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Comment Re:Three square miles of pristine desert? Bad huma (Score 1) 377

I immediately did the same calculation. It's not that much relative to the footprint of a house, but it's probably quite huge compared to the footprint for an equivalent capacity natural gas or nuclear plant.

Whether it makes sense depends on the potentil revenue generation value of the land -- the opportunity cost. It wouldn't make economic sense in the Santa Clara Valley in CA, where land is fabulously expensive, but it might make sense in an undeveloped area of the Sonoran Desert where land is cheap -- e.g. on the outskirts of the Phoenix area. This discounts any environmental costs, of course, but these also would vary from site to site.

It's pretty clear this is not a technology for solving *all* our energy needs (as nuclear was intended to be in the 50's and 60's). But the nifty thing about electricity is that it doesn't matter where it comes from. You don't have to put all your eggs in one technology basket, you can use a mix of sources. Which means you can stop building these things when the marginal *environmental* cost starts to go up. You just have to build enough to reach economies of scale that allow you to make a decent profit.

Comment Since No One Has Pointed It Out Yet (Score 5, Informative) 348

'What do we get for that DRM?'

Did "we" vote on this? Let's look at their members list: Apple, AT&T, Facebook, Csico, Comcast, Cox, Google, Huawei, HP, Intel, LG, Netflix, Verizon, Yahoo!, Zynga and ... The Walt Disney Company. Seriously, are we really so daft that we sit here scratching our heads wondering why a consortium of those players and THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY ended up including DRM? REALLY? There is a bill known as The Mickey Mouse Act in regards to excessive copyright that was passed into US law. And we're wondering how Disney might have influenced DRM as an option in a standard ... they're on the list, folks! Pull your heads out of your asses!

And those are just the companies I recognize that have a serious amount of money to be made on DRM (hello, Netflix?!). If I examine closer, there are much smaller players like, say, Fotosearch Stock Photography and Footage that sound like they would gladly vote for DRM in order to "protect" their products/satiate content owners.

Comment Re:12V charging is better than USB... (Score 1) 115

USB3 provides completely standard 5A charging.

Not really... USB3 ports are only 900mAh. High power is only possible for dedicated "charging" ports that can't really do any actual USB things.

And the USB3 charging-only scheme is technically "standard" only in that the company that writes the specs endorsed one of the incompatible methods... So if companies don't adopt it, then it may be an official/de-jury standard, but it will still be de-facto non-standard.

Comment Re:Chromebook is a waste (Score 1) 115

Why bother making Chromebooks, the market doesn't much seem to care for them. Instead they should be putting Android onto laptops since the market is already very familiar with Android and the marketplace is already well stocked with apps.

If you've ever used a dirt-cheap tablet, you know the answer to that...

Android and its apps make numerous assumptions. Things like almost-always connected internet access... GPS hardware... Accelerometers... Touch screens. Small screen sizes that limit multitasking... etc. Running Android apps on devices that LACK any of those features VERY quickly becomes frustrating and utterly pointless.

Similarly, you would be DISGUSTED if you ever ran a "mobile" program on your desktop computer... For a simple example, change your browser's user-agent string to match some common mobile browser. After about 5 minutes of having a tiny phone-sized patch of text in the upper-left hand corner of your screen, you'll hate it and switch back. Here's a quick one... Try browsing Wikipedia's mobile site for an hour or so without throwing your computer out the window:

http://en.mobile.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

The same is true for using mobile apps, where things like the title bar, scroll bars, etc., are all hidden to save screen space. It makes no sense, it's time consuming, and becomes incredibly frustrating when used on a large screen that doesn't strictly NEED those particular workarounds. That's why you'll find so many "HD" apps for Android/IOS in the market, because 10" tablets are near the cut-off point where you want something more similar to desktop apps.

The different form factors are so tremendously far apart that they're just not interchangeable at all. If Google came out with an Android desktop or laptop, you'd be laughing at their foolishness in short order, and swearing you *never* thought it would be a good idea...

Comment 12V charging is better than USB... (Score 3, Informative) 115

One thing this machine lacks is the most intriguing feature of the new ARM-based (and lower-power) Chromebook 11 from HP: charging via Micro-USB.

To hell with your freaky mutually-incompatible and non-standard ways to get 3amps over USB! Give me a 12V DC, positive-center barrel plug any day... Vastly more durable than MicroUSB junk, and far cheaper.

Car adapters cost $3, since they're just a cord... Wall adapters are also dirt-cheap, and I can use any of the dozen I have lying around... Everything from my Netbook, to my GbE switch, to my computer speakers, to my NiMH battery charger, to my portable fan, to my UPSes, to my old video game consoles, ALL run on 12V DC. They can all swap adapters, because there's no crazy non-standard resistor levels on other pins that make half of them incompatible with the other half... And unlike MicroUSB jacks with the tiny reed in the center, barrel plugs are practically bullet-proof, can be inserted easily in any orientation, etc.

I tolerate MicroUSB as a middle-of-the-road standard, that is better than a complete mis-mash of incompatible charging connectors, and varying voltages (3? 7.5? 9? WTF?), but only for small devices. Tablets should NEVER have started using it, and larger phones that can't fully charge with 5V should be jumping to 12V DC barrel-plugs ASAP, and getting everyone on a compatible, higher-power standard.

Comment Re:Liars, liars, pants on fire (Score 4, Informative) 301

Bad analogy, since much (not all) of what McCarthy said turned out in fact to be true. The State Department WAS rife with people who were in fact Communist sympathizers or active Soviet agents.

Not really. McCarthy didn't have evidence or even a reasonable basis for making his claims. Playing the lottery and winning doesn't mean you can see into the future or are a whiz with statistics; claiming that there are communists in the State Department didn't mean he had even the tiniest bit of intelligence.

Plus, if he did know, it would've been grossly irresponsible to say so. Exposing known enemy spies and agents just means that they'll be replaced by others who you'll have to find all over again. The better tactic is to in some way turn the ones you know about so that you control what information they send back to your enemy.

And 'rife' is somewhat of an overstatement.

Frankly, McCarthy was a drunk bully. We'd all have been better off if he'd never been in politics at all. It's entirely proper to despise him and it's nice to see that so many do.

Comment Re:Information (Score 1) 242

The many worlds model's absurdity is right in its name. It's the belief that we have no choice, make no choices, but just randomly find ourselves in a world where certain things have happened, while duplicates of ourselves, at each instant where different things might happen, including our own different actions, find themselves inhabiting each of those many worlds. That's to say, the many worlds model requires that the illusion of choice model is the correct one for human agency. And not in the Newtonian sense where it's because there is only one causal destiny. Rather it's a claim that there's no one destiny, but we can't choose among the many destinies, and instead must realize them all, in an endless branching into infinite futures, in none of which will we ever have any real freedom, or real choice.

That contradicts everything we know about human psychology, as well as every possible evolutionary account for the advantage of consciousness. It contradicts evolution itself, since according to many worlds every possibility going forward is realized in one universe or another, even the possibilities which are, in a Darwinian sense, less fit.

Comment Re:A sarcasm detector, that's a real useful invent (Score 1) 177

The DEA is much more interested in the poster above's irrigation system.

Of course, that provides some serious opportunities for mischief... trick people who are crazy about their houseplants to install such a system, and set the timing in a way which would be appropriate for cannabis. Then wait for the raid.

Comment Re:Er, wait, what? (Score 5, Insightful) 140

Well, nuclear reactions that we can turn off like laser-initiated fusion are a lot nicer than the alternatives. The inside of your car engine is a raging inferno shot with electric sparks and compressed with inexorable steel cylinders. That doesn't keep you from going on a nice drive with your sweetie.

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