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Comment: Re:ESPN delenda est (Score 3, Interesting) 295

by mrchaotica (#49562979) Attached to: ESPN Sues Verizon To Stop New Sports-Free TV Bundles

Most of the shopping channels get on your cable system though having a local TV transmitter. Cable companies are "required to carry" any and all local over the air stations. It was the "deal" that was made to allow cable systems to exist, many decades ago. So you are going to get those no matter what.

[Citation needed]

I mean, that's true in theory, but in practice, since the [OTA] digital switchover, the cable company where I live has been getting away with downgrading stuff that would be 1080i with an antenna to 480p (unless you pay an extra bribe for them to leave it HD), and omitting broadcast subchannels entirely.

Comment: Re:Why would a non-sports person have cable? (Score 4, Insightful) 295

by mrchaotica (#49562725) Attached to: ESPN Sues Verizon To Stop New Sports-Free TV Bundles

If I could have gotten a cable package without sports channels (which would have been much cheaper than anything actually offered), I might actually still have it. As it is, the cable company lost me as a customer in part because of their dumbass deal with ESPN.

Comment: Re:What are the emissions? (Score 1) 436

To make the fuel, the following reaction occurs:

H2O + CO2 + energy -> synthetic diesel

Then, when burning the fuel, this reaction occurs:

synthetic diesel + air (O2, N2, etc.) -> energy + CO2 + H2O + normal diesel pollutants (soot, CO, NOx, etc.)

The advantages over regular diesel are that the carbon started in the atmosphere instead of the ground, so putting it in the atmosphere isn't a problem, and that (unlike dino-diesel) this fuel isn't contaminated with sulfur, so there isn't any SO2 produced. In other words, in terms of emissions it should be cleaner than regular diesel and tied with biodiesel.

The advantage over electric cars is that it works with our existing vehicle fleet and fueling infrastructure, and that it doesn't take an inordinately long time to refuel with it.

Comment: Re:Curse you, Entropy! (Score 1) 436

All well and good, but doesn't exactly solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

Yes it does. The problem with CO2 as a greenhouse gas is that we're taking carbon that was part of the long-term carbon cycle (i.e., fossil fuels) and making it part of the short-term carbon cycle. In contrast, this process takes carbon that was already part of the short-term carbon cycle and keeping it as part of the short-term carbon cycle. It's "carbon-neutral."

Using synthetic fuels like this (as well as biofuels) won't stop the global warming that's already happening (for that you need to actually sequester the carbon -- i.e., take carbon that's part of the short-term cycle and make it part of the long-term cycle), but it also won't add to the problem.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 3, Informative) 262

People say the average worker isn't making as much as they used to, but I think that people are just buying a lot more stuff than they used to.

That's a statement of median salary vs. GDP, which is only tangentially related to spending (i.e., only in the sense that consumer spending affects GDP). And wages and salaries really have been falling relative to GDP over the past 50 years.

Cellular phones, cable TV, Internet, and computers. None of this stuff existed 50 years ago. Our budgets may be stretched, but a lot of it is because of the things we have decided are necessary.

On the flip side, there are a lot of things that are cheaper today than they were 50 years ago, such as clothing and food (according to this article, those two expenses went from about 42% of the average household budget in 1950 to about 17% in 2003).

Comment: Re:A first step (Score 1) 286

by mrchaotica (#49550687) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

We use electric heating--which is expensive, and while our neighborhood will be getting natural gas in the next few months, it makes no economic sense for us to replace our central heating system with gas. (The payoff exceeds the lifespan of the HVAC already installed.)

Resistive heating or a heat pump? If the former, I suspect that replacing your AC with a heat pump would save you a lot of money. I would even go so far to say that if your HVAC is old then it would make sense to upgrade (because you'd have to replace the AC eventually anyway, and the marginal cost is small), and if your HVAC is new then whoever had it replaced last time was an idiot for not upgrading to a heat pump then.

Comment: Re:Local recycling is dependent on a local market (Score 1) 78

by mrchaotica (#49545967) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War

I have never understood why if your company makes something that is shipped in glass jars why you would care if they are reused or not unless you receive back the old jars like Coke use to do with glass bottles to refill and resell.

Liability, maybe? I think Classico was irrationally worried about getting sued by somebody whose jar exploded while being used for canning (either during the process, due to the heat, or afterwards from bacteria growth due to an improper seal).

Comment: Re:Local recycling is dependent on a local market (Score 1) 78

by mrchaotica (#49540713) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War

Classico pasta sauce comes in jars with Mason-type lids. However, they're made of cheaper glass than "real" Ball/Kerr Mason jars and are unsuitable for canning due to breakage risk, so Classico apparently wasn't very happy that they were getting saved and reused.

Classico recently tried to switch to lug lids, but their customers (including me) complained, so they switched back. (In my letter, I pointed out that the reusable jar was the main differentiating factor that caused me to prefer their sauce over any random other brand in the same price range.)

Comment: Re:So let me get this straight (Score 4, Insightful) 680

by mrchaotica (#49536647) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

The problem with Snowden is that he unilaterally made himself the judge of which secrets should be released and which should not.

Bullshit!

Snowden had no goddamn choice -- NONE WHATSOEVER -- because going through the quote-on-quote "proper channels" would have resulted in his whistleblowing being ignored or buried and nothing changing.

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