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Comment: Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (Score 1, Insightful) 461

by mxs (#47318863) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Just because you do not understand the potential for disaster from nuclear power generation and think you have a grasp on rudimentary statistics, you are not automatically right and we are not automatically liars.

It's awesome and safe in theory. In practice, it's f'n dangerous. If you get a chance, go visit some of the plants running 30, 40, 50 years now and get a feel for the upkeep, the staffing, and the safety procedures. It's all been made very ... "efficient" ...
Even for newer plants you get to deal with shoddy workmanship and lackluster oversight, plus idiotic f'ers who build those things on bloody fault lines. BLOODY F'N FAULT LINES.

And you have the unsolved disposal issue.

While I would love it if we, as a species, were able to harness the power of splitting the atom safely, alas, we are not. Some of us just think we are. Usually the same maniacs that don't believe we can change the climate, either.

Comment: Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (Score 1) 461

by mxs (#47318795) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

This risk is blown up so much as to be comical.

It is also diminished so much as to be comical.

There are probably more people who die every year from falling off of roofs while installing solar panels, than get sick yearly from radiation.

Anecdotal evidence not a good point makes.
Plus falling of the roof is something you can prepare for and avoid. Living in a fallout-zone really isn't. Look at Fukushima province. That land is now unlivable for the foreseeable future.
Radiation is also very insidious. You fall off the roof and you are dead. You get exposed and your risk for cancer increases measurably. Cancer is really, really nasty. And expensive. Even in "mild" cases. A mild case of falling off the roof is ... a bruise.

If you total the number of people, all time, who have died in nuclear power incidents-- including post-exposure deaths-- you probably wouldnt break 10,000. Excluding Chernobyl, I dont think theres been a single death (actual or projected) from nuclear power-- certainly none in the last 20 years.

First of all, you can't exclude Chernobyl or 3MI or Fukushima. Second, of course the projected incidence of cancer of people exposed near fukushima is higher than it would be without (in addition to several deaths already), and some of those cases will lead to premature death. Third, there are other measures than "death" to factor in. Including lands unlivable (Chernobyl, Fukushima), and the costs of waste disposal down the line (that stuff doesn't just go away, and getting our grandkids to deal with it is despicable.

The potential for disaster with nuclear power generation as it is practiced today is huge. Both Chernobyl and Fukushima are not yet even the very worst case that could happen. And lackluster oversight coupled with incentive to cut costs leads to a climate that is way too dangerous to be practicable.
The theory of nuclear power rocks. Given no accidents and a safe permanent disposal site, it is completely clean power. It's awesome. Unfortunately we are human, humans do cause accidents, and we have no safe disposal site.

Comment: Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (Score 1) 461

by mxs (#47318699) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Why not burn the candle from both ends, so to speak? Both work on the supply and the demand side.

While insulation is great and all, it probably won't offset the rise of electric vehicle power use or other technologies.
There are already carbon emission regulations and a market for it.

Subsidies for both wind and solar were both neccessary to get the ball rolling. They are being reduced (in fact, two months from now some subsidies are being reduced/removed again). Without them, the incumbent power suppliers would not have moved a finger to try to rid the country of its dependency on fossil fuels (possibly foreign). Hell, most of the big ones STILL don't know what to do about this new-fangled renewable fad (while their empires are crumbling -- they really do not know).

Comment: Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (Score 1) 461

by mxs (#47318661) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

The subsidies are not actually all that huge, all things considered -- and they are going down steadily with every revision of the EEG (renewable energy laws). It is true that wind (of which Germany has another ~33GW peak power potential) and solar are not the cheapest energy sources within the current framework of laws -- however if you add up the costs of nuclear (especially waste disposal, disaster preparation&recovery, etc.) and coal (environmental damage/pollution, etc.) the renewables still win.

You are also incorrect in saying that solar power is backstopped by coal power plants. Coal is actually a crappy backstop. If all coal plants in Germany were to cease to exist tomorrow, Germany would not have a problem. We have plenty of biogas plants as well (which are actually easier to regulate the power-levels of on the fly than old (and even new) coal plants). Biogas is also a lot less environmentally damaging than coal or nuclear. The problem is that right now, it is cheaper to produce energy with coal than it is with gas (thanks to subsidies on coal, mostly).

While both wind and solar are variable, you tend to have more of the one when you have less of the other and vice versa (for instance at night you have a lot more power from wind farms than you do during daylight hours -- fundamentally speaking due to convection). Both wind and solar are very easily curbed on a moment's notice if you have over-production (wind plants respond to commands within about 10 seconds and astonishing accuracy, and solar is pretty much as easy).

