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The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

nojayuk Re:moot with 4k monitors (567 comments)

That's weird, I just read your "but 4k monitors aren't ready yet.." assertion on a 4k monitor...

I've got my old 1440p resolution display in portrait mode as a sidekick to my 4k monitor (a Dell PQ3214 bought in a Black Friday sale). I can throw edited page proofs etc. onto the portrait display while I work on the rest of the editing project and have browser windows, notes, a spreadsheet or two, image galleries etc. on my main screen.

I'm not sure I'd be happy running on just a portrait monitor and nothing else but as an adjunct to a decent-sized landscape display it works fine.

about two weeks ago
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Boeing Readies For First Ever Conjoined Satellite Launch

nojayuk Re:Lots here... (67 comments)

The Ariane V has been launching two geosync large satellites simultaneously for quite some time but the upper satellite is carried on a frame/shield called SYLDA that fits around the lower satellite. Usually the two satellites being launched are different sizes and shapes. In this case it appears the Boeing satellites are roughly identical and docked together in their launch fairing saving on the weight and volume of the carrier. However the lower satellite has to cope with the mass of the upper satellite during launch. There is probably a strongback frame of some sort running through the lower satellite to handle that increased load.

about a month ago
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Enzymes Make Electricity From Jet Fuel Without Ignition

nojayuk Re:Not subject to Carnot efficiency limit (78 comments)

Get back to us when they can make bombs, missiles, ammunition, spare parts and all the other things aircraft carriers consume on a day-to-day basis. Ditto for all the other fuel-burning ships in a carrier group. Until then you can expect a bunch of logistics ships and tankers to accompany the Big Boys wherever they go.

Where is this supermagical seawater-algae-avgas plant going to fit into the crowded spaces of an aircraft carrier anyway? Eating into the avgas tankage spaces might suffice but the US Navy really needs that volume filled with as much avgas as they can carry for an extended operational cycle. Carriers may be big but every cubic metre is already allocated to something, pretty much.

about a month and a half ago
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Infected ATMs Give Away Millions of Dollars Without Credit Cards

nojayuk Re:This doesn't add up (83 comments)

Going back repeatedly isn't going to work -- the bank or financial company maintaining the ATMs does actually count the money going into the machines and the amounts legally withdrawn and if they don't balance then investigations are carried out. Put in 10000 quatloos, 7000 quatloos withdrawn by customers over a few days, 1000 quatloos left when the next refill is carried out = something fishy. Cookie jar accountancy rules apply, eventually Mom will notice the distinct lack of cookies and eventually catch you cookie-crumb-handed.

about 2 months ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

nojayuk Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (494 comments)

Both Hunterston and Torness, the two Scottish nuclear power stations will still be operational in 2020, producing about 2GW with an uptime of about 90%. The SNP, if they're in charge in an independent Scotland (and they're a one-note political party in the main, independence being their focus) want these reactors decommissioned and replaced with... they're not sure but no nukes! Gas-burning CCGTs, probably although the North Sea gas fields are not what they used to be so fuel will probably have to be imported after a decade or two. There are still a few coal-fired plants around and several wind farms, a couple of GW dataplate output but some days they only produce a few dozen MW in total. Solar is a non-starter in a country where the sun is in the sky for six hours in the winter and it's usually cloudy then anyway. Hydro, about a GW of capacity but it can't run 100% of the time, just when there's been enough rain recently. Sea-floor turbines are being trialled at the moment, no track record on costs per MWh generated, maintenance overheads etc.

Fossil fuel will provide a lot of Scotland's electricity for the forseeable future especially if the nuclear plants are not replaced when they are either shut down by government fiat or they reach the end of their licence periods and can't be relicenced.

A major English offshore wind project recently didn't go ahead even with a price guarantee of about UKP 145 per MWh, or in US consumer terms about 24c per kWh wholesale to the grid suppliers -- that would be about 30c/kWh to consumers after grid supply costs and profit figures were added, about what the Green Germans are paying and double the price of French nuclear-generated electricity at the wall-socket. I can't see Scottish wind power being any cheaper especially with the extra backstop gas generation and storage needed to keep the lights on when the wind stops blowing.

about 3 months ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

nojayuk Re:Take the long view (494 comments)

"if the referendum passes, what country will Sockatume be a citizen of? England or Scotland?"

No idea. It's one of the many things to be decided after the referendum and, presumably, independence in a years time or so if the vote is 50% + 1 for "yes".

"What passport will he have?"

No idea. See my previous response.

Independence means change, a lot of change over quite a short period of time. I expect a lot of handwaving and making shit up in a hurry about nationality, passports, currency, military affairs, border controls, representation in various supranational groups, embassies, tax offices, laws and judiciary, health and welfare, schooling, funding for assorted aspects of government, the whole nine yards. Usually independence is accomplished after a lot of bloodshed and burning when anything seems better than heads on pikes and clashing bands of armed marauders looting the countryside. Look at the mess the slaveholder's revolt in America in 1776 left in its wake after all.

about 3 months ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

nojayuk Re:Take the long view (494 comments)

As you say you had just accepted a job in England before the referendum was announced. I assume you moved to England and now live there, not in Scotland. It's your homeland but not your home any more.

Like you I'm born Scottish but I live in Scotland and I'll be voting in the referendum tomorrow. I rent my property from someone born and raised in Yorkshire, who went to Cambridge University but who moved to Scotland to live and work thirty years ago and they'll be voting tomorrow as well. Other people I know who have moved to Scotland from England will also be voting. I also know other folks like yourself that decided the high road to England and better-paid employment was for them and they're not getting to vote either because they don't live in Scotland any more.

about 3 months ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

nojayuk Re:The end for me (937 comments)

The Nine Billion Forks of /.

about 3 months ago
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Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

nojayuk Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

The open availability of firearms is a key factor in the US murder rate that is missing from other advanced Western nations which are not in a civil war or otherwise in turmoil. Murder rates for Sweden: 0.3, Australia: 1.1, Germany: 0.8, Switzerland: 0.6, Finland: 1.6, the US: 5.7. From Wikipedia, data from the past few years.

There's also the glorification of violence in US culture, TV and movies, the militarisation of the civilian population programmed to bend the knee to their uniformed overlords, a large ex-military segment of the population with mental problems, the War on Drugs and a lot of other things but firearms are up there as a major factor in the sore-thumb stakes.

about 3 months ago
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Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

nojayuk Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

I used the word "rate". That does correct for populaton. A quick look on wikipedia shows the 2012 murder rate in the US was 4.7 per 100,000 people, the UK was 1.0 per 100,000. Japan was 0.3 per 100,000 in 2011.

No I don't know why the organisations that report these numbers use 100,000 rather than a round million. Not many countries have less than a million population.

about 3 months ago
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Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

nojayuk Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

Murder/homicide is not suicide. The rate I quoted for Japan is for murder, over ten times less than the US.

about 3 months ago
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Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

nojayuk Re:Why just guns? (264 comments)

The US has a murder/homicide rate about five times greater than the UK and ten times that of Japan, both nations which are effectively firearm-free.

about 3 months ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

nojayuk Whine bitch moan complain (819 comments)

Shorter Slashdot commentariat: Everybody on a plane is an inconsiderate asshole except me.

about 3 months ago
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Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

nojayuk Re:flywheel (245 comments)

As you say battery breakthrough stories are a dime a dozen (a bit like solar cell breakthrough stories -- I'm still waiting for the $1/watt printed solar cells we were promised in a breathless article on Slashdot about eight years ago). Reality is what you can buy off the shelf now, the ticket price, the lifespan in terms of cycles or years in place, disposal costs at end-of-life etc. etc. Glossy brochures are not the same.

Current off-the-shelf static battery tech like NGK's sodium-sulfur units cost about $2 million per MWh, not $200,000 per MWh but they are expected to last for decades. If they ever solve the little "bursting into flames" problem they've been plagued with they might fit a niche as they're a lot smaller than an equivalent flywheel or other storage system for the same capacity. A drop in price to 1/100 of the NGK batteries is probably going to take a while though.

The Dinorwig pumped storage station in Wales (about 8GWh capacity) cost about $1.5 billion to build but it's been operational for forty years now and will probably last another forty years with a maintenance bill of a few hundred million bucks total. A static battery built of Li-ion cells could match the capacity and performance of Dinorwig at much less capital cost but the half-billion bucks worth of cells would need replacing every five years or so.

about 4 months ago
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Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

nojayuk Re:Indeed... (130 comments)

The Olympic Dam copper, uranium and gold mine in south Australia is installing an experimental acid leach facility to process their spoil to extract residual uranium and copper.

"Olympic Dam currently produces close to 4000 tU3O8 per year and around 180,000 tonnes of copper. The planned [acid leach] expansion could lift annual uranium production to around 19,000 tonnes U3O8 and boost annual copper production by up to 515,000 tonnes." (From World Nuclear News)

The uranium market spot price has been depressed for a few years in part due to the "Megatons to Megawatts" project which put a lot of excess Russian weapons-grade uranium into the fuel pipeline, effectively subsidised by the US government as part of its non-proliferation efforts. Now that this project is complete it's expected the minehead price will rise again and mining operations are looking to expand their production now that it is expected to be more profitable in the near future.

about 4 months ago
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Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

nojayuk Re:flywheel (245 comments)

The Cruachan dam in Scotland was converted from being a regular hydroelectric dam to pumped-storage with a power rating of 440MW and a total capacity of about 8GWh. The other substantial pumped-storage facility in Britain, Dinorwig in Wales (1.6GW peak output, 8GWh total) was purpose-built in the 1970s with its high reservoir in a worked-out slate quarry high in the hills. Note that both Scotland and Wales do not suffer from a lack of water.

Some of the losses in pumped-storage are due to friction in the pipes as the water is pumped up into the high reservoir and also on the trip back down through the turbines to generate electricity. The further apart the two reservoirs are the greater the losses hence the need for good geography to build an efficient pumped storage facility.

about 4 months ago
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Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

nojayuk Re:flywheel (245 comments)

Pumped storage costs about $200 million per GWh of electricity stored to build. It needs specific geography, high and low reservoirs close to each other to reduce losses pumping water uphill over long distances. It also needs a guaranteed supply of water, lots of it and the sunny parts of the US where large amounts of solar power are being generated are distinctly lacking in water to the point of being either deserts or often in drought conditions during the summer. Pumped storage is also lossy, typically about 65% efficient round-trip.

Mass battery technology costs about ten times as much as pumped storage ($2 million per MWh for sodium/sulfur batteries from NGK), flywheels are a bit less but still a lot more than pumped storage. Cheaper methods of energy storage like compressed air tend to be very lossy.

Grid gas, coal and nuclear generators don't need storage as they either run flat out to meet the instantaneous demand and they can throttle back in quieter times. At the moment intermittent wind and solar generators use the grid as free storage but the more intermittent power that is added to the generating mix the more that storage will be needed to deal with peak inputs and debits. Getting wind and solar farm operators to pay for this extra storage probably isn't going to happen, sadly.

about 4 months ago
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Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

nojayuk Re:Since nuclear is "too cheap to meter"... (258 comments)

The taxpayers want cheap electricity which is why coal and gas are the big players in the US electricity generating market at the moment despite the deaths and sickness extracting and burning those fuels involves. The nuclear industry paid the waste disposal levy (about 50 cents per nuclear MWh IIRC) by adding it to the bill the consumers paid for their electricity, sent the money to the US Government which said "Thanks very much for the free money" and didn't hold up their end of the bargain by taking away and properly disposing of the spent fuel as the law requires. This went on for decades, the generators started having to spend money on on-site long-term storage (dry-casking) and went to court to get permission to stop paying the levy too. They've been dancing like crazy (to use your metaphor) while the Government has been playing the part of a gold-digging wallflower.

As for disposal costs Finland is building a hard-rock geological repository for their spent nuclear fuel at the moment. It's basically a long spiralling deep tunnel at Onkalo adjacent to one of their nuclear power plants. Cost of building it and operating it for a century is currently calculated at 818 million Euros, they have 1.4 billion Eu saved already in their waste disposal fund from previous electricity levies and of course that fund will continue to increase over the next century anyway.

about 4 months ago
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Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

nojayuk Re:Since nuclear is "too cheap to meter"... (258 comments)

US law requires the US government to collect and deal with spent nuclear fuel as it is regarded as a stategic material. The same law requires the power generating companies to pay a levy to the government per MWh of nuclear electricity generated for this to be done. As I recall they've paid (or rather the consumers have paid) over $30 billion since the levy was introduced.

The power companies are now paying for on-site dry-cask storage of spent fuel since the US government isn't actually doing what they've been paid to do, that is take away the spent fuel and deal with it. They have stopped paying the levy after a court agreed with them and they are using some of those savings to fund the local dry-cask storage they need.

The taxpayers have benefited from over $30 billion of free money gifted to the government by the electricity generating companies, it's not the other way around.

about 4 months ago
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Battle of the Heavy Lift Rockets

nojayuk Re:Thrust also matters. (211 comments)

The thrust to weight ratio of the rocket motor only really matters near the end of a burn when the motor weight becomes a significant part of the total vehicle mass at that time after hundreds of tonnes of fuel and propellant have been expended. It's a good thing to have a lightweight motor but shaving a hundred kilos off the motor mass isn't as important as boosting the Isp by, say, ten seconds as that boost improves the performance all the way through the burn and has a much bigger impact on payload to orbit with given hardware. SpaceX have been working hard to improve Isp, of course -- the Merlin first-stage 1D motors are a lot better than the original flight motors they started their operations with and they now have optimised upper-stage versions of the 1D for vacuum with improved Isp figures.

I know other manufacturers have looked at methane-oxygen engines in the past but not progressed with them. Why they didn't I'm not sure. LOX/RP-1 has a good track record and decades of actual operation to work with (which SpaceX took advantage of), LOX/CH4 is more of a leap in the dark. Building a big LOX/CH4 motor as the first flight item is another big step and obviates the cheap multi-motor Falcon vehicle platform SpaceX have been developing over the past few years.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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First World to Third World

nojayuk nojayuk writes  |  more than 2 years ago

nojayuk (567177) writes "The nuclear plants in Japan damaged by the earthquake and tsunami are being stabilised after much drama and attention from the rest of the world, but there's another crisis approaching for the Japanese people, a severe lack of electrical power supply over the coming hot summer when air-conditioning loads will soar beyond the ability of the crippled electrical supply system.

  Pachiguy, the blogger at Spike Japan puts some numbers to the missing megawatts and the problems one of the world's most advanced countries in the world faces in keeping its people cool and its factories running over the next few years."

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