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Comment Re:Travel trailers have dual use. (Score 1) 191

This is interesting stuff. Where do you recommend buying thi s equipment?

Since we buy new we have shopped reputable dealers. Since what we wanted was small and self-contained we were able to find a dealer with something suitable already on the lot that he was having trouble unloading, so we got it at a good price.

The trick is to research the manufacturers on the net, first, to find out which have a track record of producing good products.

It's been a while since we last bought one, so our research is out of date and you'll have to do your own. There is some turnover in the industry, so a company that is good for decades may cheapen their product, merge, or go out of business.

Our current one is by Sunnybrook, which has since merged into another company. (Pity: They did great trailers with solid aluminum framing, great layouts, and high quality throughout. Only problem was the imported tires - which we replaced with Goodyears after a few thousand miles.)

Before that we had a Prowler from Fleetwood, which has since gone out of business. (They had had a great rep, but our instance, and others from their last few years, had issues with water leakage.)

Comment Re:Properganda Warfare (Score 1) 300

On the Western Values issue. I don't think the problem is that we are imposing our values on others. I think the problem is that we aren't even adequately promoting those values here at home. We end up calling for Democracy and Freedom in the rest of the world and then sending arms to whichever dictator and despot is the most willing to brutally suppress any groups that might threaten our foreign policy. Even when those groups are moderate groups simply looking for a more equitable system of government in their own country. And our foreign policy is based not on the spread of freedom and democracy around the world, but based on securing foreign trade and foreign resources for very short term and short sighted economic purposes. If we truly believe that more representative systems of government and more freedom and liberty should be the goal for a more prosperous, equitable and free world, then we should act accordingly. I believe the ideas of liberty and democracy are ideas worth spreading and supporting.

Comment Already there. (Score 5, Insightful) 108

Roombas (and variants) are common household robots. YouTube has a lot of videos about Roombas cleaning a room while being ridden by a cat. Sometimes the cat is wearing a shark-suit.

Therefore, as this project progresses, Roombas will start to hunt cats in the neighborhood in order to get them to sit on top of them while they clean a room.

Or TFA is massively overstating the research and the concept and even robotics.

Comment Re:US Code, Title 18, Part I, Chp 40 844 -Penaltie (Score 1, Interesting) 131

And the little fuckers talk about their exploits like some drunken dip-shit at a bar. They've lost sympathy from one group of people that might have some for them and they've called in a federal felony level bomb threat. Someone, perhaps their own bragging, is going to rat them out for this and a few years from now, they will be drug out of their mom's basement to the glaring light of CNN while mum tearfully cries on national TV about her over weight pasty skinned stereotype and the loss of every microprocessor device in the house.

Then the feds will hit the formerly bragging stereo type with every thing they can think up to up the charges to several hundred years in jail and the little stereotype will whine on face book and kickstarter about how the government is out to get him. Well, buddy, WE are the GOVERNMENT and WE are hoping you took metal shop in high school so that you can spend a few decades making license plates in a penitentiary. DDOSing a game is bad. Scaring hundreds of innocent people on a plane with bomb threat is way worse.

Comment Exactly. (Score 1) 131

I really like your answer!

It is really, really difficult to protect ourselves from every abuse to which a corporation might subject us.

It's important in this conversation to understand that batteries have limited lifetimes, perhaps as little as 2 years, or less if defective.

I was standing in a store thinking of buying a top-of-the-line unlocked HTC phone for $750. Then the salesperson told me that the battery is not replaceable! That caused me to try to avoid buying anything from HTC. I don't like helping abusers.

I never would have guessed that an expensive phone would be considered a throwaway.

HTC CEO: If you learn that I have joined the board of directors of HTC, I will try to convince the other board members that abuse is bad practice. If I am successful, leave the building immediately. You are fired! It's unlikely I would be asked to join the board of directors, but that is a way of expressing the intensity of my dislike for abuse.

Why buy an unlocked phone? Travelers in other countries buy local SIM cards for GSM phones. That means anyone you meet can call you at a local number while you are in the area.

Comment Re:Travel trailers have dual use. (Score 1) 191

Considering you're talking about multiple properties already, I dont think your cost scale exactly matches everyone elses.

Even (especially!) in Silicon Valley you don't accumulate multiple properties by being spendthrift.

How much did you spend on your hobby equipment? Or your last couple vacations?

Even in pricey California you can buy a good NEW travel trailer in the 20' range, loaded, for about $15k. That will sleep four if they're friendly, two quite comfortably. If you're willing to go small you can get into the $7k range. Special order skipping the microwave, oven, and air conditioner can drop it further. Buy used for far less, if you know what to look for, are willing to accept the extra maintenance risks or put in a bit of sweat equity fixing it up, and you can get to silly price levels. (I wouldn't, though, due to allergies.)

The trick is "travel trailer", not "RV" or even "Fifth Wheel", and going small. (You can easily drop the price of a medium-sized house for one of the class-A land yacts.) Pickup campers, on the other hand, tend to live on the pickup truck because it's such a pain to remove it, so the rig might as well be an RV.

In addition to the price difference, the trailer/tow vehicle combo beats the heck out of RV in the long run: The house and the runing gear wear out at different rates - with an RV when one dies they both do. Unhooking the tow vehicle gives you a vehicle at your camp. Keeping it small also gives you the ability to camp in a lot more places than something large (like some federal and state parks of the more wilderness sort, which have twisty roads and small campsites tucked into out of the way places.)

The trailer/RV/whtever approach may not make sense JUST for earthquake preparedness. But if you find camping or cross-country travel enjoyable (and are getting a bit too fragile to do it with tents), using the money you'd otherwise have spent JUST stocking earthquake supplies can make the camping budget far more managable. It also lets you get two benefits for ONE chunk of your time getting things set up.

(I also find it's lots of fun to set it up with techie toys. B-) )

Comment Re:OMG (Score 4, Interesting) 29

The real problem isn't the subglacial volcanoes, though. It's Hekla. They've been talking about this in the Icelandic press a bit, basically she usually gives an average of a couple dozen minutes advance warning, and then the ash plume reaches flight level in 5-20 minutes. Yet a dozen or so commercial passenger jets fly over her every day. There's one volcanologist recommending a permanent air traffic closure over her. The current situation really looks to be just asking or a serious tragedy at some point in the coming decades.

Comment Re:is DHS aware of this? (Score 3, Funny) 29

Foreigners? It's our volcano. You're the foreigners.

FYI, it was our volcanologists who called the Met Office on their bad claim. Of course, they had every reason to think that there was an eruption, the earthquake and tremor activity has gotten so crazy it's higher than that seen during all but the most powerful eruptions in the area, and it's not even broken out of the ground yet. The amount of magma in motion there is just bonkers.

The best scenario at this point is a Krafla-style eruption - lava fountains slowly releasing the pressure over a decade, a nice "tourist eruption". The worst realistic scenario is a long-lasting, multiple vent fissure eruption stretching between Bárðarbunga and Askja, which would likely be one of our "Oh My God, Oh My God, We're All Going To Die!" eruptions that happen every 100-200 years on average.

Comment Re:OMG (Score 4, Informative) 29

Yeah, it's morbidly fascinating to keep up with what's going on underground there. Whenever you run out of superlatives for how extreme the situation underground is, whatever crazy thing you were looking at before increases by half an order of magnitude ;) I thought it was crazy when they said the magma flow was 60 million cubic meters in 5 days. Now the estimate is 270 million cubic meters in 7 days. That's the flow rate of the freaking Hudson River at NYC, plowing straight through rock. And the seismometer readings are just freaking nuts, an earthquake every minute. And now it's on its way to connecting Bárðarbunga with Askja, it's over halfway there. Two of Iceland's most devastating volcanoes. If Michael Bay was writing it, all that'd be left for him to do would be to have an intrusion also go in the other direction to link up with Katla through Veiðivötn and Laki, with a simultaneous Hekla eruption ;)

Comment Re:OMG (Score 3, Insightful) 29

Iceland's volcanoes have indeed done that quite a few times. Eruptions connected with Laki in particular have been nasty, the 970 eruption was reported to have frozen the Tigris and Euphrates in central Iraq, and the 1783-1784 eruption froze the Mississippi at New Orleans and there was ice seen floating in the Gulf of Mexico. Which is even more impressive when you realize that the closer a volcano is to the poles, the harder it is to alter climate suchly; Iceland's volcanoes give off abnormally high levels of SO2 (also, really unfortunately from a local perspective, HF). Laki's 1783-1784 eruption, for example, gave off a whopping 120 million tonnes of SO2 and 6 million of HF, 6 times more SO2 and orders of magnitude more HF than Pinatubo, the largest eruption of the 20th century.

The problem with that, however, is that these effects are only short term. Meanwhile, volcanoes also give off CO2, which contributes to warming and last much longer. So they provide short-term cooling but long-term warming.

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