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Comment: Re:So, does water cost more? (Score 1) 377

by mspohr (#48379595) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

Most of the GMO seeds from big agribusiness (Monsanto, etc.) are engineered to be resistant to the chemicals which you must apply to get the high yields. The chemicals kill everything else. You must buy the seeds and the chemicals together to get the high yields.
This makes economic sense (if not environmental sense) in developed countries but completely fails in less developed economies. This is the problem with foisting developed country "solutions" on developing countries. They end up with high cost, unsustainable agriculture.

Comment: Re:All very nice (Score 2) 74

by mspohr (#48340807) Attached to: Elon Musk's Next Mission: Internet Satellites

Iridium ran out of money before they could get enough satellites up to make the service viable and lost billions. It was also very expensive compared to ground based networks so was only viable in isolated areas, giving them a very limited market. But post bankruptcy is still operational and will start launching it's next generation of satellites (with better data capacity) next year. Elon Musk's SpaceX has been contracted to launch the satellites. Now, twenty years later it is a viable business.

Comment: Re:Still a niche company (Score 3, Informative) 111

by mspohr (#48328097) Attached to: Tesla Delays Launch of Model X Until Q3 2015

Right now they are constrained by the supply of batteries. They are building a factory to make enough batteries for 500,000 cars a year so in a few years they will not have this constraint.
Currently their gross margin on cars is 30%... much higher than any other car company. They also have a 2-4 month backlog of orders without doing any advertising and having a very limited distribution network. They are projecting 50%+ growth for the next few years.
The competition has so far only produced pathetic electric cars (limited range using old designs and chassis from their ICE cars). These are equivalent to what a weekend mechanic could build in his garage. None of the established car companies has attempted to make the investment required to build a real electric car from the ground up like Tesla has... they could do it but they are at least 5 years behind the curve so it will take them a long time to come out with something equivalent to today's Tesla... and by then, Tesla will have moved on to something better.

Comment: Re:Still a niche company (Score 3, Insightful) 111

by mspohr (#48328005) Attached to: Tesla Delays Launch of Model X Until Q3 2015

In the past I've had a Porsche and a Land Rover that were each more expensive (adjusted for inflation) than my Tesla as well as a bunch of less expensive German cars. The Tesla is by far the best car I've ever owned. The whole driving experience (power, handling, comfort, etc.) is incredible... an order of magnitude better than anything I've ever owned.
The fact that it is environmentally friendly is just icing on the cake (but was the primary reason I bought it).

+ - WireLurker Mac OS X Malware Shut Down->

Submitted by msm1267
msm1267 (2804139) writes "WireLurker is no more. After causing an overnight sensation, the newly disclosed family of Apple Mac OS X malware capable of also infecting iOS devices has been put to rest. Researchers at Palo Alto Networks confirmed this morning that the command and control infrastructure supporting WireLurker has been shut down and Apple has revoked a legitimate digital certificate used to sign WireLurker code and allow it to infect non-jailbroken iOS devices.

Researchers at Palo Alto Networks discovered and dubbed the threat WireLurker because it spreads from infected OS X computers to iOS once the mobile device is connected to a Mac via USB. The malware analyzes the connected iOS device looking for a number of popular applications in China, namely the Meitu photo app, the Taobao online auction app, or the AliPay payment application. If any of those are found on the iOS device, WireLurker extracts its and replaces it with a Trojanized version of the same app repackaged with malware.

Patient zero is a Chinese third-party app store called Maiyadi known for hosting pirated apps for both platforms. To date, Palo Alto researchers said, 467 infected OS X apps have been found on Maiyadi and those apps have been downloaded more than 350,000 times as of Oct. 16 by more than 100,000 users."

Link to Original Source

+ - Wind Power Generated 126% of Scotland's Household Energy Needs Last Month->

Submitted by Taffykay
Taffykay (2047384) writes "According to new statistics released by the World Wildlife Fund Scotland, Scottish renewable energy had a “bumper month” in October, 2014, with wind power alone generating an estimated 982,842 MWh of electricity. This is enough clean energy to power around 3,045,000 homes, and equates to 126 percent of the electricity needs of Scottish households. Solar power and hot water generation also performed well, despite the country’s reputation for grey and misty weather."
Link to Original Source

+ - A nasty Trojan/virus from China for Apple devices-> 1

Submitted by grantspassalan
grantspassalan (2531078) writes "Just when you thought only Windows received the bulk of horrifying viruses and crapware, here comes WireLurker, a new family of malware, not even just a single one, that targets both Apple's desktop and mobile platforms for maximum reach. Palo Alto Networks, the cybersecurity company that discovered and reported this situation calls this an "unprecedented" type of malware, at least as far as iOS and OS X are concerned, hinting at the developing, or rather worsening, situation when it comes to malware and hackers' abilities to infiltrate our computers.

Of course, OS X and iOS have never been completely immune to malware, especially the recent bout of ransomware that have encrypted computers without authorization. But according to Palo Alto Network's research, this new family could probably be one of the worst to hit Apple's platforms because of four reasons."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:"environmental friendliness" (Score 1) 209

by mspohr (#48314011) Attached to: What People Want From Smart Homes

Unfortunately, natural gas is not environmentally friendly. We've been lied to by the fracking industry (surprise!). Natural gas does have less CO2 than coal but it still emits CO2. The worse part is that natural gas itself is 34 times as potent as CO2 in the global warming department and fracking is particularly "leaky" leading to lots of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
So... we need to get off of all fossil fuels, including natural gas.

Comment: Rich people's problems (Score 1) 165

by mspohr (#48311241) Attached to: Some Virgin Galactic Customers Demand Money Back

It's hard to know what to do when you have more money than you can possibly spend. What a dilemma!
Let's see... 10 minutes of fear, joy, excitement?
Or... give some money to "poor people"? ... not much excitement in that.
I just don't have a frame of reference for the dilemma these people face.

Innovation is hard to schedule. -- Dan Fylstra