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Comment: Re: So let me get this straight (Score 1) 669

by Immerman (#49546645) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

Go in, take your ballot, and simply decline to vote for any sock-puppets from the big two. If that means you turn in a blank or mostly-blank ballot, so be it. THEN you're sending the message that you DO care enough to vote, just not for either of the available candidates.

As a side benefit, there may well be state amendments, etc. on the ballot as well - and voting for/against on those can actually matter directly.

And who knows - if you're going to be voting anyway, maybe there's one or two offices where there's a decent candidate available - sometimes they manage to sneak into even the big two. Hell, an Elizabeth Warren / Bernie Sanders ticket would be promising enough to get me to not only vote for them, but go canvasing.

Comment: Re: This is not good... (Score 1) 252

by Immerman (#49545971) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

However, (almost) all is the default assumption.

Oranges prevent scurvy - eat enough oranges, you won't develop scurvy.
Condoms help prevent pregnancy - use them regularly and properly, and you greatly reduce (from 80% to around 15%/year), the chances of pregnancy.
Meanwhile The Pill straddles the edge - while not 100% effective, the fraction of a percent of risk remaining is low enough that it's commonly referred to as preventing pregnancy.

Comment: Re:So let me get this straight (Score 1) 669

by Immerman (#49545905) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

So don't vote for one of the big "two" - there's usually other candidates on the ballot as well. At worst you send the message that "I'm so sick of the big two that I'll throw my vote away on this wacko". Hopefully there's even a 3rd-party candidate you can agree with - if enough people vote for them then we can even influence the big two a little as they try to capture the "defectors".

Anything's better than sending the message "I'm too lazy to vote, do whatever the hell you want."

Comment: Re: This is not good... (Score 1) 252

by Immerman (#49536719) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

If doing X will prevent Y, then if I do X, Y will not occur.

Eating healthily may prevent many individual tumors from forming, but it does not prevent ALL of them, so it can't be said to prevent cancer. It may HELP prevent cancer, much like condoms help prevent pregnancy, but that's a much weaker claim.

Comment: Re:More things in space (Score 0) 152

by Immerman (#49536263) Attached to: Hubble Spots Star Explosion Astronomers Can't Explain

Hey, they're right. Where do you think all the "Humans aren't causing Global Warming" "science" comes from. Sure it's atrocious science, but as long as someone with a Ph.D. and a lab coat is telling people what they want to here, plenty won't look too to see if they're actually scientists or just sciency PR flaks.

Comment: Re:Varies, I suppose (Score 1) 533

by Immerman (#49524269) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

The same article I got the $12,000 number from actually mentioned 70% capacity expected after 5 (3? I'm not going to try to find it again) years, and an option for Tesla owners to get a replacement battery at $12k after eight years. Hence my comment about *really* wanting a new battery.

And batteries aren't a sunk cost, they're a consumable resource. Yes, you can treat them gently and keep them near 50% charge to increase the lifetime kWhs stored before a given level of degradation - but that's going to make it pretty much useless for grid purposes, or driving more than a few miles from home. If you assume you will be actually working the battery, then it is a consumable investment and must be treated as such by any sane investor.

>This is the price you pay for using an unreliable power source.

Yes it is. But the options are pretty much unreliable power, nuclear, or *really* screwing ourselves over by the end of the century.

For household/grid power, from what I've heard Aquion is supposed to be delivering roughly the same capacity per $ as lead-acid, but with common, non-toxic materials and at least ten times the cycle life, hence 1/10th the amortized cost of lead-acid. Of course real-world results remain to be seen, but if they're basically right then I don't think anything else currently available comes anywhere close, except possibly pumped water.

Comment: Re:I don't understand (Score 2) 67

by Immerman (#49519955) Attached to: USPS Shortlists 'HorseFly' Octocopter Drone Delivery Service

How much time (=money) is wasted by the UPS guy parking and carrying a package up to your door? The truck could instead be outfitted with a dozen drones so the UPS guy just stops, loads all the small packages for a several block radius, and then starts plugging in the returning drones as he finishes with the last of the loading. You could easily double or even quadruple the number of deliveries per man-hour that way - and annual drone expenses are going to become far less than annual wages, if they aren't already. On down the line you automate the truck and the drone-loading as well and you can do the job without paying a delivery guy at all. Humans need only attend to the large, fragile, etc. packages. Probably need three, maybe four delivery guys to service the greater Manhattan area.

Comment: Re:Do you think that some distant.... (Score 1) 66

by Immerman (#49519821) Attached to: 3.46-Billion-Year-Old 'Fossils' Were Not Created By Life Forms

Plenty of humans deny that animals, insects, etc. are sentient (able to perceive or feel things), why would you assume more advanced organisms might not deny it of us?

Or perhaps you actually meant sapient (wise, or attempting to appear wise.), in which case would you say the great apes are sapient - they appear to have a relatively sophisticated understanding of the world, design and make tools, and can even be taught the basics of sign language (lacking the fine vocal control required for human speech)

There is no clear bright line on which you can say this being possesses X, while that slightly less sophisticated being does not - it all exists on a continuous spectrum. I've found that pretty much anyone claiming the existence of such a line has conveniently defined it to be in a place that entitles them to preferential treatment, while excluding anything that might impair their ability to exploit the surrounding world however they want. Hell, some people even draw the line so that it excludes many fellow humans. .Aliens come to Earth who are as far beyond us as we are beyond ants, and I'm betting that either they regard us with, at best, the compassion of a Buddhist walking around an anthill. At worst - look at this beautiful uninhabited planet, there's nothing here but some slightly clever animals that haven't even managed to develop fusion yet, and possess little more than a crude mockery of consciousness.

Comment: Re:Varies, I suppose (Score 1) 533

by Immerman (#49517447) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

>EV batteries...
I'm not even sure of that: EV batteries tend to be expensive - What does it cost you in terms of incremental battery expense to store a single kWh of power? Tesla claimed a replacement price for an 8 year old 85kWh battery of ~$12,000 (probably on the assumption that production costs will fall), at which point you're probably *really* wanting a new battery. Let's be generous and say that's based on one full "new" deep-discharge cycle on a daily basis - that's $12,000 / (85kWh/dy*8yr*365dy/yr) = $0.0483/kWh. So at least 5 cents worth of battery expense for every kWh stored. You really think the power company is going to be willing to pay you more than that much to store a single kWh of power for a while? I'll bet you purpose-built alternatives can store a kWh of power MUCH cheaper that that.

> Adding a big storage battery to every solar install is a pretty big chunk of cash...
Right. It also only really makes sense if your production routinely exceeds consumption, or you just want to get off the grid for other reasons.

It makes much more sense, for the transitional future, to have at least a few minutes, preferably a few hours, of grid-tied power-buffer, and on-demand power generating facilities available to take up the slack when buffers run low. In essence you rent your batteries and back-up generator from the power company, who also handle operation and maintenance, and can harness economies of scale. Solar generating on the other hand, by necessity, requires a large exposure area. Rooftop solar is a convenient way to co-locate generating facilities in residential and commercial areas, and the legal logistics are much simpler if you own the panels on your own roof.

Such buffers only barely makes sense now, except in places where high solar uptake is stressing residential power systems. But we have to start investing in deploying them if we're going to drive down the cost of producing them. There's a whole industry that needs to scale up, that can't happen overnight. And we have some promising technologies with the potential to drive down stationary storage costs dramatically - after a few generations of maturation.

Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 1) 590

I am glad you can communicate with dead people, but a few of the living actually have stated a preference for the death penalty. For the rest on death row, because it is so awful and final, the death penalty does spur active opposition and advocacy on the side of the convicted person to do everything possible to prevent their execution, including finding evidence to clear their names. With a life sentence, the need for immediate action is not so compelling. Lifers don't get the same focused attention. I do not believe in the death penalty, but that doesn't mean I can't evaluate the actual practices the penalty incites.

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