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Comment: Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (Score 1) 981

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#48041211) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Leave it to motherfucking Jeremiah Cornelius, whose opinions are so fucking important that he just has to barge his fat ass to the front of the line to reply to the post which will get him closest to the top, no matter whether that post has anything to do with what he wishes to say.

What an asshole.


Thanks for living in the past.

Comment: make happy memories with the people i communicate (Score 1) 11

by Jeremiah Cornelius (#48041173) Attached to: The Matrix is Mimetic

You are noble. In the best and most approving sense of the word.

There are people who haven't faced a fraction of your difficulty, who are yet to perform the level of introspection you've mustered to understand how they behave - and to derive from it a mission or a wish.

"but it is possible to be happy and depressed, the thoughts are not mutually exclusive."

Yes. Happiness is a real trip.

I don't know if we'd get along together in "real life" - but around this ASCII-space, I'm one of your real fans and supporters. And I'm glad to be.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
-- Maya Angelou

Comment: Re:Update to Godwin's law? (Score 1) 348

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Comment: Re:What's more, utilities should have predicted th (Score 1) 470

by Paul Fernhout (#48037927) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Great points about the nuances in the details!

I agree that the dynamics of dense cities based on space available are going to be different for grid connection than for rural areas or suburbs or even some more sprawling cities. Dense cities are either going to want dense power locally (some form of safe nuclear fusion) or they are going to pull energy from diffuse sources at a distance like big solar or wind farms via direct lines or from a broader grid.

I think the "global reserve" issue is not significant in the long term, both because we do have storage technologies like compressed air or hydrogen that don't require too many exotic things (even if they have other issues). And also because a good aspect of markets (amidst many bad aspects) is they tend to lower costs when there is a demand either by putting in play new resources (like from new mines) or by finding cheaper substitutes.

A ready backup to solar also for those on a gas grid or who have their own propane storage is gas-fired generators to smooth out interruptions in solar power. Some sort of major advance in hydrogen storage, like via converting it to a liquid fuel or in metal hydrides, could also solve the local storage issue -- and we are seeing innovation in that space.

It is hard to tell what technologies hold in the future. Other possibilities might include centralized production of materials requiring lots of electricity like refined metals such as aluminum or via hydrogen saturated in some metal-hydride complex and then trucking those materials onsite to use for local power by oxidation or some other process, where they are then shipped back when consumed. Then we are using the highways as a "grid". :-) A wired grid may well be much better, but that is an example of how you can change the time constants of buffering in systems by different sorts of engineering.

Neighborhood-scale power with a local grid might make a lot of sense -- perhaps even with trucking of materials of some sort instead of wires? Or, the USA could perhaps do like in Europe and just start burying much of its electrical glid cable to make the grid more reliable (but currently at a greater cost -- but maybe we will see innovation in tunneling robots?)

In any case, your insightful comment points to how the "devil is in the details" and how most real power system (absent "Mr. Fusion" from "Back to the Future") are going to be some mix of options (including energy efficiency and other alternative choices).

But who knows, if LENR pans out, we may indeed have "Mr. Fusion" of a sort even within the decade? Or that may be a scam or self-delusion by dozens (hundreds?) of researchers...
"The recent 2014 Cold Fusion/LENR/LANR conference from March 21st to March 23rd at Massachusetts Institute of Technology happened to overlap with the 25th anniversary of the announcement of the discovery of cold fusion at the university of Utah. Against all odds, huge strides in understanding the phenomenon were made in the last 25 years. Recently, groups have shown that this is more than a lab curiosity, it can be engineered and harnessed to safely solve the worlds energy problems. This is an overview of some commercial groups which presented at the 2014 MIT conference."

Comment: Space and improving Earth are not incompatible (Score 1) 465

by Paul Fernhout (#48036403) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Seem my other comment here, but in short, pretty much all the same sorts of technologies we need to live in space would make life better on Earth. These include better recycling, power generation, advanced medicine and nutrition, cradle-to-cradle zero emissions manufacturing, greenhouse agriculture, education-on-demand, a library of open source part designs for 3D printing or other manufacturing, better ways of resolving conflicts in small groups or between groups, and so on. So, we don't have to pick one or the other. Sad thing is, we too often seem to pick neither and instead prop up social systems built around "artificial scarcity" and "learned" stupidity.

In general though, I agree with you that we could make the Earth more like a "Star Trek" society. Here is an essay I wrote about that a decade ago:
"This essay shows how a total of $14000 billion up front and at least another $2085 billion per year can be made available for creative investment in the USA by adopting a post-scarcity worldview. This money can help further fund a virtuous cycle of more creative and more cost saving efforts, as well as better education. It calls for the non-profit sector to help shape a new mythology of wealth and to take the lead in getting the average person as well as decision makers to make the shift in worldview to their own long term benefit. "

I'm nearing the end of reading "Player Piano" which several people on Slashdot have recommended regarding understanding humans and technology -- although I think a basic income rather than a work requirement would have created a different society, and Vonnegut also seems to ignore how much effort can go into raising healthy and happy children or being a good friend, neighbor, or citizen -- focusing instead of "jobs" in a manufacturing sense.

Related on learned stupidity, by John Taylor Gatto:
"Our school crisis is a reflection of this greater social crisis. We seem to have lost our identity. Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent - nobody talks to them anymore and without children and old people mixing in daily life a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present. In fact, the name "community" hardly applies to the way we interact with each other. We live in networks, not communities, and everyone I know is lonely because of that. In some strange way school is a major actor in this tragedy just as it is a major actor in the widening guilt among social classes. Using school as a sorting mechanism we appear to be on the way to creating a caste system, complete with untouchables who wander through subway trains begging and sleep on the streets.
    I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my twenty-five years of teaching - that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very hard, the institution is psychopathic - it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to different cell where he must memorize that man and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.
    Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the state of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted - sometimes with guns - by an estimated eighty per cent of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880's when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard.
    Now here is a curious idea to ponder. Senator Ted Kennedy's office released a paper not too long ago claiming that prior to compulsory education the state literacy rate was 98% and after it the figure never again reached above 91% where it stands in 1990. I hope that interests you.
    Here is another curiosity to think about. The homeschooling movement has quietly grown to a size where one and a half million young people are being educated entirely by their own parents. Last month the education press reported the amazing news that children schooled at home seem to be five or even ten years ahead of their formally trained peers in their ability to think.
    I don't think we'll get rid of schools anytime soon, certainly not in my lifetime, but if we're going to change what is rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution "schools" very well, but it does not "educate" - that's inherent in the design of the thing. It's not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent, it's just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing.
    Schools were designed by Horace Mann and Barnard Sears and Harper of the University of Chicago and Thorndyke of Columbia Teachers College and some other men to be instruments of the scientific management of a mass population. Schools are intended to produce through the application of formulae, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.
    To a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this. But our society is disintegrating, and in such a society, the only successful people are self-reliant, confident, and individualistic - because the community life which protects the dependent and the weak is dead. The products of schooling are, as I've said, irrelevant. Well-schooled people are irrelevant. They can sell film and razor blades, push paper and talk on the telephones, or sit mindlessly before a flickering computer terminal but as human beings they are useless. Useless to others and useless to themselves.
    The daily misery around us is, I think, in large measure caused by the fact that - as Paul Goodman put it thirty years ago - we force children to grow up absurd. Any reform in schooling has to deal with its absurdities.
    It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety, indeed it cuts you off from your own part and future, scaling you to a continuous present much the same way television does.
    It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to listen to a stranger reading poetry when you want to learn to construct buildings, or to sit with a stranger discussing the construction of buildings when you want to read poetry.
    It is absurd and anti-life to move from cell to cell at the sound of a gong for every day of your natural youth in an institution that allows you no privacy and even follows you into the sanctuary of your home demanding that you do its "homework".
    "How will they learn to read?" you say and my answer is "Remember the lessons of Massachusetts." When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease if those things make sense in the kind of life that unfolds around them.
    But keep in mind that in the United States almost nobody who reads, writes or does arithmetic gets much respect. We are a land of talkers, we pay talkers the most and admire talkers the most, and so our children talk constantly, following the public models of television and schoolteachers. It is very difficult to teach the "basics" anymore because they really aren't basic to the society we've made. ..."

Regarding Gatto's comments, is that the kind of social system we really want to see duplicated on Mars or elsewhere?

Comment: What's more, utilities should have predicted this (Score 1) 470

by Paul Fernhout (#48035903) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Back around 2003, I was arguing on the SSI list against space-based solar power satellites, pointing out that with trend towards ever cheaper ground-based solar power, solar power satellites were making less and less economic sense, even if they might have made more sense in the 1970s if built from lunar materials. I also pointed out the with decentralized roof-based solar power, and with likely predictable improvements in power storage (compressed air, hydrogen and fuel cells, better batteries), fairly soon it would no longer make sense for many people to connect to the grid even if the production cost of the electricity was nearly free (like from SPSS), because roughly half the then-current cost of electricity was for "distribution" via a grid of wires, not for "production". The grid is costly to maintain with falling trees, hurricanes, and so on. So, at some point, it is cheaper to have local solar panels than to get even free electricity from space if you need to use a grid to distribute it. (Solar power from SPSS beamed directly to airplanes in flight or to big industrial plants or laser launching rocket systems might be a different economic story.)

One idea I suggested back then is that if you looked at these trends, and factored in a future decommissioning cost for the grid to remove poles and power lines and such, and also sunk costs of debt being repaid for previously built coal and nuclear plants, some utilities might already be effectively bankrupt? Of course, you need to weigh the value of the copper in the wires as well as the value of the power line right-of-way for communications, so that idea is a stretch -- but it shows what these cheap solar PV trends could mean to the utility industry.

But even in the 1980s, just as Reagan took office and took the solar panels off the White House, people were talking about these solar trends. Amory Lovins is another person good at general big predictions on energy (including oil prices in the 1970s, when you factor in risks like wars and supply disruption).

Anyway, all this issue with solar PV reaching grid parity something utility company planners should have seen coming a long way off. Instead, it seems most people (including on Slashdot) have been completely ignoring these cost trends towards grid parity, and are only now acting on the fact that it has finally been (or is about to be) reached for solar PV. That is kind of like ignoring the fact that a car engine is leaking oil until it actually seizes up.

Or in other words:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

Of course, I'm not sure what you could tell most utilities to do even if they had seen this trend. If their only response is to try to disrupt cheap solar, then maybe it is for the best that they ignored this trend? An alternative might have been for utility companies to get into a Sears-like appliance relationship with homeowners and their solar panels and batteries, or to do something like Solar City did with funding such systems?

The only thing I can see that would affect this trend towards dirt-cheap solar is even cheaper power from hot or cold fusion or something similar. It's true that people can fall off roofs installing solar panels, and that ground-based solar not on roofs can look cluttery and cover up ground otherwise usable for growing plants, and that batteries in the home need to be maintained and can be a hazard, and that some solar panels could in theory have run-off with some heavy metals (like lead or cadmium). So, nothing is perfect, and utilities might have been able to supply something better if they had thought hard about it and invested in R&D.

Comment: Basic income from a millionaire's perspective? (Score 1) 442

by Paul Fernhout (#48035471) Attached to: Ebola Has Made It To the United States

As I wrote here:
"Right now, a profit driven health care system has sized emergency rooms for average needs, and those emergency rooms are often full. With a basic income and more money going on a systematic basis to the health care system, the health care system emergency rooms will no longer be overrun with people there for reasons they could see a doctor for. So, emergency care would be better for millionaires. Millionaires with heart attacks won't be as likely to end up being diverted to far away hospitals because the local hospital emergency room is full. Likewise, emergency rooms might, with more money going to medicine, become sized for national emergencies, not personal emergencies, so they might become vast empty places, with physicians and other health care staff keeping their skills sharp always running simulations, learning more medical information, and/or doing basic medical research, with these people always ready for a pandemic or natural disaster or industrial accident which they had the resources in reserve to deal with. So, millionaires who got sick or injured in a disaster could be sure there was the facilities and expertise nearby to help them, even if most of the rest of the population needed help too at the same time too. In that way, some of this basic income could be funded by money that might otherwise go to the Defense department, because what is better civil defense then investing in a health care system able to to handle national disasters? So, any millionaires who are doctors (many are) would benefit by this plan, because their lives as doctors will become happier and less stressful, both with less paperwork and with more resources."

Maybe someday...

Comment: The general issue is decentralization & resile (Score 4, Interesting) 465

by Paul Fernhout (#48035393) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

As I discussed here (~25years ago):
"As outlined in my statement of purpose, my lifetime goal is to design and construct self-replicating habitats. These habitats can be best envisioned as huge walled gardens inhabited by thousands of people. Each garden would have a library which would contain the information needed to construct a new garden from tools and materials found within the garden's walls. The garden walls and construction methods would be of several different types, allowing such gardens to be built on land, underground, in space, or under the ocean. Such gardens would have the capacity to seal themselves to become environmentally and economically self-sufficient in the event of economic collapse or global warfare and the attendant environmental destruction. "


And here:

But many others have discussed similar things, so just another voice in the choir in that sense. If Musk really reflects on these issues (other than being another Mars fanboy) he will see that there are many possible avenues to decentralization and resiliency, of which Mars is just one. As we gain knowledge and experience in creating such systems, then we can disperse farther and farther to deal with bigger and bigger possible disasters (including the ones you point out about gamma ray burst or wandering neutron stars).

More ideas in that direction:

And by others:

Also something I've been involved with, but has since became more broadly "Open Manufacturing" and the maker movement:

So, generation ships etc. are interesting ideas, and they all fit into a large general picture of possibilities.

Still, for all that, making the Earth work well for most everyone (zero emissions cradle-to-cradle manufacturing, better healthcare and nutrition, a global basic income, better education for all, indoor agriculture, new power sources like dirt cheap solar and hot and cold fusion, and so on) is a good first step towards knowing how to live in space, especially given we are already on what Bucky Fuller called "Spaceship Earth". So, I see no big incompatibility between trying to make the Earth work for everyone and preparing for a future where there are quadrillions of people living in self-replicating space habitats throughout the solar system and ultimately the galaxy and beyond -- perhaps even into other dimensions and realities and simulations? Of course, there are philosophical issues still about all this about meanings in life and so on.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?