Anyone who invented Upgoer 5 deserves a purchase from me
They say you shouldn’t get a fan to review a book and it’s certainly tough to be critical when you pick up the new book from Randall Munroe, the much-loved creator of awesome science webcomic XKCD. What If? is a series of usually ridiculous questions from the public to XKCD’s inbox that Munroe answers using science and …
Actually... I once met some people that went swimming in the pool of a live reacter. The reactor had been "shut down" but the core was there. They said that the next time they did it, they were going to shut down the cooling system for a while first as the water in the reactor pool was *cold*.
It was the research reactor on the UC Berkeley campus. Open pool, 1MW continuous or 2MW pulsed. It was also the reactor used for the neutron activation analysis work that resulted in the Alvarez, Alvarez, Asaro and Michels paper on the KT boundary impact.
I'd be a bit worried if something significant did happen to anybody taking a swim in a spent nuclear fuel pool unless they were unwise enough to try and and swim down near the fuel (even then, exposure will be limited as there's a limit to how long people can hold their breathe; that's assuming nobody is using diving equipment). After all, besides cooling, the pools are designed to be deep enough to shield anybody at the surface from significant levels of exposure to radiation. They only need to be about 6m deep for that purpose, and are all at least twice that depth.
Spent fuel pools in light-water reactor buildings are usually a little over twice as deep as the length of the fuel rod assemblies used in the reactor. When refuelling is taking place the reactor is flooded and a "gate" is opened to connect the flooded top of the reactor with the adjacent pool. The fuel assemblies are withdrawn from the reactor one at a time and kept under the surface of the water until they are dropped into a slot in the racks in the bottom of the pool. Later after they have cooled down for a time they are transferred, still underwater into a storage or transfer cask which is sealed and then lifted out of the pool.
It doesn't take much water to block the radiation from a spent fuel assembly after a day or two have passed since the reactor was shut down, a few centimetres will do a decent job of blocking most of it.
I've been in the pools and containment building at the Shearon Harris facility outside of Raleigh, NC. I've actually been all over that place in many areas that humans rarely see. But then that was during construction of the facility when I was working there as an electrician pulling cables all over the place ;)
I know what day it is.
How can I not buy the book? I also haven't finished the long one yet, one day :)
------------------------------>> That's me getting my wallet out for once.
Something else I didn't know..
"In 2013, a main-belt asteroid (4942 Munroe) was named after him."
Yeah, that strip was one of a few that have popped up now and then that suggests that Randall Munroe is actually a bit of an arsehole. I don't agree that it is against the holy Free Speech™ that Americans get their knickers in a twist about, but it is clearly against dissent, which is subtly different. So I've taken his advice and stopped reading his comic.
"That comic is not "clearly against dissent," it's clearly about the need to take responsibility for how people react to what you say. Isn't it also free speech for people to treat you like an asshole if you are, in their opinion, an asshole?"
I think you're being generous. The strip seems to be to be advocating a very common thing on the Internet where every site becomes an echo chamber for "acceptable" opinions. The problem with the strip is that it doesn't distinguish between unpopular opinions and, for example, just constantly posting insults.
Munroe has posted several strips which made me think that he doesn't like hearing certain opinions that don't fit into his nice middle-class worldview of how things should be and this one basically confirmed my impression of someone who wants the world to be a perfect mirror of his view point, with everthing else blocked or banned.
> The strip seems to be to be advocating a very common thing on the Internet where every site becomes an echo chamber for "acceptable" opinions.
Nah, the guy runs some forums, and as everyone else who runs some forums, he has to deal with arseholes being arseholes (read: moderation / banning), and then said arseholes go on to complain about their "Free Speech" rights, and how they're going to sue you for a billion dollars and blah blah blah... (even on UK forums :-( ). It gets a bit tiring after a while, not only for the mods, but also for the rest of the audience.
Just go and start up some bulletin board website, gather up a couple hundred users, then come back after a few months of moderating the beast and then give us your thoughts about "Free Speech" and conforming to opinions and bollocks.
My dad used to write advanced biological textbooks and the bastard publishers managed to convince him that because e-books were more complicated he'd get less royalties on them. Given that he formatted the book on his computer ready for printing and the e-book was automatically generated from that the book he nearly finished when he died is just going online for free!
"What if... ebooks with almost zero storage and distribution costs were cheaper that the hard cover edition?"
I regret to inform you that I've already had this conversation:
'Yabbut with an ebook, you can take it anywhere. You can be reading it on your phone and then you can fire up your tablet and you're on the same page you were last time, even if you were reading it on a different device, and......'
Even after I'd picked my jaw up off the floor I couldn't think of a response which didn't include the word twunt
Hated that book... but not for the reason you might think... the riddles and games sprinkled in the pages of that book made me feel utterly dumb, I could figure out maybe 10% of them.
So I can't (and don't want to) imagine what sort of new games he included in this new book!
Hopefully I can "hint" someone in my family to get it as Christmas present
The normal way this works-
1. Publisher spots popular website with good readership.
2. Publisher offers site owner a nice upfront advance on book.
3. Book gets published.
4. Site owner sent on gruelling promotional tour.
5. Site never gets updated again or if it does so, extremely infrequently.
6. Site owner basically makes no money because they learn about "withholding".
This has happened to so many sites- Off the top of my head: SatireWire; The Perry Bible Fellowship; Tucker Max; Regretsy; 27bSlashb...
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