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Comment: Re:Herbivores dying out? Not cows I hope! (Score 1) 145

Probably because we have lots of open land which is required for beef production. I might also throw in the classic image of the cowboy. It isn't just the Americans, but also the Brazilians, and Argentinians who also seem to have a love of beef but they know how to make it into a social event. One of the funnest thing I have done was Brazilian BBQ with one of my friends and their family from Brazil when I was down there last year for vacation with my family.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 170

I still like the exchange I had with corporate IT a while back. Come in one morning and power up my desktop and there is a pop and some smoke came out of the back where the power supply was and it smelled like burned plastic. Found someone else who was in and filled out a service ticket where I stated what had happened and specifically requested that they send the local IT service person over with a new power supply. About 2 hours later I get a call from the IT help center in Florida and they want to remote into my desktop to see what is wrong. I explained that it won't turn on since likely one of the capacitors in the power supply popped and I needed someone local to come and bring a new power supply and replace it. They then proceed through their standard troubleshooting of turn it of and on, unplug it, unplug everything from the computer plug it back in, etc and after about half an hour they finally believed me that they just needed to forward the ticket to the local group and send someone with a new power supply and #2 philips screwdriver. Then I work for a giant company and all their US service tickets go through Florida and I am in one of the few divisions that works with computer software and hardware as most divisions are just manufacturing.

Comment: Re:Cool world (Score 4, Informative) 216

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49572043) Attached to: US Successfully Tests Self-Steering Bullets
Mock it as you may. The Germans did actually develop an attachment during WWII that allowed such a thing. It would usually shatter the bullet but for tank crews this didn't matter much as it basically became a shotgun at close range when trying to shoot the guy trying to stick an explosive to your tanks treads.

Comment: Re:Antiquated grid and bidirectional load? (Score 1) 329

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49568979) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage
Depending on how you want to look at it there are 2 or 3 types of networks on the grid depending on perspective.

On way is by looking at the transmission grid and distribution grid. On the transmission grid where you see high voltage lines and generators and power flows both directions withing this network. You are correct in this respect. The problem arises on the distribution network side where instead of high voltage lines and generators you have customers and low voltage stuff. Here things are basically designed to flow one way, which is to the consumers.

The other way of looking at it is with 3 networks being high, medium, and low voltage. With this view things get a little more interesting as there can be bidirectional power flow within each level but it becomes problematic when it is between levels.

With either view of the power grid it really isn't too big of a problem* if you or a few nearby people are providing excess power that your neighbors are using as you are all on the same substation that is fed with medium or high voltage lines and provides you with your nice low voltage power. The problem is that if too many of you are feeding power back into the grid it may outstrip demand and now instead of that substation taking power from the medium voltage network it now is trying to push power up into the medium voltage network. This is not what the current grid was designed for and the equipment at the substation while it can do it doesn't do it well. The same thing can happen between the medium voltage and high voltage networks although it is rarer but has happened. This also ignores the grid management aspect of things which is all in software and is basically a traveling salesman problem solved as best as it can be continuously.

These are not unsolvable problems but instead are engineering ones that people are working on. Companies are already designing better switch gear, beakers, transformers, etc to handle bidirectional traffic. The modeling, management , and market applications are being developed to handle many more points as well as having them be bidirectional. Granted these now require substantially more computing power but technology has progressed where getting that computational heft isn't an issue.

*The one issue you have with large scale intermittent distributed power (rooftop PV) is what I like to call the rouge cumulus cloud. It is a nice sunny day and he decides to blow in over your neighborhood, and then out. All of a sudden your local substation goes from pumping power out to sucking it down, then back to pumping it out. It doesn't even have to be this severe, just going from low draw, to high draw, back to low draw presents similar although not as severe problems.This is murder on equipment and a real bitch to deal with from a grid management perspective. To prevent this some local grid level storage at the substation would help to level the load making it much easier to deal with. So again not an impossible problem but an engineering one.

Comment: Re:Why this whole article is pie in the sky bullsh (Score 1) 329

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49568623) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage
What about sodium and sulfur? those would seem to work for grid level storage and are actually being made and used currently even if not widely yet. Also that was a fairly silly assumption such as needing a battery to run the entire US for 7 days, but having a battery that could power 1/7th the US for a couple of days would probably be much more reasonable to avoid stuff like the Northeast blackout of 2003.

Comment: Re:A scrap of truth (Score 1) 78

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49545889) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War
I remember as a kid it was great to to one. Go digging in vehicles to see what you could find for change and toys. You quickly figured out what were rich people cars as they tended to have most amount of change in them and if they were a family car they would have the best toys. BTW my family was government cheese poor at times when I was little.

Comment: Re:Local recycling is dependent on a local market (Score 1) 78

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49545831) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War
Good to know. Even if you can't can properly with them you can still do jellies with a bees wax seal, use them for storing honey, or put dry goods in them. I have never understood why if your company makes something that is shipped in glass jars why you would care if they are reused or not unless you receive back the old jars like Coke use to do with glass bottles to refill and resell.

Comment: Re:Does that mean... (Score 2) 334

Given what I have seen out of the supreme court with their sometimes tortured rulings (it is a tax and not a tax in the same ruling) who are supposedly the most qualified to make those decisions I wouldn't put much stock in constitutional lawyers or constitutional law experts. There are other cases that are more nuanced that are very political and one side or anther will say is wrong but I still can't logically figure out how something can first be ruled not a tax, then in the very same ruling be found to be a tax. This isn't like a regular judge issuing an order and then immediately staying that order as things go to appeal to a higher court as this was the US Supreme Court.

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