Some of the big problems that remain are power distribution throughout the country (you tend to have more wind up north, and the power generated there needs to flow down south but the copper capacity is not what you would call awesome right now), people with very old and unchangeable opinions (against all evidence) on what wind, solar, biogas, etc. can and should be used for (i.e. preferentially buying other forms of power in some cases, or not considering renewables for "backstop" purposes (i.e. on-demand throttle and spinup within 30-300 seconds, so-called SRL (Sekundärreserveleistung/secondary reserve power) or MRL (Minutenreserveleistung, i.e. within 300-1800 seconds).
Plus of course fear of expensive power generation. And while it's true that end-user power in Germany does cost more than, say, in the US, industrial power can be had pretty cheaply compared to the rest of Europe.

Personally I'd rather pay a bit more and be spared a Fukushima and Shanghai than the other way around.

Comment: The best thing you can do with the Olympics ... (Score 1) 578

by mxs (#46194715) Attached to: US Cord Cutters Getting Snubbed From NBC's Olympic Coverage Online

... is not to pay any attention at all to them.

Not only are there things much more deserving of your attention at the best of times when there are no scandals around "The Olympics" (as if), to support the IOC, their choice of country, their tacit approval of human rights violations in Russia, China, and elsewhere, the clusterf*** of corruption, bribery, waste, and wanton nationalistic tendencies is simply morally wrong and stupid. I feel sorry for some of the athletes who are being used as pawns, but they chose this.

If you have too much time on your hand, there are tons and tons of things you can do with it. If you really want to simply consume content, there is tons and tons of that stuff out there in the form of music, books, movies, tv shows, youtube, etc. -- much of it really quite a lot better than "The Olympics".

The FCC is toothless anyway. No need to involve those folk in folly like this. Well, maybe they need bribes too.

Comment: Re:I would feel bad but... (Score 2) 195

by mxs (#35801918) Attached to: Third Humble Bundle Arrives, 'Frozenbyte' Edition

Out of curiosity, why do you feel that PayPal, Amazon Payments and Google Checkout are all so evil, that putting $10 into them is unthinkable, even if it means supporting charities like Child's Play, the EFF, and Indie Developers porting their games to Linux and offering source code?

Full disclaimer, I work for PayPal.

I'll talk about PayPal, not having had much experience with AP (some) and GCO (none).

Let's start with the fee structures. I can almost understand transaction fees for credit card payments given they are passed on to Visa/MC (though I am sure PP does not pay anywhere near as high transaction fees that they charge others). However, for payments from PayPal balance, the fees are atrociously high for not a lot of benefit. This is untenable if you want micropayments, and is really f'n annoying for stuff that is not "micro". When I give the recipient money, I'd like them to receive almost all of it -- possibly commensurate to the actual fees Visa/MC extract with a tiny percentage and no per-transaction fee for PayPal. Right now you're fleecing on balance-payments.

Dispute Resolution -- it takes quite a while. It may have to. Over the years PP has improved on this a bit by opting to freeze specific transactions and not entire accounts -- though this is at the whim of whoever decides something is "suspicious".
Moreover, looking at it from the perspective of a seller, if you want to keep your account, you are pretty much pressured into acquiescing on any and all disputes. PayPal, while charging a LOT of money for their services, shifts the responsibility for fraud towards the recipients of any transaction. Considering it is an eBay company, this is rather an interesting choice -- if I sell something on eBay and the buyer complains about not receiving his item or receiving a degraded version thereof, there is nothing the seller can really do to disprove this -- in the case of physical goods there may or may not be a shipping slip (but let's get real here for a minute, for private transactions the cheaper shipping options do not always provide those) which PayPal may or may not accept -- if you go "digital", there is nothing you can show. If a seller receives a dispute notice on a transaction, they can write it off right then and there. No chance in hell PayPal will eat it. Notice how this also does not give PayPal any incentive to increase account security, fraud protection, etc. You can claim that PayPal "cares" about this regardless, but why should it ?

PayPal acts like a bank, holding a balance, freezing transactions, etc -- at the same time it does everything in its power not to be regulated like a real bank in most jurisdictions. If I go to a bank in Germany to do a transaction, there is regulatory oversight with teeth in these cases. PayPal ? Fat chance.

There have been enough cases of PP freezing recipient accounts entirely; they may state a reason, but that's not worth the email it was sent in. This seems to happen when an account suddenly gets a bunch of payments from many sources. Maybe this has changed and ONLY the "suspicious" transaction are frozen now, but given history, I would not bet on it. Specifically, I would not want to use PayPal for any purpose where there is a possibility of a decent influx of transactions. I can go down to my bank's main offices and resolve issues in a matter of hours, if not minutes, should they really arise. I cannot do so at PayPal, and it can take weeks for them, dragging their feet.

