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Comment This has been around a while (Score 4, Interesting) 103

This has been around a while; kites, windbelts, and laddermills were my area to cover for presentations when taking classes on sustainable energy in 2010, and they were a lot of fun. Anything that gives you an excuse to play footage of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsing and demonstrating the awesome power of wind is pretty cool.

Kites hold a lot of promise; they're far safer for wildlife than any turbine, even the large slow ones that don't deserve their bad rap, and they produce up to a third of a turbine's power given similar operating area, for a tiny sliver of the material cost. Solar's cool and all, but wind power has become surprisingly diverse in its options tailored for different environments, and is becoming more so.

Comment Housing costs (Score 1) 180

What's really important for us to realize is that we're a favored group of the working people, but we are not immune to how the current system treats workers, and we need to look at our impact on others.

We haven't taken this recession quite so much on the chin as blue-collar workers; jobs may be on the rise again, but not well-paying jobs for most. In the meantime, those landlords who are charging high rents in tech-heavy cities? They're making life hard for us, but nigh well impossible to other people. That gentrification is displacing people of less means, often people with roots and community. Watching the Mission in San Francisco become a place that the Latino culture that gave it its character could scarcely hang on made me really think about this. I had occasion to have a bunch of housemates who worked in the restaurants, and they were barely hanging on financially, a non-stop cliffhanger. Seems to me we're enabling a racket.

I for my part have chosen to build a tiny house, get a mobile hotspot, telecommute, and work on scaling my lifestyle to my actual needs. Landlords don't usually offer that; they're trying to oversell as much as anyone, and to as generic an audience as possible. We could work on changing that. I see people turning to community land trusts to try to keep housing possible for low-income people. It's hard for artists that make San Francisco to remain there without such measures, at this point. If we in IT gave this our energy too, we'd be keeping more of what we toil so many hours for, but it'd give momentum to something that's a lifeline to others. I'd rather not just work long hours to give the landlords incentive to evict the artists that made me want to live somewhere to begin with!

In short, we're in the business of being problem solvers at work; if we do this for ourselves and the communities we're in or neighbors too, it could change a lot of this.

Comment This is why I don't run Windows (Score 1) 720

I've been running Linux for nearly all of the last four years, and a majority of my computing hours since 1998, and this stuff's why. I won't let it touch baremetal anymore. Microsoft will download 6GB behind my back? I run on a connection with a 20GB monthly cap! That is completely unacceptable. I wonder when customers are going to cease handing control of their systems to something that's going to do MS marketing's bidding behind their back.

Comment What does biomimicry say about a singularity (Score 2) 174

Currently there are clear incompatibilities between the computing power that we have and how its used, and its resource base. Right now bitcoin mining has an energy footprint approximately equal to the whole country of Ireland's. Resources like copper are peaking, and rare earths are, well, rare. The ecosystem, however, could be supporting 7 billion human brains without hunger if we got our act together. Evolution may have not fixed all the kludges, as our jellyfish-speed nervous system with its loopy optic nerve will attest, but it has done a fantastic job of optimizing the existing species for available resources. We're already experimenting with DNA for computation. We're poking around with an awful lot of 2.2 volt binary 0's and 5 volt 1's to simulate what those proteins can do - and those proteins do it in the wild, without melting silicon.

This means that biomimicry has a lot to say about a singularity. To scale with resilience in the coming decades to the level of a singularity, will not computing need to look and behave more and more like life - first?

If you agree that computing is headed in this direction, and recall that you're reading this on an internet currently teetering on becoming a wholesale panopticon of the state, do you feel that life needs a singularity as much as a singularity needs life?

Comment Re:Young surface (Score 1) 108

Pluto is too small for the heat to be internally generated, and there is no massive nearby body to cause tidal forces and the like.

Wait. Charon is massive enough and close enough to Pluto that the barycenter is in space, between it and Pluto. Also, Pluto's orbit is quite elliptical. Doesn't that seem sufficient to generate some extra tidal energy?

Comment The number one cause (Score 3, Informative) 59

The number one cause of flooding in China is, and has been for a long time, that the ability of the watershed to retain water and let it move through slowly has been degraded by some of the longest-term use of the plow on the face of the planet. The Loess Plateau, the original homeland of the Han people, shows some of the most horrific erosion ever. It's been reduced to near-desert conditions, and rainwater washes off from it unabsorbed, carrying silt, right into the river that's called Yellow because of just that.

Air pollution just adds to this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Comment Re:Subsidize the supply side (Score 2) 940

The more means of abstraction to the service required, the more you're handing things to the middlemen. We don't want to cut checks to let everyone buy without price controls, otherwise the market will respond as if everyone's richer and just price accordingly. If you do price controls, that's extra regulation and besides the point.

What ought to be happening is a new homestead act; there are far more foreclosed buildings held by crooked banks than homeless people. Seems to me they should be dissolved, and the homes doled out - people who don't have to scramble for survival will be able to do far more productive things with their time.

Landlord profits are a lousy thing to optimise for. They're not in it to have the most energy efficient, well-made, forward-thinking homes. They're not in it to sell just enough. They're going for maximum profit. Doesn't our civilization have better things to do than let people who own far more than they personally need control things?

Comment Re:This is a good thing. (Score 1) 294

No matter how bad the things the NSA and its lackies do inside the national borders, the worse stuff happens elsewhere.

How do you think they keep their hands clean? Egypt and even Syria have been client states for rendering prisoners for torture methods the CIA didn't stoop to. Raw recorded phone conversations between US citizens have been handed over to Mossad. They use different governments and nations as shells in their game, and ultimately, place on the hierarchy of power and fear, from bottom to top, is much more relevant to how people are acting than any border.

This is not the kind of power we should be okay with, when they've tortured people in Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram - and wow, now they have a black site in Chicago????

You can't have a vicious beast headquartered in DC and expect it to only eat out! We're the midnight snack, here. The tricks they've gotten away with overseas with the people they've goaded the American public to hate and blame, they'll turn on that same public.

Justice for the Other person isn't just a matter of high humanity, it's a matter of our own long-term freedom. That's why I have never opposed war from a place of not supporting troops, or loving my country and world less than a whole lot. In real life, karma comes whether deserved or not - it goes around, it comes around, and who knows who it'll roll over on the way. Because of the violence we got co-opted to with a pack of lies, we're just shuffled to a later spot on the line to goodness knows what. My heart's broken for the state of humanity when the 5% of it that's the USA is both oppressed and used to oppress.

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