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Comment: Re:I hope this never happens (Score 1) 341

by fnj (#49514667) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars

Any TDI owner who is not at the very least well-informed enough, and acquires a VAG-COM and some of the special tools, is in deep doo-doo. Even if you are on the good side of a very competent mechanic who will let you watch over his shoulder and check up progress, you still need to prime them on the fundamentals and ins-and-outs, because it would be totally prohibitive for them to do the learning themselves. Dealer repair shops are absolutely out of the question. Even if the cost were not prohibitive, there isn't a single one with TDI competence or who gives a single shit about your car.

Replacing the timing belt is a major, major operation involving dismounting the engine and supporting it, lining things up with special jigs and tools, and replacing every part in the path of the belt, including water pump, tensioner, and all rollers. Then you have to set the tension very precisely, not rotating the tensioner the wrong direction because it's opposite to that in a gas model, and finally nudging the heavy injection pump by thousandths of an inch to get the injection timing in spec, using the VAG-COM to check it. And if you're off the scale advanced or retarded when you begin the adjustment, it's a special adventure to find your way into the window so you can see anything at all on the VAG-COM. Or get it running at all.

If the timing belt ever strips teeth or skips more than a single tooth, you are in dire danger of doing several thousand dollars of damage to the engine, or totaling it.

Then there are the special cute things that can go wrong, like an injector that sticks open instead of pulsing properly. That will turn it into a blowtorch that will burn right through the top of the piston.

Comment: Re:The gold standard for fast, painless executions (Score 2) 549

Entirely right about nitrogen asphyxia. There is nothing magic about nitrogen; you could as well use any other colorless, odorless inert gas, but nitrogen is the cheapest.

One correction, though. "Stopping the heart" per se is most definitely not painful. Ask anyone who has undergone true sudden complete cardiac arrest. You immediately feel a surreal calm as all that commotion in your chest you never really noticed until that moment, and the rush of blood through your head, stops. Within single digit seconds you feel crazy high. In 10-20 seconds you are out like a light. It may take 10 minutes for clinical irreversible death to eventuate, but after 10-20 seconds you are a sack of meat. We know from those whose heart spontaneously restarts, or are resuscitated before complete death or brain damage, that the experience after 10-20 seconds is nothing more than unconsciousness.

It's not so much that CO2, or cardiac arrest, "turns off" pain. It entirely sidesteps the strangling sensation caused by buildup of CO2. As others have noted, there is no physiologic sensation from lack of oxygen, but there is an almighty agony from CO2 buildup.

Comment: Re:Batteries are too expensive (Score 1) 487

by fnj (#49505559) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

Batteries need to come down in cost before it makes sense to switch to an off-grid solution. I have a 1kW battery/solar system (not grid-tied) as an emergency power source and I have to replace the lead acid AGM batteries aver 5-7 years at a cost of $500 to $1000.

I guess your battery guys have a license to print money as it stands. Compare your putrid 1 kw battery to a Tesla >100 kw battery. The latter certainly doesn't cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What would be more interesting would be to find what the kwh rating of your battery is.

Comment: Another major project hijacked by lunatics (Score 1) 64

by fnj (#49486103) Attached to: KDE Plasma 5.3 Beta Brings Lot of Improvements

KDE has officially gone to hell. Nice knowin' ya, see ya later. I say this as a former aficionado. IMO KDE3 was the pinnacle; KDE4 was barely acceptable; KDE5 is junk. Lumina looks like the only DE with hope for the future. For now I'm pretty happy with Mate because it is identical to Gnome2.

Comment: Re:Just goes to show (Score 1) 441

by fnj (#49467651) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

Earth to nutjob. A bureaucracy is the way ALL GOVERNMENTS work. There is no other conceivable way to do it. The legislative process paints the broad strokes. It also creates and authorizes bureaucratic structures to tend to the details and the day-to-day operations. Congress CREATED the FCC, goddammit. Where do you think the FCC came from? Some boogeyman? Look up Communications Act of 1934 and Telecommunications Act of 1996. They created the FCC and amended the rules, respectively. They gave it exactly the powers they wanted it to have, and they told it exactly what its duties were.

The FCC used the powers given to it to do something that falls within its duties.

It's not as if the bureaucracy can just do any crazy thing. If you think the enabling legislation was fucked up, or has been overtaken by events and conditions, then all you have to do is introduce new legislation. This particular new legislation is an unimaginative reactive tantrum which says "you did something naughty, and we didn't really mean that you should have been able to do that". If there really is a problem to address, one would hope for legislation more constructive and coherent, but be that as it may, you can see that the system works as intended. Congress (if it can get all the bickering members plus the president to cooperate) can goddam well control the bureaucracy.

Comment: Re:masdf (Score 2) 297

by fnj (#49452321) Attached to: Would-Be Bomber Arrested In Kansas; Planned Suicide Attack on Ft. Riley

If someone openly stated they want to become a martyr and hurt or kill a lot of people, they are mentally ill, whether they intend to carry it out or not.

Your intellectual slip is showing. If someone disagrees with your values, that does not ipso facto make them "mentally ill". Rage and hate and evil actions resulting therefrom exist in the world separately from psychiatric disorders. Deal with it. Not every murderer is due a get out of jail free card just because you can't imagine evil without an accompanying psychiatric disorder.

Comment: Re:Obama should negotiate (Score 2) 489

by fnj (#49441885) Attached to: Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)

Your premise is comprehensively faulty. First, in this case, President Obama hasn't done anything. OK, he prodded the FCC, but the FCC undertook action based on the FCC's authority and charter.

The FCC is not part of the administrative, legislative or judicial branches of the government. It is part of a beast that has grown up in which authority has been legislatively delegated to a number of independent agencies. You won't find enumerated or referenced in the Constitution this beast which is embodied in these agencies. In the case of the FCC, it was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Examples of other such agencies are the CIA, EPA, FTC, GSA, NASA, NTSB and SEC (not an exhaustive list). Each of them derives its authority from enabling legislation. Such legislation is just as above board (or NOT) as any other legislation. Whether the three branches of the government are empowered by the Constitution to delegate their authority in this manner is left as an exercise. Let me just say that it is a very well established fait accompli at this point, and I am not sure just how else one would propose the government operate (you can't micromanage every single detail of operation by churning out a mass of intricate legislation covering every single detail of day to day operation).

The FCC's enabling legislation specifically grants it broad regulating authority; in fact it is specifically chartered to regulate. It is the reason for its existence. And its powers are enumerated in the legislation, and Title II is one of those.

Comment: Rules for an ideal language (Score 1) 624

1) No irregular verb conjugations. Period. None.

2) No irregular pronunciations. All words should be pronounceable by rules dependent solely on spelling.

3) Severely limited number of phonemes. You just don't need a huge number of them. Certainly less than English has, and much less than the worst offenders have.

4) No accented characters. They are completely unnecessary.

5) No meaning dependent on intonation.

5) Complete absence of phonemes that require lingual or other extremely difficult to master gymnastics. Nothing like the horror of the trilled R in many/most languages, or the ch sound in German.

Comment: Re:Easy grammar (Score 1) 624

Like it or not, English is the standard international language.

Bullshit. Spanish has more native speakers than English. Mandarin has close to three times as many as English. Hindi and Arabic are each quite close behind English.

Comment: Relativity (Score 4, Informative) 72

by fnj (#49429911) Attached to: The Solar System Is Awash In Water

If it is true that Mars contains 150 billion cubic meters, that is still an infinitesimal amount compared to Earth. There is 1.35 billion cubic km in all the oceans on Earth, which is to say 1.35*10^18, or 1.35 billion billion cubic meters. Most of the surface of the Earth is covered by water, not one meter thick, but averaging over 3000 meters.

98% of the mass of the universe is hydrogen and helium. Only 1% is oxygen.

Comment: Re: The authors found that batteries appear on tra (Score 0) 330

by fnj (#49405383) Attached to: Inexpensive Electric Cars May Arrive Sooner Than You Think

$230 per kilowatt-hour is a completely meaningless number. How much is it going to cost me to replace the battery pack. $1,000? $5,000? $10,000?

I realize you may wish to be spoon fed, but 10 seconds googling "tesla battery capacity" will tell you the Model S battery is 85 kWh. At $230/kWh that is $19,550. Seems to me the economics stays utterly prohibitive except for rich pricks.

Comment: Re:not the problem (Score 1) 93

LBAs written are in sectors (512 bytes), so about 37B sectors or 19 TB. The Flash has written (actually erased) about 136TB, so you are running with a wear amplification of about 7:1. If the drive is full, this is not too surprising. The way to get Flash to last longer is to leave free space so that the FTL has room to work in.

Nailed it. This drive is being tortured. 19 TB in one month is 630 GB (almost 2/3 of full drive capacity) written per day, or 7 MBps averaged 24x7, on a budget drive.

Over-provisioning at the outset would have helped a lot, but that is still a hell of a big data load.

Comment: Re:Presumably (Score 1) 175

Mortars have pretty poor accuracy as well. As well, they are not line-of-sight, so you have to have knowledge of the exact range and a good characterization of the ballistic performance of the mortar; then you have to dial in the correct elevation.

An RPG you just point directly at the bloody target and fire.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.