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Comment: Re:Write your Congresscritters (Score 3, Insightful) 202

by Chris Mattern (#49530453) Attached to: McConnell Introduces Bill To Extend NSA Surveillance

You'd be surprised. One letter with no contribution from an unknown doesn't do much, no. But you better believe a Congresscritter keeps track of what he gets large amounts of such mail from his constituents on. Because, while you can't get elected without money, having money doesn't guarantee you election (as the number of people who have tried throwing massive amounts of money at an election only to fail miserably shows). He may or may not do what they want, but he *will* pay attention.

Comment: Re:Desalination plants cost a lot to operate (Score 1) 672

Also, CA's agriculture depends upon cheap water, not expensive desalinated water.

Sooner or later, CA's agriculture is going to have to learn that cheap water cannot be sustainably provided in the southwestern desert. Sooner would be better. Later is likely to be...painful.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 533

by Chris Mattern (#49510055) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

One should note that there's no real "storage buffer" in this system. Oh, there's some high-power capacitors in places, and you get a little bit of play because of the natural capacitance of the lines, but, with in a fairly tight margin, income has to equal outgo at all times. There's no "storing it for later" past a few minutes. This means the utility is constantly managing their input, turning on generators when they're needed, turning them off when they're not, which can be tough because a lot of that equipment can't be turned on or off on a moment's notice--and it gets a lot tougher when they don't control a significant amount of their inputs.

Comment: Re:Three puzzles (Score 2) 208

by Chris Mattern (#49496707) Attached to: Social Science Journal 'Bans' Use of p-values

The answer is simple. He's taken dozens, if not hundreds of measurements. The odds are in favor of one of the measurements turning up a correlation by chance. The odds against this particular measurement being by chance are 19 to 1--but he's selected it out of the group. The chances that one of *any* of his measurements would show such a correlation by chance are quite high, and he's just selected out the one that got that correlation.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin