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4 Prominent Scientists Say Renewables Aren't Enough, Urge Support For Nuclear

cartman Re:Quite the opposite: Nuclear is not enough (776 comments)

Stop spreading nuclear industry FUD.

What? What I am spreading "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" about? Coal-burning plants? You really think that the fear and doubt about those is overstated?

1 year,23 days

4 Prominent Scientists Say Renewables Aren't Enough, Urge Support For Nuclear

cartman Re:Not good at math (776 comments)

You only need to cover a half a percent of the Earth's surface with off-the-shelf 15% efficient PV panels to provide all of humanity all of its energy needs.

This is true, but the problem is, solar power is at the wrong place and time.

It would be entirely feasible to power Arizona using concentrating solar plants. Those plants could use thermal storage to provide power during the night. They could provide baseline power, all year long.

If we wanted to power the United Kingdom with renewables, however, it would be a very different matter. Concentrating solar thermal plants in the UK would have almost zero output for about 5 months out of the year. Photovoltaics would have very little output during the day in mid-winter there, and no output during the night. It is not possible to power the UK using wind turbines.

It would be very difficult to power densely-populated areas in northern latitudes using renewable power. That is why we need nuclear power for those areas.

1 year,24 days

4 Prominent Scientists Say Renewables Aren't Enough, Urge Support For Nuclear

cartman Re:Quite the opposite: Nuclear is not enough (776 comments)

Why does everybody overlook that uranium resources are limited and that what is available today barely can feed the existing reactors?

Because the claim isn't true.

Nuclear energy has brought nothing but trouble and wasted shiploads of money.

What? Nuclear energy has provided almost 20% of electricity worldwide and has powered entire first-world countries such as France. It has averted millions of deaths (over 30+ years) that would have occurred if we had burned coal instead. Is that really "nothing"? Is it really a waste of money?

1 year,24 days

4 Prominent Scientists Say Renewables Aren't Enough, Urge Support For Nuclear

cartman Re:The problems with nuclear aren't pollution.... (776 comments)

1) Expense. nuclear power is incredibly expensive to do safely

Nuclear power is not incredibly expensive to do safely. New nuclear power plants are far safer than those a Fukushima and would not have melted down under those circumstances. They cost modestly more than coal-burning.

And if you have a nuclear plant you have most of the really hard bits of a nuclear weapons program.

This is not true at all. Nuclear reactors are not helpful in gaining a nuclear weapons program.

It's uranium enrichment that helps with a nuclear weapons program. However there is already an international treaty whereby any one of seven countries will provide any other country with a 30-year stockpile of nuclear fuel if that country wishes to pursue nuclear power. As a result, it is not necessary to enrich uranium in order to have nuclear power. As a result, it's entirely possible to separate nuclear power from nuclear weapons.

1 year,24 days

4 Prominent Scientists Say Renewables Aren't Enough, Urge Support For Nuclear

cartman Re:Logic! (776 comments)

That may be true, however a typical coal burning plant still causes more deaths over its lifetime than a nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. An average coal-burning plant causes thousands of deaths from respiratory disease and heart disease throughout its 40-year lifetime (not taking into account the deaths that will be caused by climate change) whereas the total number of predicted fatalities from all 4 melted down reactors at Fukushima is less than 1,000.

1 year,24 days

4 Prominent Scientists Say Renewables Aren't Enough, Urge Support For Nuclear

cartman Re:Logic! (776 comments)

How many square kilometers of land have been made completely uninhabitable for the next 200 years or so as a result of coal power?

If you count global warming and sea-level rise, then large areas of the surface of the Earth including Bangladesh and Florida, will be uninhabitable for 3,000+ years.

All I can do is pull my hair out and cry.

Climate change is caused by a confederacy between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives deny that it exists, and liberals make it happen.

1 year,24 days

Celebrating a Century of Fossil Finds In the La Brea Tar Pits

cartman It's an excellent musem (93 comments)

If you're ever in Los Angeles, you should visit the museum. The specimens are only about 50,000 years old and they were almost perfectly preserved by falling into the tar pits. Their skeletons are remarkably intact. It's not like dinosaur fossils which are extensively reconstructed. Every last little bone and joint is original and in excellent condition.

