Tech Tuesday 05/22/18 – Ryan Reynolds is My God Edition

Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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14 Responses

  1. dragonfrog says:

    [TT08] He figures he’ll find his sea pyramid scheme by renting a pyramid out for 1/352 of the construction cost per night. That’s ambitious.

    I have some friends who are aggressively using AirBnB to pay the mortgage down faster, but their rate of return is a smidge lower…

    2018: a blood test that can reveal chronic pain
    2025: wow, our costs have gone down since we kicked all those malingerers off benefits
    2043: so, um, it turns out our blood test only reveals certain kinds of chronic painReport

    • Maribou in reply to dragonfrog says:

      TT17: Dragonfrog, my initial reaction was somewhat similar to yours and then I remembered Oscar has chronic pain. And relevant benefits and/or lacking of such. So I assume that was packed into his statement.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

      The thing that is interesting is that the test isn’t testing for pain, it’s testing for the physiological telltales of chronic pain, the ways the body changes when it is in chronic pain.

      This is a good thing, especially when dealing with people who can not communicate their pain. It’s also good for people who are in pain, but who do not have a definitive cause for it (and who are often not believed, which is (IIRC) more common for women than men). It might also be a useful way to tell if a treatment program is having an effect (are the pain markers changing for the better).

      But, I also foresee people trying to use this to go after malingerers. I would hope that a result that indicates a person is not being honest about their pain would result in an investigator looking for other evidence of fraud, rather than the test being the only thing.

      I would also be curious what such a test would show when used on a person for whom the pain is really all in their head. Does the body still show the signs, even if the sensory nerves aren’t actually sending the signals?

      I do know that the WoD has hampered out ability to study pain. Maybe this will open other avenues of research.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I wonder, to the extent that different painkillers act in different ways, whether using the blood test in lieu of placebo trials might mess things up.

        That is – do some painkillers suppress pain in ways that would show up in the test as “absence of pain” while others do so in ways that would show up as “presence of pain” despite the patient experiencing a similar subjective relief from pain…Report

  2. Michael Cain says:


    Third link: Let us review the history of vitrification at the Hanford site…
    (1) Most of 30 years ago, a lab-scale continuous vitrification process was demonstrated.
    (2) DOE spent $4B or so (of a then-projected $12B total) on initial construction.
    (3) Eventually, with startup more than a decade late, a whistle-blower told people, “It’s a crock; the process doesn’t scale; sometimes it doesn’t work at all.”
    (4) When sued by the State of Washington, DOE admitted that the process doesn’t scale, suggested that after a fresh start vitrification operations might begin in 2039. That date includes an unstated assumption that Congress will provide more funding, which it has been increasingly slow to do.
    (5) A new lab-scale continuous vitrification process is demonstrated. The researchers note that the test involved only one of the many types of waste present at Hanford, and might not work with the others…

    Fourth link: The Idaho National Lab is the traditional site for new reactor tests. Why, then, was this tested in Nevada? When the agreed-upon date for DOE to finish cleaning up the INL passed with essentially zero work accomplished, Idaho successfully forced an agreement that DOE couldn’t bring any more radioactive materials to Idaho until the existing mess was cleaned up.

    If Washington State were to obtain the same sort of agreement Idaho has, the US Navy would be up a creek: retired naval reactors currently go to Hanford, where they are stored in an open-air trench. All of them.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Michael Cain says:

      The reactor compartments aren’t all that contaminated (and the newest retired RC’s are practically mess decks compared with the oldest ones).

      It’s the spent fuel that’s unbelievably nasty (which I thought also went to Hanford, but I’m not sure)Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Kolohe says:

        Spent Navy fuel has historically all gone to INL (much of it into a cooling pool first, then into above-ground casks). The Navy is not part of the DOE agreement with Idaho, but has a separate one that (a) requires the Navy to reduce its stockpile of spent fuel in Idaho to nine tons (from the current 31 tons and growing) by 2035 and then keep the stockpile below that level. No one realistically expects that to happen; Congress would have to pick a location and fund a new repository site, or repurpose an existing one. (Neither WIPP in New Mexico or the (currently inoperative) Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada can legally accept military spent reactor fuel.) Most people’s expectation — certainly mine — is that come 2035, the feds will simply ignore the agreement and continue shipping spent fuel into Idaho.

        I skipped over the second link. The current plan is that the first NuScale reactors would be deployed on INL land. The DOE/Idaho agreement specifically forbids DOE from bringing additional radioactive material onto INL without the state’s blessing. Whether that also covers DOE giving permission for third parties (NuScale, the utility purchasing the reactors, both acting under the authority of the NRC) to bring in radioactive material is an open legal question.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:


          I am constantly impressed with how dialed in to the legal landscape of nuclear materials you are.Report

          • Recall that I have a lunatic prediction about an east-west partition of the US, with electricity an important piece at a critical time. (On my crazier days, I have been known to call it my retirement hobby.) Many of the scenarios involve a West that has decided against thermal generation in general and nuclear in particular, and an East that can’t do that. So far, I see no reason to believe that such an East wouldn’t continue to vote to do its nuclear testing and waste disposal in the West, over the objections of the West. Which leads me to spend a certain amount of effort following (a) what promises are being made to western states and (b) are those promises being kept?

            To head off a certain set of comments, yes, I’m perfectly aware that the worst of the messes and broken promises about clean-up are about military facilities, not commercial. I assert that when the time comes, it won’t matter — the important thing will be 50 years of broken promises to clean up the messes, not where the messes came from.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

              There are days I don’t think it’s that lunatic.

              And yeah, the broken promises are a sore spot. I do a pretty good job keeping a hard divide between my geek joy at the various forms of nuclear power generation, and my disappointment in how poorly the feds have handled nuclear power on multiple fronts. But I get that most people aren’t me.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Michael Cain says:

          To piggyback on something Oscar just said about legal minutia, what is the definition of radioactive material for that injunction? On my ‘retail’ side experience, there was stuff that was contaminated due to exposure to ionizing radiation, stuff that was potentially contaminated due to contact with that first stuff, stuff that was ‘inherently’ radioactive (e.g. test sources), and then the big bad stuff in the core that was only handled by specialists every 15 years or so (and now even less often than that).

          All of these had somewhat different procedures for handling, storage, and disposal.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Kolohe says:

            I believe the agreement covers high-level waste generally and spent fuel specifically. Also stuff like the plutonium-laced soil from the Rocky Flats plant outside Denver (the Rocky Flats site is about eight miles NW of my house; the house is outside the areas where any plutonium has been detected, and the groundwater flow is away from me). IIRC, the Rocky Flats soil was the trigger for Idaho’s initial suit. The soil was being delivered faster than the receiving site could be prepared, and just dumped out in the open, and the wind was carrying enough plutonium in the dust to be detected outside the INL boundary.Report

  3. Murali says:

    TT16: How flammable is something made almost entirely of cellulose? Should we be making aeroplanes out of something that will catch fire?Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Murali says:

      How flammable something is depends on more than just whether or not the molecule will undergo rapid oxidation in the presence of heat. The structure of the material plays an equally important role.

      It’s entirely possible the stuff, being so tightly packed, has a very high ignition point.Report