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Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

khallow Re:google has no choice, like many others before t (110 comments)

that counts as right wing in my book

So what? Why should I care about your "book"?

I could not give a crap about the Gmail example, but the fact is that "libertarianism" in the US is just a front, funded by the likes of the Koch brothers (and others) and designed to facilitate a tax regime friendly to the richest 1% of the population. If that does not count as right wing I do not know what does.

You're right. You don't know what right wing is. Or facts for that matter. Libertarianism has been kicking around in the US since at least the end of the Second World War, long before the Koch brothers might have been a factor. It's never been a front for the rich. The ideology was developed long ago. Your "fact" is fraudulent.

Second, right wing vaguely means conservative/reactionary and someone who values social stability well over change. Libertarians are aggressive liberal on issues of personal freedom and economics even if that threatens social stability and other conservative notions. In those areas, they tend to be to the left of most leftists (aside from anarchists).

yesterday
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

khallow Re:But what is "nuclear waste" ? (421 comments)

Everyone seems to forget that half of the entire fucking nuclear power station is also "waste" - it's radioactive and damned fucking hard to get rid of.

You don't need to immediately get rid of it. Just leave it in place until it's no longer radioactive waste. And it's low grade waste too. There's a reason for the lack of drama.

yesterday
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Civilization: Beyond Earth Announced

khallow Re:Shut up and take my money (85 comments)

Yea, the game does play differently at higher levels. Still the AI plays dumb especially with the tactical warfare.

2 days ago
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Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

khallow Re:power honeypot (110 comments)

No, removing power from the democracy

I agree with raymorris. You failed from the start. The federal government is not "the democracy". In fact, taking power away from the federal government is giving it to "the democracy".

2 days ago
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Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

khallow Re:google has no choice, like many others before t (110 comments)

Well, I see you haven't established that the Koch brothers are actually right wing. And libertarianism != right wing (just one of the many ideologies that can't easily be shoehorned into a single sliding scale).

However, I can read the title and I know what Night Trap is, and I know that it has nothing to do with Gmail.

Which is why it was given as an example. It's a totally different example of the principle which doesn't involve Gmail at all by design.

My issue with your Gmail example is that Figueroa did not "want to ban it."

Destroying the business model is a classic political means for banning something. It's done all the time with adult video and sex product stores. The local government can zone the area so that the only place you can build such a store is well out of the way. As a result you get a lot less customers because your business is hard to get to. If that difference between a convenient and inconvenient location is enough to make the business unprofitable, then you destroyed the business's model.

2 days ago
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Cost Skyrockets For United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project

khallow Re:Stop Now (172 comments)

But the point is that these structures are essentially _tents_

And my point is that these are essentially status projects. Well, the NASA one is a reused status project. Spending a lot more money than you have to is part of the project.

The same goes for pyramid shaped objects. Nobody builds a cheap pyramid just because even though it'd be relatively easy to do with a few earthmovers and other massive construction equipment. It's, for example, a place of worship, monument to your life, and/or a giant casino. Using historical examples for price estimates would give some amusing claims. "You would need 10,000 slaves to build a pyramid."

For example, I believe an inflatable structure of the appropriate scale with a medium vacuum in the center and properly anchored to the ground (or perhaps rather the inside of an abandoned open copper mine) could be had for low tens of millions of dollars (the inflatable components of the outer shell would be moderately over-pressurized cone-shaped wedges which would need to resist one atmosphere of pressure and wind loading with appropriate factor of safety). That includes building of smaller structures to get the many design issues worked out. That's not quite good enough a vacuum, but it's getting there.

High low Earth orbit in space has a similar density and composition to what a Farnsworth fusor would use, so you could just build a bare fusor in space, say 600 km up and use atmosphere (which would be mostly hydrogen and helium isotopes) at that point and see what happens. I haven't given it much thought past that point, the interactions with higher atomic weight atoms, Earth's magnetic or gravity fields, or the lower Van Allen belt might render it useless for most proper fusion research. But I think you could do such a thing for under a billion dollars today - even with today's high launch costs.

2 days ago
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

khallow Re:Nuclear is obvious, an energy surplus is desire (421 comments)

Oh and GPP probably meant whenever reasonably possible.

That will probably be the excuse for the AI program that ends the world in order to produce hamburgers a little faster.

And it's always possible that he didn't mean it that way. I have seen the occasional bit of magic thinking where someone believes something is so good that it should be optimized at the expense of everything else and it is only after being confronted with the logical consequences of that statement that they decide they really mean "reasonable".

2 days ago
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

khallow Re:The Real Solution (421 comments)

It's not uniformly random, sure, but it is a probability distribution and hence, random enough for our purposes.

2 days ago
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

khallow Re:Nope. (421 comments)

Unless we just really have no problem with every X years some spot on earth becomes uninhabitable for the next 50,000 years...

If X is big (like say greater than 50,000 years, for example), then it's not that big a deal. Chernobyl and Fukushima won't be considered uninhabitable for that long.

Plus, you can always put another nuclear plant in that spot.

2 days ago
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

khallow Re:Nuclear is obvious, an energy surplus is desire (421 comments)

Try to reduce your daily energy usage whenever possible.

I would suggest doing a modest cost/benefit analysis first. Energy usage reduction is not that valuable for most people outside of a few big things. And who's going to consider the more ludicrous optimizations like changing your sex to male just so they can save a little energy usage?

2 days ago
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

khallow Re:Nuclear is obvious, an energy surplus is desire (421 comments)

And nuclear waste is not pollution.

Actually, that is correct. Nuclear waste is not pollution - until such time as a third party or the environment is exposed to it. Nuclear waste in a cooling pond is not pollution. Nuclear waste in your ground water is pollution.

2 days ago
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

khallow Re: Ah, the joys of getting old (421 comments)

except i'd rather have todays nuclear power plants then those from 30 years ago.

You might not have noticed, but today's nuclear plants in the US are from 30 years ago.

2 days ago
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

khallow Re:Renewables (421 comments)

The long and short of it..we're buggered.

It's not much of a buggering to be honest. I'm more concerned about poverty, overpopulation, and desertification. Some of these can be made worse through extreme global warming, but they are major problems, bigger than global warming even in the complete absence of global warming.

2 days ago
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Cost Skyrockets For United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project

khallow Re:Stop Now (172 comments)

No, but that doesn't magically make the development costs cheaper than a well-understood consumer machine of which literally billions have been mass-produced.

A prototype would only be a portion of the development costs. The private world would foot most of the bill, assuming that economically viable fusion reactors were demonstrated.

The millenium dome is 52 meters high on the inside and cost a more than a billion dollars and it's basically a giant tent. NASA's Space Power Facility is more the sort of thing you would need for a giant Farnsworth fusor. It's still only about forty meters high. I can't find exact costs for it, but I can guaranty it wasn't cheap and it's only a small fraction of the scale you're talking about.

These are prestige projects. They wouldn't build them, if the design were cheap. Another example, is the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center in Astana, Kazakhstan. It's a 150m high tent structure which supposedly cost $400 million to produce.

This is what they're already building. I personally think it would be great if they could find the budget for a few different approaches.

This brings up an important point. The primary purpose of ITER is to immunize 34 national governments against accusations that they aren't doing publicly funded fusion research. That's the primary reason there's only one big approach rather than several different approaches.

NASA above is notorious for doing singleton missions in identifiable niches (like one Mars rover at a time, one space station at a time, or one space telescope at a time). That's because having one such thing is a great selling point for a US congresscritter, but having two or more is no more valuable. They don't even need to do very much (which is a serious current problem with the International Space Station).

There won't be a "few different approaches" unless someone in power has an actual interest in the research rather than the prestige of the research. For example, the US military has at least two different fusion research projects going because they want nuclear explosion data (for the National Ignition Laboratory) and a fusion power plant for naval ships (Polywell).

This also explains why air conditioning in Afghanistan can pull in a lot more money than fusion research. Losing a war is very dangerous to a political establishment. Ineffective fusion power research, that goes nowhere for decades, is not threatening.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

khallow Re:magical scenario where (719 comments)

Rather a far cry from generating 10A at a regulated 120 VAC @ 60Hz, sport.

Which isn't that hard either given all the junk that would be lying around.

Silly boy, from where do you intend to mine your lead and synthesize your sulfuric acid? Lead acid batteries do have a lifespan.

Used lead acid batteries.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

khallow Re:WHAT? (719 comments)

If you're going to do that, let us keep in mind the complex concepts of the "junkyard" and the "garage". There will be vast piles of exploitable crap out there.

3 days ago
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Chinese Man On Trial For Spreading False Rumors Online

khallow Re:Why lie? (53 comments)

China is a nation of men not laws. Their government can make illegal whatever they feel like. And they're pretty good at hiding whatever they want to hide.

Who cares what they can do. It is what they do is important.

Because what they can do is the primary constraint on what they actually do.

