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Comment: Re:Shit... (Score 1) 401

by slim (#46285663) Attached to: US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

I have a woodburning stove, for the sole reason that the people I bought the house from had it fitted. I light it only on especially cold nights; the rest of the time the gas central heating does a good enough job.

Here in the UK, I'm not aware of any significant impact on house insurance prices.

Reading around the web, I've seen anecdotal evidence that wood is cheaper than the equivalent gas -- but I'm not entirely convinced, and of course that would break if everyone started using it. With very occasional use, I've made the broken palette our washing machine was delivered on last most of the winter, so that was free :)

It does burn clean -- the smoke from our chimney is not visible. The manual says some stuff about recirculating the combustion gases so they ignite a second time before going up the chimney -- while simultaneously maintaining a flow in front of the window so that it doesn't soot up. The volume of ash is tiny compared to the open fires of my youth, and it can safely be chucked in the compost bin. And as has already been said, if it's from managed forests, its carbon will be re-fixed by the next generation of tree planting.

Comment: Re:Shit... (Score 4, Informative) 401

by slim (#46266803) Attached to: US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

There's nothing about CO2 in there. Those regulations are about dirty and poisonous emissions. Carbon monoxide and particulate emissions; black smoke. Nothing to do with global warming. All about keeping the air breathable in densely populated areas.

An ideal wood burner would emit just water and CO2.

Wood burners can be made very efficient nowadays; by channelling the air flow in clever ways, you can get more complete combustion meaning more heat, cleaner emissions and less ash. These regulations just make sure that the wood burners you'll be able to buy do that.

Comment: Re:Bike helmet? (Score 4, Interesting) 317

by slim (#45937679) Attached to: Building a Better Bike Helmet Out of Paper

He was talking about helmet-vs-no-helmet, not trad-helmet-vs-paper-helmet.

If you're cycling at 30MPH, come off cornering on ice, and hit your head on a kerb, a helmet may well save your life.

I do have quite a lot of sympathy for the view that there are circumstances where a fall is so unlikely that a helmet is a waste of time -- cycling in light traffic, with warm dry weather and no recklessness.

I finally bought a comfortable helmet, and since it's comfortable I always wear it. It's easier to do that than to evaluate the conditions every morning.

Comment: Re:That is a beautiful start of a ... (Score 1) 232

by slim (#45886123) Attached to: "Clinical Trials" For Programming Languages?

Absolutely spot on. People need to embrace polyglot programming, using the right too for the job, and learning how best to make languages interoperate.

One great example is the various JRE-based scripting languages - jRuby, Jython, Groovy. You can be really productive in these languages, but sometimes you reach a point where you prefer the precision of Java. I did this when writing a server that did some crypto. Everything was Groovy except for some bit-twiddling stuff wrapped around BouncyCastle, which I wrote in Java because for that component I benefited from static type checking in the IDE.

Of course BouncyCastle use JNI to interface with OpenSSL, so that's three languages in one app.

Comment: Re:Global warming. (Score 1) 168

by slim (#45855971) Attached to: Helicopter Rescue For All Passengers Aboard Antarctic Research Ship

AGW stands for "Anthropogenic Global Warming".

Anthropo- : of human beings
-genic : produced or generated by

Dunno where the hell "Ampholpological" came from.

Anthropology is the study of human origins. "Anthropological" means "to do with anthropology".

So I suppose "Anthropological Global Warming" would be global warming cause by anthropologists...

Comment: Re:What the rescuees are paying with (Score 1) 168

by slim (#45846103) Attached to: Helicopter Rescue For All Passengers Aboard Antarctic Research Ship

Except that with Carbon Credits, carbon is a negative currency, sort of because it's abundant.

I doubt that this expedition was involved in any kind of Kyoto Protocol emission allowance trading.

However, it's not that unlikely that they'd have balanced the expedition's emissions with a voluntary offset scheme (a donation toward tree planting, renewable power source building, etc.)

Comment: Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (Score 1) 139

by slim (#45716317) Attached to: Google Testing Smart Appliance, Would Compete With Nest Thermostat

Why do you need it as warm as 60F when you're out of the house? Unless you're drying clothes, the only reason for heating while you're out is to avoid frost damage.

Even when I'm at home, I don't want my house to be a constant temperature. I want the living room to be a nice temperature between 6pm and 11pm and frost-protected the rest of the time, when nobody's there. I want the bedroom to be cold most of the time, warming up a bit ready for bedtime, cooling down again while I'm asleep, getting toasty warm for getting up time, then cold while I'm away.

And I want different schedules at weekends.

Comment: Re:Themostat (Score 1) 139

by slim (#45716217) Attached to: Google Testing Smart Appliance, Would Compete With Nest Thermostat

I live in the UK, where most houses central heating works on the KISS principle: there is one mechanical thermostat in the hallway. That thermostat switches on/off your boiler and pump, which sends hot water around a loop through every radiator in the house.

It sucks.

It sucks a little less if you manage to "balance" your radiators by adjusting their valves just-so, so that the first radiator in the loop doesn't get all the heat. Otherwise you get situations where your spare bedroom is like a sauna, your living room barely gets any heat, and the hallway where the thermostat is never warms up. Or perhaps the radiator in the hallway gets all the heat first, so the thermometer trips off before any other room warms up. Getting this right is voodoo.

It sucks a little less if you have Thermostatic Radiator Valves on each radiator. These control flow into each radiator individually, so you can set the temperature you want for each room. But one radiator must have no TRV, otherwise it's possible to damage the boiler when it tries to pump against a closed system. So you get situations where the TRV-less radiator is blasting out unwanted heat; or where the main thermostat clicks off, so the boiler isn't on, while rooms are cold. So it still sucks.

All I want is a system where every radiator has a TRV, and the boiler knows to run unless every TRV says it's warm enough. Should be simple. Can't seem to get them. The closest I've found is a range of WiFi TRVs that rely on your boiler detecting that returning water is no cooler than outbound water, and your system having a safety circuit to avoid excess pressure when all the valves are closed. I don't think that's standard.

But if I were to be greedy, I'd also want to be able to set schedules for individual rooms. And hey, why not have stuff like, "when my phone notices I'm leaving the office, turn on the home heating"?

Comment: Re:OK, I'll bite (Score 1) 190

by slim (#45712999) Attached to: Google's Dart Becomes ECMA's Dart

JS is like Perl. You *can* write clean code in Perl. You *can* write clean code in Javascript.

But both languages made it very easy to write a huge mess if you don't know what you're doing.

Crockford et al have come up with a bunch of nice conventions which, if you follow them, facilitate clean JS code. But browsers don't enforce those conventions; most programmers don't get exposed to them, and they end up writing horrible code.

There's a sweet spot between a language being too restrictive, and being so loose that it steers you into writing badly structured code. JS is too far into the loose side.

But I agree, with discipline, or the right tools, you can write great JS.

Comment: Re:What does "fail" mean? What does "succeed" mean (Score 1) 537

by slim (#45554487) Attached to: Why Bitcoin Is Doomed To Fail, In One Economist's Eyes

Really? Your employer doesn't tell you what's expected of you?

Being quite a large company, my employer has a fairly heavyweight goals management system, in which you and your manager set expectations, then measure yourself against them during the following year.

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