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About npts2020

  • Birthday 11/23/1957

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    disc golf
  • College Major/Degree
    just a nerd
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Earth Sciences/Cosmology/Philosophy
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    self-appointed npts advocate


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  1. Seems like it would be easier to strap rounded pieces of wood to the stone and just roll it to wherever you wanted to take it.
  2. Sounds like a birthday to me. I hear some people celebrate those, for some reason.
  3. Lots of good points made in this discussion. Here is my $.02; near as I can tell there is no scientific reason for claiming an embryo is more "alive" than the sperm and egg were a short time before the egg first divided, or that a fetus is more "alive" than an embryo, or a newborn more than the fetus a few hours or days before. The problem is a line (if one is to be drawn anywhere) has to demarcate when one becomes a "person" worthy of curtailing another person's (the mother) right and freedom to pursue happiness etc. Since that seems to be more of an ethical/moral question than a scientific one the debate gets pushed (wrongly IMO) to viability. What happens when scientists figure out (and they get nearer and nearer all the time) how to make a human being from just a sperm or egg? Will females then be required to attempt pregnancy every time they ovulate? Will it be a capital offense for a male to ejaculate anywhere other than a fertile womb? The whole point being, there ought to be other considerations than "viability" in who gets to decide the issue. That's where personal choice for the mother comes in and when should the state curtail their options. IMO, the state has no compelling interest in stopping abortions at any stage regardless to how abhorrent you, I or anyone else finds them. Also, I find the Catholic Church to be one of the most hypocritical entities in this whole debate. For most of the history of the church one was not even considered to be alive until you were baptized. This was such a strong belief that many historical figures have unknown birthdays, only baptismal dates, presumably days or weeks after being born.
  4. Firstly, without giving away top secret information, I can assure everyone all US nuclear powered carriers are propelled by steam turning a turbine which, through a system of reduction gears, turns the propeller, no electricity required. When cruising at even a fairly slow speed, those props use more steam than the electrical generators and all of the other steam systems aboard combined. Lastly, smart grid technology should help keep major sudden transients within manageable limits for most reactors. (I don't think we should be building more, though)
  5. Where does the power to turn the propeller for full speed ahead come from, then? The point is, the reactor I worked at aboard a carrier never seemed to have much problem with pretty wide power transitions in short periods of time.
  6. How, then, does a nuclear powered aircraft carrier go from all stop to full speed ahead in a short period of time?
  7. A typical method is to heat water in an insulated tank, then circulate the water through spaces where heating is desired. This can even be done with a passive solar system (you would definitely want back-up heating with that, tho)
  8. It sure looks like a keyway to me. The fact that it is a "staple" rather than just a bar could mean that it is held in place from the sides instead of the circumference. Do you know what it is from?
  9. I say language. It is what has facilitated the passing of all other inventions from generation to generation and allowed the communication of abstract ideas.
  10. One of those engineering problems swansont referred to is how much water you can expect to get from a given surface area. (keep in mind, the following is only approximations but will demonstrate the scale we are talking about) A good solar distiller will give you about a gallon per day per square meter of surface area. Compare that to a distilling unit on an aircraft carrier that produces about 100,000 gallons/day using waste steam from the propulsion system in a unit that measures about 3.5 meters square by 5 meters high. The comparable solar unit would have to cover around 10 hectares and 100,000 gallons is only enough for about 500 households. Just one small city of 100,000 households would require 20,000 hectares of surface area. For comparison, the state of Rhode Island has about 400,000 households on around 300,000 hectares of land so the scale is not impossible, just very large. It seems doubtful to me that people will tolerate filling the oceans with that many distillers, though (look at how much opposition offshore wind farms got).
  11. I know this is a bit belated but a couple of comments; 1) AFAIK Nevada is the only state in the US to have a "none of these candidates" choice actually on the ballot. 2) There is something like 7 or 8 states that do not allow write-ins of any kind (doing so can invalidate your entire ballot in some places) 3) IMO "Democracy" in an ignorant society is simply mob rule (not going to argue about the efficacy or desirability of mob rule, tho)
  12. Isn't that kind of dependent on what the lattice is being used for? A spherical object loses less heat than any other shape (less surface area) but is difficult to make with a lattice. Seems to me, something in the shape of a buckyball (or if you want to be technical a buckminsterfullerene) would be the best for both strength and retarding heat transfer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckminsterfullerene
  13. If you could scale it up to the size required to propel a ship and if it was smaller/lighter than the current gearing systems onboard them (two giant if's), there is potentially a big market. On a steam powered ship, turbines run efficiently at several thousand rpm while the propellers they power are most efficient at low (typically 100-300) rpm so there is a giant cluster of reduction gears to slow turbine speed down to propeller speed.
  14. Thanks to everyone involved for this discussion. It demonstrates very clearly how even smart people will disagree on what "truth" is, even after facts are presented, in order to maintain a certain narrative. I wish I knew the solution to this but, sadly, do not. So far as finding middle ground with people who see a completely different reality from yourself goes, one may as well ask what is the middle ground between zero and infinity?
  15. I basically agree with this, Ed. One thing about enclosing the roadways is that it might be done with solar panels to power the whole system or homes and businesses.
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