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Comment: Re:Makers and takers (Score 1) 676

by Epi-man (#46508521) Attached to: 70% of U.S. Government Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals

"I mean technically every tax payer who gets a refund gets a check from the government, but (barring EIC) it shouldn't really count because that money was never the governments in the first place.

Which is why it isn't in the budget and therefore should not be part of the numbers being discussed here.

Comment: Re:Missing CowboyNeal Option (Score 1) 275

by Epi-man (#40086395) Attached to: When I need a robust business solution, I prefer it ...

I was forced to take a break from /. for over a year due to crushing work and family loads. I am back now. I too dearly miss reading at least once in every article about petrified Natalie Portman pouring hot grits down pants, selecting CowboyNeal, being reminded what an insensitive clod I was, pissing contests to have the lowest /. ID, entire threads hijacked to discuss grammar minutiae. What has happened to the /. I knew and loved? Maybe it is time for me to grow up?

Comment: Re:From a buffoon (Score 1) 721

by Epi-man (#40063683) Attached to: Diesel-Like Engine Could Boost Fuel Economy By 50%

I've been asking this forever! If Diesel engines have better torque, why not using them in hybrids as power plant (in a similar way Direct UPSs work). After all, most power plants I know are diesel, not gasoline.

And on top of that...why reciprocating engines? Why not turbines since that is also the design of power plants and seems should be much more efficient. I understand why we use reciprocating engines in "direct drive" usage, but in hybrids, generate the electricity with a turbine and drive only using the electric motors is my thinking.

Comment: Re:The bigger problem (Score 1) 139

by Epi-man (#39805919) Attached to: Solar Cells That Emit Light Break Efficiency Record

My solar installation doesn't have any batteries. I use micro-inverters instead of a bulk inverter and am still connected to the grid. So, during the day (when the ACs or dryer aren't running) I push power back and help run my neighbors' houses, at night, I pull from the grid to run the house. This way I don't have to replace batteries every 5-7 years and if some panels get shaded/have a problem, they don't pull down the entire array.

Comment: Re:Yield... (Score 1) 251

by Epi-man (#31911736) Attached to: Hidden Cores On Phenom CPUs Can Be Unlocked

It would be highly unlikely to just disable a valid core, because if they were doing a fair amount of that, it would be better to make a new mask set that was JUST a 2 or 3 core processor.

You obviously don't realize how expensive your proposition is. A mask set for processors of this complexity cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is just for the glass, let alone the cost of actually laying out and qualifying the new glass! So let's say they can change the cost of manufacture/die (the dynamic cost) by a HUGE $10 (that is an incredible reduction on a per die basis), you have to sell tens of thousands of them to simply cover the cost of the glass!

Comment: Re:Godwin's Law! (Score 1) 439

by Epi-man (#31321170) Attached to: Caltech Makes Flexible, 86% Efficient Solar Arrays

But usually Godwin's Law is invoked with a comparison to the Nazi's as evil. Here it's a reference to not-Nazi's as not-evil.

Talking of Nazis, did you know that every other use of an apostrophe in your first sentence was incorrect?

Huh? Let's see, their other use of an apostrophe:
Godwin's: Possessive, correct

Where is the "other use of an apostrophe in your first sentence" that was incorrect?

Comment: Re:WHAT! (Score 1) 385

by Epi-man (#31249830) Attached to: Entergy Admits 2005 Tritium Leak

As for the American taxpayers being 'on the hook' for new power plants that will only happen if the plants somehow default on their loans, something no nuclear power plant has done in American history...

I see someone else has posted the WPPSS story, I will add Marble Hill, which caused Wabash Valley Power Association to default on its loans from the REA.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 572

by Epi-man (#30686856) Attached to: Massive Solar Updraft Towers Planned For Arizona

Works at night. (Ground heat release.) Low maintenance, few moving parts, durable, doesn't require uncommon, imported elements or the same kind of energy inputted into its construction, doesn't make the ground under it useless. Politically this is easier to sell than relying on China for the arrays. Scaling photovolatics to the level needed to get to an all-day average of 200MW requires a lot more ongoing maintenance. This is easier for voters to understand, and looks 'cool' from the highway. :-)

Let's see, works at night with ground heat release...perhaps, but I am doubtful, their own drawing indicates a thermal gradient within the "chamber" caused by the "greenhouse effect," so any benefit of the ground thermal storage would seem to be quite low given the low rate of radiation as the required airflow cools the top layer and the thermal resistance of dirt is very high.

Low maintenance...perhaps, we'll let that slide for now.

Few moving parts...vs. photovoltaic? I think not since you can't go below zero in counts of physical items.

Durable...hmm, perhaps the materials are durable but I have no idea...they don't tell me what they are! I do know that the building I work in is all of 4 years old and has all kinds of leaks and problems...and it is tiny by comparison. This would be the largest area building ever built, by no small margin! The Dubai airport currently checks in as the biggest at not even 6% of this beast! So much for your low maintenance as well me thinks.

Doesn't require uncommon, imported elements or the same kind of energy inputted into its exactly are you going to move the materials to construct this monstrous structure there, let alone the over 2000 feet into the air? As for materials for construction, we have been producing solar cell materials for decades, it is essentially a commodity now and we don't have any idea what material they are going to build their tower out of do we?

Doesn't make the ground under it useless...this one made me laugh the most. How exactly is a 4 square mile greenhouse with untold winds at the core going to be used? Remember, the idea here is to raise the internal temperature significantly, so what are you going to do in there? Remember also that you can only access the land from the perimeter, and you can't put a lot of walls in there, they would disrupt the airflow. How is this useful land again vs. raised panel arrays that you could build any building you wanted underneath?

Politically this is easier to sell than relying on China for the arrays...okay, perhaps, and until a few days ago I could have said, oh really, but sadly they have announced that they had to turn to China for production as well.

Scaling photovolatics to the level needed to get to an all-day average of 200MW requires a lot more ongoing maintenance...huh? Why does maintenance go up with scale here? Add more panels to have peak production way past the current level of nearly 7x the production then! I already firmly believe their design will have a pittance the daytime production at night, so they won't be this magic, constant output station, just as panels aren't, you still need energy storage (again, I am not buying into the ground thermal storage) and you still don't have ANY moving parts!

This is easier for voters to understand, and looks 'cool' from the highway...I think you mean easier to fool voters into paying for, but yes, the coolness factor would certainly be there.

So of your ten points...I believe you only have two left standing, and both of those are pretty darn weak.

Comment: Re:Linear thinking (Score 1) 572

by Epi-man (#30685564) Attached to: Massive Solar Updraft Towers Planned For Arizona

Photovoltaics routinely exceed 20%.

No that is wrong, please don't disseminate this sort of misinformation. The most efficient PV panels you can buy today are rated less then 20% efficiency, and that's per cell, a whole panel will be several percent lower. That's in ideal conditions - heat, inverters, charge controllers, batteries all knock a big chunk of that efficiency.

No, you are wrong...well, not exactly wrong, but you too are spreading mis-information. My solar panels on Monday produced energy for the day at ~900 Wh/m^2, and that is AC watts, so not your "ideal" number, a real number complete with conversion losses. My city's 30 year maximum flat panel solar radiation exposure for the month of January (from here) was 5.6 kWh/m^2-day. So let's assume Monday matched that maximum, that means my system hit 16% real world efficiency. I don't have the most efficient panels you can buy today, today's most efficient panels outperform mine by over 15%. That's now approaching the 20% quoted by the grandparent. I agree, it is incorrect to state "photovoltaics routinely exceed 20%" in the context of AC watts, but it is correct to state panels approach 20% and therefore cells exceed 20%.

And as I stated in another post, it sure looks to me like economically my panels are kicking the tar out of this idea in terms of cost and production.

Comment: Why? (Score 1) 572

by Epi-man (#30684414) Attached to: Massive Solar Updraft Towers Planned For Arizona

OK, I haven't seen anyone look at this yet, but I may have missed it. I just put a solar array on my house, so the idea of electrical energy from the sun is fresh in my mind. Let's look at the numbers. They are looking at 200 MW for $750 M, or at a cost of $3.75/W. In doing this, they plan to use 4 square miles, and generate under 20 W/m^2. Now that is truly pathetic?! On a sunny day, my panels produce well over 130 W/m^2, and that is AC watts, therefore taking into account all the losses in the inversion. The cost of my installation was under $7/W, and is already done...making power! Today is a crumby, cloudy, cold day yet my panels are still producing ~24 W/m^2! Why is this even being discussed as an option??? Do they think they can increase their efficiencies? It seems to me they are going to be equally dependent on solar radiation as my panels are, yet my panels are crushing them in terms of output, now, today, let alone in a few years when the solar cells efficiencies are double what my panels' are. What does SCPPA know that I am missing????

Comment: Re:mnb Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 926

by Epi-man (#30673792) Attached to: Slovak Police Planted Explosives On Air Travelers

But if you have a Middle Eastern look about you (even if you're a true-blue dyed-in-the-wool Honest-to-God AMERICAN) you will likely be hassled with extreme prejudice. And that's the way the majority want it, because everyone knows that you can pick out the terrorists just by looking.

Percentage of planes hi-jacked by non-Muslims in the past 30 years: Zero

In my perhaps under-educated opinion, the Muslim community has a huge problem on its hands, one only it can solve. Sure wouldn't mind hearing them admit and address it in any manner.

(BTW, I have this opinion about a lot of communities)

Comment: Re:You're doing it wrong (Score 1) 200

by Epi-man (#30148590) Attached to: NASA Willing To Team With China; Rumors of a Budget Cut

It is the debt and "entitlement" and social security obligations that are going to kill us down the road.

SS sucks, but it's only about 3% of your paycheck (it's part of the FICA tax). It doesn't even come out of your regular IRS taxes, in theory. And as I understand it, Federal welfare was cut way back in the Clinton years. There's still a lot of welfare spending, but I believe it's mostly at the State and local levels. Don't live in California and it shouldn't be that big a problem.

You obviously didn't listen to grandparent poster when they told you Google federal spending. If I take the federal government budget for 2009 and look at the total DoD spending it only comes to 21% of the budget. Conveniently that matches pretty well with Social Security spending. You seem to want to exclude that since "it's part of the FICA tax," which comes no where close to covering its (projected) cost. If federal welfare was cut way back, why is it still the single largest part of the federal budget, and we haven't even started including Medicare, Medicaid, and all the other welfare programs?

Comment: Re:smarter criminals (Score 1) 86

by Epi-man (#30059692) Attached to: $9 Million ATM Hacking Ring Indicted

Bank Robber: thousands of dollars stolen, but they go to a maximum security prison

You forgot...(most likely) has a criminal record, claimed to or had a gun and held it to someone's head threatening to kill them, very high probability they will make an attempt to escape or harm other people....

ATM fraud ring: millions of dollars stolen, but they go to a medium security prison

Hurt approximately zero people, threatened approximately zero people with harm, but organized others to help with their deeds

Ponzi scheme: billions of dollars stolen, but they go to a minimum security prison.

Bilked lots of people out of money, but once contained does not represent a threat to escape nor anyone's safety

Bankers: trillions of dollars stolen, and they're given more by the government with a bonus on top

And yet you don't think the people in government who stole the money from us and gave it to the bankers should be in prison???

To me, you obviously don't get it.

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl