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Comment: Re:Here's a brilliant idea... (Score 1) 44

by aaarrrgggh (#48674209) Attached to: South Korea Says Nuclear Reactors Safe After Cyberattacks

A jumper in the wrong place or an ice-cube relay being removed can ultimately have similar effects. Ban fingers too?

A properly designed system has one set of PLCs for primary control, and a separate one as a supervisory system to ensure basic functionality always is online. The secondary system wouldn't control pump speed, but it would ensure coolant is flowing of the system is on.

It would be relatively easy to keep a nuclear power plant from operating at peak efficiency, but unless IKEA or WalMart have started making reactors forcing more serious effects remotely is nearly impossible.

Comment: Re:Voicemail won't die (Score 1) 233

by aaarrrgggh (#48665285) Attached to: The Slow Death of Voice Mail

Only if you make the person leaving the message listen to a machine-reading of the transcribed message and then use T3 notation to edit the message win order to have it accepted will it ever work...

I am starting to contemplate requiring unknown callers to validate their name, company, and direct phone number...

Comment: Re:youmail (Score 2) 233

by aaarrrgggh (#48665267) Attached to: The Slow Death of Voice Mail

Sorry, but I have to disagree. Our Asterisk system gives me caller, length of call, and time in an email immediately after. We had transcriptions enabled before, but they were terrible so I shut it off.

I appreciate that the telephone can be more efficient for a 2-way dialogue, but it's modality kills me. I can't change trains of thought on a dime and still get things done. To me, the courteous action is to send an email, and follow with a text if it is actually urgent.

Maybe if I got visual voicemail working for the office I could use it again, or if I could play the .wav or .gsm attachments on my iPhone i would feel differently, but right now it is a pain in the ass.

Comment: Re:Are they really that scared? (Score 1) 461

by aaarrrgggh (#48532371) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies

The fact that they are switching away from making energy consumption basis for charging you to peak demand. Expect peak demand fees to be assessed on generation as well before too long.

The major remaining challenge today for renewable energy is that peak demand has moved to an hour before sunset through two hours after sunset. There is talk about moving the peak period away from noon-time and to later in the day already. Local energy storage solves that remaining utility challenge quite effectively. After that, the utility just becomes a (bad) standby generator.

Right now, off-grid power with a nearby grid readily available is a poor investment, as are batteries when you are connected to the grid. It is cheaper to just add panels at $1.15/W than add batteries for net metering.

Comment: Re: Why (Score 1) 395

by aaarrrgggh (#48482713) Attached to: France Wants To Get Rid of Diesel Fuel

Cummins at least is dealing with particulate in the cylinder, and using after-treatment to deal with NOx. This eliminates the problem with PM2 generated by PM10 particulate filters. It is a pretty elegant solution and generally makes sense (although the DEF is a pain to need in addition to fuel.

It sounds more like a jobs program to disadvantage German cars though.

Comment: Re:Aerial or underground ? (Score 1) 516

by aaarrrgggh (#48466767) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

Depends on the environment. In Hawaii, underground lines have approximately half the life of aerial cables in general, and one third the life of aerial cables on steel poles. From a cost, reliability, and time-to-repair perspective you can't beat aerial there.

The biggest problem in general with the sub-distribution grid though is over-subscription. You have infrastructure designed pre-air conditioning that is now carrying 2-3x it's design load in many places. Transformers don't get replaced until they fail catastrophically, insulators aren't cleaned, and the right-of-way is not properly protected from trees, cars, etc.

Comment: Re:It was an almost impossible case to prosecute (Score 1) 1128

by aaarrrgggh (#48459025) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

If there isn't grounds for a trial, the grand jury isn't supposed to pass the buck. That is their job. It prevents an undue burden of defense.

The prosecutor is going to publish all data; it will be interesting to see what comes out. I think it is likely that the officer had a bias in the incident leading up to the shooting. However, that isn't something that can be prosecuted.

I find the claims of "hands up surrender" a little hard to believe personally, but that is my bias based on the fact that he was high, possibly had a knife, was quite large, and had just stolen something. The "surrender" pose seems suspicious. The evidence will be interesting to peruse.

Comment: Re:Helium shortage, US govt effed-up (Score 1) 116

Yes, the government fsck'd up the helium market, but for applications like this it isn't that big of a deal. You can use hydrogen instead, although the flight time will likely be half due to leaks. For a while there was a good bit of research into using hydrogen as a deep diving gas in place of helium, but pesky safety issues got in the way.

Comment: Re:The rest of the country needs to face reality (Score 1) 554

by aaarrrgggh (#48395823) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices

Los Angeles has made significant progress over the past two decades with mass transit; they have 87 miles of track, and the system is expanding. Unfortunately, geography doesn't help them as much as it does for the SF Bay Area (BART has 104 miles of track).

Los Angeles is a failure of metropolitan planning, especially in the late 70‘s through the 80‘s where several outlying cities popped up. This isn't sustainable, and the solutions you outline are important to making things work well. Unfortunately, it isn't that uncommon to need to drive 50 miles in a day each way given economic realities. As the manufacturing base declines it will be interesting to see what happens to the area. Me, I live close enough to work that I can ride my bike in and not own a car. Not realistic for most people though.

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