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Comment: Re:say it again (Score 1) 170

by IamTheRealMike (#47727705) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Part of this is the much-hated reference requirement -- all facts in a Wikipedia page must have an external source to back them up. This rule alone causes a huge amount of strife among those who don't understand

It causes a huge amount of strife because it's yet another policy that's easily manipulated by people with no common sense.

For a long time the article on Bitcoin stated outright that it was a ponzi scheme, despite that Wikipedia's own article on Ponzi schemes had a list of requirements which Bitcoin obviously did not meet. Attempting to get this fixed was a kafkaesque nightmare due to someone camping on the page and immediately reverting any change that removed or even just qualified this statement. The reason: the statement had "citations" which turned out to be (a) someone's blog, and (b) an article in The Register, that well known bastion of reasoned and careful analysis.

Wikipedia is a project that manages to work in spite of the absurd management and crazy policies, because the idea of a global encyclopedia is such a compelling one. But it badly, badly, badly needs to be forked by people who find a way to run it better.

Comment: No big deal (Score 1) 94

by Animats (#47726537) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

This is a straightforward industrial electrical installation. There's a pad-mounted distribution transformer and meter provided by the power company, a weatherproof load center provided by the customer's electrical contractor, and the Tesla supercharger control unit and outlet stations. No big deal to install. There's a comparable installation at every large standalone store.

That's a small charging station. Here's the build-out of a bigger one. Black and Veach, which does infrastructure construction for the energy and communications industry (substations, cell sites, etc.) is doing the job. They see it as a lot like building out cell towers. (If you watch that video, you may wonder why the transformers and switchgear are on raised platforms. Probably because there's a flood risk at that location.)

Installing a gas station's underground tanks, which today are dual tanks with leak detection, is a much bigger job. There's a big excavation, lots of plumbing and wiring, and several different trades involved.

Comment: Re:Total BS (Score 1) 210

And your father's knowledge is broader and more accurate than this report's ..... because?

There was certainly a time when wage disparities were truly enormous, though not that big. But the entire premise of this story is that what we knew to be true just ten years ago is now out of date.

I suspect your father was giving you information that was once correct but no longer is.

Comment: Re:Easy, India or China (Score 0, Troll) 290

by ArcherB (#47716471) Attached to: Scientists Baffled By Unknown Source of Ozone-Depleting Chemical

So why has every environmental initiative in the past 40 years been pushed by the Democrats and resisted by the Republicans?
You mean like this one?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...
Odd. I didn't know Bush was a Democrat.

What about this one?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...
Where are the Democrats pushing this bill and Republicans opposing it?

And although I'm stepping outside your 40-year limit, who created the Environmental Protection Agency in the first place? I'll give you a hint:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U...

Comment: Reason is concentration (Score 1) 484

by alispguru (#47714677) Attached to: Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

The "bad for wildlife" question basically comes down to:

* how much mass you have to move
* how much land area you have to occupy

per watt generated.

Coal and hydro lose because they both require a lot of mass (water and coal) and a lot of area (dammed waterway, mines and transport).

Nuclear and geothermal win because they both require very little mass and very little area other than the plant itself - uranium ore has at least 1000 times the energy per gram as coal.

Any kind of solar is in the middle because of the large area needed to capture relatively dilute solar energy.

Comment: Re:There is no "FarmBot" (Score 1) 133

by Animats (#47714057) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

If you watch the video at the bottom of the article, you'll see photos of several prototype FarmBots that do, in fact, exist.

Those are just tabletop gardening robots. That was done 20 years ago.

There's lots of real robotic agricultural machinery, much of it mobile. Building a gantry over a tabletop doesn't scale.

Comment: Re:A little naive perhaps? (Score 1) 180

by Wesley Felter (#47708785) Attached to: Netflix CEO On Net Neutrality: Large ISPs Are the Problem

run a business without paying the traditional costs in the field and socialize your costs. in this case he wants every internet customer to pay for his bandwidth whether they use netflix or not.

ISPs chose their flat-rate business model; Netflix didn't force it on them. If that business model no longer works, ISPs should switch to a different one.

Comment: Re:The power of the future... (Score 1) 296

by Animats (#47708177) Attached to: If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Fusion power is roughly 20 years away from being viable...and has been for the last 40 years LOL.

Longer than that. Fusion power has been hyped since the 1950s. From the article:

Nuclear fusion could come into play as soon as 2050

Heard that one before.

Fusion power has some real problems. After half a century of trying, nobody has a long-running sustained fusion reactor, even an experimental one. The whole "inertial fusion" thing turned out to be a cover for bomb research. There's a lot of skepticism about whether ITER will do anything useful. It's not clear that a fusion reactor will be cost-effective even with a near-zero fuel cost. (Fission reactors already have that problem.) It's really frustrating.

Fusion reactors are a pain to engineer. They have a big vacuum chamber with high-energy particles reacting inside, and huge cryogenic magnets outside. This is far more complicated than a fission reactor, and is why the cost of ITER keeps going up.

Comment: LibreOffice/OpenOffice still kind of suck (Score 5, Insightful) 570

by Animats (#47699241) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

The basic office-type products for Linux still kind of suck. I've been using them since the StarOffice/SunOffice days, and now use LibreOffice. They've improved a lot, but they're still flakier than they should be, a decade after initial release. Nobody wants to fix the hard-to-fix, boring bugs which damage usability.

Oracle buying the remnants of Sun didn't help.

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.

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