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Comment Yes, unprovoked (Score 5, Insightful) 207

You do realize that the only reason Clarkson was not fed is because he went drinking at a local pub after shooting was completed for the day. He arrived at his hotel after the restaurant was closed (but some people were still there chatting) and then blew up because there was no hot food for him.

Clarkson went on a 40 minute rant blaming a producer named Oisin Tymon. Clarkson called the producer lazy, told him he would make certain he lost his job, and used a racial slur describing him as a "lazy Irish cunt". All this in public in front of many people. Eventually he punched the producer, who was taken to the local hospital for treatment of facial injuries.

Clarkson's show also claimed a Tesla ran out of electric power after 55 miles when the claimed range was 200 miles. Tesla sued for libel but the lawsuit was dismissed because "rectification of inaccuracies is not a function of the courts"! However, the BBC admitted in court that the scene where the car ran out of power was faked. I hope Clarkson and friends don't have the same leeway with the truth under Amazon.

Comment Re:Be pro-active (Score 1) 213

I ran my credit reports and there's nothing adverse on file at any of the three CRAs. The credit card company says it reports FICO scores from Experian. I contacted Experian and they said there's nothing that can be done as there's no adverse information on file that can be challenged. It's a mystery.

Perhaps the FTC site is out of date, or perhaps Experian is using different criteria than the FTC expects. I have no idea.

Comment Re:password recovery to defeat reverse identity th (Score 5, Insightful) 213

My policy is to never respond to emails that I receive if they are intended for other people. Here's why.

Back in 1998 I received an email intended for an attorney at a personal injury law firm. The firm's domain name is very similar to mine, the only difference was that they have a hyphen in their domain name and I don't. Being a good guy, I replied to the sender saying he had the wrong email address. That was a serious mistake.

I was accused by their office manager of hacking their emails. I told her that I don't control who sends email to my domain. She said I shouldn't open email not addressed to me, and the firm reported me to the US Attorney for their location for violating attorney/client privacy. Back then, the name, address and phone number of domain owners were always public so it was easy to discover my details.

The US Attorney passed the information to the FBI and I received a visit from two agents who were polite but computer clueless and somewhat concerned about what had happened. As I said, this was 1998 and the whole concept of malware and hacking was somewhat new and esoteric. I explained to the agents in detail what had happened, showed them my email setup and explained how email works. They thanked me and left saying they would be in touch. I haven't heard a word from either of them or anyone else about the complaint since.

However, this experience did change my attitude to incorrectly addressed email. I've received several emails for this law firm since then and I ignored them. These days a complaint of this nature would be ignored but why take the chance.

Comment Re:Be pro-active (Score 4, Interesting) 213

Just something to beware of with security freezes. A few months ago I did freeze my accounts at the credit reporting agencies because my tax preparer recommended it as a proactive move to prevent identity theft.

I have a credit card that reports my current FICO score monthly. The month after I froze my accounts my FICO score dropped by 57 points. Looking back over the last year, my rating had moved up 11 points before this unexpected drop, so I think it's likely that the change was caused by initiating the credit freeze.

It doesn't matter as my credit history is frozen, but if I do need to give someone access to my credit ratings for any reason (buying a new car, getting a new job, whatever) then I presume the much lower score will be shown.

Comment Re:Go Solar, it can make good financial sense. (Score 1) 259

Then you didn't do a good site survey before installing your panels. You should have considered that before installing panels.

At my request, 32 of my 48 panels face south west. On a per panel basis they produce about 91% of the 16 panels facing south, but they peek about 4pm during the summer. I know this because I have monitoring on my system that records energy production and panel diagnostic data every 5 minutes, and 10+ years of data sitting in PostgreSQL database.

Comment Re:those numbers? (Score 2) 259

You happen to be lucky by living in a cheap electricity area. Here in northern California the cheapest rate is 16.3 cents/kWh. That's for baseline usage of 7 kWh/day (depending on where you live) and anything above that costs more in tiers that go up to 33.5 cents/kWh. If you have air conditioning, you are certain to end up paying far more than the baseline cost in non-winter months.

Supposedly, there's a 0.5% drop in solar cell output per year, but I'm not seeing that at all. Last year my installation generated more than the first year - of course, climate change affects that figure.

My roof is metal tile - don't you think I factored that into my purchase decision?

Maintenance costs have been zero so far. There are three components - the panels, the wiring and the inverters. The inverters are likely to fail first, and the cost of replacement is drastically lower than when my system was first installed.

Comment Re:Go Solar, it can make good financial sense. (Score 1) 259

There have been zero maintenance costs. Except that I do hose down the panels once a year, so there's the cost of the water and an hour of my time. It's likely that the inverters that convert the DC from the panels to AC for the house will be the first components to fail. Fortunately the cost of these items has dropped significantly in the 12 years since they current ones were installed, and I would only need one today compared to the three I have installed now. This change alone would drop the installation cost by over $10,000.

I have a metal tile roof that should last the lifetime of the house. If you have a shingle or composite roof that will be a limiting factor. On the other hand, installing on a metal tile roof is more expensive because the metal tiles have to be drilled to fasten the rails that hold the solar panels to the rafters, and flashing has to be installed around each hole to prevent water getting in. That was four days work for a specialist roofing company which bumped the cost by $9,000.

Comment Go Solar, it can make good financial sense. (Score 5, Informative) 259

I installed 48 panels on my roof back in 2003 which generate up to 8.8 kW DC (7.5 kW AC). The installation generates 10,500 to 12,000 kWh per year depending on the weather. The total cost was $65,000 which after subsidies and tax breaks dropped to $31,000 - which is roughly the same as my installation would cost today before any subsidies. Since installation I've had to cover the meter rental (currently 16.3 cents per day) but I've had no other utility costs and no maintenance costs.

In the year before I installed solar, electricity cost me a tad under $3,000. Utility costs have increased considerably since then, so I've more than covered the cost of the installation. And I should have another 20 years of life in the panels. Perhaps more.

If you plan to stay in your house for 10 years or more, it may make good financial sense to consider solar. Based on my experience, it's certainly worth considering.

Comment Re:The Republicans are right (Score 1) 517

I think we both agree that laws should be interpreted by what's considered reasonable. One problem is that the term "reasonable" is highly subjective. You say that that no reasonable person would interpret the law that way, but what Justice Scalia or Justice Thomas thinks is reasonable is often very different from what Justice Ginsburg or Justice Breyer thinks is reasonable. And reasonable or not, justices often fall back to their default position, which is the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law.

That's the other problem. The judiciary gets to define reasonable, and they tend to be long on law knowledge and short in other areas. Nobody can be an expert on everything, but we expect our justices to have wide ranging knowledge so they can make a judgement between two adversarial views that are often diametrically apart on highly subjective issues. As many have said, going to the courts is often a crap shoot.

You call my views bullshit. You have that right. But I believe you are incorrect on both reasonableness and Obamacare.

Comment Re:Same old lefty games... (Score 3, Insightful) 517

I hope you aren't suggesting that Republicans do care about science - there seems to be ample evidence to the contrary.

And why would Democrats want to destroy capitalism? The stock market has done much better under the last two Democratic presidents than under the last two Republicans who held the office. Heck, when Clinton left office we had a net surplus and were actually reducing the national Debt.

Comment Re:The Republicans are right (Score 4, Insightful) 517

Are you completely sure it's bullshit? Are you certain that no group impacted by a ruling will not use every possible way of undermining a negative result, valid or otherwise? Have you so little imagination?

Just look at the news today. Republicans are using four words in Obamacare to remove healthcare subsidies for 15 million people. While the act is completely clear, these four words were poorly chosen, and on that basis they want to throw out a major provision. It's no exaggeration to say that people will die if this challenge is upheld.

Comment Re:The Republicans are right (Score 5, Insightful) 517

The problem is that ALL the data must be public. For example, it means that medical studies that do not publish the raw data (including patient identities) cannot be used by the EPA as the basis for rule making.

It also requires the EPA to use reproducible results, which means that a number of studies are required and each must come to exactly the same result. Imagine the situation where study results have the same conclusion, but slightly different results (say one says 64% of people will die from smoking and another says 66%). Industries could then argue that the results are not reproducible and these studies should not be used as the basis for restricting cigarettes.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_