GrySovCob

Male
from College Station,TX,USA,Earth,Milky Way

  • Activity

    • Battle of the Budget

      in Forums > Battle of the Budget | Follow this topic

      GrySovCob

      Hey everyone, let's talk about the government's money, the tons of it spent every day, the slightly less tons of money generated though revenue, and the ever important difference of the two, known as the deficit. Aside from the middle east being on fire, this seems like the most popular topic talked about in the news recently. The US government budget problem is huge, and it's almost intractable. Some of you have seen this before, but here's a pretty awesome graphic of the recently proposed 2012 budget by the Obama administration.

      One thing that should leap out to you immediately, or at least it did to me, is that the budget is almost completely dominated by a few large cost items (also, note that they are all still growing): Social Security, Medicare, Defense and Interest (a relative newcomer if you look at how big it was a few years ago). Everything else the federal government does can be lumped into a block that's slightly larger than a quarter of the total budget (I'm eyeballing it). Here's the funny part, the projected deficit for 2012 is 1.1 trillion dollars. 1.1 out of the 3.7 trillion dollars of the budget is ~30%. So...maybe it's just me, but my impression is that if we cut out EVERYTHING ELSE the federal government does except for the 4 largest programs we STILL probably wouldn't cover the deficit.

      See, this is funny, because that's all anyone in the political leadership talks about, how much money can we squeeze out of everything else. My opinion is that this is because the American electorate punishes anyone who even thinks of touching Social Security and Medicare (See Bush privatization plan, Obama health care plan), but the sad reality is that these programs in their current state are unsustainable. The defense department and the industries built around it are another issue unto themselves, with their jobs and the economic growth that comes along with them intertwined with congressional districting, which translates into votes.

      Also, let's not forget the other side of the coin on the deficit issue, raising government revenue. This means creating new taxes or raising existing ones, in some shape or form. This is problematic because half of the government (you know who you are) has made it clear that they intend to run the government without raising taxes, and possibly cutting them more. Honestly, I don't see how this is possible, given the huge scope of the problem before us, but the American electorate will reward this because hey, who likes taxes?

      So, let's have a discussion about how to solve the budget deficit, I propose we do it with a twist though. Most rhetoric out there abut the deficit is mostly of the form "Oh man if only we cut out money for X, it's such a waste of money! That would help solve the deficit!". In my opinion this is problematic, because cuts talked about in such discussions are often inconsequential to the scale of the budget problem, and do more harm than good because a) they distract from the larger issues and b) cause more harm to functions that the federal government serves than the benefit is usually worth. So in this thread, how about trying to format discussions like this in order to help keep things in the proper scope: "Oh man if only we cut out money for X (saving X million/billion dollars / X% of the budget), it's such a waste of money!". Just a suggestion.

      Also, we can play this fun little game by the NYTimes: Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget

      Here's my solution: www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html?choices=02bpd5kb

      936 replies

    • Deepwater and Industrial Safety

      in Forums > Deepwater and Industrial Safety | Follow this topic

      GrySovCob

      Hey everybody, it seems like ages since I've poked my head around here. I was looking around for a thread on the Gulf oil debacle, but it looks like there isn't a dedicated one yet.

      I don't want to make a thread just about the deepwater horizon incident though, I want to talk about a much broader and very important issue: The state of the safety culture and standards of safety in industries that have high consequence failures. The energy industry in particular is predominantly composed of industries which have to deal with these issues, and it's the industry I'm the most familiar with so that's what I'm going to talk about the most.

      Coal has to deal with mine collapses, mine explosions, mine fires, coal slurry pits breaking open, and those are just accidental ways it causes deaths and property loss. The natural gas industry has known to have plants and pipelines explode quite spectacularly. The oil industry has to deal with oil spills, rig explosions, refinery explosions, gas station explosions, etc. Hydroelectric dams can burst and wipe out whole towns and cities. The nuclear industry has to contend with failures of reactors, failures of radioactive material transport and theft of radiological materials.

      Outside the energy industry, just off the top of my head I can think of chlorine release disasters and chemical plant disasters in general. The list really goes on forever, and I could spend all day thinking of them. What I want to get at though is that what really gets under my skin about these incidents is that the conditions that cause them largely go unaddressed.

      Just this year to date, the coal, natural gas and oil industries have all had fatal and financially disastrous accidents that ALL HAVE HAPPENED BEFORE. The Upper Big Branch Coal mine was not the first mine to explode and kill many workers. The Kleen Plant was not the first natural gas plant to detonate. The Deepwater horizon was not the first oil rig to suffer a failure of the blowout preventer, explode, and dump massive quantities of oil into the environment.

      The questions I pose are: Why are these accidents allowed to repeat themselves? At what point are industries obliged to adopt and effectively implement a truly comprehensive safety standard which eliminates certain failure modes from repeating? All of the incidents I listed above are, with the right standards, design and safety culture to effectively implement them, completely preventable.

      Coming from a nuclear industry perspective, it is not unreasonable to demand a perfect or near-perfect safety record in heavy industry. Loss of workday accidents, let alone loss of life and property accidents, should not be viewed as an unavoidable cost to doing business. In other industries however, the safety standards adopted are mostly impotent, not consistently enforced and, most importantly, the workers which directly benefit from them do not have a safety culture.

      That's my soapbox for today, hope you enjoyed it.

      350 replies

    • Update time!

      10 years ago

      GrySovCob

      Hi All,

      Long time no see. Just in case anyone wanted to know what has been going on in my life, here's what I've been doing the whole summer.

      I have been interning at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) working at the Materials and Fuels Complex (MFC) in support of the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors Project (RERTR). It's been a pretty sweet experience all in all, I learned quite a few useful life lessons:

      1. If you want to machine something that isn't a circle or a chamfered square, the cost, complexity and time to produce your part rises dramatically.

      2. I now understand why it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to procure relatively simple items.

      3. Nuclear technology in the DoE is completely boned.

      4. I don't want to work for the DoE.

      That last one shouldn't reflect at all on the people I worked with or what exactly I worked on, it's just that I recognize that I was extremely lucky to be placed to work where I was after seeing the status of all the other projects going on around me. As far as nuclear research goes, unless you are into modeling the hell out of everything and won't leave your computer desk, working with fissile material in a DoE facility is a costly and lengthy nightmare.

      It's taking them far too long to catch up with the rest of the world that I fear by the time they break ground on the Next Generation Nuclear Plant the rest of the world will be on to bigger and better things.

      Otherwise, the site itself is pretty cool. For those that don't know, back in the day INL was THE site in the USA for the research and development of nuclear reactor technology. Throughout its history, there have been 52 reactors built and operated there, and many of them were critical early on in setting the course of nuclear power plants. A lot of the experimental data generated from these reactors relating to materials performance and accident analysis is still important to this day since it is the only data of its kind ever made. So getting out and about to see all of these is like exploring the very foundations of my profession. I honestly wish I could say that the laboratory today evokes the same inspiration out of me, but sadly this is far from the case.

      Out of those 52 reactors only 3 are still operating. Many of them were shutdown prematurely in the 90's, and many of those were permanently decommissioned. It's really heartbreaking because a lot of those reactors were truly unique creations, that had capabilities that simply aren't replicated in other reactors and still could have contributed significant contributions to nuclear science and engineering.

      Anyway, I'm headed back to college station in two weeks. Maybe I'll be more active when I get back, I don't know.

      Bye for now.

    • North Korea conducts second nuclear test

      in Forums > North Korea conducts second nuclear test | Follow this topic

      GrySovCob

      Breaking News: North Korea says conducted nuclear test

      SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted a nuclear test on Monday, raising the explosive power and level of control of its nuclear device to a new level.

      "We have successfully conducted another nuclear test on May 25 as part of the republic's measures to strengthen its nuclear deterrent," the North's official KCNA news agency said.


      From what I've been reading, a magnitude 4.5-4.7 quake has been measured by seismologists. It's still very early to tell if it is legit or not, but I'm betting that it is, I'm also betting that this one is probably not a screw up like the last one was.

      This is pretty significant because it shows that North Korea may have a fairly significant quantity of weapons material available to it in order to have tested twice.

      42 replies

    • Website design advice wanted

      10 years ago

      GrySovCob

      Hey Everyone,

      I'm in charge of a student organization website at Texas A&M (Link). As you can see, it is very primitive in design. The backend is a 64 MB Microsoft Publisher file. Doing much beyond updating some text here and there is pretty difficult.

      Right now I'm playing with the idea of a complete redesign. I've been thinking in particular of using a software package like Wordpress in order to make it much more blog-like. What I'm looking for is a system that is easy for any successors of mine to update and modify. Not just posts but things like picture galleries.

      Does anyone have any suggestions for what I'm looking for? Does anyone know of any great online guides for how to set this thing up?

    • The Yucca Mountain Problem

      in Forums > The Yucca Mountain Problem | Follow this topic

      GrySovCob

      Yucca funding: Another $100 million cut

      WASHINGTON -- Congress today proposed slashing Yucca Mountain's funding by nearly another $100 million for the remainder of fiscal 2009, severely gutting the project and potentially forcing several hundred job layoffs in Nevada.

      The House announced the new funding level as part of its proposed funding package to keep the government running until Oct. 1. Current funding expires in March.

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had promised further reductions were coming as part of his continued efforts to kill the nuclear waste project. Funding already had been cut more than 20 percent over the past two years.

      Workers at the project;s headquarters in Summerlin have been bracing for layoffs. Many of them are already leaving.

      The House proposes $288.3 million annualized for the remainder of the fiscal year, down from $386.4 million approved for the project last fall.


      Well, Harry Reid is finally getting his wish. With a democratic executive, senate and house and being the senate majority leader, the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository is heading towards a very swift death. Pretty much everyone sees the writing on the wall at this point, and it is fully expected that Yucca Mountain will lose all funding this year.

      This presents an interesting problem for the federal government. As established by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, the operators of civilian nuclear facilities pay what is essentially a tax into the nuclear waste fund. It is the responsibility of the federal government to use these funds to establish a comprehensive and permanent plan for the safe disposal of nuclear waste. This law was signed in 1982, and set forth the goal for a permanent plan to be established by the mid 1990s. Obviously, this deadline is long overdue, and now with the Yucca Mountain project effectively dead, the federal government is back at square zero. The industry as a whole is actually at square -1 because they have paid billions into a fund that is now going to effectively be dedicated to the most expensive and worthless hole in the desert known to man.

      So what are the options? Realistically, the picture is pretty bleak. The entire US approach to the management of nuclear waste has been as completely ass backwards as its management of the entire energy system. Most lawmakers are content to just leave all of this material spread across the whole nation at hundreds of temporary storage facilities. What I'd really like to see is what France did, instead of forcing their repository on a specific location, France allowed districts to competitively bid to house the facility. See, this is because managing a spent fuel repository for the foreseeable future represents a guaranteed supply of high quality job oppurtunities, and an influx of national money in order to keep that workforce fully trained and qualified to care for it. Instead, we get the US system where we shove the repository in the middle of the state with one of the most adamant anti-nuclear senators around.

      *sigh* Anyway, what do you all think? What should the federal government pursue instead of Yucca Mountain?

      35 replies

    • Grad School Update

      10 years ago

      GrySovCob

      This semester is pretty awesome. Every other week I get to go out to the reactor to perform experiments for class. I built a fully functional computer model of said nuclear reactor. It utilizes a 3-D Monte Carlo code to simulate neutrons for those curious folks who are mathematically inclined.

      In recent news, I passed both of the PhD qualifying exams I took this semester. They are basically entrance exams for the PhD program, when I pass the last one next semester I have a greenlight to become a doctor. If all goes well and the abundant funding still exists (50/50 shot) I'm on easy street.

    • Excerpt thing

      10 years ago

      GrySovCob

      "As mentioned before, for fresh fuel this formula gives adequate results for illustrative purposes."

      It's talking about the shape of the power distribution in nuclear fuel. It starts off like a cosine, but as time goes on, it actually becomes pretty flat.

      Rules:
      * Grab the book closest to you. Now.
      * Go to page 56.
      * Find the 5th sentence.
      * Write that sentence as your status.
      * Copy these instructions to your journal.
      * Don't go looking for your favourite book, or the coolest one you have - just grab the closest one

    • Voted Today

      10 years ago

      GrySovCob

      President: McCain - R

      Senator: Schick - L

      Congressman: Edwards - D

      The ol' tri-party spread. The race for senator in Texas sucks balls, all of the options suck.

  • About Me

  • Comments (70)

    • Radius55 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Site Admin

      9 years ago

      Hey, I found you using the site member search feature and wanted to let you know about a RvB:TX, a group that is planning a RvB festival in Austin in the near future. Our group already has over 100 members, including Gus, and we're very active. If you are interested in volunteering, giving suggestions, attending, or just RvB in general, please check out our group page here. Also, feel free to check out our dedicated website and Twitter account. And make sure to send this to any friends who might be interested!

    • Patawan

      10 years ago

      That NASA article is pretty funny; that Professor Hansen has been making politically inconvenient statements for over a decade that have gotten him in a lot of hot water.

    • HaloACE56

      10 years ago

      Fission or Fusion?

    • GrySovCob

      10 years ago

      Texas A&M

    • mattiecore

      10 years ago

      Out of curiosity, where are you getting your degree?

    • Rental01

      10 years ago

      So, Mr. Nuclear Scientist! Is this what radiation poisoning looks like?

      Pirates die strangely after taking Iranian ship

      It looks like it to me but I prefer to talk to an expert.

    • acidblack

      11 years ago

      Neoma would like your vote.

    • GrySovCob

      11 years ago

      No, I just lurk a lot. I get tired arguing over things I've argued about before.

    • DaDouche

      11 years ago

      Funny how you're only around when needed. Do people on this site contact you from other internet venues?

    • microphone

      12 years ago

      Jesus, you changed your avatar. My reality is shattered.

    • procrastin8r

      12 years ago

      You need to see this for yourself

      Link

      Some idiots in the basement attempt to find meaning in 0/0

      Try to explain some sense to them.

    • PissedKitty

      12 years ago

      Although I'm not a big fan of nuclear power I know you are so I've been playing a lot of Supreme Commander have launched many a nuke upon heathen enemies in honor of you. :3

    • JohnLethal

      12 years ago

      Have you ever heard about this?

      Coolest kid ever.

    • BigGator5

      12 years ago

      Please vote for me here: http://rvb.roosterteeth.com/members/journal/entry.php?id=1510043

      Thanks! smiley0.gif

    • JohnLethal

      12 years ago

      That's where I got it from.

    • spikep

      12 years ago

      Happy New Year!!

    • spikep

      12 years ago

      Merry Christmas Jeffrey

    • spikep

      12 years ago

      What Do You Think When You See This?

      smash.gif

    • Orcus

      12 years ago

      For the record, I hate you mathies. I hate you all for making me suffer with set theory and arcane/obscure definitions and theorms.

      We do it because we care.

      Set theory in LinAlg is a cakewake. I've actually taken a course on foundational set theory. When your homework is to prove that multiplication actually exists, then you can complain about set theory.

    • Dane_SFC

      13 years ago

      Thanks for the comment. As much as it hurts to say it, I agree with your views.

    • dare_devilen

      13 years ago

      hey wuts up...

    • mouthdecay

      13 years ago

      At first on the forums I wanted to bash your skull in, but now I'm here to thank you for being reasonable and moving onward in the conversation smiley1.gif .

    • Calicantzari

      13 years ago

      I'm just amazed I still know what 'amalgam' means. Srsly, thanks for easing my curiousity. And with that, I take my leave.

    • GrySovCob

      13 years ago

      It is an amalgam of 3 names I used to use for savegames and such. Gryphon, Sovereign and Cobra. I still use it because it essentially guarantees that the name won't be taken.

    • Calicantzari

      13 years ago

      Does your user name stand for/short for something? That blog you posted recently was a nice read, btw.

    • spikep

      13 years ago

      Happy St. Patty's Day!

    • ToolPackinMa

      13 years ago

      OMG! PI is one of my favorite movies, ever!

    • Calicantzari

      13 years ago

      Just to clear things up, we share roughly the same position in that "Bush lied to us" thread, right?

    • procrastin8r

      13 years ago

      visit this site then look at their T-Shirts (Mathematical Humor)

      link

    • Killer_Gear

      13 years ago

      even a mega gauss magnet would not stop the exccesive heat created by the reaction.

    • GrySovCob

      13 years ago

      Magnets

    • Killer_Gear

      13 years ago

      On a different note, do you have any ideas on containing an antimatter anihlation reaction without a destroying the containment vessel?

    • spikep

      13 years ago

      HEy, HaPPy NeW YeAr "Jeffrey"

    • spikep

      13 years ago

      HEy, MeRRy ChRiStmAs & MaRry NeW YeAr "Jeffrey"

    • spikep

      13 years ago

      Hey look at my Journal.

    • spikep

      13 years ago

      RvB.roosterteeth.com the best place on earth! smiley0.gif

    • PUSHPOP

      13 years ago

      thanks2004.jpg

    • spikep

      13 years ago

      Happy Thanksgiving Jeffrey.

    • ScaryThing

      13 years ago

      hey

      haven't talked to you in a while

      what happened to the old wolf/dog avatar??

    • MJOLNIRarmor

      14 years ago

      Your Award Status Has Changed!

      Award2.jpg

      You have been awarded the MJOLNIRarmor award for having an awesome dog with shades!

    • Orcus

      14 years ago

      You have officially been awarded
      Award.jpg
      May you smite thine enemies.

    • GrySovCob

      14 years ago

      Um, it is I probably who should be welcoming you.

    • spikep

      14 years ago

      Welcome to RedVsBlue.com! the best place on earth.

    • selcal

      14 years ago

      Oh an Aggie that explains the inteligent replies. Thanks for your input on nuclear fusion,

    • Kschenke

      14 years ago

      Woot Requiem for a Dream

    • SpaceLemur FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      14 years ago

      Technocracy is so the way to go.

    • Halo53

      14 years ago

      Surgery is fun, just make sure they put everything back in where it belongs.

    • wacky23

      14 years ago

      HEY!!! 2 of my friends in college station

    • flavorflave

      14 years ago

      I LOVE JENNA

  • Questions

    No questions have been answered yet