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Comment Re:Cops shouldn't be allowed to take control (Score 1) 234

manually drive

If you ask me, that right there is a huge hole in the security - for everyone else.

Way too many people are unfit to be in control of that much inertia, most people at least occasionally. And since cars have so far killed over 3.5 million people in the US alone, it's past time we did something about that.

Comment Re:Dumb Idea (Score 2) 109

All these points apply to PCs as well.

And while all-in-one integrated machines are popular, and tablets etc are taking on the low end of usage, the familiar modular PC is still massively useful and very necessary for a large part of the market. There are extra challenges in doing this in a mobile device, but none of what you said is a dealbreaker.

There has certainly been interest in modular phones, and while they will inevitably require tradeoffs, whether those are insurmountable or how much they reduce its potential market still remains to be seen. History has seen many cases where niche products have grown in popularity as their engineering gets refined. Personally I'm glad to see someone trying something very different, rather than just tiny refinements to what we already have.

Comment Re:Beijing is not China (Score 5, Informative) 182

Not that I expect anyone to RTFA of course, but the article is actually a report on Berkeley Earth's study on the 1500-site national air-reporting system, and most of the figures given are for all of China. The only specific Beijing reference is the "40 packs a day" metaphor.

Comment Re:Good for experiments, not powerplant ready (Score 2) 337

Then there's other potential-energy solutions like lumps of concrete on inclined rails (if you have hills but no water), kinetic storage flywheels on magnetic bearings, flow batteries with arbitrary-sized tanks of electrolyte, compressed-air storage, reversible hydrogen fuel cells, UltraBatteries.. the list goes on.

Nearly all of these are well-established technologies. All have an efficiency cost, of course, but the cheaper the solar/wind input gets the less this matters. Renewable + storage is absolutely an effective and reliable baseload solution, and already competitive with coal in many cases (even before you factor in coal's huge external costs).

Comment Re: Those making more than new minimum salary (Score 1) 480

Let's see, gasoline costs 3 times as much, eggs cost double, bread is almost double.

At a rough 3% CPI index, it'd take 24 years for consumer prices to double. If that's the sort of time frame you're referring to, and your wages have risen only 25%, then yeah - you're getting screwed - but we already knew that.

shouldn't that be going after the upper class instead of the middle class?

There's certainly a good argument for that, yeah. Many feel upper-class incomes should be reducing, while lower & middle incomes should increase - but you'd still expect lower-class incomes to increase more than your own. It's notable that concerns about minimum-wage increases often come from slightly higher incomes who are afraid of ending up on minimum wage themselves as a result, even if their own wage doesn't decrease.

That said, there's a lot of evidence behind your views, so you're not alone, but perhaps minimum-wage earners aren't the ones deserving of complaints.

Comment Re: Those making more than new minimum salary (Score 1) 480

It's fine to want a good wage for yourself, of course. It's less fine to grumble about how people on minimum wage have managed a higher percentage gain than you have.

Their income != your buying power. How much has inflation gone up over that same period?

US income inequality is a hot topic these days. It's good to see the people struggling at the bottom doing a little better - but if all the higher income jobs also saw the same gains, that wouldn't be addressing the inequality at all.

Comment Re:Wind (Score 1) 35

Turns out, high up in the stratosphere the winds are predictable and have just the patterns they need. They did simulations using real-world wind data and found it was quite feasible to navigate balloons effectively to maintain coverage using only prevailing winds.

Since 2012 they've been trialling in New Zealand, Brazil and other places, they've increased balloon flight times from 50 days to over 6 months (despite expert scepticism), and now they're close to ready to roll out a commercial service. Pretty sure they've done their research by now.

Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 359

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 359

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 1) 518

Pretty sure the GP wasn't being quite so black & white. All scientific models are an approximation of reality, as you say, and the only real question is are they "good enough to be useful" for your situation. Newton wasn't incorrect, Relativity just better approximates reality at scales outside Newton's experience.

GP's post isn't "very wrong"; it's correct for to a "good enough" approximation of the question: established physics is virtually never disproved, merely improved at wider scales.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_