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Comment: Re:Sudafed (Score 5, Informative) 333

The story is deeper than that. The Chinese liked to get paid in silver for their products (tea, porcelain, silk). Unfortunately silver is what the British money was made of (the pound sterling meant a pound of sterling silver = 92.5% pure). So it was creating a currency shortage. Britain thus wanted a product to balance trade and stop the silver outflow. Opium was that product.

The Chinese didn't want their people hooked on Opium, so they made it illegal. British trading companies that supplied the opium (it was grown in India at the time) formed a cartel to bring it in illegally, thus becoming the first drug cartel. When their people got arrested and goods seized, the British government forced China to submit in what is known as the Opium Wars. They acquired Hong Kong in the process. Later, the now legalized trading companies needed financing for the ships to deliver the expanded opium trade. So they founded the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Company. Now known as HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world, it is no stranger to laundering money for cartels, because it was*founded* by drug cartel members. To this day they print paper bank notes (currency) for Hong Kong. This makes money laundering really easy, because they can give you a suitcase of brand new money, with no traceable history.

Comment: Re:Intent matters. (Score 1) 312

> Modern heavy weaponry is not allowed to be owned and without it no citizenry could stand up against a government willing to use said heavy weaponry against their citizens.

This is a stupid argument. Anyone with an understanding of military doctrine knows you don't fight toe-to-toe with a well-armed force. You fight asymmetrically, and go for their weak spots. For example, infect some MRE's (field rations) with a deadly toxin, but don't announce which ones. They then waste a lot of time and energy figuring out how to feed the troops. You can similarly contaminate fuel supplies upstream of the supply depots. It's one thing to detect an IED in a dirt road, the metal parts stand out. It's quite another to detect one underneath a metal manhole cover. The list goes on.

Comment: Re:3D printers (Score 1) 312

They aren't, ever, for the same reason you have more than one kind of tool in a toolbox. 3D printers are very useful, but they can't wind electric motor coils or populate circuit boards with chips, both of which are needed in a decent machine. A collection of different machines, however, can collectively make the parts for each other, and they can all be controlled by shared software and parts files. Such a collection is called a "machine shop" or "factory", though, rather than a 3D printer.

Comment: Re:The Pacman fight (Score 1) 140

by DanielRavenNest (#49625791) Attached to: Internet Customers Surpass Cable Subscribers At Comcast

> no way in hell I would have shelled out the $90 (+$10 for HD) they were charging for it.

I don't watch professional sports, but I do see my neighbor's house fill up with half a dozen cars at the appropriate times. I always assumed for PPV events, people would just pack in at whoever's house had the best TV and couches and split the cost. $16 a head is not too painful.

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 1) 703

by DanielRavenNest (#49581867) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

> Why don't you show how the current climate changing has anything to do with mankind. The burden of proof of that is on you.

That the concentration of CO2 has risen by 40%, and that CO2 prevents heat from escaping the Earth, thus warming it, are facts that don't need proving. The issue is where is the CO2 coming from? Along with the total concentration going up, the ratio of Carbon-13 to Carbon-12 is changing. Plants slightly prefer the lighter isotope, because it diffuses and reacts faster. The only sources of enough plant-based carbon to account for the 120 ppm added added to the atmosphere are fossil fuels (which were plants once), and deforestation. Both of those are human caused changes. Inorganic sources of CO2, like volcanoes, don't care about isotopes. They don't cause a shift in the ratio, and thus are not the source.

Ice cores keep a record of volcanic eruptions (dust gets trapped), and CO2 levels (trapped bubbles), and the respective isotopes. The oxygen component also has isotopes, that let you measure temperature (water with Oxygen-16 evaporates faster than Oxygen-18). Trees record weather patterns in their growth rings, and solar activity in their Carbon-14 content. Combine all of these, and we have a good historical record going back about a million years and four ice ages. The current changes look nothing like the natual cycles in the past.

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 1) 703

by DanielRavenNest (#49581785) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

> These guys deny science because of greed.

Oh, the fossil fuel industry believes in science when it comes to geology and chemistry, that's where they make their money. I think deep in their hearts they believe in climate change too, but push the anti- view simply because it will give them a few more years to sell their product. The writing is already on the wall. India just raised their solar target to 8% of electric capacity in the next few years. China is installing 20 GW this year. Dubai for fuck's sake is installing massive amounts of solar panels, and they are a middle Eastern oil state. Courtesy of their sunny climate, the newest solar farms are coming in cheaper than fossil fuel. Renewable energy is being put in for the most unstoppable reason - it's becoming cheaper than the alternatives.

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 1) 703

by DanielRavenNest (#49581659) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

> Contrary to all the theories that – that they are expounding, there should have been warming over the last 15 years. It hasn't happened," said Cruz."

Being from a hot state, Cruz should know that a drink doesn't warm up while the ice is melting. Melting ice takes the equivalent of raising water temperature by 70C, that's why it is so effective in your cold drinks. Well, the world's ice is melting - the Arctic ocean, Greenland, northern permafrost, mountain glaciers, and in the last few years Antarctica. That's soaking up a lot of the heating. And what he's talking about is air temperature, while a 5000 times larger heat sink, the oceans, are being ignored. They are also warming, as evidenced by ocean temperature measurements, but also by global average sea level rise as the water warms and expands. Once the atmosphere warmed a few degrees, which it has, on balance heat is flowing from the air to the water and ice. But the atmosphere is the smallest heat sink. The heat is going elsewhere.

Comment: Re: Do not (Score 1) 133

by DanielRavenNest (#49556879) Attached to: Liquid Mercury Found Under Mexican Pyramid

> I know, right? It wasn't aliens that built the pyramids, or anything supernatural. It's stupid to think that.

Exactly. A civil engineer wanted to figure out how the pyramids were built, so he went around asking the experts - Egyptian stonemasons (modern ones). The most plausible answer they came up with is the "shadouf" - the lever and water bag device for raising water from the Nile to irrigate fields. Pretty much everyone at the time would have been familiar with it. To raise stones for the pyramids, just build a bigger, sturdier version. A 5:1 leverage ratio makes a 2 ton block an 800 lb lift. A bunch of workers hanging their body weight on the lever end would raise the stone a foot or two. You prop the stone with some timbers, shorten the lifting rope, and repeat. When the stone gets to the next level of the pyramid, you rotate the lever arm horizontally and pivot the stone to the next step. A series of shadoufs like this could raise a stream of stones step by step up the pyramid.

In comparison to dragging the stones up a giant dirt ramp (which there is no evidence for), levering the stones up is immensely easier. You merely climb up one step, put your foot in a rope loop, and let gravity do the rest.

Comment: Re:Solar is here to stay (Score 2) 533

by DanielRavenNest (#49505313) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

> Now they're just waiting for the products to arrive en masse.

For the Phillippines, that was 2014. They went from 3 MW installed in 2013 to 117 MW in 2014 ( ).

Worldwide, installations are expected to increase from 44.2 GW last year to 57 GW this year ( ). I think we have reached en masse.

Comment: Re:How this should have been prevented... (Score 1) 150

by DanielRavenNest (#49501573) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt

> An alternate, plausible chain of events is that NASA originally, disagreed with ESAB and felt the floor fix was unnecessary in the first place

That's not plausible if you understand where the Michoud Assembly Facility is. It's next to New Orleans, and all of the ground around there is soft and swampy. If you are building anything heavy or that needs to be rigid, it needs heavy foundation reinforcement (thick slab, pilings, etc.).

Comment: Re:It would speed up.. (Score 1) 365

by DanielRavenNest (#49474483) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

> While they'd be intermittent

Solar thermal with hot-rock storage can be nearly around the clock, and modern vacuum-powder insulation can keep the rocks warm a long time.

Also, everyone seems to forget that big hydroelectric dams are massive structures. They aren't going anywhere for centuries. Replacing the generators and water turbines is a small job compared to pouring a million cubic yards of concrete. So even if you lost the tech level to run the dams, you could regain it relatively easily, and have lots of power to work with.

Comment: Re:Economics would be the problem (Score 1) 365

by DanielRavenNest (#49473975) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

> the forward looking saudis will do what they have to do to be able to compete in the world

The Middle East and Africa are rapidly deploying solar panels ( ) They have an excellent climate for it, and they know the oil won't last forever. The Sun will.

Comment: Re:We have already figured most of this out. (Score 2) 365

by DanielRavenNest (#49473847) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Solar cement kilns have been demonstrated. The limestone and shale that are calcined to make Portland Cement don't care how they are heated, They just need to reach a high enough temperature for a while. We mostly use fossil fuels today for the process, but concentrated sunlight works fine.

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.