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Comment Re:Pilot's licenses should be required (Score 1) 51

Bullshit. You own the air up to 500 feet.

This is factually incorrect, pure and simple. You have no idea what you're talking about.

No, someone with a 3-pound quadcopter has no business operating at 1000' because that's federally regulated airspace, unless that person has a proper pilot's license and type rating for that aircraft.

Which is exactly why your entire premise about being over your own yard or over some other patch of dirt means exactly nothing in the context of your complaint.

What I'm saying is that someone who owns the property and also the drone shouldn't need a license to operate their drone, within their airspace (up to 500' AGL), as long as they stay within that box.

But you think they're going to somehow be smart enough, without a pilot's certificate, to stay under 500' above their own dirt, but can't be trusted to make exactly the same decision thirty feet to the right, above a different patch of grass? People who are going to break the law are going to break the law. Drivers licenses don't prevent tens of thousands of deaths every year, involving certified drivers on heavily regulated public roads. Meanwhile literally millions of RC aircraft of all shapes and sizes are flown. Give us a run-down of the ensuing blood bath, would you? Details, please.

Comment Better options than batteries for AC (Score 1) 317

AC is one of those things where a custom solution is often better than just trying to throw more solar panels and batteries at it.

First, you start by designing the house for the region, not forcing it by 'simply' tossing a X ton AC system at it. This can dramatically reduce the heat load. Much better done when building the house, of course, rather than as a refit.

Second, consider your total cooling requirements, at the reduced level. Consider what resources you have. Options include adsorption, absorption, air & ground source heat pump, evaporative, etc... Let's say we're sticking with that our cooling energy MUST come from solar power. We can use solar photovoltiac or solar thermal. Thermal pulls more energy from the sun per square meter and be cheaper, but processes after it are less efficient.

Today you can buy high efficiency heat pumps that work directly off of DC.

Third - get creative with storage. Batteries are not the only option! Thermal mass is an option - you cool down some media - water, bricks, dirt, doesn't really matter. Then use that to keep blowing cool air through the night. In the case of a thermal system, you can dump heat into storage and keep using it to run the absorption chiller overnight. In the case of an Adsorption chiller, you can size the media to last through the night and regenerate it during the day.

Comment Re:Pilot's licenses should be required (Score 1) 51

Did you miss my comment about flying over private property owned by the pilot (or presumably, where the owner has given the pilot permission to fly in it)?

No. Why should it make any difference? Commercial aviation goes over your property too. Are you saying that somebody launching a 3-pound quadcopter into the air above their property is inherently safer at 1000' than is the person who does that from some empty lot or a wooded park in the middle of nowhere?

You don't seem to understand that you don't own the air over your property.

Comment Re:I'm not renewing prime this year... (Score 1) 34

This. And though I've had hundreds of shipments from Amazon, personal and business-wise, very few have had problems. And in every case, they've had a replacement out the door to me before I even had the tape on the return box. Probably a quarter of the items I order now are delivered the same day, stuff is arriving on Sundays ... it all just works, and keeps working better as time goes by. Be reasonably intelligent about the sources of third-party listings, and you're done.

Comment Re:More great news for AMZN shareholders (Score 1) 34

More great news for AMZN shareholders ... Sky's the limit.

It's awful, isn't it? We should definitely choose some politicians that will limit the sort of success that a company's founders and investors can earn. That's how other people will suddenly start doing the things that will make them prosperous and there will be no more wealth gap. Limit success so that everyone succeeds! There's no prosperity until there's no prosperity!

What's the matter, put all your money into Apple stock and frustrated that it's lost value over the last few months while Amazon's continued to climb? Mad because you're trying to Kickstarter a Free Range Artisanal Organic Hemp Tea Cozy Studio and don't understand why people would invest some of their money in Amazon instead of giving it to you? Why the snark?

I'm not unhappy. Amazon's stock has gone up over 650% since I bought it, and I don't think a week goes by without them dropping off a package on our doorstep instead of me wasting time and energy driving around town hunting for the same items with - at best - mixed results. It IS good news for Amazon and the people who've put their own money into that company's fortunes when they fine tune the way they do things. Because they've got a good record of keeping both their customers and their investors satisfied.

Comment They beat themselves (Score 2) 41

the first responsability of the CEO is to protect the money of the shareholders and make it profitable

Exactly right. Add just a smidgen of shortsightedness and some pressure from the board, and you have the perfect storm of next-quarter-itis.

After a few quarters like that, the CEO takes off for the next company, as the company tries to put out the fires they left behind them -- fired experts, cheapened and crippled products, new hires that don't know much about the domain, insufficiently-tested but out-the-door-anyway products...

Yeah, responsibility to the shareholders. Which means: Short term thinking and cannibalistic profiteering. That's the US corporate mantra, right there.

Comment Re:If you're getting 50% efficiency... (Score 1) 317

I'll assume his other figures have similar accuracy.

They do. He's assuming 16.5% efficient for the coal power plants, they're actually 40-60% for all but the worst of them. A coal plant does NOT immediately toss 67% of the power it produces immediately up the smoke stack or whatever. The steam turbine itself isn't 50% efficient, it's closer to 60%.

Basically, he took the total efficiency figure for an out of date coal plant then multiplied it by 0.5 for 'good measure'. 5% for transmission losses is pretty standard, so he's good there. Losing 50% to charge from AC to a cell phone requires some gymnastics in how you measure it. Even a cheap USB charger should be 80%, and you're going to be at around that for a DC-DC converter(which converts it to AC internally) to get the 12V of solar cells down to a regulated 5V for USB.

To reach 50% you have to consider the internal charge circuits for the cell phone(.9), energy lost charging the battery(~90% for LiIon), etc... Even then I still get ~65%. Most of which can't be avoided by switching to locally generated DC.

Comment Re:The one from 2000 was really terrible. (Score 1) 132

"The Man" to do the D&D movie should be Jess Franco:

Yes, I know that he died in 2013, but he was such a prolific director, that he would never let the fact that he is dead get in the way of directing yet another film.

Well, Raise Dead is only a 5th level spell, so it shouldn't be too hard to get him.

Comment Only 1/3rd the power needs for the roof? (Score 1) 317

I can't say much about your specific situation, but in general if you're far enough from the equator for snow, the ideal solar panel will have a fair bit of tilt to it. At which point you have some options for snow-clearing. One of the popular ones is to use a relatively small amount of electrical heating once the snow stops to make the panel 'too slick' for the snow, at which point it simply slides off. Then the panels make up that energy through the day. Keep in mind that they're considerably 'slicker' that way than an asphalt roof.

Also, if your roof is only worth 1/3rd your electrical use, that may be something that you want to examine, because you could save considerable money for cheaper than installing solar panels fixing whatever is taking so much.

I say this because I can satisfy my electrical needs using about 2/3rds of my south-facing roof, and I'm in Fairbanks, Alaska. Disclaimer: Annual average; I'd have to sell electricity in the summer and buy in the winter.

Comment Re:Pilot's licenses should be required (Score 1) 51

The FAA's current '333' waivers DO require actual pilots licenses and registered aircraft.

It's definitely necessary for someone flying a 3-pound plastic quadcopter 25 feet off the ground to take a look at whether or not some gutters need to be cleaned out ... to hold a pilots license, get a tail number for that 3-pound toy copter, coordinate with the local tower, and of course file a flight plan. Should probably be required to know Morse code, too, just in case. You can't be too careful. This should also apply to people who fly kites and weather balloons, and those who race pigeons.

Comment Re:headline is misleading (Score 1) 503

It seemed like the majority was in favor of it at the time

No, more than half the country, even in the face of the lies being told, were vocally against the law while it was being written and rammed through in a purely partisan process. The only way they even got the bill passed was against opposition from WITHIN the democrat party, by offering all sorts of quid pro quo inducements to barely get it passed on technical maneuvering between the two houses of congress.

and even more people are in favor of it now

No, even more people are polled as saying they dislike it, and now two-thirds of even the people who are having their new services paid for or largely subsidized by other people say they are disappointed with the results.

Why not try to make it better rather than worse?

You mean, change the law? Obama has said he will veto ANY attempt to change the law. Of course, he has decided that he can personally change any aspect of it that he feels the need to for political expediency, through executive order. But the law can't be changed legislatively until two thirds of the representatives have heard enough pain from their constituents that they're willing to put together changes that will get past Obama's promised veto. Or, we elect someone into that position who won't block legislative will in that regard.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly