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Comment: Re:Curse you, Entropy! (Score 1) 371

All well and good, but doesn't exactly solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

Sure it does; you'd be extracting this carbon out of the air, or from a process stream that would otherwise dump to the atmosphere. Best case you have a net zero carbon emission, worst case you're using the same carbon twice (industrial waste stream to vehicle fuel to emissions) which is still a significant reduction.

Plus it cuts down on other pollutants, eliminates the environmental damage from oil extraction itself, eliminates emissions from the refining process and possibly reduces transport energy costs.

They just need to scale it up... easier said than done, of course.
=Smidge=

User Journal

Journal: Sorry I haven't written...

Journal by mcgrew

I have two new stories nearly finished, but I've decided to see if I can sell first publication rights to a magazine. If everyone rejects them, I'll post them then. If one is accepted, it will likely be quite a while before I can post.

Comment: Non Sequitor (Score 5, Insightful) 333

by eldavojohn (#49539223) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

I'm not disappointed at all. Drones are so much better than actually invading Pakistan, and reduces the number of kids that get killed in war.

I never got the hate for drones in the first place. Why would you want to launch a ground invasion instead, which means MORE kids getting killed?

Sure, if you want to kill someone, you're right. I think the argument against drones is that if you push a button and someone dies on the other side of the Earth and you didn't have to go to war to do that ... well, fast forward two years and you're just sitting there hitting that button all day long. "The quarter solution" or whatever you want to call it is still resulting in deaths and, as we can see here, we're not 100% sure whose deaths that button is causing. Even if we study the targets really really hard.

And since Pakistan refuses to own their Al Queda problem, we have to take care of it for them.

No, no we don't. You might say "Al Queda hit us now we must hunt them to the ends of the Earth" but it doesn't mean that diplomacy and sovereignty just get flushed down the toilet. Those country borders will still persist despite all your shiny new self-appointed world police officer badges. Let me see if I can explain this to you: If David Koresh had set off bombs in a Beijing subway and then drones lit up Waco like the fourth of July and most of the deaths were Branch Davidians, how would you personally feel about that? Likewise, if Al Queda is our problem and we do that, we start to get more problems. Now, that said, it's completely true that Pakistan's leadership has privately condoned these strikes while publicly lambasting the US but that's a whole different problem.

Also, we must always assume that war = killing kids. The fact that people think kids shouldn't be killed in war basically gives people more of an incentive to go to war in the first place. When Bush invaded Iraq, the public should have asked "OK, how many kids are we expected to kill?" Because all war means killing kids. There has never been a war without killing kids.

The worst people are the ones that romanticize war, by saying war is clean and happy and everyone shakes hands at the end. War is the worst, most horrible thing, and we need to make sure people understand that, or they'll continue to promote war.

Yep, think of the children -- that's why we should use drone strikes, right? Look, war means death. Death doesn't discriminate and neither does war. If you're hung up on it being okay to take a life the second that male turns 18, you're pretty much morally helpless anyway. War is bad. Drone strikes are bad. There's enough bad in there for them both to be bad. This isn't some false dichotomy where it's one or the other. It's only one or the other if you're hellbent on killing people.

News flash: you can argue against drone strikes and also be opposed to war at the same time. It does not logically follow that since you're against drone strikes, you're pro war and pro killing children. That's the most unsound and absurd flow of logic I've seen in quite some time.

Comment: No, This Is Important for People to See (Score 5, Insightful) 255

by eldavojohn (#49536145) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

Wait. A person who made dubious claims that had no scientific backing to them was actually lying? What next? Water is wet?!!

I think pretty much everyone but the nutjob, true believers in psuedo-science knew all along that this woman was lying.

So you're saying everyone knew she was lying about her charity donations as well? Or was it only the charities that knew that? From the article:

The 26-year-old's popular recipe app, which costs $3.79, has been downloaded 300,000 times and is being developed as one of the first apps for the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. Her debut cook book The Whole Pantry, published by Penguin in Australia last year, will soon hit shelves in the United States and Britain.

So you're saying the 300,000 downloads are by people that knew they were downloading the app architected by a liar? And they were paying $3.79 to Apple and this liar for a recipe app that contain recipes that someone lied about helping her cure cancer? And you're saying that everyone at Apple that featured her app on the Apple Watch knew they were showing a snake oil app on their brand new shiny device? And that the people at Penguin did all their fact checking on any additional information this cookbook might contain about Belle Gibson's alleged cancer survival? And that everybody involved in these events know society's been parading around a fucking liar and rewarding her with cash money while she basically capitalizes on a horrendous disease that afflicts millions of people worldwide ... that she never had?

No, this is not the same as "water is wet" and it needs to be shown that holistic medicine is temporarily propped up on a bed of anecdotal lies ... anybody who accepts it as the sole cure for their ailment is putting their health in the hands of such charlatans and quacks.

Comment: Re:Progressive Fix 101 (Score 3, Interesting) 621

by Smidge204 (#49529915) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

None of these vehicles have a substantial impact on roads, though. Heavy trucking accounts for the vast majority of road wear.

That said, I have no problem with paying to help maintain the roads even if my contribution to their wear is practically nonexistent. I benefit from our highway infrastructure because even if I never drive on them, I almost certainly use products and commodities that are transported over them.

Keep the gas tax, maybe even increase it, to pay for the problems that fossil fuel consumption causes.

Add a new, independent road maintenance fee that's based on vehicle weight and miles driven.
=Smidge=

Comment: Oh Look, a Car Analogy for Last Week's Story! (Score 1) 649

by eldavojohn (#49514253) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars
Why don't the automakers just seek refuge under the DMCA from all those evil automobile hackers? Clearly, figuring out how your car works is a direct attack on the very hard work and property of those automakers.

Time to pass a bill state by state. I'm the sure the invisible hand of the free market will line all the right politicians' pockets to rush those through. Hopefully someday we won't be able to own our cars and we can go back to the Ma Bell days when every phone was rented.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 533

by Smidge204 (#49505635) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

One part of the problem is NOT going to go away however - they have to pay to maintain the lines. Right now, that cost if covered by your electric bills. As the amount of electricity you draw from their generators goes down, they're going to reach the point of needing to charge you a flat fee just for the connection to the power lines, plus the usual fees for actually using their electricity.

For me, the "connection charge" is already an itemized part of the electric bill, so nothing will change.

Smart inverters will solve all of this nonsense. It wasn't long ago that the local gas company would offer special rates to larger customers if they would set up for gas/oil heat and allow their gas service to be remotely shut off. The problem was that, on really cold days, the demand for as would be so high that the pressure would drop and people's furnaces would kick out... so they came up with a scheme that could reduce demand.

I don't see why something similar could not be done with solar. Grid-tie inverters already turn themselves off if they don't "see" grid power that's within the voltage and frequency tolerances, so there is no barrier to getting the inverters to safely shut off or reduce output. All that's needed is a throttling mechanism that will allow the utility to remotely control what goes out into the grid from the home. The inverter can be set to produce only what the home is using and no more, or cut out entirely if needed. We have smart meters that can detect which way the power is flowing so the only missing piece is the control itself.

Seems like a perfect application of power line communication technology; just wedge a controller box in next to the inverter that also interfaces with the meter and waits for a signal to enable throttling.
=Smidge=

Comment: Re:incredibly close to target is far from success (Score 1) 342

The mission was complete; the cargo was delivered to the intended orbit with no difficulties.

They just didn't get the bonus points for a successful experiment in first stage recovery. Once first stage recovery becomes routine, then you can consider it part of the operation - but never part of the mission. They are contracted and paid to deliver the payload to orbit, not recover the first stage.
=Smidge=

User Journal

Journal: Product Review: Seagate Personal Cloud 5

Journal by mcgrew

Around the first of the year all three working computers were just about stuffed full, so I thought of sticking a spare drive in the Linux box, when the Linux box died from a hardware problem. It's too old to spend time and money on, so its drive is going in the XP box (which is, of course, not on the network; except sneakernet). I decided to break down and buy an external hard drive. I found what I was looking for in the "Seagate Personal Cloud". And here I thought the definition of "the clo

The UNIX philosophy basically involves giving you enough rope to hang yourself. And then a couple of feet more, just to be sure.

Working...