Electric Bass

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About Electric Bass

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    Thunder Time Mine
  • Birthday 10/01/1986

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Above it all

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  1. The Fusion Reactor Is (kinda) Born - new baby steps

    Stirling engines are more efficient at turning heat into electricity, but also bulkier and more expensive. They make more sense for stuff like space probes (where you want efficiency and reliability, and the cost isn't as much of an issue) versus power plants.  Fundamentally, you're just trying to convert heat output into useful electricity, which is going to be indirect no matter what. The only nuclear reactor designs which dodge this are the "aneutronic" fusion reactor proposals, which produce virtually all of their output in charged particle form.  One thing I'd also add about fusion is that if you want it to be widely adopted, you'll need it to come online sometime in the next 10-20 years in viable commercial design. If it doesn't come online in commercial design until 2100, it will be too late - we'll have restructured the entire energy grid around making effective use and storage of solar, wind, and tidal power. Fusion reactors would be up against some serious path dependency in grid design by then. 
  2. The Fusion Reactor Is (kinda) Born - new baby steps

    It's a good baby step, but the real threshold is whether they can scale it up and have it get net positive fusion power. "Scaling upwards" is the bane of fusion reactor designs - so many fusion reactor designs have been created where the creators are like "if we can only scale this up by a factor of 500 we'll hit breakeven", and then tons of problems show up in the process of trying to scale it upwards. Let's not romanticize fusion, either. It will produce much less radioactive waste than current fission power (and that waste won't stay dangerous for nearly as long), but it still will produce a fair amount of nuclear waste from the effects of the neutrons and brehmstralung radiation that gets out of containment on the containment vessel.  And unless you're doing the far more difficult design of getting aneutronic fusion (which is both far more difficult and with far lower energy density than deuterium fusion), they're also going to require a lot of fresh water for power generation.
  3. Mental Health Support Group

    My anxiety and intrusive thoughts shifted over to something else for a while, although I'm worried they'll shift back because I'll start thinking about how I'm not experiencing a particularly variety of them anymore, and argh. In any case, I've been doing really good for the past week or two. It's nice.
  4. They've become much more unequal internally, but since overall Chinese incomes have risen so much in the past 30 years it may be reducing global inequality. It's taken hundreds of millions of people who were among the poorest in the world in terms of income, and raised them up to middle-income status in the coastal cities. As for the rich countries, it's actually worse than that in the US. In the 1990s there was a trend towards expanding job numbers in high-skilled, highly educated categories and low-skilled, low-educated categories, with middle-skilled workers in trouble. But since about 2000 that's no longer the case - only low-skilled jobs have been heavily expanding, and the college premium in income is stagnant. I don't know about whether that holds in other rich countries, although I do know that the number of temporary workers expanded a lot of Japan and Germany, but not so much the entire EU (France, IIRC, had the biggest expansion of temporary workers in the 1990s, but not nearly as much since then). Germany also did their wage restraint thing with manufacturing in order to save jobs after about 2000.
  5. Ugh, I totally botched the quote function on that.  At what point does this become unsustainable? Are there any signs the trend is slowing, or can we expect wealth to concentrate into ever smaller pockets? I think it will eventually decline, especially with China and other developing countries getting richer (at least until the recent downturn). China especially is pulling up the bottom, and that's eventually going to show up in average wealth statistics.   
  6. Keep in mind this is wealth, not income. Wealth is very unequal even in rich countries, and considering that more than two-thirds of humanity earns less than $10/day, it's not surprising there are some extreme wealth inequalities. Most of the world's population just doesn't accumulate enough earnings after expenses to amount to much wealth, and their assets are often poorly defined or measured (especially land rights in places like Africa).   
  7. NFL 2016 Divisional: THE GREATEST GAME

    It shouldn't have been that close. If Palmer hadn't thrown a damn interception in the end zone, the Cardinals would have been further ahead.  Still entertaining as hell. God, what a great ending for a game. I hope the Superbowl is that dramatic. 
  8. Mental Health Support Group

    Focusing on my senses during heightened anxiety, mentally describing them - it seems to be working to calm me down. Same with the intrusive thoughts. It's been good since I last posted here. Now to work on ameliorating stuff that triggers the thoughts again . . .  Glad to hear that news, Mandy. 
  9. Ranking the LotR and Hobbit movies

    I liked Movie-Thranduil, at least in Desolation of Smaug. He comes across as borderline unstable and possibly an alcoholic (the guy is drinking wine when we first see him, and stops to take another drink of wine when he's talking with Tauriel), and that's interesting. This is the type of King I can imagine wasting the lives of thousands of his kin over some lovely white gemstone necklaces (and of course everything about Thranduil has an element of black humor to it if you know what happened to his father in the backstory materials). 
  10. Who Are We Anyway: Tracing Our History

    I have a cousin on my dad's side who is big into geneology, and she traced out our direct paternal line back to the late 18th century. Unfortunately, it stopped there because one of my paternal ancestors along that line was a bastard whose mother never left any record of who the father was, and they couldn't find more about her family to keep it going. On my mother's side, it just goes back further and further into northwestern Germany, with decreasing amounts of reliability as to who is who. We used the Mormon church's database to trace it back to the early 18th century, and that was it.
  11.   You still going to watch college football, Kal? It's not like it's any different there - the players just don't get paid for the brain damage. 
  12. That was a shitty ending to an ugly game. I suppose there's hope that the Steelers will go down by 30 points next week, in a clean game where a playing Roethlisberger completely humiliates himself. Ugh.  I still like watching most NFL games (I mean, was this that much shittier than the period when the NFL let replacement referees incompetently referee games despite risk of injury and cheapshots during the referee labor dispute? I stuck around after that), but I really hope the rest of the playoffs are better than that. 
  13. Cra-Cra-Craaaaaaazy Weather!

    Still cold here, which is actually normal for Utah in Winter but shitty after the warm winter last year (although I am grateful for the added snowpack in the mountains). 
  14. Ranking the LotR and Hobbit movies

    They might have been able to film it for an extended version, but the third movie was already three hours and 20 minutes long. There was just no room, although they might have been able to fit it if they'd cut out most of Faramir from Two Towers and ended it with the Shelob sequence. 
  15. I have an elliptical! It makes it way easier to exercise everyday, especially since my other gift was a Roku. My exercise frequency is way up these days - at least 4 times a week.  Still trying Weight Watchers, but having my doubts. I'm starting to suspect that from a long-term dieting perspective, it's better to cut out some stuff entirely and hold out until your taste buds change. That worked with me on soda (I only like to drink diet soda now), but it's a somewhat more difficult matter when the stuff to cut it is cookies, or some other carbolicious food.