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Comment: Re:Why not jackboots? ATF is also under treasury. (Score 1) 365

by Thng (#43770771) Attached to: Medical Firm Sues IRS For 4th Amendment Violation In Records Seizure
ATF has been part of Department of Justice since 2003.
from their history:
ATF's History

Effective January 24, 2003, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was transferred under the Homeland Security bill to the Department of Justice. The law enforcement functions of ATF under the Department of the Treasury were transferred to the Department of Justice. The tax and trade functions of ATF will remain in the Treasury Department with the new Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

In addition, the agency's name was changed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to reflect its new mission in the Department of Justice.

Comment: Re:How is natural gas less carbon-intensive than c (Score 1) 462

by Thng (#40772745) Attached to: Is There Still a Ray of Hope On Climate Change?
Natural gas power plants are frequently combined-cycle, where the combustion of the gas occurs in a turbine engine driving a generator, and the waste heat then boils water to drive a second steam turbine. "Because of this efficient use of the heat energy released from the natural gas, combined-cycle plants are much more efficient than steam units or gas turbines alone. In fact, combined-cycle plants can achieve thermal efficiencies of up to 50 to 60 percent." from: http://www.naturalgas.org/overview/uses_eletrical.asp (their misspelling)
Crime

Four IT Consultants Charged With $80M NYC Rip-Off 126

Posted by timothy
from the well-they're-only-tax-dollars dept.
theodp writes "It's I-told-you-so time for Slashdot commenter frnic, who smelled a crime last March after reading that New York City had dropped $722 million on its still-under-development CityTime Attendance System. Nine months later, US Attorney Preet Bharara charged 'four consultants to the New York City Office of Payroll Administration ... for operating a fraudulent scheme that led to the misappropriation of more than $80 million in New York City funds allocated for an information technology project known as "CityTime."' Three of the four consultants were also charged — along with a consultant's wife and mother — with using a network of friends-and-family shell corporations to launder the proceeds of the fraud. Dept. of Investigations Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn called it a shame that 'supposed experts hired and paid well to protect the city's interests were exposed as the fox guarding the hen house.'"

Comment: Re:May not be as cheap as you think (Score 5, Insightful) 278

by Thng (#33567526) Attached to: Wal-Mart To Launch Unlimited Wireless Family Plan
Not a mobile data user, but IIRC, the average data use per month on smartphones is in the neighborhood of 200-300 megs a month, say average 250/moth. so I can either buy a $40 gigabyte that lasts four months, or I can buy 4 gigabytes of which I only use the one for $100 total (AT&T). Which gigabyte is unbelievable?
This "cost per gigabyte" isn't neccessarily a fair comparison.

Bottom line, maybe this plan isn't for you.

Comment: obdii hw, sw (Score 2, Informative) 270

by Thng (#32226818) Attached to: Any Open Source Solutions For DIY Auto Diagnostics?
First, get the hardware interface: http://www.scantool.net/scan-tools/pc-based/elmscan5-compact.html with some OK software, $60 http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.28528 $29 shipped from hong kong. Hardware isn't free unless you really do want to build your own. ELM327 is a common OBDII interface chip, and they're probably nearly identical internally Then go to scantool.net, software downloads, and find the source. Hack away. Or, go to sourceforge and look at some of the linux based obdii software.

Comment: Re:Can of Worms? (Score 2, Informative) 124

by Thng (#31460012) Attached to: Hunting Disease Origins By Whole-Genome Sequencing
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

from Newscientist: "After more than a decade of political debate, GINA bans health insurers from setting premiums or denying coverage based on the results of genetic tests, as long as customers have no pre-existing disease symptoms. It is also aimed to prevent discrimination in employment decisions."

Discrimination still could happen, but there appears to be a bit of a framework to work against it.

Comment: Re:And Gov2.0 considers Trusted Computing a key (Score 1) 138

by Thng (#29461523) Attached to: U.S. Government Sets Up Online 'App Store'
quick googling indicates the CAC grew out of HSPD-12 (homeland security presidential directive 12). All federal agencies were supposed to have issued these cards over the last year. Agencies such as USDA already use these for computer access. Everyone else, it's a fancy (and expensive) ID card.

Comment: Re:Dumb (Score 1) 347

by Thng (#28748775) Attached to: Consumers May Find Smart Appliances a Dumb Idea

> You'd likely think different if you ever had to smell an entire load of clothing that smelled like an old wet dish rag.
I too am puzzled by this "OMG, my wet clothes are producing penicillin as we speak!" FUD. I am on a time-of-use plan that provides cheaper electricity between 7pm and 7am weekdays and all-day on weekends

My point is not "OMG mold," it's "OMG, this has been damp too long, and now smells like a wet dishrag, or worse, a wet dog"
That said, nothing would probably happen for the three to four hours mentioned in the other posts, but I wouldn't let it sit more than that, especially on a hot day. Also if it does, consider cleaning your washing machine (with bleach or similar product) and leaving the door open.

Comment: Re:It is a dumb idea (Score 1) 347

by Thng (#28748525) Attached to: Consumers May Find Smart Appliances a Dumb Idea

PS: why do you need your air conditioner on at all when you're on vacation?

1. Your houseplants and pets are used to living at a nice steady 70F. They can probably handle 80-85F, but it would probably be a little hard on them to go much higher.
2. A house shut up with no A/C running on a 90F day is a sure sign that no one's home.
3. To keep CowboyNeal cool.

Comment: Re:Doing for solar what they did for radio? (Score 1) 447

by Thng (#27659309) Attached to: Vatican To Build 100 Megawatt Solar Power Plant
I also remember a story about the BBC in its early shortwave days having transmission issues... which they traced to a man living a few miles from the transmitter.
He had lined the underside of his roof with copper, which heated up whenever the BBC was broadcasting.

The BBC fixed it by buying him a space heater.

Comment: Re:That's odd (Score 1) 227

by Thng (#27193335) Attached to: How the Economy Is Changing Clean Energy
My FIL works at a coal gasification plant.

One way that this does help with reducing CO2 emissions is that the exhaust of the plant is primarily CO2. Standard coal plant exhaust is still mostly nitrogen, oxygen, CO2, SO2, etc.
What does the plant do with it? Compresses it into liquid, and pipes it up to Sasketchewan. An oil company injects it into old oil fields to recover more oil.
Basin Electric CO2 Sequestration
This is where the CO2 savings come in.

Comment: Re:Power plant licensing (Score 1) 227

by Thng (#27193229) Attached to: How the Economy Is Changing Clean Energy
As someone in the field, what about the issues surrounding retrofitting these older plants with new equipment?
IIRC, there are certain changes/repairs/upgrades that can be made, but if they go beyond a certain point of improvement, don't they have to then comply with the Clean Air Act of 1970?
What kind of efficiency improvements could be made to these old plants if they didn't have to comply, or maybe not fully?
It seems like you could decrease pollution overall if you could eke out a few % (eg, burn less coal for same output) without having to overhaul the entire pollution control system.

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