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Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

jdschulteis Re:I understand, but FTS (378 comments)

On the other hand, 75 is an arbitrary number. I'm 53, and will match wits with any of you.

OK, but I am not falling for that iocaine trick.

8 hours ago

New Data Center Protects Against Solar Storm and Nuclear EMPs

jdschulteis Re:Poor comparison... (59 comments)

A "Carrington-level" event nowadays would most likely be much less disruptive, as back then all the early radio and spark gap stuff was well under 50 MHz, which is where almost all of the natural noise winds up in the spectrum. Ever notice, for example you can hear your shaver motor on an AM radio but not an FM one. This is not due to AM vs. FM, (well, it is a little) but mostly due to the fact that AM is about 1 MHz and FM is about 100 MHz, well above the "static line" around 50 MHz.

It would take a much stronger signal than back then to cause the same level of disruption. Not saying that can't happen, but modern radio communications are quite a bit more robust than they were back over 100 years ago.

The concern is not so much about the disruption of radio communications, but the power grid. Our society might not survive a massive, long-term (months or even years) blackout (a huge number of transformers might be destroyed all at once by the induced EMF).

about a week ago

Liquid Sponges Extract Hydrogen From Water

jdschulteis Re:No, not really (113 comments)

You still need very pure water or you poison the process. Where's that water coming from? How do you collect the gaseous hydrogen? You still need to liquify it and all the emrittlement and cryogenic issues are still there.

Even if hydrogen gas is free, it makes no sense as an energy carrier for cars.

They don't collect the gaseous hydrogen in the electrolyzer; they soak it up with a "liquid sponge" ("a recyclable redox mediator (silicotungstic acid) " according to the article's abstract. In principle at least, hydrogen could be stored and transported in this form (a liquid sponge soaked with hydrogen).; the hydrogen can be catalytically released (wrung out of the liquid sponge) when needed. Whether such a system could be built with a practical size, weight, and cost for use in vehicles is another matter.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

jdschulteis MUMPS (729 comments)

MUMPS, where every keyword has a 1-to-3 letter abbreviation, resulting in code like this:

;;19.0;VA FileMan;;Jul 14, 1992
D I 'X1!'X2 S X="" Q
S X=X1 D H S X1=%H,X=X2,X2=%Y+1 D H S X=X1-%H,%Y=%Y+1&X2
K %H,X1,X2 Q
C S X=X1 Q:'X D H S %H=%H+X2 D YMD S:$P(X1,".",2) X=X_"."_$P(X1,".",2)
K X1,X2 Q
S S %=%#60/100+(%#3600\60)/100+(%\3600)/100 Q
H I X S %Y=$E(X,1,3),%M=$E(X,4,5),%D=$E(X,6,7)
S %T=$E(X_0,9,10)*60+$E(X_"000",11,12)*60+$E(X_"00000",13,14)
S %='%M!'%D,%Y=%Y-141,%H=%H+(%Y*365)+(%Y\4)-(%Y>59)+%,%Y=$S(%:-
K %M,%D,% Q
DOW D H S Y=%Y K %H,%Y Q

about two weeks ago

Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

jdschulteis Re:Are You Kidding? (541 comments)

In order for a Northern European to evolve fair skin and hair, there has to be something that will kill a human of dark skin and hair. Since people with dark skin can survive in Northern Europe, it is not through evolution.

The "something" doesn't have to kill, just reduce the probability of reproductive success. Vitamin D deficiency fills the bill.

about a month and a half ago

Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

jdschulteis Re:haha. they call if "charging the battery" (363 comments)

What I'm wondering is why I want to carry around 2 months worth of fuel in my car and be sitting on top of that amount of potential energy in a crash?

Maybe because of the unlikelihood that all of that energy would be released rapidly enough to cause a safety concern?

about 4 months ago

The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

jdschulteis Re:Morals, ethics, logic, philosophy (255 comments)

Lin and Sofge advocate that the programmers should use strict utilitarian philosophy when deciding what to hit. I don't think that is going to fly, either from a legal or a sales perspective; the least damaging choice is just to try to stop the vehicle even if there is no time, rather than trying to "select" a crash for the least possible damage.

I agree--the results of collisions are simply too unpredictable. The idea of "knowing" the outcomes and choosing the one that leads to the fewest deaths (greatest utility) is preposterous. If a collision is unavoidable, simply remove as much kinetic energy as possible in order to minimize damage to the vehicle and its occupants.

about 4 months ago

As NASA Seeks Next Mission, Russia Holds the Trump Card

jdschulteis Re:Eric Burger asks, how did it come to this? (250 comments)

So much of the budget is off-limits (social security and medicare) that the only areas left vulnerable to cutting are things like NASA.

The USA has locked itself into forced spending in some areas and it's squeezing other areas.

We could double NASA's budget and pay for it with a 3% cut to the military.

about 4 months ago

Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

jdschulteis Re:Wow. What a jerk. (394 comments)

Also, given his long standing support to Left wing causes, what exactly does he have against Stalin to call cellphones 'Stalin's dream'?

