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posted by mattie_p on Monday February 17 2014, @05:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-in-my-backyard dept.

Submitted on behalf of user "crutchy" #179, who writes:

"I don't seem to be able to use the 'Submit Story' feature at the moment... I just thought I'd flag a little saga currently unfolding near where I live. An open cut coal mine that supplies coal to a nearby 1600MW power station in Victoria, Australia, has been on fire for over a week. This could threaten electricity generation in the area and might have been deliberately set.

What might be more interesting is the lack of news media attention to it."

[Ed. Note] we're working on fixing article submission, thanks for getting this to us via alternate means.

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End of Day 1: Systems Update 149 comments

So, as I write this, day one has officially come to an end. I'm still somewhat in shock over it. Last night when I was editing the database to change over hostnames and such, I was thinking, man, it would be great if we got 100 regular users by tomorrow. Turns out I was wrong. By a factor of ten. Holy cow, people. I'm still in a state of disbelief, partially due to the epic turnout, but also because our very modest server hardware hasn't soiled itself from the influx (the numbers are, well, "impressive" is a way to put it). Anyway, I wanted to do a bit of a writeup of where we stand now, what works, and what doesn't. Check it out (and some raw numbers) after the break! Warning, it is a bit lengthy.

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  • (Score: 2) by mattie_p on Monday February 17 2014, @05:55PM

    by mattie_p (13) on Monday February 17 2014, @05:55PM (#896) Journal

    Also, Kill it with Fire!

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by dilbert on Monday February 17 2014, @05:57PM

      by dilbert (444) on Monday February 17 2014, @05:57PM (#898)
      I'd like to apologize for the lack of news coverage...the press were too busy covering a few dozen dead birds over a 5 square mile solar panel array in the middle of the desert.
      • (Score: 1) by Vanderhoth on Monday February 17 2014, @06:02PM

        by Vanderhoth (61) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:02PM (#905)

        Dude, you totally beat me to it... And now I'm getting Slow Down Cowboy!

        --
        "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
        • (Score: 1) by dilbert on Monday February 17 2014, @06:09PM

          by dilbert (444) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:09PM (#911)
          It's because you took the time to find an appropriate URL while I just threw the snark out as quickly as possible. That 'slow down cowboy' has hit me a few times as well.
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by regift_of_the_gods on Monday February 17 2014, @07:34PM

        by regift_of_the_gods (138) on Monday February 17 2014, @07:34PM (#979)

        Maybe they were dead canaries that fled the coal mine before it exploded?

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Vanderhoth on Monday February 17 2014, @06:00PM

      by Vanderhoth (61) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:00PM (#901)

      At least it's not killing birds like solar plants do ;)

      Funny how that discussion took place this morning. When it comes to renewable energy there are groups that jumps all over bird strikes for wind and frying birds for solar, but how bad oil and coal are are completely left out of the equation. And here we have a story about a huge fire, that seems to be being almost completely ignored in the media.

      Just ask yourself, "What would Fox News do?"

      http://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=14/02/17/074 5210 [soylentnews.org]

      --
      "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Nerdfest on Monday February 17 2014, @07:57PM

        by Nerdfest (80) on Monday February 17 2014, @07:57PM (#1004)

        I'm sure most of the oil companies have a large media relations group whose job it is not only to make the oil companies look as good as is possible, and help in making sure their competition don't.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by kwerle on Monday February 17 2014, @05:58PM

    by kwerle (746) on Monday February 17 2014, @05:58PM (#899) Homepage

    The reason it isn't covered is because it isn't generally newsworthy. Certainly I don't think it has any place on this site.

    Then again, what kind of news is this site for? Maybe its audience is people who are interested in possible local crimes and eco-econo issues.

    If that's the case, I should bail. If this is meant to replace news for nerds, then the editors need to screen this kind of thing out.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by mattie_p on Monday February 17 2014, @06:10PM

      by mattie_p (13) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:10PM (#912) Journal

      I'd ask you to stick around a little longer, if you can. We're working to screen the best articles that have been submitted, and if there is news that YOU would like to see I'd ask that you collaborate with us in submitting it. Thanks for reading.

      • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Monday February 17 2014, @06:43PM

        by kwerle (746) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:43PM (#933) Homepage

        It's not that I want to see more news. I want to see less non-news.

        If there's no news, I wanna see nothing. That's something that /. failed at a lot.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by mattie_p on Monday February 17 2014, @07:26PM

          by mattie_p (13) on Monday February 17 2014, @07:26PM (#967) Journal

          Please feel free to submit great articles that you want to see. We want this to be community driven, and you are part of the community. Right now I simply don't have time to go find awesome articles. I and the other editors need you to do that for us, to make this a place where nerds of all kinds want to come to in order to get some facts on what is relevant in their lives, and see what others think on those topics.

          • (Score: 2, Informative) by Nerdfest on Monday February 17 2014, @07:59PM

            by Nerdfest (80) on Monday February 17 2014, @07:59PM (#1009)

            That said, this is news to me, as are large scale environmental issues in general. They affect all of us and cross well over into the science arena these days because global warming.

            • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:43AM

              by kwerle (746) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:43AM (#1366) Homepage

              Fair enough. Gimme an amazing filter. Or at least an adequate one.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by crutchy on Monday February 17 2014, @08:36PM

          by crutchy (179) on Monday February 17 2014, @08:36PM (#1046) Homepage Journal

          "If there's no news, I wanna see nothing"

          you're an idiot

          • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:18AM

            by kwerle (746) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:18AM (#1347) Homepage

            you're an idiot

            Why do you say?

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17 2014, @09:29PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17 2014, @09:29PM (#1096)

          *sigh* You're one of those aren't you? You know who I mean, the guy who hates things if they dont appeal to him, for no other reason then to hate them.

          If you dont like the news that is posted, either post your own, or don't read the article. In fact you can even pretend the news you aren't interested isn't even here. It would be just like if there was no news.

          The rest of us on the other hand don't have a problem with this article.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Nkwe on Monday February 17 2014, @07:44PM

      by Nkwe (853) on Monday February 17 2014, @07:44PM (#989)

      It might be newsworthy if the summary or discussion talks about how vulnerabilities in critical services impact our lives. Discussions on why the loss of one power plant can impact customers (and why there isn't redundancy). The summary suggests it might be deliberate. How about discussion on protection of technology against deliberate attack? Lots of things that could be relevant to the audience.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by crutchy on Monday February 17 2014, @08:50PM

        by crutchy (179) on Monday February 17 2014, @08:50PM (#1062) Homepage Journal

        i can tell you from first hand experience that the air quality in the nearby cities of Morwell and Traralgon is terrible

        http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/monitoring-the- environment/air-quality-bulletins/24-hour-air-qual ity-summary [vic.gov.au]

        sometimes if i go outside i can feel my eyes begin to sting after a short while. a few days ago there was an overpowering smell of burning rubber in the air (i was walking my kids to school... contemplated turning around and keeping them home inside)

        there have been warnings from the health department to stay indoors (we use a FireReady app (http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/fireready- app/) to receive up to date info, as well as listen to radio for emergency warnings, but there isn't much else on TV about it, but it's hard to just stay indoors when this fire has been going on for a week and is projected to go on for at least another fortnight.

        firefighters have been treated for carbon monoxide poisoning (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/firefighters-fa lling-ill-at-coal-mine-fire-20140216-32u0r.html).. . this was actually something that did get a little attention from the media... mainly trying to blame fire authorities for not caring about safety, though i'm sure if the power station was more impacted the media wouldn't give a shit about firefighters.

        the national highway (highway 1, named the princes highway) runs right alongside the fire, and there's a stretch of about 5km of the highway where we have to slow down from 110 km/hr to 80 km/hr whilst travelling through thick smoke (eyes get very stingy) that requires headlights in the daytime

      • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:36AM

        by kwerle (746) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:36AM (#1359) Homepage

        Naw, I don't think so.

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by crutchy on Monday February 17 2014, @08:34PM

      by crutchy (179) on Monday February 17 2014, @08:34PM (#1045) Homepage Journal

      oh, i'm sorry... it isn't google or fox doing the censorship and it isn't in the united states... *slaps self*

      • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:31AM

        by kwerle (746) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:31AM (#1357) Homepage

        oh, i'm sorry... it isn't google or fox doing the censorship and it isn't in the united states... *slaps self*

        No, lemme make this clear:
        I don't give a shit what fox does or does not say. Not ever. And certainly not here. While I may at some level give a shit about coal fires, I certainly don't want to see news about it HERE. Same thing goes for possible arson.

        • (Score: 1) by Gaaark on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:51AM

          by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:51AM (#1403) Journal

          Please submit the kind of story YOU want to see: there are probably a lot of people who would also like to see it!

          The 'problem' is, we are all different. That said, a lot of different things grab my interest: I might want to read what you might want to submit.

          Not being trolly... I just need my machine to be fed and may find your type of story interesting.

          --
          --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
          • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:13AM

            by kwerle (746) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:13AM (#1416) Homepage

            The 'problem' is, we are all different. That said, a lot of different things grab my interest: I might want to read what you might want to submit.

            Sure, that's true. And that's part of the reason I'm hoping to see some kind of goal/subject statement for the site. If this is to replace slashdot (and, one hopes, improve), then I'd like to never see this kind of story, here.

            If this site is going to cover TSA incidents, car fires, and arbitrary topics like this, then I should bail.

            My hope is that this will cover technology news. Which this is not. My hope is that you will find news about coal fires that may have been caused by arson on an eco news site or some other site that talks about possible arson.

            • (Score: 2) by mattie_p on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:25AM

              by mattie_p (13) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:25AM (#1442) Journal

              kwerle, since this article was posted, we've released articles on auperconductivity research, Google buying (yet) another tech company, a Tesla story (or not, but gotta love those flamewars!), discussion on DRM within HTML5, Java 8 release candidate, and DNS snooping. If we are not meeting your needs here, please let us know what articles you ARE looking for. Unfortunately I am not a mind reader, nor are the other editors.

              The best way for you to tell us what you want to see is to submit a story yourself! [soylentnews.org] I really have the same goal in mind as you, and I hope that as a site we will be able to articulate the vision we have and meet the needs that you want.

              Thanks for reading!

              • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:12PM

                by kwerle (746) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:12PM (#1675) Homepage

                Yeah, that's a Tesla story. It is NOT a news item.

                The best way for you to tell us what you want to see is to submit a story yourself! I really have the same goal in mind as you, and I hope that as a site we will be able to articulate the vision we have and meet the needs that you want.

                Again: I'm telling you what I do NOT want to see because that's more important to me than what I do want to see. The tech news you mentioned is all great stuff (again, the Tesla story is not news). That's never been the problem with /. The problem has ever been the signal to noise ratio because the editors failed to reject trash stories.

            • (Score: 1) by crutchy on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:32AM

              by crutchy (179) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:32AM (#1443) Homepage Journal

              My hope is that this will cover technology news

              so... apple sues google, google sues apple, apple sues microsoft, microsoft buys motorola, linux 3.X released, nvidia support for linux is shit, steam... bitcoin...

              maybe you should go back to slashdot

              i brought up this story not only for its environmental impacts, but also the possible/apparent mainstream media censorship issue

              it's fine if you don't think it's newsworthy... but please don't assume that nobody thinks it's newsworthy

              i doubt you will find any newssite in the world that only publishes articles/stories that all of its readership enjoys

              it is also early days for solent... if nobody contributes anything out of fear of backlash there isn't going to be much to read and comment on

              • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:00PM

                by kwerle (746) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:00PM (#1669) Homepage

                so... apple sues google, google sues apple, apple sues microsoft, microsoft buys motorola, linux 3.X released, nvidia support for linux is shit, steam... bitcoin...

                maybe you should go back to slashdot

                Maybe.

                My point is that /. carries too many articles like this (non tech articles), and too many non news articles (a car caught fire). Frankly, I'm not very interested when companies sue each other - I'm far more interested in when suits are settled and something actually happened.

                My hope is that the focus of this site be narrower than what /. has become. Not that there be more articles - but that there be fewer of better quality.

                Again, a goal statement would perhaps be helpful.

                • (Score: 0) by crutchy on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:51PM

                  by crutchy (179) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:51PM (#1901) Homepage Journal

                  I'm far more interested in when suits are settled and something actually happened

                  how is that newsworthy? usually it merely consists of a handshake and a non-disclosure agreement

                  also, if you're seriously comparing the coal mine in TFA to a car fire, i encourage you to look into it more (even though there isn't much in the mainstream media). the mine is huge and even the fire is about 3 km long. fire authorities are still trying to figure out how to put the thing out after more than a week. i have a feeling this fire will eventually appear in the mainstream media, but by then it will be too late.

                  • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:02PM

                    by kwerle (746) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:02PM (#1909) Homepage

                    how is that newsworthy? usually it merely consists of a handshake and a non-disclosure agreement

                    It probably isn't. And by extension, the announcement that a suit is *starting* certainly is not.

                    also, if you're seriously comparing the coal mine in TFA to a car fire, i encourage you to look into it more

                    From a technology standpoint, they're about identical. Nothing [interesting] to do with tech. The fact that the coal fire is big doesn't make it more technologically interesting. If they use some interesting tech to put it out, then I'd love to hear about it. Until then, it's a coal mine fire. And if it was arson, then it was a crime. Neither of those give it a reason to be on this site (I hope).

                    • (Score: 1) by crutchy on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:14PM

                      by crutchy (179) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:14PM (#1921) Homepage Journal

                      Nothing [interesting] to do with tech

                      the fact that it is threatening a power station might be... a lot of tech doesn't work well without them :-P

                      If they use some interesting tech to put it out, then I'd love to hear about it.

                      there is some interesting tech being used from what i hear. it's unfortunate that the media hasn't reported on it, but there aren't hundreds of firefighters lined up with conventional hoses trying to put this thing out. from what i hear there are some fairly specialized high volume firefighting appliances being used. i haven't seen any pics, so unfortunately this is just third-hand info. you don't put a coal fire out by hammering it with a water jet because it kinda acts like oil in some ways (it just spreads). i would think that's whatever the equipment actually is looks like, the water being pumped onto the fire is probably low pressure but high volume; so very large pipes with water flowing over the batters from the top maybe.

                      the aspect that i originally thought might be interesting to soylent readers was the apparent media/corporate cover up (the mine and power station is owned by GDF Suez). it's something that is talked about a lot around here (in my engineering circle) anyway.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by E_NOENT on Monday February 17 2014, @06:00PM

    by E_NOENT (630) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:00PM (#902) Journal

    Glad to hear yours sounds manageable.

    These things are pretty horrible. In the U.S. one of the big ones I can remember, is here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralia,_Pennsylva nia [wikipedia.org]

    --been going since 1962? Yikes!

    --
    I'm not in the business... I *am* the business.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by beardedchimp on Monday February 17 2014, @06:05PM

      by beardedchimp (393) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:05PM (#908)

      Ha! That fire is but a youth stepping on my lawn. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_Mountain [wikipedia.org] has been burning for 6000 years.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by dilbert on Monday February 17 2014, @06:06PM

        by dilbert (444) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:06PM (#909)
        Apparently underground coal fires are not uncommon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_seam_fire [wikipedia.org]
        • (Score: 1) by beardedchimp on Monday February 17 2014, @06:10PM

          by beardedchimp (393) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:10PM (#913)

          Yep. The chinese are experts at putting them out since they started hundreds of them.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by mhajicek on Monday February 17 2014, @06:55PM

        by mhajicek (51) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:55PM (#943)

        You mean since the world was created? Wow!

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by crutchy on Monday February 17 2014, @09:00PM

      by crutchy (179) on Monday February 17 2014, @09:00PM (#1071) Homepage Journal

      we're lucky it's only covering a portion of the exposed coal batters... if we get another 40+ degrees C day i think the media might become more interested because the whole mine might literally go up in smoke, which will all but completely disable the power station (they might be able to truck some coal in from nearby mines)

      it's quite a large mine... not the largest in the world by any means, but it's hard to grasp the scale of things from photos

      the risk that i'm a little concerned about is that the affected coal seam is one of the largest in the world... it's about 30 metres thick and close to the surface, and i live right on top of it (along with many thousands of others all over the Gippsland region)... i've heard of what happened to Centralia in the US

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by pbnjoe on Monday February 17 2014, @06:42PM

    by pbnjoe (313) on Monday February 17 2014, @06:42PM (#931) Journal

    They should have been using solar power instead! That's been my stance from the beginning!

    http://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid=89&cid=544 [soylentnews.org] ... Oh, uh, *cough* :P

  • (Score: 1) by randmcnatt on Monday February 17 2014, @07:36PM

    by randmcnatt (671) on Monday February 17 2014, @07:36PM (#981)

    Wikinews [wikinews.org]. They publish a lot of material about Australia.

    --
    The Wright brothers were not the first to fly: they were the first to land.