Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:One of many potential causes (Score 1) 90

by rahvin112 (#49552527) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

The number of colonies isn't a good read, nor the amount of honey being produced for one simple reason. The beekeepers are doing everything they can to keep production level. They are producing new colonies at a breakneck pace. I've been told they've never produced this many colonies ever, the honey producers are literally replacing their entire stock of bees almost every year.

What's happening is pretty scary. It's being played up from both sides, the total freak out on the environmental side and the people that don't like environmental causes are playing it down like it's nothing. The loss of bee's on the commercial (honey production) side is being managed pretty effectively right now. I'm less concerned about that. What I am concerned about is the loss of the other bee's. Bumblebee's in particular are responsible for better than 50% of all pollination in the US. There are scientists that can't find certain species at all, species that used to be so common they didn't bother even trying to count them. It doesn't mean they are all dead but there is something going on and we need to know what it is.

My only point is that given the risks here it might be worth it to temporarily ban the neonictids until we understand what's going on. This could be like DDT and condor eggs, it could take a decade of the poison to work it's way out of the system and allow recovery.

Comment: Re:One of many potential causes (Score 4, Interesting) 90

by rahvin112 (#49549331) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

CCD is likely a multifactor agent. This is the reason it's been so hard to determine. I saw a discussion with bee keepers and the collapse goes like this.

The bees are fine all summer. When they seal up the nest for the winter and begin to subsist on the remaining stored honey (from what the humans didn't take) somewhere in the middle of the winter the bees start flying off and not coming back. At some point after this has begun the queen dies and no new queen is hatched. (new queens can be hatched easily by feeding one of the larva royal jelly). It's like the bee's suddenly go insane, most fly off into the wild and die, those meant to keep the hive going stop working (such as hatching new queens) and in no time at all the hive is dead.

They are having a hard time determining cause because their is no clear cause. The insanity thing is a totally new action that's never been observed in bee populations before, outside the wasps that lay larval in other insects brains. So they are examining multiple possible paths at the same time trying to figure out what is causing this bee insanity that's causing the collapse. Neonictids are suspects because they are potent CNS actors in some species, something that could explain the insanity. But it could just as easily be that the neonictids aren't the sole cause, they could be weakening the bees such that they are starving to death in the winter, or there could be a fungus that's attacking them while they are weakened.

Once they understand better how bee's react to neonictids and perform some controlled experiments with them they will have a better idea if they are the cause or related to it. There is reasonable concern here that the risk of the neonictids isn't worth the benefit's they provide. A collapse of bee's would be catastrophic to plant life. It's not just honey bees that are dieing either, reports are bumblebee's and other species of bee are dieing off as well. There is a real concern right now that there may be whole species of bees that are gone.

Comment: Re:No, they won't... (Score 1) 415

by rahvin112 (#49542275) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says

Tablets and their successors will replace most of the consumer market. People who's only desire is to consume content will gravitate to them and have no desire for a laptop.

PC's will remain steadfast parts of the business world. You aren't going to design a building or airplane on a tablet, you aren't going to run economic models are build trading applications on a tablet. All the business areas that use PC's for anything other than consuming content generated by others aren't going anywhere. They may shift to laptops as the computing surpasses their needs but no matter how good the computers get there are always areas in the business world where it's never enough. The amount of compute a PC can do expands and the software being used expands it's capability to capture this expanded power.

But again, if all you do with a computer is read email, watch videos' and read documents and you will be tablet based in no time at all if you aren't already. People that don't do real work have no need for a machine that can and that includes all the CEO's that don't actually do real work. It's these areas of business that will be cannibalized but the people that do real work aren't going to lose PC's they need the processing power and the capabilities a real PC provides.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 399

And the only supreme court case to challenge the handler claiming the dog hit repeatedly on the same person when no drugs were found the court promptly through out the challenge with no question of the dog/handler combination.

The conservative side of the court likes to let law enforcement do whatever they want. Scalia in particular bends over backwards to rule in favor of jack booted thuggery at every opportunity.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 533

by rahvin112 (#49506681) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

People are already disconnecting. It's a reality in Hawaii and the Western Australia outback. Both places with relatively high power rates of about $.30 a kw/h. Hawaii is probably the better example with a developed power grid. The numbers I've seen peg battery storage as viable, depending on exposure to about the current price in Hawaii. And this is on wicked old lead-acid batteries. Old technology, bad density and terrible cycle rates.

Once we start seeing the modern batteries become available in the size and capacity necessary the utilities better be worried. The problem right now is there isn't sufficient production so prices are high. The numbers I saw said Tesla charges about $40k for a 85kwh battery pack right now because of limited battery supply. The projections are that price will drop to $12k with the opening of the gigafactory. With more than 1k cycles and a projected life far above that of lead-acid combined with a capacity that would allow a home to receive no electricity for almost a month outside summer air-conditioning loads.

The utilities have reason to be scared, but they are reacting the wrong way. Off grid will be a cost effective reality in very short order, they should be prepare to be more cost effective, not try to raise costs.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 533

by rahvin112 (#49505575) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

If the homeowner at the end of the branch puts in a large solar installation, the wires and distribution equipment may not be sized to handle the power he's producing.

The problem with this statement is exactly what we are seeing from the utilities. Duplicitous statements that could be true but in fact aren't. The key word in that sentence is large, which you NEVER qualify. The ability and desire of someone to install that "large" installation is non-existent currently.

For one things with current technology unless someone has a 30K square foot mansion they don't have enough roof area. Second, given that net metering rates in most states are already highly favorable to the utility such that the vast majority of owners are installing just enough capacity to offset the bulk of their power with little to no excess net generation. Though I'm sure there are changes that will need to be made at the substation and higher level the simple fact is the utilities are seriously over playing these issues exactly because they are deathly afraid of what solar will do to their profitability. With solar slicing off the peak hourly rates for businesses the utility will no longer be providing those 8% dividends. And that's the real fear and the real motivation driving them and their war on solar.

In the end I almost hope they get to win the war and impose all the heavy fees because the end result will be people unplugging from the grid as battery and other storage costs come way down. Tesla's gigafactory alone could bring battery costs down to the point to make residential storage cost effective. If the utilities were smart they would be encouraging solar, not opposing it, because the end result isn't fewer people using solar, it's more people unplugging from the grid entirely.

Comment: Re:Varies, I suppose (Score 5, Interesting) 533

by rahvin112 (#49505481) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

The grid can't handle micro-generation.

Bullshit. Hawaii power was forced to do an ACTUAL study instead of pulling number out their ass like you. They have areas with 50% of the power solar and the study found they can handle it just fine.

The utilities should keep in mind here, they push back hard enough and the cost savings of going completely off-grid will eventually reach the point that people just unplug entirely. It's better to offer backup power than no power at all.

Comment: Car towing is legalized theft (Score 1) 254

by rahvin112 (#49502257) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society

Car Towing is legalized theft. Though I'm sure there are some by the book towers in my experience the vast majority are a bunch of thieving crooks. They will take cars that aren't even in violation and don't even get me started on the storage fees.

Britt likely had a very good reason for what she did. Her car was stolen and only given back to her after paying a huge blackmail fee.

Comment: Re:A dollar in design... (Score 1) 150

by rahvin112 (#49498415) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt

There is nothing wrong with outsourcing it. You just need to make sure you have good quality control. If it was boeing tasked with quality control they should be on the hook. I'm boggled why there wasn't a mufti-approach QC contract on this that used Engineers for quality assurance of the floor reinforcing so when they were left standing around doing nothing it would have been rather obvious something was missed.

This is basic resident engineer stuff. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever something in the contract and plans wasn't done other than the QC and QA inspectors screwed up and let the contractor or the sub contractor get away with not doing part of the work.

Comment: Re:No they didn't (Score 1) 133

by rahvin112 (#49498013) Attached to: AMD Withdraws From High-Density Server Business

I'm not saying it was perfect, back when they were Intel only they supposedly had some secret sauce to shut off the parts of the Atom CPU that weren't needed (lots of the northbridge). The expectation was that when Intel got Rangely and Avoton out the door they'd have something that blew everything else out of the water. IMO they would have been right. AMD purchasing and restricting their products to AMD chips, particularly with the AMD's refreshed CPU core with low IPC, destroyed their game plan

Seamicro was well positioned and had some neat tech, I think they would have been moderately successful in the data center had AMD not bought them. IIRC Avoton and Rangely both have some of the highest IPC/watt in the market and a huge stack of them with the non-essential bits of the integrated SOC disabled they could have had a very interesting product for the dime/dozen virtual machine market.

Comment: Re:Warrant after probable cause established? (Score 1) 270

by rahvin112 (#49497221) Attached to: FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment

They need a warrant to seize anything, and they should. I bet you believe the cops can seize your vehicle (as an innocent bystander) to chase the bad guy.

It's called theft, and if I was him I'd file a police report AND launch a suit against both the FBI and the agent involved.

Comment: Re:Since when.... (Score 1) 270

by rahvin112 (#49497209) Attached to: FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment

Don't be surprised. There are a LOT of people that like jack booted thuggery and are happy to lick the boots. There are hundreds of statements every single day about people loving all that security theater and praising acts of thuggery by the authorities.

You'd almost suspect there could be some vast propaganda campaign to get people to voluntarily surrender their freedom in the name of security.

An egghead is one who stands firmly on both feet, in mid-air, on both sides of an issue. -- Homer Ferguson