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Comment: Re:Reduced revenues != lost profit (Score 1) 280

by FredThompson (#48564315) Attached to: Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

Doubtful. Solar power and other "renewables" are not consistent. I suppose the exceptions are some thermal and water motion systems but those sources are so rare as to be inconsequential.

Electricity cannot be stored efficiently. Thus, power plants need to generate more than the expected peak energy required at any given time. In the case of solar panels, that utility-generated power must be available for use as the solar panel output varies.

The reality is that IF economical storage of electricity ever exists, it will come to the utilities FIRST, industrial use SECOND and individual use far later. Economies of scale apply. Every electrical utility would love to have such tech available. Currently, they must generate at or above the historical/expected peak need at any time. The higher the peak demand, the higher the cost to customers.

Better technologies for individual users to reduce electrical draws would be displays that use primarily reflective light. That would also be much better for human eyesight. Passive heat dissipation and concentration would be really helpful. Imagine how much energy is used for displays and cooling of electronics. I have no idea your age but before home computers and cell phones existed, home use of electrical power was much lower. Things as simple as electric irons and ovens use a huge amount of power because they're huge resistors. Lower-power processors in smartphones would be great. The primary reason they have been getting larger is to have larger internal batteries. Larger screens on them are secondary reasons. Marketing promotes the large screens as a benefit because that's more attractive to people than a thicker device. Of course, the new ones are more like small clipboards, not a radio you can put in a pockets...but I digress.

Comment: Re: Predictions (Score 1) 280

by FredThompson (#48564199) Attached to: Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

This comment wasn't "insightful."

Profit IS a requirement because profit is needed to pay for upgrades/maintenance and other contingencies. The alternative is taxing citizens repeatedly at varying rates to match needs.

It's also not as simple as setting a percentage or total profit allowable. Suppose there's a major unexpected accident. The money to repair must come from somewhere. Suppose the population grows quickly or the electrical demands grow quickly such as when people started buying large screen TVs. Investment money must come from somewhere and it must be available when needed.

Comment: Re:Ada? (Score 1) 387

by ajdlinux (#47862603) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative
I'm currently studying for my bachelor's in CS, and I've taken two courses taught in Ada. Quite an alright language, IMHO. I'm also aware of at least two private-sector companies in my relatively-small city who are starting new projects in Ada (in addition to all the established defence contractors around here). So it's not completely dead! Mostly, but not completely!

Comment: Doesn't help public sector transparency (Score 2) 288

by ajdlinux (#41526809) Attached to: Scientists Want To Keep Their Research Work Out of Court
As much as this may be beneficial to scientists, I feel that in the case of publicly-funded institutions, it would set a bad precedent for the overall cause of public sector transparency. It has been a long, hard fight for increased transparency in government (FOI laws and such) and I think creating an exception for scientific agencies doesn't send the right message.

Comment: And in Australia... (Score 3, Insightful) 500

by ajdlinux (#41280561) Attached to: Election Tech: In Canada, They Actually Count the Votes

In Australia, for most purposes we still use paper ballots. (There are a few exceptions - ACT territory elections have *optional* computer-based voting, and NSW state elections have an *optional* online voting system for some absentee or disabled voters.)

On election night, officials at every polling place - who are required to sign a declaration, under penalty, that they are not politically active - do an initial hand count of first-preference votes (yes, we have IRV and STV ballots here) and the votes for the top two front runners. These are the numbers that make their way to the internet in a matter of minutes and are used for the election night media coverage - but they actually have no legal significance at all, they're basically purely for the media coverage.

The real counting happens the week after election day, when all ballots are transported to the local electoral office for counting. For elections that use IRV ballots (e.g. the federal House of Representatives), the ballots are all hand counted. For STV ballots (e.g. the federal Senate), they do use computer based counting, however the paper ballots are retained and a hand count can be done if necessary. If there are any issues that arise, the Returning Officer has the discretion to order a recount as necessary, without necessarily needing court orders or anything like that.

The *entire process* - opening the polls, conducting the polling, closing the polls, the first count, the second count, and any recounts - takes place in front of candidate-appointed scrutineers (not quite as good as being public, but it's close enough). Every candidate can appoint scrutineers to witness the whole process and make objections.

And this is how Australia has elections that are virtually unchallengeable - for a typical federal election, there will usually be at most one serious dispute, and only in districts with the tiniest of margins where they need a judge to make the final decision. Heck, we're experimenting with computer-based and internet-based voting systems, and no-one's raising concerns because the Electoral Commission has such a high reputation for integrity and accuracy.

Comment: Re:Massive farms of artificial trees... (Score 1) 368

by FredThompson (#38682820) Attached to: New CO2 Harvester Could Help Scrub the Air

Pfff.

There is no appreciable atmospheric effect from co2 created by human activity. there is no appreciable heat effect from human co2 production. you are coupling where there is no such statement. human bodies handle excessive heat better than excessive cold. cold is more deadly than heat. there will be no 100ft sea rise. co2 levels rise and fall over time.The earth is far more resilient and self-correcting a system than you assume. People are nowhere near capable of destroying it.

There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly. -- Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)

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