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Comment: Re:Parallel "Nothing Wrong" case in VA (Score 1) 364

Except that in VA you are only allowed to shoot if you life is threatened, and not for the sake of protecting property. In no way did his daughter threaten his life.

That would matter if he shot someone in the back while fleeing with a TV, car, etc., or perhaps rigged-up a gun to his door to automatically fire (man-trap) or something. But when someone is breaking into your home, in proximity to you and your family, you have every right to assume they are armed and dangerous, and can shoot at-will. You are under no obligation to turn on the lights and visually confirm they are armed, or wait until they try to rush you, putting your life at serious risk, to confirm beyond a doubt that they are a danger.

Comment: Re:Conflict of interest... (Score 1) 364

District Attorney is an elected position, like many others. It doesn't matter what "house" they are in, as they can be kicked out on their asses like any other elected official.

Problem is, the opposite is reality. Most people are law and order die-hards, think police can do no wrong. They will support the DA's decision, and would have voted against him if he had prosecuted the police officer involved.

So, be careful what you wish for.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 1) 364

Apparently they totally failed to check whether the dude might have violated the law that says you should not kill people by driving over them with your car, which he obviously did violate.

There's no law against driving over people with your car, nor a law against killing people in general. If there was, law-abiding citizens would be jailed for shooting someone breaking into their home, police would be arrested every time they exchanged gunfire in self-defense, doctors would face life in jail every time they made a mistake, etc., etc. And specific to vehicles, you'd face many years in jail when a kid suddenly runs out into the street, or someone commits suicide by semi-truck...

There are laws against murder, though. And manslaughter. The later might sound like it would fit, but the standard it requires is depraved indifferences to human life, and just having one brief slip-up while looking down at your GPS, adjusting your radio, etc., isn't enough to qualify, unless you really take it to extremes.

Comment: Re:flywheel (Score 1) 134

by evilviper (#47803889) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Pumped storage costs about $200 million per GWh of electricity stored to build.

But it's already built. Wherever there was a big river, dams have been constructed to take advantage of it, and they've been extremely profitable investments. Adding a pump to an existing dam to convert it to pumped-storage operation, is rather inexpensive.

the sunny parts of the US where large amounts of solar power are being generated are distinctly lacking in water to the point of being either deserts or often in drought conditions during the summer

Deserts are classified by rainfall, not available water resources. Las Vegas is a desert despite Lake Mead and Hoover dam. The Southern California deserts have lots of water available in aquifers, just not quite enough for the opulent water-wasting lifestyles of the astronomically huge population after several years of drought. Even Antarctica is a desert.

Pumped storage is also lossy, typically about 65% efficient round-trip.

The power loss is overwhelmingly because of evaporation from the dam reservoir. If you're building a dedicated pumped-storage facility, particularly in the desert, you simply need to cover it and you can get those losses down to next to nothing.

Comment: Re:Yes, we know that. (Score 1) 134

by evilviper (#47803853) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Peak demand in California is between 6 to 7PM, peak solar production is approximately 12 noon.

You're apparently talking about PV. Solar thermal power production lags behind peak solar output by a bit, and continues producing a bit after sunset, much as air-conditioners do.

And in any case, you're oversimplifying it too much. The very peak of demand may be 6pm, but demand is very, very high for several hours throughout the afternoon, and tracks pretty closely with solar output...

Comment: Re:Flywheel spin and political spin (Score 1) 134

by evilviper (#47803821) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Substations convert and distribute 220 to your neighborhood, from high tension wires from the power plants.

Line voltage may even go up from 110

What are you, 200 years old? How are your carbon filament lights doing these days?

125V and 240V+ is typical US line voltage. If you're seeing 110V and 220V, your (knob and tube?) wiring is ready to catch fire...

Batteries are one method, but flywheels can work well, too. They could spin up a flywheel to consume the excess energy, then release it later as-needed (e.g. a dark cloud). In fact, they can spin up a flywheel at nighttime, too, when they have excess production, to smooth out daytime use

Bull. Shit. Flywheels store power for a few short MINUTES. There will be no energy left an hour later.

There have been promises of long-term flywheel power storage for many years, decades even, but they've never been able to get those magnetic bearings to work, due to pesky little eddy currents. Without that, you've got a big heavy wheel spinning around at high speed on ball bearings. Shut off the power to your clothes drier, and measure how long it keeps spinning... That's about how long-term flywheel energy storage works here on Earth. Go up into space, where there's no gravity or atmosphere, and it does a better job.

this infrastructure will smooth out their plants for normal use, too.

It could, but they'd be stupid to use it for that purpose. Grid losses average 7%. You get that much loss out of the AC-DC then DC-AC conversion, and possibly many times more losses out of the charging/discharging cycle losses of any battery chemistry... Meanwhile, speeding-up/slowing-down a turbine has little or no loss.

Localizing the storage is far more efficient than sending it hundreds of miles,

No, storage is vastly LESS efficient, and that's even if you pretend the infrastructure and maintenance is free. See above.

