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Comment Why bother with installed capacity? (Score 2, Informative) 259 259

One of the hallmarks of PV solar and wind (turbine) power is that its installed capacity is so completely out of sync with its utilization rate. While a coal, nuclear or gas plant can hit utilization rates of 90 - 99%, PV solar and wind tend to fluctuate around 20-30%.

In short, 70-80% of installed PV solar and wind capacity has to be discarded in order to close to the utilization percentage. It also means that you need 3-5 times as much installed capacity to get near the power delivered figures for baseload power sources.

In summary, in terms commonly used here in /., I believe this article is what is referred to as a 'circle jerk' :)

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 256 256

The German grid more stable in 2013? Relative to the years before it, maybe. Mostly because there's a big new market springing up here for people to sell grid stabilization services, which involves buffering energy somehow. It's all a response to the utter unsuitability of wind/solar to provide reliable power output.

But feel free to believe in your propaganda... fact of the matter is that the German Energiewende is on its last legs. Subsidies are being cut, projects are being scaled back and politicians are desperately trying to figure out ways to break the bad news to the populace.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 256 256

Germany, Scotland and Denmark have stabilization issues on their national grids. Fortunately they are linked into other (national) grids to help stabilize things again.

Unfortunately for my country (Germany) the surrounding countries are getting a bit pissed over having to take our power fluctuations every time the wind picks up/slows down and a cloud moves in front of our freakin' solar panels.,

Even the Green party here which originally championed the Energiewende is slowly retreating on its statements and original goals. It's increasingly becoming clear that it is all just a poorly planned and very expensive joke which has only served to increase the CO2 produced. Our government has already indicated that Germany will have to back out of the CO2 reduction goals previously set.

'Renewable energy' is largely just a white elephant, with some very severe negative repercussions.

Comment Gender/sex binary nonsense (Score 1) 599 599

Separating children and teenagers into 'boys and girls' keeps reinforcing the idea that these are part of some black and white, unchanging reality.

The fact of the matter is that both the gender and sex binaries are a complete lie. From fluent gender roles to a wide variety of physical characteristics (where'd an intersex/hermaphrodite person like yours truly fit into this system, for example?), making a school 'girls-only' or 'boys-only' merely opens the can of worms of 'what's a girl/boy?'.

Is a transsexual boy or girl a girl or a boy? What about someone who is 'genderqueer'? What about an intersex person (pick one of many dozens of conditions there)?

For these reasons 'gender-segregated' schools feel more like an artifact of an ancient, ignorant society than something which we should admire or strive to imitate.

Comment I worked on the ConnectedDrive system (Score 4, Interesting) 83 83

While I do not work for BMW directly, the company I work for does do projects for BMW. One of the projects I worked on was the iOS app which is part of this ConnectedDrive system.

To be precise, for the 'old' version of the app (My BMW Remote App) for non-i models we started off with this black box library (CD lib) which handled all the communication with the BMW servers.

While I didn't do any protocol analysis or looked at the communication between car and servers, even for this iOS app it was pretty clear to me and my colleagues what the security implications would be if someone were to be able to obtain log-in data just for that part of the communication.

Depending on the market (America, Europe, Japan, etc.) there are some limitations to what one can do with the app (based on the type of account, IIRC), such as from what range one can see where the car is on a map and whether one can unlock doors with the app or not (not allowed in the US market, from what I recall). Where these limitations are enforced I'm not sure. It might be based on the server, in which case this hack would bypass such limitations as well.

At any rate, this security leak does demonstrate quite succinctly how important it is to properly security audit such systems before releasing it into the wild. Even for the current project I do for BMW (related to the headunits), having an active internet connection means that security is essential, including plugging buffer overruns and similar.

Nobody wants to have one's headunit go blank during navigation, in a constant reset cycle or be turned into a spying device, after all :)

Note that I'm still under NDA for all of these projects, so I can't go into much detail.

Comment Re:Latest update (Score 1) 222 222

Additional update (from the article):

Meanwhile, since our story was posted, donations flooded Werner's website donation page and he reached his funding goal of $137,000. In addition, Facebook and the online payment processor Stripe each pledged to donate $50,000 a year to Koch’s project

"Pok pok pok, P'kok!" -- Superchicken