226 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007
Re: Isn't it funny...
The launch vehicle is chosen to match the payload. I think the NRO has been the only customer for the full-fat Delta IV Heavy capable of putting about 25 tonnes into low earth orbit. The Atlas V mod 541 used for this launch is good for about 18 tonnes.
As for "new" engines, design and development has plateaued out with little extra performance to be gained from existing fuels. The aim now is simplicity, lower weight and manufacturing cost hence the development of the RS68/RS68A as used on the Delta IV, cheaper and simpler than the RS25 used on the Space Shuttle.
Re: My preferred route
If you get THEIR credit card number then you're golden.
The Scores on the Doors
I managed to get the supervisor after less than ten minutes of failing to type the Teamviewer URL correctly no matter how carefully they spelled it out for me, and I kept him on the hook for at least three or four minutes after that before he hung up on me. It only counts if they hang up, of course.
Re: What's the point exactly?
I resize windows by click-and-drag and release when the window looks right, for example when editing images. A wireframe won't show me the final view when I release the mouse whereas a render-during-resize will. I'd have to resize several times to get the window "right" with only a wireframe to go by.
As for "perf-sapping" I've not noticed any spike in CPU usage or even the graphics card breathing heavily when I manipulate windows on screen. Does this actually happen under Linux? I'm running Windows.
The KH-11 family of NRO satellites, the last series of big spy satellites we the public know much about have a camera mirror about eight feet across. On a good day they can image down to about 8cm per pixel at ground level, not quite able to read newspaper headlines but not far off. They can't be shot down by the Bad Guys and under international treaties it's OK to fly them over other people's countries without starting a war and they can cover everything from coast to coast in multiple passes and they're always operating.
The SR-71 could never get than a couple of hundred kilometres across foreign borders to take pictures of places of interest (usually ports and naval airbases) using small cameras from 20km up, assuming the weather co-operated, before they had to turn around and head back out to sea again. They were fuel hogs, a typical 12-hour mission involving several recon penetrations of the Bad Guys borders required as many as eight specialist air-to-air refuelling tankers orbiting safely in international airspace to keep the SR-71 flying. Eventually the Bad Guys developed SAMs that could in fact knock down an SR-71 even at altitude and speed and they stopped being viable aircraft for reconnaissance in enemy airspace except in the minds of starstruck nerds and military geeks.
As for the satellite images of sea debris we've seen being released, they're probably not degraded much if at all for public consumption. Image quality from satellites depends critically on the camera mirror size but it takes a big satellite like the KH-11 to get decent pictures and commercial observation satellites just aren't in that class.
have a 20" diagonal tablet for sale if you think you're person enough to handle it.
Re: As a lesser mortal...
I saw a posting on a blog by someone running server hardware as a workstation with 512GB of RAM installed. He did high-end music composition and kept over 300GB of music and sound samples in RAM to speed things up. I *think* he was running Windows 8 Pro.
M and B Radio
Anyone from Leeds remember that place when they had the M2 machine gun set up as an anti-shoplifting precaution? I don't know if it's still in business, I've not been in Leeds city centre for a few years now.
Didn't something happen...
...between 2005 and 2009? Knocked a few points off the Dow Jones, caused a mild worry among the international finance set, I seem to recall some events or other that might just have taken the shine off the dollar value of a tech business, now what could it have been...
The blundering incompetence of Mark Penn's organisation during the 2008 American quarter-finals was a major factor in costing Hillary Clinton her anointed place as the Democratic Party's hereditary nominee for the Presidential election that year. I assumed that after that debacle he had slunk off to find a big enough rock to crawl under and was lost to History and civilised company forever with only the millions of bucks he had charged her campaign in the process of sinking it to console himself with.
Ah, Larry Ellison's next boat
I thought Oracle's latest roadmap looked a bit, um, people-intensive...
The folks tracking fallout from Fukushima in the Pacific take samples at various depths, not just the surface. There's a gradient due to upwelling and mixing between layers being somewhat limited but a lot of the Cs-134 (halflife 2 years) that's obviously from Fukushima is in very deep water (hundreds of metres down). Fukushima-derived Cs-137 (halflife 30 years) measurement is more difficult as there's still a lot of it hanging around from the 150MT total of US thermonuclear test explosions carried out in the 1950s mid-Pacific and it's well-mixed by now after sixty years or so.
As for swimming in seawater naturally-occurring potassium-40 produces about 10,000 Bq/m3, 90% beta particles and the rest quite energetic gammas. The 2Bq/m3 resulting from Cs-134 and -137 measured a few kilometres offshore from the Fukushima Daiichi plant is barely noticeable in that regard.
Re: £1040 for an extra 52gb of ram???
The new Mac Pro only has two memory sockets IIRC, very limited in memory capacity for dealing with stuff like 4k video. The older Mac Pros could take up to 128GB of RAM although I've heard it said that OS/X limits out at 96GB, don't know if that's true.
Re: Not built for blimps.
REAL giant airships have hangars for smaller airships on board. See Castle Wulfenbach for an example.
Boxed DVD Win8
Lots of places selling Win8 DVDs, OEM or full-licence versions -- about 80 quid for Win8.1 and 110 quid for Win 8.1 Pro OEM from Ebuyer for example. It's where I bought my original Win8 disc from for my homebuild machine when it first came out.
"Okay. 1984. Who was making personal computers for sale. 2014. Who remains?"
HP, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic among others. There was a company called Apple Computer around back then but it doesn't exist any more since they stopped concentrating on producing computers and became a media distribution hub (iTunes).
From reading a bit about the situation I get the idea that there are actually two organisations based close together on the same site, the National Museum of Computing which has a reconstruction of the Colossus code-breaking computer as well as a lot of other non-WWII-based computing exhibits and on the other side of the fence (if there is a fence) there is the Bletchley Park historical site. It apparently costs £5 to enter the NMC and £15 to visit Bletchely Park. The guide in question was apparently taking Bletchley Park visitors on a trip into the NMC without paying to show them the Colossus reconstruction and got into trouble for doing so. Is that about right?
Putting together a museum of mostly-donated computer equipment is a lot less expensive than restoring a lot of old buildings, many of them built quickly and shoddily during the war, converted for other uses afterwards and then left to rot for a few decades. As far as I can tell from the press reports the £8 million from the Lottery fund mentioned has gone exclusively to the Bletchley Park restoration project and not been used to pay for anything in the NMC, even the Colossus reconstruction.
It might have been better to site the NMC away from Bletchley Park but having the two close together has been an advantage for the visitor interested in such things despite the confusion in some people's minds that they are all part of the same organisation.
Forgot Your Own Device
What happens in the BYOD world when you get to the office and discover you've left your "desktop" at home on the dresser? Or you drop it in a puddle waiting for the train or little Tarquin downloads a pile of virus-riddled porn onto your "desktop" the night before that big meeting?
Computing power today is cheap, data and connectivity are the expensive part of doing business these days. I can't see any benefits of a mobile device if it has to be docked to work well or at all in the office or workplace. Certainly a mobile device can be used away from the desk to keep it touch and do real work but docking it at a desk is pretty pointless if all it does then is replace two hundred quids worth of desktop PC or thin-client hardware. All the data should be on the company network, not locked up in a portable device and a cheap PC with GigE hardwired connectivity to the company servers (or the fabled cloudy-woudy thingy-wingy) is going to be a better option than trying to get a 4G signal in a typical office building.
Once a spook
Mr., Snowden claims he is still working for the NSA even now. Anyone claiming to be ex-NSA still has "connections", still moves in the same circles as his "ex" colleagues and if you use a product produced by someone like that to secure your data from the NSA then you are taking a lot on trust.
Of course this guy could be ex-NSA in the same way a lot of folks claim to be ex-SAS (aka a "Walter" as in Walter Mitty). No way to tell is there?
I hope he realises the new Mac Pro maxes out at 64GB of RAM which will put a severe crimp on doing anything memory-intensive. The older Mac Pro boxes could go as high as 96GB I think and the server-level Hackintosh community believe OS/X has a hard 128GB RAM limit as they have problems running it on anything with more memory (not a problem with Windows 8 though).
The output from metered grid connected wind turbines has been bouncing between 3 and 6GW for the past month while a series of Atlantic storms have been hammering the country with the newsreaders and pundits saying things like "unprecedented" and "worst flooding for thirty years". A couple of months ago the same network of over a thousand wind turbines produced about 50MW for a day or so as a calm high-pressure area sat over the UK.
Looking at the curves in the gridwatch site others have referenced the dataplate 7GW of installed wind capability produces on average about 2 to 2.5GW but that's an average and it can and does go way under that for hours and days on end whereas electricity demand is always with us, cyclic but predictable.
The problem is that demands change and today's custom silicon may be landfill a year after installation whereas general-purpose servers can be loaded with new or updated software and reused profitably for a few years more. The minor cost savings in power consumption per task completed are going to be eaten by the extra development costs anyway and the risk of having the investment written off because Facebook takes a dive or similar and dedicated hardware needs to be ripped out and skipped because it is optimised for one job and one job only is probably a bit too much.
The Top Knobs in business are usually on performance-related pay and bonus schemes, the better the company does under their steadfast and competent stewardship the more loot they rake in. Sadly for Mister Cook Apple's financial numbers aren't that hot -- the last quarter's earnings are flat to negative and margins (what Karl Marx called profits) are down as the company spends more to try and keep revenues up and they've also being indulging in yet more share buybacks to keep the stock ticker price inflated and avoid Wall Street looking deeper into their lackluster performance. No fat envelopes for the boss this year then.
Re: Nanana ... what is Facebook HW guy doin' there
Open Commute? What a great idea! Wonder no-one ever thought of it before...
I still have an ALR promotional T-shirt I wear when painting or doing anything messy. The slogan across the back says "Just upgrade the CPU!" as that was ALR's Big Idea, PCs with an exchangeable CPU card rather than a proprietary socket on the motherboard. It didn't work out for them for a whole lot of reasons and I suspect it won't work in the server market either, given the operating life of a server in a datacentre is three or four years before the I/O, network, memory interface etc. is obsoleted by the Next Big Thing(s) and a swappable CPU isn't going to fix that. Easier and probably cheaper to just swap out the server.
Organisations like banks are made up of people, some of whom may well be supplementing their meagre salaries by selling contact lists and the like to spammers, the same way people working for police intelligence centres get caught selling data to private investigators and newspaper reporters every now and then. It doesn't necessarily need to be a Mahogany Row level decision to spam or to sell the data to spammers.
A long while back I had to sort out a billing problem when signing up for cable TV service and I created a new home address for myself, basically 111a Mystreet, Mytown etc., not an address I ever used anywhere else or gave to anyone else. A few weeks later I got a large wadge of weird religious bumf mailed to that 111a address. I figured someone at the cable company had harvested my name and address privately and taken the opportunity to give free rein to the voices in his head while spending a few quid on postage (this was a thick wadge of A3 colour photocopies). There was no financial gain for the sender (at least as far as I could figure out) or even a solicitation for money, just disjointed rambling and Jesus clip art.
Bin and gone
Ah, found it -- http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B0018NRM9U/
3300 yen is about 20 quid in real money. If that's not enough computing power, try this:
Only three 4k displays? That all?
Just had a look on the Apple website -- apparently this monster of a workstation limits out at 64GB of RAM.
Dustbin of the Future
A couple of days after the new Mac Pro was announced someone pointed out Amazon.jp were already selling an almost identical device at a fraction of the price. It was a small kitchen countertop wastebin of about the same dimensions, rounded corners etc. Wish I could find a link to it...
