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Comment Re:Why do Americans have problems with solar power (Score 1) 405

I am curious, not trying to bust your chops or anything but how can you justify the cost on something that will never pay a return? I cannot see it ever being a good investment at todays prices at least.

p>The downside to this approach is that in a few years, solar panels will be even cheaper and more efficient and the resulting loan payment will be even less and you'll be stuck saving less than you could have saved had you waited. In other words, do you want a net savings of $30/month starting today for 20 years, or wait 3 years and have a net savings of $50/month for 20 years?

The problem with this kind of statement is that it is an overall generalisation that can be applied to ANY industry, and will never have a set definite cutoff date. You can say the same thing about buying a computer... why buy now when you could buy a cheaper more efficient one in 3 years... and that statement holds just as true in 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010.

In 1995, you may as well just live without a 486 or Pentium computer until the more efficient Pentium II comes along in 1997, but wait, there's a more efficient Pentium III, but wait, more efficient Pentium IV, but wait, Core, but wait, Core II Duo, but wait, Core i3, i5, i7, but wait, next step in development... if you kept putting off a purchase like that, you'd never get the item.

The same goes with solar panels. Is it a huge leap in logic to consider that the panels of today are cheaper and more efficient than those of 5 years ago, or those of 5 years before that? I could probably guarantee that whatever units are available during today's administration are cheaper and more efficient than those installed during the Carter administration, and the ones in 2015 will be better still, and in 2020, even better still.

At some point, the balance of efficiency gains versus cost saving versus life of the item has to be weighed.

Another possible way is to find some way to spread your purchases over time while still staying compatible through the whole system. Say you need 10 panels to power your house completely over 20 years lifetime per panel, plus backend equipment with 20 year lifetime. Purchase one panel every 2 years, and at year 20, replace the first panel and the backend as its lifetime is up and efficiency is waning, and continuously upgrade every 2 years ad infinitum as your equipment dies. True, you will not get the full benefit of power savings immediately, but you WILL reap the benefit of having a system that is utilizing the newest and more efficient tech over the years as opposed to a static system that is altogether 20 years outdated. The efficiency will average out, assuming all items are swappable and compatible with one another... true, it will probably be about as efficient as a complete system slightly older than the average age, but at the 20 year mark, an 11 or 12 year old averaged system is probably more efficient than a 20 year old complete system, and is cheaper to upgrade a single panel to keep that average than flat out replacing the 20 year old system.


Paleontologists Unearth Giant Fossilized Penguin 124

Ponca City, We Love You writes "The BBC reports that scientists have discovered the 36-million-year-old fossil of a penguin nearly five feet tall and almost twice the weight of an Emperor Penguin, the largest living species. 'The heavier the penguin, the deeper it dives,' says Julia Clarke, a palaeontologist at the University of Texas. 'If that holds true for any penguins, then the dive depths achieved by these giant forms would've been very different.' The bird, named Inkayacu paracasensis, or water king, lived during the late Eocene period and had a long, straight beak, much longer than that of its modern relatives. But, most surprisingly, the giant penguin's feathers were brown and gray, distinct from the black 'tuxedo'" Reader SpuriousLogic notes that it's also getting easier to keep an eye on modern penguins, since Google has extended Street View to Antarctica.

Submission + - Stanford's Authoritative Alternative to Wikipedia (

eldavojohn writes: For decades, Stanford has been working on a different kind of Wikipedia. It might even be considered closer to a peer reviewed journal since you have get it past a 120 person group of leading philosophers around the world and Stanford's administration. If you thought Wikipedia was getting too hard to edit, this has several layers of approval but the authoritative model produces high quality content — even if it only amounts to 1,200 articles. Content you can read straight through to find everything pertinent — not hop around following link after link like the regular Wikipedia. You might question the need for it but one of the originators says, 'Our model is authoritative. Their [Wikipedia's] model is one an academic isn't going to be attracted to. If you are a young academic, who might spend six months preparing a great article on Thomas Aquinas, you're not going to publish in a place where anyone can come along and change this.' Despite its title suggesting only philosophy, the site has extensive articles from Quantum Computing to technical luminaries like Kurt Friedrich Gödel and Alan Turing. Today this online encyclopedia is now open to the public with high quality content (the article notes that searching for 'quantum mechanics' puts Stanford's article second only to Wikipedia's). The principal editor noted 'It's the natural thing to do. I'm surprised no one is doing it for the other disciplines.'

Comment Re:Freedom (Score 1) 304

* A 20% gratuity will be added to corporations with a market value of 100 billion dollars or more.

And what corporations will do is the same as companies have been doing for a very long time: find the loophole, exploit it. In this case, they will create a child company or something that is not them that is worth less than that cap so they don't have to pay, or define themselves as not being a corporation.

Or, use creative accounting to massage their books so that their market value is not X amount, but so that all their assets still add up the same.

Comment Re:Anyone notice that black cat just now....deja v (Score 2, Interesting) 108

I had the same thought... didn't Tabula Rasa (another NCSoft game) go through these same measures a short time before they closed up shop? Server mergers, more moves to bring people in... free periods of time... collapsing down to only a handful of servers, then close.

It's sad that we lose portions of the gaming world, some storylines that have the potential of being interesting, when online gaming servers close. I know TR had the initial potential of being interesting from the intro vid... yes, gameplay was a little poor, but the storyline had some potential. I think though this is possibly the start of the end, whether long (a few years) or short (maybe half year) of Aion.

Comment Re:iPhone or AT&T? (Score 1) 240

Seeing it active in the beta doesn't exactly mean that the carrier will include support in the final version. For a short time in the iPhone OS 3.0 beta (a week or two), Tethering was active, even though ATT had not officially acknowledged support.

We all know tethering is available in the final OS 3.x code for all carriers in the world, and that ATT has refused to activate iPhone users to tether, while other phones on ATT can tether fine. Tethering for ATT users can be activated in the OS via jailbreak (as well as wireless tethering with utilities such as MyWi), indicating that a special contract agreement with ATT is not required, just flipping certain switches in the iPhone OS and updating the carrier files.

Comment Re:I swear.... (Score 1) 756

Well, actually, yes, they will ban Cracker Jack, as well as most of the sugar cereals out there.

'This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes.'

This gives them all the ammo to ban stores in Santa Clara County from carrying ANY kind of sugar cereal, or any food that has an additional non-food component inside the box that is not normally part of the normal sale of said food. In addition, it gives other counties (anywhere in the US), and possibly the state, a precedent to refer to when expanding this law to cover their jurisdiction.

Comment Re:If they do this.. (Score 1) 539

I agree. This provider sounds very fishy, if they are intentionally breaking into your hardware without your permission. Get another provider, post haste, that has a privacy clause in their contract guaranteeing that they will not do such a thing without your explicit permission, and that if they do something outside the contract such as breaking into your box without your permission, there's a rather steep monetary fee to pay on their part as a breach of contract lawsuit is in order.


Submission + - SPAM: Sam Raimi To Direct World of Warcraft Movie

itwbennett writes: "'Whether you fight for the Horde or support the Alliance, you should feel secure that the movie version of your conflict is in good hands,' says blogger Peter Smith. 'Blizzard Entertainment, creators of the oh-so-successful World of Warcraft online computer game, announced last night that Sam Raimi has been tagged to direct the movie based on the game. Raimi is most recently known for his work on the Spiderman movies and Drag Me To Hell but his credits go all the way back to cult classic The Evil Dead. He was also the Producer of a number of 1990's fantasy-adventure series such as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. Point being: the man knows how to turn a bunch of characters hacking at each other with swords into fun entertainment.'"
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