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Comment Re:Not about fear (Score 1) 485

Black Fox plant was a dropped project during time when people had 3 Mile Island reminders daily.The lack of public support was directly responsible for its demise.
The current administrations attacks on coal and then expiration of the nuke plant licenses will be interesting, to say the least. What we need is a nuke/hydrogren answer, with possibly fresh water as a byproduct. Going back to caves and candles is not an answer - I like my A/C, I like my computer, I like fresh water being pumped to my house. Wind and solar are coming along, with my state in the top 4 for wind production. It doesn't even get close to the demand on a windy day.

Submission + - The death of SLS begins

An anonymous reader writes: At House hearings this week, congressmen listened to several space experts who lambasted NASA's asteroid and Mars mission proposals.

Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute and an expert on lunar science, was especially harsh.

"America's civil space program is in disarray, with many aspirations and hopes but few concrete, realizable plans for future missions or strategic direction," he said, adding that NASA lacks what it needs to pull off the mission (and throwing some shade at the agency's strong Twitter game). "We pretend that we are on a '#JourneytoMars' but in fact, possess neither the technology nor the economic resources necessary to undertake a human Mars mission now or within the foreseeable future. What is needed is a logically arranged set of short-term, realizable space goals-a series of objectives and destinations that are not only interesting in and of themselves, but whose attainment build space faring capability in the long term."

The testimony claimed that it could cost anywhere from $500 billion to $1 trillion for NASA to get humans to Mars, numbers that are reasonable based on using NASA's very costly and overpriced SLS/Orion rocket and capsule. The congressmen were of course interested in this, not because they want to get to Mars, but because they see gobs of pork for their districts in these numbers.

However, I expect that when SpaceX begins successfully launching its Falcon Heavy rocket in the next two years while simultaneously putting humans in space with its Dragon capsule, and does both for a tenth the cost of SLS/Orion, those same congressmen will dump SLS/Orion very quickly. Though they want the pork, they also know they don't have $500 billion to $1 trillion to spend on space. The private sector gives them an option that is both affordable and of strong self-interest. The more realistically priced and designed hardware of private companies will give them a more credible opportunity to fund pork in their districts.

Submission + - Julian Assange can't be allowed to hide behind the skirts of WikiLeaks (betanews.com) 2

Mark Wilson writes: Like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange is an incredibly divisive character. Just as Snowden is viewed by some as a hero for exposing the activities of the NSA, so Assange is viewed as a hero for exposing — amongst other things — the darker side of the US military through WikiLeaks. But both figures are also viewed as villains by those who believe that their whistleblowing has endangered national security.

While Snowden scampered off to Russia to avoid the US legal system, Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. While it's certainly true that he's a man of interest for the US which ultimately seeks to prosecute him over the activities of WikiLeaks, Assange is actually holed up in the UK to escape extradition to Sweden where he faces questioning over allegations of rape. He has continually used the additional prospect of extradition to the US for WikiLeaks-related questioning as an excuse for not facing the music in Sweden. This is just about as wrong as it's possible to be.

Submission + - Thirty Meter Telescope likely never gets built ... in Hawai

An anonymous reader writes: After years of doing everything the state of Hawaii demanded in order to get permission to build the Thirty Meter Telescope, a state judge today ordered that the whole process should start over again.

Since this order was instigated by the protesters, and that it appears the government favors those protesters, it appears that there is no chance TMT will ever get approval to build in Hawaii. Though the university consortium building the telescope says they want to go through the new process to get permission, they are wasting their time. It will never happen. The peasants with the pitchforks and burning torches, terrified of new knowledge while preferring the worship of a mountain, are in control in Hawaii.

Submission + - Morocco switches on first part of the world's largest solar plant (iflscience.com)

AmiMoJo writes: Noor 1 is just the first of three phases of a solar plant that will eventually cover an area larger than the country's capital, Rabat. It is hoped that it will eventually produce so much electricity that the nation will not only be able to meet its own energy needs, but also export the excess to Europe. The first section of the plant is now producing 160 MWp. Built near the town of Ouarzazate in central Morocco, the plant uses solar thermal technology, rather than photovoltaic solar panels. Solar thermal technology uses mirrors, which track the movement of the Sun, to concentrate solar rays to heat oil in pipes. The hot oil is used to create steam in order to power turbines, creating the electricity. The advantage of using this technique is that the oil can then be used to melt salt, which holds onto the energy, and can be used to produce power even after the Sun has gone down.

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Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?