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Comment: Pumped storage and transport (Score 3, Informative) 213

by fyngyrz (#47803603) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

I like pumped storage:

o Lovely water recreation areas - swimmable, boatable, fishable
o So while it costs land, it returns most of that land for public use
o Fish and other aquacritter habitat
o excellent control of recovery rate
o doesn't significantly wear out (and if you were to make it underground, won't even evaporate... expensive, but...)
o easy maintenance
o highly scenic
o No red-hot nothing, no batteries, works fine unless it freezes (so in higher latitudes... not good.) ...there's lots of pumped storage already (~104 GW). More. More! MOAR!

I *also* like this idea for pumped transport:

Imagine a C shape that is almost closed -- just a few feet short of meeting at the ends. It's an almost circular canal. From one end of the C, you pump water into the other end of the C (and add any replacement volume required by evaporation.) This creates a current that operates the entire length of the C. Now, put two of these next to each other. Pump the second one in the opposite direction. Put cranes (or locks) at the ends, so that transport platforms can be moved from one direction to the other. Cost? Initially, Pumps, cranes, canal, transport platforms. In operation: pump energy (solar, please) and evaporation refill. Unless you roof it. :) Length? very, very amazingly long, and if roofed, even longer.

Air pressure. Gravity. Water. Make it work for us. :)

Comment: Behavior (Score 4, Interesting) 301

by fyngyrz (#47801883) Attached to: Reported iCloud Hack Leaks Hundreds of Private Celebrity Photos

> If you cannot even trust the platform, then how does your logic work?

The logic works fine. Platforms can work fine too. Society, however, doesn't. So that part is up to you.

> Can't trust cell phone cameras. By definition it's a camera attached to a communications device. It's designed to share that photo.

Exactly right. Buy a DSLR if you require discretion in photography. Ensure it does not have network connectivity (some do... Canon 6D, for instance.) If you take an image with a cellphone camera, be aware before you ever shoot it that you can have no reasonable expectation of privacy whatsoever. It goes further than that, too. When using a smartphone, again be aware you have no reasonable expectation of privacy whatsoever with regard to texts, voice conversations, video conversations, email, your location, billing, logging and so one for every service the phone provides you (or others) with.

> Can't trust storing it on a PC as PCs are connected to the Internet in the overwhelming majority of instances.

No. If you want to store something that requires discretion, then you require a non-network connected PC. There's no inherent need to connect a PC to a network. Just because you can, doesn't mean you have to. Nor is there a need to construct a PC with bluetooth, wifi and so on. Nor is there a need to leave a PC in a generally accessible location and/or condition. These are all user choices. Make them wrongly, and your security is compromised. But they are not inevitabilities. There's a lesson here: just because others do something in some particular manner does not mean that you have to do so.

> Then there's the whole point of a picture, looking it at it. Typically that means more than just the picture-taker looking at it

Again, no. This is also user choice. You are responsible for the consequences of your choices, and for knowing the things you need to know to make those choices well. The key here is to be informed enough to make the most correct choices. "It's typical" is not a metric that binds anyone in any way. If you embrace such a thing, you either choose to do so or you are so ignorant that you know no better, in which case anyone who trusts you with data that requires discretion is making a serious mistake.

The images I have taken or otherwise created that I have *decided* you may see are here. The ones I have *decided* you may not have access to, you will never, ever see, barring use of military levels of force. These conditions were quite literally trivial to instantiate and maintain. Think, choose, easy implementation, all done.

> For all we know, none of these women's accounts were compromised. Their boyfriends, husbands, ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends accounts could have been, or those people could have shared the photos with others, and their accounts were compromised.

The issue isn't account centric. It is behavior centric. You must identify data that needs protection; you must identify the trustworthy in regard to both persons and systems; you must control distribution; you must employ discretion and ensure that your knowledge is up to the task of seeing all these things through. If you cannot do these things, you are (at the very least) a potential victim of your own limitations. And you should probably fix that. :)

Comment: Use case is the issue (Score 2) 301

by fyngyrz (#47801649) Attached to: Reported iCloud Hack Leaks Hundreds of Private Celebrity Photos

To be fair, there's the good Cloud and the bad Cloud.

No. There isn't. There's good use of cloud and bad use of cloud. If it's not a problem for random people, business entities, criminals and governments to have access to your data, then cloud storage can be convenient and harmless. Using cloud for storage of anything personal, proprietary, secret or dangerous is outright stupid. Marketing bullshit aside, you are putting your data in multiple-someone-else's hands and you have *zero* control over where it goes from there. There is no assurance of security whatsoever. There never has been. It is extremely unlikely there ever will be.

These truths extend to your own use of storage. Storing information on your boot drive can expose it to others if the machine ever needs repair and you cannot do the work yourself and you let the machine out the door with the boot drive and/or backup drives still installed. Connecting a machine with information on any attached storage device to the Internet creates a risk constructed of a very long list of possible errors whose genesis can be traced to the author(s) of your operating system and/or your own security procedures. Allowing others physical access to your machine can expose your data. Even the possibility of physical access to your machine, regardless of your authorization, can do so.

Most people don't understand security, and have not learned to be discrete, and are very poor evaluators of who, and what, are actually trustworthy. Unfortunately, this creates a situation where the gullible fall into the trap set by marketers claiming things like cloud storage are "safe." We can't fix this without specific education on the matter, and with a school system that can't even graduate people who can read and write well, the required understanding of secure data handling will almost certainly remain in the realm of the sophisticated technical person. And the clouds will continue to precipitate data the owners wanted to remain undistributed to many places it wasn't expected to go.

Comment: Wrong idea. (Score 4, Interesting) 301

by fyngyrz (#47801497) Attached to: Reported iCloud Hack Leaks Hundreds of Private Celebrity Photos

What it comes down to is, if you don't want naked pictures of yourself to end up for all the world to see, don't take naked pictures of yourself. Famous or not, just don't do it.

No. What it comes down to is who, and what, are trustworthy. Cloud services are not trustworthy. Some people are not trustworthy. This doesn't just apply to images; it applies to financial information (banks are not trustworthy), to your behavior in public (those other people at parties are not trustworthy) and so on.

There's no need to give up intimate entertainment. You just need to learn to be discrete, and this means very carefully evaluating who, and what, are trustworthy. I will grant that in the face of all the cloud propaganda, the social networking tsunami, the government's drive to list everyone and everything, and people's innate tendency to gossip, this may no longer be obvious, but discretion is, in fact, one of the key characteristics of a mature and healthy personality.

If you don't want something repeated, don't say it. If you don't want it shared, don't share it. But you can still do it. From there, the advisability of "doing it" becomes a question of one's morals and ethics -- and perhaps the law. While the law is often completely wrongheaded, we must always remember the amount of power in the system's hands.

Discretion: That's what is at the core of all of this. Not self-censorship.

Comment: Re:Farmers will be delighted... (Score 1) 107

by Rei (#47800097) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

Passenger pigeons were not primarily a grain species, although they would eat grain when other preferred foods were in short supply. Part of the reasons the flocks increasingly turned to grain with time is due to the cutting and burning of many of their native forests to make room for farmland (and with an average lifespan in captivity of 15 years, probably half that in the wild, populations don't readjust right away). They were a migratory species, of course, but the habitat destruction was going on all over their range. If you get rid of the oaks and chestnuts in an area and the only other food option is grain, of course they're going to eat that. They also ate insects, mainly when breeding.

When you're talking about reintroducing a species from scratch, obviously the issues of what to do if a billion birds come into the area is totally inapplicable. The forests capable of supporting those numbers are gone. Birds that primarily consume seeds and grains are a much bigger threat to farmers than birds with a primary focus on nuts like the passenger pigeon.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 1, Interesting) 107

by Rei (#47800041) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

it would take years for the ground plants to recover

Citation needed. Bird manure is one of the best natural fertilizers in existence. Have you seen what people charge for chicken manure? It's outrageous. Now, it's a concentrated enough fertilizer that you have to use it more like a chemical fertilizer than a soil suppliment - so it's possible that the pigeons would "nutrient burn" a location. But that's short term, in the long term that means leaving the area incredibly lush. And not to mention full of seeds in their droppings.

Trees and many smaller plants primarily cater to birds as their seed distributors.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 1) 107

by Rei (#47799999) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

Passenger pigeons mainly ate tree nuts, particularly acorns, for most of the year. So they had a big effect on controlling tree distribution - in particular red oak has taken over from white oak after their demise in their former habitats (white oak is a slightly more valuable timber tree, FYI). During the summer they would also eat berries. They would sometimes steal grain from farmers but it wasn't a main part of their diet. They additionally consumed insects such as caterpillars and snails, so they did some good for farmers as well.

FYI, honeybees aren't native to the US. And colony populations are totally artificial, as people can raise as many colonies as they want, queens are mass-raised (you can mail order them) and the only limiting factor on the number of honeybees is the number of hives raised by beekeepers. Colony losses are a financial hit to beekepers but they're no threat to the species or the usage of honey bees for pollination (only the economics of their usage). And the increase in the rate of colony loss is way overplayed.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 3, Interesting) 107

by Rei (#47799907) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

There were humans living alongside the passenger pigeon for thousands of years before European settlers arrived.

Anyway, this "readapting" of an ecosystem isn't necessarily a good thing. For example, the extinction of the Carolina Parakeet (the only parrot native to the eastern US) coincided with major spreading cockleburs in the US, as it was a major part of their diet. Are you a fan of cockleburs?

Comment: Re:Bah, character-set ignorance. (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797479) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

Mér finnst samt pirrandi THegar fólk gerir THetta. THað er ófagmannlegt - Washington Post er mikil fréttasíða, ekki eitthvað skrifað á Facebook. :P

If it's so reasonable to "transliterate foreign proper names", then why is it that they only seem to do it with countries like Iceland? They don't usually transliterate proper names from other countries - for example, German (Düsseldorf) or France (Équipe FLN), just to pick a few quick examples.

Comment: Re:Down Again (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797407) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

The Met Office's decisions have all been perfectly cogent, it's only the poor reporting that's led to confusion from lay people.

In the first case there were all signs of an eruption under the glacier. They issued an alert. Later there were no signs on the surface, so they removed it. Later on, glacial subsidence proved that an eruption had indeed taken place, but stopped. In both cases, correct behavior on their part.

Then there was the 1st Holuhraun eruption. When an eruption begins, theres no way to know how its going to evolve, but since it was just a lava eruption, it was only restricted on instrument-only flight and only to 5000 feet. When it died down, they removed it. Again, right call by the Met Office.

Then there was the 2nd Holuhraun eruption. Again, 5000 foot instrument-only restriction, and when it steadied out, they removed the restriction (yes, the Slashdot article is wrong, the restriction has long been removed). Again, right call by the Met Office.

People need to stop armchair quarterbacking, they're doing the right thing.

Comment: Re:Doesn't affect just people flying to/from Icela (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797385) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

Or for an English example volcano, "Yellowstone" (11 letters).

To an Icelandic speaker who knows the component words, it's obvious where they split. Eyja (of islands) Fjalla (of mountains) Jökull (glacier), easy as pie. Their brain automatically cues into the "a"s as context clues for splits to make it even easier.

But picture a person who doesn't speak English at all who sees yellowstone. So they don't know the word "yellow" and they don't know the word "stone". Nor do they know what letter clusters are common together in English - or example, "st" - and which ones are not - for example, "ws". To them it'd be just the same thing, they don't see where to split it, and thus the word looks like a jumble of letters.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman

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