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Comment Re:Yep (Score 1) 166

Congress should repeal it, but they won't because those with actual political power like it.

That is the voters' problem. If they don't vote for a congress that will repeal the DMCA, it simply won't happen. Pretty basic, don't you think?

Actually, there are a couple of intermediate steps missing here.

The first thing you have to do is know who your Senators and Congressman (Congresswoman? Congressperson?) are. ("Do you know?" he asks, rhetorically, to the reader...)

And then, the second thing you do is to sit down and have a talk with them...and tell them your views on the matter. Don't come across like a fanatic or a crackpot; It doesn't matter how wrong you think the DMCA is, nor does it matter how strongly you feel it. What matters is *why* it's bad, in the frame of a logical argument. Facts and other such dispassionate information are what you want to have backing you up here.

Once enough people do those two things, it'll be enough of an issue that you'll actually be able to tell where a candidate stands on the matter. As it is today, I doubt very much that it'd be possible to figure out the stances of 90% of people on Capitol Hill without having to ask them directly, when it comes to this. The other 10% would be those who have spoken out...but 10% isn't enough to swing the issue at the voting booth.

Comment Ah, yet again... (Score 1) 243

To quote Eddie Izzard, himself paraphrasing someone else:

(running to one side of the stage)
"I've got a new idea, I've got a new idea..."

(turning, and running away in the other direction)

The ability to predict crime has been the holy grail of law enforcement for over a century now. They've tried psychology, sociology, biology...even try and point the finger at people and say "Yep, that guy's gonna commit some crime; let's harass the living fuck out of him so we catch him when he does!" What none of these attempts ever, ever seem to try and ponder is the base rate (most people aren't criminals), it's relevance to statistical probability (it means that you're looking for a needle in the haystack even if you make the haystack smaller), and the impact of false positives (which means you're going to piss off a shitload of people unless your method is impossibly accurate). And until they can account for and address those three factors, I think that any attempts at achieving this goal are entirely doomed.

Comment Re:transcript of rose (Score 2) 58

"Question: If a bed doesn’t fit in a room because it’s too big, what is too big?
Rose: I don’t even want to pretend that.
Question: If Alex lent money to Joe because they were broke, who needed the money?
Rose: huh?
Question: Should Greece leave the Euro?
Rose: Seems like a nice place."

How, uh, impressive. If by "impressive" you mean "pathetic".

It's all about context. For example, Ashley Madison had great success with this technology. (The site charged money, in the form of "credits" that you had to buy, to chat with women. And by "other women," it turns out that they meant "bots.")

"Question: Hey...looking for a 50-year-old uncut accountant with a few extra pounds?
Rose: I don’t even want to pretend that.
Question: Does the carpet match the drapes?
Rose: huh?
Question: Want to come with me on a getaway to the Caribbean for a super-hot ungreased backdoor lovefest?
Rose: Seems like a nice place."

Moral of the story: The unstated variable of the Turing Test is "desperation."

Comment Re:Its all in the taxes and incentives. (Score 1) 211

You can't just "do" something with surplus power on the grid...

Actually, you can and in Virginia we do. The Bath County Pumped Storage Station uses surplus power (from a nuclear plant) to pump water up into a reservoir to later be used to generate hydro power during high demand.

Also see: The Inside Story Of The World’s Biggest ‘Battery’ And The Future Of Renewable Energy

That's an experiment, not a reasonable solution that exists for widespread use today. Also, good luck finding hydroelectric facilities that can be used that way in Texas...or, for that matter, in most places. The fact that a handful of facilities, scattered around the world, that have experimented with various forms of bulk energy storage does not mean that bulk energy storage is suddenly a widespread option for an area the size of ERCOT's BES region. These are laudable projects that aim to address the two biggest problems with the grid today: that renewable energy is uncontrollably variable and that the peaks and valleys of load are getting larger. And someday, I hope that at least one of them results in something that will make a big impact. But today, they're essentially lab experiments. You may as well hope for clothing made of graphene to show up at Walmart tomorrow.

Comment Re:Of course (Score 3, Informative) 211

One of the ongoing challenges with renewable sources of energy is the unpredictable nature of their production.

There are many storage methods available for this excess energy.

Seemingly concerned with the "Texas" angle, TFA fails to mention if this is a rare anomaly or worthy of storage development.

Coming from a career working in the power industry, I gotta tell ya...that Wikipedia entry is about experimental methods, not things meant to store energy on a bulk scale. Bulk storage is an end goal, but saying that "there are many storage methods available" is like saying we could have gone straight to the moon as soon as Yuri Gagarin got into orbit, or we could go to Mars today. It just isn't true.

Yes, there are many approaches being experimented with, and some of them are very large facilities. No, none of them work as needed yet.

Comment Re:Its all in the taxes and incentives. (Score 3, Informative) 211

Wind farm owners get lots of taxpayer help paying for the construction of the wind farm, then forced production credits means they get paid if power is needed or not. Apply this to any generation technology and the result would be pretty much the same.

The model is even worse in place where the grid is forced to purchase power a even higher rates.

In this model, who pays for the reliable backup?

Actually, this isn't true at all. Wind farm owners are participants in ERCOT like any other generation facility; if there's too much power on the grid, they are given directives to throttle down, even to zero if necessary. This applies whether the wind farm owners are a larger utility (like CPS Energy, Centerpoint, etc.) or a standalone entity with only wind farm generation.

The reason behind this is simple; sink (also known as load) and generation must be in balance. You can't just "do" something with surplus power on the impacts both the voltage and the frequency of power. The second is the more frightening result, as over/underfrequency events do enormous damage to many different components of the bulk electric system. Even a difference of half a cycle (in power, a cycle is 1/60th of a second) is catastrophic.

Comment Re:Black Boxes??? (Score 1) 247

And how does all of this tracking make you feel?

It's not tracking. It just isn't. (And I suspect you know that, else you'd have not posted as an's not like being anti-tracking will get you modded down on Slashdot, after all...)

It's like a flight recorder, so that data on the state of the car in the last moments immediately before a crash are available for analysis. I'm fine with this personally, since it's something that's fair and objective.

If, for example, some guy cuts me off and then slams on his brakes suddenly...causing me to hit him...under the "old way" there'd be almost no way to prove that he caused the accident instead of me. But when you throw accelerometers and information about throttle position and braking force into the mix, then you suddenly are able to put together a true picture of what really happened. And that's aside from the fact that the NTSB has always examined fatal accidents of significant and/or unusual nature, in the fulfillment of their extremely quiet and extremely successful mission to make cars safer. Giving them more data of this kind is hugely helpful.

But it's not tracking. It's not even available until there's an accident, much like a flight recorder on a plane. If you have an issue with tracking, speak up about OnStar, UConnect, BlueLink, etc. THOSE involve tracking.

Comment Re:Theory... (Score 2) 591

I grew up in the South, and I don't think I ever heard "evolution" or "natural selection" ever even mentioned in school by a teacher. The closest thing I remember to it was another student asking my middle school biology teacher about evolution once. She basically told us she wouldn't talk about it because she didn't want to lose her job. And that was that. I had no idea how these process even worked until I read about them later and started to understand their importance and implications.

I've spent time in the South as well, and I never heard the phrase "natural selection" uttered either. I DID see it play out, however...usually preceded by a "Hey, y'all...WATCH THIS!"

But all kidding aside, you make an excellent point by illustrating exactly how the various forces at work come into play here. This law is a good move, and a step in the right direction for a state that consistently ends up being the butt of jokes because of a stereotypically uneducated (outside of Huntsville) populace. As soon as an idea, concept, or theory is banned...either explicitly as used to be the situation that led up to the Scopes Monkey Trial or implicity, as in the situation you encountered...knowledge slides backwards. Truth is never served by censorship.

Comment Deter, Prevent, Prosecute? (Score 1) 212

These are the three aspects of what you should consider.

  • Deter = indicate to a potential thief that they would be better off going somewhere else. It could be a "Protected by ACME Security" sticker in the front window or sign on the front lawn, even if it's not backed by anything else. It could be one of those devices that makes lights flash like someone's home watching TV even when nobody's around. You get the idea...and it's also a component of an existing security solution that actually does something, if it's visible/perceptible.
  • Prevent = keep someone who is actively trying to break in from being successful. Mul-t-lock makes front doors that are a nightmare to get into. Bars on windows help a lot, even though they definitely make a home feel less like a nice place to be. Burglar alarms count here alarm that goes off is likely to send a thief scurrying away. And as before, many aspects of this feed into the "Deter" aspect of it all.
  • Prosecute = gather evidence during a break-in so that there's an opportunity to get the guilty parties arrested and *maybe* get some of your stuff back. This also tends to add to the "Deter" component of the overall solution...though video cameras are also pretty easy to set up in ways that make them vulnerable, and thus useless.

Ultimately, here's the problem: the only requirement you've put forth is that it all be Linux-based. Why? What about Linux makes for a superlative home security solution? This is a silly requirement. I'd step back and ask myself what I really wanted to accomplish with regard to the three aspects above. And then I would look at what's out there on the market ranging from home-built-and-installed options to professionally-installed options, and figure out what best fit my needs and my budget.

If the reason you want Linux is that you want it to be cheap or free, then I think you probably want to reconsider the new job, because the security and safety of your home is definitely not something you should architect solely around price...and if you can't afford to live someplace safe on what they're willing to pay you, it doesn't sound like they value their employees much at all.

Comment Re:Why now? (Score 1) 234

Her claim is that "I saw how hard it was going to be to win when every potential juror who expressed a belief that sexism exists in tech — a belief that is widely recognized and documented — was not allowed to serve on the jury,"

I don't think I'm somebody who knee-jerk jumps to discrimination. However, if they were filtering out jurors who believe that sexism exists in tech, that certainly seems to be unfair, IMO. Most people certainly would not consider it fair if a gay person was filing a discrimination suit and jurors who believe that discrimination against gay people exists were excluded from sitting on the jury.

I'm not necessarily saying that was the case here, and I haven't read enough to have a strong opinion on whether the case had merit or not. But if those allegations are true then that certainly stands in the way of a fair trial and should be fixed.

In other words,

"I saw how hard it was going to be to win when every potential juror I wanted to stack things in my favor was not allowed to serve on the jury."

What she doesn't state is whether or not the potential jurors that DID end up on the jury believed that sexism was impossible, or if they simply had a balanced view on the matter. I'm betting her legal team dismissed more than one or two people themselves, and that the balanced view prevailed.

Comment Re:Gotta love it (Score 1, Troll) 264

"The Obama administration is seeking to block the release of further information about how the predictions are made, as damaging to national security."

Yeah, but it's no big deal that the secretary of state was using her own private email server to store top secret and confidential information.

I wish Obama would have turned out merely as bad as I thought he would be 7 years ago - he's so far exceeded my expectations. know that this all started under Bush, right?


Comment Re:Small wind does not work! (Score 3, Insightful) 164

Lots of boats like yachts and cruisers have wind turbines and even small ones can get 25W and peak to 60W. Combine with solar and it's probably sufficient to run a small fridge continuously and lights and small power draw devices at night.

Those yachts and cruisers get most of their power from their engine, and many also have an onboard generator. The wind turbines are a way to get an extra boost while having a fallback solution (ALWAYS crucial for long-distance sailing) in the event that another system fails. The turbines in no way provide enough power to sustain normal life on a prolonged basis in the absence of any other power source. And this is in a living space without things that pull a lot of power like microwave ovens, large refrigerators, washing machines/dryers, desktop computers, etc. A home needs WAY more power than any yacht I've ever been on...which is why at docks you'll see people hooking up to 30W power feeds and being all set. According to current NFPW code, that entire dockside feed would be the equivalent of what you would require for a single large household appliance.

Oh, and I'm not sure where you're seeing wind turbines on yachts that can put out 60W; yachts that I've seen that were big enough to have electrical systems that could even handle that wattage didn't have turbines at all...they were all huge power cruisers for whom engine fuel consumption was so obscene that running a generator sufficient to power the whole yacht was an inconsequential expense in comparison to simply cruising for an hour at 5 knots. If it exists, I've never seen one on a boat.

I've lived on a yacht for a prolonged period of time...and while I loved it, I wouldn't even give a moment's consideration to a house where I had to live like that. The "small fridge" and "small power draw devices at night" combination isn't a realistic way to live one's life on land.

And I know what you may be thinking..."but a lot of yachts have solar panels too!" Yes, they do...but even the wind/solar combination, together, only helps. It's not enough on its own.

Comment Huh (Score 1) 35

"proud to declare that we are at the cusp of a reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world..."

What, were there modem hookups in the trees before that got wiped out once broadband started to be deployed? I don't remember Sri Lanka ever being the pinnacle of connectivity to the rest of the world...

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford