Thursday, October 30, 2014

Motorcycle lane splitting

One of those counter-intuitive findings, motorcycle lane splitting is better for riders, better for drivers, and safer than sitting in traffic. We aren't talking about screaming speed here. A motorcyclist is in more danger of being creamed from behind while standing in a line a cars than he is of being hurt while tooling along at a reasonable speed between two lines of cars. Getting motorcycles out of the car lanes reduces congestion for everybody.

America's Navy The Unsung Heroes Of Nuclear Energy - Forbes

The US Navy has logged over 5,400 reactor years of accident-free nuclear power. This a testament to the skill of the crews that man our ships and the reactor designs we use in them.

Financial 'Experts' No Better At Finance Than Normal Humans

Mutual fund managers, those wonderful experts that know so much more than the rest of us about valuing and trading securities, really don't do much better than the rest of us. This contributes to the case for solid consumer protections in financial instruments.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

We Need A Surgeon General

Little did the NRA and its senators know that rejecting the Surgeon-General appointee would leave us leaderless in the fight against ebola. Sometimes there is a bigger picture than one's own hand-gun paranoia.

The Scablands

Ars Technica takes a look at what is a local landscape for me. It is truly unique on this planet.

Nuclear Power As Renewable Energy

This article makes a case for adding nuclear to the renewable energy list. The supply of fuel is limitless when one considers that scarcity will raise prices to the point that procurement technologies that are too expensive today become feasible at higher prices. That includes recycling and fast reactors for breeding fuel. The thorium cycle has yet to be exploited as well. Fully recycled fuel has no long-lived radioactive wastes. And nuclear power doesn't add to the CO2 problem.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Austerity Has Been a Big Disaster

Even more than we thought. And Krugman has big serious worries whether Europe can recover from its experiment with austerity.
It's all about the fiscal multiplier. Stimulus, you see, is measured by how much one dollar of government spending increases GDP. But in a normal economy, it doesn't. That's because the Federal Reserve has its inflation target that it's determined to hit (or at least not overshoot). Government spending, though, can flood the economy with money, raising prices in the process. So the Fed, in turn, would either raise rates to offset this spending it doesn't want, or wouldn't cut rates like it otherwise would have.

Either way, the Fed's actions would keep the economy from being any bigger with more government spending than it would be without it.

But this calculus changes when there's a recession, especially if interest rates are at zero. In that case, the Fed wouldn't want to neutralize stimulus spending. So GDP would grow at least as much as spending does - what economists call a multiplier of one - and maybe more since there could be spillover effects.

Think about it like this: spending money on roads and bridges might boost the economy more than just the money the government directly spends. That's because the newly-paid construction workers will go out and spend their money too - and so on, and so forth. Indeed, even the oh-so-orthodox International Monetary Fund estimates that the fiscal multiplier might be as high as 1.7 right now.

Production-Ready Aeromobil Flying Car To Debut

This video shows the aeromobil on the road and taking off into the air. Has the flying car finally arrived?

Fusion On the Cheap

The dynomak from University of Washington students could be a challenger to the big money designs. It's spherical in design and the magnetic containment field is produced by the current in the plasma.

An Advance in Carbon Capture

Liquid capture is energy-efficient but not that efficient at capturing CO2. Solids can capture CO2 efficiently but it takes lots of energy to move the CO2 out of the capture material. A slurry combination may be both cost-effective and energy-efficient.

More on Cold Fusion

This merits watching. Even if it isn't what it looks like, it could open the door on some very interesting physics. If it is what it looks like, it could revolutionize the world of power production and thereby just about everything else in the economy.