Daily Archives: April 17, 2011

How did humans get so smart?

There is no evidence that they did, but abundant evidence that they didn’t. One example of this is found in how business in the US handle the inevitability of future rising costs of energy, and along with this collection of individual behaviors, the way the free market, the most intelligent and powerful of human activities, optimizes our economy.
Continue reading How did humans get so smart?

Japan nuke news 18: Reactor facilities smoke, sputter. Fission continues?

Claims are being made that the situation at Fukushima is starting to improve, but there is no actual evidence of this. We probably (but not certainly) passed the point where nuclear fuel is likely to accumulate in such a way as to cause a major fission event or explosion, but there is still sufficient heat to cause, apparently, water to split into hydrogen and oxygen, or at least, there is concern of this possibility. (Hydrogen explosions have already occurred here early on in the crisis, and there is concern that this may happen again.) All of the basic safety systems are still not working, and radioactive releases to both the sea and the air continue to happen, and notably, to happen with no clear explanation that might give us an indication that engineers have the most basic information about what is going on here.

Either fission continues or very high levels of radiation are occurring in reactors 1,2 and 3, indicated by temperatures well above “cold shutdown” levels in the pressure vessels. There may be fission occurring in the spent fuel pool of Rector 4.

There is still “smoke” of unknown composition and meaning coming from units 2 and 3, and now it is also coming from Unit 4. They are still working on getting electricity and water lines in place. The IAEA has started to use the phrase “…there are early signs of recovery in some functions, such as electrical power and instrumentation” in introducing their reports. They do not explicitly state what those signs are.

Continue reading Japan nuke news 18: Reactor facilities smoke, sputter. Fission continues?

Technology good news and bad news. Mostly bad news.

Good news: The next version of Internet Explorer will only run on Windows 7. That should be the end of Internet Explorer.

Bad News: Google Video is done with. It will stop existing on April 29th. Well, I never used it so I don’t really care personally, but this is why I once said that things like Amazon and Google should be taken over by the government and turned into utilities (you all hated me for saying that). This is exactly like having private companies build all the roads, then one company decides to unbuild its roads to use the asphalt for something else. If you happen to have spent time, energy, money, etc. with the assumption that this road you use will always be there, then you are screwed. Same with Google arbitrarily deciding that it would no longer be the infrastructure that I assume some people were busy using.

Good News: Google has a suggestion: Let all the users who need the ‘road’ each take a chunk of asphalt and see how that goes.

If you want to help archive Google Video, get some Linux machines running and join us in IRC (EFNet #archiveteam / #googlegrape)

Details here. If you do this, does that make you some kind of chump, or what?

Beware of Unity?

A lot of people got mad at me when I complained about the upcoming switch from Gnome to Unity. (And yes, I know Unity is based on Gnome but it is not Gnome. It is Unity). And yeah, I had some things wrong and some of the comments contraindicating my concern were valid, but many were more like “They know what they are doing, so just accept it” which is a little to Microsofty for me. And, for that matter, for the Linux Community in general, I would have thought. And now we have disconcerting reports that the new desktop which is coming out in a couple of weeks, in a late (but not final) Beta stage, crashes during roughly half the user tests it was subjected to, all on a single install. Now, I admit, failing just under half the time on some randomly chosen hardware is a lot better than Windows, but we’re not really comparing Unity on Ubuntu to Windows. We are comparing it to Lucid Lynx, which has already become a bit too Windows Like in its performance and deployment.

So we’ll see.