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Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 264

> When you give everyone guns

The U.S. has approximately one gun per person, including children ( They are not evenly distributed, but to a first approximation we already reached the "everyone has guns" level.

Comment: Re:Solar (Score 4, Insightful) 306

> 2) The electricity companies are not under any obligation that I know of to take your electricity.

They are in locations where the utility regulators require "net metering". In a fair situation, the homeowner still pays a line charge, to cover line maintenance and provisions for current flowing backwards through transformers, and not overloading the lines in times of high output. Then they pay and earn fair per kWh rates (which may be different and vary by time of day) for power used and generated.

> 4) The cost of taking your crappy, varying pittance of power

Is nothing like the way you describe it. Unless surplus solar is a majority of the power on a distribution line (the line that goes from the substation to houses), it will simply go from your house to some other house on the line. The utility then pushes the difference through their substation to meet the remainder of the demand. They already have to handle varying demand on the distribution line, since demand varies all the time in normal use. Only if solar were more than what is needed to power the solar houses *and* everyone else on the distribution line, would the utility need to make provisions at the substation for running power to other substations.

Comment: Re:Lifetime solar power in FL (Score 2) 306

"15 November 2012—Glass panels on rooftops and hurricane force winds don’t sound like the greatest of combinations, but solar power companies say their customers’ rooftop installations stood up very well to Hurricane Sandy’s onslaught."

Suniva panels are rated for 200 MPH winds ( ). The rest of the house would likely blow away first.

Comment: Re:Base Load Power (Score 2) 306

Solar PV for base load energy will not work

Solar Thermal, coupled with PV, Wind, Hydro, and energy storage will work. There is no requirement that only one kind of energy source be used to satisfy the demand curve. A current example is the Ivanpah solar thermal plant, just west of Las Vegas. They didn't bother putting in any storage because Boulder Dam, just east of Las Vegas, is on the same main power line. So whatever power Ivanpah puts out, just means more water behind the dam can be saved for other times.

Ivanpah also has natural gas backup. Once you already built the field of mirrors, boilers, and generators, adding natural gas burners is a small expense. The turbines don't care if it was the Sun or natural gas that generated the steam.

As far as storage, every electric car comes with a battery. If your car was fully charged up at work from a solar-panel covered parking lot and building roof, you can use part of that charge to feed your house at night. Buying a storage system by itself is expensive. But if you already bought a big battery for your car, not so much. There is a reason Elon Musk runs both Tesla and Solar City. They are complementary technology.

Comment: Re:Translated into English (Score 3, Informative) 306

Considering that Solar panels only have a effective life span of 15 years

"Many manufacturers currently give a double power warranty for their products, typically 90% of the initial maximum power after 10 years and 80% of the original maximum power after 25 years. Applying the same criteria (taking into account modules electrical performance only and assuming 25% measurement uncertainty of a testing lab) only 176% of modules failed (35 modules out of 204 tested). Remarkably even if we consider the initial warranty period i.e. 10% of Pmax after 10 years, more than 657% of modules exposed for 20 years exceed this criteria."

Thus nearly 2/3 of tested panels lost less than 10% of their output after 20 years. Your number for effective lifespan is way off.


Comment: Re:Who is "the government" ? (Score 1) 78

by DanielRavenNest (#47615407) Attached to: EFF: US Gov't Bid To Alter Court Record in <em>Jewel v. NSA</em>

The Government refers to one of the sides of the case Jewell v. NSA ( ). The plaintiffs (Jewell et al. as representatives for all US citizens unlawfully spied on) allege that the US Government as a whole by means of their Terrorist Surveillance Program, operated by the NSA and other agencies, violated the Constitution. As a practical matter, "The Government" here are the lawyers representing the US Government, likely from the Justice Department, and whoever else in the Executive branch assigned to work on and review the case.

Comment: Re:20 megawatts (Score 2) 195

by DanielRavenNest (#47589415) Attached to: Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine

The technology that underlies bitcoin, data secured by a series of chained hashes, such that the hash for one data block is part of the data for the next, enables a secure record keeping system for electronic data. Any change to past data, whether from errors or malicious tampering, is detectable because re-hashing the contents of a data block will give a different result than the one stored in the next block.

This is highly useful for a financial transaction system, the first application bitcoin represents. But secure digital record keeping applies to any kind of data whatsoever, and the applications are much wider than just digital currencies. To give one example, it can ensure the integrity of an operating system against malware. The original OS distribution and updates are encoded as a series of data blocks with chained hashes. Anything that is not supposed to be there would invalidate one or more blocks, and thus be detectable.

Corporate scrip (i.e private currencies) is a trivial application by comparison.

Comment: Re:What makes this a gigafactory? (Score 1) 95

> I suspect that the name is also a bit of an homage to Back to the Future, but given that Musk is of South African origin and didn't move to North America until three years after the movie came out, I'd like to hear it from the horse's mouth to be sure.

Back to the Future 1 did 45% of it's box office gross internationally ( ). I assume South Africa had movie theaters in 1985. Most reasonably developed countries did.

Comment: Re:Good luck (Score 2) 172

by DanielRavenNest (#47553733) Attached to: US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

Well, they can try, but it will be about as successful as controlling bitTorrent, or cannabis.

The proposed New York State regulations require the "issuer" of a virtual currency to get a license if they have users in the state. Who exactly in the bitcoin community would that be? Satoshi Nakamoto? Chinese mining farms? So I agree, good luck. At most some bitcoin-based businesses will just not deal with New York customers.

Comment: Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (Score 2) 172

by DanielRavenNest (#47553675) Attached to: US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

I certainly hope not, because ultimately they're completely unlike other foreign or domestic currencies in that they have nothing backing their worth*.

Ask yourself what backs the value of UPS shipping labels, that people are willing to give substantial sums to obtain one? Intrinsically the label is just sticky paper with some printing on it. The answer is the UPS network of trucks and distribution terminals. They enable a package with a label on it to get from one place to another.

In a similar way, the Bitcoin network of p2p nodes, mining hardware, desktop apps, merchants accepting it, and user wallets enable moving money from one place to another. A bitcoin address with a non-zero balance is like a prepaid shipping label, ready to be used to transfer value to another address. But without the network, the transfers would be nearly impossible. The network makes bitcoin balances useful, and therefore have value.

In a money transfer system, the internal units don't have to have any particular value, as long as everyone agrees on their value at a given time. If I want to pay a Romanian programmer and buy X dollars worth of bitcoins, transmit them, and the programmer converts them to Leu locally, the value only needs to be stable during the time the transfer takes to be acceptable. The particular number of bitcoin units in between is immaterial, it is just an accounting unit.

People who hold bitcoin units for longer periods are speculating that demand for them will go up, or at least remain level. Since the number of units is relatively fixed (it is increasing at 11%/year currently, and will taper off to zero over time), demand will drive the exchange rate up or remain level. If you live in a country that is rapidly increasing the money supply, like Venezuela or the United States, a stable supply of an alternative good can be attractive. That store of value function is separate from the value transfer function.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler