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Comment in Soviet Russia..... (Score 1) 163

I findi it slightly amusing and frightening that in a Democracy, the powers that be try to make you get out of your air-conditioned car, jump on a bike, and go your way to work. moreover...

"[...]Lots of research ties increased cycling rates to social, economic, environmental, and health benefits. “We need a new form of infrastructure,” Kastrop says. "

no source? and the "tie" could as well be the other way around: societies/communities wealthy enough to buy bikes but not cars have passed the hunger stage and are not getting fat yet, so they live longer: alternatively, this "green fixation" positively correlates with income, so rich communities, with higher education and living standard, are more healthy, and buy and use bikes. But please, try to be rigorous about causation: this article was not. And the person involved is an "urban planner", a work description which would be rapidly out of a job without some mess. like making speed lanes for bikes, which are one of the riskier ways of moving around known to man.

Comment Re: Strong public relations (Score 1) 200

[...]"It also doesn't solve the problem of, "We've identified these GMail and Facebook accounts as yours. Please login to them or go to jail."

Sorry, I thought people knew about this.

And by the way, my answer to the relevant police is "officer, let me give you the password for that volume, that's where I stored my id/passwords or Gmail and Facebook, bank accounts etc."

Comment Re: Strong public relations (Score 4, Insightful) 200

It won't happen. It's been demonstrated over and over again that people are willing and often eager to comply with the authorities' requests. More likely, other countries will follow soon and the day will come when this is law everywhere. We live in the Surveillance Age now. Deal with it.

Of course they are. the great unwashed do not see the point, and the others use some form of plausible deniability encryption.
This is the usual PHB event in which a high official misread some bad science in a hairdresser magazine, asked that something be done about it to an even more ignorant burocrat, and lo and behold, something was eventually done.
nothing to see here.

Comment out of much? (Score 1) 148

this will not have been done out of charity purposes. my guess is that MS gave something on the order of 2 billion dollars. Mind you, I don't have coy qualms: the problem is, they'll have a built-in incentive to "monetise" the apps ["premium" content, degraded base versions, making sure that alternatives do not work]. to give an example on how these things work, you cannot install the Western digital cloud client on the Amazon Kindle, since it would cannibalize revenue out of amazon cloud.

Now, the one (or two) billion dollar question is: will Samsung still retain an hardware edge big enough to get buyers to swallow the minimal choice of software in respect to older versions of Samsung hardware?

Comment Recyclers anyone? (Score 3, Interesting) 91

Hey, we have all this hardware and software laying idle, why not do a cost reduction exercise and sell the effing thingie in the commercial market?

Seriously tough, I have to wonder if the Chinese, Russians and all the other minions (Iran, North Korea) are not thinking this is a brilliant disguise to be able to deploy an extensive Anti Satellite system.

Comment Re:soo.... (Score 1) 327

hedge your bets and go 50/50 south and west. Maybe 50% southwest, 25% west, 25% south and setup a water wheel and perhaps an agrarian society.

A course in financial math would be helpful as well. the reasoning holds only if the grid overpays electricity according to source (gee, who would have thunk it?), otherwise the best thing would be to maximize production (i.e. set panels facing local south) and "time shift" to use as much of the self produced electricity as possible: producing hot water, setting up the laundry machine to start the cycle at 12.30 .... and remember, when the buyer (and the taxpayers!) buy the panels, all the producibility forecasts are calculated for a south facing panel: shift the orientation, and it gets cheaper to buy olimpic cyclists and set them on a dynamo.

Comment Tax advantage? (Score 1) 395

actually, there's no tax advantage at all, if you count by type of fuel: the days of low price for diesel/high price for petrol have left Europe long ago. aaaannd, good luck with the truck industry: Diesel has a kind of economy of scale whereby you can easily build large diesel engines, but it's actually quite difficult to build economical, big petrol engines.
Luckily, the central case is much more benign: since such a measure cannot be adopted by a single EU state, this slimy politician will gain brownie points by looking enviromental [ akin to a wookie "fly casual"], all the while knowing that it cannot and will never be adopted, with all the practical hassle involved. move along, nothing to see here.

Comment Re:They WILL FIght Back (Score 1) 516

In the craphole region in which I live they've already passed ordinances about things like wind turbines within city limits. They call it an "eye sore" and "disruptive." That's how the utility companies will outlaw solar paneling after donating generously to their politician buddies. Either that or they'll so [overregulate]withdraw subsidies from them that the price will skyrocket beyond most people's financial reach.

there, fixed it for you. I can understand the Deutsche bank analyst, he knows which way his bread is buttered, but people at the end of the line should know, or be told, that their normal electricity price includes renewable sources subsidies. until and unless consumers are told a "raw" price without subsidies, they won't know if this is economical or not.

Mind you, if anybody thinks it's worthwhile and has 5 grand burning a hole in his pocket, feel free to buy that. But he's not using his own money now, he's using other people's money, and that's a harbinger of bad decisions if I ever saw one. and believe you me, I 've been in the investment business 30 years, I've seen my share.

Comment solution is like medicine..... (Score 1) 488

....mostly obvious, but unpalatable: let ANYBODY sell electricity on the grid auction: the grid is paid off a percentage of the turnover, BUT:

1. any producer registering on the exchange has to declare both the maximum and the minimum that it can make available to the grid over a yearly period in 30 minutes interval;
2.additional payments to the grid are made by producers on a log scale proportional to the difference between the two, i.e.gas turbine plants, who have a continous productions, would make additional payments (in fact, receive less money) of zero, wind would probably declare a relatively small difference, solar would declare zero as a minimum, and therefore pay the most in reduced revenues;
3. by all means, allow those renewable producers that buy continous availability from others to declare it on a form countersigned by the guarantee producer.

In this manner, pricing of the interruption risk is paid by those who cause it, and the cause-effect relation is evident. Make no mistake, William of Occam is my master, and I am not in favour or against renewables: I treat the matter as the analyst I am, most of my job is "stripping the fudge" from numbers, i.e. analyse and take away the fiscal and regulatory incentives that mask the fact that something is unviable by making somebody else pay without telling him in so many words.This solution offered by the minister is a case in point. let me help there.

[...]"Rasmus Helveg Petersen, the Danish climate minister, says he is tempted by a market approach: real-time pricing of electricity for anyone using it — if the wind is blowing vigorously or the sun is shining brightly, prices would fall off a cliff, but in times of shortage they would rise just as sharply.

that would give the final payer the false impression that the problem is about not having enough renewable energy continuosly, instead of saying that most renewables are inherently unstable sources per se. By making the continous producers making most of the revenue in the brief moments when they are indispensable, you are knowingly exposing them as ruthless speculators, gnawing away at the needs of the People all in the name of profit."Gas plant near Copenhaghen taxes a Citizen 200 EUR a day for its energy!", and so on. All the while making hush-hush deals and promises, to keep the "real" producers from closing the plants for good, we do not want the innocent Danes to know that there is no Tooth Fairy, do we? And if we work out the math for that citizen, i.e. that those 200 Euros are a lump sum insurance payment for energy availability, working out at 55 cents a day, and oh the horror, that the politicians knew this before work had begun on the renewable plants, that they will know.

Comment welcome to Arrakis (Score 1) 55

something like that is present in innumerable Sci-fi works. In dune, the Ornithopters have shapeshifting wings, and in "the mote in God's eye", there are similar aircrafts.
It looks like a case of Submarines, mobile phones etc: engineering is finally catching up with the technical possibilities.

Comment Re: Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (Score 1) 398

We know the speed limit, the safe stopping distance for the speed, the safe time to cover the safe stopping distance, and the duration of the yellow.

Which raises the question, are cities intentionally creating safety issues ?

Yes. or in other words: "hmmmmmmm...... revenues!!"

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion