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Comment: Interesting and challenging, thanks (Score 1) 464

by Bruce66423 (#48011097) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit
I guess the question that springs to mind is whether that covers ALL network costs, including the high voltage lines from the power station to the sub station. I'm also wondering whether the rural nature of your area doesn't provide a degree of latency and resilience that may be more absent in an urban environment. But I'm guessing there. But yes, you do make an interesting point; thanks.

I guess the other question about costings is about baseload; the issues are spelt out here:

http://www.economist.com/news/...

not quite sure how that translates to the western side of the Pond.

Comment: Which PROVES they are making excess profits? (Score 1) 464

by Bruce66423 (#48009125) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit
The fact that the UK's gas and electricity prices are among the cheaper in the EU is a hint that there's not a lot of price gouging going on, as does the relative failure of the cooperative buying efforts local authorities have organised. Of course it's attractive to blame the providers when price rises happen, and there IS a suggestion that they don't lower prices as rapidly as they might when wholesale prices fall. but I'm less than convinced that the CEGB and the regional electricity boards would have been any better.Yes Labour got itself a nice little bounce at the polls by proposing a price freeze when in its manifesto for the next election; the most probable effect of that is that all the companies increase their prices beforehand

Comment: Oh dear - money grows on trees... (Score 5, Insightful) 464

by Bruce66423 (#48008303) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit
Utilities are boring because they do a simple job which generates small but predictable profits. Therefore investors put their money into them in the expectation that they will remain boring.

When a new development comes along that destroys their business model, one of two things will happen; they will increase their prices, or they will go out of business. Note that 'the government taking them over' is a subset of 'they will increase their prices'. The service that they provide; a reliable baseload supply and a safe network to distribute electricity HAVE TO BE PAID FOR. At the moment those costs are hidden in the average cost of a kWh. If private solar power reduces the average demand some of the time, the average cost of a kWh will have to be increased, or the other features be recognised and paid for.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no such thing as a free lunch, despite politicians pretending otherwise for several thousand years.

Comment: Either Amercian companies provide it or foreigners (Score 1) 353

by Bruce66423 (#47999127) Attached to: FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous
So which does he prefer? This way he get to keep the backdoors that have been slipped in - just can't use them for evidence. The alternative is no backdoors. Great publicity for the firms; the FBI complaining they are secure. Anyone would think this has been choreographed...

Comment: Netflix / Google's argument is surely valid (Score 3, Insightful) 108

by Bruce66423 (#47988627) Attached to: Not Just Netflix: Google Challenges Canada's Power To Regulate Online Video
The purpose of the BROADCAST regulator derives, historically, from the limited number of channels available on TV, so it was argued that there was a public interest in controlling who put what on the air. The internet is surely more like the press, where there are no such limitations, so there is no justification for regulation. That the broadcast regulator is trying to butt into internet activities does seem like mission creep - always popular with the regulators as generating more jobs for their people, and with politicians who gain some leverage over the media. NOT good for freedom of speech however...

Comment: Expropriation Nationalisation (Score 1) 88

by Bruce66423 (#47963193) Attached to: Is Google's Non-Tax Based Public School Funding Cause For Celebration?
Expropriation is the theft of a company by the state with no compensation - or as a result of a court order in connection with something else. Nationalisation is the state taking ownership but paying the owners a fair price for the assets. There is obviously a spectrum here; many Asian owned businesses in East Africa in the 60s and 70s were 'nationalised', but the price was paid in government bonds in an non-convertible currency that promptly inflated to zero value.

In the Western context, the process of nationalisation is essentially the same as compulsory purchase of land with a similar expectation of fair value paid. To do otherwise does constitute the state stealing the asset, and would probably constitute a post facto law; this, of course is why we have constitutions...

Comment: So what else does the ban on post-facto laws mean? (Score 1) 88

by Bruce66423 (#47961143) Attached to: Is Google's Non-Tax Based Public School Funding Cause For Celebration?
In extremis. Of course you are right that laws change all the time, but at some level the constitutional principle has some significance. Certainly whole scale expropriation without compensation of things owned by corporations would be illegitimate. The issue is where to draw the line; the challenge is to resist being totally dogmatic in both directions!

Comment: Corporations are belong to people = have rights (Score 1) 88

by Bruce66423 (#47960369) Attached to: Is Google's Non-Tax Based Public School Funding Cause For Celebration?
Because people have the right, under law, to create corporations and benefit from them, they inherit much the same right to act in the interest of those people as those people have. [Yes, this has probably been over-extended in the Supreme Court case that lets them do political donations to their hearts' content]. However the core idea in the organisation of a society is that laws lock in rights and expectations; if I set up an organisation with certain rights, then I have to right to expect to see those right protected.

Specifically if I invest money in a corporation with certain rights, I have the right to expect to see those rights not tampered with. What you are proposed is to overthrow that principle - technically this constitutes a breach of the constraint on the Congress not to pass a 'post facto' law - see section 9 of the US constitution, Whilst you may regret this situation, to assert that the situation can be reversed is not legitimate.

Comment: It doesn't OWE the taxes (Score 2) 88

by Bruce66423 (#47955945) Attached to: Is Google's Non-Tax Based Public School Funding Cause For Celebration?
It may be argued to have a moral duty to pay them, but 'owe' implies a legal obligation. The reality is that corporate lobbyists have created some loop holes that the corporations are legally using to avoid paying what they don't have to pay. However unless you forgo ALL the tax claw backs you are eligible for, it is questionable if you have a right to criticise Google.

+ - Washington DC to return to automatic metro trains

Submitted by Bruce66423
Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.washingtonpost.com/... After a crash some five years ago, automatic operation was abandoned. Now however replacement of 'faulty' modules means that moving the whole system on to automatic operation can happen.

One quote is depressing: 'And because trains regularly lurch to a halt a few feet short of where they should be at platforms, Metrorail riders have grown accustomed to hearing an announcement while they’re waiting to board: “Stand clear. Train moving forward.” WTF. That never happens on the London underground with human operators? What's wrong with American drivers?"

Comment: Immigration control (Score 1) 494

by Bruce66423 (#47931781) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry
Doesn't mainly focus on a fence - though that would be necessary - but on depriving Scots without rUK citizenship of the rights of rUK citizens to live and work in the rUK.

And yes, I have no doubt that Scotland will be excluded from the EU for a period unless it rolls over and plays dead on a lot of issues, the Euro, abandoning Maggie's rebate and any control on Spanish fishing boats being some of them.

Comment: Look at the geography (Score 1) 494

by Bruce66423 (#47928015) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry
Look at a map. The roads north out of England only exist to provide transport to and from Scotland. The question is whether the English will bother to maintain them once there's no union; we get relatively little benefit from them, since Scotland is a relatively small market for us. For Scotland it's a big issue. It's therefore entirely reasonable for us to look for a contribution from Scotland for the maintenance of those roads, whether as a toll or explicitly.

Comment: Re:This is bullshit from start to finish (Score 4, Insightful) 494

by Bruce66423 (#47926797) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry
"There are and will continue to be plenty of banks in Scotland."

In order for banks to lend, they must have deposits. Given the risk of holding money north of the border, a 'Yes' vote will generate a stampede of cash south on Friday. There may be banks, but they won't have any money to lend

"There is and will continue to be freedom of movement".

Really? If Scotland has left the EU, then it will be necessary to impose border controls

"There is and will continue to be access to European markets."

Only if you get to renegotiate membership of the EU. Good luck with that until you've agreed to pay your share of the UK's debts, and then only if you are nice to the Spanish

"Scotland has and will continue to use The Pound, and there is nothing the UK government will be able to do to stop them."

Sterlingisation will result in substantially higher interest rates for all bank loans as the risk of holding money in a country without a lender of last resort is significant.

"Prices are will remain competitive; arbitrage and competitive pressures will prevent large price rises."

This, at least, is accurate because you admit there will be price rises. If you are very lucky there won't be a toll on the M6 north of Carlise and the A1 north of Berwick, but it would certainly be rational for us to impose one to pay for the cost of maintaining roads to enable good to travel to and from Scotland.

"Russia will NOT invade Scotland... FFS! Why do I have to comment on this kind of purile shit?"

Given Putin's ambition and Scotland's oil, an attempt seems like an entertaining prospect. Not a visible invasion at first of course; Scottish socialists would start rioting as a result of the economic chaos following Scotland's ejection from the EU and then invite Russian peacekeepers to restore order. A referendum would be organised for Scotland to join the Russian Federation.

Of course that's not likely - but the idea that Scotland should become freeloaders like many other European countries, dependent on Uncle Sam to protect them from a bear that is demonstrably on the prowl is disappointing.

"I have more information in one place than anybody in the world." -- Jerry Pournelle, an absurd notion, apparently about the BIX BBS

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