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Comment Don't forget Ammonia (Score 1) 348

Melting aluminium is an *ideal* use for unreliable power: the primary cells can run at variable rates or even in reverse to stabilize the grid, or some of the molten product can be staged for running optimized Al air batteries. Germany is already doing this,

From that link, other energy-intensive processes may be suitable, "including those used to manufacture cement, paper, and chemicals. Making chlorine, used to produce paper, plastic, fabric, paint, drugs, and antiseptics, also requires electrolysis."

Don't forget Ammonia, by fixating Nitrogen from the atmosphere.

About half the "green revolution"(*) was due to availability of Ammonia due to the Haber process, which means our ammonia production supports about half the food production on the planet.

Haber is energy intensive, requiring half a million Joules of energy per mole (17g) of ammonia produced, which comes out to about 5% of all energy used worldwide.

It's largely startable/stoppable, so would make another good choice for unreliable or unneeded (ie - solar panels in uninhabited areas) power.

(*) The other half due to pesticides.

Comment Party affiliation (Score 1) 138

For those of you who think that voting Democratic is the lesser of two evils, note that the bill had strong bipartisan support in both the house and senate:

Yea 303: 179(R) 124(D)

[The USA Freedom Act] would make only incremental improvements, and at least one provision-the material-support provision-would represent a significant step backwards," ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement.

Next up: the Trans Pacific Partnership. Let's all get together and vote for the party that does the least amount of damage to the American People! Yeah! That'll fix it!!!

One reasonable way to get good government to vote against all incumbents. Whether it's a red or blue congress critter, they'll fall in line once they realize that they only get 1 term if they screw over the people.

Another reasonable solution is to vote for non-insiders. Not Hillary, or Jeb or Chris or Marco.

This year the choices seem to be between "experience" and "change". Which of those would be the best for Americans?

Comment Two reasons (Score 1) 222

The Republican situation is hard to call - the lead has changed hands a few times now.

I've been following the republican nomination thing with great interest for several months now, mostly as an exercise in insight and analysis.

Surprisingly, the republican lead has *not* changed hands a few times, and depending on your definition of "lead" it hasn't changed hands at all. Carson pulled ahead of Trump in one poll one time, but in the overall average and in the national polls he's consistently been in the lead, for the last 6 months.

Look at the link in the last paragraph, and look at the right-hand column and count the number of times it reads "Trump".

This informative graphic from RealClearPolitics shows the overview situation.

But if this is true, then why was the MSM hyping "Carson pulls ahead of Trump" all the time?

Two reasons.

As an exercise to the readership, can you identify the two reasons?

Comparing news reports with actual data has been an eye-opening experience. There's really a lot of shenanigans going on in this election. Applying Bayesian priors of "of all reasons causing *this*, choose the most likely" paints a surprising, infuriating, and depressing picture of American politics.

Comment Not the first full recovery from space (Score 1) 121

SpaceShip One touched space and all elements were recovered and flew to space again.

BO's demonstration is more publicity than practical rocketry. It doesn't look like the aerodynamic elements of BO's current rocket are suitable for recovery after orbital injection, just after a straight up-down space tourism flight with no potential for orbit, just like SpaceShip One (and Two). They can't put an object in space and have it stay in orbit. They can just take dudes up for a short and expensive view and a little time in zero gee.

It's going to be real history when SpaceX recovers the first stage after an orbital injection, in that it will completely change the economics of getting to space and staying there.

Comment Re: Micropayments? (Score 2) 222

Well, part of it is that even a small payment can still incur a psychologically large cost. If each user post here on /. cost one cent to read, would you want to have them load automatically? Probably not, many of them are not worth that much, and you could quickly run up a bill of a few hundred dollars a year on that sort of thing from this site alone. So instead you'd have to take more time to think about what was worth spending even a little on, because it adds up and the price doesn't really match the value to you of the thing you'd be paying for.

Something similar happens when people have metered or capped Internet usage compared to at least nominally unlimited usage.

You really can't avoid this problem unless the micropayment is so small that it is likely not worth the cost to implement. I suppose if I knew that a year's worth of micro payments for me, for everything I use, was no more than about a dollar a year in total, it wouldn't be so much that it would feel like I was wasting money on the Internet. But because the average user doesn't want to spend a noticeable amount ever, and there really aren't that many users in comparison to sites, the resulting pie of money wouldn't be much to split up. (Especially once you reduce the amount to account for lower average incomes elsewhere in the world)

Comment Re:Bringing a hoax bomb to school is illegal ... (Score 1) 815

It was a different world.

I carried a pocket knife daily from getting my first one early in cub scouts until they put in the metal detectors at there courthouses, and it was too much hassle to check in the knife, and check it back out, three times a day. (They can't be checked anymore, anyway).

In the 1970s, there was nothing unusual or noteworthy about a little boy with a knife in his pocket at school; it was the norm.


Comment Re:Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 1) 137

You'd need a popular product to pull off obtaining second-clientage from governments, and you'd need not to reveal that your device had legal intercept.

This is just a poorly-directed company continuing to shoot itself in the foot. It's not made its product desirable for government, or for anyone else.

Comment Another in a long series of marketing mistakes (Score 2) 137

There's a truism in marketing that you can only differentiate your product on the parts that the customer sees and uses. Blackberry just can't learn this lesson. They tried differentiating on the OS kernel, which the customer never sees. And now on an insecurity feature that the customer won't be allowed to use. It's been a protracted death spiral, but it's a continuing one.

Leveraging always beats prototyping.