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Comment: Re:They have to put in safety equipment in any cas (Score 1) 272

by sjames (#49505629) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

That's why the linemen say it's not dead until it's dead and grounded. They are supposed to bond the line to ground before working on it and that bond is supposed to only be disconnected right before the line is turned back on.

But since mistakes happen, it's a good thing that home inverters won't power a dead line.

The biggest danger to linemen (and has been for a while) is id10ts wiring their portable generators in or plugging them in with a "widowmaker" (A generator chord with a male end to plug in to the wall) and not disconnecting from the grid first.

Comment: Re:So much for long distance Listening (Score 1) 236

by sjames (#49503199) Attached to: Norway Will Switch Off FM Radio In 2017

In practice, it's a bit worse for digital. The decoders seem to lose sync easily and just go black for a bit where the analog would have given a couple frames of static and then a watchable image. If it happens frequently enough, you get a black screen and silence from digital where you would get a staticy but watchable picture on analog.

Multipath on a digital signal is a serious issue where on analog, you will actually stop noticing the ghosts after a few minutes.

On the old analog NTSC, the audio was on a subcarrier such that even if the video was an unwatchable mess, you might get decentish audio because of it's minimal demands on signal. Alas, in digital TV, it's all packets in the same stream and the decoder either can't or won't bother decodingh the audio if the video is lost. That's a real problem since is the video is disrupted, you can often follow a story OK, but when the dialog keeps going away you quickly get lost. Same problem if you're trying to get important weather information.

To top it off, as you say, they snuck the power down when the transition happened.

Comment: Re:I guess he crossed the wrong people (Score 1) 301

by sjames (#49498593) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

*IF* that pesticide has no biological mechanism of interacting with humans, being scared of it is stupid.

The pesticides in the plants we eat now other than the GMOs have had a thousand years of human testing. Further, if they were at all inclined to cross with some wild non-food species to gain something more toxic to humans, they more than likely would have by now.

Compare to something that has had zero years of human testing and in some cases no animal testing.

Comment: Re:Did they mention the yummy GMOs (Score 4, Informative) 301

by sjames (#49498469) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

There are actually a few differences that can have real consequences. For example, simple cross breeding is a fairly slow and limited process that gives us time to see if a problem is developing. It is further limited by the need to stick with plants that can cross-breed in the first place.

Another factor is that not all genetic modification techniques lead to the plants breeding true. The next few generations may be substantially different from the original.

If the work was being done in a verifiable cautious manner, it might be OK, but there is a history of modifications that "can't escape to the wild" being spotted in the wild. It's somewhat amusing the number of weeds that gained roundup resistance from roundup ready canola. Also amusingly, in spite of Monsanto's claim that only their transgenic techniques could have produced roundup ready crops, traditional breeding has managed it in a few cases including in coca.

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