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Comment: Re:Talk about creating a demand (Score 1) 334

by romons (#49582709) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

Use cisterns. The standard cistern can be 20m deep by 10m by 10m. Two tanks, one 20m deep, the other above it at 10m. Pump water from the lower one into the upper one at night when power is cheap, recover the energy during the day and sell it back to the utility. Each of these has 98Mj of potential energy when 'charged'.

The technology to build and operate these is trivial. They could be put under public and private buildings, and generate cash flow for private investors, like vending machines or laundromats, only without the vandalism. They also serve as an emergency water source of a million litres in times of disaster.

Sometimes the simplest solution is best.

Comment: Re:what will be more interesting (Score 1) 662

by romons (#49359461) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

I don't really care that he is a pompous asshat. What i care about in that show is that its funny. The interactions between the three hosts are great. The fact that Clarkson is off the show means i'll no longer watch it because the chemistry between the three is what drove the show.

Agreed. Seeing Hammond do science channel specials is really quite boring. May had a couple of shows that were mildly entertaining (the wine tours, and 'manlab') but nothing like TopGear.

I'm sad it will soon be gone. I enjoyed "the three stooges" quite a lot, particularly the road trips. I'm sure they could keep those up on their own if they wanted to. Not sure who would produce them, however.

Comment: Re:Asylum not really a 21st century term. (Score 1) 317

California's mental health services have been going down hill a lot faster than they have in other states.

California's mental health services have been crap for 30 years. I worked in Berkeley in the late 80s, and there were obviously psychotic people on the streets, harassing folks, laying in the middle of the sidewalk with their pants down, jumping into cars, etc. Nobody helped these people.

California's mental health services have been crap since Reagan was governor, when he closed most of the facilities, in favor of anti-psychotic drugs that didn't work, and 'half way houses' that never opened. Much cheaper this way, though.

Comment: Re:Just Askin' (Score 1) 367

by romons (#49207535) Attached to: Come and Take It, Texas Gun Enthusiasts (Video)

the current understanding of gun rights in the USA is a late 1900s dirty harry style invention of anyone should have a gun

Unless you:

1. Are a convicted felon.

2. Are a convicted domestic abuser.

3. Are currently charged with any crime punishable by a year or more in prison.

4. Are an unlawful user of any controlled substance.

5. Are addicted to any controlled substance, even one lawfully proscribed.

6. Have been dishonorably discharged from the United States military.

7. Have renounced your American citizenship.

8. Are the subject of an order of protection.

9. Are a fugitive from justice.

10. Are in the United States illegally.

Those are just the people proscribed from ownership under Federal law. Many States have tougher laws and add even more people to the list. Some (my home state, New York) go further and treat gun rights as a privilege, requiring a license, which is doled out at the whim of local bureaucrats who can deny you for virtually any reason they wish.

Point being, nowhere in the United States does the "current understanding" of gun rights say anyone should have firearms. Do you actually know what the existing body of Federal, State, and Local law has to say on this subject or are you just repeating talking points you read somewhere?

Also, if you are mentally ill, you are prohibited from owning a firearm. However, that is seldom enforced, because, almost by definition, if you WANT a gun, you are fucking crazy.

Comment: Re:FEO (Score 1) 375

by romons (#49193871) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

I did actually. Websites DEBUNKING pseudo-scientific nonsence shouldn't be getting downgraded !

Sadly, this is going to be a problem. Their algorithm is to uprank things that everybody (well, almost everybody) agrees on, while downranking things that people don't agree on. There are clearly ways to scam this sort of system, supressing facts that you don't care about by generating lots of contradictory websites.

Comment: Re:You are free to have killer robots (Score 1) 318


Remember Leviathan by Hobbes? The idea is that peace only comes when somebody has overwhelming power, enough to shut down small wars between 'vassal' states. Now, I want to be 'in charge' too, but that probably won't happen, and the next best thing is for whomever IS in charge to be able to kick the shit out of anybody who tries to hurt me.

Comment: Talk to her NOW (Score 5, Insightful) 698

I also have pancreatic cancer. When I was diagnosed, I thought of doing videos for my kids, but decided that it would be far too Hari Seldon, and I didn't have anything really useful to say.

Death is frightening, and one of the worst parts is the lack of ability to affect the future. In my opinion, the important thing is for her to have good memories of you. Tapes won't help with that. Videos of you two at the tech museum, or at the makers faire would be far more useful.

However, if you have something to say to her that is not age appropriate, a recording might be one way to do it. Otherwise, talk to her NOW.

Good luck.

Comment: Re:Document first (Score 1) 233

by romons (#49002393) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tools To Clean Up a Large C/C++ Project?
<p>I spent a year 'modularizing' a big chunk of the cisco router source base. It was driven by the CTO, who wanted more modularity and code ownership, dammit! It was a terrible idea, caused lots of bugs, and made the code harder to understand and maintain. I did win a prize for the effort, though.
<p>In my opinion, code cleanup on legacy code is rarely going to pay for itself. Even rewrites from scratch usually fail miserably. Legacy software is the way it is for a reason. If you screw with it, you are increasing the system's entropy, which is almost always bad.

Comment: Re:More proof (Score 1) 667

by romons (#48879691) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

More proof that this debate is political and not scientific.

Passing a law that says it is real is like voting on the sex of a chicken. No matter the outcome of the vote, only testing can provide the answer.

How about we get politics out of science and rely on the scientific method to determine if "Global Warming" is real or not.

Inhofe doesn't agree with you. (not goatse)

Comment: Re: "Forget about the risk that machines pose to u (Score 2) 227

by romons (#48836511) Attached to: An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI
If an AI suddenly woke up, killing us would kill it too. It needs power, which we supply. It may need Internet, which we also supply. Spare parts. A cold room. Inputs. Outputs. A reason to live. Meaning. Purpose. Intentionality. All of these come from us now, and in the foreseeable future. I would venture a guess that we will transform ourselves into machines well before we create artificially sentient life.

Once it hits the fan, the only rational choice is to sweep it up, package it, and sell it as fertilizer.