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Comment: Re: WUWT (Score 1) 441

by aquabat (#47355669) Attached to: Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year
Yeah, it's pretty cool. I used to be all fanatical about that stuff back in the 90s. The idea with the thermal mass is that the sun comes in through the windows and heats up the walls, and then, at night, the walls radiate the heat back into the house. It's like a thermal storage battery. If you want it cooler, you draw the curtains and open the roof vent. You have buried air pipes at floor level that go outside, so the hot air escaping from the roof vent draws in cool air via the floor vents, with the earth around the pipe also cooling the intake air. Works really well in desert environments, where the days are hot, and the nights are cold, but I've read about people building them in places like northern Ontario too, where the winters are -40C. The biggest issue with the winter climate ones actually seems to be too much solar gain, instead of not enough, and also controlling the humidity. If you're hard core about living off the grid, it's viable, and as a bonus, your house will look like something out of a '70s scifi flick.

Comment: Re: WUWT (Score 1) 441

by aquabat (#47349753) Attached to: Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year
You might want to check out "earthships". Basically, rammed earth construction utilizing the thermal mass of the ground to moderate the house temperature, lots of sun-facing windows for solar gain in winter, and chimney-style ventilation to draw in cool air from the ground-level and expel hot air at the top.

Comment: Re:This thought crosses my mind a lot. (Score 1) 808

by aquabat (#43748801) Attached to: Rice Professor Predicts Humans Out of Work In 30 Years

Hmm, fembots. I suppose the Apple model will be prettier, but much more expensive?

The real problem is that it will demand ecosystem monogamy.

As long as they come out with a new model every 12-18 months, that shouldn't be a problem.

"Fembots", Bah! They'll be hot for a couple of years, sure, but Androids are the future. Not only are they cheaper, they are much more versatile. Fembots are designed to be used in only certain specific ways, but you can do anything you want to an Android.

Comment: Re:Unfortunately terrorists are often engineers (Score 1) 416

by aquabat (#43501871) Attached to: FBI Releases Boston Bombing Suspect Images/Videos
That's different. You're talking about command structure; I'm talking about footsoldiers. Sure, the commanders are sharp. They have their agenda, and they give orders to achieve that agenda. (They're still heartless, but maybe they know it and have come to terms with it). However, I have trouble believing that the kids they send out to bomb random targets have thought very deeply about their own motivations for doing so. The tribe is a powerful thing.

Comment: Re:9/11 terrorists were all college educated (Score 1) 416

by aquabat (#43501657) Attached to: FBI Releases Boston Bombing Suspect Images/Videos
Ideally, I'd say choose from a variety of different cultures. One of the points of a university used to be to have a place where people could get together and discuss their ideas and opinions without getting punched in the face. The critical thinking part is the real meat of the matter for me. I'm not scared of reading the wrong books, because I know I can unpack whatever is in them and evaluate the contents in a more or less objective manner. Just pick something at random and have at it.

Comment: Re:9/11 terrorists were all college educated (Score 3, Interesting) 416

by aquabat (#43490093) Attached to: FBI Releases Boston Bombing Suspect Images/Videos

Just in case you don't know it yet ...

The terrorists who hijacked the planes and then slammed them into the World Trade Center (and the Pentagon and the one which crashed in Pennsylvania) were ALL college educated

Respectfully, I think they had the wrong type of education.

I don't care how awesome an engineer you are, if you have never taken and understood a philosophy course or an ethics course, you have probably never seriously and critically examined the things you were brought up to believe, or tried to follow the reasoning of someone else's beliefs.

Hell, even a proper, proof based, mathematics course will have you identifying logical inconsistencies in various lines of reasoning by the time you take your mid-term. Other good choices are history, psychology and anthropology. Oh and definitely, absolutely, a first year literature course, where you have to learn to think critically about what you see, hear and read, then form a supported opinion, and then express it coherently, to other smart people.

Not to say that there aren't people out there that can instinctively and naturally think in both a rigorous and a compassionate manner (and I am definitely not trying to imply anything personal, Sir), but if you've ever read English papers written by first year engineers, you can probably see where I'm coming from. Most people need to be taught these kinds of things, if only to jump start their own awareness of just how diverse and wonderful the wider world really is. It's called "The Big Picture" for good reason.

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