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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.

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.

Comment Absolutely (Score 2) 170

And I have never felt content to just play a game. Games always fall short in some way. I found it rewarding to try and splice out code for unnecessary features when they wouldn't run in 128K on our home PC in the 80's, I thought I'd struck gold when I found out Chuck Yeager's AFT stored its planes in flat text and simple experimentation could reveal what the numbers were, and before I was coding Nethack and MUDs, I was hex-editing X-Wing. That was way more interesting than any game alone, though the adults in my life thought I was "just playing games".

Yeah, well, I didn't listen to them, and that's why I'm not mowing lawns to get by.

Comment Re:It's not even that convenient (Score 1) 270

Heh. Nice straw man. No, I buy strictly local-independent, never chain. The grounds get composted and go into my garden. The little extra paid for the coffee beans is made up for the lack of unnecessary corporate goods elsewhere. The point isn't hipster pretentiousness, it's to point out that good stuff doesn't come from black boxes, and it's ridiculously simple to be hands on.

Comment It's not even that convenient (Score 4, Insightful) 270

This is horrible. Keurig coffee is crap, and it creates a huge amount of disposable waste.

Me, I have a small water boiler to get the water up to 208 degrees F, two grinders - a hand-turned grinder and an electric one for when I'm in a hurry and the noise isn't a problem, and a french press. I keep the coffee beans whole in a brown paper bag. Just grind, pour in a way that doesn't leave grounds floating above the water, and I can take the french press back to my desk and pour into a large mug in five minutes.

It's still simpler than a PBJ and I don't create a huge pile of plastic garbage. Jeez, will someone get the marketing departments some psychotherapy already?

Comment Re:Propaganda Works (Score 1) 686

"An awkward, feeble, leaky lie is a thing which you ought to make it your unceasing study to avoid; such a lie as that has no more real permanence than an average truth. Why, you might as well tell the truth at once and be done with it. A feeble, stupid, preposterous lie will not live two years -- except it be a slander upon somebody. It is indestructible, then of course, but that is no merit of yours."

- Mark Twain, "Advice to Youth"

Comment Then they decrypted the radio transmission (Score 1) 154

A British voice was heard saying...

"And here's where he lives..." (some sort of bang)
"And here's his neighbor..." (bang again)
"And here's his neighbor's summer home..." (bang and some thumps)
"And here's the town by the beach - tropical island - the whole planet he lived on!"

The bangs became curiously long and bass-level, and the voice broke off into maniacal cackling.

Comment Re:Either fast breeder or thorium (Score 1) 417

Every time this comes up, either a fast-breeder or a thorium crackpot comes out of their holes.

What if we just stop wasting resources?

Take transport: why does it take > 30 kW to move around one ~80kg bag of flesh&bones? Because it's too cheap. Why don't we insulate homes more? Because the alternative is too cheap. Ad nauseam.

Sometimes the appropriate technology is advanced, sometimes moving a pile of dirt into the right place does the job. Here's an example:

Yes, you can retrofit many existing homes to this standard. You can even use sandbag-laying equipment for this purpose. What's in the way are regulations built to suit developers and homeowner's associations built around building and flipping energy-guzzling disposable McMansions - for starters.

The latest methods for building these homes resemble 3D printing and they only need a fraction of the solar panels a regular home does to be completely off-grid. Add rainwater harvesting and composting, and you just cut out the need for energy-guzzling waterworks. Add gardens and greenhouses, and replacing the first 50% of your food consumption from carbon-intensive sources is easy. Moreover, very little portland cement - itself alone responsible for 11% of humanity's CO2 emissions - is needed for this.

The gadget-oriented can still go to town automating the opening and closing of shutters and convective cooling to complete this completely self-sufficient home that could supply most of its occupant's food. Building one of these is a survivalist coup. Building a lot of these is a strategy to turn this crisis around without even touching a nuclear reactor.

I just want to highlight that we can easily bring our consumption down to a level that we can easily scale renewables up to 100% for.

Backed up the system lately?