Re: This is business
Electricity is cheap if you buy it in industrial quantities on long-term contracts and spending a billion dollars on developing and building custom processing engines and racking them in data centres to save fifty million dollars a year on power and cooling isn't very cost-effective.
Remember that a server's power drain isn't just the CPU and a 45W TDP Intel CPU with big caches and fast I/O and a single set of RAM, support chips etc. will be a lot more capable than few 5W ARM devices while they will need their own support chips, RAM drivers etc. I'm not sure the actual power savings are there to be had given the computational load the server array needs to meet. It's fun to piss on Intel for being a dinosaur staying focussed on the x86 architecture but they've spent a lot of time and effort getting power consumption down over the past few years while maintaining the processing capabilities. ARMs' approach has been to try and improve their capabilities without letting their power consumption grow too fast but tablets are evidence this is a problem for them -- the latest iPads have three times the battery capacity of the original iPad 1 to provide a similar runtime.
Building their own silicon means building their own servers around that silicon and then restructuring their code to run on those servers. That's going to cost billions and take years. They've then got to provide power for these lower-power servers and the savings from that reduced demand will be in the millions, maybe tens of millions -- these servers still need power after all, hopefully less than before to meet Google's mission of delivering services and harvesting data overall. I don't see the payback being worth the upfront cost.
If they're that worried about energy costs then why don't they spend money on building combined-cycle gas-turbine generating capacity and sell the surplus to the local grids where they operate? Yes I know they're building solar plants in a few places but they are intended to offset their grid consumption, they don't provide 24/7/365 operation power.
Google's the search engine and customer data harvesting business, right? Why in the thirty-two Hells of Carmack would they want to get into building their own hardware especially at the silicon level? They're planning to spend billions to save millions, as far as I can see.
There are a bunch of startups building low-powered ARM servers for data centres, highly-compressed blocks of processing power eminently suitable (so they claim) for web service work where heavy number crunching and data IOPS aren't the priority. If Google want to diversify away from Intel, buying up one or more of those wannabees or simply placing an order with a lot of zeros after the first digit for their product would be less expensive and take less time to get the the new machines spinning up and going online.
It may be this is just a sign Google's got too much money and no idea what to do with it, a bit like Apple building their $5 billion mothership in Cupertino.
Re: 32 bit OS in a 64-bit world.
Yes, there is a 64-bit version of XP. I don't know of anyone who runs it now or indeed anyone who ever ran it. From what I understand a lot of hardware didn't have 64-bit-compatible drivers and running 32-bit apps under it was a pain. I'm speculating wildly here but I'd guess that 98% of all Win XP installs were the 32-bit Home or Pro versions with the resulting RAM and hard drive limits I mentioned. I don't know what the market for Embedded XP is/was (I've seen some kit in the past couple of years with Win NT4 still running on it in kiosk mode and of course DOS is still king on many factory floors).
Re: This would actually KILL Microsoft
No, the folks who assured you of that were lying to you. I installed Windows 8 from an OEM CD onto a homebuilt machine, it went on first time of asking and picked up all the drivers for the onboard video, USB2 and USB3 ports etc. and Just Worked. Linux on the other hand...
The real miracle occurred when the motherboard flaked out on me after about a year of operation. I bought another similar (Northbridge etc.) motherboard from a different manufacturer and with some trepidation switched over the Win8 boot SSD which Just Worked again even though most of the drivers were wrong -- basically it saw the hardware changes and sorted them out for me as best it could. The only thing I had to fix manually was the sound system driver which was five minutes work in the end. I did have to reactivate the installation licence later using MS's automated phone deal but being careful about listening to the numbers being read out I got it right first time.
32 bit OS in a 64-bit world.
Win XP is a 32-bit OS, limited to 4GB of RAM addressing and it can only cope with single disk volumes of up to 2TB. Win7 and Win8 don't suffer from those limits -- I'm surprised your CAE programs work well under XP with a limit of only 4GB of RAM, most toolmakers have released 64-bit versions to take advantage of better and more powerful hardware over the past few years.
Win8 has a backwards-capability option for older programs. I just got a fifteen-year-old design package, an old version of Corel Draw working correctly on my Win8 box by running it with a "Win7" compatibility setting. It didn't work under the "XP" option for some reason and glitched when running natively under Win8. Its sister package PhotoPaint (also 15 years old) runs perfectly well directly under Win8 without the need for a compatibility wrapper.
If all else fails you could spin up a VM under Windows 8 and run those older programs under 32-bit XP and still have a modern 64-bit OS for all your other computing needs.
like Grains of Tritium
I've got one of those tritium-capsule thingies hanging on a desklamp in my bedroom so I know where the lightswitch is. I got it mail-order from some bunch of shysters on the Web somewhere, I forget their name but their website's logo had a vulture's head on it, now who could they have been...
Stars in my Pocket
I got one of those things we used to joke about years ago, a solar-powered torch, from a hundred-yen store in Akihabara. Small calculator-sized solar panel, a tiny rechargeable battery and three white LEDs on the front. Runs for several minutes and charges on the desk -- wirelessly! -- when the lights are on. Only thing better would be a RTG-powered torch.
Re: Model M
I have a little project on the back burner, hacking up an old USB keyboard to provide a separate custom keypad as an adjunct to my Model M, with plans to include a Windows key in the array. I've still got a box of old Cherry keyswitches somewhere I salvaged from a dead keyboard way back when...
The various spacecraft that fly to the ISS have different roles; Soyuz is the only man-carrying system, the ATV carries large amounts of liquids and propellants as well as solid supplies and is used to boost the station in orbit, the SpaceX Dragon capsule can return material to Earth and so on. Supply runs are almost an incidental part of any mission. There's also the Progress cargo ships and of course the Japanese Kounotori unmanned supply ships which are often not mentioned when talking about ISS logistics; they have a vacuum-pallet component to carry experiments that are going to be deployed on the outside of the ISS.
Re: That name
I was referring to a Reg poster named John Savard, not Mr. Miller-Kirkpatrick.
There was a "John Savard" on Usenet back in the day, regarded by all who read him as the Wrongest Man on the Internet. I wonder if this is the same one?
XP vs. Win8 on older hardware
Someone did a test on a 2007-vintage IBM/Lenovo laptop a while back, reinstalling XP on it and then Win8 and running benchmarks on both. The Win8 install ran the same apps a little faster than XP did with the same physical resources (memory, hard disc etc.)
The wifi router in the comms cabinet
One arse-clenching "shadow IT" deal I came across was the bods in a satellite office who "wanted the internet on their desk". Company policy was that internet access was locked down by proxies, not surprisingly in an industry where billion-dollar fines for breaking the law are not unheard of. Everything business-related is logged in the likely case it needs to be used as evidence in a court of law. But they wanted the internet so...
These suuuuper-geniuses signed up for a broadband package without telling IT or indeed anyone above their pay grade. The engineer turned up and hooked a wifi-enabled commodity router with default passwords into the office comms cabinet which was part of a secure firewalled and firegapped network with billions of dollars an hour in financial traffic flowing through it, never mind confidential customer data etc.
When it was discovered what they had done words were had and there were some empty desks soon after. Then again that particular part of the business was well-stocked with risk-taking twenty-something cowboys who regarded "being caught" as much less likely than "million dollar bonuses all round".
IBM had a choice between the 8086 and the MC68000 for their desktop system, the Personal Computer. They went with the 8086, well actually the 8-bit bus version, the 8088 for a whole lot of very good reasons. One was that while Intel were delivering the 8086 and 8088 in commercial quantities, Motorola were demoing nearly-functional versions of the MC68000 running at half the rated speed. Another factor was that the 8086 was bus-compatible with 8080 family support chips like the 8271 serial port, the 8259 interrupt controller and the like whereas the 68k chip was going to need a new family of support chips which were still paper exercises at the time. The third, and critical factor was the backwards compatibility in registers and addressing modes to the 8080 which made rewriting existing 8080 code for the new devices a piece of piss. Sure the 68k was a dream to write code for but translating 6800 or 6502 code to 68k was a pain in the arse. Intel delivered code conversion tools along with the new 16-bit chips and the rest is history.
"Look around you. Is there any Intel kit out there *outside* the Windows market? If there is, I don't see it, from smart TVs to routers to (whatever). "
Ummm, there's this computer company called Apple, they sell a lot of laptops and desktops and they all have Intel chips inside and they don't run Windows (unless the user wants to). In fact it was a big thing a few years back when Apple gave up on the vastly superior PowerPC architecture and switched to braindead Intel x86 chips for some crazy reason; they swallowed the Megahertz Myth koolaid, after all PowerPC had Altivec, win win! That crazy Steve Jobs guy, what was he thinking!
The closure of the San Onofre plant was due to a fuckup in the design, manufacture and/or specification of new steam generators intended to keep the two reactors there running for at least the next ten years. The manufacturers, Mitsubishi are being sued and it'll take a court case to sort out who is to blame for the failure of the new steam generators and who is going to pay for it.
In the end it was going to take a few years to fix the problem, get new steam generators built and installed and the reactors were already about 30 years old. It wasn't worth the effort and money that would have been needed to bring the reactors back into operation for only a few more years after that. The decommissioning fund is paid up and the reactors would not get further licence extensions without a lot more money being ploughed into the site even if years down the road the court finds for the plant operators and Mitsubishi pays compensation.
Re: The Tooth Fairy and Molten Salt Thorium Reactors
Yellowcake (U3O8), the minehead product of uranium mining costs US $35 per lb as there's a glut on the market at the moment. Known exploitable reserves at a pricepoint of under $100 per lb are good for about a century of exploitation, probably more without the need to actively explore for more sources. Japanese scientists have carried out proof-of-concept extraction of uranium from seawater, estimated cost US $300 per kilo of metal. There's also reprocessing, at the moment spent PWR fuel contains as much as 2% U-235 after it is removed from a reactor along with some Pu-239 and Pu-240, both of which could be recycled given the will to do so and the facilities. It costs a chunk of money but it vastly reduces the mass and volume of waste needing deep-geological disposal in the future.
Thorium by itself isn't a nuclear fuel, it's not fissile. The most common isotope is Th-232 which can be bred into U-233 which is fissile but only in a very fast nuclear reactor with a much greater neutron flux than a regular water-moderated reactor, and the history of uranium breeders over the past few decades has not been a technological or commercial triumph -- very hot, compact cores with extremely high fast neutron fluxes tend to go wrong in spectacular ways (see Dounreay, Monju, Phenix, SuperPhenix, the fiery Soviet BN-600 et al).
Proposed molten-salt thorium reactors need a kickstarter of several tonnes of U-235 and Pu-239 in the salt to start breeding and burning the magical thorium. U-233 can be substituted but there are only a few tonnes of that material in existence in the world, it is horrendously expensive as it is made in nuclear reactors and it can be used to build functional nuclear weapons (not very good ones but they will work).
Some work has been carried out in pebble-bed reactors using mixed-oxide fuel with thorium; bits of the "peebles" flake off, dust and crumbs, pebbles crack and disintegrate, jamming the mechanisms that should move them through the carbon core (see Chernobyl) where fission and breeding takes place. The Germans are still waiting for their broken pebble-bed reactor to cool down enough so they can start decommissioning it; it was shut down in 1987. Basically any nuclear reactor that relies on moving fuel around at 700 deg C is probably a bad idea, and that's what the molten-salt thorium breeder has to do to work at all.
Folks like the Indians are working on using thorium in regular PWR reactor designs as a mixed-oxide fuel, experiments are taking place in a Norwegian test reactor at the moment to see what happens chemically, physically and radiologically to pellets made from a mix of thorium, uranium and plutonium over a period of years. This is very long-term research though because uranium is cheap and plentiful for at least the operating lifetime of the next generation of new nuclear plants (sixty years and more).
Re: Inconvenient facts
1. The coal industry is just one that needs billions spent on clean-ups and remediation. Aberfan ring any bells? Recent news from Scotland is that an open-cast coal mine's operators have gone bust leaving a gaping hole and piles of toxic waste for somebody else to deal with, and no money to pay for it. There was no ringfenced fund as there is for nuclear power generators for waste handling and decommissioning.
2. Banquaio dam, the failure of which killed up to 200,000 people according to some reports. Really really dead, not exposed to some radiation and might have a fractionally increased chance of developing cancer ten or twenty or thirty years down the line, maybe. Destroyed thousands of square miles of homes, roads, fields etc., a bit like the tsunami that killed about 20,000 folks on 3/11 while no-one died or was even sickened by radiation. Banquaio is not the only dam that's killed folks when it let rip but it's the leader of the pack. Some estimates say the new Three Gorges dam complex in China could kill millions if it ever fails.
3. Folks are already moving back into towns and villages around Fukushima as areas are tested and made safe by active decontamination operations and simple decay of radioactivity as well as weathering out of surface contamination. It's not big news because it's not bad news so you didn't know it was happening.
Re: Humans aren't responsible enough for nuclear power
"We still have no plan for a deep geological repository and vitrification for the spent fuel we have already accumulated over the last 50 years."
Liar. The Finns are digging a deep repository for unreprocessed spent fuel right now at Olkiluoto, the Americans are burying military nuclear waste at Carlsbad in a salt mine. Britain, France and Russia are vitrifying waste and have been for decades, Japan is just starting to. The actual amounts of waste left after reprocessing and vitrification is so tiny in terms of mass and volume there's no real need to spend the money to dig deep repositories for such material for several decades.
The Tooth Fairy and Molten Salt Thorium Reactors
Thorium-cycle molten salt reactors don't exist and never have existed other than in graduate student Powerpoint presentations. Thorium can be "burned" in nuclear reactors but it's difficult since it takes a lot of neutrons to breed it up into fissile U-233, molten salt can be used to transport nuclear fuel through a core to cause criticality and create fission energy. The two ideas have never been put together for a lot of good reasons; for one thing the core I mentioned is a large lump of carbon of the positive-void coefficient sort that burned so nicely at Chernobyl.
I could mention a lot of other things that the proposers of such reactors wave away with "and then a miracle occurs" but the key thing is that we never hear how much the electricity from a molten-salt thorium breeder will cost per kWh at the consumer's meter. The fact that thorium is abundant isn't much to recommend it when uranium is incredibly cheap now and abundant for at least the next fifty or sixty years.
Re: I get the impression Govt projects *never* plan for change
One problem is that Governments themselves change and the new guys always like to fiddle with what the previous lot started, like a dog marking a lamppost. National ID card scheme, billions spent, new guys arrive, project is canned. Taxes go up, taxes go down, new regulations for married couples, special exemptions here and there, small businesses get special treatment (good and bad) etc. Setting up a major project with deliverables beyond an election is going to involve change like it or no.
- Apple stuns world with rare SEVEN-way split: What does that mean?
- Special report Reg probe bombshell: How we HACKED mobile voicemail without a PIN
- RIP net neutrality? FCC boss mulls 'two-speed internet'
- Sony Xperia Z2: 4K vid, great audio, waterproof ... Oh, and you can make a phone call
- Pic Tooled-up Ryobi girl takes nine-inch grinder to Asus beach babe