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Comment: Re:Might be viable (Score 1) 110

by Areyoukiddingme (#48052805) Attached to: MIT Study Outlines a 'Perfect' Solar Cell

Interesting 85 percent absorption rate, though.

And highly suspect, considering the theoretical upper limit is 86%. The number of real machines that achieve that high a percentage of their theoretical limit is vanishingly small. Unless Josef Drexler has managed to perfect a nanoassembler that builds solar panels, that 85% isn't happening.

Comment: Re:But WWF still advocates for huning polar bears. (Score 1) 292

by Areyoukiddingme (#48048269) Attached to: 35,000 Walrus Come Ashore In Alaska

They're not concerned about helping bears and other animals, they're concerned about making money.

That much should be obvious when they claim a mass walrus haulout is bad for polar bears. That's just idiotic. As far as the polar bears are concerned, it's free lunch. A LOT of free lunch. This is going to cause a mild boom in polar bear population in the spring, because many mothers will be well fed this fall.

Comment: Re:The problem with double standards. (Score 1) 292

by Areyoukiddingme (#48047705) Attached to: 35,000 Walrus Come Ashore In Alaska

Or the giant areas of highly acidic oceans that lack enough oxygen for fish to survive. Both of these are from us burning fossil fuels.

No, that's not. That's from us dumping massive amounts of nitrogen fertilizer into watersheds, causing algae blooms, which suck all the oxygen out of the water. It has nothing to do with burning anything.

Comment: Re:Update to Godwin's law? (Score 1) 575

by Areyoukiddingme (#48043633) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

What I don't understand is the lack of concern about security.

I'm far more afraid of a terrorist/criminal organization getting access to these back doors, and reading all of the encrypted documents that companies (including government contractors) want to secure, than hidden communication allowing them to get away.

Let us consider for a moment how huge the black market is for exploits today. That market is huge while pursuing only the hope of finding a way in. Now imagine what happens when there's a government guaranteed way in.

Obviously the US Congress should move immediately to enact this law. After all, think of the Nigerian children.

Comment: Re:4G is Losing to Wifi (Score 2) 46

It's not PR spin. They're not allowed to throttle LTE service for grandfathered unlimited accounts. It's part of the agreement they made with the government when they bought the 700Mhz spectrum. They were probably hoping everyone had forgotten.

What were the terms of that agreement, exactly? Because they sold the 700Mhz spectrum they bought to T-Mobile for $2.4 billion. Are they still bound by the terms of that auction, even though they no longer hold the fruits of that auction?

Comment: Re:Ok, several aspects to this. (Score 1) 651

by Areyoukiddingme (#48042961) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

White hats? If white hats were building actively guided systems capable of that sort of range, you'd be seeing miniature computer boards running Linux, Squid and Tor relays launched into stable orbits that crossed nations with restricted network access. We don't.

I don't usually comment in the gun threads, since it's not my hobby, and usually someone would have noticed this remark and answered it by now, but we're 400 posts and counting into the thread and still no one has, so I will.

We do. Ham radio enthusiasts (who have a not-inconsiderable intersection with gun enthusiasts) have put multiple relay satellites in orbit, and you could call them miniature. They're certainly reasonably small compared to normal commercial satellites, even if they're mostly not CubeSats. Some of them are intentionally put into inclined orbits, so they cover more of the Earth's surface, including crossing nations with restricted network access. No, they don't build actively guided systems of their own to do it. They launch as secondary payloads. They operate mainly as store-and-forward systems. Email, basically, or Internet newsgroups.

I don't recognize your reference to neocon stupidity, but I concur that it was stupid. There are existing orbital solutions to the problem of rampant censorship.

Comment: Re:The cost? (Score 1) 549

As usual, when I hear futurists telling us about the awesome the future will be ... I find myself thinking "this is impractical, way more than anybody will ever be able to afford, and probably never going to happen".

In the future, you will be able to carry a device in your pocket that will allow you, for less than the price of a cup of coffee, to have a conversation with anyone else on Earth who has a similar device. On a whim.

The future could be awesome. But no, no one will ever build such a system. It's impractical, way more than anybody will ever be able to afford. And there are so many details, and it would require such a huge planet-girdling system. It can't possibly happen.


