Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Never Capitulate (Score -1, Troll) 275

by ggpauly (#48647005) Attached to: Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

Congrats to Fox for sticking by their guns (so to speak - not literally - pardon the pun). They have hammered into their viewer's skulls that "compromise is capitulation". So strong! So Patridiotic! We should all applaud Fox in Not Negotiating. To so much as speak to your enemy is seditious treason, and Dish is the enemy in this fight.

We also learn from Fox Philosophers the time-honored wisdom, passed down from <reference needed>, that "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". (Which explains why all their kids look alike.) So just walk away - they said no and you said no, that's it. End of story.

Fox is exactly the kind of corporate-person we want our kids to emulate: uncompromisingly dedicated to get their way without the possibility of rational discussion. So Strong! Thank you from all of right-thinking America. Thank you Fox, you are truly an Amercan person, even though you immigrated from the Southern Hemisphere.


Comment: Re:Why don't they ever try to "link" good stuff? (Score 2) 222

by ggpauly (#48606195) Attached to: Linking Drought and Climate Change: Difficult To Do

yep. That's the 0-level model.

On the other hand, we're heading to a mode of Earth's climate that we've never experienced. Not us living folks, not our species, not our genus or even taxonomic family. It last occurred during the "great Dying", 250 million years ago. Mammals had only recently evolved, and were lucky to survive. Only to cause a repeat of the catastrophe?

Humans, we humans, are causing a rapid change to the conditions of the end-Permian extinction event. "Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event,[5] possibly up to 10 million years." -

Read this, try to remember to breathe afterwards: (paywalled)

Almost no vertebrates in the low latitude ocean, which would have been hot to touch.

On the bright side, yes, it did end the Permian, which was a drought-world.

Comment: Only CO2 matters (Score 1) 329

by ggpauly (#48563865) Attached to: Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Millions of Tons of Methane
Because excess CO2 has a long duration in the atmosphere compared to other greenhouse gasses, other emitted greenhouse gasses have relatively little effect on global warming. Peak global warming will be because of peak atmospheric CO2 mixing ratio (concentration).

See eg "Fossil fuel's future", http://www.sciencemagazinedigi...

Counter-intuitive in the case of methane.

Comment: Re:cost/price per kW hour comparison is nonsense (Score 1) 516

by ggpauly (#48415069) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

No. The standard system in my area (North Carolina) is grid tied, using the utility as storage. Storage is implicitly included. This is the system detailed above.

A battery system would be more expensive.

The figures above are representative of actual costs and benefits. And it _includes_ backup: there is a receptacle that comes on when the power grid goes down. If the PV system fails there are two cutoff switches (DC and 240 VAC).

Comment: cost/price per kW hour comparison is nonsense (Score 5, Informative) 516

by ggpauly (#48414681) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

A solar installation is an investment. The proper analysis is return on investment. Current actual price before credits and rebates for a 4kW rooftop (16 panels, abt 25 m^2), installed, is about $16,000. This includes a substantial profit for the installer -- it should be available for less in a competitive market. There's a 30% US federal tax rebate, and here in North Carolina a 35% state tax rebate and a ~$1300 utility kickback. Assuming your tax situation allows you to take advantage of the credits, the net cost is about $6000. This will completely offset an annual electric bill of about $2000 - $2500. This is about 35% return on investment. Amortizing the net cost over a lifetime of 15-20 years for various components gives about 30% per year return. This return is tax free. This is an astoundingly good return. Berkshire Hathaway's total return over 49 years is 20% annually.

In other jurisdictions without the state tax rebate and utility kickback the tax-free return is 10 to 15%. Much better than the long-term return of any mutual fund.

Without any direct incentives the return is about 6%, tax free, very safe. CDs are currently about 1%.

Comparing the actual costs is the fair comparison. Apparently TFA omitted the actual government incentives on solar, while implicitly including them in the per kWh utility figures.

Rooftop solar has other benefits as well. Inverters are available that provide power during grid failure (during sunshine), and there are external benefits in replacing dirty coal or dirtier nuke power and slightly reducing the size and power of a monopoly corporation.

Comment: Re:Such Bullshit Speculation (Score 1) 415

by ggpauly (#45771219) Attached to: Alan Turing Pardoned

You misunderstand. The inference is that the apple was spiked with cyanide. IIRC the apple was reportedly discarded untested by the investigating authorities.

The posting is misleading too. Intentional suicide is the canonical explanation for his death by cyanide poisoning, however it is really only one hypothesis of several and is not particularly well supported by publicly known evidence. Curiously, the posting also omits Turing's contributions to chemistry. He developed cyclic reactions based on reaction-diffusion patterns, and had a lab for his chemistry research at the time of his death. Articles mentioning his name in chemistry were published in Science this past year. I do not believe that a chemist would choose cyanide for suicide. I would not. Turing was a polymath much smarter than I am. His supposed depression is likewise supported by no actual evidence.

Other hypotheses, such as murder by British authorities, make at least as much sense given publicly available information. Accidental poisoning is also possible. The recent book on this topic uses twisted logic to conclude that he committed suicide. The Turing situation puts the British government in the uncomfortable ethical position of having to prove their innocence. However they put themselves in this moral situation, so I have no sympathy for them. They have done precious little effort to address this matter. They seem to want it to fade into history.

A pardon is overdue, and completely beside the main moral question they face.

Turing is one of the greatest polymaths of our age. He saved Britain several times with his cryptography genius and leadership. He made many useful contributions to mankind, many ahead of his time. He was repaid by persecution and humiliation.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.