snap it together and it works!" Until it doesn't. Or a single battery catches fire and you have to clear the room and don moon suits.

There are other issues too. It's an environmental loser. If you're championing Lion over lead acid for vehicles you're a winner because there is no other way. But this move to install Lion over lead-acid in places where the additional sqft is available is silly. Lead acid maintenance and recycling is a no-brainer. But Lion? Taks a look at this article on state-of-the-art battery hazards and recycling. "it takes 6 to 10 times more energy to reclaim metals from some recycled batteries than it does to produce it through other means, including mining" and thus only a few companies are doing it, probably living on subsidy. The Lion boom is driven by China's rare earth industry, and you can be sure they'll turn the screws when assimilation is complete. There are even some who claim that due to economic reality, many Lion batteries, even the heavy duty ones, are dangerously destined for the landfill, a place lead-acid batteries do not go because their recycle process is mature and chemically simple.

So from here it really looks like Facebook is trying to eliminate a few blue-collar battery maintainer positions in their Data Center, at great cost, to their ultimate peril. Never mind that extra time to keep servers running while you fix faults, just chuck the old stuff, install these things, and... relax. The Big Fail will be no one's fault because the accountants have signed off on it.

Story of the modern world.

about two weeks ago

Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

TheRealHocusLocus Wake up and smell the authoritarian malfeasance (334 comments)

TFA3 "Will Cheap Gas Undermine Climate-Change Efforts?" [...] "I don't think people will see the urgency of dealing with fossil fuels today," Perl said. Instead, he explained, people may choose to fill up their cars and burn fuel while the costs are low. [...] "This is like putting a Big Mac in front of people who need to diet or watch their cholesterol," Perl said. âoeSome people might have the willpower to stick with their program, and some people will wait until their first heart attack before committing to a diet --- but if we do that at a planetary scale it will be pretty traumatic."

This dialogue is straight from the United States' temperance movement that led up to a Constitutional amendment and a decade of peril, a black market economy comparable in size to the real one, and the Federally-subsidized ascension of organized crime. Some people think they are being proactive, easing their view of a world 'sin tax' as a way to stay global catastrophe. They are being hoodwinked into believing that unless they act soon by accepting some prepared package of countermeasures, some point of no return would be reached. This is being done in the traditional way, fronting claims that the (terrorists, evil corporations, fossil fuel interests) have "almost won".

But the real tripe, such as Perl spouts, misrepresents and marginalizes the personal motives among the poor and middle class folks who've managed to (just) stay afloat, and use their resources to acquire certain contested 'things'. Complicated and realistic motives, the whole spectrum of survival through pursuit of happiness (aka sanity) are reduced to some simple addict-reward-temperance model that suits the purpose. Then add a dash of global imperative and we have things like

I believe that the miseries consequent on the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors are so great as imperiously to command the attention of all dedicated lives; and that while the abolition of American slavery was numerically first, the abolition of the liquor traffic is not morally second.
~Elizabeth Stuart Phelps who helped to 'ferment' a revolution

Abolish slavery, then alcohol? This lady says this in 1897, a time when neither women nor former slaves in the US were permitted to vote. Priorities problem, much? Now cheap gas and pure-CO2 is the alcohol of the 21st century, and the same style of temperance movement is forming. It is hip and trendy. No one will confront you if you publicly picket for temperance in these matters.

Perhaps they should. Because where the rubber hits the road, such temperance movements are ultimately damaging to society. Phelps may have believed that the abolition of alcohol would magically 'elevate the human condition' to such a degree that other pressing issues of her day would be somehow solved, that it was drunkenness that was denying women the vote, or any other issue of the day to which she could have refocused her effort.

I'll say it flat out. Real people tend to have rational and understandable reasons for doing what they do. They will choose a vehicle that can hold a family and haul a load with a measure of real metal to stabilize it and protect them. They will choose a $30k truck or minivan over a $50k Tesla because... they have a choice.

Real innovation arises by pursuing real solutions to problems that result in the right choice being the cheapest one, not the one least encumbered by taxation. The future does not depend on the 'price of gas'. Temperance movements are ultimately about removing choice from the equation.

about three weeks ago

When We Don't Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

TheRealHocusLocus Narrow minded people rejoice! (282 comments)

Science is finding new ways to tell us apart from one another.

Well Lordy be, they chose a Climate Change issue to do a psychological study of people-perceptions, again. What a surprise. Perhaps a disproportionately large number of Republicans have encountered various other analyses that plot observed reality against model projection and said, "well maybe that 3.2degC is not so scientific after all." How did/could they control for the participants' private assessment of the "scientific" statement they were given?

I'd be more curious about the pollution portion, there is far less scientific dispute about the effects particulates and aerosols on people and planet. Too bad the press release didn't cover that. At $11.95 for the PDF its TE;DR.

The hidden component to these studies is not necessarily political people-prejudices or even brain wiring, it is how people perceive and apply risk. Without a pivot of risk you're not going to get a straight answer on anything. None of these issues (climate, pollution, guns) are simple.

For pure-CO2 global average temperature causation my risk-O-meter is barely twitching, just enough that I'll glance out of the corner of my eye for the huge juggernaut of extraordinary evidence that would be required to prove it at this point. It would be large enough to see from a distance and would be a great deal slower than a speeding train .

My other risk-O-meter is PEGGED, the one that attempts to assess my personal risk from politically motivated shoddy conclusions, emerging secular belief systems, 'new' government regulation (by a government that seems to have forgotten how to repeal anything, preferring to tune legislation to greater heights of obfuscation and uselessness) ... some of the dumb-ass solutions being proposed out there are TERRIFYING.

So if someone drew me into a study where I'm expected to weigh a stated 'problem' with and proposed 'solution' empirically, expecting me to decouple one from the other so they can draw some sort of conclusion from it, forget that.

If I had grown up in a place where solutions did not often create their own set of problems, that need to be weighed and factored --- such as inside a comic book --- maybe.

And I'm not even a Democrat or a Republican or liberal or conservative. That's just me looking at the world.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Minimizing Oil and Gas Dependency In a Central European City?

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Thinking Laterally - solar in winter (250 comments)

Had solar photovoltaic installed about a year back. Unfortunately on those overcast rainy dark days in December, January & February I've seen whole days where my nearly 4kW system has put out a whopping 50W.

Hm... could this be the result of clouds blocking the sun? See if the owner's manual has an appendix, that is often where you find a list of troubleshooting procedures --- since the appendices are often written by the engineers themselves, you often find useful tidbits of info there that didn't fit into the how-to narrative and are not part of the sales pitch.

I sympathize with your problem but I am also relieved that it is obviously a local phenomenon, since there are so many here on Slashdot who haven't experienced this, as they continue to advocate the use of solar energy for base load power generation for an industrial society.

Good luck to you friend and I hope you find the problem and get those panels back up to 4kW all day, every day since that is what you paid for... you might try mounting a large Fresnel lens over your kettle to help it come to a boil on those cloudy days.

about three weeks ago

Drones Over Greenland Give Insight To Pollution's Effects On Melting

TheRealHocusLocus Climate Science finally coming down to Earth (81 comments)

Pure CO2 causation, the forced feedback in climate models and the machinations on the data that attempt to leverage a 400% CO2 rise into an extremely-slight-yet-lost-in-noise rise or flatline (depending on how you rearrange the noise) average global temperature... it has been like a bad dream that does not end.

Will the world end in ***FIRE*** or ***ICE***? Or will the world fail to end at all, that would be really embarrassing. It's time to put the steep rise in people-generated pure-CO2 and the observed not steep at all global temperature curve in proper perspective. As in, pure-CO2 causation is a non-starter yet worthy of study --- but it's time to focus on other aspects for awhile. Without all that 'climate denier' noise too.

Let's just talk about actual particulates and albedo. Stratospheric sulfur aerosols reflect more sunlight. In the Arctic, nearby soot may be a larger forcing than CO2. One effect would cause net cooling at the surface and the other a net warming as near-perfect blackbody particles settle on ice crystals. The photograph of a melt water canal with concentrated black carbon particles lining the bottom of the pool begs the question, does this melt channel owe its very existence to the presence of the carbon, or was it caused by other factors? I guestimate that the area of black is about 1/10 the size of the surrounding melt pit... so we are definitely seeing 'grey snow' in the Arctic here.

It has taken five years for the failed 'Glory' satellite mission to be re-launched as the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. It is my hope that OCO2 will help to answer these questions by showing where pollution plumes originate and how they move, so that we know where to take samples and what to look for.

Politics demands simplified models and pure-CO2 causation so they can tax everybody without pissing off the coal industry. F*ck politics. It is my view that pure-science demands a balanced approach that will reveal the true impact of coal, among other manmade and natural causes.

And the folks in California would really appreciate a green-tax refund for the 29% of their pollution that is actually from Asia.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

TheRealHocusLocus It's for the Children, case closed. (613 comments)

When growing up at 15 degrees North in the Caribbean where we do not do DST, it was awkward at times to arrange business calls with the States... but no big deal, I couldn't understand why folks would want too go through all that twice a year.

Now I live 34 degrees North and see what the big deal is. I am on the road to work at 6:30am and come Monday I will not be seeing children walking around, crossing streets and standing around in the dark.

Anything that makes kids easier to avoid while driving in large portions of the continent is fine with me. All those other reasons like saving energy (NOT) can go stuff themselves.

about three weeks ago

Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

TheRealHocusLocus H'yup, The Parallax View (330 comments)

"Welcome to the testing room of the Parallax Corporation's Division of Human Engineering. You will now please go up to the chair, and you will sit down, make yourself comfortable, be sure to place each one of your hands on the box on either side of the chair, making sure that each one of your fingers is on one of the white rectangles. Just sit back, nothing is required of you, except to observed the visual materials that are presented to you. Be sure to keep your fingers on the box at all times. All right, I hope you find the test a pleasant experience."

Take the test: Montage from the film, The Parallax View [1974]

More info about the 'test'

about three weeks ago

A Library For Survival Knowledge

TheRealHocusLocus Re:THREAD RECAP --- long post (272 comments)

On the subject of stocking up information and entertainment for a future apocalypse,

EXTRA CREDIT. In the 1997 film The Postman, the the Holnists army training camp is set in a large quarry, and in the evening films are shown on a large screen projected from a boat in the quarry lake. The projectionist starts one film, and the crowd becomes irate, throwing rocks at the boat. The projectionist shuts down that film and picks up another reel yelling, "So that's what you want??" and quickly threads it. As it begins the crowd smiles and sits in rapt attention.

What were the two movies?

about a month ago

A Library For Survival Knowledge

TheRealHocusLocus THREAD RECAP --- long post (272 comments)

Thank you all for participating, even those without a clue.
This is a long recap of the story and its comments.

When I said "Think of the Survivor Library as a trove of survival skills, a '100-year civilization checkpoint backup' that fits on a hard drive." Some didn't get it, thinking it meant burying the Library and a computer for 100 years for someone to dig up. That is not what I meant.

A collapse event could happen never, next year or tomorrow. It could be a impact of a Near Earth Object we have not catalogued, Yellowstone, a pandemic. A political Orwellian slate-wiper followed by a Chairman Mao-style 'revolution', famine and dark age. Or over time, even some ridiculous consumer movement to phase out paper books and do away with autonomous storage altogether in favor of some 'cloud' that a future despot ruler could centrally edit, revoke or just turn off. Yes, we are that stupid.

Your modern civilization has failed you. It provides for you collectively but, because it was never a real priority, as it stands it cannot provide for itself in a time of disaster. It cannot repair itself. Many steps have been taken over the last hundred years, little things, that enabled life to become a bit easier and better. And in key areas (food, energy, communication, transportation) 'best' paths were chosen exclusively over other paths that were not as desirable, maintainable or as economically feasible (though not impossible). Some of these roads not taken were not merely abandoned. Details of the technology that ours was built upon live on only in old books for which few copies exist, that never made it to the Internet age.

When I say '100 year backup' I mean a knowledge backup you could use tomorrow if you need it, to help ensure that normal people like yourself could, with practice and patience, re-create civilization as it was 100 years ago, as an alternative to sliding completely into a medieval existence --- or worse, a Mad Max scavenger based existence where everyone waits for some 'miracle' reboot that never arrives.

Your modern civilization has failed you. You cannot hope to even gather a scope of knowledge such as contained in this Library, for our modern world. That is because it is bound by non-disclosure, proprietary processes, and to catch a glimpse of it you'd need access to a volume of copyrighted textbooks and industry publications that you, oh best beloved, could particularly never afford. There are few lay introductions to how modern technology is actually made put together, and even if you could find them you will never have access to the 'experts' who understand it.

That is because in a real disaster the relatively few experts of any particular field of modern technology will be just like you, disconnected and fighting for survival. Some will not make it. They have specialized because civilization has permitted them to do so, and together we have built something that is foolishly fragile.

Your communications will be down. You will be walking, bicycling or riding horses again. You will be fighting to obtain food, heat (for most, wood) and supplies. And if you weather all of these challenges you and your kids will be asking, what now?

You are conditioned to think of each of everything that surrounds you as the best that has yet been developed, the finest and ultimate of it kind and most advanced. And in many aspects this is true. You may be conditioned to ignore and dismiss older folks who point out exceptions or sound warnings of vulnerability.

For example, the warning I sounded recently here at Slashdot, The Dismantling of POTS: Bold Move Or Grave Error?. Modern civilization has failed you, young people. Your grandparents (I speak of my own United States) grew up with a wired Plain Old Telephone Service that was engineered so that in small communities or even cities people could communicate with one another, practically forever, so long as you could provide power to a few buildings. Forty years of little compromises later, what you have now are cell towers and unmanned subscriber remotes that are too stupid to connect calls, all of this controlled by a few central points of failure in distant cities. It's all good and cheap until disaster strikes and everyone pays the price. If you think those cell towers and 'cable phones' in your town will keep everyone in touch after a real disaster, you've got a lot to learn. I hope when you've learned what they replaced and how resilient it was, you'll be at least a little angry.

But to learn how vulnerable we are don't listen to 'old geezers' like me. I'm not really old, just seen a lot happen in my time. Research it for yourself. If you can imagine even one potential disaster (I could cite several) you owe it to your own children to do so. Perhaps a hundred gigabytes of FREE books that were considered to be vital reference 100 years ago would at least help. The "for dummies" books will not help at all.

THANKS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE SLASHDOT COMMUNITY for supporting the torrent of 12,929 files in 126 folders, 109GB (perhaps UK folk can use this alternate torcache link). When the story was posted three days ago there were 6 seeders. Now there are ~300 seeders and at times there have been ~700 peers acquiring the Library.

Silly posts I noted but had no time to properly respond to,
Making fun of Henley's Formulas [fine, I'll sell you soap and fireworks, keep the gunpowder]
Demand for printed 'acid free paper' version of ~7,00 PDFs [someone else's job?]
Demand for modern X,Y,Z in the Library [okay, get started, good luck with copyright]
Concerns about practices in 'old' medicine books [but not all, it's not end-all]
Complaints about how 'old' this free library is [missed point entirely. What is the value of NOT having it?]
Musings that Wikipedia would fit on DVDs [maybe the stuff on Cricket] or be 'how-to-do-it' useable [how much of it have you read?]
Musings that collapse would [magically] create a renaissance of 'renewable energy sources' [in China maybe because that's where they're made, for many of us auto alternators will be high-tech]
Musing that 'mass shipping uses [abundant] heavy fuel' [interesting point, but how about economy down too?]
Someone recommending no old X-ray machines [as opposed to... NO X-ray machines? We know more about radiation now]
Argument that even 100 years ago civilization relied on mass transport from distant points [true, but the Library details a ~1900 era civilization rather than the medieval survival level of hunting, fishing and garden that most 'survival' tomes cover]

Notable contributions to the thread,
Thanks for the detail on electrolytic capacitors, stocking spares does seem to be necessary for true survivalists.
This AC who really gets it.
kbahey also get it and thanks for link to this story link in your blog entry!
Many other people also get it, especially the lurkers those who are getting the torrent now. Your action speaks louder than words.

Recommendations to read books,
Heinlein, Farnham's Freehold; Stephen King, The Stand; Niven and Pournelle, Lucifer's Hammer; Lewis Dartnell, The Knowedge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch; George R. Stewart, Earth Abides; Walter Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz;

Other sites and Libraries to check out,
Global Village Construction Set
The Long Now Foundation, they 'get it'.
The Rosetta Project [great idea though its value for survival is nil in any language...]
Project Foxfire
Pointer to the cd3wd library which has many modern technology, education (including Khan Academy) and classic literature packages.
United States Navy Electricity & Electronics Training Series - NEETS

Thanks again.

about a month ago

When Snowden Speaks, Future Lawyers (and Judges) Listen

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Snowden (221 comments)

cold fjord in a nutshell.

The lawful act of stalking "cold fjord" reveals a penchant for gainsaying, short posts and a rolling rally of rebuttal. This can have the effect of people wishing you would just shut up. The post I responded to was more than a 'zinger' and does represent the view of many including some in the military who would gladly take Snowden out in a black op given the chance.

But then again, the lawful act of stalking "TheRealHocusLocus" shows a preponderance of blustery paragraph-rich prose that goes off --- offal at times --- on tangents that do not reconnect with the original topic. People don't wish I would shut up as often because I'm easier to ignore.

Who's to say which extreme style is more effective or necessary? Just glad there are folks out there listening.


about 1 month ago

When Snowden Speaks, Future Lawyers (and Judges) Listen

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Not just "unreasonable". (221 comments)

The problem is that the Patriot Act creates a limited state of emergency that each president finds very convenient. The result is that the US has morphed into a partial dictatorship.

Concise way to put it but these declarations are easy to challenge on the basis of this or that President. To add to your statement and share responsibility, the people of the United States have failed to challenge the idea of this perpetual state of emergency because they were blindsighted by anger on 9/11, but also because they have not picked up on parallel clues of history such as the Weimar Republic, lulled by Hitler into the dissolution of its own government. Americans (and Congress) have been contented to be governed in a dictatorial manner.

Get rid of the Patriot Act and then only will you be able to regain some measure of limitation of government powers. However, while there are so many medieval crazies running around alternately shouting Hallelujah, Death To The Great Satan and beheading followers and non-believers alike, the Patriot Act will stay.

Rolling back gruesome laws by process of repeal is an appealing idea. Two clear examples are the Eighteenth and Twenty-first amendments and Glass-Stegal. One was cause for a toast. The other is driving us to drink because our economy is toasted.

Prohibition was slapped into place with simple language and it was easy to whack this mole down. But what if... the same result had been achieved by passage of a two-thousand page law that sent tendrils into dozens, hundreds of other laws, modifying language here and there to inject the topic of alcohol into places where it had never been, conflating alcohol with drunkenness though it is not its only cause with even more tendrils branching off into the distance, even bringing into existence two-way relationships with hybrid grafting where some pre-existing thing are now also related to alcohol, and declaring kittens cute, and building a new bridge in Iowa, and other things.

Let a dozen years pass and you find that whole careers and industries have been built around these roots. Other laws have been bound to and around it in careful deliberation or in a partisan frenzy of panic. Anything that does not 'work' has been adjusted by building out exceptions and clarifications. All in all it does not do what it set out to do, but every time anyone suggests that it might be best to roll it back, they are surrounded by an angry crowd of people whose lives now depend on it, and they are holding pictures of --- cute kittens.

Welcome to the 21st Century, when laws over a hundred pages long do not receive the derision, mockery and suspicion they deserve.

I do not see an easy solution to this, unless starting today parents were to start introducing this topic to young children in a stern context. "You need to wash behind your ears or dirt will build up there like special interest clauses in Omnibus Bills." Or "You have to rewrite this essay, it's too long. Are you trying to bury something in it because this is a lame duck session and teachers are in recess for the holidays?" Because it's too easy for 'contempt for the system' to sneak into the system. All it takes is to apply a level of obfuscation that exceeds the level of content. No one will ever call you out on it because they're too ashamed to admit they cannot figure it out.

I see that this story was dropped into the everybody-else-is-watching-duck-dynasty department. I'd better go check out Duck Dynasty to see if something interesting is happening. See ya!

about 1 month ago

When Snowden Speaks, Future Lawyers (and Judges) Listen

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Snowden (221 comments)

Snowden badly damaged not only US intelligence but also the intelligence services of many of its allies by leaking massive numbers of classified documents as well as causing numerous diplomatic problems. He leaked far, far more than just aspects of operations that might have a civil rights dispute. Snowden is no patriot.

This is a valid and welcome point of view in the discussion. Will you pussies who modded it -1 Troll please stop??

I see 'patriot' as a personal point of view that becomes Patriot-capitalized over time, maybe hundreds of years, usually in some self-serving context. But of course the Founding Fathers were Patriots! Snowden (unlike Assange) has refrained from using his press conduits to leak names which might compromise the safety of individuals involved in covert operations, if he even had access to them. The bulk of the material I've seen is for presentations and slide shows bragging about specific operations and capabilities. I say poo-poo to the arbitrary act of stamping things 'classified' or 'top secret'. Subject matter does count.

If I am shown a slide prepared by some military contractor that gushes about the 'superior kill radius' of their new product I shrug, recognizing that there is a modern context in which such bravado is an accepted practice whether or not it is to my own taste.

If I am shown a slide that indicates that my government has a cavalier attitude to citizens' rights and actively seeks to build out deep taps and communications retention, I get hopping mad. Because they are smart-stupids. Smart in cleverness but stupid in practice and grievous harm. It does not matter the level of cleverness or coolness of the technology. The mere act of building this thing is stupid.

Thus I am grateful for Snowden's revelations and do give him a 'pass'.

I shed crocodile tears for the poor NSA whose operation to listen in on Chancellor Merkel was laid bare. When I recall Merkel's defense of US surveillance practices worldwide, they become crocodile tears of laughter. You can't make this stuff up!

When I read that the Russian government has back-tooled some of its handling procedures for sensitive documents to an earlier era of typewriters and print I think to myself, now that's really clever of them. If only we were as clever...

It is my own opinion that Snowden's exposure of tap capabilities worldwide, such as we have seen, is necessary to establish its capabilities and awaken the American public, prepare them for the coming debate when they (hopefully) might have an opportunity to take a stand against this, stop this. If there was no harm presently being done to US citizens and more evidence of direct malice towards his own country I might revoke that pass. But no, we ARE being screwed, by US. The pass stands.

As to the revelation of 'so-called classified' material, if more sensitive material from the FBI Hoover era had leaked as it happened we could have avoided years of bad road and unlawful harassment, unjustly ruined lives. So much faux-communist in-fact-malfeasance bullshit. Hoover was a loon.

And if the government would strive to protect the value of tyhe dollar with the same verve with which they have attempted to protect their dirty secrets, we'd all be dog-damned rich.

about 1 month ago

When Snowden Speaks, Future Lawyers (and Judges) Listen

TheRealHocusLocus The battle to De-fund, De-construct and Defame (221 comments)

They wouldn't be committing felonies as that would require a violation of law rather than violations of constitutional restrictions against government. The law, constitutional or not, allows the NSA to do what they are doing else a lowly court could shut it all down by a simple low level prosecutor bringing charges to a grand jury.

Which is why no one in Congress can be expected to cast the first stone at the NSA. Whether they are in a position to know of its effectiveness or not, they will shy away in mortal political terror of NSA producing clear evidence that mass surveillance has "kept us safe". Still waiting. Likewise, pure judicial challenges run into stone walls as courts circularly argue over jurisdiction.

Or in the case of Hepting v. AT&T the Ninth Circuit committed to a sorry-ass monkey fuck decision where the case was dismissed on the basis of a piece of legislation ('retroactively' granting telecom immunity) that was passed after the case was filed. Pause to reflect on that. Has there ever been a clearer example of dereliction of duty of the judicial branch? Or a clearer admission of guilt by the Government?

That is because the NSA was terrified of Hepting vs. AT&T, more scared than it had ever been. Think of this case as a Pandora's box for them --- in which dozens (if not hundreds) of civilian technicians who had been involved in constructing its backbone taps might be encouraged to come forward to add their own piece to a sketch of NSA's domestic spy apparatus. As they came forward you'd see a map of the USA with taps appearing all over, and that would dispel any rhetoric claiming they did not intend to tap America itself.

And besides --- my own speculation but borne out in several places --- I allege that Hepting vs. AT&T would also have exposed that some technicians building our taps were foreign nationals and foreign corporations under contract to NSA. Countries whose spies we have convicted. Strange bedfellows laid bare. Gathering conversations (not silly metadata) has been portrayed as a high cost of liberty, though in the wrong hands it will subvert liberty. Our challenge is to prove this on three fronts.

We must seek to de-fund the NSA by calling into question the track record of mass surveillance to counter threats as of this day --- today. I draw a line at today because they could be cooking up something for tomorrow...

We must de-construct and demonstrate the motive behind mass surveillance to conclude that its only purpose in the end is to gather blackmail and empower absolute rulers with the tools they need to subvert our system of Government. This is true even if those presently engaged in it have good intentions.

We must defame the NSA and what it has become, the people behind it, the Senators who support it because someone whispered something in their ear --- was it a secret of National Security or was it blackmail? There's the rub --- dismantle it.

And that Constitution thing. Thar be dragins.

about 1 month ago

The Problem With Positive Thinking

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Thought it was just me... (158 comments)

I thought it was just me that was was motivated solely by fear and worry

Same here, wasted years daydreaming about success, it's just a form of mental masturbation. Now I cherish my fears and revel in my worries... and gain a small measure of success and satisfaction from the knowledge that perception of reality is reasonably accurate.

I apply The Power of Positive Thinking by being positive that I will screw up completely unless I think. I'm Not OK, You're Not OK , but that's okay. I don each mask of the Four Temperments (this one comes with music) in turn as I consider any great challenge or problem, but the phlegmatic fits best.

I 'm the sanest person I ever met. Don't get out much.

about a month ago

Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Oh no you di'int! (128 comments)

Jean Auel's work is literate smut. It's just a Stone Age bodice-ripper. Don't make me quote-mine for proof.

Calling it a 'bodice ripper' is obscene.

Earth's Children series comprises six books, ~1.8 million words altogether.

In Clan of the Cave Bear There is brutal sex without consent. It occurs within the context of a culture that does not require a woman's consent, which is how Auel chose to portray the Neanderthals --- yet it is clear that among the clan brutality is not tolerated. This is essential to the story... and a series of encounters between Jondalar and Ayla appearing throughout the books that are as sensual and vivid as one might expect of a young couple in love, sex done 'right'. The scenes are described in extravagant (if you hate sex you might prefer 'lurid') detail. Auel's writing style is strained a bit during these sex passages only in that there are some repeated words and phrases, the cutest of which is the use of the word nodule.

But the lovers are soon satiated and the story moves on, just as it does in real life. It does not detract in the slightest from the series. Do not expect a 'did this, said this' style where the characters' minds are opaque and clumsily presented. Auel is a masterful writer who jumps skillfully between expressed inner thought, dialogue, and the senses.

But her portrayal of Earth's primordial landscapes and the journey/adventure is the real treasure one will find in these books. An avid reader not only sees through the characters' eyes, even down to the minutiae of making camp, it becomes possible to place yourself there, so well is it described. I loved the way Tolkien describes Ithilien and always wanted to tarry awhile without a burdensome ring quest. For me, Earth's Children recaptured that feeling.

I do not hesitate to recommend these books to any child who is old enough to read them, even the unpleasant explicit content within 'Cave Bear'. We do not live in a perfect world where there is no need to learn of such things, and that book portrays brutish and bully behavior in its complete context of the character's jealousy and malice. Many might consider these to be 'adult' themes, but my position is that they are just themes that children are sure to encounter in their lives. There is no 'right time' to introduce kids to these things only a 'right way'. The author neither glorifies nor apologizes for them. Books like these help prepare children for life.

Sorry to bore you. Back to the sex. Here is a Google search for "Ayla's nodule for your enjoyment and titillation. Now get off my lawn.

about a month ago



Google challenges us on the Future of Energy

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  3 days ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Google's Ross Koningstein and David Fork have published a interesting article at IEE Spectrum that describes the impetus behind the REC Initiative and sobering conclusions on the most popular renewable energy sources today. It also issues a challenge: not only must we find a source that is theoretically cheaper than coal, "What’s needed, we concluded, are reliable zero-carbon energy sources so cheap that the operators of power plants and industrial facilities alike have an economic rationale for switching over soon---say, within the next 40 years."

It makes good sense, a 40 year deadline. Energy is the catalyst of our modern life, as substantial as any physical product. Cheap base load electricity delivered by grid is the running water of the industrial age. Its effect on quality of life and economic health is analogous to the effect of clean drinking water on public health. Robert Hargraves is one who has also been promoting a carbon-neutral energy source that might provide electricity cheaper than coal and provide raw process heat for making synfuels. What other game-changing ideas are out there?"

Link to Original Source

The Day Israel Attacked the NSA

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about three weeks ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Al Jazeera's recent showing of Richard Belfield's documentary The Day Israel Attacked America is the latest telling of a June 8, 1967 incident that survivors unanimously declare to be an unprovoked and deliberate attack, with clear intent to sink the USS Liberty SIGINT ship with all hands. Along with the BBC's excellent 2002 documentary, it has scarcely been covered by networks in the US itself, save a 60 Minutes segment years ago. James Bamford's NSA exposé Body of Secrets offers a riveting chapter on the harrowing incident. While the Liberty Incident Wikipedia page is information-rich, it has also been a battleground as editors attempt to merge survivors' accounts (often irreconcilably) with official narrative from US and Israeli government sources. WikiSpooks' Liberty article has more to chew on and its reliable sources page is a must-read.

Questions remain, such as why Secretary of Defense Robert Macnamera recalled air support and rescue (twice), the odd indifference of the Johnson Administration and circumstances surrounding our involvement in the Six-Day War, which may have brought us to the brink of nuclear conflict with the USSR. If you love whiteouts and blanked audio you can even browse NSA's own Liberty collection, some materials added in response to FOIA requests.."

Survive (and Party) Like It's 1920!

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a month ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "The Survivor Library is gathering essential knowledge that would be necessary to jump-start modern civilization, should it fail past the point where a simple 'reboot' is not possible. Much of it (but not all) dates to the late 1800s and early 1900s: quaint, but we know these things work because they did work. Does modern civilization offer a real backup-pan? Not a priority. Wait for help. In 1978 James Burke said our modern world has become a trap, and whether it springs shut or not all true roads to survival lead to the plow. Could you make one, use one? Sure, even a steam engine to pull it. I rescued my copy of Henley's Formulas from a dumpster outside a library. This is happening all over. It makes my blood run cold.

Think of it Survivor Library as a trove of survival skills, a "100 year civilization checkpoint backup" that fits on a hard drive. If one individual from every family becomes a Librarian, gathering precious things with the means to read them, there may be many candles in the darkness. You might even ensure survival. Browse at will, but if acquisition is the goal, someone has kindly made a torrent snapshot as of 14-Oct-2014 available to all Ferengis. If the worst happens we'll just party like it's 1920. See you there."

Link to Original Source

When Snowden speaks, future lawyers (and judges) listen

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a month ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "We are witness to an historic 'first': an individual charged with espionage and actively sought by the United States government has been (virtually) invited to speak at Harvard Law School, with applause. HLS Professor Lawrence Lessig conducted the hour-long interview last Monday with a list of questions by himself and his students.

Some interesting jumps are Snowden's assertion that mass domestic intercept is an 'unreasonable seizure' under the 4th Amendment, it also violates 'natural rights' that cannot be voted away even by the majority, a claim that broad surveillance detracts from the ability to monitor specific targets such as the Boston Marathon bombers, calls out Congress for not holding Clapper accountable for misstatements, and laments that contractors are exempt from whistleblower protection though they do swear an oath to defend the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. These points have been brought up before. But what may be most interesting to these students is Snowden's suggestion that a defendant under the Espionage act be permitted to present an argument before a jury that the act was committed "in the public interest". Could this pure-judicial move help ensure a fair trial for whistleblowers whose testimony reveals Constitutional violation?

Professor Lessig wraps up the interview by asking Snowden, Hoodies or Suits? “Hoodies all the way. I hope in the next generation we don't even have suits anymore, they're just gone forever.”"

Link to Original Source

Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's do both, smartly

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a month ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Preppers have a saying, "two is one and one is none" which might also apply to 24x7 base load energy sources that could sustain us beyond the age of fossil fuel. I too was happy to see Skunkworks' Feb 2013 announcement and the recent hello again, still making progress reminder — I was moved by the reaction on Slashdot: a ground swell of "Finally!" and "We're saved!" Do you think fusion is 'the' solution, and yields 'no' radioactive waste?

All nuclear reactors will generate waste via activation as the materials of which they are constructed erode and become unstable under high neutron flux. I'm not pointing this out because I think it's a big deal — a few fusion advocates disingenuously tend to sell the process as if it were '100% clean'. I think that a low volume of non-recyclable waste from fusion reactors that is walk-away safe in ~100 years is doable. Let's do it. And likewise, the best comparable waste profile for fission is a two-fluid LFTR, a low volume of waste that is walk-away safe in ~300 years. Let's do it.

Why pursue both, with at least the same level of urgency? Because both could carry us indefinitely. Because LFTR is a sure thing. It is less complicated in theory and practice. It is closer to market. Yes those are my opinions, but I've been looking into this for awhile. There is plenty of cross-over, LFTR's materials challenges and heat engine interface — and the necessity for waste management — are the same as they will be for commercial scale fusion reactors. To get up to speed please see the 2006 fusion lecture by Dr. Robert Bussard on the Wiffle ball 6 plasma containment, likely the precursor to the Skunkworks approach. And see Thorium Remix 2011 which presents the case for LFTR. Four hours well spent. Saving humanity is worth having at least two eggs in the basket."

A Cyber 'Cold War'? Let the new generation opt out now!

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about 2 months ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "So here we go. The New York Times is quoting "people briefed on the matter" who allege that the JP Moprgan data thieves "are thought to be operating from Russia and appear to have at least loose connections with officials of the Russian government". This becomes a front page item on the Times. Drudge Report dipped into their stock photo bin and plopped a huge Putin photo, one of those pensive ones like he's hiding something.

I remember a time when a respectable news source would be reluctant to take such a claim to the front page on an unnamed single source, let alone tossing out those "loose connections". And of course the Sanctions are brought in, it could be an act of "retaliation"... in case you didn't know. My bullshit detector is going off. I've seen the former Soviet Union evolve into an amazingly diverse culture that is well reprresented on the Internet. This culture has grown alongside our own and runs the gamut of characters: tirelessly brilliant open source software developers, fine commercial products, basement kiddles from script to l33t, and yes — even groups affiliated with organized crime syndicates. This is no surprise and these exist in the US. Ask your local bank what card skimmers are. Are we ready to go full-political on this computer security issue, where who and where diddit is more important than how to lock it down? If Joe Smart from Nashville owns a Russian bank would we expect to see a pensive Obama photo in the Moscow Times?

Let us stay this madness. How do you Slashdotters feel about these growing 'tensions' and what can we do to help bring some moderate balance to the table? And my Russian friends, how do you feel about being implicated thus? Are you all KGB agents? You can speak up, we're all alone here. Signed: been through one Cold War and don't want another."

Link to Original Source

The Rise of Wagnerian Science [corr]

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about 2 months ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Just encountered Negative Results are Disappearing from Most Disciplines and Countries [2011] from master lexicographer Daniele Fanelli, whose 2009 work on scientific misconduct was covered on Slashdot. He finds "the proportion of papers that, having declared to have tested a hypothesis, reported a full or partial support has grown by more than 20% between 1990 and 2007." Does this mean that as a species, we are becoming better at guessing — or are there other forces at work?

One thing that jumped at me in Fanelli's paper [Fig 3, p7] was the smoothness of this progression for the US authors, as compared with other countries. Richard Feynman noted "The thing that doesn't fit is the thing that's most interesting." Are we seeking those things? Newton was almost right. Bereft of rigorous testing to invalidate popular hypotheses, would we be likely to notice "negative results" such as the disparities that led into quantum mechanics, today? Or would they be swept under the rug of selective funding and implied consensus?

Years ago when listening to The Ring I found myself switching the turntable to 78rpm to complete the Cycle in a few hours — its musical sentiment was soo obvious and I "see" where it was going. Science should embody more Contrapunctus, a fugue where negative and positive entwine in a thoughtful dance. Writing this summary I must endeavor not to relate this to climate science. Oops."

Link to Original Source

The Rise of Wagnerian Science

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about 2 months ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Just encountered Negative Results are Disappearing from Most Disciplines and Countries [2011] from master lexicographer Daniele Fanelli, whose 2009 work on scientific misconduct was covered on Slashdot. She finds "the proportion of papers that, having declared to have tested a hypothesis, reported a full or partial support has grown by more than 20% between 1990 and 2007." Does this mean that as a species, we are becoming better at guessing — or are there other forces at work?

One thing that jumped at me in Fanelli's paper [Fig 3, p7] was the smoothness of this progression for the US authors, as compared with other countries. Richard Feynman noted "The thing that doesn't fit is the thing that's most interesting." Are we seeking those things? Newton was almost right. Bereft of rigorous testing to invalidate popular hypotheses, would we be likely to notice "negative results" such as the disparities that led into quantum mechanics, today? Or would they be swept under the rug of selective funding and implied consensus?

Years ago when listening to The Ring I found myself switching the turntable to 78rpm to complete the Cycle in a few hours — its musical sentiment was soo obvious and I "see" where it was going. Science should embody more Contrapunctus, a fugue where negative and positive entwine in a thoughtful dance. Writing this summary I must endeavor not to relate this to climate science. Oops."

Link to Original Source

Death to the Trapezoid.. Small aggravations and big 'fails'

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a year ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Extreme bandwidth is nice, intelligent power management is cool... but folks should be spilling into the streets in thankful praise that the next generation miniature USB connector will fit either way. All told-- just how many intricate miracle devices have been scrapped in their prime — because a tiny USB port was mangled? For millennia untold chimpanzees and people have been poking termite mounds with round sticks. I for one am glad to see round stick technology make its way into consumer electronics. Death to the trapezoid, bring back the rectangle! So... since we're on roll here... how many other tiny annoyances that lead to big fails are out there?"

The Dismantling of POTS: bold move or grave error?

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a year ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "The FCC is drafting rules to formalize the process of transition of "last-mile" subscriber circuits to digital IP-based data streams. The move is lauded by AT&T Chairman Tom Wheeler who claims that significant resources are spent to maintain 'legacy' POTS service, though some 100 million still use it. POTS, or 'Plain Old Telephone Service' is the analog standard that allows the use of simple unpowered phone devices on the wire, with the phone company supplying ring and talk voltage. I cannot fault progress, in fact I'm part of the problem: I gave up my dial tone a couple years ago because I needed cell and could not afford to keep both. But what concerns me is, are we poised to dismantle systems that are capable of standing alone to keep communities and regions 'in-touch' with each other, in favor of systems that rely on centralized (and distant) points of failure? Despite its analog limitations POTS switches have enforced the use of hard-coded local exchanges and equipment that will faithfully complete local calls even if its network connections are down. But do these IP phones deliver the same promise? For that matter, is any single local cell tower isolated from its parent network of use to anyone at all? I have had a difficult time finding answers to this question, and would love savvy /. folks to weigh in: In a disaster that isolates the community from outside or partitions the country's connectivity — aside from local Plain Old Telephone Service, how many IP and cell phones would continue to function? Are we setting ourselves up for a 'fail'?"

If ONLY Compact Flourescernt Bulbs are lighting this room, right now...

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a year ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "POLL IDEA

* They better for me AND I want to threaten everyone to use them with a stick
* Illumination is BETTER than incandescent bulbs
* No difference, who cares
* Illumination is WORSE than incandescent bulbs
* Worse for me AND I want to break them all with a stick
* Naver mind this bulb business, I just want to use the stick
* Disqualified: I have an incandescent desk lamp, I am blind or all my bulbs have burned out"

Breakthrough: Manned Space Travel Achieved Using 40-Year Old Technology

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a year ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Paul Rosenberg has uncovered some surprising new evidence that manned space travel is not only possible, it has actually been achieved using decades-old technology. Some 40 years in the making, a tale too amazing to remain untold. With a few quaint photographs he asks, could we build this? The answer is no. Or is it? It is uplifting to read that "Productive humans have been delegated to mute observance as their hard-earned surplus is syphoned off to capital cities, where it is sanctimoniously poured down a sewer of cultured dependencies and endless wars..." for it must take something really compelling to prevent us from reaching the stars, and he has nailed it. This essay makes the case that the headliner of 2052 may well be: Breakthrough: Manned Space Travel Achieved Using 80-Year Old Technology. I can hardly wait! Down with robots."
Link to Original Source

The future of energy must be crowdsourced, needs your help

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a year and a half ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "It wants to power our grid — completely. It wants to eat our existing nuclear waste, all of it. It does not want to explode or release radioactivity via steam or overpressure. Oil companies are trying to make you fear it (duh). The Big Nuclear Industry will not touch it because it eats anything, and they cannot lock you in to a solid fuel contract. Environmentalists are still confusing it with 'traditional' melt boom irradiate nuclear power technology. Kirk Sorensen wants to tell you about it. TFA is two hours long but there is not a idle moment in here, it's a mini physics course in itself. This is all about keeping the lights on, surviving the Winter, keeping our technological lead."
Link to Original Source

How 'hackable' is EAS? This just in: Zombie acopalypse in Montanna

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about 2 years ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Perhaps uncoincidentally with the Walking Dead's return on AMC, unknown persons have managed to inject a fake EAS (Emergency Alert System) message into the stream of KRTV in Great Falls, Montana. From CONELRAD [1951-1963] to EBS [1963-1997] to modern EAS, the US has had infrastructure in place for an attention signal to alert a hierarchical network of broadcast stations. In 1979 I conducted weekly EBS tests at a small FM station which always required direct operator action. But now so many stations run unattended, it is surprising incidents like this do not happen more often. But this begs the age old question: how could you secure such a network without introducing excessive complexity, reducing reliability?"
Link to Original Source

Only two real challenges face us today, besides restraint (for comment)

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about 2 years ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "There are only two real challenges to face in this world.

There is only only one doomsday scenario that requires us to come together and take action to ensure our survival: to deploy technology that can identify, then divert or destroy asteroids on a course to impact our planet.

There is only one actual piece of social engineering that needs to occur to ensure our survival: to marginalize the opposition to nuclear energy and to build and scale up efficient and safe modern designs to completely power our electric grids with enough surplus energy for electric ground transportation, trains, cars and trucks. To gather and store the nuclear waste responsibly until breeder technology matures. The developing world wants electric grids (not our charity dollars), in the developed world the grids are the only thing between us and the dark ages. Coal, oil and gas harm the environment and their depletion curves yield a perpetual resource war and eventual doom. Disaster-hardened underground nuclear reactors hold the ONLY real promise we have for continued existence in the style to which we are accustomed.

That's it. Only two challenges. All the rest are matters that may be solved with restraint.

This practice of taking issues such as violence and war or drug abuse or overpopulation, and treating them as 'disasters' and not issues of restraint — worries me. It is a grave mental disorder to portray them as anything more than they are, simple issues of personal restraint.

John Galt's motor does not exist. Fusion even if it proves possible will not be scalable soon enough. Hydrogen is a great fuel for transportation but it requires energy for harvest. Nuclear fission is the *only* energy source that could keep us alive through a long dark winter so it must be pursued — until it is perfected, to the exclusion of everything else.

In other words, GROW UP humanity, this little recess from technological innovation while we burn off the oil and turn away from danger in the sky, is over. It's time to get back to work."


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