You underestimate what feats of engineering have already been accomplished, and overestimate the size of the feat Elon Musk is talking about.

Comment: Re:Survival (Score 1) 488

by Areyoukiddingme (#48032917) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Show me an example of these codes please. I have been researching this for the past two hours and have looked at multiple occupancy permitting codes across the U.S. and there just isn't any such requirement that I've been able to find.

The codes you're looking for tend to be at the city, township, or county level. A great many of them have not been put online yet, and haven't really changed in 30 or 40 years.

Comment: Re:I wonder what a government node could do. (Score 5, Insightful) 85

by Areyoukiddingme (#48032215) Attached to: Hong Kong Protesters Use Mesh Networks To Organize

I wonder how much information one mesh node could accumulate to incriminate other participants? How many of "the people" will be willing to participate in an uprising like this if they know that a government stooge is likely no more than two or three hops away?

You do realize that most of these protesters are literally standing two or three steps away from a government stooge wearing riot gear, right? It's not like they're even trying to blend in.

I think we're forgetting our history here. Peaceful protest only works if it seriously inconveniences as many people as possible for as long as necessary. Politely camping in a park without a permit doesn't really cut it. If they're using tear gas on you, it's a start. If they're using water cannon on you, you're getting somewhere. If they're setting dogs on you and hauling you away to county lockup by the busload, you're doing it right.

People forget exactly what happened during the Civil Rights movement in the United States. It's peaceful protest only on the protester's side. On the side of the so-called civil authorities, it's decidedly not peaceful, and rarely civil. And this has to go on for quite a long time. Literally years.

Occupy Wall Street accomplished nothing because none of that happened. These protests in Hong Kong will likely accomplish just as little. They're carefully avoiding inconveniencing anyone. Nothing happens if you do that. We demonstrated exactly that in the US. Hong Kong should learn from our mistakes. If they want to actually change things, they have to get obnoxious and get hauled away by those riot gear-equipped policemen. In droves. By the thousands. Or since we're talking about Chinese numbers here, by the tens of thousands. (It takes some serious effort to match per capita numbers in China.) Being careful not to interfere means you can be ignored, not just by authority, but by the man on the street as well. You must inconvenience people. You must interfere. You must do so as peacefully as possible, but you must do so.

Most recently, the US did it wrong. We in the US weren't willing to pay the price to get the oligarchs to back down. The populations of several Arab states did it right. Yeah, it hurts. Sorry, but that's what it takes. Are you in China ready?

Comment: Re:Catastrophe? (Score 1) 488

by Areyoukiddingme (#48030845) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

GP did specify a buried flywheel. If pieces of flywheel become embedded in the soil four or five feet under my lawn, I fail to see the catastrophe. A one- or two-percent annual failure rate for a device like that would be quite acceptable.

Catastrophe is more than danger to life and limb.

When an engineer uses the term, it can mean (and does mean, in this case) that the device is not repairable after the incident. Failures can be fixed. After a catastrophic failure of a flywheel, you're in your yard with a backhoe, digging up the old one, because not only did it disintegrate, it blew apart its generator with shrapnel, shredded its housing, and probably induced a surge in your house current as it went. And now you have to buy a new one and replace it completely, including digging out the remnants of the old one because you don't want to dig a whole new hole somewhere else, with all new wiring, and do it all over again the year after that.

A one- or two-percent annual failure rate for such an expensive device is a financial catastrophe, at the very least.

Comment: Re:Survival (Score 4, Insightful) 488

by Areyoukiddingme (#48024347) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Why batteries? Spin up a buried flywheel in a vacuum.

Because flywheels aren't actually all that energy dense, even after quite a few years of development. To store more energy, you want bigger radius, more mass, or higher speed. There are material limits to all of those things. Push any of those criteria too far and you end up with a flywheel that has a distressing tendency to self-disassemble. Catastrophically.

Oddly enough, as difficult as it is, the materials science of figuring out more efficient ways to store electrical energy by moving ions around is still easier than the materials science of keeping spinning-very-fast things in one piece.

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.