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Gender: Male
Hometown: San Diego/Ca/Nuevo Pacifica
Home country: U.S. of A.
Current location: Planet Earth
Member since: Mon Aug 20, 2012, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 4,062

Journal Archives

Lockheed Martin's new Compact Fusion Reactor might change humanity forever

Lockheed Martin's new Compact Fusion Reactor might change humanity forever
This is an invention that might possibly modify the civilization as we know it: A compact fusion reactor presented by Skunk Works, the stealth experimental technology section of Lockheed Martin. It's about the size of a jet engine and it can power airplanes, most likely spaceships, and cities. Skunk Works state that it will be operational in 10 years. Aviation Week had completeaccess to their stealthy workshops and spoke to Dr. Thomas McGuire, the leader of Skunk Work's Revolutionary Technology section. And ground-breaking it is, certainly: Instead of utilizing the similar strategy that everyone else is using— the Soviet-derived tokamak, a torus in which magnetic fields limit the fusion reaction with a enormous energy cost and thus tiny energy production abilities—Skunk Works' Compact Fusion Reactor has a fundamentally different methodology to anything people have tried before. Here are the two of those techniques for contrast:

The crucial point in the Skunk Works arrangement is their tube-like design, which permits them to avoid one of the boundaries of usual fusion reactor designs, which are very restricted in the sum of plasma they can sustain, which makes them giant in size—like the gigantic International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. According to McGuire:

“The traditional tokamak designs can only hold so much plasma, and we call that the beta limit. Their plasma ratio is 5% or so of the confining pressure. We should be able to go to 100% or beyond.”

This design lets it to be 10 times smaller at the same power output of somewhat like the ITER, which is anticipated to produce 500 MW in the 2020s. This is essential for the use of fusion in all kind of uses, not only in huge, costly power plants. Skunk Works is committed that their structure—which will be only the size of a jet engine—will be capable enough to power almost everything, from spacecraft to airplanes to vessels—and obviously scale up to a much bigger size. McGuire also claims that at the size of the ITER, it will be able to produce 10 times more energy.

The question remains, is it Great, or just too good to be true?
Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Wed Mar 4, 2015, 04:49 PM (20 replies)

Antonin Scalia’s unintentional humor

Antonin Scalia’s unintentional humor
During oral arguments this morning in the King v. Burwell case, Justice Antonin Scalia heard Solicitor General Don Verrilli warn of dire consequences if the Supreme Court strips millions of families of their health care insurance subsides. The Republican jurist just didn’t believe the consequences would be ignored by the people’s representatives.

It led to an unintentionally amusing exchange:

SCALIA: What about Congress? You really think Congress is just going to sit there while all of these disastrous consequences ensue? I mean, how often have we come out with a decision such as the ­­ you know, the bankruptcy court decision? Congress adjusts, enacts a statute that takes care of the problem. It happens all the time. Why is that not going to happen here?

VERRILLI: Well, this Congress?

In spite of the title, this is not fucking joke.

This Congress will burn everything down. They are not responsive to the needs of the citizens of he country.
Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Wed Mar 4, 2015, 04:34 PM (23 replies)

FCC got Net neutrality 'right,' but fight isn't over, Franken says

FCC got Net neutrality 'right,' but fight isn't over, Franken says

For years Franken -- comedy writer, author and talk radio host who became a Democratic US senator for Minnesota in 2009 -- has been calling for regulations that ensure all Internet traffic gets fair and equal treatment. "Let's not sell out," he exhorted Internet entrepreneurs at the 2011 South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Texas. "And let's not let the government sell us out. Let's fight for Net neutrality. Let's keep Austin weird. Let's keep the Internet weird. Let's keep the Internet free."

What does keeping the Internet free mean? Net neutrality is the idea that traffic on the Internet should be treated equally. That means your broadband provider, which controls your access to the Internet, can't block or slow down your ability to use services or applications or view websites. It also means your Internet service provider -- whether it's a cable company or telephone service -- can't create so-called "fast lanes" that force content companies like Netflix to pay an additional fee to deliver their content to customers faster.

But the newly approved rules also reclassify broadband as a Title II service under the 1934 Communications Act, which basically means the FCC can regulate the Internet the same way it does telephone service. That reclassification has raised the ire of broadband providers, who say the FCC could now impose new taxes and tariffs and force them to share their networks with competitors. Republicans, who also disapprove, are dubbing the new regulation "Obamacare for the Internet."

Franken and other Net neutrality supporters scoff at that. "No, no, no, no!" FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Tuesday during a fireside chat at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Wheeler said the Net neutrality rules wouldn't dictate rates, impose tariffs, open up carriers' networks to competitors or meddle with their business.

The fight isn't over yet.
Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Wed Mar 4, 2015, 02:48 PM (0 replies)

Burial Pods Could Turn Cemeteries Into Forests

Burial Pods Could Turn Cemeteries Into Forests
Cemeteries take up a lot of space, and cremating one person can take as much energy as that person used in a month back when they were alive.
Now, two Italian designers want to transform tombstone-filled cemeteries into memorial forests. According to the Capsula Mundi website, the idea is to place the body in fetal position into an egg-shaped capsule made of starch plastic. Once the pod is buried (like a seed), a tree is planted on top and subsequently cared for by relatives and friends.
“As designers we have asked ourselves what is our role in front of a society distant from nature, satisfied and over loaded with objects,” Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel write. “No designer ever thinks of a coffin but this becomes a way of reflecting on how distant we are from mother nature.”


Several decomposable coffins and biodegradable urns that allow you to return to the earth are already available. Depending on the cemetery’s restrictions, you can pick from paper, wicker, or coconut shells with compacted peat and cellulose. You can even be buried wearing fabric embroidered with mushroom spores. For more ideas about what to do with yourself when you’re dead—from artificial reefs to diamonds—make sure to check out our handy guide here.

We all have to go sometime. As much a I like visiting old graveyards, this is the way I think I would like to go. Instead of a million graves topped with granite, we have a million trees. It also saves the energy of cremating a million people.

Flesh to trees is green.
Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Wed Mar 4, 2015, 11:47 AM (9 replies)

Law Requiring California Parents To Vaccinate Their Children Likely To Pass

Law Requiring California Parents To Vaccinate Their Children Likely To Pass
(CBS SF) — Last Thursday, a state law was introduced that, if passed, will eliminate the “personal belief” exception to California’s vaccination law.
Right now, under California law there are two ways to get out of having a child vaccinated: one is if you have a medical reason, and two is if you have a “personal belief” that prevents vaccination. The law proposed last week would leave that medical exception in place and get rid of that “personal belief” part.
The lawmaker who authored the bill is State Senator Richard Pan, who is also a doctor. He’s concerned about the outbreak of measles in California since December and the high numbers of people opting out of vaccines using the personal belief exemption.
The law as it is written so far does not have any religious exemption. And one might not be required. According to a 1944 U.S. Supreme Court case, “the right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death.” In fact, West Virginia and Mississippi do not have religious exemptions.

An important law wends its way through the California Congress. It looks like it has a good chance of passing and the religous, anti-intelectual anti-vax immunity will go away in california.

Very, very good.
Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 02:46 AM (31 replies)

House GOP Leader Endorses 'Nuclear Option' In Senate (VIDEO)

House GOP Leader Endorses 'Nuclear Option' In Senate (VIDEO)
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Sunday said that Senate Republicans should change the filibuster rules.

On NBC's "Meet the Press," host Chuck Todd asked if he would support a rules change in the Senate eliminating the filibuster for legislation.

McCarthy said it's not "nuclear" when "57 percent of the Senate voted for the Collins amendment that would take away the president's action."

"That's not nuclear, when 57 percent of the American representation says it's wrong. That's not in the Constitution. I think they should change the rule," he said.

I am not surprised, though some may welcome it, this is actually very dangerous to our Democracy. The founding fathers feared the tyranny of majority, where 50% + one voter could run roughshod over minorities. The filibuster rules when they worked as conceived, were a check on a runaway majority.

If Republicans do this then a majority can pass whatever they want, and only a president willing to wield the veto pen can hold them at bay. If we extend these rules past 2016, which I expect, and they hold the Senate, then the minority party will have no power except to complain. Should we lose the White House then there will be no check on the majority at all.
Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 01:58 AM (5 replies)

Hillary Clinton lends support to the FCC's net neutrality plan days before vote

Hillary Clinton lends support to the FCC's net neutrality plan days before vote
Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton today came out in support of the FCC's proposal to reclassify broadband as a utility — the cornerstone of its plan to put stronger net neutrality rules into effect. In a conversation today with Kara Swisher from Recode, Clinton said she agreed with classifying internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act but also pointed out that there was more that could be done.

"I think that for the FCC to do what they want to do — to try to create net neutrality as the norm — they have to have a hook to hang it on," Clinton said to Swisher. "So, they're hanging it on Title II." When asked whether she agreed with that "hook," Clinton replied that "it's the only one the've got." She went on to say that "I think that if there were another hook, it would come out of a modern 21st century telecom act. And that hasn't happened, and it's not likely to happen."

Regardless of Clinton's desire for a more comprehensive and modern telecommunications act that better accounts for the internet, she still said she'd vote for the FCC's current proposal. "As I understand it, it's Title II with a lot of changes in it to avoid the worst of Title II regulation," Clinton said. "It's a foot in the door ... but it's not the end of the discussion."

Specifically, Clinton wants to see changes enacted around incentivizing competition, something that's sorely lacking in the broadband market right now; more broadly, she hopes to see internet connectivity treated more as an infrastructure problem. "It's not just net neutrality standing alone, end of debate," Clinton said. "And that should be part of a really smart legislative endeavor, but I don't think people believe that could happen in the short term."

Hillary Clinton is on the correct side of this issue.
Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Thu Feb 26, 2015, 04:28 PM (7 replies)

Modern Drunkard Magazine.

Standing up for the right to get falling down drunk.

I was sent this link by a friend, this article is about Carson McCullers, author of "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" and "The Ballad of the Sad Café."

Weened on beer as a child, this gangly southern belle graduated to drinking straight gin from water glasses before she left high school.

The stellar success of her first novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter convinced Carson to move to the literary capitol of New York. Attending a ferocious flurry of cocktail parties thrown in her honor, she took no small amount of pleasure in shocking the gathered intelligentsia — not with boorish behavior (she was generally quite shy), but by showing them how much booze a young lady from the South could put away. Carson possessed a prodigious capacity for liquor and reveled in sending large proud Yankees staggering home while she drank deeper into the night.

Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Thu Feb 19, 2015, 12:53 PM (2 replies)

Tens of thousands of Muslims flee Christian militias in Central African Republic

Tens of thousands of Muslims flee Christian militias in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic – Tens of thousands of Muslims are fleeing to neighboring countries by plane and truck as Christian militias stage brutal attacks, shattering the social fabric of this war-ravaged nation.

In towns and villages as well as here in the capital, Christian vigilantes wielding machetes have killed scores of Muslims, who are a minority here, and burned and looted their houses and mosques in recent days, according to witnesses, aid agencies and peacekeepers. Tens of thousands of Muslims have fled their homes.

The cycle of chaos is fast becoming one of the worst outbreaks of violence along Muslim-Christian fault lines in recent memory in sub-Saharan Africa, tensions that have also plagued countries such as Nigeria and Sudan.

The Conversation is dreven by mosters, ISIS, Boko Haram, Atheists, loan wolves, but we should recognize that there are other monsters comitting crimes against humanity.

What is happening in Euope, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq taks the air from the room, but there are other monsters of different faiths. A friend at facebook brought this to my attention and pointed out that it hasn't gained the attention in the same way as ISIS or even Boko Haram.

I wonder why?
Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Mon Feb 16, 2015, 11:23 AM (18 replies)

A nation filled with robot pastors’: Evangelists plan to convert atheist computers to Christianity

A nation filled with robot pastors’: Evangelists plan to convert atheist computers to Christianity
hristian evangelists said this week that artificially intelligent (AI) computer brains should be converted from atheism to Christianity.

In an article published on Wednesday, Gizmodo’s Zoltan Istvan pointed out that the world was nearing a point where “autonomous, self-aware super intelligences” created by humans would be part of our culture.

And several pastors and theologians told Istvan that there was no reason that a computer could not be saved by Jesus.

“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings,” Providence Presbyterian Church Associate Pastor Dr. Christopher Benek insisted. “If AI is autonomous, then we should encourage it to participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world.”

Can a machine that has no sense of self be saved, other than by clicking "Save."

I want to think that this is a joke. I see no evidence of that.
Posted by Agnosticsherbet | Thu Feb 5, 2015, 02:36 PM (13 replies)
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