3 days ago
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Cost Skyrockets For United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project

khallow Re:Stop Now (172 comments)

Production models of cars are made on a production line and crancked out in an efficient process. To make a completely new model of car with a new engine and everything else from scratch requires you to first build the whole damn factory.

ITER will do absolutely nothing to develop this alleged assembly line for fusion power plants. We can stop wasting our time with this. Second, a prototype is not production infrastructure. If you're spending money on the order of building the production infrastructure just to build a car, you're doing it wrong.

ITER is not a prototype powerpland it's a vast R&D science experiment facility. It is and always be a completely unique one-off testing a variety of new technologies.

In other words, ITER is useless or even actively harmful to us because it is pulling money, effort, and resources (like very skilled and very scarce labor) from valid fusion development needs and dumping it into a white elephant.

We don't need a "vast R&D science experiment facility". That sort of grotesque feature bloat naturally results in overly expensive and unproductive projects. We need focused, cheap projects that do just what we need.

3 days ago
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Cost Skyrockets For United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project

khallow Re:Stop Now (172 comments)

Typical development costs for a car are on the order of about a billion dollars.

So we're going to make a hundred thousand fusion reactors? First, we're speaking of prototypes not tooling an industrial factory or running a supply chain. If car makers were actually making billion dollar prototypes, then they would be doing it wrong.

A total cost of $65 billion over six years is about $11 billion a year. To actually refine a working fusion reactor, that would be a bargain.

One can make a working fusion reactor on a table for a few thousand dollars, maybe less. There are two conflicting demands on ITER which should have been factored out. First, the research into large scale fusion phenomena. They could have done that with a very large Farnsworth fusor or polywell device, say hundreds of meters in diameter and a few modest free-electron lasers to illuminate portions of the fusing plasma. That could be done within the current budgets of various countries.

Second, they could have focused on building a cheap, break even fusion power plant, say a tokamak or whatever. Again, that's something that would fit within the budget of several countries.

But by combining both tasks in one reactor and discarding any research into cheap approaches, the resulting reactor will be guaranteed to be pretty useless to any future efforts at economically viable commercial fusion power generation.

3 days ago
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Cost Skyrockets For United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project

khallow Re:Stop Now (172 comments)

I see you have absolutely no understanding of how science works, or have any understanding of the current state of research into fusion power, if you suggest that we could have had it already based on the money spent so far.

Opportunity cost is invisible. But the fusion research community didn't do much with the opportunities they had.

If we'd have spent two orders of magnitude more money on it over the past 40 years then that's still less than a year's expenditure on oil surveying by a single oil company.

I don't get what you think oil companies earn here. Just by the US (not counting the considerable expenditures by the rest of the world), fusion research has spent over $20 billion (not adjusted for inflation). Do you seriously think that a single oil company can casually burn $2 trillion on just looking for oil? That's probably enough money to completely replace a good portion of the current oil infrastructure globally.

I find it amusing that the link above contains more of the same rationalizations about fusion research as I read here. If only we had a few more zeroes of money to spend, we'd be doing all sorts of awesome stuff. It misses the key question. What has been done with the money spent on fusion currently to justify increasing that budget?

Squandering money on fusion research is no different than squandering it on any other source. Scientific research should be no more immune to the ethics of spending other peoples' money.

So, given how you're clearly an expert on these sorts of things, how much should we be spending on cryogenic coal cracking as a way to extend our useful fossil fuel lifetime?

Not a cent. Coal mining companies have plenty of incentive to do that research on their own.

3 days ago

Submissions

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Cheap airship sets new record for altitude

khallow khallow writes  |  more than 2 years ago

khallow writes "Last weekend, we saw balloons beat records for the highest amateur balloon and longest latex balloon flight by distance and duration, but another record was broken as well. JP Aerospace, a team operating out of Sacramento, California (but supported by members all over the world) launched an operating airship to 95,085 feet (almost 29 kilometers high). Space.com had this to say:



Crewed stations floating high above the Earth with huge balloons could someday act as waypoints for human astronauts headed into space. That's the vision of a DIY space program that has smashed world altitude records by sending a drone airship flying up 18 miles into the sky. The Tandem airship soared almost four miles higher than any past airships during its record-breaking flight on the morning of Oct. 22. Its flight to 95,085 feet above Nevada's Black Rock desert marks a first step toward plans for an "Airship to Orbit" program that would fly humans into space using existing technology.

"The big aerospace firms have been trying to do this for decades, spending hundreds of millions of dollars," said John Powell, president of JP Aerospace. "We've spent about $30,000 and the past five years developing Tandem."

"

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