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Comment: Re:FUD filled.... (Score 1) 212

It sounds like this transformer had its center tap grounded and was the path to ground on one side of a ground loop as the geomagnetic field moved under pressure from a CME, inducing a common-mode current in the long-distance power line. A gas pipeline in an area of poor ground conductivity in Russia was also destroyed, it is said, resulting in 500 deaths.

One can protect against this phenomenon by use of common-mode breakers and perhaps even overheat breakers. The system will not stay up but nor will it be destroyed. This is a high-current rather than high-voltage phenomenon and thus the various methods used to dissipate lightning currents might not be effective.

Comment: Re:Great. A new excuse for providers to raise pric (Score 1) 77

by KingOfBLASH (#47535815) Attached to: Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

Not true. When I go to the US (or travel) I buy a prepaid sim card for local calls.

Verizon is able to sell you a sim card for your iphone if you have a 5 or later. If you have a 4S, you are right, but it's been some years since that was state of the art.

It's cheaper for cell phone manufacturers to make 1 chip for all the bands, then have to retool for each different cell provider

Comment: Re:Great. A new excuse for providers to raise pric (Score 2) 77

by KingOfBLASH (#47535619) Attached to: Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

Phones like the iPhone have the ability to use most american, european, asian, and FAIK african cell phone bands, for years now. Most high end android phones have similar abilities (and some allow multiple sims).

My iphone has never been unable to communicate on a region's network, and I travel a lot, My (unlocked) iphone has worked on all four continents mentioned. Quite a few places in America, most countries in europe west of Czech (and who'd want to go east of there), South East Asia, and Morocco (OK, not all of Africa).

Of course, maybe el cheapo brand cell phones might differ, but if you are paying $20 for a cell, who cares if you can unlock it and use it again?

Comment: Even better, reflect true cost of cell phones (Score 3, Informative) 77

by KingOfBLASH (#47535547) Attached to: Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

True story:

My sisters's iphone screen broke. I asked her what she was doing with it, she said "Nothing, Apple wanted $100 to fix the screen but I just signed on for another contract with Verizon and got a free iphone."

This is how a lot of people think, and they're too naïve (or dumb) to realize the truth (no comment on sis). Her iphone is worth several hundred dollars, and if the phone is fixed for $100 she still comes out ahead. Verizon, meanwhile, will charge her more per month and actually, she's losing money on the deal.

Comment: Re:I'm doing my best to keep them afloat (Score 1) 168

by KingOfBLASH (#47531011) Attached to: Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

I second that. I'm at 300+ books (although I have a tendency to buy professional reference materials that are $50+)

Kindle is awesome. Easy access to English language books (I live abroad, try finding the latest anything in Vietnam), it's searchable (great for reference books), and I own two kindles so I can keep an entire kindle of reference books in my desk without a huge footprint.

+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

"Here at the Phone Company, we serve all kinds of people; from Presidents and Kings to the scum of the earth ..."