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Comment: Not the first cockpit without a front window (Score 1) 468

The Spirit of St. Louis had no front windshield because of the placement of tanks. Lindbergh would yaw the plane to look out a side window when he wanted to look ahead. The plane was also equipped with a periscope for take-offs and landings, though it's not clear Lindbergh used it while in flight.

Comment: The article didn't say what consitutes "subsidies" (Score 1) 385

The article ultimately points to an IEA website for the data on subsidies. If you look there (http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/resources/energysubsidies/ ), much of the subsidies are in the form of fuel price subsidies in developing countries (see http://www.iea.org/subsidy/ind... ). According to a 2009 IEA document (http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/media/weowebsite/energysubsidies/second_joint_report.pdf ), this accounts for $312 billion a year. The rest is attributed to "tax expenditures, under-priced access to scarce resources under government control (e.g. land) and the transfer of risks to governments (e.g., via concessional loans or guarantees. These subsidies are more difficult to identify and estimate compared with direct consumer subsidies." If you take away fuel subsidies in India, for example, many people could not even cook their food, much less get around. In many countries eliminating fuel subsidies would result in mass hardship and even civil disruption. Blithely assuming such subsidies can be eliminated is not a practical solution.

Comment: Depends where you are in life (Score 1) 710

by lightbounce (#47328035) Attached to: Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy
I don't know why everybody assumes there is only one life/work balance that's optimal throughout your life. When you first get out of school, want to make a mark, and don't have a family, it's often very rewarding to put more hours into work. But later on in life when you get a family and other interests, work just isn't as important for most people. It's not that one is better than the other, it's that priorities change as you age.

Comment: Re:Then Fire Him (Score 1) 509

by lightbounce (#45692049) Attached to: NSA Head Asks How To Spy Without Collecting Metadata
He's leaving next spring anyway. The Obama administration has already decided he should be replaced with a four-star general or an admiral of equivalent rank. They decided this because the head of the NSA is also the head of the armed forces Cyber Command ( http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303293604579256222466393090 , paywall)

Comment: Re:But.. (Score 1) 340

by lightbounce (#45365669) Attached to: Global Biological Experiment Generates Exciting New Results

The largest driver for resistance is the over-use of antibiotics in non-health care related fields, like industrial agriculture

There's some truth to that, but to say the "largest" driver is something that nobody has ever demonstrated.

Growing up my family had a hog farm. It was started in the '30s before antibiotics and saw the effect of them on herd health when they became available for agricultural use in the '50s and going forward.

Keep in mind that farms don't use the most expensive antibiotics. Instead, they use common ones such as the various penicillin derivatives and sulfa drugs. They also use antibiotics which were never approved for humans.

So while farms may be the source of resistance to penicillin and sulfa, they can't be the source of resistance to expensive antibiotics used in hospitals. For example, we're running out of TB antibiotics that work. Most of these are never fed to farm animals, so any resistance comes from improper use in the human population. My point is that while farms may be a source of resistance, human misuse must also be a significant factor. Getting rid of factory farms won't solve the issue.

From the experience of my family farm (which was not a factory farm), there's no doubt the improvement with the introduction of antibiotics in herd health was huge. Before antibiotics we had massive die-offs that could take 25% of the herd. The only treatments we had for things such as dysentery were arsenic and copper sulfate, which were very hard on the animals (you basically try to kill the bacteria before you kill the animal). Other diseases such as pneumonia had no treatments. When antibiotics came along in the '50s the improvement was dramatic. While there was some resistance developed to the penicillin drugs, they still were effective in controlling dysentery and other diseases. It did take careful management.

Comment: Re:Win modem (Score 1) 286

by lightbounce (#43680673) Attached to: WD Explains Its Windows-Only Software-Based SSHD Tech

I would be concerned about how accessible my data was without the drivers. So you're using Windows and your data is partly on the platter and partly on the SSD; you reboot to an OS without the driver (i.e. the driver breaks when you upgrade Windows, you boot into Linux, whatever) - can you still get at your data. My guess would be that whilst the contents of the drives will be accessible as two independent drives, they will be in some undocumented format and therefore irrecoverable.

Not necessarily. Don't confuse the decision about *what* to cache with the actual structure of the data on the hybrid drive. Firmware on the hybrid drive can easily keep track of which data on the SSD and HDD is correct, even when you are running Linux or some other OS. The Windows drivers could be used to decide where to put the data (SSD or HDD) during Windows operation, but it also implies that the firmware on the hybrid drive knows where the data is (since it actually put it wherever the Windows drivers commanded).

Comment: Doesn't explain dry climates (Score 1) 129

by lightbounce (#42654501) Attached to: Researchers Explain Why Flu Comes In the Winter

What about places such as Wyoming and Colorado that are dry (under 50%) for most of the year?

Also, my family had a hog farm growing up. The hogs were outside exposed to the elements. Every November in the early '80s we got hit with a major influenza outbreak in the hogs approaching 100% among the hogs weighing 60 to 180 lbs. There was no major change in the humidity, and didn't depend on rain or other weather events. Assuming the infection mechanism is similar (and certainly the influenza viruses were similar or the same since hogs are the source of many influenza virus mutations crossing over to humans), how does this result explain this?

Comment: Re:Color me unimpressed (Score 1) 108

by lightbounce (#42306871) Attached to: Seattle To Get Gigabit Fiber To the Home and Business
I don't know about KC, but in Boulder, CO the power utility Xcel in 2008 delivered fiber to the curb for every home and business in the city of 100,000 (it was planning to run its smart grid demo over it). But the cost ballooned from $15 million to $45 million just to install the fiber and Xcel abandoned the project not long after the fiber was installed. Now the fiber network is only used to periodically poll meters every few minutes and may go dark entirely if Boulder decides to break away from Xcel (they can't afford to buy the fiber).

Comment: Re:Gotta keep moving (Score 1) 179

by lightbounce (#41793429) Attached to: Algal Biofuels Not Ready For Scale-Up

Sure, it could be always be improved, but look at the actual numbers. You would have to improve it by huge amounts. To reduce nitrogen and phosphorus use you would have to figure out how to recycle it or bioengineer the algae to use much less of it. Recycling it would require a lot more input energy, perhaps making the whole process a net loss no matter what we do. And if we could bioengineer algae to use less fertilizer, we would have done the same thing for our crops a long time ago.

It may be doable, but it won't be for a long, long time. People are already looking at these same issues in our crop production, which is even more important than fuel production. If there was a big win somewhere, we would have found it a long time ago.

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