Comment: Re:Do they know more than they let on? (Score 2) 71

by evilviper (#47803677) Attached to: New Computer Model Predicts Impact of Yellowstone Volcano Eruption

Wow ... there is a lot of talk about the Yellowstone volcano. Do the authorities know more than they are saying to the public? Why all of the sudden interest in Yellowstone?

Because people got tired of hearing about extinction-level asteroids... The Yellowstone Supervolcano was just the next ready standby to scare the public and get more viewers. I suppose it was the Y2K thing that taught the media herd that terrifying the public with BS is profitable, and they've kept it up ever since.

Sure, we've got Ebola now, but it's not as visual and a bit more mundane than the crazy and exotic ways to end civilization that the media finds most profitable.

Comment: Re:Not the correct application for this (Score 1) 67

by evilviper (#47803605) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Gets a Brand New Browser

Firefox caches images and rendered pages so that things happen reasonably fast. A 1000x1000 colur image at 24 bit is already 3M.

Web pages don't usually have 1000x1000 images, with the exception of wallpaper sites, and people sure as hell don't keep 300 tabs open with those images, to justify Firefox using 1GB+ of memory and swapping to disk... Never mind the fact that Firefox could cache the compressed version of the images, and re-render that part of the page when the tab gains focus.

There is no way a modern page with an image or two would fit in a few M.

If we're going by Firefox, it seems there's no way a modern page or two will fit in a few GB.

many websites do pointless bloaty stuff and require scads of JS and huge images just to show some text.

Yes they do, but Firefox is smart enough to delay the loading of tabs until they gain focus, and could STOP the processing of all JS and unload decompressed images from cache when they lose focus again.

My browsing habits sure aren't to blame... I use NoScript and Adblock, too, and never have more than 20 tabs, and yet about every 8 hours I need to close Firefox because my 1GB of RAM is exhausted, and the swapping to disk is making my system unresponsive... This with the lightweight Fluxbox as my WM, and absolutely nothing else running.

Comment: Re:Not the correct application for this (Score 1) 67

by evilviper (#47803569) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Gets a Brand New Browser

With some quality programming, the web browsers could use a fraction of the CPU power they do now by storing off screen graphics in compressed formats, for instance, especially since ending up with disk caching due to using up the RAM is far more resource intensive than decompressing images.

While the rest of your comment may be sarcastic, this is actually a very good idea. First, it is actually many, many times faster to recompute a value than to pull it from memory:

Jim Gettys: "There seems to be a common fallacy among programmers that using memory is good: on current hardware it is often much faster to recompute values than to have to reference memory to get a precomputed value. A full cache miss can be hundreds of cycles, and hundreds of times the power consumption of an instruction that hits in the first level cache."

Secondly, even if we're talking about content that isn't already available in compressed form (which most web content is), there are simple compression methods like LZOP, where the extra CPU overhead is still faster than the increased amount of I/O needed to transfer the equivalent amount of uncompressed data.

"lzop is usually IO-bound and not CPU-bound"

Frankly, I'd be happy to turn off all Firefox caching if I could... I never open more than 20 tabs, and certainly not with huge images, yet on my 1GB system, Firefox starts causing swapping to disk after every 8 hours or so, and needs to be restarted, and I certainly don't buy the cop-out that my add-ons (Adblock and NoScript) are to blame, while Firefox would be perfect otherwise. And this is with the LTS/ESR version, which is supposed to be the super-stable version.

Comment: Re:Inevitable (Score 1) 827

by evilviper (#47799321) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Make all the noise you want... Obama has still done the job better than Bush could claim, and the results show that, undeniably. Bush was no deterrant, and utterly toothless in the face of Russians invading a neighboring country. I expect Obama will handle Ukraine much better.

It makes perfect sense for you to bring McCain into this... Since he's never been in-charge, you can make up your fantasy world about his presidency, unconstrained by pesky little facts and actual actions and results.

Comment: Re:Inevitable (Score 1) 827

by evilviper (#47798609) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Georgia was undermined by Obama's *removal* of sanctions in 2010 despite continued military occupation.

It was still invaded under Bush. The Russians could not have known what Obama would or wouldn't eventually do. Clearly, there's nothing special about Obama that makes Russia think they can invade countries with impunity, despite your talk-radio nonsense claims.

Comment: Re:Competition is good. (Score 1) 197

by evilviper (#47797315) Attached to: Battle of the Heavy Lift Rockets

Considering that the Russian RD-180 engines designed in the 70's&80's are still seen as state of the art it is obviously a stagnant situation.

Just wait until you find out how old screwdriver and pliers designs are...

The rest of the world does NOT resemble IT. Stability is a good thing. If you've got a 99% efficient rocket engine that's reliable and cheap to produce, you should stick with it as long as you possibly can. The real shame of the US space program is that we stopped making Saturn V's... If we had the production in place to keep turning those out, we wouldn't have to spend many BILLIONS of dollars to design and start production of a new SHLV.

Mystics always hope that science will some day overtake them. -- Booth Tarkington