There are all sorts of massive mammals like sabre-tooth tigers, giant sloths, giant camels which apparently roamed North America until fairly recently, etc.

It's a worthwhile excursion if you happen to be in LA.

1 year,30 days

Should the U.S. bomb Syria?

cartman Re: should slashdot be asking if the U.S. should b (659 comments)

Are you sure that's not a crackpot source?

From wikipedia:

The introduction to a book later published containing each panelists' papers noted that Bacque is a Canadian novelist with no previous historical research or writing experience.[40] The introduction concludes that "Other Losses is seriously—nay, spectacularly—flawed in its most fundamental aspects."[39] The historians conclude that, among its many problems, Other Losses:[39]
misuses documents;
misreads documents;
ignores contrary evidence;
employs a statistical methodology that is hopelessly compromised;
made no attempt to see the evidence he has gathered in relation to the broader situation;
made no attempt to perform any comparative context;
puts words into the mouths of the subjects of his oral history;
ignores a readily available and absolutely critical source that decisively dealt with his central accusation.
As a consequence of those and other shortcomings, the book "makes charges that are demonstrably absurd."[39]

about a year ago

Researchers Discover Way To Spot Crappy Coffee

cartman Oh thank goodness... (184 comments)

Finally, they have a chemical process to verify that the $500/kg coffee is, in fact, Kopi Luwak. Thank goodness! Gone are the days of me paying $500/kg for coffee and not being able to tell if it's Kopi Luwak or just Folger's. I'm a discerning customer with stringent tastes. I want to know if the $500/kg coffee I'm drinking is actually high-quality. I don't want any of that $5/kg shit being passed off as $500/kg coffee, and then I don't notice and get ripped off.

about a year ago

Russia Today: Vladimir Putin's Weapon In 'The War of Images'

cartman Re:I skim RT daily (254 comments)

I read RT for the first time today and was surprised how crude it was. It consisted mostly of articles that were obviously written to stir up hatred/anger towards the US, and towards the west more generally. One article referred to the Bank of England as "monetary jihadists" and claimed they are "financial terrorists".

That kind of propaganda is just way too crude. The average person can see through it.

RT would be much more persuasive if they toned it down a lot. Right now, it's just silly.

about a year ago

Windows NT Turns 20

cartman Re:Last revolutionary M$ product (213 comments)

C# is an excellent language, and is superior to Java, in my opinion.

C# hasn't really gone anywhere, because MS isn't really pushing it anymore, but it was well-designed.

There are some other MS products which were pretty good. SQL Server was fine (I realize it was based on Sybase 4). Visual Studio is pretty good.

MS's worst products, in my opinion, were Exchange and Outlook. MS should have fired everyone that was working on either of those. I was astonished that Outlook still sucked so badly after a decade of development. Basic features still didn't work well, in my opinion, around 2008. It's not that hard to write a mail client.

about a year ago

Should OpenStack Embrace Amazon AWS?

cartman Re:the importance of dominant designs (27 comments)

Hi Martin. How are things. I didn't even realize you were a slashdot reader. (I worked at Eucalyptus until fairly recently).

In my opinion, cloud APIs are different from the other APIs or architectures you mentioned (WWW, x86/windows, LAMP), in that applications are not written for a particular cloud API. The cloud API is exposed to cloud management tools, not to the applications which will run in the cloud. Thus, the same application will run on either an AWS cloud, or a Rackspace cloud. This situation is quite different from (say) the windows API, which had applications written specifically for it.

The big exception is S3, but the S3 API is very simple and can easily be handled by a compatibility layer.

Furthermore, almost nobody interacts with any AWS API (except S3) directly. Sysadmins interact with the AWS API through tools, like command-line tools and web consoles. The AWS API is only truly important to people who write cloud management tools.

The value of AWS compatibility is in two things: 1) familiar cloud management tools, and 2) hybrid clouds.

Perhaps OpenStack should make a suite of command-line tools and a web console, which resemble Amazon as closely as possible. That way, any deployment scripts etc would continue to work. It doesn't matter very much which web service API the tools are communicating with.

Also, OpenStack may need to support hybrid OpenStack/Amazon clouds in the future. This depends upon whether hybrid clouds take off.

Let me know if you think there's something I'm missing here.


about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Postgres On Par With Oracle?

cartman postgres is not oracle (372 comments)

I'm a big fan of postgres and have been for many years. I consider it to be an excellent RDBMS.

That said, postgres is not a replacement for Oracle. Oracle has a large number of enterprise features which are too numerous to list here.

One important thing which springs to mind is the lack of index clusters in Postgres, even in the most recent versions. The postgres equivalent (cluster table using index) is just not the same thing at all, or even close. This by itself could easily cause some complex queries to take more than 5x longer in postgres.

Another important thing is that postgres has no equivalent to RAC or other clustering technologies available in commercial RDBMSes. Hot standby is not the same thing.

There are many other examples that are too numerous to list here.

about a year ago

HTTP 2.0 Will Be a Binary Protocol

cartman Re:Makes sense (566 comments)

If you're on a tiny system however this is problematic.

I grant that tiny systems can be a good reason to use proprietary binary formats. With tiny systems, the CPU overhead of comrpession can be excessive.

The definition of "tiny" is changing though. Previously, cell phones used to be "tiny" insofar as they had really small CPUs and little ram. Now even low-end smartphones have 1GHz out-of-order dual-core processors, for which the overhead of compression would be negligible.

about a year ago

HTTP 2.0 Will Be a Binary Protocol

cartman Re:Makes sense (566 comments)

I disagree. I'm an old enough programmer (in my 40s), I started my career working with proprietary binary formats, and I remember the good reasons why binary formats were abandoned. Where I work, the older someone is, the less likely they are to favor binary formats for structured data (this argument has come up a lot recently).

I'll repeat one or two of the arguments in favor of not using proprietary binary formats.

If you wish to save space, conserve bandwidth, etc, then binary formats are not a good way of accomplishing that. The best way of saving space and conserving bandwidth is to use compression, not a custom binary format! Binary formats are still very large compared to compressed xml, because binary formats still have uncompressed strings, ints with leading zeroes, repeating ints, and so on. If you wish to save space or conserve bandwidth, then you ought to use compression.

If you use compression, though, then using a binary format also, gains you nothing. Binary formats do not compress down any further than human-readable formats that encode the same information. You won't gain even a few extra bytes on average by using a binary format before compressing. It gains nothing to use a custom binary format if you compress, which you should do if you're concerned about space or bandwidth.

Of course, compressed formats are binary formats. However, the compression formats you will use, are extremely common, are easily identified from a text identifier at the beginning of the file, and have widespread decompressors available on almost all platforms. Gzip, Bzip2, and zip are installed by default on the macbook pro I got from work. They're almost everywhere. That is not the case for a custom binary format which you create. Also, compression can be turned on and off. If you wish to sniff packets for debugging, you can turn compression off for awhile.

Here's a different way of putting it. You can think of common compression algorithms (such as bzip2) as mechanisms for converting your files into the most compact binary representation available with no programming effort from you. It does not help those algorithms if you also try to do binary encoding yourself beforehand.

There are a few weird exceptions where it's best to use binary formats. There are small embedded devices which lack the hardware to perform compression. Also, http/2.0 might be an exception, because the data transmitted is less than 100 bytes usually, so adaptive compression wouldn't work well, and it wouldn't be possible to compress across http requests because Http is (in theory) a stateless protocol.

Now though, even private internal saved state never seen by a human is done in XML for bizarre reasons.

There are reasons other than human-readability to use XML. Using xml means you gain an ecosystem of tools: all kinds of parsers, generators, code generators, validators, editors, pretty-printers in your IDE, network packet sniffers that can parse and pretty-print it, etc, on a wide variety of platforms. You lose all that if you roll your own binary format, for a gain of nothing if you compress the data in production.

Also, private internal state is seen by a human on rare occasion. What happens if parsing the file fails? Someone will need to look at it.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Store Data In Hard Copy?

cartman Microfiche or microfilm (329 comments)

I'd bet you could pick up some used microfilm or microfiche equipment from an old library, newspaper, or business. That equipment was standard during the 1970s, and I'd guess there's still a lot of it around.

You can store hundreds of pages on a single small roll of microfilm.

Canon still makes equipment to scan microfilm into digital formats.

about a year ago

The Price of Amazon

cartman Re:Breaking news (298 comments)

Breaking news - you're a clueless git who no more understands the situation than my keyboard does. But that doesn't stop you from typing platitudes,

Speaking of clueless...

I like non fiction submarine books (for example), Amazon figures this out... and I'll never see a sale price on a submarine book again. I ordered the DVD of A Certain Scientific Railgun last week, and today the manga was a higher price than it was two weeks ago.

Nope. Amazon's prices fluctuate often, based upon supply and demand. You saw that, and then you wrongly inferred that they were discriminating against you, and charging you higher prices based upon your prior behavior.

you're a clueless git who no more understands the situation than my keyboard does

You may consider growing up before posting.

about a year ago

China Set To Surpass US In R&D Spending In 10 Years

cartman Re:R&D Stealing (233 comments)

The fact is, the wealth of the world is being redistributed, and the US and EU are coming up losers. China is gaining.

The wealth of the world is not being redistributed. China is making more money because they are manufacturing more, not because the money is being redistributed from the US or EU.

the fact that China is ascending, while we descend.

We are not descending. The US and EU economies have continued growing (albeit slowly) during China's ascent. The reason is because the world economy is not a zero-sum game, and wealth is not being transferred from the US or EU to China.

China may be dependent on us today, but what happens in fifty years, or a hundred?

China, the US, and the EU will all have first-world living standards, most likely.

We're selling off our great grandchildren's future.

We are not selling any important assets to the Chinese. ...The only thing the Chinese are "taking" from us are exhaustible, expensive, internationally traded commodities. such as Oil. Our great grandchildren wouldn't have had too much of that anyway.

about 2 years ago

Why America's School "Lag" Has Never Mattered

cartman Cherry-picking statistics (361 comments)

What always fascinates me about this debate is how much cherry-picking of statistics is involved. In all cases, someone in the media or on a blog, cherry-picks some statistic out of the PISA test, then writes a headline like "Oh no! The US is falling behind and we're DOOMED!"

I've actually read the results of the PISA test. The results are surprising. The US is approximately average among the OECD countries, virtually indistinguishable from France, Germany, or the UK. Even the vaunted German education in science, is only modestly better than US education in science: 539 vs 502. Even Japan, which has a reputation for non-stop studying and cram schools and so on, scores 539 on science, vs 502 in the US. I'm using science as an example because it's the middle case: the US performs slightly better relatively on reading, and slightly worse on math, but not to any significant degree.

Most industrialized first-world countries are not very different from each other on the PISA test. China is much better, however China is widely known to cheat on this test, and they cherry-pick students from an elite high school in Shanghai rather than randomly from the population, so the Chinese results were prefaced by an asterisk on the PISA results until recently. Aside from the Shanghai Chinese results, most industrialized countries are not very different from each other. Take the science test as an example. Spain performs very poorly, at 489; and Japan performs very well, at 539. Almost all large, industrialized countries are within this range. There are one or two outliers (Finland is an example) but not many.

The only way in which the US educational system is demonstrably inferior to any other large, industrialized country is the proportion of students who score a 6 (the top score) on the math test. In this regard, a few countries (like Japan, Switzerland, and Korea) have ~7% of their students which score in the very top category of the math test while the US (and most other countries) has about ~2%. This is the only worrying statistic. China (Shanghai) has a fantastic score in this regard, but again it is cherry-picked.

The lesson of the PISA test is this: most rich countries are quite close together in almost all regards. However a few of them (Japan, Korea, Switzerland, and Taiwan) have a small portion of their populations (less than 10%) who score very well in math.

more than 2 years ago



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