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Comment: Re:No warning? (Score 1) 54

by petermgreen (#48020131) Attached to: Update: At Least 31 People Feared Dead After Japan Volcano Erupts

The scientists were well aware of the small quakes. The prosecution alledged that they should have known that this meant an elevated risk of a big quake and that their downplaying of said risks was sufficiently negligent to ammount to manslauter. The court agreed with the prosecution and convicted them but the sentances were apparently suspended until appeal.

Did the court convict because they took a detatched view and found the people truely negligent or was their verdict colord by rage and the need to find a scapegoat. That is why we have appeals.

Unfortunately I can't seem to find any information on whether the appeal was successful, a failure or still in-progress.

Comment: Re:OLEDs not generic LEDs (Score 1) 181

by petermgreen (#48007775) Attached to: Breakthrough In LED Construction Increases Efficiency By 57 Percent

I don't mind paying $20 for a light bulb I'll probably never have to replace again.

With CFLs we were promised 10 times the life of incandescents, some live up to that but many don't even from supposedly reputable brands. Fully enclosed fitings with the lampholder above the bulb seem to be particular death to CFLs.

Yes in theory an LED bulb can last even longer than a CFL but i'd be very reluctant to pay such high bulb prices on a relatively unproven and easy to screw up (AIUI high power LEDS need careful cooling design and drive circuit failure is also an issue as it is with CFLs) tech.

Comment: Re:CDC "Estimates" (Score 1) 275

by petermgreen (#47980479) Attached to: CDC: Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million In 4 Months

More people die in Africa every month from dysentery than have died from ebola ever. But there's no public hysteria, and thus no tax dollars, in that.

Which sucks for the poor africans with dysentery but it's not much of a threat to the rest of the world.

What makes ebola scary is it has a very high kill rate, the number of cases has been growing exponetially and while poor hygine practices have certainly played a role it seems far from certain it couldn't spread in a more developed society. So-far the number of cases escaping the hotbed of infection has been at a level where extreme measures (carefuly tracking anyone who has been in contact with the victim) can be taken to contain the escape but as the number of infected grows that will become harder and harder.

Comment: Re:Does it matter? (Score 5, Informative) 137

by petermgreen (#47974943) Attached to: Google Quietly Nixes Mandatory G+ Integration With Gmail

Some examples

One was the real names policy, previously youtube had been happy with psuedononymous commenters. With google+ they tried hard to push people into using their real names on google+ (though they eventually dropped that policy) and they also tried hard to push youtube users to sign up for google+ and use their google+ name (which was likely their real name) on youtube. It was possible to avoid it but they tried pretty hard to push people into it.

Another was that gmail users were appearing in google+ searches. Some people don't want it to be easy to search out their email accounts.

Comment: Re:Battery life! (Score 1) 252

by petermgreen (#47973385) Attached to: Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

Some modern phones also have a similar battery life if you turn off packet data meaning that outside of calls the only radio traffic is occasional interactions with the control channel.

The problem comes when you want to be notified of incoming emails or tweets or whatever so you keep packet data turned on. That means that the phone is constantly bringing up packet data connections so that apps can talk to servers on the internet.

Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 1) 252

by petermgreen (#47973275) Attached to: Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

I'd disagree with "irrelevant to anyone except a professional photographer". The real problem is not proffesionals vs amateurs but that the usable megapixels of many small cameras is far lower than the nominal megapixels making the nominal megapixels pretty much meaningless to anyone (including proffesionals).

More usable megapixels are good for pretty much any camera user but the only way to get significantly them is to make the whole camera (sensor and lens) larger and that is a price smartphone users are generally not willing to pay.

Comment: Re:satellites? (Score 4, Informative) 48

by petermgreen (#47967293) Attached to: SkyOrbiter UAVs Could Fly For Years and Provide Global Internet Access

Sattelites come in two main varieties both of which have their problems.

GEO sattelites can cover the world with a handful of sattelites but they are a LONG way from anything on the ground and a long way up the gravity well. That limits the data rate possible with a given antenna size and RF bandwidth, it also makes them expensive to launch and makes the latency high (best case for round trip time on a GEO based sattelite internet service is ~500ms, protocols for on-demand upstream bandwidth allocation will make that much worse).

