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Comment What usability problems really look like (Score 2, Interesting) 487

I remember a while ago, as some people predicted that 30-minute charging times would be a problem. A lot of people formed a chorus to shout them down, referring to how long cars usually sit while people are at work, etc. But what those people didn't take into account is that a charging station is not at all like a normal parking spot. The charging equipment is expensive, as is installation of it...and like most things electrical, there are incredibly difficult challenges when you try to scale things. At first blush it may seem like a simple matter to simply run more wiring to build out more spots...but at some point you hit the stage where the line running to the building simply isn't big enough. So what...you get another transformer? It goes down the rabbit hole very quickly.

Despite appearances, a charging station isn't a parking spot with a plug for your car. It's a spot at a gas pump that takes half an hour to use. And that's the real challenge with electric cars...not range, not cost. Those are solved or about to be solved.

Comment I see that idiots still hate geeks... (Score 2) 405

I'm not a fan of BBT at all, for the various reasons described on the "geek" side above. But I gotta say, after reading these complaints...wow. Yeah, the show's not getting taken down anytime soon on account of these chuckleheads.

Here's a subset of a particular gem:

He is harass and reached out via his mother for helped and asked them to stop-In other words he reported it, his mother reported it and the bullying proceed. -message that we as responsible adults want to give to our children and others

Okay, that's about all I can take of that. There's only so much I can stand of prose written by a lifetime aficionado of the flavor of paint chips.

Comment Re:Why don't taxis just provide good service?! (Score 4, Insightful) 135

The airport is within a mile of the casinos how much can you reasonably charge for what amounts to a few minutes ride. Vegas was purpose built for travelers the airport and main attractions are all grouped together.

Um...I don't think Uber charges less. Just sayin'.

The issue here is demand and supply. There are X number of taxis, the streets can carry Y number of cars (anyone who's been to Vegas in the last decade or two knows what I'm talking about here) and there are Z number of people...many of whom are drunk, out of control, depressed because they just lost their next three mortgage payments at the roulette table, or in other states of unruly/headache/disaster.

I would wager (no pun intended) that being a cab driver in Vegas carries challenges and problems that aren't found in other cities. Sure, you get a degree of batshit crazy in New Orleans around Bourbon Street, but Vegas is like dozens of square miles of Bourbon Street, filled with millions of people acting accordingly who range from sane and sober to...well, there's a reason the "Hangover" movies take place in Vegas.

I've cabbed in Vegas a lot over the years, and I've always found the cabs to be clean and in good shape, the drivers (with one exception out of a long list) to be polite and capable, and the fares consistent. I've never been taken on a long ride, and I've actually gotten a lot of good information from the drivers about going-ons in the city. I'm a huge fan of Uber, but Vegas is one place that, to me, isn't screaming for a replacement option as much as other cities.

Comment Re:Big jump (Score 1) 113

It seems to me a big leap to go from 'hosting company is sending all login credentials unencrypted' to a silo on a private island guarded by mercenaries, which seems to be what you are now looking for. Find a less idiotic host and stop worrying about govt agencies - if they want your data they'll get it, and the best you can hope for is that is all they want from you.

Agreed. It seems the OP makes a jump from "I realized that my hosting provider has been going short-bus full retard with regard to even basic security" to "To what nation should I migrate my online assets to protect them from even the most highly-resourced nation state actors?" I don't see why the pendulum has to swing so far to the other side...and really, the odds are overwhelming that none of the nation-state actors that would be affected by going that far care about his stuff anyways.

And something else to consider, especially as some people recommend he go to hosting providers in places like Cuba...it's entirely possible that he'll bring scrutiny upon himself by taking such measures. If his online presence contains nothing of any real interest...and he's doing this just on principle...then maybe he should consider that it's possible to act like you have something to hide by, well...acting like you have something to hide. Even if you don't. And if people who snoop think you have something to hide, they'll come looking...and KEEP looking, until they go over everything with a fine tooth comb to be sure that you don't.

Comment Re:Yep (Score 1) 166

Congress should repeal it, but they won't because those with actual political power like it.

That is the voters' problem. If they don't vote for a congress that will repeal the DMCA, it simply won't happen. Pretty basic, don't you think?

Actually, there are a couple of intermediate steps missing here.

The first thing you have to do is know who your Senators and Congressman (Congresswoman? Congressperson?) are. ("Do you know?" he asks, rhetorically, to the reader...)

And then, the second thing you do is to sit down and have a talk with them...and tell them your views on the matter. Don't come across like a fanatic or a crackpot; It doesn't matter how wrong you think the DMCA is, nor does it matter how strongly you feel it. What matters is *why* it's bad, in the frame of a logical argument. Facts and other such dispassionate information are what you want to have backing you up here.

Once enough people do those two things, it'll be enough of an issue that you'll actually be able to tell where a candidate stands on the matter. As it is today, I doubt very much that it'd be possible to figure out the stances of 90% of people on Capitol Hill without having to ask them directly, when it comes to this. The other 10% would be those who have spoken out...but 10% isn't enough to swing the issue at the voting booth.

Comment Ah, yet again... (Score 1) 244

To quote Eddie Izzard, himself paraphrasing someone else:

(running to one side of the stage)
"I've got a new idea, I've got a new idea..."

(turning, and running away in the other direction)

The ability to predict crime has been the holy grail of law enforcement for over a century now. They've tried psychology, sociology, biology...even phrenology...to try and point the finger at people and say "Yep, that guy's gonna commit some crime; let's harass the living fuck out of him so we catch him when he does!" What none of these attempts ever, ever seem to try and ponder is the base rate (most people aren't criminals), it's relevance to statistical probability (it means that you're looking for a needle in the haystack even if you make the haystack smaller), and the impact of false positives (which means you're going to piss off a shitload of people unless your method is impossibly accurate). And until they can account for and address those three factors, I think that any attempts at achieving this goal are entirely doomed.

Comment Re:transcript of rose (Score 2) 58

"Question: If a bed doesn’t fit in a room because it’s too big, what is too big?
Rose: I don’t even want to pretend that.
Question: If Alex lent money to Joe because they were broke, who needed the money?
Rose: huh?
Question: Should Greece leave the Euro?
Rose: Seems like a nice place."

How, uh, impressive. If by "impressive" you mean "pathetic".

It's all about context. For example, Ashley Madison had great success with this technology. (The site charged money, in the form of "credits" that you had to buy, to chat with women. And by "other women," it turns out that they meant "bots.")

"Question: Hey...looking for a 50-year-old uncut accountant with a few extra pounds?
Rose: I don’t even want to pretend that.
Question: Does the carpet match the drapes?
Rose: huh?
Question: Want to come with me on a getaway to the Caribbean for a super-hot ungreased backdoor lovefest?
Rose: Seems like a nice place."

Moral of the story: The unstated variable of the Turing Test is "desperation."

Comment Re:Its all in the taxes and incentives. (Score 1) 211

You can't just "do" something with surplus power on the grid...

Actually, you can and in Virginia we do. The Bath County Pumped Storage Station uses surplus power (from a nuclear plant) to pump water up into a reservoir to later be used to generate hydro power during high demand.

Also see: The Inside Story Of The World’s Biggest ‘Battery’ And The Future Of Renewable Energy

That's an experiment, not a reasonable solution that exists for widespread use today. Also, good luck finding hydroelectric facilities that can be used that way in Texas...or, for that matter, in most places. The fact that a handful of facilities, scattered around the world, that have experimented with various forms of bulk energy storage does not mean that bulk energy storage is suddenly a widespread option for an area the size of ERCOT's BES region. These are laudable projects that aim to address the two biggest problems with the grid today: that renewable energy is uncontrollably variable and that the peaks and valleys of load are getting larger. And someday, I hope that at least one of them results in something that will make a big impact. But today, they're essentially lab experiments. You may as well hope for clothing made of graphene to show up at Walmart tomorrow.

