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Comment: Re:Still not good enough. (Score 1) 382

by mrchaotica (#48934029) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Yeah, but voters are getting big government anyway! It's just that it's the even worse kind of big government -- the kind that spends all its money unaccountably on the military-industrial complex (and increasingly, the prison-industrial complex) instead of providing services to constituents.

Comment: Re:Overblown nonsense. (Score 1) 99

by mrchaotica (#48927695) Attached to: Why We Still Can't Really Put Anything In the Public Domain

Now, I grant you that most an entire generation having grown up with the idea that it's ok to steal IP, and the toxic idiocy of the "information wants to be free" crowd additionally muddying the waters, and the proliferation of people who just can't seem to keep their word, one might have reason to be cynical about this.

You've gone off the rails here. The "information wants to be free" crowd thinks as such precisely because information naturally (i.e., without the interference of law) is in the Public Domain to begin with. Creating a strawman argument claiming that they'd somehow twist that position to justify stealing from the Public Domain is not only offensive, but patently absurd.

Comment: Re:Crontratulations to some of you (Score 1) 147

by mrchaotica (#48926093) Attached to: New Google Fiber Cities Announced

Why pay half a million dollars for an 1800 sq foot 30 year old house when you can buy a brand new 3500sq ft house for the same price?

First of all, in-town bungalows are more like 70+ years old. That means they were better-built than new speculative construction and (if built before WWII) have lots of architectural detail that's too expensive to build today. If they're "the same price" (as opposed to "fixer uppers") then they've been renovated and insulated to modern standards, so utilities are cheaper. And most importantly, they're in walkable neighborhoods and close to jobs, so the commute is shorter and the lifestyle is better.

You wold fit in real good with one of my sister's friends who is spending $1400 a month for an 800 sq ft apartment in Brookhaven (just so she can say she lives in Brookhaven) while I pay $1300 a month to rent a 1700 sq ft house out in Woodstock.

Why would I do that when I'm paying about $700 a month for a mortgage (including taxes and insurance) on a 1500 ft^2 house in Atlanta (in the Atlanta city limits, near Decatur)? Granted, my neighborhood isn't as nice as Decatur, but it's a damn sight better than most parts of the suburbs.

By the way, before I bought my house (5 years ago) I lived in an 800 sq ft apartment on the south edge of Buckhead for $800 a month, and I'm sure it'd be no more than $900 or so now... unless that apartment is super-luxurious, your sister's friend is getting ripped off.

Now, I know Google is doing it on a neighborhood basis, so I doubt that most places in these cities won't get it as there are probably not enough people that can afford the $300 up front investment to make a whole neighborhood viable, so it will still be only the rich ones that get this. It just seems to me that picking areas where the income distribution isn't so large would open them up to more customers

Just under half the folks in my neighborhood are yuppies who can easily afford the $70/month gigabit service. The other half are older people who've been here for 20+ years, who would benefit from the free service. In fact, I would say that even having the yuppies create a fund to subsidize the installation fee for the others wouldn't be out of the question. In other words, Google Fiber is a great fit for my neighborhood almost because it's mixed-income. Unless it's competitive (where the rollout is limited to only the top X% of neighborhoods, rather than all that meet some threshold), I can see every neighborhood in the city qualifying except for the real slums, like English Avenue or Mechanicsville.

Comment: Re:Disappointed in Portland (Score 1) 147

by mrchaotica (#48924969) Attached to: New Google Fiber Cities Announced

If a $300 one-time fee (that you can plan for many months in advance) is a show-stopper for you, then you have a severe personal finance problem.

(And saying "I'm too poor not to live paycheck-to-paycheck" is not an excuse; plenty of people on the forums at sites like and have figured out how to live well on $7,000 - $30,000 per year).

Comment: Re:Crontratulations to some of you (Score 1) 147

by mrchaotica (#48924725) Attached to: New Google Fiber Cities Announced

I hate to break it to you, but people live in exurban wastelands (like Woodstock) because they can't afford to live somewhere like Decatur or Sandy Springs. Those Decatur bungalows you think are just "old" are actually $0.5M+. A lot of them are also actually really nice; they're just not designed to show it off from the street McMansion-style. (Bungalows are typically relatively narrow and deep and don't have front-facing attached garages, so they look smaller from the street than they actually are.) And Sandy Springs (along with Buckhead, adjacent to it) is full of actual mansions (not the "Mc" kind) and is the most expensive town in the entire metro area.

If your impression is based on just what you can see driving by at 50 mph on Scott Boulevard (or on Roswell Road, in the case of Sandy Springs) then you don't know WTF you're talking about.

(Now, bear in mind that I am talking about the City of Decatur proper... unincorporated Dekalb with a Decatur address really does suck, except maybe for the parts near Emory.)

Also, it makes more sense to bring fiber to older, closer-in cities precisely because they are closer, more dense, and don't already have (competing) good infrastructure.

Comment: Re:Best short programs (Score 1) 195

by mrchaotica (#48923365) Attached to: Computer Chess Created In 487 Bytes, Breaks 32-Year-Old Record

What you're saying doesn't matter. The point is that the measured result has to include the runtime environment. Because of that, even "Hello World" in Prolog, Scheme, or Haskell is probably* going to be bigger than 487 bytes.

(* I haven't actually looked up the runtime size of those languages.)

Comment: Re: just put a motor on the elevator itself (Score 1) 243

by mrchaotica (#48923197) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

Induction incurs a lot of losses. Yes, it can travel a small air gap easily; however, it does so with a lot of compromises. Some of the main challenges is heat generation and low power transmission efficiency. Increasing the power can attempt to address the latter but only at a cost of more heat.

With a km-high vertical shaft, I've got to think some use can be found for that heat (e.g. by putting an electric turbine at the top).

Finally, current elevators don't lift the car. It is counter balanced with a set of stacked weights. The elevator motor (a fixed mounted motor pulling the cables) only needs to lift the difference between the two weights of the loaded car and the counterbalance weight stack. A fully self-powered car of the kind we are considering would not have a counter balance (because it would lack the connecting cable) and therefore would need even more power to lift the entire mass of the car.

As somebody mentioned upthread, this is only true when the weight of the cable is negligible. If the cable weighs as much as the car, as it would in a sufficiently-high tower, then there are situations where the motor has to lift that much weight.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"