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I'm a nuclear trained submarine electrian turned indie developer. AMA 🤔

My name is Nick. I'm a nuclear trained submarine electrian and have been for years. I have been working on and with submarines for years now and am still active duty navy.

Raising a family and writing code with what free time I have. Right now I am working on log.fm

Ask me anything (that's not classified😉)

  1. 4

    How often do you have to re-fuel a nuclear submarine? 🤔

    1. 5

      About every 30 years or so. Depending on if the Navy wants to keep that submarine around.

      1. 1

        Holy crap! So that's basically once every generation.

        1. 2

          Which is one of the many reasons nuclear power the best source of energy!

          And with the advances in technology the scientific community keeps figuring out ways to more efficiently build and use them. Making then last even longer.

  2. 3

    Who or what inspired you to become a submarine electrician, and what were your goals when you first started?

    Who or what inspired you to become an indie hacker, and what are your goals?

    1. 1

      What inspired me to go submarines: after I made the decision to enlist in the military, I heard about the Navy's nuclear program. It sounded like an experience that I likely would not other wise get in life. In fact most people don't. Some general stats I was aware of is roughly 1% of americans are eligible to join the military period, and there are roughly 60k or less submariners in the US. So I would be apart of a much smaller community and get to experience many things that others never would dream of. And we have done some cool stuff! (But lots is classified so I can't talk about it...hahaha)

      To be an indie hacker: I have been coding for like 13 years. I started in middle school. Growing up, my family only ever had old computers. I started tinkering around with them and was determined to make them better and faster. Eventually I discovered programming and was hooked. Looking back, my buddy and I actually worked on our first startup together when we were 17-18. I was coding, he was marketing and design. But when I had enlisted, I realized I was going to be able to focus on it hardly at all, at least for 2 years. So he and another bought me out for like $10. 18 years old and I sold my shares in my first startup for $10k. I was happy and amazed!

  3. 2

    What makes you interested into being a developer and what are you gonna (or still being) build?

    1. 1

      I've been a developer for about 13 ish years. I started when I was in middle school. Growing up I always had older run down computers so I started learning how they work and coding to try to make them better and faster. I loved it immediately!

      Right now I am building log.fm, a podcast search engine that helps you follow your favorite podcast people. As well as create and share podcast playlists

  4. 1

    I have close family in the nuclear submarine world. It’s not something they are keen to make pubic for security reasons.

    What made you choose to lead with this, given that it’s unlikely to be relevant to your indie projects?

    1. 1

      Some people don't like talking about it. Some people do. Different strokes and all.

      Honestly, I thought it was a different and interesting point of view that many people in our indie communities would not have. In several aspects. Being military, active duty, indie developer, nuclear background. Lots of circles on this ven diagram with not a whole lot of overlap with others

      1. 1

        Fair enough. I’d get into it more as I disagree with your opinion (“some like to talk about it and some don’t” its more like “DONT TALK ABOUT IT WETHER YOU WANT TO OR NOT” in my world) but I’m already uncomfortable with what I’ve said.

        1. 1

          Fair enough. Enjoy your day/projects :)

  5. 1

    Have you seen K-19?

    On a serious note, how comfortable does it feel to be on a nuclear submarine?

    1. 1

      I have. K19 is a classic. Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson. Classic.

      Surprisingly comfortable. Some areas are somewhat spacious while other areas are SUPER not.

      At first it is kinda trippy. Being in a tube hundreds of feet of water. Until you get used to it. Them it feels like being in an industrial building with no windows. (And you can't leave)

  6. 1
    1. You guys surely do sign some sort of the NDA?
    2. Is it safe for you to talk about your work in a nuclear submarine (risk of kidnapping, etc.)?
    3. What was the scariest thing that ever happened to you while you were submerged?
    1. 2

      This is what I was getting on about in my post above. It’s definitely not “totally safe” to talk about it. The risk of kidnapping is very real but not for the individual who works aboard the submarine. It’s their family who are put at risk.

      1. 1

        I know, right... It's rather spooky to think about it.

    2. 2
      1. We do something more powerful than an NDA. A government security clearance. If we violate it or say the wrong things, we get to go to prison! Hahaha (rather than paying a fine/getting sued with an NDA)

      2. It is totally safe to talk about a lot of it. There are obviously certain things I can't talk about. Like missions or other classified stuff. (The super secret squirrel stuff) 🐿️
        We get lots of regularly scheduled training on what we can and can't talk about and keeping "our eyes peeled for spies" and all that stuff.

      3. IDK what really the scariest thing would be, since lots of it is super mundane (honestly). But I have had lots of close calls on stuff.
        The most memorable was this one time we had a fire start to breakout while submerged, and by the end of it we were almost stuff out in the middle of the ocean with no source of power or propulsion.

  7. 1

    I am certainly no expert on nuclear energy, however the little that I do know suggests that it is one of the few ways we can move away from fossil fuels at scale and quickly. Recent technology suggests that the latest iterations of nuclear reactors are super safe, and that legacy concerns are no longer an issue. I know Bill Gates has spoken about this a ton.

    We know governments are slow and the opposition to these reactors are significant from certain groups, so it is easy to understand why the world is not moving in this direction. No one wants one of these things in their backyard and any politician suggesting it is a good idea is castrated. The science aside, public perception AND individuals in power seeing it is a risk not worth taking as far as their careers are concerned, has stifled progress in this area in terms of action being taken.

    In your opinion, what needs to happen to change that trajectory or lack thereof?

    1. 2

      To change the trajectory of nuclear power I think people need to be educated on nuclear power and how it works. And how safe it generally is. Sure there are risks, and people will get exposed to some radiation. But that's like saying don't drink hot coffee because some people pour it on them self and get burned. The science community has made great strides recently with things like small modular reactors. Super interesting stuff.

      The biggest problem about nuclear power is the lack of understanding and the fear of it. Fun fact, on average you will get more radiation from moderate length airplane flight that years of working on a nuclear reactor plant. I have lived it 😎

      Renewable sources of energy like wind and solar are great, but realistically then can't provide the amount of power on s large scale that first world countries like the US use.

      I remember reading an article about a company Bill gates invested in to help solve the nuclear power problem. They were working on figuring out how to use the old used up nuclear reactor cores (aka spent uranium) and creating working reactors. (Don't quote me on this, but I think I they figured it out to. But the current US regulations don't legally allow it in production yet. So they were working with Chine to make the first operational plant)

      1. 1

        You are correct. They did figure it out and they were set to start building facilities in China. I think the US then blocked the whole thing citing national security concerns. It's become a politicized topic both domestically in the US but now also from a geopolitical standpoint.

        Appreciate your comments and would love to try out this podcast search function you are building.

        1. 1

          Yeah I thought it got shut down when Trump had his China hissy-fit.

          Great, I would love to have you on the site. DM me your email or email me nick[at]frostbutter.com and I'll let you know when it goes live for the first batch of people

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