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Comment Re:Dumb Article (Score 1) 266

I also saw this in the 1990s. Microsoft has long been an anomaly. It's been rare to see an operating system be developed separately from its hardware. Think of all the different operating systems you have used, and paid for, and tell me which ones were not developed by the same people that built the hardware.

I think back and there was Commodore, Atari, SGI, Apple, Sun, DEC/Digital, and I'm probably forgetting some. All of them had the same company build the OS and the hardware. Some of them tried to survive by separating the OS business from the hardware business but none were successful with competition from Microsoft, Apple, and (IMHO largely) Linux.

Free operating systems like Linux killed a lot of unix-like operating systems, leaving the desktop to be split between Microsoft and Apple. It seems it's quite hard to maintain an operating system on your own without hardware profits to keep it funded. I'm amazed Microsoft has survived as long as it has without a large hardware division to fund their software development.

My predictions of Microsoft no longer licensing their OS and make their own hardware like Apple may come true, I'll only be off by a decade or two on when that happens.

Comment Re:I think they're missing the point (Score 1) 266

I was going to post something very similar. There's a reason why Microsoft is having a hard time getting people to upgrade their OS and is now effectively giving it away now. With Windows XP people got most everything they need to run their computer today.

There was a time when I'd have friends and family give me their old, yet quite functional, computers just to get them out of the house. Computers got real cheap, real fast. I noticed that at some point no one would give me a working computer any more. I'd get half way working computers, like laptops with busted displays, but none that are fully functional. No one has given me an even half way working computer with anything newer than Windows XP on it. Not only are computers cheaper but they are better built, they last longer than they used to.

I regularly use computers that are close to ten years old. I have more than one computer at home, of course, the newest is three years old. I have one that I'm not sure how old it is that I use to play StarCraft (the first one), run a serial console for my Cisco rack, and a few other odd tasks. I have no desire to replace them so long as they keep running. I may add another to my collection out of a desire to run some new software, which may include Microsoft's operating systems. With what I do I highly doubt that any new operating system or tablet from Microsoft is going to compel me to buy what they are selling, I'll just replace those computers that break.

Another thing that is likely slowing new computer sales, and is quite outside of Microsoft's control, is the economy. I'd like a new "toy" if work was coming in like it used to but until work picks up I'll be satisfied with what I have now. I suspect I'm not alone, until people start making more money they are not likely to replace a working computer.

Comment Enforce against the feds? (Score 2) 41

The state passes a law requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before collecting electronic evidence against you, so what happens if an agent of the federal government violates that law? As I understand our federal system even federal agents cannot break state law. Realistically though I doubt heavily that any federal agent is going to get arrested under this law.

Curious though, states seem quite willing to break federal law by passing laws legalizing the trade and consumption of marijuana. The federal government has chosen to yield to state laws on this part of law. Perhaps the feds will also recognize state authority on the search and seizure of electronic evidence?

Right, I don't think so either.

Comment Re:Some people can't take a polygraph (Score 1) 262

She had a medical condition which made her immune to intimidation!?

No, she had a condition that prevented the intimidation from creating the physical responses that a polygraph measures. A polygraph measures things like sweating, pulse rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and maybe others.

A person with a pace maker would not register stress with a heart rate monitor since it's a machine that determines heart rate.

A person that cannot sweat, or who sweat constantly, would not register stress from sweat.

I can't think of a condition at the moment that would affect breathing rate, and not leave someone in an iron lung, but I'd wager one exists.

So if a person shows up for a polygraph and the sweat indicator shows a flat line then the polygraph could be rendered impossible to read. As many many here point out the polygraph does not work regardless but if a medical condition prevents it's use then the intimidation that it is intended to create is diminished or gone..

Comment Some people can't take a polygraph (Score 1) 262

I recall reading something probably years ago about someone that avoided having to take a polygraph because she (pretty sure it was a she) had a medical condition that prevented getting an accurate reading from a polygraph test. Does this sound plausible?

Also, if true then what would these medical conditions be? I'd assume some pretty major stuff affecting heart rate and pressure, such as a mechanical heart, pacemaker, or perhaps a heart transplant. Maybe even more common things like being on a blood thinner, blood pressure medications, sedatives/analgesics, maybe even a potent antihistamine.

If it's a drug that can excuse someone from having to take a polygraph test then I'm going to find a way to be on that drug should I have to take a polygraph. I didn't have to take a polygraph for my security clearance in the Army. I also got beaten, bruised, and broken enough in the Army that I'm on a variety of medications to treat my resulting medical issues. I suspect I can lead my treatment down a path to get on something that make a polygraph unusable should I choose to return to government work.

Why would I do this? Because I know a polygraph is pseudoscience and I'd rather not be subject to it. One means to this end is, of course, not to take a job that requires it. However, as someone with a disability and a skill set like I have can make employment choices limited.

Comment Time to end wind subsidies (Score 1) 211

We've been told for years that we need to subsidize wind power so that there will be investment in wind power development so that it can compete on the open market with coal. It looks like we've reached that goal. Wind power can produce up to 40% of the power in Texas and that sounds like a success to me. I believe that wind can now compete on its own merits now.

For those that will inevitably point out that coal gets subsidies too, I say those need to go away too. No more energy subsidies.

Comment Re:Hydrogen fule is not necessarily "green" (Score 1) 221

Okay then, I will revise my math. The g/kWhr for energy to moving the vehicles becomes:
900 / 50% = 1800 for coal-electric vehicle (CEV)
800 / 25% = 3200 for petrol powered vehicle (PPV)
500 / 25% = 2000 for natural gas vehicle (NGV)

At this point the life cycle carbon output comes into play. How much more heavy metals are needed for the batteries in the CEV vs. the NGV? How much more mining and refining is needed to produce those batteries?

I will admit my back of the envelope math was off by a bit I was still well within order of magnitude. Electric vehicles are not the "zero emission" vehicles they claim to be so long as we burn coal for electricity.

To be fair I'll add the 20% factor for electricity made from "green" nuclear, hydro, and wind.
900 / 50% * 80% = 1440 for coal-electric vehicle (CEV)

Even that makes CEV and NGV within 30% to 40% of each other. New engines announced this last year claims to increase internal combustion efficiency to 40%, making total vehicle efficiency close to 33%.
500 / 33% = 1500 for natural gas vehicle (NGV)

That puts NGVs at near parity with CEVs. Then there are some real bonuses for natural gas beyond being "green". Cost is a big one, as NGVs share many parts with PPVs that makes production and repairs inexpensive and easy to find. There is the possibility for dual fuel with petrol from those that have difficulty finding natural gas stations. CEVs can share this as a plug in hybrid but that adds to the cost, weight, and the reduction in efficiency that comes with that weight. NGVs have increased range between fill ups and reduced time to fill up compared to CEVs;.

Not all bad things for CEVs. Electric motors can achieve performance and noise reduction that internal combustion vehicles cannot match. If natural gas/petrol dual fuel electric plug-in hybrids come to market then we get the best of them all, IMHO.

Comment Re:Hydrogen fule is not necessarily "green" (Score 1) 221

Assuming an electric car gets twice the thermal efficiency compared to a petrol car I'll do some math. A coal powered electric car is powered solely by the carbon bonds on coal, that means every joule comes from turning carbon and oxygen into CO2. A petrol powered car gets roughly half its power from the carbon bonds and half from the hydrogen bonds. If the petrol car is getting half of its energy from turning hydrogen and oxygen into H2O then it's producing the same amount of CO2 per mile traveled.

If we compare the coal powered electric car to a car run on methane then we get better numbers. For every carbon atom burned in that methane we get four hydrogen atoms burned. Which by my back of the envelope math the methane burning car is just as good, or better, than the coal powered electric car that has four times the thermal efficiency.

No one in the USA can claim a "green" electric car because in the USA 80% of our electricity comes from coal or other fossil fuels. Even if someone owns an electric car, and charges it from their own solar panels, it's still not carbon neutral since the aluminum and steel used to make that car came from coal powered factories.

What we might have is a bit of a chicken and egg question. What comes first, the electric car or the nuclear power? It's difficult to justify the electric car with coal power and so long as cars burn petrol a nuclear power plant does nothing to reduce emissions from vehicles. As long as we get so much of our electricity from coal it seems obvious to me to make the transition from coal to nuclear as soon as possible. After we have a majority of our electricity from nuclear power then it might make sense for electric vehicles from a standpoint of CO2 emissions. Even then we'd still have a problem with the financial cost of electric vehicles. Perhaps electric cars will become cheaper in time but I doubt it. I'd think that natural gas would get so cheap from not having to burn it for electricity that using it in cars would make a lot of sense, both financially and from a CO2 output stance.

That's just my math though. You can do your own math if you like. Please share your math if you think you get numbers that show electric cars are superior to natural gas cars.

Comment Forget RICO, threaten to bomb Isreal! (Score 1) 737

I want nuclear power so that the USA doesn't have to burn Iran's oil, because burning Iran's oil means giving money to a known host of terrorism and increasing global warming. Iran doesn't want to burn Iran's oil, because they can make more money by selling it than burning it for electricity. What does Iran do so that it can get it's nuclear power plants? Well, they threatened to drop nuclear bombs on Israel.

So, I want to build a nuclear power plant. How do I go about doing that? Apparently if I threaten to drop nuclear bombs on Israel then the US federal government will let me get radioactive material and will give me piles of money to build my reactors.

The question that remains is this, if I am successful in building my nuclear reactors after I get all this stuff from the US government do I have to follow through on my threat and actually bomb Israel? I mean I don't want to actually bomb Israel but I do want to reduce my carbon footprint with a nuclear power reactor. Maybe I can build a dud bomb to drop. Then when there isn't an earth shattering "kaboom" I can just go to the US government for more radioactive material, more money, and build more reactors.

Comment Re:Works both ways (Score 1) 737

Fraud is saying that I am the Queen of England for financial gain and knowing it to be false. Saying I am the Queen of England, when I am in fact the Queen of England, is an introduction. Saying I am the Queen of England, while believing it to be true when it is not, does not sound like fraud to me. It might be mental illness but not fraud.

If I say that there is no global warming because everywhere I look for evidence of global warming I find none is not fraud. If everywhere I go people refer to me as the Queen of England one of two conclusions become most probable. At some point either I must believe the rest of the world has gone mad for calling me something I am not or I must come to believe that I am in fact the Queen of England.

If I have some people telling me I am the Queen of England, and others that call me by a different name, then I can live with that apparent disparity by living with two names. People do this often by having pen names that differ from their legal name. This is not fraud. The problem with global warming is that it is or it isn't, it's not something that can exist in one realm but not in another like a nom de plume. Or can it?

I believe that I can make global warming appear and disappear as I wish so long as it gets me what I want. Or rather I believe that others can make global warming appear or disappear so long as it gets them what they want. This is where I believe the problem lies, people will use whatever means they can to get what they want. Global warming is just something that happens to serve some people well as a means to an end.

What ends are people using the global warming scare as the means? Usually it is more government. Global warming is not stopped by more taxes or more subsidies, which is usually what we get from global warming scaremongering. Global warming is stopped by replacing carbon emitting energy sources with energy sources that are cheaper, more abundant, and do so with less carbon output.

I say we should get more nuclear power because it is reliable, safe, does not rely on foreign trade with hostile nations, cheap, clean, and the carbon output being low is irrelevant to me. If I can get people to support nuclear power because it is a low carbon output then, yes, global warming is going to kill us all unless we switch to nuclear power now.

See, I can play that game too. Am I a fraud now? Only if you can prove I am not the Queen of England.

Comment The difference between conservative and liberal (Score 1) 737

Liberals want conservatives to shut up. Conservatives want liberals to keep talking.

Okay, so we have climate deniers investigated under RICO. Then what? If nothing illegal is found then not only do we have largely a status quo we also have made climate change deniers look like martyrs.

Suppose something illegal is found, where does this stop? After we lock up all the climate change deniers then who should we investigate in this witch hunt? Anyone that burns fossil fuels? We lock up all the people at the coal fired electric plant, then all the people at the aluminum plant, auto makers, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers? After all those people are sitting in jail everyone should feel so proud as the lights so out, food spoils, and we stumble around in the dark looking for something to eat.

We don't solve this problem by (quite literally really) biting the hand that feeds us. We solve this problem by developing something better. The stone age didn't end because people ran out of rocks. It ended because people developed bronze. The age of fossil fuels will not end when we run out of oil. I say this because as oil becomes harder to get then we seem to find more creative ways to get more of it. The age of oil will end when we find something better. I believe we already have something better in nuclear power.

So, liberals, keep talking. You are all sounding like idiots.

If you want to see an environmental disaster then go ahead and tax oil until it's too expensive to burn. Then you will see people searching out for anything they can grab and ignite for heat, light, and cooking. After all the trees are cut down, all the books in the libraries burned, then we'll all be cooking rats over burning tires. Solar power won't save us and neither will windmills. Windmills need aluminum, and that means burning carbon, look it up. Solar power needs storage to keep things running at night. Batteries need lead, nickel, iron, lithium, and, would you look at that, ALUMINUM. While you're mining for all those heavy metals for your batteries you may as well separate out the uranium and thorium for nuclear power, you're going to need it sooner or later.

These tree huggers are going to get us all killed.

Comment Hydrogen fule is not necessarily "green" (Score 0) 221

The article points out how having this plane burn hydrogen gas would be less polluting than if it burned kerosene like conventional jet planes. It then points out that getting hydrogen gas from natural gas would be the cheapest way to get it. If the hydrogen gas ultimately comes from a fossil fuel then it's no "greener" than any other fossil fuel burning jet plane.

I hear the same thing about electric cars. Electric cars are not inherently "green" since a large portion of our electricity comes from coal and natural gas. Electric cars are coal burners. Hypersonic aircraft would be burning hydrogen derived from natural gas, using a factory powered most likely by coal, it is also therefore a coal powered vehicle.

Even if the hydrogen was from cracking water unless that plant was powered by wind or nuclear then it would still be a coal powered airplane.

I've said for a long time that these "green" advocates will get us all killed. If it isn't the electric and hydrogen vehicles that are powered by coal then it's the lights going out because the sun didn't shine on their desert solar power plant for two weeks. Deserts may have fewer clouds than the rest of the world but they still have clouds. I'm a fan of clean energy but I'm also a fan of arithmetic. Wind and solar power cannot keeps the lights on. Bio-fuels mean we have to choose between eating or driving to work. The only thing that adds up is nuclear power.

To those that will scream "WHAT ABOUT THE NUCLEAR WASTE!!!!" I say do a Google search on waste annihilating molten salt reactors. All molten salt reactors can consume existing nuclear waste while making electricity, it's just that the WAMSR is optimized for eating the waste over producing power.

If we build a nuclear powered hydrogen plant to make fuel for this hypersonic airplane then we'd have a "clean" flying aircraft. But then if we can make this plane fly from burning hydrogen then what keeps us from converting subsonic aircraft to burning hydrogen? It would be a matter of logistics, we've built up a large infrastructure around kerosene powered aircraft. So much so that light aircraft that typically ran on gasoline are trending towards running on jet fuel. If this airplane works out, and does so with it's "green" hydrogen fuel, then I expect that we'd see more planes come out shortly afterward that also burn hydrogen. Or at least we'd see the hydrogen used to synthesize jet fuel. At that point we'd have the "hydrogen economy" that so many tree huggers dream about, only it would look a lot like the oil economy we have now to end users.

Comment Not sure how this makes sense (Score 1) 221

As pointed out by others the problem with faster aircraft is that a large portion of a traveler's time is spent standing in line at airports, not in the airplane. Few people travel at such great distances that such an increase in speed proves beneficial in decreasing travel time. What would be more beneficial is to reduce the time standing in lines at the airport.

We have a conflict of interests here. Bigger planes are cheaper to run. Bigger planes take more time to fill and, since they move more people at a time, need to run less often. Smaller planes take less time to fill, would need to run more often, reducing travel time.

I see the future of air travel being run more like a subway station. I show up at the station, pay my fare, and then I am free to get on any plane that has room for my butt in a seat. If the plane I want to be on is full then I wait 20 minutes for the next one. I should not have to pass through a metal detector or have to take off my shoes any more than if I was getting on a train or bus.

Domestic travel would be more likely to run like a subway station, international travel could be quite different. This hypersonic plane would not change the need for things like customs, which is where a lot of the waiting would be.

FORTRAN is not a flower but a weed -- it is hardy, occasionally blooms, and grows in every computer. -- A.J. Perlis