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Comment: "its accuracy at detecting fingerprints is 99.99%" (Score 2) 582

by cirby (#47901679) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Yeah, I just bet it is.

This kid managed to make a rugged, reliable piece of hardware that recognizes many fingerprints, will withstand regular impacts from firing, and managed to make the failure rate only one in ten thousand.

Oh, wait - he made a plastic prototype, and hasn't actually tested it in a firing weapon?

Do tell.

Comment: "Big" effects... (Score 0, Troll) 116

by cirby (#47685067) Attached to: Fukushima's Biological Legacy long as they studied plants and insects on the Fukushima site itself, including right next to the reactor.

"Yeah, as long as we put the seeds right in this radioactive puddle, we got results."

"What about further away? Like outside of the plant property?"

"Are you nuts? I need funding for my next scary study here!"

Comment: Economies of scale (Score 1) 502

by cirby (#47610957) Attached to: Why Morgan Stanley Is Betting That Tesla Will Kill Your Power Company

Economies of scale have mostly kicked in already.

As of right now, the panels are no longer the biggest part of the cost of a full-scale installation - it's the "putting it on your roof correctly so it doesn't fall off or catch fire" part that costs.

Prices will drop - some - but for anything like the near future, they're going to stay in the $15,000-$20,000 range - without storage.

You can get lower quotes, but for some reason, those quotes always leave things out... the folks who brag about "I got it for half that" haven't dealt with contractors before, for the most part.

Comment: Re:Until we learn how to use less ... (Score 1) 502

by cirby (#47610327) Attached to: Why Morgan Stanley Is Betting That Tesla Will Kill Your Power Company

Thirty billion dollars?

You're off by a couple of orders of magnitude, at least.

The cost to put solar panels on the roofs of just the houses in California - with "full capacity" standard-issue PV systems (at about $20,000 a pop), on 15,000,000 homes - is about $300 billion. And that doesn't include storage - it's for grid-tied systems.

Comment: One problem... (Score 0) 778

by cirby (#47493713) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Minimum wage increases don't immediately result in mass firings. What happens is that companies stall for a few months, then slow down hiring - and start laying people off. It usually takes about six months. Expect to see an increase in layoffs starting about the time the kids go back to school.

It would also be interesting to see the stats for "number of hours worked." The trend in most places has been towards switching to part time, and cutting back on hours worked. We already know that the national trend for the last few years has been "more jobs with less actual work." Lots and lots of former full-time workers who get 29 hours a week or less, more and more kids who get four or five half-days instead of three full days.

Comment: Re:A small problem... (Score 1) 154

by cirby (#47389867) Attached to: Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking

Rocks at depths like these don't allow water to flow very fast, so the earthquakes form a kind of spreading halo around the injection site that moves slowly away and eventually dissipates if you stop injecting.

...except that no such effect appears on their maps.

Not to mention the other thing - where the wells they extract the water from originally are on the side of the fault where the earthquakes happened, and the wells where they inject the water are on the other side of the fault, away from the earthquakes. Not only is it counterintuitive, it's the opposite of what they claim in the study.

Comment: Re:A small problem... (Score 1) 154

by cirby (#47388587) Attached to: Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking

The small fault that seems to be generating most of the seismic activity in the study is not only quite a few miles away, it's not connected to any of the major faults in the area - and there's a long, major fault (Nemaha Fault) in between the injection wells and the earthquake zone. (Figure S9 shows this dramatically)

It gets better. According to the notes for Figure S3, water is extracted on the west side of the Nemaha Fault and re-injected on the east side. Which means that the earthquakes are increasing on the side nearest the extraction, and not increasing on the side where the water is re-injected.

Comment: A small problem... (Score 2, Interesting) 154

by cirby (#47388211) Attached to: Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking

They're nice enough to put their numbers and charts online. Which is great.

Unfortunately, their own charts show a bit of a problem. Specifically Figure S1.

The increase in earthquakes over time is definite. And it's NOT generally where the actual injection wells are. Sure, there's a few quakes recorded in the middle of the injection well area, but they're not consistent, and they don't map with time.

The earthquakes do map well with one thing, though: they seem to swarm around active seismic stations that aren't near fracking disposal wells. Which seems to either show that seismometers create earthquakes, or that they have some instrumentation issues.

Comment: Re:Actual savings? (Score 4, Interesting) 116

by cirby (#47365443) Attached to: Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually

A lot of companies are switching from old-school fluorescents (which aren't quite as efficient) to LEDs as the fixtures wear out. And yes, they do wear out, along with things like ballasts. There are a LOT of the old T12 fluorescents out there still, not to mention the newer (but still somewhat outdated) T8.

They also make LED tubes now - a line of LEDs in a package the same size as the old fluorescent tubes. They cost a lot, but over the long run, they're cheaper to run. Once you include lowering air conditioning costs and less manpower spent replacing tubes, they're often worth the money. All you need to do is bypass the ballast (which also saves money in the long run - those things wear out too).

A lot of factory floors used mercury vapor lights, and those are going away as they get old, replaced with clusters of LEDs.

New systems generate new problems.