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Comment: Make VM OS read-only unless updating (Score 1) 28

by raymorris (#47433303) Attached to: Gameover ZeuS Re-Emerges As Fast-Fluxing Botnet

> suggests that using a VM obtains a measure of safety.

You can make it almost perfectly secure by mounting Documents from another disk or image and marking the operating system VM read-only, or snapshotted so it reverts state on reboot.

Toggle it read-write while you update the OS or install new software.

Comment: botnets are still Windows. Set a router password (Score 1) 28

by raymorris (#47433245) Attached to: Gameover ZeuS Re-Emerges As Fast-Fluxing Botnet

This botnet, like the one the malware based on, is Windows only. The botnet that was used to seed this one is also Windows only.

There have been two botnets that kinda-sorta might be interesting to Linux and Mac users. In one, if you used a Windows desktop to ssh to a Linux server, the infected Windows machine could reveal the user name and password that you used from Windows. In the other, some idiots left the default admin user name and passwords on their routers, some of which run Linux. Surprisingly, if the bad guy knows your username and password, that's a bad thing no matter what operating system you use.

Comment: Re:Thanks for the detail (Score 1) 367

by raymorris (#47432131) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

> So you've more or less demonstrated that pumped storage is infeasible. Why even talk about it then? Batteries are feasible.

You've demonstrated that batteries are at least possible. Feasibility is debatable, but you've moved the needle. Certainly, if you happen to be in the middle of the wilderness where natural gas isn't available, batteries could be considered feasible in those conditions at least. I learned something from that, thanks.

And you see pumped storage is certainly infeasible, so that's cool. Another closer to full understanding, and toward agreement.

> I'd like to see that simulation. I suspect it takes a supercomputer to render accurately.

It takes a lot of computation to render high precision and high detail. It all depends on what level of detail you want. If you model the topography of the US with 100 million "pixels" of elevation measurements, that'll take a lot more computation than using 1,000 pixels, such as the average altitude of each county. Flood calculators are popular for visualizing the effects of sea level rise, so I wouldn't be surprised if you've played with one written in Javascript on a page that talks about "if sea level rose 6 inches, it would flood ....". The simple Javascript ones don't have high PRECISION, but they may have reasonable ACCURACY. Since we don't care to distinguish whether 90% of Texas is flooded or 93%, much less which streets are flooded, an iPhone will do fine for the computation.

Comment: just like any other contact, such as a lease (Score 1) 71

by raymorris (#47431379) Attached to: Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

Suppose you lease a car from Toyota. You pay for five years up front. You now have the right to drive that car for five years.

Toyota goes bankrupt. They own the car, subject to the l lease to you, which reduces it's value to the company. Do you think the bankruptcy court is going order all leased Toyota's to be repossessed? Of course not. Toyota's ownership interest in the car is subject to the lease.

Same here. As soon as the deal is signed, that creates a restriction on the ownership of the patents, lowering their value. The value is reduced today, when the restriction is added. Five years from now, a bankruptcy judge isn't reverse time and undo the contract. On the other hand, if the company tried to join the association AFTER they filed bankruptcy, the judge would have to approve the new restriction on the assets and they may well block that.

Comment: someone chose, wrote the story. What changed was (Score 3, Interesting) 96

by raymorris (#47431143) Attached to: Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

> I remember a time when the news was reported and read. Nothing more nothing less. How people accepted the news was left up to the viewer, reader, or listener. Now we have flavored news,

In those happy times, an editor decided which stories he wanted to assign reporters to. Before "the news was read", someone wrote it, and the author had their biases. If you look at the news stories from many years ago covering two different politicians doing the same thing, you'll find the stories read quite differently depending on which party the politician was associated with.

The newspapers and television stations of yesteryear were just as interested in selling ads as today's are. I think the biggest difference is the level of honesty. Sean Hannity will TELL you that he's a conservative. Peter Jennings and Dan Rather pretended to be objective.

Comment: Thanks for the detail (Score 1) 367

by raymorris (#47430999) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

Thanks for the detailed reply. I see that you're skilled enough to calculate that your refrigerator-sized stack of car batteries could provide the power to pump several thousand gallons of water, demonstrating that batteries are a better way to store energy than lifting water is.

From your reported power usage, it sounds like you're probably single. If the rest of your figures are correct, we'd have roughly a refrigerator-sized stack of batteries _per_person_. Inverters are 0% efficient at no load (they waste 20 watts idling) to 90% at full load, so figure around 75% average efficiency, so 16-18 batteries per person rather than 12. Batteries lose capacity as they age. You don't want to replace your batteries every two years, but rather continue using them as their capacity decreases over five years, so we better go with 21 of those batteries.

The specific energy of a lead-acid battery is about 35 watt-hours per kilogram, or 64 pounds per Kwh. Our bank of 22 batteries is 193 Kwh at the battery when fresh, so you've got 12,352 pounds of lead and sulfuric acid to mine, then dispose of and replace every 5 years. Four billion pounds for the US. You're going to need a lot of large mines to get all that lead. You could do it, but it wouldn't be very good for the environment.

You asked me to show my work. Flood models are a bit complex, of course, but we can at least get a general idea by calculating the minimum and maximum possible, assuming ideal topography and worst-case topography. My original number was based on a calculation in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled "Powering the planet: Chemical challenges in solar energy utilization", but they might be wrong, so let's do a fresh calculation:

As per the Bureau of Land Reclamation (operators of Hoover Dam / Lake Mead) Hoover dam produces 4 billion kwh annually. Per EIA, the US uses 4,047 billion kwh. So we need 1,000 Hoover Dams. BLR says Hoover is 726 feet high and flooded 248 square miles. They also say the amount of water pushing on the dam would cover the entire state of Pennsylvania 1 foot deep.

The location of Hoover dam was of course chosen with some care - it's a good place for a dam, in a deep canyon. It's a place where you can build a dam 726 feet high, so the flows hundreds of feet down through the turbines, releasing a lot of energy. We won't find 1,000 to build dams over 700 feet high, but let's pretend we could in order to figure a MINIMUM possible amount of flooding. This is the minimum assuming ideal topography, where we have all the deep canyons we want. Hoover Dam times 1,000 is 248,000 square miles for the minimum. Dams go on rivers, of course, filling the river valley, so reservoirs tend to be long and thin, not square. If our reservoir is 10 miles across, it'll be 24,800 miles long. Oops, that's longer the distance around the earth. Let's make it 100 miles across, so it'll be 2,480 miles long, roughly the width of the United States. That's the minimum, pretending we have 1,000 deep canyons to fill hundreds of feet deep. A dam built in flat land will just create a shallow flood across the whole state. Worst case, assuming flat topography, would have the whole US under 70 feet of water. If you go into flood simulator software that's been loaded with the actual topography of the US and start placing dams on actual rivers and let it calculate the flooding based on real topography, you end up with about 80% flooded.

Comment: 30.17 years, which is less than "thousands" (Score 1) 367

by raymorris (#47428661) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

To be exact, the half-life of cesium-137 is 30.17 years. I was responding to someone worried about geological time frames. Certainly cesium waste / fuel should be stored safely for several years while it decays. In 90 years, 88% of the radioactivity is gone. That's something to pay attention to. It's not the "thousands of years" that the greenies used to claim, until most of them realized that "no nuclear" means "more coal".

Comment: "Maybe", except not, unless you ignore most of it (Score 1) 367

by raymorris (#47427181) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

> End-user prices for electricity are maybe 3x times higher in Germany

Maybe, except no. The wholesale spot price is three times higher, but German households pay more in green energy surcharges than they do in actual per kwh production costs. You have to ignore MOST of the charges on the household electric bill to say it's only three times as much as US households pay.

> In fact, Germany exports a lot of electricity (e.g. to France).

You got your two countries mixed up. France is the world's number one net EXPORTER of electricity. As in, they sell more electricity than other other country in the world. Check IEA if you think I'm mistaken. The cost in France is half of what it is in Germany, IEA numbers. They aren't buying it up from Germany for twice as much as they sell it for. France uses nuclear plants to produce 75% of that electricity.

> solar was 30 TWh (4.7%)

So they pay ten times as much (or let's pretend it's three times as much) and for all that extra money, only 4.7% is solar.
If each family paid $5,000 / month for their electric bill, maybe 20% of it could be solar! The other 80% could be bought from the French nuclear plants.

> The idea that the grid provides only 12.8% percent of the electricity is Germany is so wrong that I am speechless.

You numbskulls keep making the same mistake. The "50%" headline here on Slashdot made the same mistake, and I explained it then, quite clearly.
Since you don't seem to have the attentions span to read the exhaustive explanation, here's a short hint for you. Meditate on this quote:

"You're not going to be charging up a Telsa in Germany!"

Comment: 85% of the earth (Score 1) 367

by raymorris (#47424015) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

> Somewhere either the sun or the wind is out, when it isn't in another place, so the electricity just gets redistributed from where it is to where it is not?

Where "somewhere" means up to 15% of the world, never more than 15%. For several hours, only the middle of the Pacific ocean has midday sun. You can't run mile-wide power cables from the Pacific to the UK. Remember, your eyes can see in either candlelight or in full sun, which is a MILLION times brighter. Though morning and late afternoon look "light" to our eyes, there's darn little energy there. Solar-electric pretty much captures energy from 10AM-2PM. Most of the time, the bright sun is on the other side of the planet, and that's pretty far away.

They did NOT momentarily get 50% of their energy from solar. They momentarily got 6%-7% from solar, when the sun was bright and nobody was at home because they were at work. The headline was wrong, in two different ways. I'll explain how in a moment.

Imagine if Germany shut down all of their electric power plants, then connected a Duracell AA battery to the public grid. You could honestly say that a single AA provided 100% of the power on Germany's public electric grid at that time. Of course, there wouldn't be a usable amount of power available from the grid, so everyone would be running of their own gas-powered generators, but all of the grid power would be coming from that one AA battery.

What Germany actually did was a less extreme version of the above. They actually shut down some power plants, not all. Because of this, electricity is relatively scarce in Germany - it costs ten times as much as it does in the US. You're not going to be charging up a Telsa in Germany! Not for $320 per charge!

Because the public electric grid in Germany is so expensive, 87% of the power people use comes from somewhere other than the public grid. The grid provides about 12.8% of the power for the country. For a moment, half of that 12.8% was from solar. The other 87% + half of 12.8% = 93.8% was not from solar electric.

Comment: would be awesome if we could. I want 0.0001% of $ (Score 1) 367

by raymorris (#47421921) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

It's tempting as hell, I know. All that energy right outside. Also, if I could collect 0.00001% of the money in the world I'd be enormously wealthy.

The problem is, I can't collect even that tiny percentage. For solar electric, the fact that bright sun is only available for a few hours per day is an absolute deal-killer. Let's pretend for a moment that we had magic solar panels that collect a thousand times as much energy as what falls on them , and they're free. All we have to do is store the energy for overnight use. I have an idea, let's use the solar power to pump water uphill, then at 3PM we'll let it start coming back down, through turbines that generate electricity. Let's see where we can put these reservoirs. If we calculate the required amount of water X height, we find that the reservoirs need to cover 80% of the United States. That's right, you can power the country by putting most of it underwater. And that's with magical solar panels that are free.

The amount of energy we're talking about is so far outside most people's experience that we have a hard time reasoning about it. Solar IS good at heating things. Solar energy is good for growing food. It's good for a lot of things. It absolutely sucks balls at making electricity, because we need electricity in the evening, at night, in the morning. Also because solar electric is ten times as expensive than the alternatives. People simply can't afford a $1,500 / month electric bill.

There is ONE way you can turn solar into electricity that's practical on a small scale only. You use the sun to grow plants, then burn the plants to generate electricity, even after 2PM. That does have the minor side effect of releasing a bunch of CO2 into the atmosphere. And of course the plants need water, lots of water. Lots of land too.

Preheating water with solar heat: a good way to save energy and money.
Turning light into electricity: a good way to power a small calculator, only. Doesn't provide enough power to run a watch. (But a tiny watch battery does.)

Comment: What difference now does it make? :) Sunk costs (Score 3, Insightful) 348

by raymorris (#47419701) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

The F-35 probably shouldn't have been built. At least, it shouldn't have been built the way it was. "Been built" is the key phrase. Most of the excess cost is already sunk. Nine countries have signed on to buy it. We can't reverse time and get the money back, and starting over from scratch would both a) cost more and b) lose most of the partner countries, meaning the US would pay more of the cost.

Yes, maintaining planes costs money, and the F-35 is no exception. Is someone suggesting that the US should have no planes? Of course not, so maintenance costs will be incurred. There's no choice to be made there. I suppose we could spend nearly as much trying to keep F-15s flying. Would that be better?

Comment: for only $1,500 / month, average home. Plus night (Score 1) 367

by raymorris (#47419531) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

You can save a few bucks by pre-heating your hour water in the sun.

You can also power your refrigerator in the middle of the day, when you're not home , by paying $1,500 / month for solar electric. One of these two makes sense.

Every bit of money or time spent taking about solar electric is spent NOT working on something that can actually solve the problem, so it helps guarantee that we remain stuck with coal. If I owned a coal-mining company, I'd promote solar-electric to keep people distracted from nuclear and anything else that might actually be practical.

Comment: yep, thanks for pointing that out (Score 1) 367

by raymorris (#47419457) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

> just be careful with your numbers.

Absolutely, thanks for pointing that out. I want to post accurate facts, both for the credibility of the argument and I learn something.

Researching solar, I first found out that while solar electric MIGHT be a useful supplement at lunch time, there is zero chance of it ever being viable for primary power. However, in looking for accurate, objective data, I also learned that solar pre-heating by running my hot water pipe across the lawn can save me a lot of money here in sunny Texas.

The world is not octal despite DEC.