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DesertTripper191 karma

Wow. Never thought I'd hear SF6 mentioned in a thread that has nothing to do with high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear.

DesertTripper67 karma

If I recall correctly, the "phrasing the answer in the form of a question" idea Merv had when he created the show was a jab at the accusations of rigging at the time. Merv said, "Okay, so there are claims that contestants on some of the shows are getting answers and cheating. Let's make a show where we give the contestants all the answers, and they have to ask the questions!" So, the show "What's the Question?" was born. Then, some time later, one of the people involved in the show said, "This show needs more jeopardy in it." The rest is history.

DesertTripper55 karma

Having spent time with a friend who became para at 21 (we are now both early 50s), I have seen some of the things that one goes through dealing with a spinal cord injury. He did marry the woman he was with when it happened, but he went through some rough times, including a major problem with alcoholism, and his wife eventually left him (sadly, taking him to the cleaners but that's a different story; she had some major issues herself).

He did stay very active, however, taking up 4x4ing (he navigated the famous Rubicon Trail with a Wrangler with hand controls!), boating, and more recently, restoring classic cars with the help of able-bodied members of a local car club. The injury slowed him down a bit, but he never let it get the best of him and he's still doing well.

Sometimes I wonder how I might have dealt with it, but having had lesser things like lymphoma and heart failure, I've found that staying positive helps a lot.

DesertTripper40 karma

How reliable is the latest crop of turbines? As in, how much time on average can a turbine run before something (gearbox, hydraulic system, etc.) requires major maintenance? Have any direct-drive turbines hit the market yet? I imagine things are better now than 15-20 years ago - many if not most turbines I see of that vintage have nasty stains from the oil leaking out of them.

Also, are there any 5MW turbines installed on land yet? I know there are some in at-sea installations but have heard they're too massive for land-based installations.

DesertTripper26 karma

In 1985, a reheat line blew at the now-demolished (though not due to the incident) Mohave Steam Station in Laughlin, NV. The plant had the distinction of being the only one in the world to use coal transported via a nearly 300 mile long slurry pipeline from the mine in east central AZ to Laughlin. Contract disputes with the Indian tribe running the mine, as well as concerns about the expense of upgrading the aging plant to reduce the amount of pollution it was sending to places like the Grand Canyon, led to its shutdown in 2005 and demolition a few years ago.

The reheat line ran near the entrance to the control room and just happened to blow in a manner where steam was blasted directly into the room. As there was only one unprotected entrance to the room, the nine people inside the room at the time were cooked. The incident, tragic as it was, uncovered all sorts of shoddy work practices that led to the failure and changed the way that the plant operator did business. Control rooms were subsequently fitted with secondary exits and brick alcoves that would presumably keep a steam line outside from blowing the door in and filling the control room with 1100 degree steam.

By the way, most people I have talked to about the old story that a pinhole steam leak in a high-pressure system will cleanly slice you in half if you walk past it is just that - a story. You may get seriously burned - and the superheated steam is invisible - but one half of you will not separate from the other.