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Comment: Re:Hey Verizon, can you hear us NOW! (Score 1) 173

It's interesting how it is always "Socialism vs Capitalism", with most people divided into two camps, and very few saying that one or the other migh be better depending on circumstances.

I like capitalism when there's a natural way that businesses can compete. For example, adjacent coffee shops might compete on a number of parameters like price, quality, speed of service, etc. It is possible to establish a new coffee shop in an area that already has one, if you can compete on at least one of theres parameters.

I like socialism when there is no way that cometition will work. For example ISP:s provide basically identical service, so they can only compete on price and marketing. Marketing is bullshit, so rational people will pick the one with the lowest price. This means that with one ISP in place, the other ISP:s have no incentive to build infrastructure in the same area, because competition would drive prices down to where they can't recover the initial investment. The single ISP therefore gets a monopoly. It is preferrable that the monopoly is owned by the state.

Comment: Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (Score 1) 349

by Sqr(twg) (#48176081) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

The most likely answer to this riddle is that all of the so called researchers are complicit.

Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

The researchers did make a measurement that reveals the hidden circuit. They just didn't realize it themselves. (They measured currents in order to estimate heat loss in the cables.) Details here.

Comment: Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (Score 4, Informative) 349

by Sqr(twg) (#48176001) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

The latest report on Rossi's device actually contains clear evidence that the experimental set-up has been tampered with. On page 14 it says:

  "Measurements performed during the dummy run with the PCE and ammeter clamps allowed us to measure an average current, for each of the three C_1 cables, of I_1 = 19.7A, and, for each C_2 cable, a current of I_1/2 = I_2 = 9.85 A."

Here, I_1 and I_2 are the line and phase currents of a set of delta-connected resistive load inside the "reactor". The ratio between these currents should therefore be sqrt(3) (approximately 1.73). Since the measured ratio is 2, the curcuit diagram cannot correspond to reality. The reactor probably contains two separate sets of star-connected resistors instead. By feeding current to the second set out of phase with the first, like I suggested in a previous slashdot comment, the current clamps are fooled into giving a too low measurement.

This document (in Swedish) explains it all in detail.

The fact that these measurements were performed and reported also implies that the authors of the report were not part of the fraud. Rossi simply fooled them all.

Comment: Re:He tried patenting it... (Score 1) 986

Of course the wiring diagram doesn't show any doubled cables. My point is that one of the cables might contain two conductors without the authors being aware of it.

There is no logical explanation for the six cables going into the "reactor". Three cables would be enough for a star configuration. If you add the requirement that the resistors must be connected in a delta configuration, then four cables would be enough.

The only reason I can think of for the extra cables is that they are part of a hidden circuit.

Comment: Re:I wonder how much we can trust it (Score 5, Insightful) 68

by Sqr(twg) (#48138387) Attached to: Tiny Wireless Device Offers Tor Anonymity

The three-letter agencies don't need to insert a backdoor. All they need to do is operate a bunch of Tor exit nodes.

As soon as you use Tor for everyday activities you are effectively not anonymous anymore.

Example: You set up the WiFi router and start doing your secret stuff. The bad guys have no idea who's behind the connection.
Then the jogging app on your iPhone connects over the same Tor tunnel. It opens an unencrypted connection to a "share my run" server, and now the bad guys know your email address, weight, and the GPS coordinates of the route you ran this morning. They don't even have to tap your or the server's connection. They get the information directly from their own exit node. (I.e. easier than if you had not been running Tor. Anyone can do this. Not just the three-letter agencies.)

Want anonymity? Install the Tor Browser. Then only use it for the anonymous stuff. Never visit any of the sites you ordinarily frequent.

Comment: Re:He tried patenting it... (Score 5, Interesting) 986

Here's how I think it was done:

Looking at Figure 4 in the report, we see that input power (current) was measured independently in two places. PCE 830 A meaures current going in to the control system, and PCE 830 B measures current going from the control system to the E-Cat. (Thease mesurements are in agreement, and both show less than 1 kW going in while other measurements show more than 2 kW of heat being generated.)

The placements both PCE 830 units are strange. PCE 830 A doesn't sit directly on the 380 V input from the lab, but instead sits between the control system and a "switch" (dentoted "SW"). Similarly, PCE 830 B doesn't sit directly on the three cables going into the E-Cat. Instead it sits between the control system and "connection boxes" (denoted "C").

Anybody who has used a current clamp knows that you must measure around a single conductor. If you measure around two conductors you get the sum, which can be zero even when a large amount of power is tranferred through the cable. So if any of the wires going from the control system to the "switch" contains two conductors instead of just one, then it is possible to feed current through without it regestering on PCE 830 A. Similarly, if any of the cables going from the control system to a "connection box" contains two conductors, it is possible to send power through without it registering on PCE 830 B. (The cables that come after the connection boxes would be much harder to fake, because they connect to high-temperature Inconel conductors at the end.)

So my guess is that the "control system" contains two separate units. One works exactly as advertised. The other is powered using an extra conductor in one of the cables to the "switch". Its ouput corrent is similarly hidden using extra conductors in the wires coning to the connection boxes.

This second unit is designed to only output power under specific circumstances. (Which is why Rossi himself was controling the experiment.) For example, I found it strange that the temperature of the "dummy" reactor was always much lower than the temperature of the "working" reactor. Maybe that is the trigger.

Comment: Re:He tried patenting it... (Score 2) 986

NONE of those explain the change in isotope species described in the article.

As I recall, an earlier version of the device also produced nickel, but in the naturally occuring isotope mix. The fact that it didn't proudce the correct isotope was the main objection that the Swedish researchers had then. Now it suddenly produces Ni62, so apparently, this guy has not only discovered one, but two different cold fusion reactions...

At this point, the test for fraud is to determine if the calculated energy released is congruent with the change in the mass energy potential of the sample before and after the experiment.

That change in mass is far too small to measure. The random part of the change in mass due to sublimation (atoms leaving the surface when the device is hot) is much larger than the change in mass-energy.

Comment: Re:What happens to that heat? (Score 3, Interesting) 423

by Sqr(twg) (#48074287) Attached to: Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

I did not chose the years. This was a quick copy-paste from Wikipedia. I suppose they picked the intervals so that the number of observations in each bin would be about 20, which implies a standard deviation uncertainty of about 4.5 hurricanes in each interval.

But since you didn't like that table, here's one just for you:

1851–1900 13 0.26
1901–1950 29 0.58
1951–2000 46 0.92

(Each of the above intervals is 50 years, not 49. I haven't found any statistics on the correlation between being a climate change skeptic and being unable to do simple math, but I'm sure it would be interesting.)

Now, if you really wanted to raise a valid objection, you would point out that weather satellites did not exist until the 1960:s, and that the number of severe hurricanes might have been underestimated prior to that.

Comment: Re:What happens to that heat? (Score 5, Interesting) 423

by Sqr(twg) (#48072579) Attached to: Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

And just around the same time we've had a recent minimum of severe hurricanes.

By which you mean that we had no category five hurricane last year? That's just a consequence of the fact that there is less than one per year on average, and the number must be integer. (If you do the count per decade, then 2000-2009 had the highest number (8) of category five hurricanes in recorded history, but this number is still too small to draw any statistically significant conclusions from.)

There is more information in the data on category four hurricanes. I found this table of category 4 hurricane statistics on wikipedia

Period Number Number per year
1851–1900 13 0.26
1901–1950 29 0.58
1951–1975 22 0.88
1976–2000 24 0.96
2001–2012 19 1.6

Comment: Re:What happens to that heat? (Score 2, Informative) 423

by Sqr(twg) (#48071867) Attached to: Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

Evaporation increases exponentially with temperature, so even with a lot of extra heat going into the oceans, the change in surface temperature will not be that large. Since water vapor is lighter than air, the extra evaporation will also increase air circulation above the sea, cooling it even further.

So, don't expect to notice any difference in tempearture when you go swiming. The only change that you might notice is melting polar caps, and a massive increase in tropical hurricanes.

Comment: Re:Fuck them sideways with a rusty chainsaw! (Score 1) 118

by Sqr(twg) (#48017893) Attached to: World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet

There will always be an insurance group for the privacy-concious and the really bad drivers.

This is one of the uses of tracking technology that I'd actually agree with, if it is opt in, and it is very clear what information you are giving up, and how much you are getting paid for it.

(The only problem is that most people have already given up all of their privacy whith their smartphones auto-posting everything they do to myspacebook, so they will accept this too cheaply. Wich means that it won't be worth it to anyone who values his privacy a tiny bit.)

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2) 517

by Sqr(twg) (#48012319) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

That would require spending 5-10 times as much money on batteries to support the solar cells as you spent on the cells themselves.

In most places it would be cheaper to pump water up into a dam somewhere and then use a turbine to recover the electricity when needed, but that would also at least triple the cost of electricity.

The currently cheapest solution (where there's not enough hydro-power) is to have fossil fuel plants running as "spinning reserve". And that's the way it's going to be until prices of fossil fuels tipple, or we tax them to achieve that effect.

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.