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Comment Re:legalism is a crap philosophy. (Score 1) 582

Because, of course, the great majority of people carefully analyze the potential hazards that might appear on a road, such as cars backing out of driveways, and slow down to a speed that allows time to avoid collisions.

That's why, for instance, nobody ever runs into boulders on the road when driving around curves on mountain roads -- they know that turn very well and regardless of the silly regulatory 40 mph sign they know it's perfectly safe at 65.

Comment I like the small-town Mexican solution (Score 4, Funny) 582

Take some discarded automotive parts (coil spring, shock absorber) and fine steel cable (the original reputedly used piano wire) and run it across the road under tension a few inches above the pavement. Go over it slowly (with the speed set by the shock absorber) and you never notice it's there. Go too fast and it slices the tire right off of the rim.

Comment Re:Plan B (Score 1) 298

Most nontrivial electrical loads are intermittent: refrigerators, stoves, heating, air conditioning, clothes dryers, etc.

Ideally a homeowner would provision to meet his average load during peak load times, but due to the fact that his short-term peak is greater than the average, he would be paying retail for the peaks and getting wholesale for the valleys.

That's an opportunity for arbitrage: pool the loads of a neighborhood and the peaks and valleys get smaller relative to the average, thus saving money.

Comment Depends on how you measure "*their" needs." (Score 2) 298

The folks who sized solar generation to meet *their* needs aren't harmed by this change.

If you mean "minimum load" then, yes, they're ahead because they never send any to the grid in the first place. If you men "their average load," not so -- they're paying for the extra KW when the air conditioning kicks on and getting back a fraction when the AC is off.So in the course of an hour, they're behind by quite a bit.

Comment Re:Government should not pick winners and losers. (Score 1) 298

There absolutely is a market, just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.

The most basic characteristic of a market is that there are multiple buyers and sellers who negotiate prices by going elsewhere if they don't like what they're offered. And this applies to the situation you describe ... how?

Comment Plan B (Score 4, Interesting) 298

If utilities don't do retail metering, consumers can get similar results by pooling their loads. Solar cogeneration is short-term steady while most domestic loads are intermittent, which means that over an hour a consumer might be a net provider to the grid but get charged amost as much as without cogeneration.

On the other hand, a buyers' co-op smooths out the load variations and approaches the effects of net retail metering. Which is appropriate, because (unlike wholesale rates) cogeneration does not put extra load on the grid.

If utilities don't adapt to these realities in a more realistic way than offering wholesale (i.e. solar plant) rates to cogeneration providers, they're likely to see a lot of pressure for cities and especially smaller towns taking over last-mile electrical distribution to get the same effect.

This last is not completely hypothetical; at least one Sunbelt town (mine) is moving in that direction.

Comment This is new? (Score 1) 242

Because many school districts pay a premium to teachers of STEM subjects (and more for AP and Honors courses) the teaching slots for those classes are highly sought-after. The result is that they go to the teachers who have clout (seniority, connections, etc.) regardless of their actual ability to even understand the material.

Example: my kids' high school AP calculus class was taught by someone who had never taken a college-level math class, while another teach with a math PhD was stuck with remedial classes. Great way to retain bright and idealistic STEM teachers, that.

Comment Re:Good Bye SSA & the US Economy (Score 1) 385

But more and more of them are by no means able to do any meaningful work anymore by the time they hit 60.

Say what? Look, I've been defending retirement at 65 for a long time because there are too many jobs (think roofers and miners) that are too physically demanding to keep up. On the other hand, I have professors who are past 70 and still scary sharp. One who gets around with a walker but can reason rings around people half his age in his field (materials physics.)

The thing is, it depends

Comment Re:Trickery. (Score 1) 324

Yes, it's possible to find MicroSDs -- if you do a full-up fine-tooth-comb search. Which takes hours and pretty much destroys everything in its path. If you've really pissed off the Powers That Be, they might. Then again, they've probably done the same thing to your office, home, car, and anything else you've been near recently anyway so why start worrying at the airport?

Otherwise, the major danger is that your brand-new Alienware machine looks like it would be better off in someone else's collection and the "confiscation for the sake of search" is just an excuse. Which is why you're better off without it (get another on arrival) or at least leaving the hard drive at home. The MicroSD chips aren't what they're after and finding the one in the heel of your shoe is more trouble than it's worth.

Comment Short answer (Score 1) 324

Don't have a drive in it. Don't have bits that they can claim to find suspicious. No excuses, because even (or perhaps especially) if they don't find anything on your laptop they'll confiscate it anyway to have the boys back at the shop take it apart ten ways from Sunday.

When you arrive, buy a new drive and load it up. How? Well, if you're visiting a field (or home) office, they'll have a disk image handy for you to use. If there are private bits that you haven't shipped over yet (SRSLY? They travel faster than you do, after all) then you can take them along. The border peeps aren't interested in doing cavity searches on everyone, after all, and short of shredding all of your clothing as well as the rubber-glove treatment they're not likely to find a micro-SD.

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