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Comment: This is why we can't have nice things (Score 5, Insightful) 254

by necro81 (#48040381) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics
If the government hadn't been stomping all over its authority (and limits thereof), then perhaps such measures wouldn't be needed.

Holder contends that "It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy.” that may be possible in theory, but governments everywhere have demonstrated repeatedly that they can't be trusted to protect personal privacy. In other words: allowing law enforcement the ability to search through a phone's contents willy nilly, trusting them not to abuse that authority, is a nice-to-have. And because of their actions, we can't have nice things.

Comment: Re:Interesting. But might end up as more of a toy. (Score 1) 55

They're trying to duplicate something they saw on a sci-fi TV show, thats primary use was exploration of alien planets

No, the tricorder's primary use was exposition, not exploration.

TV Show Watcher: What the heck is going on there?
Star Trek Character: (consults tricorder) There appears to be a radiation surge from other there, indicating a portal will soon appear and introduce this week's source of conflict.
TV Show Watcher: Thanks, informative tricorder!

Comment: Intergalactic Contest (Score 1) 129

by necro81 (#48035745) Attached to: Tetris To Be Made Into a Live Action Film
Let me guess: the fate of our universe depends on us winning the next Tetris tournament, because the other guys have won the last nine. One sage but somewhat aloof character - Christopher Lambert, perhaps, but with a Russian accent - will gather together a diverse team of fighters - no, arcade junkies - to battle an alien invasion force that has overwhelming technological superiority. Except that instead of actual battles, we'll get head-to-head Tetris. I can't wait for the cinemasins version of that

Comment: Re:link to a genuine source, not this shitty artic (Score 1) 268

by necro81 (#47992077) Attached to: IBM Solar Concentrator Can Produce12kW/day, Clean Water, and AC
Read much more coherent coverage from IEEE Spectrum.

Spectrum is great - important and well-written technological articles that 1) get their units correct and 2) don't get breathlessly hyped up like a press release. For a while, the print magazine was the main reason I kept my IEEE membership current. Now the whole thing is posted for free online.

Comment: Re:Rule of thumb: $1/kW or forget it. (Score 1) 268

by necro81 (#47992005) Attached to: IBM Solar Concentrator Can Produce12kW/day, Clean Water, and AC

Shade, dark weater, and high lattitude shifts it downward. (Forget about solar in Seattle, for instance.)

Someone ought to tell that to Germany, which has a mean latitude of 51 and plenty of cloudy days, and generates a significant fraction of their power from photovoltaics.

Naw, who am I kidding, everyone knows that the reason Germany is so successful with PV is because they get more sun! Seattle doesn't stand a chance by comparison!

Comment: Re:OK (Score 1) 268

by necro81 (#47991947) Attached to: IBM Solar Concentrator Can Produce12kW/day, Clean Water, and AC

The cheapest thing with solar is massive massive land area at like 8-15% efficiency, with a flat nonmoving panel, that might cost a couple ten bucks a square meter, long term

I am always astounded that parking lots in hot climates - a WalMart in Phoenix, say - doesn't have a roof of PV panels. Provide shade for customers' cars and generate power at the same time. In those sunny climates, the payback period is well less than a decade.

Comment: Re:You sound awfully concerned about (Score 1) 341

by necro81 (#47972441) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

Over 1,000 nuclear weapons have been detonated on Earth in the past 50+ years

And about half of those were detonated underground, after the 1963 Test Ban Treaty. The ban on atmospheric testing was put into place once people realized that irradiating their own planet and dispersing toxic metals was a bad idea.

Comment: Re:It is all pork barrel politics (Score 1) 341

by necro81 (#47972391) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

Russia recently stopped all shipments of processed Uranium from Russia to America for fuel processing, a move that indicates they have no intention of reducing their arsenal.

Do you mean the Megatons to Megawatts Program? It ended of its own accord: the deal from 20+ years back was for 500 tons of enriched uranium, that amount was delivered as planned.

That the program wasn't extended seems more to be a lack of leadership than hostility. At the time when such an extension could/should have been enacted, when the New Start treaty was signed, the US was on OK terms with Russia. As the article points out, however, the hawks in the Senate stonewalled on ratifying the treaty unless they got their shiny new nuclear complex. They got what they wanted, and undercut the President's ability to negotiate further nuclear deals at the same time.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford