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Comment: Re:Same thing from ultra-orthodox Jews. (Score 1) 455

by Animats (#47804259) Attached to: Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

Leaving any orthodox religion is hard, after so many years of hard-line indoctrination.

In Israel, it's very hard to leave. There are extensive Government benefits for ultra-orthodox, including subsidized housing, pay for religious study, and unlimited draft deferments. This is on top of the heavy social pressure, the lack of marketable skills, and the language barrier (the ultra-orthodox in Israel speak Yiddish, not Hebrew.)

Comment: Re:Weight (Score 1) 107

by Animats (#47804185) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Delivery Drones

"Wind is a particular hazard, because drones weigh so little compared with regular planes."

Small drones don't have much inertia. They can be easily flipped by a small local wind gust. This is a big problem for drones that operate close to buildings, where there are eddies and turbulence as air hits the building. Pass the corner of a building and the wind situation may be completely different.

Very smart and aggressive stability control systems are able to overcome this. See this drone from PSI Tactical, which weighs about 0.5Kg and is supposed to be able to operate in winds up to 30MPH.

Comment: Re:flywheel (Score 1) 147

by Noryungi (#47802385) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Research the S.T.E.P. options. Hydro power storage can be scaled, too. Other possbilities are molten salt and compressed air storage for instance.

Yes, there are losses to all these systems, but the ability to store 50% to 90% of electricity produced through renewables makes them well worth considering.

Comment: Re:Temptation (Score 1) 455

by terjeber (#47802101) Attached to: Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

Abraham was stopped at the last moment

That's irrelevant. The entity demanding such a sacrifice is a psychopath, no matter whether they change their mind or not after. The entity that obliges the psychopath is a nutcase and should be put in jail for his actions.

He could have turned his back on God and that would not be a death sentence.

He should not have turned his back on God, he should have spat God in the face and told him to f#ck off. If God persisted Abraham should have killed God. That was the right thing to do. Abraham did everything wrong. God should have been killed that day. Abraham's God is worse than ISIS.

Comment: Yes, we know that. (Score 4, Informative) 147

by Animats (#47802079) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Battery storage for bulk power has been talked up for years. Mostly by the wind industry. With solar power, you get peak power and peak air conditioning load around the same time. Wind varies about 4:1 over 24 hours, even when averaged across big areas (California or the eastern seaboard). So the wind guys desperately need to store power generated at 4AM, when it's nearly worthless, so they can resell at 2PM. When the wind farm companies start installing batteries at their own expense, this will be a real technology.

With the US glut of natural gas, this isn't needed right now. Natural gas peaking plants aren't all that expensive to build, and make money even if they only run for maybe 6 hours a day. That covers most peak needs.

There are other ways to store energy. Some of the dams of the California Water Project have reversible turbines, which can run either as pumps or generators. They pump water uphill at night, when power is cheap, and let it down during the afternoon to generate power. Since the dams and pumps are needed for water handling anyway, this adds little cost.

Comment: Re:Since nuclear is "too cheap to meter"... (Score 1) 222

by PopeRatzo (#47801839) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

No, it is still the lowest forms of argumentation, not because of the factuality of the ties of a speaker with the technology or industry they are defending, but because they attack the speaker instead of the arguments they present

But the son was not presenting an argument. He was putting words in his dead father's mouth.

In any case, whatever he meant, it was a rhetoric statement, torn completely out of context and expressing a personal sentiment, not the official stance of the atomic energy program.

At least you're tacitly admitting that saving consumers money was never part of the nuclear fission story.

Comment: Re:Anti-opiate forces actually "pro pain"? (Score 1) 207

by bill_mcgonigle (#47801571) Attached to: States Allowing Medical Marijuana Have Fewer Painkiller Deaths

They're against addiction, and they're against recreational drug use. Agree or disagree, why not take them at their word?

Because the evidence is all to the contrary.

Portugal ran the biggest experiment - 8 million people - and upon legalization, their drug use fell in half. The UK experienced the same thing in the reverse direction upon criminalization of e.g. heroin. The result is consistent with rational views of human incentives as well, so no logical surprises.

People who are pro- drug criminalization are for increased addiction rates. That's what reason predicts and that's what the empirical results are.

Whether or not these people are rational is immaterial to the consequences of their actions. We shall not give them a "pass" on "good intentions" if they lead us down the Road to Hell. The JAMA research suggests they're responsible for a minimum of one 9/11-scale effect every year.

Comment: Re:Anti-opiate forces actually "pro pain"? (Score 1) 207

by bill_mcgonigle (#47801537) Attached to: States Allowing Medical Marijuana Have Fewer Painkiller Deaths

It's like there's some kind of morality subtext that's really "pro pain" and opposed to feeling better

Yes, that's exactly right - Puritanism is a terribly destructive mindframe and thoroughly-ingrained in American culture.

Three things:
1) there a slight chance that these patients could have some fun or pleasure on these drugs. That's reason enough to put a foot down on society.
2) suffering is a virtue. God will lessen the suffering of those who are themselves virtuous, but for the same reason people whip and crucify themselves "for God", those suffering horribly from disease should not be brought from that blessing.
3) people with these afflictions may deserve them.

and those who profit handsomely from such ugly undercurrents in society are all too happy to exploit them for wealth and power.

c.f. A Renegade History of the United States for more on this. The author was fired from a university professorship for publishing such "radical" views on the failures of Puritanism.

Comment: Re:I can't believe we're afraid of these assholes (Score 1) 455

by terjeber (#47801523) Attached to: Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

In a case where "the truth" is pretty much unknowable, that position is itself a belief.

How so? Is the non-belief in a deistic invisible pink unicorn also a belief? How about the non-belief in a theistic green tea pot in orbit around the sun somewhere between 68 and 203 astronomical units from the center of the sun?

Comment: Re:Temptation (Score 1) 455

by terjeber (#47801507) Attached to: Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

Impossible? Hardly.

Do you understand the difference between a- and anti-. Believing there is no God is non-scientific nonsense, you can't prove a negative. An atheist relates to a divine entity in the same way he relates to all the other (infinite number of) things that is unlikely. I don't believe in invisible pink unicorns, but I also don't believe in red tea-cups in orbit between 75 and 253 astronomical units from the center of the sun. This lack of belief can not create extremism. If on the other hand I felt that I knew that God doesn't exist (as I mentioned non-scientific nonsense) then I can become extremist. On the other hand, that isn't atheism, that would more correctly be described as anti-theism.

Which is why they form clubs?

Perhaps to try to defend science from the militant Christian nuts?

Comment: Re: The Double Standard keeps growing (Score 2) 370

people need to get out and start protesting and getting people on ballots to oust the cronies.

sorry, but that's the strategy which has been employed for the past two hundred years. The very best that could be said for it is that it has slowed the decline into totalitarianism. Even that is hard to prove.

I suggest a new strategy, Artoo.

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