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Comment Re:Rules v. consequences (Score 1) 64

Speeding causes deaths, too. Should speeding, even a little, be punished as severely as drunk driving? People die from falling objects too; should you be sent to jail for accidentally knocking a flowerpot off your balcony? A lack of serious consequences is no defense for violating the rule, but it is a mitigating circumstance when it comes to setting the punishment. And conversely, rule-breaking may well earn you a stiffer punishment in case you do cause an accident. If you hit someone with your car and you were found to be speeding or drunk, you'll be more likely to be held fully responsible than if you were operating your car within the rules of the road.

Risk and impact determine to what degree the actual consequences weigh in the sentencing. Moderate speeding carries a small risk, and thus results in a small fine only. The risks for drunk driving are much more serious, hence the stiffer punishment. And in some areas, like chemical plants or aerospace, the risks are such that no rule breaking at all can be tolerated. In this case, the rules are clear, and should certainly have been clear to a commercial operator like SkyPan, and I agree with a stiff fine in light of the serious potential outcome of their reckless use of drones. However we should not apply the same rigour in sentencing to all areas of our society. Almost all of our activities come with a risk to others, and personally I think that in a lot of cases our society has become way too risk-averse.

Comment Re:That's easy (Score 1) 435

That's pretty much my approach to religion.

Wait... hold on... you might be onto something...

Let's take a look at the whole SJW bull. Not rooted in reality, believes in something arbitrary that will make all problems vanish, tries to cram it down everyone's throat, consider themselves holier-than-thou, have a savior or victim complex...

Yup. It's a religion.

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 337

I do occasionally see web ads - hard to escape that without turning off JS entirely (though /. lets me disable them) - but I'd hardly count that as using a Google product. I don't listen to commercial radio; good public radio where I live, and I mostly listen to audiobooks anyhow. I don't have cable, haven't for 20 years. Netflix is fine for keeping something on my TV. I certainly don't watch any broadcast news, where my choices are the propaganda arm of the Democratic party, or Fox. No thanks. I seriously dislike commercials, as you may have gathered.

The one place Google still gets me from time to time is YouTube. I wish there was a better alternative there, but there's educational content on YouTube that just doesn't exists anywhere else. Fortunately the interstitial ads are pretty rare for the non-pop-culture stuff (and I'm sure I could block those too, if I got more active about it).

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 337

I don't use Google products, because fuck being the product. I went elsewhere. Most people simply aren't aware of what Google does, just as most people think they're the customers for commercial TV.

Google still makes almost all of their money selling ad impressions. You are product. (Facebook too, of course.)

Comment Re:Just (Score 2) 165

My sense is that distributed power production won't work until you get a quantum leap in battery storage so the generators can use their own excess capacity. I'd cover my roof in solar tomorrow if I could have 100 kWh of battery in the basement to cover evenings and peak utilization.

I don't think the idea of a random, unstructured network of spare residential solar over capacity is really what makes for a manageable grid. Maybe the existing grid could be redesigned to support a lots of local feeds in a manageable way, but it would be extremely expensive and I don't know that it's worth the cost, especially if its only to justify the individual generators personal solar economic choices.

I don't agree with the monopoly obligation agreement at all. The concession made by utility monopolies is rate regulation -- they get to charge enough to meet reasonable costs and a fair profit margin. Stable, minimal markup pricing is the concession. By forcing the utilities to buy power they don't need under their current generation and management structure (and at high rates), you're basically forcing them to charge more to everyone else so that they can buy power they don't need from people who have invested in solar.

I'm sorry, but I don't agree that utilities or other rate payers have a moral or any other obligation to subsidize the choice of putting up solar panels. Put up panels if you want, but your economic calculations should just include the power you don't buy from the grid, not the power you make the other rate payers buy from you. If that turns out to be a less winning economic decision, too bad. "Because solar" or similar isn't good enough.

Think of it this way -- if I shop at one grocery store and buy food and then discover I have too much, I can't go to a different grocery store and make them buy back my excess food or give me a discount on the additional food I buy.

Comment Re:Just (Score 2) 165

I just don't get the righteous indignation. Why should the utility be required to buy your excess production at all? I get that in some kind of ideal world, it makes sense to pump excess residential generation into the grid but I don't know if that's much more than wishful thinking right now -- there's no coordination or management of reverse feeds, for the utility its a nuisance and could be a real headache in the future.

At some point I wonder if this is really about being pissed off that the economics of a solar installation is dependent on excess power being sold back and their actual numbers aren't adding up.

I guess my thought is, too bad. If you want solar, you should pay for solar. Asking other people (the other ratepayers) to subsidize your solar installation is kind of BS and no amount of moralizing about your petty 10kw backfeed keeping them from spooling up a gas turbine will make it otherwise.

This is the theory that Jack built. This is the flaw that lay in the theory that Jack built. This is the palpable verbal haze that hid the flaw that lay in...