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Comment: Much ado about nothing (Score 2) 430

by Jeremi (#48033329) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

Let's suppose that in a few years someone discovers definitive proof that there is life a few thousand light years away.

It will be big news for a week or two. People who are into the idea of ETs will be happy; people who aren't comfortable with them will question (or flat out disbelieve) the evidence. Everyone will discuss the possible implications until they get bored with the topic.

After a month or so, it will fade into the cultural background and life will continue as before. With no way to get there and no means to communicate, the fact of the existence of extra-terrestrial life simply won't have much impact on anyone's day-to-day life.

Net effect on humanity: minimal.

Comment: Re:You raise? Call, mofo! (Score 3, Informative) 467

by Jeremi (#48025159) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

do you really think I'll put up with your bullshit instead of spending another $5k on batteries and going totally off-grid, costing you even your scammy $14/month "connection charge"?

Hmm. $5,000 up-front in order save $14/month? Those batteries will pay for themselves in only 29 years, yay! Or rather, they would pay for themselves if they lasted that long, which they definitely won't.

So yes, the power company really does think you'll put up with their bullshit -- or at least, that most people will.

Comment: Re:Failure of Imagination; Utilities Could Sell So (Score 1) 467

by Jeremi (#48025117) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Instead, [power companies] want to coast on coal plants and grid they built out, much of it long ago - and keep slamming your checks.

Well, sure -- those coal plants cost a fair amount of money to build, and the longer they can keep them running, the more they can amortize that cost.

Of course, while that's a rational policy for the power companies, it's not rational for society as a whole, since it's the rest of us who end up paying the costs of the carbon pollution (in the form of flood damage, crop losses, war, etc). A carbon-emissions tax would go a long way towards re-aligning the power companies' economic incentives to better reflect those of society at large.

Comment: Re:net metering != solar and 10% needs new physics (Score 1) 467

by Jeremi (#48025085) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Seems like what the world really needs is a way to combine (excess solar electricity) and (excess atmospheric CO2) back into some kind of useful hydrocarbon fuel.

Then your "storage device" could simply be the underground tanks at the local gas station, which would partially refill themselves each afternoon by siphoning off the excess electricity to create gasoline.

Dunno if it will actually happen, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

Comment: Re:No he didn't (Score 5, Insightful) 212

TFA implies he caused the delay, when in fact incompetent airport security staff caused the delay.

I'll go you one further, and suggest that inadequate airport design caused the delay.

In particular, hiring a human being to stare at a hallway for 8 hours a day to make sure nobody walks this way instead of that way is not a good design. People -- even well-trained, competent people, with the best intentions -- are notoriously bad at doing mind-numbingly tedious tasks like this for hours at a time.

Machines, on the other hand, could be employed to do the same job more effectively and reliably. It doesn't even need to be particularly high-tech: a simple one-way turnstile (perhaps augmented with a video camera to sound an alarm if the turnstile is tampered with or somehow bypassed) would do a more reliable job, and as a side benefit would not need to be paid a salary.

Comment: Re:Me too. (Score 1) 408

by Jeremi (#47969715) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

Take a look at Red hat's CygWin.

It's the 'pre-installed' part that's key. There are lots of times when I sit down at a Windows machine, and I either don't have the owner's permission to install stuff, or even if I do it's going to take 30 minutes just to get everything installed, before I can even start working on the actual problems at hand.

Comment: Re:Renewable (Score 1) 82

by Jeremi (#47914911) Attached to: Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

Just as a quick jab, maybe I want poor Canadians to be paid by rich beachfront property owning Miamians? Just something to think about.

Hmm, a sort of environmental extortion racket? I like it, but somehow the Canadians don't strike me as quite the type to try it. Maybe I'm wrong about that. :)

Inflation: It would cost more today to retard economic growth and combat climate change than it will in 2025.

Are you sure? Because while the relevant technologies will have no doubt advanced by 2025, the scale of the problem will be that much larger by that time as well. It's not obvious (to me anyway) how one would predict where the "sweet spot" would be, or if there even is going to be one -- it's entirely possible that the problems will continuously grow faster than the technology needed to solve them, so that it will never be cheaper or easier to combat climate change than it is today.

Comment: Re:SF stories optimistic? (Score 1) 191

by Jeremi (#47914875) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

It seems that we are going to have to fight off aliens for our survival.

Er, why does it seem that?

Is it because any aliens that come here are going to want to take our resources? That seems unlikely, since any aliens capable of coming here would also be quite capable of gathering all the raw materials they need from other locations closer to wherever they came from -- avoiding interstellar freight costs is a huge incentive. (the exception might be "exotic" materials that can be found only on Earth, e.g. DNA, which might explain the cattle abductions -- but they only need samples of that since it's straightforward enough to duplicate as necessary)

Comment: Use best practices (Score 1) 268

by Jeremi (#47914785) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

The standard IT solution for this problem is to encode the data as DNA and inject it into a few dozen cockroaches, which you then drive to the nearest KFC and set free.

If you ever need to restore from backup, just put some twinkies in a bowl outside your door, and some copies of your data will be available to you by morning.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik