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Comment Re:duh? (Score 1) 48

The point is that the relationship between sleep and the strength of the immune system has been well know and tested for years...

For a certain value of "well-known" and "tested". You could actually read the paper abstract and see what was novel about this particular study.

Comment Re:Something about a bank funded study.... (Score 1) 158

Why not? The bank has lots of money to invest. It wants to know where the smartest place to invest it is. So it commissions a study to figure that out. Assuming they follow through with their investment, they're putting their money where their mouth is. Which is more than I can say for both sides of the climate debate (one side wants to control how other people's money is spent, the other side doesn't want to pay for damage caused by their own choices).

Comment Re:duh? (Score 2) 48

Knowing it in principle and knowing when to put that knowledge to work are two different things.

I used to catch *everything* that was going around, including some things most other people didn't. I got sick three, maybe four times a year. I always put it down to having a lousy immune system, until in one checkup I mentioned to my doctor that I'm a pretty loud snorer. "Better have you checked for sleep apnea," he said, and sure enough I had it, although only a relatively mild case. He prescribed sleeping on a CPAP machine, and since I've been doing that I almost never get sick. Maybe once in four years.

Anecdotal evidence, I know, but my point is this. Now that there's research demonstrating the impact of sleep on immune system performance it makes sense to make questions about sleep quantity and quality a routine part of health surveillance. I just happened to mention snoring to my doctor on one visit; if I'd been asked twenty years earlier it would have saved my employers a lot of sick time and me a lot of misery.

Comment Re:Short answer? (Score 1) 117

Data Transmission: Shannonâ"Hartley theorem

It's worth noting that current trends in wifi technology are moving in a direction which overcomes Shannon's law. The theorem assumes a shared communications channel. That is, if you transmit your signal at -45 dB, then everyone else using that same channel sees -45 dB of noise (your signal is noise to them).

Beam-forming and MIMO (multipath) techniques subvert this assumption. For a visual analogy, it's why you can see your smartphone display in the sunlight, even though the sun is much, much brighter (its signal strength at optical wavelengths far exceeds your phone display's signal strength). Although the sun is very bright, the light it gives off is highly directional. By using sensors (the lens structure of your eyes) which can "tune in" to light coming from a narrow angle, you can basically filter out all that sunlight noise and pull out a clear signal from the smartphone display.

We're still a long way from this being able to beat out a direct fiber connection. But with phased array antennas (basically what MIMO does except using a lot more transceivers for much finer angular resolution) acting like a "lens" to "focus" radio waves, it's not outlandish to think that in the future all wireless communications could effectively be point-to-point with little to no interference from other wireless sources. Even though everyone is transmitting at the same frequencies, the highly directional nature of the transmissions would mean Shannon's law almost never comes into play, and you get to use all that bandwidth as if you were the only one transmitting on it.

Comment Re:Here's the thing about disasters. (Score 1) 158

A win-win game is not the only kind of non-zero-sum game there is. Suppose I set up a game in which the amount I win is 1/10 of what everyone else loses. I win $100; everyone else loses $1000. If I add up the net gains in the whole game, what we have as a net loss of $900 for all players. It's not fair; it's not reasonable for the community of players to favor such rules, but nonetheless I'm still up $100.

Broken windows may not be a net good thing for the community as a whole, but it certainly is a good thing for the glaziers.

Comment Re:Free speech hundreds of miles out in the desert (Score 1) 153

I'll bet a lot of people love the fact that all this "free speech" will be taking place hundreds of miles out in the desert...

You don't know people very well then. As Lord Macaulay observed in his The History of England from the Accession of James the Second,

“The Puritans hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.”

You see it is not enough for prigs and busybodies that they're not involved in any way in the things you do that give you pleasure; their problem is with you enjoying something they don't enjoy, or perhaps understand.

Comment Here's the thing about disasters. (Score 1) 158

There's no such thing as a disaster that's a disaster for everyone. War is a disaster for people in general, but it's great for munitions makers. Hurricanes are no good for the people who live through them, but very good for companies that sell them building materials.

Every catastrophe is a windfall for someone. If the public saves tens of trillions of dollars by slowing down climate change then that's tens of billions of dollars of revenue somebody won't be making.

Comment Re:Not really ... (Score 2) 39

Which is why I have give up on any app which has a corresponding web-page.

This is a really important point. The reason the web was so successful was because once you made a website, anyone with a computer could access it and anyone else's website using a single program. A common, unified method of interacting with multiple persons or organizations with minimum hassle. Prior to that was the telephone, which allowed you to call anyone using a single device. And prior to that was the invention of postal mail, which allowed you to write to anyone by dropping off your letters at a single location.

What's happening with every site out there trying to foist their own app onto your phone is a huge step backwards. It takes us back to the day when the only way for you to interact with a person or a organization was to physically travel to their unique location. We've spent centuries arriving at the optimal solution to the problem of contacting others to exchange information with a minimum of hassle. Now marketers want to undo several centuries of progress in the name of advertising and data collection. What's happening with apps right now is equivalent to each person in your contact list insisting that you keep a separate telephone just for calling them, and which can only call them, and oh by the way that phone will listen in on what you're doing and report it back to its master..

Don't fall for it. Unless the app includes some functionality which requires it to be an app (e.g. my banking app lets me deposit checks by securely taking a picture), insist on using the website. If the experience on your phone's browser sucks, that just means the website needs a better mobile site, or HTML needs to be extended to allow for a better mobile experience (theoretically the browser could be allowed access to your camera to let my bank's website take a picture allowing me to deposit checks). And if a site is so obnoxious as to block mobile browsers and insist you download their app, stop giving them your business and find an alternate.

Comment I'd like to take a moment to express appreciation (Score 4, Interesting) 119

for the maintainers. The bootloader is a not particularly glamorous problem to work on, but it's critical to everyone and because it involves differing interpretations of standards by manufacturers and various OS developers it had to have been a headache.

Of course later projects had the luxury of a clean sheet, hindsight, and more hardware resources, but without a solid bootloader in the early says of Linux, history would have been very different.

Comment Or ... (Score 4, Insightful) 49

they could just give their environmental regulators the authority to enforce their existing environmental laws.

In the film Under the Dome, Chinese journalist Chai Jing astonishes a Chinese audience with a film clip from California where Cal DoT stops a truck and actually checks that it has all the mandatory safety and emissions equipment. That never happens in China. China has tough emissions standards on paper, but the law is written so that the regulators don't have any enforcement powers. So Chinese manufacturers simply slap stickers on vehicles claiming they have all the mandatory emissions equipment without installing any of it. Technically this is a crime, but the law's written so there's literally nothing anyone can do about it.

And if you don't think environmental regulations make a difference, this is what New York looked like in 1970. Note that that isn't a sepia tinted black and white photo, it's true color. Granted it shows an exceptionally bad day, but before the Clean Air Act got strengthened in the mid 70s bad smog was pretty common. If you look at pictures of American cities from the 70s you'd think that photo technology of the day put a blue or yellow haze on stuff in the distance (like this). It wasn't the film, cities actually looked that way a lot of the time.

Predicting bad pollution days isn't "fighting" pollution, it's living with it. If you want to fight pollution you've got to stop people from polluting. You've got to catch them at it, fine them, and in some cases throw them in jail. Pollution like they have in China is nothing short of manslaughter on a national scale. 1.6 million people die every year from it.

Comment Erm... (Score 3, Insightful) 127

The 130-page report (PDF) shows that Li-on batteries will drop from $550 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2014 to $200 per kWh by 2020

The going rate for residential electricity in the U.S. is about $0.11/kWh. So basically if these batteries charge/discharge once per day (as the case would be for solar), and you want the batteries to only add (say) 20% to the price of the generated electricity in order for it to remain cost-competitive (note: wind is nearly cost-competitive, solar is still about 2x-3x more expensive), then it currently takes $550 per kWh / ($0.11 per kWh * 20% * 365 cycles/yr) = 68.5 years for these batteries to pay for themselves, but by 2020 it will take 27.4 years. Yay progress?

Unless the levelized price for renewable generation drops substantially below that of coal, I don't see how this will "spur renewable energy adoption" except for regions where electricity prices are substantially higher (e.g. Hawaii, $0.30/kWh)

A commune is where people join together to share their lack of wealth. -- R. Stallman