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Comment: Re:One last thing (Score 1) 491

by ka9dgx (#48012343) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

So you are arguing against widely distributed small generators on that basis? They provide LOCALIZATION OF PRODUCTION by their very nature, so I suggest you be a bit more honest about your reason for objecting to them.

As nuclear is far more reliable

If there were thousands of little generating plants, we wouldn't need a big heavy duty grid... but solar is not a generating plant. It is a sometimes available source of energy which perturbs the balance of the grid over the time frame of seconds.

The Grid is a system designed to reliably deliver power from a set of fairly reliable constant power sources. Those sources were designed to go online and stay at design load for many months at a crack, then have a scheduled maintenance outage. and then do it again. There are stresses associated with each transition, which are cumulative, and result in finite lifespans for things like generator shafts.

Yes... a generator shaft is a big dumb piece of steel... until you start to think about it and dig deeper. It was probably cast in a spinning mold with a vacuum applied to cause any defects to be located in the center of the shaft. Those defects are then bored out, and thus you have a nice, strong, reliable piece of steel good for 5 decades of service, with a huge margin of safety. This huge margin considered 12 outages and/or unit trips per year, a safety factor of probably 20 for good measure, and an outrageous 50 year service life.

Since the 1950s... plants now cycle far more often thanks to big cheap nukes.... cutting that margin way back. Now you want to cycle them every time a cloud passes through the neighborhood of a large solar installation? They won't last 5 years at that rate.

The stresses on the whole grid from crappy politically special flowers will eventually collapse the grid unless some heavy, HEAVY upgrades are done... which just ain't gonna happen.

Solar/Wind is going to kill the grid... just wait and see.

Comment: Expectation Management (Score 3, Interesting) 182

by ka9dgx (#47896897) Attached to: The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

I completed the Stanford AI course, recently did a course in communications from the University of Amsterdam. In both cases, time management was a problem for me, I simply had other things to do, and drifted away... catching back up in the nick of time. Trying to fit distance learning into the regular schedule of campus life seems to be the problem here... it is definitely not the depth of material that is any kind of a stopper.

I think that guided deep dives into topics we would otherwise not understand, is going to be how we keep accumulating knowledge as a species in the future. Deep diving takes time, and unlike the real diving... it doesn't all have to happen in one shot.

On a side note... it is worth at least $20 to me... possibly much more... if someone can give me the deep dive that results in me understanding the Higgs field, and the Higgs particle. A true understanding... not some vague notion of mexican hats and potential.

Comment: Unchecked governmental BS (Score 4, Interesting) 499

by ka9dgx (#47876599) Attached to: Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

It is utterly offensive to me that the State Department gets to decide who and what groups are "terrorists". Free Association is one of the key tenants of a functioning Democracy.

I find the associations between lobbyists and government officials to be a clear and present danger to our country... but what can I do about it?

Cloud

New Nigerian ID Card Includes Prepay MasterCard Wallet 62

Posted by samzenpus
from the identification-and-credit-report-please dept.
First time accepted submitter Adam Oxford writes Nigeria's National Identity Management System — which aims to bring together citizen information databases as diverse as driving licenses and tax returns — was introduced last week and includes a prepay MasterCard wallet. Civil liberties groups are naturally wary about the project, but proponents see it as a way to get financial services to the masses. From the article: "The director general of the commission which will implement NIMS, Chris 'E Onyemenam, said at the launch that the card will eventually be used for border control as well. 'There are many use cases for the card, including the potential to use it as an international travel document,' Onyemenam said. 'NIMC is focused on inclusive citizenship, more effective governance, and the creation of a cashless economy, all of which will stimulate economic growth, investment and trade.'"

Comment: Bad Security Model in the first place (Score 1) 331

by ka9dgx (#47689963) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

The root cause is that the security model of Unix that everyone copied isn't compatible with the modern world. The OS never asks what resources you want to allow a given program to access, instead it ass-u-me-s that it should have full run of everything, and just trusts the program to do the right thing.

So antivirus programs were invented to serve as a "no-fly-list" type system.... only programs on the list are stopped. This worked well until methods for changing the signature of programs got up to speed. Imagine a terrorist being able to make up a name before trying to buy/board a flight... this is where we are now.

Until we get the OS to ask what resources a program should be allowed... things will keep getting worse.

Comment: Long wave radar precision (Score 1) 275

by ka9dgx (#47632073) Attached to: Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Stealth Technology

The lowest frequency you could use to track a target should be on the order of one that results in the target being 1/2 wavelength. Given the F35 is 16 meters long, that works out to about 10 Mhz. I highly doubt there is an effective way to absorb/deflect a radar pulse at such a low frequency (and depth of penetration) in an aircraft.

I've known this since the 1980s... I highly doubt that I'm in any way unique. I expect there are a number of spread spectrum 30-50 Mhz radars out there, just for catching "stealth" targets.

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?"

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