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Comment: Re:You'll want either AT&T or T-Mobile. (Score 2) 146

by j-beda (#47344981) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: SIM-Card Solutions In North America?

7-11 has a "fan-constructed" website with lots of good info at and their "official" one is at

You can order a SIM online for postal delivery (maybe only to Canada?) or walk into a 7-11 and pick one up directly. I think they only do regular or mini-SIMs, so you'll need to cut it for a micro-SIM size.

If you are on the west coast, find someone who uses Shaw for their ISP and get them to give you a Shaw login/email on their account and you'll have access to a whole wack of wifi hotspots mostly in BC and Alberta, but a few farther East.

Comment: Re:stupid comparison (Score 1) 501

mixing them should be a capital crime.

Bollocks - I regularly mix units, because it sometimes makes a lot of sense. I've described something as a metre by a yard (it wasn't quite square). Similarly, I've described items in feet or inches in area, but thickness in millimetres (it tends to be anything less than 1/4 inch).

Before you complain that not everyone knows basic conversions (not everyone's an engineer), it helps if you do any amount of travelling, especially if you're from the US or UK. Also, this topic is physics/engineering, so it usual to see mixed units - we see them when talking about rocket payloads all the time. Similarly, would you complain about the mixing of AUs, light years, millions of km/miles in an article about astrophysics or astronomy.

Even you would not be so stupid as to mix units when directly comparing two things. You would never say something like "Alpha C is 4.3 light years away, while the voyager spacecraft has already traveled 18.2 billion kilometers! The stars are ours, if we take the time!" You wouldn't do that because the vast majority of your audience would not be able to make the comparison without a fair bit of work. Sure, using mm to describe the thickness of something who's other dimensions are described in other units could be appropriate, but using mm to describe the thickness of one thing, then comparing it to the thickness of something else in thousandths of an inch is just stupid. Your "metre by a yard" comparison is cute, but relying on people to know that a metre is about 3 inches more than a yard certainly is something that can lead to troubles.

Comment: Re:stupid comparison (Score 1) 501

by j-beda (#47320561) Attached to: A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls

to build three massive, 1,000-foot high, 165-foot thick walls

For example, in Philadelphia, the newly completed Comcast building has about 300 meter height. The wall with similar height as the Comcast building should be much easier to be constructed.

But the wall is not similar height, is it? it's 3 times that height. Also, it may be 165-ft thick, but how wide? all the way around the city is how many times wider than said Comcast building? a few thousand? so 9000+ times larger structure is somehow easier to construct?

I blame the stupid writers who mix their units. 300m is about 1000 feet. As stupid as various measurement systems might be from anyone's perspective, mixing them should be a capital crime.

Comment: Re:Most interesting part... (Score 1) 461

by j-beda (#47318035) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

The overall (dotted) line shows a rise from ~27,000 to ~31,000, which is consistent with the data I linked.

Perhaps "consistent" but still not "a complete picture".

Your table lists gains for median incomes gains for sectors of the population over a 20 year span (ending a decade ago BTW) with increases of 31335/28939=1.08, 17648/10741=1.64, 22740/17390=1.31, 18379/9944=1.85 , while the doted overall line, as you state, is 31/27=1.15

None of the educational lines are any where near 60-80% gains, or even half that of 30-40% gains - are women (at least the black and white ones) really such a small part of the economy that when you nearly double their income it has no visible effect on the overall population numbers?

If we go with "all males" and "all females" from the wikipedia table we get 30513/27206=1.12 and 17629/10683=1.65, are there really so few women workers that their substantive gains are virtually washed out by all those guys.

As I said, I don't think the linked table gives a complete picture. I don't have a great source that does give such a picture.

Comment: Re:Most interesting part... (Score 1) 461

by j-beda (#47317723) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

I live in Florida and chose to install solar panels. I was using an average of 34 kWh/day prior to installation, but am using 20kWh/day now, after installation, due to the insulating effect of the panels on the roof.

It sounds like the best ROI would have been to just mount some shade/reflectors on the roof, at nominal cost and get that 14 kWh/day "insulation effect" for almost no cost.

Or plant a few shade trees.

Incidentally, does that 14-16% ROI you calculated take into account that the money "saved" on your electric bill is equivalent to a tax-free income increase? If you had invested your money elsewhere and gotten interest or dividend payments or cap gains, you would need to pay income tax at whatever your marginal income tax rate is, thus resulting in a lesser effective rate of return. This makes "investments" in solar or energy efficiency even more attractive.

Comment: Re:Most interesting part... (Score 1) 461

by j-beda (#47317641) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

American incomes have been stagnant, or declining in real purchasing power for thirty years

Sorry, thats not correct. Adjusted income has massively grown over the last 50 years.

To self-quote an earlier post:

Just a sample of median income over time,, race, etc (in 2004 dollars) (source):

1950 -- White men: $18000; White women: $ 7000; Black men: $ 9775; Black women: $ 3150
1980 -- White men: $28939; White women: $10741; Black men: $17390; Black women: $ 9944
2004 -- White men: $31335; White women: $17648; Black men: $22740; Black women: $18379

I'm not sure that data is paints a complete picture. The graph on the same Wikipedia page seems to indicate pretty stagnant growth for various educational levels over a 20 year period:

Comment: Re:Document escrow is not new. (Score 1) 208

by j-beda (#47293405) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

How about you just give the document escrow folks a one time use pad cypher and simply keep your "secure" documents encrypted using that pad. You can then "update" everybody electronically with an encrypted document that they cannot decrypt until they can obtain the one time pad from escrow.

While you are alive, you need to protect your copy of the pad, but its not hard to invent some classy way to do that given that the pad has absolutely no useful information in it...Like using a your favorite MP3 or something...

I think that using the one-time-pad to encrypt multiple items ends up leaking information if someone gets their hands on those multiple updates. Since you are sending out those updates to "everyone", that doesn't sound optimal. I don't know that this "attack" is particularly feasible however.

Comment: Re:Lawyer (Score 1) 208

by j-beda (#47293361) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

This sounds good in theory, but most law firms do not use any form of encryption for their email or data storage, so it is not that difficult for a hacker to get into your lawyers server and steal your information.

You would have the data on a drive unconnected to the network, and of course the password for the encryption is given to them on paper. If you are trying to guard against a dedicated group targeting you specifically, then of course more paranoia would be appropriate. The rest of us are not important enough to worry about that.

Comment: Re:Encryption (Score 1) 208

by j-beda (#47293339) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

I thought about that, but my daughter classically can't remember passwords she uses every day; there's no way she's going to remember a password she'll only need once.

Then you WRITE IT DOWN. Then give her the piece of paper with it written down upon. Or give the encrypted files and/or paper with the password to one or more lawyer types to do the holding on for, if you want to really have it properly curated.

Comment: Re:Democrats voted (Score 1) 932

by j-beda (#47219733) Attached to: House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

What's wrong is to have state-sponsored open primaries. That's fundamentally anti-democratic. Why should the state organize primaries for only 2 parties? There are dozens of small parties out there which would like to receive the same treatment.
Parties should organize primaries themselves.

Why is it set up this way? If we start the Slashdot Party and it gets really really popular, will we displace one of the two? Are the Dems and Reps actually enshrined by name in legislation?

Comment: Re:Democrats voted (Score 2) 932

by j-beda (#47219717) Attached to: House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Yeah.. THIS!! I'm an Independent voter in Nevada, up until the middle of BushyJr's second term I was a life-long Republican.. The Republican party has gotten so FAR from its roots, I couldn't remain a "member"... Since I am no longer a Republican, I'm prohibited from voting for ANY candidate in our primary yesterday other than the non-partisan races, like Judge, Sheriff, etc.. This is a crock of SHIT, so I now do not vote in primary elections.. There were several Republican candidates for state and national office that I'd loved to have voted for, but the State of Nevada has seen fit to prohibit me from voting for them, unless I attach a label to my name.. I'M NOT A REPUBLICAN NOR A DEMOCRAT, I'M AN AMERICAN....

The USA is the only place I am aware of where the "public" has any say in how a political party decides who will run under their banner. In most places I am familiar with, only the card-carrying members of "Party X" get to decide who will be running. Since I am not a member of Party X, I don't pay membership dues or attend conventions, why should I have any say in what Party X does in terms of putting people on the ballot?

Similarly, why is "the state" running (and paying for running) these primary elections? Shouldn't that be something that the political parties run and fund themselves? Do only the Dems and the Reps get this treatment, or does the US Libertarian Party, and the US Communist Party also get their candidate selection process funded by the public?

Comment: Re:hahaha! (Score 1) 932

by j-beda (#47219671) Attached to: House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

"The forced movement to the right is only going to mean less compromise..."

Exactly. Because the Democrats never see the need to compromise. They will plow ahead with their agenda (as always) and the media will spin it in their favor.

I was very disappointed that the Democrats did try to compromise on health care reform back when they had the votes to push through whatever they wanted. The removal of the public payer option (ie let people pay into the medicare system if they wanted) was an error. Instead they compromised and passed a marginal reform that still has "the other side" out of their minds with woe. If the other side is going to piss and moan about socialized medicine no matter what, why didn't they actually pass a socialized medicine bill?

Anyhow, from my viewpoint, the Dems have done a lot of compromising, to little effect. Probably however, I am viewing the world through a biased filter. I do feel that pretty much everyone is being pretty ineffective in actually working towards reasonable solutions to problems rather than spending all their efforts demonizing the "other side".

Our policy is, when in doubt, do the right thing. -- Roy L. Ash, ex-president, Litton Industries