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Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 63

Sorry, but I just don't understand what the purpose is, and it isn't stated in the thread linked -- other than a few ... (maybe) benchmarks that don't cover many real-world use cases.

With CFQ, an high disk-IO task will block every other process on the system from getting any time. This can be a big file cp, but I see it most often when writing to slow USB thumb drives... Queue up a copy/rsync/etc. of a few GBytes of data to a slow thumb drive, and after your RAM/buffer cache is filled, your system will be almost completely unresponsive.

Change your scheduler from CFQ to deadline and your system will spring back to life. I don't specifically know that BFQ does any better, but it couldn't possibly be worse... CFQ is crap.

Comment Re:Just 5 billions for 200 MW?? (Score 2) 179

We are going to need portable fusion if we ever want to do serious interstellar travel.

Fission (which we've had for decades) is a perfectly workable and acceptable energy source for "serious interstellar travel".

From battleships to trains to large aircraft to small aircraft: they have a use at many scales where high energy density (production) is required or preferred.

Fission works nicely for aircraft carriers, already. Trains are better accommodated by electrification via overhead power lines.

It's completely crazy to claim "small aircraft" would be a suitable use-case for a fusion power plant... A bit like saying a massive turbine could "have a use" in your leaf-blower.

Comment You're right, it's bogus. Dang! (Score 1) 118

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_detector mentions none of this.

You're right, it's bogus.

I was told that decades ago. But a little research (in the online patent databases) shows that there were ionization smoke detectors for decades before that (back in the tube era, even, when beta emitters were easily available to the common man). NASA says their only involvement with smoke detector design was (in collaboration with Honeywell) coming up with a variable-sensitivity design to stop annoying false alarms in Skylab.

Sorry to have repeated a myth. B-b

Comment Re:Prohibited (Score 1) 336

Brilliant, exchange a cheap hard to track device for an expensive device that transmits continuously,

Low-end smart phones are just as cheap as the least expensive unlicensed 2-way radios. You can quite easily and 100% reliably shut-off the cellular radio, while still using WiFi. They are certainly no easier to track than an unencrypted 2-way radio.

Comment Re:Side Effects (Score 3, Informative) 41

I have a friend with Friedrich's Ataxia, and CRISPR is one of the silver bullets she's praying for. FA cripples then kills you: wheel chair by 25, dead by 40 is often the case (it hardens the heart so it can't pump). While CRISPR has some unknowns and risks, having FA is a certainty. FA affects a single gene pair, so if you can replace either side of that gene, you have solved the problem, the mitochondria will start producing frataxin again, and the nerves will stop being slowly destroyed.

There are no treatments and since it is so rare (1 in 50,000 have it in the US, 1 in 30k in Europe, almost no one in Africa or Asia), few are investing in finding a cure or treatment. FA isn't the only orphan disorder like this. So yes, I'm quite happy to see CRISPR move forward.

Comment Re:No (Score 2) 269

You forgot margin. They have incredible margin on their products. Their concern is total profit, not units sold. They could easily drop their prices in other markets to keep market share, but the net profit to them might be lower. It isn't like iPhones prices are anything relative to their cost. Their price is based on what people will pay.

Comment Re:Cameras are so, so tiny these days (Score 1) 233

You cannot physically enforce security of code sources you are allowing people to see - unless you are going to have them work entirely naked, under constant physical observation, with full body cavity searches every time they enter or leave the workroom.

Memorize a few lines per-day, then write them down as soon as you leave the office... That's how exam/test prep software gets their questions. You need several people doing this, working together, but it will be possible to smuggle out your secrets, no matter how hard to try to avoid it.

Not to mention that a tiny wireless transmitter could even be hidden in a tooth, or implanted under the skin, somewhere, which would work even if you need to use Morse-code. More realistically, a micro SD card is TINY and unlikely even a cavity search would find it.

Comment Heroes in more ways than one. (Score 4, Interesting) 118

The Appollo I martyrs are heroes in more ways than one.

One of NASA's responses to the fire was to design a detector for miniscule amounts of smoke particles, to provide an early warning of electrical problems that might lead to a fire - in time to evacuate the capsule if on the ground or hunt down and fix the problem if in space.

The detector used a miniscule amount of radioactive material to ionize the smoke particles and then detected the current conducted by the ions. (Radioactive materials were for NASA, a government agency, to design with, difficult for random inventors or corporations to even consider.)

The first, space-rated, low-volume prototypes were pricey. But the circuitry and the detection chamber were dog-simple and could be dirt-cheap when manufactured in volume.

So this was plowshared, and became the ionization-type smoke detector, the first practical, affordable, smoke detector suitable for broad deployment in residences. Even when this was the only type in use, it was quickly saving, first hundreds, then thousands of lives per year.

Modern detectors, combining ionization and photoelectric mechanisms, are credited with cutting the death toll from fires by somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2. They detect different types of fires, and the one detected by ionization accounts for somewhat less than half of them - which is still an enormous number.

So the loss of those three lives has been repaid with enormous interest in the decades that followed. The benefits are still flowing.

Comment Such sites would RATHER be boycotted. (Score 1) 118

Even better if they boycotted all sites which block ad-blocking viewers, ...

If you're blocking ads, you don't contribute to their revenue, but do contribute to their resource consumption. So the operators of such sites would RATHER be boycotted by people using ad-blockers.

Sounds like a win-win. B-)

Comment They should have argued it was a "Taking". (Score 0) 84

But the rule has meant millions in lost profits for utilities. Those companies argued that the program impermissibly targets retail customers.

They should have argued that it was a "taking" and the government had to reimburse them for their losses.

The tail end of the Fifth Amendment reads:

[...] nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

and the Supremes have already ruled that new laws and regulations, and changes to existing ones, that suck part of the value out of property (in this case, the value of the power generation and transmission infrastructure, which is based on the profit it creates) constitute a "partial taking" and require the government to pay for what it took.

Getting the Supremes to recognize that a rule change which imposes a change in the flow of money from customers to the investors in a busines can constitute a fifth amendment taking of the value of the latter's investment would inhibit arbitrary economic winner-picking regulations and move the US economy away from Fascism (alias "crony capitalism) and toward (free-market) Capitalism.

Comment Re:Is it really a big issue? (Score 1) 293

So, we have driverless cars. You still buy insurance to protect yourself and liability.

The disruption is that insurance companies will have to dramatically shrink, instead of growing. If there's only 1/10th as many accidents, they can only charge 1/10th as much in premiums. That means they have to reduce their employees, office-space, and more by a factor of 10, and only have 1/10th as much profit to play with.

It's actually worse than that, as they'll try to maintain a higher percentage of the premium as profits, much like oil companies do when oil prices fall, which means your 10X less valuable insurance might still only save you 50% the premium... The slide in their valuation will hit them and the stock market, and they're open to disruption by leaner start-ups who don't have the huge existing liabilities the big insurance companies can't shake-off so easily.

Comment Re:trying to figure out how to survive (Score 1) 293

On average it will always be cheaper to pay for things yourself, however people are NOT any good at saving $50K of oh-sh*t money

I have over $35,000 in insurance. I pay just over $350 each year for the policy. In other words, it would take 100 years of saving my premiums to match the coverage I've got.

I don't expect to live that long. I can't wait 100 years for that balance to accumulate, before I start driving. My insurance will cover multiple accidents in that 100 years, not just one (though my rates would go up after the first one, changing the math somewhat). My premiums also cover related expenses like insurance company lawyers that I'd have to pay for on top of that cash balance.

The your claim looks even more ridiculous if you look at homeowners insurance... Millions of dollars in coverage.

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