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Comment Re:Diesel are more eco-friendly than gasoline (Score 2) 365

You must be too young to remember (and they don't bother teaching) how much damage acid rain did to the environment before we started cutting down on NOx.

Acid rain was caused mostly by SO2 from coal-fired power plants. NOx from vehicles is small potatoes in comparison.

Oh yeah, and it creates ground-level ozone

Only in NOx-limited areas. In VOC-limited areas, increasing NOx actually helps.


Nope! In fact, the opposite. Wikipedia claims:

NOx emissions also causes global cooling through the formation of OH groups that destroy methane molecules, countering the effect of greenhouse gases. The effect can be significant. For instance, according to the OECD "the large NOx emissions from ship traffic lead to significant increases in hydroxyl (OH), which is the major oxidant in the lower atmosphere. Since reaction with OH is a major way of removing methane from the atmosphere, ship emissions decrease methane concentrations.

I admit, I didn't entirely believe it, so I found another source:

The breakdown of NOx gases gives rise to increased OH abundance and so helps to reduce the lifetimes of greenhouse gases like methane.

Comment Re:Diesel are more eco-friendly than gasoline (Score 3, Interesting) 365

Here's a newsflash: particulate emissions are regulated by mass, but biological harm is proportional to the number of particles. The fact that those carcinogenic particulates from Diesels are big enough to form a visible cloud means they're less dangerous than the much larger number of tiny invisible particulates that gasoline engines emit.

(Not to mention, the modern Diesels being discussed have particulate filters -- which do actually work; the "emissions cheating" is about NOx, not particulates -- but modern gasoline engines still don't. And by the way: gasoline engines emit a fun mix of toxic substances such as benzene and formaldehyde that are much lower in Diesel emissions, and which are totally unregulated. New gasoline engines are way more carcinogenic than Diesels, even by a wider margin than they used to be.)

Comment Re:Umm, yeah, that's pretty idiotic. (Score 1) 143

You misunderstood me: if you (as the designer/manufacturer) don't want the user to change the firmware, then use a mask ROM instead of an EEPROM (or whatever) so that he physically can't.

As a (wholly intended!) side effect it means that you (again, the manufacturer) can't change it after the fact either, which means it'll have to be perfect the first time.

In other words, the only potentially-valid reason to make it hard for the user (i.e., the owner) to modify his property is that it's built well enough that (in the user's opinion, not the manufacturers!) it never needs to be modified.

Comment Re:Umm, yeah, that's pretty idiotic. (Score 1) 143

There are very good reasons to make devices for which the firmware is changeable after manufacturing but only by the manufacturer.

Name one that doesn't boil down to either (a) "the user is too stupid to know what he wants to do with his own property, so he needs the manufacturer to be his nanny" or (b) "the user might use his own property in a way that displeases The Powers That Be, and must be stopped."

Comment Re:It's software in the sense that it can be chang (Score 1) 143

x86 micro-code can be changed via flash, as can the low-level software that controls your microwaves, does that need to be programmable by random C++ hackers?

There are two possibilities:

  1. If it should be able to be changed via flash, then yes, it needs to be programmable by the user!
  2. If it should not be programmable by the user, then it should not be able to be changed via flash!

The point is, either the functionality is fixed for the life of the item, or it should be modifiable (i.e., repairable) by the owner. There is no middle ground. Having it modifiable by "somebody" but not the owner is nothing but a recipe for malicious tampering.

Comment Re:This is why we can't have nice things (Score 1) 350

The concept behind the H1-B program sounds reasonable. Bring in highly skilled experts from overseas that we can't find here.

There's nothing whatsoever reasonable about the idea that with a population this large and (some of) the best universities in the world, that we somehow can't find -- or make -- plenty of "highly skilled experts" right here.

In other words, I agree with your conclusion, but your premise gave the government way more credit than it deserves.

Comment Re:My experience with Infosys (Score 2) 350

It may also have hindered them to get the Infosys contract in many ways; it's hard to justify to upper management that you need more money for a contract when you paid so little in the past for the same contract from a different vendor.

That's the thing, they didn't pay for the "same contract," they paid for shit that failed to deliver. Of course, I can see how it could be hard to admit to upper management that your dumb ass got swindled...

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.