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Comment: Re:That poor man (Score 1) 269


Except my tax rate went up 17% last year in San Mateo for special assessments.


Well San Mateo... that puts you in harms way of water department fines
and fee abuses.

If it does not rain up on the hills the SF bay area will have a handy dandy
excuse to reset the entire water delivery fee structure.
Almond growers are being vilified yet the domestic water delivery system
and the agriculture water systems are parted off way way upstream and
little is going to fix this issue and not kill a couple oddball fish in the delta.

Comment: Re:That poor man (Score 0) 269

Let's say he has a 1,500 square foot home that he purchased.........leaves him with about $600 a month, which may be needed for cars and everything else. So yeah, sad to say, he's almost poor in California.

Close with a footnote that his personal tax rate does not pay for the solar array.
Some other person or company must make more $$ to pay the tax to finance
the install of this array.

Note that he owns his home and in Calf there is the Prop 13 thing that effectively
freezes his property tax to levels as much as decades ago.

In all arrogant opinionated fairness I would rather give him a power subsidy and allow
others to install and properly maintain an array on their property. Because he is
"poor" the maintenance issue is very real and will haunt these efforts.
Two sons and a daughter tell me that the local education system needs
attention too. His tax footprint does not pass the "pay his way sniff test" for his
children through the education system.

Should he move the title to his home into a family trust the tax basis
could be frozen for his grand kids and beyond.

A good thing... sure. A smart thing I suspect not.

Comment: You must get it right (Score 1) 1

by niftymitch (#49786185) Attached to: Gene Testing Often Gets It Wrong

You must be abreast of the latest science or you just get cut off.

Less flippant... the modern links to cancer and disease to DNA is an emerging
science. WORSE this DNA science does not have a structure to annotate, deprecate or update
previous results.

There is another /. topic on the problem with "science" that attempts to make the point
that perhaps 50% of science is just wrong in whole or in part.

Old school science had a notion of accuracy and precision... in this case some of
the data may be accurate or precise but then that data is correlated to health issues
and we on /. all know by now that correlation is not causality except in the context
of $$.

Health care is quite happy with causality gaps as long as correlation lets them
manage the system to a profit. Healthcare does take advantage of the real
disconnect gap between money and health.

My favorite bad example is tobacco smoking and cancer.
The correlation is strong but the cause--> effect is still poorly understood.

Hope... some genetic methods are showing great promise on the
treatment side but I am not sure about the prevention side.
news at 11:00 kids.

Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 1) 397

by niftymitch (#49785991) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

This is also a serious problem in Computer Science. Anything involving data or empirical results is susceptible to these sorts of issues. So, machine learning, computer vision, performance benchmarks, all these areas are rife with the sorts of issues discussed above.

This is not new -- I recall a final exam in a geology class where the answers
came out of the "geosynclinal book" and an hour later I sat in a lecture hall
and listened to a plate tectonic talk which disclosed that the big oil companies
had used plate tectonics to identify target regions on the globe to explore over
the previous ten years.

The omission in all of this is the effective application of "deprecation" and retirement.

Consider the bogus paper on "Autism and measles-mumps-rubella vaccination"
and the associated controversy. Technical journals of the future must have
on line free errata. Even if the original paper is behind a pay wall! Those doing
modern work need to know what can be known about the foundations of prior
art that they depend on. Another internet issue is a glorious lack of dates.
This allows content to look new when it is a reissue with a new cover.

I recall mapping a fault in a region of central Arizona that was obviously
a normal fault but consulting the old maps from the USGS it was marked
as a thrust fault (no map in those old days lacked a thrust fault as was the fashion).
In Nevada other old map thrust fault structures are now clearly wrong in light of awareness of the
modern understanding of volcanic activity.

Computer science has update processes and within some bounds a structure
that allows the replacement of some foundation library when a bug has been
discovered and fixed but that does not cover the case of the bad decision
of null terminated strings. Buffer overflow and OBTW the world has more alphabets
than just ASCII.

The patent offices of the world are in serious need of a pile of Rosetta Stones.
And they have need of international digitization of computer science literature
to apply those Rosetta Stone translations to. Other literature searches for
prior art stumble over new language and news standards... A 7 layer OSI stack
in contrast to a TCP/IP model or the five layers of the VINES protocol stack.

RAID vendors all have their own tools and names for features, functions and devices.
RAID technology has science behind it but vendors like to differentiate or add value
so the names get changed for good or selfish reasons and subtle improvements
to the science might make it into a public scientific journal within a decade.
That is to say that some science has value and publication is delayed.
Some inventiveness is hidden in patent applications (locked and confidential) then
revision after revision attempts to lock in the flow of knowledge as the initial work
is not "quite right" but the .... well that is another topic to rant on.

Comment: Re:it's not "slow and calculated torture" (Score 1) 742

by niftymitch (#49776255) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

It's that eventually, Germany is going to get tired ...................

A big component of the problem Greece was the collapse of tourist trade
because of the burst bubble and economic fool hardiness. Tourist trade
economies are very sensitive to the real economy. Greece, Italy, Spain
(the "PIGS"). As low as interest rates are servicing debt is as easy
as it gets short of not servicing it.

Currently the Whitehouse is telling us that the economy is booming
and going full steam ahead. I suspect that the problem in Greece
ando more is a reflection that the economic profile has not recovered.

Lots of folk working, but no spare cash to travel to Greece (PIGS) or no paid vacation
to take.

We can wave our hands and say that the longer this goes on the worse it
gets but there is more involved here than many are factoring into their
solution view.

The PIGS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PIGS_%28economics%29) are the
brightly colored canaries in the system. But there are other less connected
nations and conflict areas quietly spilling into the Mediterranean trying to
find landfall and a future..

It is bigger than Greece and the uber rich 1/10 of 1% cannot bail this out
with a tax but they might invest. I might note that the needs of a tourist economy
are not the same as an industrial economy in terms of education and training.
Education and training has a plus 20 year lead time -- generational and changes
to the infrastructure are more complex and difficult than many grock.

One small bright light is Amazon paying local tax on local profit. But these
large apparently rich companies are not rich enough to be a magical tap to
turn and refill coffers of corrupt and ill managed countries.

#include "Goose, golden egg story" // here

Comment: Re:North Pole (Score 1) 494

by niftymitch (#49756357) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

Or a very large powered barge that is keeping your absolute position the same while you travel a relative position across its surface.......

but he's probably looking for the north pole answer.......which again, requires a rather large floating platform for at least some portion of the journey.

He did say "on the surface of the earth" not on the surface of a barge.

However since the earth is moving at an astounding speed through
the universe and polar ice is floating and vanishing there are many footnotes
to this...

Comment: What does this have to do with satellites. (Score 2, Informative) 36

by niftymitch (#49722421) Attached to: Using Satellites To Monitor Bridge Safety

Other than high precision GPS what does this have to do with satellites?

Sensor technology is improving so fast that tools better than this are possible
and inexpensive. It just takes doing it. Perhaps a gaggle of folk from
the Makers Fair will do it for $101.00 next weekend.

In all fairness bureaucratic constipation costs lives.
Positive train controls should have been installed years ago on all rolling stock in the US.

Baring that a software and map update to a common sub $200 GPS that could track and log train speed
as well as sound a Klaxton to alert the engineer. It need not be integrated to the train in a
way that requires system review. Management could apply a GPS-RF transparent optionally solar powered box to
the outside of engines and other common rolling stock to record travel data. DOT could do the same
and track to see if management pressure is pushing engineers to operate outside of guidelines.

A little harder is realtime track monitoring but a shipping container bed could be modified with sensors and
a container of instrument systems mounted on it. Again there is no need to touch critical controls in ways that
risk safety for many audits. Lasers could locate surfaces on tracks with precision. G-sensors, accelerometers
acoustic audits, time, temperature are all possible. To get back to the original topic the container would
"see" track as well as bridges. Offloaded to a truck bed the container would see highways and rubber wheel
only bridges and roads. Tesla seems to have helped with the battery packaging but older Fe based power
storage would be fine as the "pig" need not be weight limited like a car.

Some of this is already happening just not enough of it. More agility is needed.

Comment: The missing link is the link (Score 1) 1

With no knowledge I thing the industry is protesting too loudly and the FBI acting too rashly.

If this is at all possible a hacked/ infected laptop or tablet could prove an very interesting vector for this.

It is known to many that public WiFi services often insert themselves as a central authority for
web traffic and return man in the middle proxy services. A man in the middle attack is
quite risky to being attacked by another man in the middle on either side.

His public announcements put him in harms way of the FBI but I cannot tell what hat he is wearing
because the media outlets are so busy shading this from one extreme to another. He could be
a black hat, a grey hat, a gray hat or a white hat who knows.

My expectation is that all the system in an aircraft are interconnected a little or a lot and once
a hacker can insert his bits into anything the risk of exploit goes up a lot.

The good news is that physical access seems to be involved and these devices can be pulled
or locked down tighter. In this case "the Kragle that kills dreams" may prove to be the way to stop
this in short order.

Bring on the Kragle.

Comment: Re:All about tha Benjamins (Score 1) 143

Aha... but all it would take is ....
the soap in the bathroom of the police office to be contaminated

And all it takes to resolve that is using individually wrapped soap packets.

I don't disagree with the rest of your post vis a vis privacy, invasiveness, etc.

Individual packets establish a clear non random way to contaminate an individual's hands.
The key is who is in control of the soap and it is not the accused.

Adds an entire new perspective to "do not drop the soap".

New technology can be used for good or evil. Understanding it
only begins to lock it down. Voting machines --- too easy to hack
evidence that can be falsified or more troubling woven into an airtight
net that ensnares the innocent on demand.

TLAs that sit on flaws in common operating systems so they can
exploit them simply keep the door open wide for abuse. Since the
flaws are unreported bad guys, good guys and those of androgynous
morality can play with impunity as long as the list is not too long.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 529

by niftymitch (#49720793) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Yea, well you were not kept as slaves, killed for learning to read, beaten with inch and a quarter thick poles (often to death). Your families were not sold separately to different owners and broken up. You were not systematically........

Some forget that Asia has its own history of slavery, persecution and genocide.
Most Harvard and Yale graduates do not get to read or hear about. Mostly it
is not in English and mostly the written record had been edited by the victors.

On the US side of all this is some omission that the second generation of immigration
is a big portion of the group involved in this. The tiger-mom culture is well represented
in this group. In addition there are some bell curve selection at play here. Those
that immigrated chose to for many reasons. Reasons that involve situational awareness
and the drive to act on it.

I am not sure if there is a good solution but the ivy league is fraught with legacy issues
that are integral to their finance and endowment structure. There is a small admission
group that does not get filled by the astoundingly clever and qualified combined
with legacy admissions.

The result is a stinkpot that the admissions must cope with.

Comment: Re:All about tha Benjamins (Score 1) 143

Your post:

Also to detect anyone who has any money, for confiscation of evidence of course

vs the summary

[...] by the excreted metabolites â" benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine â" resulting from abuse of the drug.

Sure. Unless simply handling money doesn't result in your body absorbing enough cocaine to synthesize and excrete " benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine".

In other words, you are probably entirely wrong.

Aha... but all it would take is ....
the soap in the bathroom of the police office to be contaminated
with benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine and then any perp
could be convicted by simply getting them to wash their hands.

The article implied that it could not be manipulated but there are some articles
that describe the synthesis of cocaine beginning with what the
article asserts are metabolites.

Further there are privacy issues. Should a crime scene have a lot of
fingerprints (a public or near public place) then testing prints for metabolites
would be invasive in many cases. Yes I was there Tuesday officer
but I was back in Europe on Wednesday and Thursday when the murder
took place. However now this individual is tied to drug consumption.

Seems clever from an instrument point of view but could be used to
build a synthetic profile around a crime that ties a "person of interest"
to another crime unknown to the authorities, unknown because it was
fabricated and did not exist in the real world.

Comment: Re:If it works (Score 1) 164

by niftymitch (#49715535) Attached to: Wind Turbines With No Blades

You must go nuts at people who install windows in their houses because:
Windows may kill up to 988 million birds a year in the United States | Science News

Well, do you? And what about cats and radio towers?

Wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds annually - a small fraction compared with the estimated 6.8 million fatalities from collisions with cell and radio towers and the 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion deaths from cats

Yes the world is a difficult place.
The big wind farms that I drive past are also the best location for
large soaring birds to get their lift before they fly out over the flatter
areas with good hunting So as correct as you are the big raptors suffer
from some installations out of measure.

Closer to home I have noticed a hawk lurking in a tall tree to swoop down and
gobble doves. For dessert he has been observed grabbing a hummingbird on the wing.

Comment: Re:If it works (Score 1) 164

by niftymitch (#49715505) Attached to: Wind Turbines With No Blades

I should rate you as overrated, but will answer you instead.

It is mostly another anti-AGW myth that large numbers of big birds are being killed by wind generators. One site has a serious issue and others have a small issue.

Now, with that said, BATS do suffer greatly at this. Not any particular bat, but all of them seem to not see the blades even though they have the ability to track small fast things. This might help save them.

  Personally, I would be far more interested in seeing what the $/KW are on this, along with what kind of winds are required to move it.

I learned something... the bats issue is new to me.
Yes the $/WK and towers per acre seem important.

Another remarked that Altamont pass is worse in this regard than most
other locations. It seems to me that Towers with confirmed bird problems
could be replaced with this as an alternative iff it works well.

Comment: Hook your wagon to .... (Score 1) 1

by niftymitch (#49707039) Attached to: The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks

If you hook your wagon to this you will be a train.

The positive train control systems all in the news are closing the
most important missing bit from this entire equation.

Trains are self steering and with an machine driving a truck is too.
Trains with positive control systems have a following communication
system and so will these automated trucks.

If trains had the nice right of ways that the highway system enjoys
and if trains had the same tax load that the highway system enjoys
rail would be an even more common and valuable transport
of goods and people.

There are parts of the west where this makes a lot of sense
except that trains run parallel to the Interstate and trains
would be more efficient.

The tax structure of rail is why so many local and state officials make
such a darn big clamor about Amtrak funding reductions. They collect
taxes for each and every foot of track and pay to maintain each mile
of highway.

The tax tangle needs to be sorted out. It does go back 100 years and
got so bad that the Interstate highway system was installed because
the rail barons and their monopolistic practices risked national security.
This combined with improvements in tires made it possible to upset
the balance of power.

Now nothing gets maintained.... No wonder Amazon would rather fly drones
to your door.

Your good nature will bring unbounded happiness.