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Comment Re:Why bother? (Score 1) 269

I wouldn't say horribly inefficient. Most polycrystalline silicon cells get 12-15%, which isn't too bad. Some research groups have made PV cells that get 40-60%. The problem is that they don't do direct fuel conversion - you have to then use the electricity to do electrolysis or drive other chemical processes, which are inevitably going to be lossy. So you get 12-15%, run it through two or three processes that are 10-50% efficient, and suddenly you have 1% or less solar-to-fuel efficiency. Which, yeah, totally sucks.

And solar concentrators take a ton of space. This process runs at 1500 celsius or higher, so you can't just do it in a trough. You need a tower or dish system, which take up huge amounts of space.

Comment Re:Renewable Energy (Score 1) 269

Renewable on Earth's timescale. Long before the sun runs out of fusable material, it will probably turn into a red giant and devour all the inner planets, Earth included.

And if we manage to go colonize other planets, they'll probably have stars too, which we can also use "solar" technology to extract useful work. The method is renewable until the universe ends, as long as you're within reasonable distance of a star. Your argument is purely semantic, and you should probably stop getting pissed off about it.

Comment Re:Validation or desperation? (Score 1) 138

And here's the other issue: for your non-paying user to gain those items, or items of equal power, the structure typically requires that user spend a prohibitive number of hours grinding menial tasks.

So either you waste your money on virtual merchandise to stand a fighting chance or you waste every bit of your free time not having fun in order to (theoretically) make the game fun.

Fuck MMOs.

Comment Re:I was under the impression (Score 2, Informative) 175

Your impression was very, very wrong. Not only can we see most disease-causing agents with electron microscopes, we have X-ray and/or NMR crystal structures of a huge number of viruses - meaning we know, down to a "where each individual atom is" level of accuracy, what these things look like.

Comment Re:Fair Use? (Score 1) 527

What I'm condoning is the sequestration - the removal and subsequent isolation - of someone who has willingly forfeited the right to participate in society. If the sequestration is being stuck in a tiny box full of rape for 44 years, so be it.

I know this is going to make me sound like some sort of wannabe hardcore high schooler with a trenchcoat, but seriously, I think the Saints said it best:

"Do not kill, do not rape, do not steal. These are principles which every man of every faith can embrace! These are not polite suggestions. These are codes of behavior and those of you that ignore them will pay the dearest cost!"

That's all I'm saying. We're talking about rape and murder - in most cases, especially this one, these actions are indefensible. Of course there can be mitigating circumstances, and the court should take them into account more than they do. But not with this case.

Comment Re:Over enthusiastic conclusions (Score 1) 297

Except that only 45% of people (or less) give two shits about commericals. I don't think DVR is devaluing ad time, rather, it's revealing the actual value of ad time - the number of people who aren't tuning out their commericals.

I'm not sure that DVR is burning down content provider's homes. It's more like doing an audit on a $250,000 home and discovering, due to structural damage, it's only worth $125,000.

Comment Re:In a word no (Score 1) 177

All right, how about drinking alcohol? How about eating red meat? How about veganism?

All of these things carry risks. Secondhand smoke can be dealt with through appropriate legislation (which in a number of cities, it has). If there are people still willing to risk their lives for a few puffs, who the hell are you to say they can't?

I'm not a smoker, but I'll be damned if we need to add yet another piece of legislation that removes personal freedoms in favor of keeping a few idiots who can't read warning labels safe.

Comment Re:All mine were cheap! (Score 3, Interesting) 1259

Having met a large number of history and philosophy majors, I can tell you that they are no more politically and/or civically informed or capable than the average engineering or physics major.

It is not the field of study that counts for "an informed citizenry." The seeds for "informed and capable" are sown well before high school. The prejudice against arts & humanities majors isn't because those fields are less important, but because those fields have made more allowances for jackasses who don't belong in college, and permit the graduation of citizens who are not informed or capable and will never be, thanks to the indoctrination in the culture of "know-nothing" by their parents and early teachers.

Also, please refrain from implying that us lowly widget-makers are somehow beneath the likes of Al Gore. By claiming science lobbyists as more important than actual researchers, you demean the work of thousands upon thousands of scientists actually producing the technology required to combat climate change.

Comment Re:In a word no (Score 1) 177

Carcinogens have no real safe levels to the EPA and FDA. Because we still don't know enough about the biochemistry behind tumorigenesis, it's impossible to give an absolute measurement of "safe levels." That's why the government regulators say "there is no safe level," because they don't know what is and isn't safe.

I agree with you about smoking being stupid and dangerous, but really, your post is a bunch of emotional knee-jerk nonsense. People who want to smoke will smoke. Are you now going to tell everyone that they should stop driving because the risk of being horribly mutilated or killed is never zero unless you're not driving?

Comment Re:Gee whiz! (Score 1) 177

The definition of homeopathy is that the harm of a given compound is inversely related to its concentration, and once you reduce the concentration far enough, it starts having therapeutic effects. So, most homeopathic "drugs" are something like 1 ppm of a compound in water. This does not count as a "dose" by any stretch of the imagination, as 1 ppm is probably less than what's already present in your body as trace compounds.

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]