LEO sattelites have much lower radio path loss and much lower theoretical latency but each sattelite has a relatively small coverage area and worse the sattelites are constantly moving which makes use of high gain antennas difficult, requires frequent handoffs, makes it impractical to focus coverage on areas with the most demand.

A flying platform would be even closer to the ground than an LEO sattelite and would stay in a more or less fixed position allowing it to serve a fixed area. The question is can you make an economical permanent flying platform (either by lighter than air flight or by heavier than air flight with solar power)

Comment: Re:Why so much fuss? (Score 1) 156

by petermgreen (#47942437) Attached to: Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State

Two reasons

1: They probablly see this as the thin end of the wedge, the first step would be botique car manufacturers selling directly. Then perhaps the major car manufacturers would look into how they can set up an "independent" company that isn't bound by the parent company's dealer relationships or look into how they can end the current dealer relationships and hence become a "dealer-free" manufacturer.
2: tesla may be a botique manufacturer now but what happens if and when battery costs drop or fuel costs rise to the point that the total cost of ownership of an electric car makes sense for most drives. Will the current major automakers adapt or will they be replaced by a new group of automakers who aren't bound by the legacy contacts of the current big players

Comment: Re:No more subsidies (Score 1) 350

by petermgreen (#47935941) Attached to: FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps

Of course the speed you need depends on what you want/need to do with it.

1mbps is more than enough for browsing the web, filling in government forms, doing your banking, keeping in touch by email, posting on slashdot and so-on, it should even be just about enough for low resoloution youtube videos. Dialup is no longer really sufficient, the modern web has become too bloated.

Much as I like fast internet I think bringing people stuck on dialup onto some form of DSL is probablly a better use of subsidies than upgrading those in the single digit mbps to 10 mbps. It's IMO a much easier argument that 1mbps+ internet should be considered a basic public service than that 10mbps+ internet should be considered a basic public service.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 1) 494

by petermgreen (#47928137) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

there are no border controls in the rest of Europe, or on the Irish border, not sure why this is a being played as a big issue

There are border controls between the UK and france becasue the UK is not part of the schengen area. Normally EU countries are required to join the schengen area but the UK and the republic of ireland negotiated themselves an exception.

If scotland joins the EU and is unable to negotiate an exception from the schengen area and the rest of the UK decides to remain outside the schengen area then scotland would be required to implement border controls with respect to the remainder of the UK.

If scotland does not join the EU then I'm not sure what the situation would be but I expect there would need to be customs controls but possiblly not full border controls.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 1) 494

by petermgreen (#47927255) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

So-far I haven't seen a good answer (that is an official answer from someone with the authority to make the descision) to the following questions

1: will the independent scotland be allowed to stay in the EU? if so will they choose to do so? if so will they get the same exemptions the UK gets or will they be forced to join the euro and the schengen area to maintain their EU membership? If they choose not to stay in the EU what will their relationship with the EU and UK be? if scotland is forced into the schengen area will the rest of the UK follow them?
2: in the event that the UK government refuses to let scotland have a currency union (which is what they are saying at the moment) and they are not forced into using the euro what will they do? will they use the UK pound unliterally? will they create their own currency but peg it at 1:1 with the UK pound? will they create their own currency and let it free-float? will they join the Euro?
3: in the event that scotland does not keep the pound which if any of the following groups will have their bank balances automatically or forciblly converted to the new currency? scotish people using scotish banks? english people using scotish banks? scotish people using english banks.
4: how will citizenship be handled (this is especially important if scotland ends up not in the EU). Will people get to chose? will they be forced to one side or the other based on where they lived at the time of independence? will people who want it be able to get dual english/scottish citizenship.
5: what will the impact on transportation and other infrastructure be? this is especially important if the answer to question 1 requires the construction of border controls at the scotish border.

Have I missed the answer to those questions or are the scots basically voting on independence without knowing the details of how it will work? how have these issues been handled in other country breakups?

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir