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Comment Re:Renewables at 4X current electricity rates (Score 1) 502

I think you aren't including sufficient battery backup. But they aren't much more expensive.

The real problem is the the stability of the US dollar is subsidized by petroleum only being sold in dollars. It's my belief that that's why there's such a US military presence in the middle east. (IIRC, the invasion of Iran coincidentally happened after the prior government agreed to sell oil in euros. Then there were these WMDs discovered (which turned out to be faked). Just coincidentally.

Comment Re:Fun question: (Score 1) 502

I don't have your faith in the "well running market", but I generally agree with your approach. The problem is that the "well running market" is a myth because of temporal lag in feed-forward loops. (They aren't relly feedback loops, because of time not standing still. But if you use a linearized simplification you can think of them as such.) You need governers in place to limit both positive and negative reinforcement of trends and to act as friction for rate of change.

Unfortunately, I know of no way to accomplish this. E.g., regulatory capture is an unsolved problem, because those in power don't *want* it solved. The simple way to solve it would be to cut the feed forward, i.e., forbid economic interactions between the regulators and those regulated not only during their term of office, but also afterwards, and, ideally, also before appointment. But that would require the development of expertise in an apprenticeship, which would promulgate whatever culture the regulatory agency adopted.

Comment Re:Consider the source - a pathological liar (Score 1) 502

Well, I'm not sure that you could consider the "plan" a lie. I do, however, doubt that we could trust her to do what she promissed. There are too many easy excuses for not doing it.

The odd thing is, while she was chiefly Pres. Clinton's wife I had quite a good impression of her. Since then.... not so much so.

Comment Re:So 30% of 4% is 1.2%. What is attractive here? (Score 1) 291

Farmers also operate on a thin budget, so if it increases their expenses they're likely to give it a pass, even if they approve of the idea.

OTOH, if this is cheap and easy to add, then it may be successful. Depending. How many farmers still grow their own feed? How many buy commercial feed? (OTOH, why are dairy cattle being fed corn? That's generally a bad idea. It's usually reserved for beef cattle being held in feed lots to put on fat.)

That said, my grandfather often added molasses to the alfalfa he fed his dairy cattle while milking them. So if it could be mixed into a formula of molasses, this stuff, and various other minerals it could easily be added, if not too expensive.

OTOH, my grandfather was operating on quite a small scale. (3 cows is the most I remember.) Perhaps the problems/benefits are different for larger operations.

Comment Mickey Mouse copyright extenstions... (Score 4, Insightful) 177

It is not fair.

Neither is it fair that Disney stole Osamu Tezuka's Kimba for use in The Lion King.

The Constitutional requirement is: (1) to authors and inventors, (2) for a limited time, (3) in order to promote progress in the sciences and arts.

It is impossible that extending the copyright term for works of a fifty-year-dead author can encourage him to produce more work. Nor is the resulting term "limited" in either in mathematical or human terms. And the current Mickey Mouse "copyright owners" are certainly NOT that author nor inventor.

Comment Re:Tipping? (Score 1) 886

Or drive by's.

A few years ago the U.S. military were evaluating a new hybrid vehicle to replace the Hummer. Their main interest was logistics, since Hummers aren't the most economical vehicles to operate. They couldn't help but notice that in electric mode their new vehicle was quiet.

Around here the Toyotas are positively noisy. The Teslas, on the other hand, only make a faint whirr from their tires.


Comment Re:Low cost chip, high cost support (Score 1) 91

It may seem wierd, but it is entirely rational.

Sure the ISA is open, but that is just for the CPU. A meaningful inplementation needs all the stuff that goes around it, and, as with all electronics, volume is king.

Theoretically, as you say, someone who needs a CPU to embed could choose Sparc. Then they could set about developing the rest of the system. But when they place an order, they better have a vlome market - or they would be better of with an alternative by a very large margin.

The existing Sparc targets a very specific market (web/database servers) at which it excels, but the market is not really big enough for other players to have massively bigger volume. The machines for this market have more IP outside the CPU than in it - it is about transactions per second, not instructions per second.

I have tried using Sparc as a workstation, and I am using Intel now. Its about the external infrastructure, not the product. My servers are all Sparc (OpenBSD, not Solaris - no hideous licencing problems, and Solaris majors on features I don't need - but if I did, the licence fees might be worth the money.

Now if a Sparc product was to target the mobile phone market?

Comment Surplus (Score 1) 295

We're collectively producing more rice than we eat. Japan is stockpiling unused rice every year, and the world markets are flooded with cheap rice. Food insufficiency (starvation, malnutrition) is currently a problem of resource allocation, not production.

At the same time, the consumers in the big rice consuming countries aren't eating just "rice". You can typically find many dozens of very specific breeds of rice with differences in flavour, texture, firmness, size and so on. And that's within a single type (Japonica, say).

I suspect this would only be useful for rice grown for feed or as an industrial crop. But for feed, source of starch and so on there are already other, well entrenched crops available, so I don't see much of a practical impact of this development.

Comment Re:A simple proposition. (Score 1) 382

What is the alternate solution? Are you willing to pay for a subscription to every site you visit? Do you want more "native content" intermixed with all these articles?

Or, you know, less content. It's not as if we're all sitting around wishing there was more stuff on the internet to read, right?

We pay a monthly subscription for our online daily newspaper. I occasionally pay for things such as printed anthologies of online comics I follow, buy books by authors whose blogs and articles I read. I subscribe to a couple of websites.

At one end there is high-quality content such as newspapers (which is high quality in my home country) and other stuff like I listed above. Stuff that is good enough that people really do want to pay for it.

At the other end a lot of people out there are creating good stuff completely for free. You've got academics, programmers and other professionals with a day job that write to spread what they learn. You've got hobbyists sharing their passion. Small businesses publishing good stuff to promote their name and skills. Factual events are widely and freely reported.

The content farms, clickbait sites and the rest out there is squeezed between these two. The high-quality stuff sets the bar for what people expect in order to part with their money. The free stuff sets the bar on what people accept before they abandon you and leave for better sources.

If your business depends on having so much advertising that it drives people to block stuff or leave, then you have no business being in business at all.

You cannot have a science without measurement. -- R. W. Hamming