One can be a collectivist while opposing authoritarianism. See Political Compass.

about 4 months ago

Talking To the Public: the Biggest Enemy To Reducing Greenhouse Emissions

jdschulteis Re:Technological Advancement solves this... (324 comments)

And by easily I mean it has to be as cheap and effective as the dirtier power sources like coal and oil. Otherwise countries will never go towards it as it's too much of a hassle.

The problem with this reasoning is that coal and oil are only cheap if you don't count the cost of building seawalls, moving people inland, loss of arable land, and so forth. There will be longer growing seasons, open Arctic sea lanes, and other positive effects as well, but the consensus is that the net effect will be negative. Factor that in and wind and solar become cost competitive with fossil fuels.

about 5 months ago

The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy

jdschulteis Re:Solar isn't "GREEN" (769 comments)

Solar panel creation uses many toxic products, chemicals and dangerous gases, including Sulfur Hexaflouride, the MOST POTENT GREENHOUSE GAS... Is it really about the planet, or is it about money?

From Wikipedia - "According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, SF6 is the most potent greenhouse gas that it has evaluated, with a global warming potential of 23,900 times that of CO2 when compared over a 100-year period."

2002 was the last year I could find a quick worldwide sales number for SF6, 5096 metric tons. Using your factor of 23,900 and rounding up, that's the equivalent of 122 million tons of CO2 assuming every molecule of SF6 was dumped directly into the atmosphere. By comparison, in 2012, an estimated 9700 million tons of CO2 were emitted. Of course, only about 7% of SF6 production is used in semiconductor manufacturing, and only a fraction of that is solar cell production and of that fraction not all is released into the atmosphere. Cradle-to-grave estimates for all greenhouse gas emissions in grams of CO2 equivalent per kWh came in at 1001 for coal, 500 for natural gas, and 45 for solar cells.

Capture and sequestration of CO2 from burning coal would have large capital costs and increase coal usage by about 30%, putting the cost of electricity from coal right in the same ballpark as unsubsidized wind and solar.

Please do a little research and thought before you shout "ZOMG SF6 MOST POTENT GREENHOUSE GAS!"

about 5 months ago

Pollution In China Could Be Driving Freak Weather In US

jdschulteis Re:china has smog, so its clearly chinas fault. (158 comments)

Americans constitute 5% of the worlds population, yet we consume 24% of its energy.

Please stop using this bogus comparison to imply that Americans use more than "their share" of the world's energy. The correct comparison is between inputs and outputs. The USA produces nearly 20% of the world's GDP. If your 24% is correct, we have room for improvements in energy efficiency, but we're not nearly the energy gluttons that you're suggesting. The low ratio of population to energy use is largely due to our high productivity.

about 5 months ago

Climate Scientist: Climate Engineering Might Be the Answer To Warming

jdschulteis Re:What if we overcorrect? LA comparison (343 comments)

Shesh, nope. First, what tax subsidies are you talking about? There is no way Coal is subsidized, nor is oil and gas.

Do a little research. Here's a starting point.

It's going to be cheaper to make electricity by natural gas for a LONG time, especially over solar.

That depends on how bad the fracking earthquakes get.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

jdschulteis Re:Some of the oldest trades become useful. (737 comments)

I'd rather be a marauder. What's an good apocalypse without them?

I am reminded of the words of the notorious pirate Bartholomew Roberts: "...a merry life and a short one shall be my motto."

about 5 months ago

GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

jdschulteis Re:Not a flamebait summary (236 comments)

I have long held the belief that software can be life critical at times and software engineers should be held to the same professionalism as any other form of engineering.

It is a matter of fact, not belief, that software can be life critical. For the majority of software, though, cost and time-to-market considerations far outweigh coding to the highest professional standard. "Good enough" wins.

about 5 months ago

GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

jdschulteis Re:Why not? (236 comments)

In most places "Software Engineers" meet no accreditation requirements, have no requirement to belong to any society which regulates ethics, experience or training.

I've worked with real engineers, ethics was more important than their education.

There is no requirement to belong, but at least there is a society that promulgates ethics.

about 5 months ago

Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

jdschulteis Re:He's right! (581 comments)

Trying to stuff everyone into a particular mold is like something straight out of Anthem or 1984, and it just doesnt work.

Right. Best to take a page out of "Brave New World", so everyone from alphas to epsilons can be happy.

about 5 months ago

Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

jdschulteis Re:If this were the US.... (408 comments)

If I get my hands on the asshat who's been poaching my unicorns there'll be hell to pay

It's those guys from the marketing department.

about 5 months ago

Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

jdschulteis Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (469 comments)

Can you show me the math that proves that there's no difference between an uncompressed audio source and a 320kbps mp3?

There's a difference between "no difference at all" and "no difference that can be detected by human hearing".

about 5 months ago



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