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Comment: Re:Helping the poor (Score 0) 320

You must be kidding me. San Francisco has more resources for homeless people than any other US city. Food, shelter (Tenderloin), treatment, charity. That's why they flock here. It's like we're asking for it. And indeed, people voluntarily come, or get sent by other cities to come here. Haven't you had enough of it?

Comment: Reality has an unfavorable bias? (Score 2, Insightful) 320

Maybe, just maybe, showing how many resources and $ are being spent to give homeless people options, especially in San Francisco, only to have that money pissed away and people still soiling our streets and public transport systems, tends to decrease how sympathetic you feel towards the chronically homeless?

Comment: analogy (Score 2) 465

by supernova87a (#45553115) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?
Take this analogy:

What if, as a condition of financially supporting your decision to get married / begin a family (with a boatload of money you couldn't pass up), your parents required that you post an ad to Craigslist and evaluate all reasonable potential spouses who replied? Despite you already having met the person you already want to marry?

I imagine you'd be pretty specific about what you were looking for too.

Not trying to trivialize the situation, just trying to illustrate that it's almost as complicated as dating. There's a lot of things about a candidate that can't be captured in simple qualifications or experience. And staying with a known quantity is way easier than searching for something that may even be better, but highly uncertain.

Comment: Doors between cars aren't the problem to be solved (Score 1) 237

by supernova87a (#45187869) Attached to: New York City Considers Articulated Subway Cars
More than doors between cars, what NYC needs to bring itself into the modern age is automatic train control and platform doors. It would allow a whole host of benefits, such as less reliance on human drivers (controversial, I know), air conditioned platforms, increased reliability, increased frequency, etc.

When you come back from Asia or Europe and see the subway systems they have, and see what we have in New York, you actually get embarrassed, and wonder how we're still #1...

ps. oh, please do all that, plus grind the rails properly so that I don't have to go deaf when the cars go around any type of curve...

Comment: economics generally don't work out (Score 1) 228

by supernova87a (#45180877) Attached to: Carbon-Negative Energy Machines Catching On
There have been lots of these gasification setups in the past. Two problems are always:

1) Aside from a colocation with an agriculture / waste facility, you will have to scour a large radius to get the amount of biomass to burn reliably. There is significant transport cost to that.

2) For low grade biomass that you're talking about, you're incurring additional fuel and $ to gasify the biomass, to then burn it. This doesn't really make sense. If you're just generating power, you would probably just burn the biomass material itself. Maybe a stirling engine.

Very few applications using gasification have gone anywhere.

Comment: Technology is the last step (Score 1) 185

by supernova87a (#44783419) Attached to: California Legislature Approves Trial Program For Electronic Plates
Sigh, these policymakers always want the answer to come from some technology that they don't have to do any work for, on a problem that doesn't affect many people

How about we first start with the things that are bigger problems for every day drivers? Highway design and traffic control? Road works and maintenance? How about the condition of public transit? Then after that, get to things like policing of carpool lanes, or people who drive around with license plates obscured. Maybe after all that we can get to your fancy electronic license plates.

These Sacramento politicians love to do anything that doesn't require their own state agencies to improve. Or anything except examine the way that they spend our money.

Comment: Re:why not work for wall street? (Score 1) 226

by supernova87a (#44732621) Attached to: Particle Physicists Facing Insane Competition For Work
Unfortunately, as a former physics-related PhD, I can tell you that there was a time when pure scientists with no finance background were hired and thrown at new quant trading problems. Those were the early days. Now, there are entire grad programs in quantitative finance -- I'm sure any quant fund would be interested in those first.

Comment: Re:Less than $1m each? (Score 2) 132

by supernova87a (#44732599) Attached to: US Uncorks $16M For 17 Projects To Capture Wave Energy
And just to follow on -- at a certain point where the technology has gone as far as it can, and still costs this much, you are better off putting those research dollars into other technologies or removing barriers to the ones that are at least affordable in the commercialization stage.

Comment: Re:Less than $1m each? (Score 3, Insightful) 132

by supernova87a (#44732595) Attached to: US Uncorks $16M For 17 Projects To Capture Wave Energy
It's a good thing that we fund more alternative energy development projects, especially given the absolute crap kinds of things that we as a country are throwing our tax dollars into recently. However, it is important to be upfront that wave power has among the worst cost effectiveness of any of the alternative energy technologies, i.e. solar, wind, geothermal, etc.

If you look at the LCOE (levelized cost of energy, basically the evened-out cost per energy taking into account installation, operation, transportation, etc), wave energy is an order of magnitude bad.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source#Analysis_from_different_sources

That being said, of course any technology needs research to help to bring it down in cost and become a reasonable option. But the current cost also just reflects that there is a portion of cost that cannot be easily reduced, because of the inevitable difficulty of the marine environment, generating power there (maintaining these contraptions), and getting the power to land.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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