Comment Re:Of course (Score 3, Informative) 211

One of the ongoing challenges with renewable sources of energy is the unpredictable nature of their production.

There are many storage methods available for this excess energy.

Seemingly concerned with the "Texas" angle, TFA fails to mention if this is a rare anomaly or worthy of storage development.

Coming from a career working in the power industry, I gotta tell ya...that Wikipedia entry is about experimental methods, not things meant to store energy on a bulk scale. Bulk storage is an end goal, but saying that "there are many storage methods available" is like saying we could have gone straight to the moon as soon as Yuri Gagarin got into orbit, or we could go to Mars today. It just isn't true.

Yes, there are many approaches being experimented with, and some of them are very large facilities. No, none of them work as needed yet.

Comment Re:Its all in the taxes and incentives. (Score 3, Informative) 211

Wind farm owners get lots of taxpayer help paying for the construction of the wind farm, then forced production credits means they get paid if power is needed or not. Apply this to any generation technology and the result would be pretty much the same.

The model is even worse in place where the grid is forced to purchase power a even higher rates.

In this model, who pays for the reliable backup?

Actually, this isn't true at all. Wind farm owners are participants in ERCOT like any other generation facility; if there's too much power on the grid, they are given directives to throttle down, even to zero if necessary. This applies whether the wind farm owners are a larger utility (like CPS Energy, Centerpoint, etc.) or a standalone entity with only wind farm generation.

The reason behind this is simple; sink (also known as load) and generation must be in balance. You can't just "do" something with surplus power on the grid...it impacts both the voltage and the frequency of power. The second is the more frightening result, as over/underfrequency events do enormous damage to many different components of the bulk electric system. Even a difference of half a cycle (in power, a cycle is 1/60th of a second) is catastrophic.

Comment Re:Black Boxes??? (Score 1) 247

And how does all of this tracking make you feel?

It's not tracking. It just isn't. (And I suspect you know that, else you'd have not posted as an AC...it's not like being anti-tracking will get you modded down on Slashdot, after all...)

It's like a flight recorder, so that data on the state of the car in the last moments immediately before a crash are available for analysis. I'm fine with this personally, since it's something that's fair and objective.

If, for example, some guy cuts me off and then slams on his brakes suddenly...causing me to hit him...under the "old way" there'd be almost no way to prove that he caused the accident instead of me. But when you throw accelerometers and information about throttle position and braking force into the mix, then you suddenly are able to put together a true picture of what really happened. And that's aside from the fact that the NTSB has always examined fatal accidents of significant and/or unusual nature, in the fulfillment of their extremely quiet and extremely successful mission to make cars safer. Giving them more data of this kind is hugely helpful.

But it's not tracking. It's not even available until there's an accident, much like a flight recorder on a plane. If you have an issue with tracking, speak up about OnStar, UConnect, BlueLink, etc. THOSE involve tracking.

Comment Re:Theory... (Score 2) 591

I grew up in the South, and I don't think I ever heard "evolution" or "natural selection" ever even mentioned in school by a teacher. The closest thing I remember to it was another student asking my middle school biology teacher about evolution once. She basically told us she wouldn't talk about it because she didn't want to lose her job. And that was that. I had no idea how these process even worked until I read about them later and started to understand their importance and implications.

I've spent time in the South as well, and I never heard the phrase "natural selection" uttered either. I DID see it play out, however...usually preceded by a "Hey, y'all...WATCH THIS!"

But all kidding aside, you make an excellent point by illustrating exactly how the various forces at work come into play here. This law is a good move, and a step in the right direction for a state that consistently ends up being the butt of jokes because of a stereotypically uneducated (outside of Huntsville) populace. As soon as an idea, concept, or theory is banned...either explicitly as used to be the situation that led up to the Scopes Monkey Trial or implicity, as in the situation you encountered...knowledge slides backwards. Truth is never served by censorship.

"It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and I'm wearing Milkbone underware." -- Norm, from _Cheers_