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Comment: Re:Just curious who decides.. (Score 2) 86

by dj245 (#48941729) Attached to: US Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $44.9 Billion

Broadly, it is general revenue to the treasury. In this case, a chunk of it was allocated ahead of time. Congress passed (and the President signed) the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012." That legislation instructed the FCC to find spectrum in this set of bands to auction off, and allocated a portion of the proceeds to (a) defray the cost of moving the existing users of the spectrum and (b) building a public safety wireless network.

So, the FCC, while it conducts the auction, does so at the request of, and on the behalf of, Congress.

Usually it is a troubling sign for a government if they are selling off assets and still running a deficit. We see it when small local governments sell off buildings and then rent the very same building back from the person they sold it to. So that leaves the question: "Selling off the spectrum- good thing or bad thing?"

Comment: Re:Painted target (Score 1) 119

by dj245 (#48941653) Attached to: Tech Companies Worried Over China's New Rules For Selling To Banks

Because globalization is the directive, and you can't think this way and be a globalist.

I'm with you, in a free market that is how it should be. China does not have to use banking software developed in the US, they can develop their own. Amaze us with the success of your communism and it's ability to generate educated and innovative people. China used to be very innovative, but more recently they can only copy (aka steal) other people's innovations.

You seem to be equating these problems to a communist system of government. There are two problems with that-
1. Chinese hasn't been communist for a long time.
2. Communism isn't the kind of government that jumps to mind at wanting to stick backdoors in everything, Fascism is.

Comment: Re:Hello, the 1980s are calling, they caught your (Score 1) 184

by dj245 (#48939551) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels
The short form is that you grow algae in inexpensive raceway ponds and use centrifugal separation to get oil out as a diesel feedstock

That sounds like a huge waste of water lost through evaporation. The environmentalists have really been cracking down on cooling ponds for power plants lately, for exactly this reason. It is going to have to be in closed systems in order to be better than turning corn into ethanol.

Comment: Re:What are the practical results of this? (Score 1) 419

by dj245 (#48936939) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

What are you going to accomplish? Both parties in this country are bought and paid for by corporate interests so there's no way to change the status quo until that duopoly is broken up. And good luck getting Joe Sixpack to think beyond the bumper sticker slogans provided to him by the talking heads in the media (who are in the same pockets as the politicians).

Would you have said the same thing about gay rights and legal marijuana 20 years ago? Political change takes time and a lot of effort. It helps a lot if a majority of people agree with you when you start, but that isn't a requirement.

Comment: Re: just put a motor on the elevator itself (Score 1) 247

by dj245 (#48924397) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

No, you could use a conductive rail, like a subway, and rack and pinion system to move the elevator. The rack and rail would add a fair bit more total weight to the building compared to a cable. But more importantly, the motors would have to be much much more powerful! Modern elevator systems have a counter-weight balanced on the other side of that cable, which means the motor only has to overcome friction and the small difference in weight between the elevator and counterweight (which varies depending on current payload). The motor on an elevator like Noah is suggesting would have to provide enough force to counteract the entire weight of the elevator + payload + motor + friction, which is at least an order of magnitude more than a traditional elevator.

Let's not forget that rack and pinion elevator cars are significantly noisier, slower, and have much more vibration compared to traditional cable or hydraulic elevators. Rack and pinion is great for portable elevators but a poor choice for a short building, and an awful choice for a tall building.

Comment: Re:just put a motor on the elevator itself (Score 1) 247

by dj245 (#48924367) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

i would do away with the motor at the top of the shaft, and instead electrify each individual elevator so it has motive power. seems like the best solution to me.

The only benefit to doing this is to eliminate the cable. That leaves you with rack and pinion drive as basically the only realistic* option for moving the car up and down. Rack and pinion elevator cars are slower, noisier, and have substantially more vibration than hydraulic or cable elevator cars.

*Another option is a pneumatic elevator, but those are even slower and less suited for tall buildings.

Comment: Re:Who eats doughnuts with the doughnut men? (Score 2) 461

by dj245 (#48915275) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

I dunno how it is in america (or any other country for that matter) but where i live, speedometers in cars are required by law to over-report speeds by a small percentage.

I don't think the USA has such rules. The issue is most likely because the speedometer measures tire rotation with an assumed tire diameter. New tires will indicate close to the true speed, but as the tire wears down, it has to rotate more to travel the same difference, and therefore the reported speed will be higher than true speed.

Car manufacturers would get a lot of complaints if their speedometers were underreporting the speed, so they probably add a little margin to ensure that doesn't happen.

Comment: Re:Saddest line ever (Score 1) 140

by dj245 (#48914865) Attached to: Young Cubans Set Up Mini-Internet

When every article about a communist, pseudo-communist, or crypto-communist country has to have a post like this (and it's in every thread), it's time to start thinking about why and how all communist countries (save, perhaps, India) become totalitarian hell-holes, and whether communism as a pure ideology is too hopelessly broken to implement in reality. Not to mention that it seems to me that no Scottish communism on earth is True Scottish communism.

Western democracies are heading in that direction, but so far every country with a communist economic model has to start there.

Democracy (at least how the US practices it) have problems too. Just as 1 example, we have no mechanism for long-term planning with any teeth to "stick to the plan". When we pass budgets other laws/plans for the 5-10 year future, we have to put in "poison pills" or use other tricks to make them harder to reneg on. But that doesn't matter either because the politicians just repeal the poison pill part of the law the second it benefits their career.

Comment: Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (Score 1) 180

We chastise China, Cuba, N. Korea etc. for not having democracies, but neither do we

Yes we do. Democracy doesn't mean we get the government we want, just the government we voted for. The people in congress were elected in free and fair elections.

I know, technically we were a "republic", not a "democracy"

I don't know where this idiotic meme, that a "republic is not a democracy" started, but repeating it doesn't make you look intelligent, it makes you look stupid. Please stop doing it.

I think part of the US's political problems is that there is absolutely no mechanism for long-term planning. Places like China (through its ironhanded 1-party system) and Saudi Arabia (through a monarchy) can make long-term plans and stick to them unless the situation changes. 5-year and 10-year programs are a lot more common in non-democracies. The US doesn't have any mechanism for this, so our governing is just reacting to problems and kicking the can down the road. Even if both parties agree to a plan which lasts longer than a year, they are free to (and almost always) change it just as soon as it is convenient or beneficial for their career to do so.

I think the US would benefit a lot if we had an additional branch of government which set broad long-term goals for the benefit of the country, and had sufficient power to make it happen. Checks and balances would need to be added. Companies which only look to the next quarter struggle in the long run, and Countries are no different.

Comment: Re:Technical limitations (Score 1) 255

by dj245 (#48906165) Attached to: Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

There are some technical reasons that the telecom monopoly lobbying groups REALLY don't want broadband to be defined at high speeds. It rules out a wide range of very cheap technologies which can be used to claim that they do provide broadband. At 25/3 you need to offer at least ADSL2+M (ADSL2 won't cut it), DOCSIS systems will be severely limited in the number of subscribers, GPRS is out (you need to move to HSPA) and so on. Setting a very low limit for what is broadband is a perfect way to polish the numbers and make it look like good service is provided at very reasonable prices. We have sold refurbished telecommunication equipment to the US, which was no longer considered competitive in the northern European market, but was state of the art for many parts of the US.

While it is certainly nice to have a place to unload old equipment I don't think it is in the best interest of the USA to play catch up on infrastructure just to help a few telcom companies to keep their profit margins high...

That raises the question- Where are the large router and telecom equipment manufacturers on this issue? Don't they have lobbyists too?

Comment: Re:Other than the obligatory security theatre... (Score 1) 110

by dj245 (#48898353) Attached to: Bomb Threats Via Twitter Partly Shut Down Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport

And to give the elyappearance of "doing something" in a situation where realistically, nothing can be done. It is very important for governments to always give the appearance to be in control and that they know what they are doing, even when any halfway smart person knows neither is true most of the time.

If the bomb was a time bomb. If it happened to be triggered remotely, why not bring assets into play that might be able to block such signals? Since we don't know the bomb characteristics, or even if these is a bomb, it is a safe move to play. And fighter jets can almost certainly get on station quicker than an AWAC type plame.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 5, Interesting) 211

by dj245 (#48890897) Attached to: At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far

From The Fucking Article

"You'd think it'd be annoying as hell for a bell to be going off, constantly, for 175 years—but the voltage left in the battery is so low that the human ear can't actually hear the ringing. Instead, the clapper oscillates back and forth between the bell constantly, which you can see happening in this video. At this point, the experiment is more of a curiosity than anything—Croft says that the battery pulls 1 nanoAmp each time it oscillates between the bell’s sides, which is an exceedingly low amount of energy."

1 nanoamp is so tiny that it may be being recharged from the environment somehow.

Comment: Re:Why lay fiber at all when you can gouge wireles (Score 3, Informative) 200

by dj245 (#48888621) Attached to: Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

That is in fact exactly what the article says. While the profit margin on FiOS is apparently 4.4%, the wireless side had a 23.5% profit margin. While those numbers are heavily encrusted with bullshit, they do show the relative value of the technologies to Verizon.

This will bite them in the ass eventually, if not sooner. Verizon refuses to be price and feature compeditive on wireless. They are coming under pressure from increased wireless competition. The duopoly between Verizon and AT&T isn't such a duopoly anymore- there are lots of wireless players.

I have heard very few complaints from people about the fiber service aside from "it isn't available in my area". It is a lot easier to maintain a monopoly on fiber lines compared to wireless.

Comment: Re:Required vaccine? (Score 1) 178

by dj245 (#48887655) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

Your thought process is scary at a minimum. It does give some insight into how horrible ideas take root once you demonize something/someone though.

Like countries? Cuba, Iran, and the DPRK (North Korea) have been demonized a lot. None of those countries are going to fly away to another planet and conquering them militarily is just as unlikely. Waiting for them to change is just as pointless as waiting for a spouse to change. Diplomacy is the only option, but when it comes time to open up a dialog and fix relations, there is a never-ending parade of assholes who do everything they can to sabatoge the process. It isn't their fault though, they have been indoctrinated since birth by the media to hate XYZ country, and they lack the capacity to accept any solution less than "bombing the motherfuckers".

Comment: Re:Why would you want this? (Score 1) 178

by dj245 (#48887571) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

Then it turns out that nicotine use was self-medication and now you can't use any of a new class of drugs being developed that are all based on nicotine. OOPS

Nicotine has been far too politicized. It is practically impossible to find proper research. Most of it conflates smoking and nicotine use. Most of the really nasty effects of smoking are from the many other things in cigarettes, not the nicotine. There is evidence that that includes much of the the addiction. Practically everyone who has switched to e-cigarettes has noticed this. Even though the e-cig is giving you as much or even more nicotine than the cigarette, it somehow doesn't get rid of all the craving at first. There is a definite 3 day to two week period before the user is comfortably on the e-cig. A while after that, most users find that they want the e-cig but not in the urgent way they used to crave a smoke break. Many, if not most, choose to reduce the nicotine level in their ecig even if their intent was never to quit nicotine.

A leading theory is that the harmaline (an MAO inhibitor) found in cigarette smoke is responsible. It potentiates the addictive effect.

Once the tar, particulates, carbon monoxide, and most of the nitrosamines are eliminated from the delivery mechanism, nicotine use is much more benign and for some people, even beneficial.

All of this would be much better known if nicotine wasn't such a political bogeyman.

Some of the nasty products of combustion may be contributing also. Vaporizing marijuana has a very different compared to smoking (burning) it. When marijuana is burned, Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene and naphthalene are produced. Some of these (or a combination thereof) contribute highly to the "couch lock" effect, which different users either prefer or dislike. When you vaporize marijuana, these compounds are not produced- a "couch lock" state is substantially more difficult to achieve with vaporizing marijuana, and therefore the effects of vaporizing/smoking marijuana are markedly different.

I am not a tobacco user myself but it could be that many of the tobacco combustion products contribute to the pleasure of smoking tobacco.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.