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Comment: Re:Wow .... (Score 3) 129

by Rei (#48906547) Attached to: Scientists Determine New Way To Untangle Proteins By Unboiling an Egg

It's a two-step process. The first is a chemical that dissolves the proteins (still in their "cooked" folding), and the second is some sort of centrifuge or similar (they don't go into details on the device in the article) that subjects the proteins to very high sheer strain, effectively mechanically unfolding them so that they can then relax back into their natural state.

Not exactly a spice you can sprinkle onto your steak, but still pretty neat. :)

Comment: Re:America is HUGE (Score 2) 224

by Rei (#48904027) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

That just raises another issue - why are you services and utilities so unreliable in the US? Here in Iceland we get hurricane-force winds several times a year on average - I've had gusts over Cat 5 on my land. Winter isn't incredibly cold but is super wet (all precipitation forms), windy, and lasts a long time. Up at higher altitudes you get stuff like this (yes, those are guy wires... somewhere in that mass). I lived in the US for a long time and had an average of maybe two power outages a year from downed lines and such - sometimes lasting for long periods of time. I've never once had a power outage here that was anything more than a blown breaker in my place.

It's really amazing what you all put up with - your infrastructure standards are really low.

Comment: Re:What a bunch of A-Holes (Score 4, Interesting) 224

by Rei (#48903903) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

Yeah, here in freaking Iceland most people have 50 or 100 Mbps fiber for a lot cheaper than that. And not just in the capitol region, it even runs out to Vestfirðir now where the largest city is under 3k people.

It makes no sense whatsoever that a hunk of rock just under the arctic circle, 3 1/2 hours plane flight to the nearest land mass with any sort of half-decent manufacturing infrastructure, consisting often unstable ground constantly bombarded by intense winds, ice, landslides, avalanches, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, etc, with the world's 2nd or 3rd lowest population density and heavy taxes on all imported goods, can do this while the US can't. What the heck, America? You've got half of the world's servers sitting right there, why the heck can't you manage to connect people to them?

Comment: Re:Insurance (Score 4, Informative) 197

by Rei (#48898643) Attached to: Calif. DMV Back-Pedals On Commercial-Plate Mandate For Ride-Share Drivers

That falls into statistically normal usage. Being a commercial driver absolutely does not. Statistically, a commercial driver drives way more than a noncommercial driver, and they're much more likely to be sued, and for more money. It's absurd to argue that they should be able to drive on insurance rates calculated for statistical norms of noncommercial drivers. If you allow that sort of ignoring of statistics then you might as well get rid of all statistical tables period and charge every last person the same rate for all types of insurance.

Comment: Insurance (Score 4, Insightful) 197

by Rei (#48898577) Attached to: Calif. DMV Back-Pedals On Commercial-Plate Mandate For Ride-Share Drivers

Why, exactly, should Uber drivers get to drive passengers using regular non-commercial drivers' insurance? Commercial insurance costs more because people who drive people around for a living are much more likely to cost the insurance companies more money. If you're letting them drive on non-commercial licenses than that means that regular drivers are subsidizing Uber-drivers.

Comment: Re:Svavar Knutur and Marketa Irglova - World burns (Score 1) 144

by Rei (#48876341) Attached to: Doomsday Clock Could Move

Svavar Knútur is great... the music's really pretty, but between songs he's a standup comedian. ;) That said, some of his songs are funny too... one of his songs (in Icelandic) is about a guy on his way to propose to his girlfriend when he gets bitten by a zombie, and he meets up with her and is trying to propose while slowly turning into a zombie and increasingly wanting to eat her instead... but it turns out that she was bitten by a zombie too, so they end up living happily ever after ;) Oh, and then there's this song.

Comment: Re:Who they do not attempt to stay relevant? (Score 4, Funny) 144

by Rei (#48873505) Attached to: Doomsday Clock Could Move

If Earth becomes Venus-like then those with innovation and drive will innovate a way to protect themselves, while those that don't will eventally adapt, growing a hard, rocky skin and blood based on liquid metals rather than water. The climate has changed in Earth's past and life survived; if our future is to be a tribe of hideous rock monsters ruled by clever, pitiless human overlords in protective bubbles, then bring it on. It's not a reason to hinder economic growth.

Vote freedom. Vote prosperity. Vote Reanimated Corpse Of Ayn Rand in 2016.

Comment: Re:This is further proof... (Score -1) 148

by Rei (#48863573) Attached to: Paris Terror Spurs Plan For Military Zones Around Nuclear Plants

You forgot cheapest! More proof that nuclear power is the cheapest low-carbon power source, not a tech more popular on K street than Wall Street that gets by via being absolved of all potential liability for major accidents, getting huge loan guarantees, and being allowed to pass off cost overruns to consumers at-will and even still has trouble finding investors. Nuclear power has always been more popular on K-Street than Wall Street.

How did that "nuclear renaissance" work out for you all? Yeah, that sure bombed out fast. Gotta love an industry with a negative learning curve, where costs continually rise with time and scale rather than dropping (aka, learning of new potential problems and risks faster than refining the technology to lower costs).

Nuclear scares the public a lot more than it actually poses a risk to their health or life. But you know who it scares even more? Investors. Given the race out the door today, can you imagine what it'd be like if the industry wasn't let off the hook for potential damages over a maximum in the event of a major accident? No insurance company would touch the industry with a 10 foot pole. Nuclear accidents may not be good at killing people, but there's one thing that they're damned good at and that's costing a bloody fortune to remedy.

Comment: Re:These Really are StarGates (Score 1) 100

by Rei (#48854591) Attached to: Google Pondering $1 Billion Investment In SpaceX's Satellite Internet

There's a little unspoken benefit about what a true, affordable, universal-coverage broadband system could provide for: drones. Envision drones that can provide high quality real-time streaming (commands to the drone, imagery back) without requiring line of sight or effective cellular service.

Individuals and companies could get the sort of drone communication that today only exists for militaries. Buoyant drones (hydrogen, helium) could stay aloft for long periods and go anywhere. Conceivably a hydrogen-powered drone could stay aloft until its electronics failed, via condensing atmospheric moisture via a hygroscopic material and electrolysing it to replace the slow rate of leakage (using solar power). So picture a world where, say, anyone could buy a mass-produced mini spy drone and send anywhere, even a war zone with no infrastructure, and have it fly at a height where it would be almost impossible to spot. It would in most cases cost significantly more to take down than it costs to build (barring "drone killer" drones, but then you get to needing to maintain a large distributed inventory of them and a sensitive nationwide detection system that works at all altitudes, and you're just inviting people to come up with countermeasures). It would make it increasingly difficult to lie about human rights abuses, war crimes, armed incursions, etc.

I once looked into what it would take to make such a drone previously but quickly realized that the bandwidth costs alone via today's satellite internet services would get pretty astronomical quite fast, turning a "cheap drone" into a prohibitively expensive one. But this could change the picture. If satellite internet is cheap and widespread, not only will your bandwidth be cheap, but it also means that your connectivity hardware will also be widespread and cheap.

On the home front, one of the big concerns by regulatory bodies for all of these drone-based services companies are eager to launch is of course loss of connectivity - which is one reason why, for example, the FAA has been resisting them in the US. But if satellite service to a drone is much less likely to suffer from the reception irregularty that plagues cell phone towers. And you always have cell phone connectivity as a backup. You're greatly improving the overall reliability of your drone communications, which should make it easier to start getting commercial drone services approved by regulators.

Comment: Re:Internet by satellite: non-news (Score 1) 105

Even in modern countries there are holes. I live in Iceland and we have one of the best rates of broadband connectivity and fiber deployment in the world. But my land is in a sparsely populated valley so it hasn't paid off to run a line out there, most people just use their cell phones for a net connection. If satellite could beat that (and wouldn't be too blocked by mountains), even in highly connected countries there's a real potential market here.

Heck, there's a lot of people who would get it if the price and stats were right even if they had ground-based broadband. Everyone here has bandwidth caps on international net traffic, only domestic is unlimited. So people who want to do a lot of downloads of foreign content might well choose that instead of or inaddition to regular broadband.

The universe is all a spin-off of the Big Bang.