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Comment: Re:Who needed it? (Score 4, Interesting) 70

Seriously. NetUSB? On a router? WHY the devil would I want that?

Printer sharing. A problem that was solved well in the 80's and since re-solved slightly worse every few years. It is difficult to imagine a worse way than NetUSB, but I am sure there are developers out there with a better imagination than mine.

Comment: Re:Major changes in many countries (Score 4, Insightful) 333

by amorsen (#49720287) Attached to: Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine

There has been practically zero progress on handling the demand side. Doing so would require a radical rethink of how Western countries deal with drugs and drug addiction. This is not likely to happen in the next 20 years at least, and it is stupid to condemn other countries to 20 more years of violence by keeping our focus on limiting supply.

Comment: Major changes in many countries (Score 3, Interesting) 333

by amorsen (#49719953) Attached to: Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine

If we eliminated the need to grow opium, a some countries would find their economies transformed. Imagine Afghanistan without opium financing various criminal factions. We just need to figure out how to make cocaine without coca, and Middle America would be changed too.

Of course that relies on the secret getting out. Otherwise we are still stuck with the morass of violent crime.

Comment: Re:Online voting is easy (Score 1) 258

by amorsen (#49690575) Attached to: Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem

b) someone isn't forcing them

Defending against this requires secret ballots. If you can verify how a person voted, then that person is at risk of coercion. Online voting cannot provide secret ballots. If you want secret ballots, do not use online voting.

I thought I wrote that clearly enough in my first attempt, but apparently not :)

Comment: Re:Brand? (Score 1) 227

by amorsen (#49635793) Attached to: 17-Year-Old Radio Astronomy Mystery Traced Back To Kitchen Microwave

The washer and dryer primarily spend their energy on heating, not on running the motor. Using less water means savings on electricity because there is less water to heat. Dryers jump dramatically in efficiency when you switch to a condensing dryer, since you save most of the heat that went into turning water into steam.

Comment: Re:Elude observation? (Score 1) 227

by amorsen (#49632893) Attached to: 17-Year-Old Radio Astronomy Mystery Traced Back To Kitchen Microwave

They did not spend millions of dollars looking for the microwave oven, and they knew all along that the signal was man-made. Figuring out precisely which item made it is the kind of thing that gets you in the newspapers, so they did a little PR stunt.

Their usual work changes our understanding of the universe but does not have a chance to make it into the mainstream news. Can you begrudge them their 15 minutes of fame?

Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 1) 514

by amorsen (#49602415) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

Plus those installations can provide a shedload of REACTIVE power, very, very useful for grid stabilization.

They can, but are they? I have only seen residential solar which reacted to grid overload/underload situations (i.e. situations which should never occur in an ideal world), not any which reacted to constant requirements for reactive power. Do you know of any which take part in the standard grid stabilization in normal use, outside of grid emergencies?

Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 1) 514

by amorsen (#49597421) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

When electricity is cheap, it is because the marginal cost of producing it is low. The marginal cost is low because it does not take very much extra fuel to produce it. In other words, when electricity is cheap, its production is also less environmentally harmful. (This only holds as long as the power stations are unchanged of course.)

The Economist regularly gets this wrong by saying that electric cars are polluting more if they charge at night rather than during the day. They base this on the average pollution per kWh being higher at night. However, the average pollution does not matter. It is the marginal pollution which matters, and that is very low at night. This is really the kind of thing that economists should be specializing in getting right; I do not understand how you can be an economist and get it wrong.

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose

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