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Comment Re:Stupid, trucks cause the problem (Score 1) 554

In the UK, cars are taxed on the amount of CO2 emissions generated. If the car generates less than 100g / km then there is no road tax to pay. This means electric cars and clean fuel efficient cars pay no road tax. In London, these low emission cars also do not pay any daily congestion charges to drive in London at peak times of the day. This is acts as an incentive to use clean fuel efficient cars and pushes manufacturers to create clean low emission cars. There are tax bands for CO2 emissions so the more emissions per km the higher the road tax is.

Comment Re:Cars and even SUVs do not cause much damage (Score 1) 554

In the horizontal direction you mean mass and not weight as a ton or tonne is a unit of mass and not force. Force = mass x acceleration. This means the fuel is used to generate an acceleration on the mass of the vehicle via torque from the driving wheels.

Next time someone asks your weight, say about 800 Newtons due to gravity (assuming you use the metric system)..


SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget 114

MarkWhittington (1084047) writes "While participating in a panel called "The US Space Enterprise Partnership" at the NewSpace Conference that was held by the Space Frontier Foundation on Saturday, SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell opined that NASA's budget should be raised to $22-25 billion, according to a tweet by Space Policy Online's Marcia Smith. The theory is that a lot of political rancor has taken place in the aerospace community because of the space agency's limited budget. If the budget were to be increased to pay for everything on the space wish list, the rancor will cease.

The statement represents something of a departure of the usual mutual antagonism that exists between some in the commercial space community and some at NASA. Indeed Space Politics' Jeff Foust added a tweet, "Thought: a panel at a Space Frontier Foundation conf is talking about how to increase NASA budget. Imagine that in late 90s." The Space Frontier Foundation has been a leading voice for commercializing space, sometimes at the expense of NASA programs."

Comment Re:Dimmable LEDs (Score 1) 278

Dimmer switches have a minimum load expressed in Watts. If you have multiple bulbs off a single dimmer switch then you are likely to meet the minimum load. In other words, flicker can occur because the dimmer switch is not sufficiently loaded. Usually, an old dimmer switch needs to be replaced with an LED compatible dimmer switch that allows operation with a low wattage load such as 10W.

Comment Re:Old cell phones are kids toys (Score 2) 171

Actually, GSM has a special emergency phone call mechanism that is different to normal voice calls when no SIM is present. The issue being that there is no subscriber information available so an alternative is needed to uniquely identify the caller such as using the phone's IMEI number. Other issue is that the SIM is used for authentication and contains cryptographic algorithms. Without a SIM, no phone number is needed, the phone will have a "Make emergency call button" and this uses the special GSM emergency phone call mechanism.

When a phone has service with a SIM card present, on a GSM network in Europe, USA and other countries, the emergency number is 112. This maps to national emergency numbers.

There was recent case in the UK were a hoaxer (teenage girl) removed her SIM card and make an emergency phone call. This made national news because the Police were concerned about the caller's safety. Eventually the Police caught the hoaxer.

Comment Ecotricity is providing domestic UK wind power (Score 2) 551

That said, yes we need to be plowing money into renewables, it's an investment that will pay itself off many times over...but unfortunately over a number of decades and so private industry simply isn't going to do that.

I think you will find that Ecotricity [] is providing wind generated electricity to the UK domestic market. I think the revolution has started...

Comment Re:It doesn't matter (Score 1) 470

What I like is the number of suggestions to "just install Linux", as if Linux needs less configuration than the above. I think people who make that suggestion are ignorant, biased, or would always recommend Linux simply because it's their preference. The last one is fine in certain circumstances, but those people should be honest about it.

Installing Desktop Linux is very similar to installing Win7. The main part is partitioning the hard drive and selection of some general items. Flexibility is why configuration is available.

Strictly speaking Linux is the kernel. A Desktop Linux distribution provides KDE and/or gnome (and/or other graphics environment) on top of GNU/Linux. Embedded Linux systems run proprietary or open User Interfaces on top of Linux with or without GNU such as Android.

The Linux kernel supports multiple processor architectures (x86, ARM, MIPS etc) and multiple bus technologies. When a bus technology is common between platforms such as USB, there is some crossover of Linux Device drivers between the Desktop and Embedded Linux markets. This means Linux Device drivers for the Desktop may sometimes initially come from an Embedded project (and visa versa). In other words, the Embedded Linux market is contributing to indirect support of the Desktop market and visa versa. As a result, the Linux kernel quickly acquires support for popular devices from the Linux community as a whole and not just the Desktop market. There are many companies providing Linux Device drivers to the Linux community via the need to support Embedded Linux systems.

The Linux kernel needs less user Device driver configuration than Windows because a Linux Desktop Distribution builds most of the available Device drivers from the kernel's source tree. In modern times, it is usually unnecessary to go to a 3rd party vendor unless you have a bleeding edge device or an unpopular device or the driver is proprietary. When you install a Linux Distribution, most of the Device drivers are installed on to the hard drive. When the kernel boots, it probes the system and loads the needed drivers from the superset of available Device drivers. Sometimes special configuration files are automagically written to improve boot efficiency or to prevent blacklisted drivers from being used.

In conclusion, the Linux kernel probably has better Device Driver support than Windows because there are more engineers working on the Linux kernel than Windows. In the modern market place, Embedded Linux is king due to the popularity of Android (phones and tablets), TiVo and other settop boxes, Internet TVs, home routers, car infotainment, Raspberry Pi, etc.

Look around your house to see how many of your consumer devices are running Embedded Linux...

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes