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Google Releases Chrome 6, Pays $4337 In Bounties

Wastl Re:Wheel of Bug Chasers! (177 comments)

The "bounty" is mostly a marketing instrument, and not so much a reward (just a nice gesture). The rationale is: "our software is so good that we can afford to give out bounties for the few bugs that you will find". A message to the majority of users, not to potential bug hunters. :-)

about 4 years ago

Europe To Import Sahara Solar Power Within 5 Years

Wastl Desertec ... (450 comments)

There is so much myth and misinformation spread in this discussion, and the original post isn't very helpful either. The whole concept is described here and worked out by a scientific foundation called Desertec. They have thought much beyond the common objections found in this forum. Some common ones:

  • inefficient solar cells: the power plants do not use photovoltaic cells, they are thermal power plants using mirrors to heat up a special heating fluid, very efficient
  • energy storage over night: this problem is addressed by huge salt tanks that can store heat with minimum losses over longer periods of time
  • unstable region: this is North Africa, not Middle East. Also, plants will be distributed over several countries, and energy production is part of a larger plan that does not only involve solar power from Africa
  • single technology: as said, the solar plants are part of a larger concept that also involves many different forms of renewable energy involving a Europe-wide "grid" that connects also with wind power in different parts of Northern and Western Europe and hydro power in the alpine regions of Central Europe

Lots of questions are also answered at Desertec's FAQ

Greetings, Sebastian

more than 4 years ago

Lichtblick and Volkswagen To Build 'Swarm' Power Plants

Wastl Re:Uh? (327 comments)

If there is no such thing as radioactive waste, why are we then building very expensive and very complex ways of storing that waste for the next 10.000s of years?

about 5 years ago

Lichtblick and Volkswagen To Build 'Swarm' Power Plants

Wastl Re:Nuclear power is safe (327 comments)

No need to make me aware of other sources of death - dying from Chernobyl radiation in Germany is probably as likely as dying from a terrorist attack.;-) According to other sources (I think it was on Wikipedia), the radiation stemming from Chernobyl for the average European is about as high as the radiation stemming from nuclear bomb tests and as the radiation stemming from regular, non-accident nuclear plants. I am actually regularly buying mushrooms from White Russia, knowing that it has been affected most severely by the radiation after the meltdown. Everything from car accidents over smoking and household accidents is certainly much more likely. Radiation is just a bit more spooky, but there is certainly no reason to panic.

However, this does not change the issue that nuclear energy poses an additional danger to mankind that could be avoided if we instead invested more in other, more environment friendly ways to create energy. I am not in favour of immediately shutting down existing nuclear plants as one of my parent posts suggests ("lights going out ..."). I am however much in favour of treating all fossil energy sources as outdated and putting considerable research efforts in renewable energy sources instead of betting on nuclear energy as the solution to our environment issues (this is IMHO more than stupid). Instead, we are still investing twice as much money in nuclear energy research than in renewable energy research, and we are spending many many times as much in trying to stabilise our oil sources. This is what I am criticising.

Going back to the original article: the environment friendly aspect of this approach is that it actually is a good complement for the renewable energy sources that do not provide a reliable stream of energy. At least for the moment. And therefore it is a nice thing to experiment with it.

about 5 years ago

Lichtblick and Volkswagen To Build 'Swarm' Power Plants

Wastl Re:Nuclear power is safe (327 comments)

Even though I am thousands of kilometers away, it is still recommended to not eat mushrooms more than a couple of times a year, and I want a better future for my own children.

Are you sure that recommendation is based on good science? Or is it like the Vaccine scare here in the USA about Thermisol? That has parents not vaccinating their kids even with thermisol free vaccines.

There is still a warning of the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection here and here discouraging the consumption of certain very popular types of mushrooms that still have a CS-137 contamination of over 1000 Becquerel per kilogram more than 20 years after the catastrophe and thousands of kilometers away from the site. A single serving of 200g mushrooms will result in a contamination of 0.01 milisievert, equalling a typical long-distance flight. The maximum allowed exposure in Germany is 1 mS alltogether, including X-ray treatment and natural sources.

about 5 years ago

Lichtblick and Volkswagen To Build 'Swarm' Power Plants

Wastl Re:Uh? (327 comments)

Since you are working in resources, your interest in and lobbying for fossil/nuclear fuel and FUD on alternative energy sources seems obvious, doesn't it? ;-)

Have you looked at the DESERTEC concept at all? It answers a lot of the issues you are raising with solar energy. True, it is visionary, but it is also backed by several studies and major institutions.

but i know you won't listen to reason, you've been spoon fed this nonsense for years. i'll just wait for your lights to go out.

Where is the "reason" you are offering? I could argue the same "spoon feeding" for your argumentation ("nuclear power is save"). Maybe we Europeans are more careful with such statements, being closer to Chernobyl. Even though I am thousands of kilometers away, it is still recommended to not eat mushrooms more than a couple of times a year, and I want a better future for my own children.

Regarding research spendings I could quickly find this resource, which has a really amazing chart:, showing that US research spendings on solar energy are still only half of those on nuclear energy despite the fact that you claim that there is essentially no research on nuclear energy! ; figures are from National Council for Science and the Environment.

about 5 years ago

Lichtblick and Volkswagen To Build 'Swarm' Power Plants

Wastl Re:Uh? (327 comments)

I cannot here this boring argument about solar, wind and wave being no alternative repeated again and again. The argument does not get better over time. Had we invested a fraction of the research funding that we have given to nuclear power industries into renewable energy research, we would probably already have most of our energy from renewalbe sources.

Nuclear power is inherently dangerous, we do not know how to deal with the waste, the nuclear fossil fuel will last only a couple of decades, and huge power plants are as inefficient as it gets because of the long distances electricity is transported. By contrast, distributed generation of electricity as proposed by the article is much more efficient, because it happens very close to the consumer.

Solar-based energy is technically possible for Europe even with a 24/7 load. The initiative "Desertec" is following this approach, and there are several studies showing the feasability, financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conversation and Nuclear Safety, see . The reasons why this initiative might still fail are purely political, and for me, this is no excuse.

about 5 years ago

Semantic Web Getting Real

Wastl Re:Vapourware my arse (135 comments)

For the record; I am a researcher working in the Semantic Web area, and I am primary developer of the system IkeWiki and the reasoning language Xcerpt. Since this discussion seems to pop up again and again on Slashdot, I didn't want to add comments to the same issues (trust, search) again. But your comment might add something new to the discussion:

Without knowing the details of your circumstances, it sounds like, maybe, the real point is that what you want is an object oriented database rather than relational one. RDF allows for much more of an object oriented design than a traditional RDBMS does.

In principle, you are right. But there is an important difference between RDF and Object Oriented Databases: while OO DBMS require that the data always conforms to a strict, pre-defined schema, RDF data is semi-structured and can be very flexibly extended. To give an example: in an OO DBMS, it is a problem if a person is defined only by first name and last name, and someone else wants to add a "friend" relationship to this person that is not foreseen in the schema. With RDF, this is not an issue: programs and repositories that were designed just for first name/last name will equally well work in the presence of a "friend" property. In a Web environment, chaotic as it is, this is a crucial property.

Greetings, Sebastian

more than 6 years ago


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