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Comment Not true. (Score 1) 184

There are airborne optical alternatives that can beat the * out of fiber - provided the weather is clear.

Fibre provides more frequency and better SNR than you'll get in the air, thus more bits

But a single fiber provides ONE PATH. Optics can provide MANY paths.

Imagine ten thousand fibers. Now imagine the ends poking out of a billboard in a 100x100 array - behind a 100x100 array of collimating lenses that beams the light toward your house. At your house imagine a telescope imaging that billboard onto a slide containing another 100x100 array of fiber ends. (Of course the fibers work both ways0 The air path may be of lower quality than physical fibers, but it's hard to beat a four orders of magnitude more paths. You'd need to run an actual bundle of hundreds or thousands of fibers from the billboard site to your house to beat it.
:
Now go back to the billboard and insert another 100x100 array of fibers through it - slightly offset so the same set of lenses but beams toward your next-door neighbor's house. (We'll assume the array is spaced out sufficiently that an optical telescope can resolve the two houses.) Repeat for ALL the houses served.

Not practical as described, of course. But it shows the principle: Wireless paths can multiplex spatially and reuse the bandwidth a hysterical number of times.

(Of course a real system using spatial multiplexing could be expected to use various wave-mechanical hacks rather than actual resolved paths - just as MIMO does down at radio frequencies.)

Comment No, the Democrats shut it down. (Score 1) 130

Backing a republican is understandable...but risky in this day and age. This is a political party that has shut down the US Government twice.

No, the Democrats are the ones that "shut it down" - to the extent that a "government shutdown" actually shuts anything down - and the Replublicans caved both times and gave them what they wanted.

The "power of the purse" is SUPPOSED to be the House of Representatives' check on a runaway executive branch. When the executive does something Congress doesn't want it to do, Congress is supposed to cut off the money for that, to make the executive branch stop. (This is why military appropriations, in particular, have a constitutional limit of two years: If the President, as Commander in Chief decides to go to war without a declaration, congress can stop the war within a couple years by stopping the money for the military.) This is also supposed to work when the majority of either house of congress is opposed to something.

But in these recent "government shutdowns" the Democratic majority in the Senate, along with the President, held all the services of the government hostage when the Republicans tried to defund the no-longer-popular Obamacare. The Republican-controlled house split the funding for various sections of the government into several bills, and passed essentially all of them, with the idea that Obamacare would be in its own bill which could then be voted on separately - both likely failing to pass it in the House and giving a recorded vote showing which senators and reps supported it, to use in the next election's campaigns.

The Senate leadership and Democratic majority then refused to pass ANY of the fund-a-part-of-the-government bills, holding the popular parts of the government's operations hostage: Give up the House's prerogative to originate all funding bills, pass an omnibus bill including Obamacare, or the government will be shut down - and our pet media will blame YOU for it!

The Republicans tried several iterations, from an everything-but-Obamacare bill, through several sets that added up to funding everything but Obamacare, to a bunch of little fund-somethng-really-important bills, and the Democrats bounced pretty much all of them.

Eventually the old budget timed out. Then the President ordered his people, not to go on vacation for lack of money to pay them, but to do things like actively blockade federal parks and roads. And for days the Democrats and the media said that it was the Republicans who had "shut down the goverment" (when they'd passed bills to fund pretty much all of it).

Eventually the Republican leadership threw in the towel and let an Everything Including Obamacare bill through. But people like you are STILL fooled into thinking it was the Rs, not the Ds, that made it uncomfortable for them by "shutting it down".

(I'd be a lot more impressed, by the way, if cutting off the money actually DID shut down the government, rather than just 17% or so of it, leaving the remaing 83% running full-bore. It would be interesting to try actual anarchy for a change, just to see what would happen. ;-) )

Comment Seabirds and landfills (Score 0, Troll) 149

The birds that figure out NOT to eat plastic (or how to get their body to deal with plastic after it's consumed) will survive to breed ...

Indeed.

There are clouds of seagulls constantly hanging out at the landfills in the San Francisco Bay Area, picking food out of the trash as it's dumped. Lots of plastic in the same load (even now that the plastic grocery bags are banned.) Why haven't THEY gone extinct yet?

Do the "environmentalists" think these gulls are better at distinguishing, or surviving ingestion of, plastic than the ones at sea? Or do we have to put roofs over our landfills to protect these endangered avian pests?

Somehow I'm not convinced this is a real problem.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 199

I'm with Trump on this one.

When the government, or any other gang of crooks, steals your resources, and you get the opportunity to take some of them back, letting them keep it (and potentially use it to harm others), rather than taking the "tainted money", isn't "principled", it's "stupid".

I'm following the law as written. If you want to help me change the laws so:
  - I don't get the Social Security and
  - I don't get Medicare, but
  - I also don't have to pay income tax when I earn money in the free market or liquidate my 401(k)s (money earned honestly that hasn't been taxed yet) and
  - can buy medical care and insurance, for myself and my family, on an open market, from providers that aren't forced to give free care to all comers and gouge people like me to cover it.
I'd be ECSTATIC to work with you.

But if you just want to eliminate the first pair without enabling the second, you're just trying to loot me further and can take a hike.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 199

I see your problem. The benefits don't trickle down from the ruling class. They don't "trickle down" from anywhere. They are shared. If anything, in US late-stage capitalism, the benefits trickle UP to the financial elite.

We're in agreement there - except for the characterization: It's late stage mercantalism, where government supports a handful of the established rich and vice-versa.

Like "True Communism", Capitalism hasn't really been tried, at least within the last century in the US. What aspects had been tried have been subverted by tie-ins among the financial and governmental elites. (And, yes, I agree that actually trying it, in the presence of the perverse incentive systems of governmental/political power, is very difficult.)

A group of people pulling together will always be stronger than one person pulling.

And a group of people pulling together voluntarily, because they each decided for themselves that pulling together helps meet their own goals, will always be stronger than a similarly-sized group being forced to pull by their masters.

Ayn Rand was ...

Ah HA! You are far enough away from the subject that you have Objectivism confused with libertarianism and Libertariansim. Oh, my...

Libertarianism (small or large L) is a very big tent. It can include every idea system that contains some variant of "don't hit first" and has at least some recognition of ownership of property.

Objectivism is important - because it is an internally-consistent philosophy, accessible to high-function Psychopaths that teaches them that playing nice with others has big benefits for them. This leaves a high-function compensated psychopath - who thinks he knows the one true way to be free (much like a religious fanatic thinks he knows the one true faith). He gets along with the giant crowd of other sorts, (perhaps seething much of the time at, or pitying them for, how they're "getting it wrong"), because Objectivism includes that same principle. So he has to let them run their own lives as long as they don't try to run the lives of others.

Teaching Objectivism is the one "treatment" that the Canadian prison system's research showed actually DID reduce recidivism - drastically. But Objectivists are just one club in the vast, chaotic, circus that is the union of the (Ll)ibertarians and the "freedom movement".

Comment Re: Running the numbers... (Score 1) 199

I've paid into this fund for over 70 line-years. Not sure what the rates were over that time (or how the inflation rate and other cost-of-money factors affected the value that was collected). If it had been at the current rate the dollar count would be maybe a quarter of one subscriber's subsidy. But the dollar has inflated by a factor of about ten over that period, so I expect I've paid in substantially more value than the average amount they'll be spending on one home's subsidy.

It will be interesting to see some of that money actually spent for the stated purpose. But given that this is a government operation I expect the usual level of SNAFU.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 199

I love how the techbro libertarians exaggerate the amount of money "the parasites" have taken from them without ever acknowledging the benefits they have enjoyed, and the privilege they have gained from those benefits. They all believe they earned every cent from their natural talent and the sweat of their own brow.

It doesn't matter how much "benefits" the ruling class chose to trickle down on us. We didn't get the choice to forgo the alleged benefits and keep the money - just as we didn't get to opt out of the draft into the military and "service" in VietNam, along with the "benefits" accruing from that adventure.

Do you also support organized crime's operation, because they provide the benefit of services otherwise unavailable (because they're forbidden by the biggest gang), or in some cases suppressing other crime in the neigborhoods where the kingpins live?

Dirty little secret: They did it for THEMSELVES. What they "did for us" was what any farmer does for his cattle and sheep - keep them as healthy and happy as necessary to keep them productive, before slaughtering then when they've become a liability.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 199

It's easy to snipe others for "sucking off the government teat" when you're young, healthy, and well-to-do. Try it when you're old, sick, unemployed or under-employed, and have been looted your whole working lifetime by that very government, to put milk into those teats for others to suck and ration you a few drops of your own back.

And don't dump on me for voting for it, either. I've voted against it since I was able to vote. (I was there for the founding of the libertarian movement - but didn't actually join the Party due to an issue with their wording of the non-aggression pledge.)

Comment Re:This is why (Score 1) 199

Man complaining about "the Soviet Left Coast" plans to retire comfortably collecting Social Security, using Medicare and sucking off the government teat.

Why not? These parasites sucked down OVER HALF MY PAY for DECADES. Then they'll pay me the social security pittance (and tax it) whether I want them to or not. I'll never get back the amount I paid (allegedly) "into the fund" on just THAT part of the money they took from me - assuming the whole thing doesn't go belly up before I do.

They might possibly end up paying me more inflated dollars if I live to be older than Methuselah. But it will pay nowhere near the actual value they stole. If I'd bought gold with that "social security deduction" instead of handing the money to Uncle Sam, I'd have been far, far ahead, even after storage, insurance, and commissions on both the purchases and the sales.

As for Medicare, they won't LET me do anything else (except pay for add-ons). The insurance companies, operating under the government's laws and mandates, DEMAND that I take the Medicare money: Even if I've paid full premiums for full coverage, and even when I hadn't signed up for medicare, once I was of age to be eligible for medicare they withheld the amount medicare is supposed to pay for a procedure and would only pay the miniscule difference if the doctor or hospital charged more or my deductable with medicare was higher than with the insurance. (Then, with Obamacare, they wouldn't renew.) If I try to refuse the coverage and try to pay it all out of pocket I'm either charged the massive
"uninsured patient list price" or just refused service.

It's easy to snipe others for "sucking off the government teat" when you're young, healthy, and well-to-do. Try it when you're old, sick, unemployed or under-employed, and have been looted your whole working lifetime by that very government, to put milk into those teats for others to suck and ration you a few drops of your own back.

Comment This is why (Score 1) 199

How is this worth posting to slashdot? Rural phone subsidies have been around forever. They recently got expanded to broadband.

They've been collecting it for decades. They've been giving it to the companies and not getting service to customers.

JUST NOW we have a company agreeing to take the money and use it to ACTUALLY ROLL OUT BROADBAND INTERNET to the rural areas.

That sure as hell is "news for nerds, stuff that matters".

Especially for me:

- A my Nevada place I get dialup that can't make it past 28k most days (and only works if I hotwire my DNS server selection: AT&T has had their routing tables fouled for over a year and won't route packets the dialup POP and the DNS servers specified by the dialup's DHCP server.) DirecTV/Hughes Net satellite has bad latency and a track record of throttling. The local phone company doesn't do DSL there - reselling HughesNet, see above. The local WISP doesn't point in my direction (and would want >$100/month for reasonable speed if they did). The only high-speed I've got there is via the Verizon LTE service (which is big $$$ for the gigs I'd need to work remotely for more than a weekend at a time - and SUPPOSEDLY doesn't have coverage there).

  - If I could get decent internet (at a decent price) I could work from the ranch, sell off the California townhouse, and live for a year on less than it costs to live in CA for a month. (Or retire and live comfortably on my savings, investments, and Social Security - which would crap out in a few years on the Soviet Left Coast.)

Comment Wait until the terrorists get hold of this tech. (Score 1) 180

It would be useful both for disrupting "business as usual" that they don't like and herding crowds into range of a more lethal device.

I can imagine several of them being flown into, and triggered in, sessions of a legislature that authorized them. But I somehow doubt that would actually happen, even in tyrannical foreign regimes. If the legislature is giving the tyrant and his security forces what they want, why use it on them? And if the opposition can get them in there with "less than lethal" weapons packages, "more than lethal" would be even easier, and have a more lasting effect on future legislation. (Realpolitik is a bitch.)

Comment Re:Not that far when you think "voltage" (Score 1) 96

It looks to me like the field-reversed configuration does the same sort of thing, compressing the plasma in a way that maps the electric fields (both directly applied and created by the magnetic field change) into particle acceleration during the compression, and thus into temperature.

Then again, this machine also builds TWO plasma donuts and crashes them into each other (where they combine) at "a million kph" - no doubt also by electrical-field acceleration. Another opportunity to scale up the heating by scaling up the voltage (or its magnetic equivalent).

Comment Re:Not that far when you think "voltage" (Score 4, Informative) 96

First off, there is a big difference between something like a fusor which is basically accelerating a beam of particles to some amount of eV that is similar to the applied voltage, and something going for a thermal distribution with same amount of eV spread out with a tail of the distribution that does most of the reactions

Fusors and polywells aren't about beams. They're about assembling a plasma object that is already hot, by compressing it during the assembly.

The fusor does this by having two concentric spherical electrodes, the inner one skeletal, with a large voltage between them. Positive ions fall inward essentially radially, accelerated by the field until they pass through the inner electrode, and fly on orbits that pass through the center of the spheres. They "pile up" as they pass through the center, thus mapping the acceleration voltage directly into compression temperature as well as high average density. (Unfortunately a small number of ions hit the inner electrode on each pass and are lost. So though it's a great fusion-neutron source breakeven isn't in the cards.)

The polywell does the same thing to electrons - with the added tweak that the inner electrode contains a set of magnet coils that get the electrons to travel in paths that mostly miss the electrode. As they orbit through the center the high average density there is effectively a third high-voltage negative electrode, producing a radial electric field between this "virtual electrode" at the center and the inner physical electrode. Positive ions fall in toward the virtual electrode (nearly neutralizing it) and again you get a high density and inward velocity, mapping the electric field into temperature.

It looks to me like the field-reversed configuration does the same sort of thing, compressing the plasma in a way that maps the electric fields (both directly applied and created by the magnetic field change) into particle acceleration during the compression, and thus into temperature. Unlike Tokamaks and similar devices, you don't "put a low-density plasma in a (magnetic) can" and then have to heat it up. You heat it by squeezing it when you initially assemble it, accelerating the particles toward each other, and that maps your compression forces into temperature - which turns a moderately high voltage into a relative particle speed that has a hysterically high number when expressed as temperature (at the same time that you're also raising the density) Hold it together long enough, don't let it interact with solid matter to cool it, and you've got the holy trinity for fusion. No ongoing heating required.

Also, you don't just easily scale up voltage past several 10s of kV, as you start reaching a lot of material limits for break down (even in vacuum), and engineering gets more difficult for 100+ kV in a small space.

So:
  - Expand the space (which also gives you more plasma volume and thus more power output at a given density), and
  - Keep anything but ionized, under-control, gasses out of the working region

100+ kV is not all THAT difficult to handle in an industrial-sized volume. Air at atmospheric pressure has a breakdown of about 40,000 v/in (though this drops as pressure is lowered). A clean vacuum (except for the working plasma itself) isn't too tough either: Television picture tubes worked fine with no arc-over at acceleration voltages of about a kilovolt per diagonal inch (i.e. 25 kV for a 25" picture tube) and far more than a kV per inch inside the tube. A machine twenty feet across would have substantially lower electric field at 200 kV.

Which is not to say that there won't be issues trying to scale this. But I wouldn't expect anything insurmountable from what you've alluded to here.

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