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Comment Re:Private companies don't do exploration of front (Score 1) 345

So if the government pays a private firm to execute some action, it suddenly isn't government action anymore. That is more or less your thesis, stripped from its verbiage. Yeah, I'm going to come right out and say you're an idiot, a real libertard. I'm not going to argue, like arguing with flat-earthers and Young Earth creationists, you are too stupid to waste good arguments on.

Comment Re:Hydro = from the sun (Score 1) 178

Direct solar may sound nice and work fine in small scale, but collectors would have to cover great areas to be effective

The total world energy consumption is somewhere around 100PWh/year. That's around 274TWh/day. The sunlight hitting the Earth is around 1kW/m^2, so 8kWh/m^2 assuming 8 hours of sunlight. If you assume 100% efficiency in conversion (totally impossible, but we'll start there and refine later), then that means that you need about 3.45E10 m^2 of land devoted to solar power. That's a square about 185km on each side. If you assume 10% efficiency (mass produced photovoltaics are 12-25% these days), then you need an area about 342000km^2, or about the area of Germany, to power the entire world. Now, given the efficiency of power distribution, you probably wouldn't want to put it all in one place, but you could easily fit solar panels enough that, even with transmission losses, you could power all of North America in Utah or Texas without anyone noticing. The difficulty is not the generation, it's the storage.

Comment Re:Private companies don't do exploration of front (Score 1) 345

You have the causal relationship all wrong: Columbus deliberately sought out the support of Fernando and Isabella, without their support he would have no product to sell to his investors; one part of the deal was that he would gain authority over whatever resources he could claim in name of the crown.

And the Internet was developed by State action. To claim it was a private venture before Al Gore took the initiative to bring it to the market is historical revisionism of the highest sort. Anyone claiming that is a libertard indeed.

Comment Re:Private companies don't do exploration of front (Score 1) 345

Columbus could well have found the balance of the funding from other private investors

But he didn't

This reminds me of libertards like roman_mir who continue to insist that without DARPA and the NSF, private parties might have built the Internet. The point is, when the time came, they didn't. Counterfactuals are nice and all, but we only have one history, and that says you're wrong.

Comment Re: Already solved (Score 1) 110

I bought a new fridge about 5 years ago. I moved house and worked out that the difference in power consumption between the old fridge I had and the new one that I bought meant that the new fridge paid for itself in 2-3 years. Newer utilities are significantly lower power than ones from even the '80s and '90s. I bet that the next set of low-operating-cost white goods will all have some kind of Internet-related insecurity as standard.

Comment Re:Scale and Flotsam (Score 2) 175

While I agree that Tauriel was a Romantic Plot Tumor, I can live with that; she adds a few minutes to the movie at worst.

No, the worst offenders were those long, drawn-out set pieces, like the chase scenes such as the one through the Goblin Kingdom in the first movie, or that muddled mess at the end of the third movie. That's just Jackson being self-indulgent, cutting that crap would have brought the movies down to two, and some judicious editing might have brought the whole down to only one movie.

Comment Re:How about fixing the systems? (Score 1) 143

Leap seconds are announced months in advance

i.e. with less warning than the revalidation time for a lot of safety-critical systems.

Anybody who knows about problems with leap days?

Well, aside from the Zune infinite looping...

Leap days (which we call leap years, because consistency is hard) are predictable. Software written 40 years ago will have the extra days at exactly the same times and with exactly the same frequency that the designers thought that they would. You never have problems where some parts of a distributed system got the update and others didn't. Either the code is working, or it's broken. It's also really easy to test.

Comment Re:This is stupid ... (Score 2) 143

You do understand that the navigation is ALSO intrinsically tied to the astronomical positioning of things, right?

Today? Mostly (for anything where accuracy matters to the degree that leap seconds will make a difference in under a few hundred years) it depends on the GPS position, or some equivalent. GPS time, unlike UTC, does not have leap seconds.

Comment Re:This is stupid ... (Score 2) 143

If we don't bother with leap seconds, then the distance that the sun will be off from being directly overhead at the equinox is about the same as it is now from being a couple of hundred miles away from the meridian. A simpler solution to the problem would be to, every couple of thousand years, have a one-hour reset. There is basically nothing that depends on the position of the sun in the sky to that level of accuracy, but there are a huge number of things (including all air-traffic control systems) that depend on keeping time in sync to sub-second accuracy and are safety critical. These things all need some special handling for every adjustment and an extra hour would be no more difficult for them than an extra second, so doing one big correction every couple of thousand years would be far, far cheaper. That's of course assuming that we still care much for a time system that's predicated on a single planet's relationship to its star in 2,000 years. It seems likely that we'll either be sufficiently disbursed that we don't, or that we'll have damaged our civilisation enough that we will have far bigger problems to deal with.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982