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Comment Re:Mystery (Score 5, Informative) 159 159

The question of whether acupuncture (in any of its hundred or thousands of forms) is more effective than control (a.k.a. "placebo effect") has been answered conclusively -- it is not. Acupuncture is indistinguishable from sham acupuncture in numerous, well controlled studies. It is the theatre, not the treatment that has any effect; and those effects are only measurable in the short-term against subjective outcomes. In other words, it's risky (infection, organ/vessel piercing), has no more benefit than just talking to someone or sitting quietly for a half hour, and does not improve health in any known objective measure.

The placebo effect "works" for a very narrow definition of "works", which is far less than what practitioners of these worthless treatments claim.

Comment Re:Mystery (Score 1) 159 159

Not really, because unlike real medicine, chiropractic has no standard of care from which one can expect or anticipate a particular outcome nor judge the performance of the practitioner. Anything that goes right or wrong in the course of "treatment" can be handwaved away with nonsense explanations about misalignments, energies, chi or whatever other subjective crap absolves the chiropractor of any responsibility to reality, while simultaneously allowing him to sell snake oil vitamins and smoothie mixes and to schedule "tune up" and "adjustment" appointments for as long as the patient still has money in his wallet and faith in the charlatanism.

Comment Is this really something new? (Score 5, Interesting) 368 368

Firefighters already have the ability to damage private property when it is necessary to contain an emergency situation. I can't imagine this law adds additional powers, but perhaps clarifies that existing standards still apply to a new technology that didn't exist at the time. Perhaps also a reasonable public awareness / scare campaign to remind people to keep their drones away from disaster areas where they are interfering with life safety.

Comment Re:Analog for the win. Again. (Score 1) 97 97

The OP is referring to an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI), which are now widely mandated in residential buildings by electrical codes in the US. The breaker has an embedded signal processing circuit which analyzes the power waveform and cuts power when patterns that look like excessive arcing caused by a faulty device, damaged cable or frayed cord are observed.

Comment Anti-SLAPP (Score 0) 210 210

This is clearly a case for application of anti-SLAPP laws. My understanding is that California already has pretty good options in this area, but many other states and the federal system do not. A good anti-SLAPP law allow the defendants in these cases to request dismissal of the case prior to the very expensive discovery phase AND allow for recovery of legal fees.

Comment Re: Bad men could do bad things with this tech! (Score 3, Informative) 105 105

Why does it matter? The garage probably has a dozen different tools and garden or sports implements hanging on the wall that would make opening the door a trivial exercise whether locked or not. A person willing to break into the house once would certainly have no problem doing it twice.

Comment Re:what will be more interesting (Score 4, Insightful) 662 662

No, people do realize what a "pompous asshat" Jeremy Clarkson is, and they either don't care given how good he is at what he does, or they admire those traits. Large segments of society are not on board with the PC, wimpy, constantly-whining-about-bullying-and-____ism that is pervasive in media, especially an institution like BBC. Clarkson is a figure who pushes back at that trend, and many see him as a hero (now perhaps a martyr) for it.

Comment Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score 2) 374 374

Utility companies can raise their prices if they wish.

No they can't. They can propose rate increases and pitch capital expenditures or R&D, but they cannot do it on their own. Utilities operate in regulated markets and virtually all rate increases, fee levies and capital expenditures have to be approved by state and/or local public utility commissions (sometimes called public service commissions). Often then, there is a mostly-fixed profit margin imposed on the utility companies leading to rather inflexible pricing and investment options for the company. Like any quasi-government body, the PUCs are susceptible to lobbying interests, single-issue candidates, busy-bodies, histrionics, endless red tape and the various other plagues of politics which essentially tie the hands of the utility companies when it comes to business decisions.

Comment Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score 1) 374 374

Any connection to individual or community health is tenuous at best. The whole issue with PV panels is that they are not net energy positive for their anticipated service life when installed anywhere but the sunniest areas. Fossil fuels are being burned in places like China to manufacture panels that, over the next 30 years, will not produce a greater amount of energy than went into the creation of the panel (and inverters, etc). I agree that burning coal, and to a lesser extent, natural gas isn't a great solution for generating electricity; however PV solar does not improve the situation, and in many cases, probably makes it worse. See also: corn ethanol.

Comment Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score -1, Troll) 374 374

Agreed entirely. It's not only theft from the utility companies but theft from the rest of us who recognize PV solar power as the obvious scam that it is in all but the sunniest areas of the world. My rates inevitably will go up because the utility is forced to pay retail or higher for solar in net metering schemes when they should be buying bulk power from the lowest cost providers.

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder