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Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 1) 308 308

The price of solar and wind construction is finally starting to get to parity with other energy forms and you tack on the expense and replacement cost of batteries, and probably patented designs that manufacturers will charge a fortune to use...

Your "2-5 years" is now pessimistically 22-25 years.

I'd put my money on mechanical storage in the short term (vacuum sealed flywheel). It is more lossy than battery storage, but for short term is cheap, gives on-demand energy, and well out of patent (though more efficient designs may be patented).

Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 1) 308 308

Last I heard, the exact opposite was happening - manufacturers like Honda stopped making the Civic hybrid and were cutting back on Accord due to customers buying cheaper fossil fuel only models due to dropping prices of fossil fuels.

Comment: Re:We have more than nukes. (Score 1) 308 308

One small problem there - wind turbines depend on rare earth elements for the motor used and China has a monopoly on them (95% of the mining). To get them, China requires manufacturing to be done in China. Sure the turbine blades and tower are built in other countries, but the motor is not. China leverages its monopoly to get manufacturing done there.

Yes the US has plenty of reserves of rare earth elements, but the NRC doesn't allow the US to just ditch thorium by the roadside like they can in China, making mining extremely expensive.

Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 1) 308 308

Zero emission coal will happen when hell freezes over. Between the cost of carbon capture and storage and the 33% efficiency loss, no profit minded corporation would ever do it on their own. Maybe if they get approval to double utility prices AND the government forces them to do it, but I don't see the former happening anytime soon (Obama has pushed for the latter, but I don't think the Republicans will let it happen - he'll have to Executive Order it).

Comment: Re:Nuclear? (Score 1, Insightful) 308 308

We know how to build reactors that burn nearly all nuclear waste but Democrats killed that program because they were too ignorant to understand that the design required passive safety and even succeeded in testing a worse-than-Fukushima scenario The ONLY valid concern they had was proliferation risk, and as the Russians have proven at Beloyarsk, a once through design without reprocessing still burns 70% of the fuel (you can then reprocess it at a secure site), MUCH higher than the 5% at best for current reactors and typically .7-1%. Integral Fast Reactors cost quite a bit more to build, but you more than make up for that with fuel efficiency.

There also has been renewed interest in stuff like LFTR and the like (I'm more a fan of Terrestrial's Uranium version - single fluid 30 year run before recycling - this was also proposed for the MSRE). The anti-nuclear people complain that leaves long lived actinides, but you can separate these and add them back into the fuel for the next 30 year run. The anti-nuclear folk then complain that you still have some highly radioactive fission materials, and I say yeah - and the worst of them decay to background radiation levels in 300 years, not millions. I'm also very curious about the skunk-works version of fusion. Tokamak design was never realistic and far too expensive.

Comment: Re:Aftermath (Score 1) 546 546

You have to wonder, then, what will happen in the United States a few years down the line when the many social programs implode. Digging out of it seems impossible given that unfunded liabilities are, as of this writing, over $818000 per taxpayer (see bottom line) and that is an optimistic number (pessimistic numbers more than double that). Food-wise, with cuts to Social Security, I expect we'll have senior riots - old and slow and easy to machine gun down, but who knows what kinds of people the failure of the health programs will bring. Since I will be approaching being a senior around that time, I've been hedging against expecting anything from the government and likely will move out of the country before then (my wife wants to retire to Ecuador, I'd prefer Europe, as my German is far better than my Spanish).

Comment: Re:Two questions need to be asked (Score 1) 546 546

While mainly attributed to Franklin, that quote and similar ones were used widely before and during the Revolutionary War. He also apparently said it in different forms at different times. The stairwell plaque in the Statue of Liberty says "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." and attributes it to him. Even Franklin apparently used it with different contexts at different times.

The context of the letter to the governor in 1755 specifically refers to weapons for frontiersmen, which were difficult to procure for non-military personnel (most likely out of fear of a revolution, which was still 20 years away):

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Such as were inclined to defend themselves, but unable to purchase Arms and Ammunition, have, as we are informed, been supplied with both, as far as Arms could be procured, out of Monies given by the last Assembly for the King’s Use; and the large Supply of Money offered by this Bill, might enable the Governor to do every Thing else that should be judged necessary for their farther Security, if he shall think fit to accept it.

Comment: Re:Presumably the bug count... (Score 1) 204 204

The AMD 7000 series in the XBox One and PS4 is about the equivalent of a GeForce 580. There are some console based optimizations that may make it faster than an equivalent PC 580 though, which is why W3 requires a 660. The 660 and 660 Ti are close enough performance-wise that the game is fine on either. Also while the Ti is slower on total performance (by a tiny amount), it has quite a few more shaders and texure mapping units (about 30-33% faster). Incidentally, I'm playing Witcher 3 on a 660 Ti and with nVidia optimized settings have not seen any issues. Honestly, I'm guessing the game is actually playable on even lower end cards but you may have framerate drops below 30FPS and that wasn't acceptable to CD Projekt Red.

750s are often a bit slower than the 660s, however, due to lack of cores (especially on the low end), but I'm guessing the game would still be playable, as the AMD equivalent on the PS4 and XOne is 1152 cores and unless something has changed recently, one nVidia core generally performs about the same speed as 2 AMD cores (from what I recall, AMD's cores aren't fully general purpose for texture and pixel operations, but are for general purpose, which is why AMD is often preferred for stuff like bitcoin mining and password cracking).

Comment: Re:You Mean...? (Score 2) 468 468

Or you could rip them with "illegal" software, at least as far as the US government is concerned. Since you are entitled to one backup by copyright law into any format you choose, the DMCA vs copyright is kind of nebulous. You could probably legally ship it to some other country where it is legal to rip, have it ripped there, then have it and the copy shipped back and not break either law. Or you could rip your CDs/DVDs while on vacation to such a country, but you probably legally have to delete the ripping software before returning to the US.

Comment: Re:Meet the New Act (Score 2) 294 294

Franken always votes with Obama, so how is that a surprise, lol. Don't know Klobuchar's excuse, probably Obama's bitch, too.

Not sure why the others opposed it, but I know why I oppose it - it allows bulk vacuuming calls made on non-phones, like Skype, VoIP, etc. and frees any company providing information to the NSA about these calls from liability. Also, extends section 215 by 4 years, has an added watchperson for FISA but any or all information can be redacted from that person, allows a nebulously defined "emergency powers provision," etc. The bill is highly flawed and ripe for the exact same type of NSA overextension as the Patriot Act gave them.

Not to mention the NSA scare tactic of saying if the dragnet goes down, people will die. The admitted ZERO terrorists caught by the dragnet proves this.

Comment: Re:Then I must be using mine wrong (Score 1) 203 203

I use this argument a lot with anti-gun people. While I personally have actually shot animals with guns (rabbits at a farm that were out of control pests for 10 cents a kill), the vast majority of things I've shot are paper targets. I've also shot far more clay pigeons than rabbits (about 3 dozen to 2). I don't own any guns and don't plan to buy any soon, so I'm not some raging pistol shooting Yosemite Sam.

Incidentally, encryption was considered a munition until Clinton moved it (and increased the amount). Back then you could only export 40 bit encryption unless the code was published in a book and OCR scanned in (books were free speech), which is how PGP was exported.

Comment: Re:Something to hide? (Score 1) 203 203

Had to start doing this on my laptop. Was searching for gift ideas for her for Christmas and didn't use incognito mode, but her desktop computer started having problems (hard drive was failing) so she used my laptop and, while I'd cleared browser history (which I do religiously, anyway, mainly because some development work I do can pull in old pages if not cleared), ads for the things I looked at started appearing in her Facebook feed. Fortunately, she didn't notice, but I only shop Incognito now.

Comment: Re:At least one thing that makes sense. (Score 2) 203 203

James Comey (head of the FBI) has pretty much said he wants all encryption outlawed. Having personally read a ton of emails that were not mine just for fun in college (via packet sniffer), including some very personal ones (though most not - I also scooped up numerous passwords but never used them... can't say that's true for the other kids that did the same, though), I'd say this is a terrible idea. Let's all go back to party lines, too, because you'll never know who's listening and therefore everyone is more secure.

  Incidentally, I learned never to send any private or personal information via email because I learned about and how to use packet sniffers. I would never sext or send personal info via text, either - only fools trust their phone company security (at least in America). Now that the America FREEDOM Act has passed, can't trust Skype or VoIP either, because those are all permitted to be dragnet vacuumed up now (FREEDOM for what? more government snooping it seems) and companies like Microsoft are protected from liability for letting the NSA scoop them up.

The fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of space and time. -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge