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Comment Re: That's exactly right (Score 1) 645

Many of your points are right but we will have to get a hell of a lot better at capturing natural sources before we have a real impact. Wind turbines would need to be far more densely placed to have any substantial impact on local climate. Its also worth appreciating the fringe benefits to certain options. For example, collecting wave power could reduce coastal errosion.

Comment Re: Thanks a lot PostgreSQL devels (Score 2) 105

Merge is not really the same as upsert. Merge (using the dual psuedo table) is a potential solution to the problem as are a number of options using pl/sql. I think the real truth here is that oracle haven't seen the need to implement an upsert command. Its not difficult to code and would be easy to build a solution without the need of a special command.

Comment Re:What happened to political correctness?? (Score 1) 90

Christmas (I prefer Xmas), is not necessarily a religious festival in my opinion. I'm an atheist but that doesn't stop me from wanting to bring good wishes and cheer to my friends and family. There are more people in Britain who perceive Xmas as Doctor Who, Strictly, The Queen and eating too much turkey than are likely to go to church.

Comment Re: Too much hype about driverless cars (Score 1) 211

What you describe already happens. As Clarkson has said, he tries very hard to avoid using his brakes on the motorway because every time the brake lights come on there is a chain reaction. And that is with cars ttraveling much further apart. Your scenario would not likely work out the way you suggest. The software will inteligently 'stack' cars for efficient routing. A car won't need to cross two lanes of the motorway because it will have been brought into the slow lane in plenty of time to let the car exit. in fact, you will probably find that a car effectively swaps place to maintain balance. None of this is complicated and will be far more efficient than what happens right now as there will not be a chain reaction, even with cars driving very close together.

I do have reservations about driverless cars but I can see the potential benefits as well. My main concern, and one I've yet to see sufficiently well answered, is what happens when accidents do occur and that they are the fault of car or its software? Who's liable? If its my car, I've not driving, I've had the car properly serviced so surely its not my fault.

Comment Re: All electric for performance (Score 1) 254

That is of course the main issue and probably why the Tesla is a luxury saloon and not a sports car. This is not going to change until we see fuel cell technology or batteries get a hell of a lot lighter. It will happen at some point though and I expect Porsche are not only designing the car but supporting development of new power tech.

I feel obliged to mention that the newest generation of hypercars are hybrids with relatively modest electric-only modes and in reality use the electric motors to support the ICE.

Comment Re: Which side am I supposed to be on?!? (Score 1) 60

Your comments would carry a bit more weight if you didn't insult the people you disagree with.

The problem here is that there probably are some legitimate reasons to be concerned whilst others you can probably ignore. There is no doubt in my mind that the energy providers will ultimately find a way to exploit smart meters to their advantage. For me, I hope that I will improve my efficiency and increase my self sufficiency through improved insulation and home generation such that the providers will become increasingly irrelevant. Granted this is not something everyone can achieve although I imagine most would aspire to it. However, the hope is that a prevalence of alternatives plus a diverse market will keep the providers in check.

Being worried about RF radiation is probably nonsense but I've seen it tends to be a common policy of those who want to convince people that there is an overwhelming reason to oppose something. Not just one or two arguments but a significant list of reasons, many of which are untrue.

Comment Re: Sputnik? (Score 1) 242

Its all a matter of perspective. I suspect the Soviets did feel they had won with sputnik. I'm sure the Americans think the same with the Moon landings. However, travel into space is continuing to produce new results. The demand for more sophistication drives us forward. For example, when NASA created the Grand Tour, I expect it was technically impossible at the time to also travel to Pluto (either as part of the tour or as a seperate mission). That has now been achieved and would probably be more sophisicated if designed today. There is a good chance that in a hundred years people might well talk about the colonisation of Mars as the 'real' start of the space race or that the first ship to make it to Alpha Centari in a thousand years as the start.

For me, both Sputnik and the Moon landings are of equal importance. The Viking landings are also high on the list as are the amazing discoveries of ther above mentioned robot missions. The moone landings got a lot of publicity during the cold war and I think that has caused bias in many peoples impressions.

Comment Re: Of course they did. (Score 1) 177

it shold be mentioned that the emmisions scandal is only one issue and whilst I understand and agree that it should taint a company, there are many aspects about VW that should be considered to be good (or at least better) given the way they are run. VW is highly successful, not just in turning a profit but in managing a company that benefits its workers and the general area where they manufacture. The same could not be said for GM when they decided to stab the majority of their loyal workforce in the back by moving manufacturing offshore. I am aware that VW do manufacturing outside of Germany but this is additional manufacturing, not instead of.

Comment Re: Does he have the data to support his "beliefs" (Score 1) 188

unfortunately the next thing will be the 24x7 NHS. The only 'fact' the politicians have is that more people die at weekends. They don't really know why but the solution will be to put more doctors on shift at weekends and dilute the weekday service. I guess its too much trouble to do evidence-based goverment.

Comment Re:This is interesting.... (Score 1) 573

I'm generally happy that GW is being caused by human activity. Having said that, I'm also prepared to listen to genuine information that might contradict this. So far I've not seen any reason to change my opinion.

What concerns me more though is that the debate continues. Regardless of whether humans or nature are responsible or a combination of the two, the reality is that the climate is changing. If we assume for a moment that humans are not responsible, are we really prepared to accept the climate changing. If it continues to change in this way, we are going to be seeing more extreme weather and we are going to see higher sea levels. This seems indisputable to me. So, sit back and do nothing if humans didn't cause it and do something if we did? That seems utterly mad to me.

Don't misunderstand, I realize there are dangers in deciding that we do want to try and improve the climate but it seems to me that that is the debate we should be having as well.

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