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Comment: Re:Is it more difficult? (Score 1) 238

by pla (#48585555) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?
It's like IT has become superficial and vacuous, and the decisions are being made by idiots who don't know which parts of technology add value to the business/support core business activities and are necessary.

Given that IT itself doesn't typically get to decide what services the company expects it to provide, I'd say you've pretty much nailed it with that quote - IT (at least the externally-visible aspects of it) has become superficial and vacuous, with the decisions made by idiots who can't tell "shiny" from "useful". You just need to clarify who makes those decisions.

Comment: Re:Sexual Harassment shouldn't cost us knowledge (Score 4, Interesting) 416

by pla (#48574875) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin
Actually, if you scan my posting history, you'll notice I have nothing particular against Obama, other than his overall impotence as a president. I like some of his policies, and dislike others.

I merely used him as a convenient example, nothing more, nothing less.

Comment: Re:Sexual Harassment shouldn't cost us knowledge (Score 4, Insightful) 416

by pla (#48574659) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin
You have to understand that a particularly vocal minority, and one endemic to academia at that, believes that anyone who doesn't actively fight for Social Justice(tm) has no value to humanity, in any capacity.

For example, let's say you played a key role in discovering the structure of DNA, but then later said some things that could, if twisted juuust the right way, mean that some races potentially have attributes that others don't. You instantly become worthless, and to hell with what those stuck-up Ivory Tower fools on the Nobel committee has to say about it. If, however, you have no meaningful contributions for society beyond "first minority president", clearly the brilliant minds on the Nobel committee chose correctly in awarding you a Peace price, regardless of your stance on torture.

Comment: Re:Taxes (Score 1) 234

by pla (#48567783) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him
Can't help but to wonder about the tax consequences of this both to Watson and all Nobel prize winners.

The US already treats prestigious awards (Nobels, Olympics, etc) as taxable income.

Watson hocking his medal doesn't change much. And depending on how much of it he actually donated, he may have no actual taxable liability as a result of the sale.

Comment: Re:TFA title is "Fear and Promise" (Score 1) 460

by pla (#48535269) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies
Ah, I may have spoken poorly on two points. First, I primarily meant that small portable generators don't function as efficiently as they could. "Bigger is better", in this case, up to a point - So while I can power my house on a portable 5KW LPG in a pinch, if I had a dedicated, pad-mounted, tank-fed 10KW diesel, I could realistically expect to get more than double the fuel efficiency out of it... Except, I bought that 5KW for under a thousand, whereas a quality 10KW diesel would easily run me up to a thousand per KW. All a matter of tradeoffs. :)

Comment: Re: Are they really that scared? (Score 1) 460

by pla (#48535181) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies
If someone can reasonably live without healthcare

I honestly can't tell if you meant to agree with me, or mock me. I'd guess mocking, but wow did you miss that mark, if so. FWIW, I actually came thiiis close to using the "popularity" of mandatory health insurance as an example in that response.

And I say that as someone who supports socialized healthcare - I just consider the clusterfuck we have here in the US almost beyond belief in its uselessness. So we give tax subsidies to (some) needy people, to pay a private company so they can technically have "insurance" - With a deductible so high that it still won't save anyone who qualifies for those subsidies from medical bankruptcy if they ever actually manage to reach their deductible? And meanwhile, as someone who actually gets - sorry, past tense, "got" - halfway decent insurance through work, what has happened to my coverage? "Dingdingding" if you went with "the same thing that happens in any industry the government actively requires you to do business with - Higher prices and lower quality".

Comment: Re: Are they really that scared? (Score 1) 460

by pla (#48533259) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies
The problem is that if the rich areas start being able to mostly go off grid, the franchise provider is now screwed having to provide to the high cost areas while still also serving the low cost areas, but receiving much smaller revenue due to the roof top solar/batteries cutting usage of the grid.

If we consider subsidizing power to the poor a valuable social service, then we should state that bluntly and not beat around the bush with regulations technically disconnected from that goal. "Sure, you can go off grid, but you'll still need to pay a $25 a month tax so your neighbors can pay less". Simple as that.

Realistically, though, people already have ways around these regulations. Simplest case, AFAIK nowhere has outright banned solar installations, only either going off-grid or a grid-tie system. A mechanical cutover switch, rather than a grid-tie, satisfies both of those conditions, and counts as pretty common hardware for whole-house generator backup systems. Of course, if you think people resent their electric bills now, wait until they literally have to pay $25 a month, every month, for 0KWH. IMO, you'd find that more palatable as a feel-good tax than as a "fee" paid to companies only slightly less hated than cable and cellular carriers.

Personally, though (and I accept that you may legitimately disagree with me on this), I don't see it as necessarily beneficial to force the poor to pay $100-200 a month just because my standard of living requires electricity. If someone can reasonably live without power and can find a better use for a grand or two per year, hey, more power (no pun intended) to 'em!

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.