Unfortunately some of the directions PP is going in are the same directions other payment/cc networks and regulatory bodies are going; as such your suggestion to use cash wherever possible is one I try to follow where possible. Businesses actually often prefer it -- the marketing blurb goes that handling real money costs more money than handling credit card or debit card payments -- this may be true if that is all you accept, ever, but if you accept cash (and who doesn't), you have those costs either way and save on the transaction fees (which are considerable especially for low volumes). In addition I actually get true anonymity. The amount of bullshit and crap spam even moderate use of eBay will yield to your inbox ... argh. I would love truly anonymous debit currencies, but realize it ain't gonna happen. Too bad, really.

Comment: Re:Good idea but... (Score 1) 392

by mxs (#35606658) Attached to: A Handy Radiation Dose Chart From XKCD

I'd rather get my advice from somebody level-headed.

As you've failed to demonstrate I;m not knowledgeable, you've failed to demonstrate I'm not level headed.

Actually, I'll let your statement stand on its own as ample demonstration. Your choice of words, ad-hominem attacks, and general inability to converse intelligently make my point for me.

Comment: Re:Good idea but... (Score 2) 392

by mxs (#35552700) Attached to: A Handy Radiation Dose Chart From XKCD

Apples and oranges. Those complaining that it's too simplified are intellectuals and nerds - exactly the audience this isn't intended for. Those complaining it's too complex are those interested in the graphic actually being useful for education and information.

Option 3 : those complaining it's too complex are beyond help from a simple chart and need to get a better basic education. A chart that has 3 settings "Panic" "Tremble" and "Pie" would not exactly help educating -- it would just be a command-chart not even giving you the option to come to your own conclusions.

Here's an idea - you're an elitist idiot. You don't want anyone educated because that means they might actually want to take part in our representative democracy. You want to hand this country over to a self appointed body empowered to make decisions for the rest of us.

You love hyperbole, don't you ...

The facts remain, in any given field there are people more qualified than yourself to give advice and implement useful solutions. Good leaders (elected representatives) recognize this and get the best advice they can, instead of only what they want to hear, or "advice" from people patently unqualified to give any on the field in question.

And yes, when it comes to a nuclear meltdown scenario, I want the elite of nuclear power research to have much more of a say in what should happen next than an incompetent moron whose suggestions would just as soon cause supercriticality as being utterly worthless. While even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes, I don't want that chance to be taken. Likewise for other fields I am not an expert in.

There is moderation in this process since the decisions get made by elected officials. If they are any good, they will heed good advice.

Piss right the hell off. I'm a citizen of this country and have every right to participate in this discussion.

First of all, you are not a citizen of Japan.

Second, you have a right to speak, but no right to be heard.

Third, if you decide to speak, and if you get the ear of somebody who can effect changes in policy, you damn well better present a coherent case. In order to do that, you need to have researched the topic at hand. A "gut feeling" based on some two-bit tabloid and a moron talking head on TV is not research. Anything else is irresponsible.

Given your statements thus far, I'm inclined to be disinterested in anything you have to say. You may be right on something, but I don't like the chances. I'd rather get my advice from somebody level-headed.

Comment: Re:Ummm (Score 1) 302

by mxs (#35534696) Attached to: Microsoft Conducts Massive Botnet Takedown Action

I mean ok, I appreciate the effort and it makes sense to go after the control machines. But if a huge number of compromised machines are still out in the wild as dormant zombies, all it takes is for someone to find out how to reactivate them and we're back to square one.

I'd be somewhat surprised if MS got /all/ the C&C hosts for this botnet. It would be surprising if they were all situated within the US, for one thing.

Maybe they did enough research to effectively cripple the botnet for now, anyway. But I would not be surprised if the botnet is doing just fine and new redundant C&Cs are being set up as we speak.

Comment: Re:Finally... (Score 2) 187

by mxs (#35534502) Attached to: Visa To Offer Person-To-Person Payments

But why? Paper checks cost the banks money to process and the banks can't wait to get rid of them (and cut down on personal...). Well, couldn't wait to get rid of them of them, they are practically non-existing and only used when doing business with US partners.

Greed. Sure they don't want to support paper checks anymore. But they want to offer "new" services for less money even less. Banks operate on the principle that nickle and diming their customers is the best foot forward, and any services offered for "free" are just to get them in the door or offer a competitive advantage they'd rather do away with were it not for the pesky morons a decade or two ago who thought free cheque processing should be something to compete on.

Comment: Re:what about privacy? (Score 1) 187

by mxs (#35534448) Attached to: Visa To Offer Person-To-Person Payments

Oh I know. That's why I prefer my PTP transactions to be me handing over (or accepting) banknotes. Unfortunately this is hard to do if you're in Michigan and you want give your pal in Ontario $12 USDs. Not a big deal really but who wants the "imperial entanglements" that go with converting USDs to CDs and paying the conversion fees, showing ID (which will be recorded), and etc.? And of course if what you're buying or selling is pr0n or something else you'd rather not disclose (or be able to be discovered) what's the alternative? Not PayPal that's for sure.

This is by design. The effective untraceability of cash has long been a "problem" for police states such as the US and most European countries. They will make sure no other form of monetary transfer developed from hereon our will ever have that same design flaw. All you need is a boogeyman (for most people, money laundering mafiosi type stories will be sufficient, for the rest use terrorists and child molesters) and suddenly you get access to a vast database of who exchanges money with whom for what when and how often. And it will most definitely not be used primarily to catch aforementioned boogeymen (which can still just deal in ... cash. Or bearer bonds. Or goods). Bonus points for slowly making people who use cash seem suspicious and giving cash an air of criminality (for 500€ notes, for instance, there are bunches of stories about how they are used by criminals).

Things like anonymity or even just simple privacy are not desired. Which is a shame -- I don't exactly want all my trading counterparts to know my physical address, or even my name. Not because of what I am doing being shady in any way, but I simply do not trust most people to use and discard, let alone protect, my data responsibly.

Comment: Re:Credit card fees (Score 1) 187

by mxs (#35534308) Attached to: Visa To Offer Person-To-Person Payments

You aren't factoring in the real costs of the service which is when the credit card companies don't get paid what is owed to them, where they end up selling the debt at a large discount to a collection agency.

Nearly 1.3 million bankruptcies were closed in 2009 alone, with only ~40,000 of them being by businesses. You can imagine that these weren't by people that owed an average of only $100. Its more like an average of $10,000+. Billion of dollars don't get paid back to credit card companies each year.

God forbid they don't extend credit to people unlikely to be able to repay it. That would be, like, like selling mortgages to people who can't afford them. That is what America is founded on !

Certainly there will be unforeseeable bankruptcies. The vast majority of them is foreseeable, however.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 586

by mxs (#35447674) Attached to: Student Sues FBI For Planting GPS Tracker

Are either of these things indicative of illegal behavior ?

Yes, that's the whole point of mentioning them...

I am of the exact opposite opinion.

Wow, yes, you are right, an honest view of the world in 2010/2011 has strong evidence that money transfers to Japanese politicians are equally likely to end up funding terrorism when compared to money transfers to the Middle East.

You left out Mexican politicians and drugs. Or Swiss bankers, really. The point is that the mere transfer of funds to a region is not indicative of illegal behavior. If you have intel on a specific person in that region and transfers going to/from him, excellent, now you might have a case. Even Japan has criminal elements -- hell, everybody and their mother even knows their name.

Other than infringing on their civil liberties and rights, sure. In that case, let's record every phone call ever made and keep it archived for a couple of years.

Oh, yes, absolutely. Because my idea (and the way the real world works) of having indicators for suspicious activity and investigating further if enough indicators are present is JUST THE SAME as fully investigating everybody all the time.

Yes, it is. Indicators, as you so eloquently call them, need to be captured. There are doubtlessly very valuable "indicators" in phone calls. We wouldn't be investigating anything other than the records that ping, and then dig into it. This is clearly for the good of the people.

You are making the case that infringing on people's civil liberties and rights is a good thing if it prevents terrorism. My point is that you are using very broad strokes fueled by xenophobia and prejudice if you do what you advocate; it's only reasonable to do the same for other groups (be they homegrown terrorists, non-islamic terrorists, etc.) Who knows whether Sweden is not facilitating the development of a new IRA !

Now an argument could be made that what they did here is reasonable. And if that argument can be made, why did they not make it to a judge and get a warrant ?

Well that is the question isn't it. Some judges have ruled, in fact, that adding a GPS tracker to the outside of the car is fine without a warrant. Does that make you feel better? Others have ruled that it's not legal. Are you worried again?

You are not getting the point. These decisions are case-by-case and with oversight by a different branch of government. You can't just stop making the case because somebody else made some other case that resulted in the same outcome you are looking for.

Notice it has nothing to do with racial profiling, Islamophobia, or whatever other red herrings you want to throw out there.

You and I value these things differently then. In my eyes, it does.

Comment: Already presented at 27C3 in Berlin in December (Score 3, Informative) 62

by mxs (#35447518) Attached to: New Attack Can Disable Phones Via SMS

The presentation from the 27th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin last December (http://events.ccc.de/congress/2010/Fahrplan/events/4060.en.html) is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bkg3AjY6fs or http://mirror.fem-net.de/CCC/27C3/mp4-h264-HQ/27c3-4060-en-attacking_mobile_phones.mp4 .

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth

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