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Comment: Re:Online blackouts (Score 1) 187

by Firethorn (#49516729) Attached to: Netflix Is Betting On Exclusive Programming

'Live political news' can generally be had OTA(over the air) or via free internet sites(with some advertising if you must absolutely listen to the talking heads). You have a point about the live sports, but that's getting pricier and pricier for more people. Not just from rate increases, but from reduced usage outside of watching said live sports.

If you sit there and realize that you're spending $100/month for a cable plan you're not using except as a carrier for a $100 premium sports package, suddenly you're looking at said sports package costing you $200 month, which is more dear than a $100 sports package riding on the back of a $100 cable plan that justifies itself.

Comment: Re:$30 per month (Score 5, Insightful) 187

by Firethorn (#49516703) Attached to: Netflix Is Betting On Exclusive Programming

I don't think they're getting that much for the ads. After all, netflix manages to offer ad-free stuff for $8/month, same as Hulu+. It's probably closer to the difference between $8/month and $12.

I think the ultimate reason Netflix is creating it's own content is that the more content it controls, the more influence it has over the other media copyright holders. If Netflix can legitimately argue that if copyright holder X doesn't play ball, that it's average subscriber won't sign up to site Y for $Z revenue because the subscribers will simply watch something else, such as one of Netflix's exclusive shows, then they're leaving money on the table, and they don't like doing that.

Sort of like a backwards HBO. HBO does great shows, but are really exclusive about them. If you want to see Netflix's shows, you have to sign up, but it's not nearly as expensive as a cable package + HBO.

Comment: Re:Still There? (Score 1) 164

by Firethorn (#49516099) Attached to: ISS Could Be Fitted With Lasers To Shoot Down Space Junk

Getting the surface hot enough to melt and sublime will necessarily mean that the skin is just about the same temperature on the other side.

Most lasers for these sorts of purposes would be 'pulse' lasers anyways. Think of it like the difference between trying to melt part of an aluminum can with a MAPP torch or a match.

The higher heat of the torch, properly focused, can burn a hole in the can before the rest of the can heats up.

I'd imagine that there's a few options, but one is to hit the junk with a microsecond level pulse that indeed just vaporizes a flake of material, providing a relatively very small kick. But timed right, that kick will cause the junk to orbit a touch on a more elliptical orbit. A little deeper into the atmosphere lowers it's orbit much faster, and you can reduce something that will be up there for the next couple centuries without intervention to burning up in the atmosphere within a decade.

I'd just create a list - stuff that threatens the ISS first, then other satellites, then in descending order of hassle. Then program up the laser such that the highest priority object with a proper firing line available is shot first.

Comment: Re: It Has Begun! (Score 1) 52

by Firethorn (#49503747) Attached to: Resistance To Antibiotics Found In Isolated Amazonian Tribe

I remembered something about them digging up gut bacteria from something like 200 years ago in England - well before human use of antibiotics, and found that the gut bacteria in the corpses they exhumed were resistant to more antibiotics than modern versions.

But in looking for it, I found a study that they've found antibiotic resistances from 30,000 year old DNA from permafrost.

Which kind of makes sense. How did we develop penicillin? From Fungi. Which has been around for quite a while itself. Where did we develop many of our other antibiotics? By observing nature.

Comment: Re:It doesn't work that way. (Score 1) 113

What neither of you seem to grasp is that the size of the target isn't as relevant as you think, because you have to null your horizontal velocity regardless of the size of the target.

As itzly, says, you can say 'null your horizontal velocity' all you like, but we agree with you there - what we're saying is that arranging for velocity AND position to be 'null' at the same time is harder than simply arranging for velocity to be null and position to be +/- 100m(or so).

You're talking about some kind of articulated arm (which can survive being essentially inside rocket exhaust)

I think you're picturing something different. I'm picturing something pretty big that comes in from the sides, staying well away from the exhaust.

Comment: Re:Video from the barge (Score 2) 113

by Firethorn (#49490553) Attached to: An Engineering Analysis of the Falcon 9 First Stage Landing Failure

And when they happen, you loose the vehicle..

It stinks if you're going to lose the vehicle when 1 thing fails. Though programming wise, they might 'fix' the thruster issue the same way they did some LCD panels - change the request curve so that when ordering the valve to change a small amount - IE from shut to 10%, it very briefly orders a larger change to overcome the static friction, such as 50%, then countermands that with the 10% order a millisecond or so later.

Comment: Re:Neither failure was due to target size (Score 1) 113

by Firethorn (#49490529) Attached to: An Engineering Analysis of the Falcon 9 First Stage Landing Failure

Yeah, you do. Given the narrow footprint and the low CG of the vehicle, if the horizontal velocity wasn't as close to zero as you can get at touchdown - it's very likely to tip over. (Even if you don't damage the landing legs in the process.) The upper part of the vehicle isn't heavy, but it has a very long lever arm.

You're not getting what he was saying. To put it in car terms, he's saying that 'stop the car in front of that building' is a much easier task than 'stop the car on that postage stamp', which is what they're trying to do with the barge.

In the former scenario, if you under or overshoot the location of your stop, you're still fine. You'd miss the barge, but with a large piece of flat land, you're still landing on flat terrain. You can tune your control jets to always use 'small' corrections, and wait for things to steady before thrusting again.

Both times they've hit the barge almost dead center - I fail to see how that's an arguement for a larger landing area since neither failure was caused by the landing area being too small.

That's how you see it. I'm seeing that in order to maintain that small of a target the thrusters are thrusting a lot harder than they would have to otherwise, which has resulted in failures.

Though if they're that good at targeting, maybe programming up an adaptive 'catcher' robot would work? I'm thinking of something along the lines of 3 arms that have a range of motion, and when the rocket's within a few feet, they gently 'grab' the rocket using shaped and padded interfaces(I'm picturing a semi-circle matching that of the rocket) and provide stability.

Comment: Re:Reason: for corporations, by corporations (Score 1) 489

by Firethorn (#49466081) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

It is not a level playing field.

It's still not a level playing field. The existing company has all the advantages of being an incumbent. 'Most' of them managing to kill the initiatives when they pop up not by legal threatening but by improving their service indicates that they can do better.

I'll remind you that, aside from the startup funding, the cooperative is still constrained by state and federal laws. Indeed, any commercial company can come in to offer the SAME service, and receive most, if not all, of the same benefits that a cooperative being formed by the local government can enjoy.

For example, the recent article from NY, where the state 'gave out' millions in tax breaks, such as tax free zones, to commercial companies in an attempt to 'create jobs'. Note that these tax breaks can disadvantage existing companies against new incomers who meet the standards.

So, for example, it's perfectly possible for the citizens of an area, deciding that a monopoly for internet service, offers various tax benefits, even direct funding in the form of a grant, to provide service of certain standards in the area. They can even exclude the existing operator. Any commercial company able to meet the requirements gets the money.

So while the government can give the cooperative various advantages, it's ability to do so is actually no more than what it can do for a commercial company. Whether it's more likely to offer them to it's new cooperative depends. Most of the time they seem to give the seed money but no more.

Comment: Re:Reason: for corporations, by corporations (Score 1) 489

by Firethorn (#49461529) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

Again I will state that if a government agency wants to take over they need to compensate the current public companies.

Why? And they're not 'taking over', they're 'forming competition'. Customers can still buy service from the commercial company.

In areas that they have done so they tend to kill the competitor, but that's because, like I've said multiple times, by the time they do so the company they're competing against is such a dinosaur that can't find it's own backside that it's universally hated.

Comment: Re: Energy storage in the grid is 100% efficient! (Score 1) 281

by Firethorn (#49461525) Attached to: The Myth of Going Off the Power Grid

If your neighborhood is sunny, and the other side of town is under a passing cloud, it is more likely that you will be sharing power over a fairly long distance, where there will be significant resistive losses as well as voltage conversion loses.

Only if 'everyone' in your neighborhood also has panels and a lifestyle just like yours. They're starting to hit it over in Hawaii, on their highest sun/lowest power usage days, but even then generally speaking the commercial district is closer than the power plants.

More realistically, when less than 10% of houses have solar panels even in a neighborhood, the power isn't going far.

Comment: Re: Energy storage in the grid is 100% efficient! (Score 1) 281

by Firethorn (#49450637) Attached to: The Myth of Going Off the Power Grid

Grid transmission has losses of about 7% from the power station to you, but will likely be higher if it is peer-to-peer.

Seeing as how the losses are basically per 'step' on the grid, peer to peer sharing would normally mean that you're sharing power with your neighbors - IE 100 feet away and no transformers, not many miles and lots of transformers and other switching equipment.

Comment: Re:Reason: for corporations, by corporations (Score 1) 489

by Firethorn (#49450625) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

I'd argue that they always had the opportunity to recoup their investment(profit is NOT guaranteed in business!). Like I pointed out in the other post, people and jurisdictions don't go through the hassle of setting up municipal broadband unless the current provider is a horrible failure.

Like I said elsewhere, in many cases the mere threat of this causes the local ISP to 'straighten up'.

Remember, I've always phrased this in terms of this being done by a public vote of the citizens. This isn't the Mayor deciding to set one up and doing so unilaterally, but where, with the expenses and risks in mind, over 50% of the voting public decides to go forward with the plan.

Comment: Re:Reason: for corporations, by corporations (Score 1) 489

by Firethorn (#49450585) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

Have you looked into why this is happening? Maybe it is due to attempting to recoup investment in current infrastructure built when the technology was more expensive.

In many cases, no. They made that back years, even decades ago.

The municipality is on the hook for the bonds.

Correct. Which is why I said 'mostly'. However the bond money allows a multiplicative effect, once formed the cooperative is able to use said funding to secure more funding. For that matter, the bond is at least a known accounted for risk.

Advantage coop.

I did mention that my preferred form of utility is indeed a cooperative, didn't I? As for the 'advantages', I'm going to point out that they're advantages shared by for-profit companies that the government is trying to lure into the area. For example, Tesla goes to build a battery factory, various governments line up to offer them various incentives - free land, tax rebates, services, and such if they'll only build the factory in THEIR jurisdiction.

Do you see how those and other advantages make competition by private companies difficult if not impossible?

Why do we have to make competition by private companies 'easy'? Why do we have to 'guarantee' a private company's profits, especially when they're doing a lousy job?

Like I've said before: people don't go to the hassle and expense of setting up a cooperative when they're satisfied with their internet service. They only do so when the available ISPs are horrible.

Even in your example of the NG coop there is no competition as the current supplier has a monopoly in the current service area.

The current supplier isn't a cooperative and doesn't want to expand. They ended up going with a cooperative type system because NO commercial company wanted it.

Private companies have to save money from profits to expand and upgrade systems. In this model all the coop has to do is go back and float another bond. It is pretty easy to do when it is coached like "Support this bond or your internet access will fail".

I have to ask - what do you have against cooperatives? As for floating another bond, well, if it's looking to expand, it has to convince the CURRENT customers that expansion is in their interests. Which can be difficult. 'Floating another bond' would only work if they were expanding into a DIFFERENT bond area, basically a different local government paying them to expand into their area. Keep in mind that in such a system the customers are also the owners. I occasionally get a check from my power company because of this, and I get to vote for the board members.

I've had the best experiences with cooperative utilities, the worst from commercial for profit ones. In NO cases was the government still continuing to fund the cooperative, it's only in the startup that they get funding, and that's generally limited with the starting company having to borrow money on the basis of it's assets and business model in order to finish construction.

Besides -

Private companies have to save money from profits to expand and upgrade systems.

No, actually they don't. There are many options, which includes borrowing money to gain the capital to expand. Secured loans for property, same with a family buying a home.

Comment: Re:Reason: for corporations, by corporations (Score 1) 489

by Firethorn (#49444743) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

If the service is the same but the price is lower who do you think a customer would choose?

Have you read what a lot of these municipal broadband companies are offering, even with having to pay back the bonds? We're talking about things like 100mbit service for $40/month where the phone company was offering 1mbit for $100.

Normally they offer vastly improved service for less money. Of course they slaughter the incumbent when they open up, and normally they don't require continuing support by taxpayer money to boot!

Oddly enough just the motions of starting to implement such a motion is enough to get the incumbent to make massive network improvements.

I just realized we might be talking about different issues. You are talking about a cooperative that is supported by member fees and not taxed. What I have issue with is a government run system where any shortfalls can be made up by taxes. They are very different things.

Both would be set up by the same funding source - municipal bonds, but generally you structure it as a cooperative for liability reasons. With it being a cooperative, if the initiative fails, you can dissolve it and the incurred debts(mostly) don't fall back on the local government. That doesn't mean that the government can't offer it 'sweetheart deals' as part of the start up, and the government stays as a owner for as long as the bonds aren't paid off.

Not being taxed is complicated. Generally speaking, as a 'not for profit' cooperative it's not going to have any profits to be taxed via corporate income tax(there's ways they can structure growing cash reserves to avoid those being taxed), as a business it doesn't pay sales tax. Generally speaking, it would end up paying property taxes on any real estate it ends up purchasing(such as the central office), though easements generally don't count against them. But even then, the local government has various options to 'forgive' those, the same ones they use to try to attract new businesses.

So, generally speaking, the cooperative gets it's initial operating capital from the bond issuance, approved by the majority of the voters. Which, like I said, means that all the voters have to approve the move KNOWING that their property taxes will be going up by X amount in order to fund this, and choosing to do so for the improved internet.

Continuing to support the company through tax revenues would be highly unusual, and probably require continuing votes to keep the funding going.

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose