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Comment: Z80 was in TRS-80 (Score 3, Interesting) 84

by ShanghaiBill (#49557163) Attached to: When Exxon Wanted To Be a Personal Computing Revolutionary

I remember learning Z80 assembly on the "Thrash 80". Great microprocessor. It had two register banks, so context switches, and interrupts, were really fast. There were also some undocumented instructions, and if you knew those you had a lot of street cred with the other teenage nerds. Fun times.

Comment: Re:sage (Score 1) 206

by ShanghaiBill (#49557115) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

What? How is that individualized in any way? Is this not the very inverse of individualized?

HIs "vision" of education is silly. If the kids are watching a recorded lecture, there is no reason for them to be assembled in one place, and there is no reason that they should all be watching the same lecture. It will be individualized by letting each student progress at their own pace. Except we already have that. It is called Khan Academy, and while it works well for bright, motivated students, it leaves the dumb, unmotivated students even further behind.

Comment: Re:Answer (Score 3, Informative) 127

So that annoying pedants like me have an excuse to point out that Everest is not the tallest mountain in the world (merely the highest)

Actually, it is neither. The tallest, measured from its base to its summit, is Mauna Kea. The highest, when measured from the center of the earth, is Chimborazo in Ecuador. Everest is just the highest above sea level.

Previous earthquakes in the region have changed the height of Everest, usually by pushing it up even higher. I have not heard about any effect on its height from this quake. Does anyone know?

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 5, Insightful) 78

I admire Mr. Wheeler for the ability to separate his job from himself

Don't be so quick. The notion that this merger was "good for the industry" is nonsense. It was good for Comcast and TWC, but certainly bad for all of their competitors (Cox, Verizon, AT&T, etc.). Wheeler may already have a job offer from one them. He may have done the right thing for the wrong reason. We'll see what happens when his door revolves.

Comment: Re:I will never understand (Score 4, Interesting) 96

by ShanghaiBill (#49551929) Attached to: Vizio, Destroyer of Patent Trolls

Another solution is to make "winning" and "losing" non-binary. So if the defendant offers to settle for $2M, the plaintiff refuses the settlement, and the case goes to trial and the judgement is only $1M, then the plaintiff won, but should still be considered the "loser" since they refused a more than reasonable pre-trial settlement. This offer of judgement reform has been implemented in US Federal courts, and in some states.

Comment: Re:Solar rarely enough for the whole house (Score 4, Informative) 277

by ShanghaiBill (#49550963) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

They do that already with pumped-storage.

Pumped storage has an RTE (round-trip-efficiency) of about 80%. Modern li-ion batteries are over 90%. Pumped storage requires very specific geography (two reservoirs separated by a hill). Batteries will work anywhere.

There are also some liquid batteries.

The most common "flow" batteries are based on vanadium redox, and have an RTE of 65-75%.

Li-ion is just too expensive and maintenance-intensive to use grid scale.

Well, the point of this announcement is that Li-ion is getting cheaper. Li-ion grid storage still won't make sense in the middle of America, where power is cheap, and grids are wide. But it make make sense in places like Hawaii ($0.40 / kw-hr), where grid stability is already a problem.

Comment: Re:Combined with solar (Score 0) 277

by ShanghaiBill (#49550815) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

Would make sense to have pv panels charge them up during the day and release energy at night.

This may make sense in a few rare locations, like Hawaii, and isolated villages in Africa. But generally, it is dumb to turn expensive day-time peak electricity into cheap night-time base electricity.

Comment: Re:I hope it's a publicity stunt (Score 4, Insightful) 115

A body transplant will kill the recipient.

The body is ALREADY DEAD. They are planning to use the body of someone killed by a head injury, most likely a motorcycle accident. The head is from someone that would otherwise die because of problems with multiple organs (heart, lung, liver, etc.). Nobody is going to die that wouldn't be dead anyway.

Opposing it has nothing to do with superstition.

It is either superstition or ignorance.

Comment: Re:Who to believe (Score 2) 78

by ShanghaiBill (#49538775) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War

Why should I believe the "Good Point Ideas Blog" over Wired and The Daily Mail?

I think the point is that you shouldn't automatically believe any of them.
When deciding what to believe, you should look at several criteria:
1. How credible is the publication?
2. Do they provide photos, give specific locations, and name specific names?
3. Are the facts in the story credible?
For #1, they are all low.
For #2, the blog wins.
For #3, the whole world generates only a few "millions of tonnes" of e-waste annually, and much of it is recycled locally, or sent to China or India. It is not very likely that the vast majority of it ends up in Ghana. So the blog wins again.

Comment: Re:So let me get this straight (Score 4, Informative) 677

by ShanghaiBill (#49537301) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

Iwhat IF he followed proper channels and allowed the process to either work or fail.

He did follow proper channels, and he did allow the process to either work or fail. It failed. His concerns were ignored. If he pushed anymore, he would have ended up like other NSA whistleblowers, such as Thomas Drake, who was arrested and jailed. If we want people to use "proper channels" then we need to stop destroying the lives of people that do exactly that. During his first campaign, Obama promised to protect whistleblowers, but once in office, his administration has persecuted them with more fury than ever before, with disastrous results for our country.

"America is a stronger nation for the ACLU's uncompromising effort." -- President John F. Kennedy