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Comment Re:Bullshit is a good energy source. (Score 1) 214

No, the methane is not concentrated enough to burn off. The waste is collected into ponds that stink up the atmosphere for a mile or so. Methane and noxious gases go straight into atmosphere. That methane is a serious contributor to greenhouse gases. Methane is 100 times worse than CO2, molecule for molecule. Still any talk about that usually degenerates into cartoons of white coated scientists running around with glasses to capture cow farts in an open field filled with laughing farmers and the cows with bemused expressions.

Comment Bullshit is a good energy source. (Score 1) 214

The farm waste from cows, pigs and chicken, can be a very serious partial solution in switching over to renewable energy sources. America has 100 million cows. Once I calculated something like 6 cows can produce enough natural gas to keep one car going, i,e they produce enough natural gas to run a car for some 15000 miles in one year.

The methane is odorless, the smell comes from other chemicals and bacteria, By covering the waste to capture methane you would also reduce odor pollution too.

Once the methane has been extracted what remains is a great organic fertilizer.

It is not as sexy as windmills and solar arrays but it is a good viable path. But, alas, USA is never going to go this path. The hydraulic fracking breakthrough has dropped the price of natural gas so low, now it is not worth capturing methane to sell off. Only if there is any kind of credit for not emitting the methane into the atmosphere, odor pollution abatement and value of organic fertilizer works out farmers will invest on this low tech solution. Pond the waste, cover it with thick plastic, capture the gas, separate the methane, and chimney up the noxious pollutants. The break even cost was working out to a dairy farm of at least 1000 cows at the height of oil price spike. Now it is likely to be at 4000 or 5000 cows. Practically impossible in USA.

It would be a great boon for India and China though. Hope it works out

Comment Re:Online security for banks is a joke. (Score 1) 195

How many key fobs should I be carrying around? Both E-Trade and Schwab give away rsa key fobs for account holders with a certain minimum. 401k, IRA, everything counts to the balance, even the market value of the unexercised stock options count towards balance. So if you dont mind jingling around a whole bunch of key fobs, I suppose you could find institutions.

Comment Online security for banks is a joke. (Score 5, Informative) 195

I have made many posts asking for two level access. First level password is good for looking at balances and bills etc. And you need the second level password to actually move money or cash it out. But each financial institution does it its own way. The final decision seems to be made by some old coot who gets mortally afraid of computers, who has a bevy of secretaries who print their emails and put them in folders, whose on line skills match that of Donald "I save classified docs in my unsecured personal laptop" Rumsfeld or David "gee I will exchange mail using drafts folder, no one will think of it ha ha ha" Petraeus.

Fidelity. Made me choose all numeric password because alphabets would confuse their old retirees who use phone based transactions. I was shocked and wanted to disable phone based transactions on my account immediately. Was told to take a hike. They can't disable it without disabling on-line access as well. Was forced to continue the account because our company 401K is with these morons. Have not checked recently if it has changed.

ETrade They used to be good. They had the concept of a "trading password" on top of a regular password. Exactly what I wanted. You need to provide the trading password to actually do trade or cash out money or transfer funds. They took it away! I called to complain. They gave me a free RSA dongle. These jokers imagine their customers having an RSA key fob for each account. Cant ditch them. Our company stock purchase plan is with them.

Schwab would give a RSA fob if I asked. But don't know how it works with Quicken. Will upgrade to latest quicken and see if it is supported. Even then I don't fancy dangling around with key fobs.

PNC Bank if you setup an all numeric username it would also serve as your phone banking user id. But you need all numeric password to use it with phones. Thank you PNC! I set up an all numeric username and a alphanumeric password. So phone transactions are not possible. With VOIP and caller-id spoofing phone banking is as vulnerable as on line banking. At least let me cut down one attack surface.

Why cant they give me two level passwords? Why cant they implement a two factor authentication like google does with cell phones? Why cant they send a text message on every transaction so that I would be alerted by any fraudulent activity?

Comment Re:When the Billionaire makes a move... (Score 1) 183

You are assuming that he wants to maximize his personal return. The amount of money is so huge usually they don't worry about maximizing their returns. They usually start thinking about leaving a lasting legacy so they cash out to fund a charity or political organization. Everyone has exactly 24 hours a day. He might decide to spend more time on a cause that is dear to his heart than managing a tough highly competitive business that keeps everyone on their toes.

Comment It is not first to invent, it is first to file. (Score 1) 365

USPTO changed the patent definitions. It is not first to invent that covers patentability. It is first to file. So even if the milkman has invented it first, it is not enough, the first to file will get the patent. If the milkman can demonstrate he had been using it before the patent was filed, he can't be sued for patent violation. But all others folks who can not prove they had been using it earlier, are out of luck.

Well, that is my understanding of the patent law. Hope it is wrong.

Comment Re:I know the English term. (Score 2) 330

This is very much true for many Indian languages. Some languages accept English words transliterated into an Indic script (some variant of Devanagari). But some languages have this "purist" mentality and insist on translating them into their own languages. There is a common joke that one purist of Hindi language translated the word "signal" as, "the machine that makes the vehicle that runs on rails go or stop by showing green or red light". Similarly I have seen in Tamil language the word "bus" translated as "large self propelled vehicle". Now what is going to be the "USB" port? Technology is creating terms and usages at a furious pace that many languages can not keep up with. So at times it makes sense to keep these terms in English.

Anyway, Jared Diamond says in his latest book, in the next 100 years, of the 6000 languages extant today, 5000 will be dead or moribund. So it might not even be worth all that effort to translate it to New Guinean Highland pidgin.

Comment INBD. let German absorb an English word. (Score 2) 330

English is borrowing words and phrases from other languages left right and center. So here is the deal, if there is no short German word for "Cancel", let German accept Cancel as a German word and update its equivalent of OED. English belongs to the old Germanic languages family. Many German words are accepted as English words from the KG level. Look up the origin of KG.

I wish at least the programmers and coders will be less parochial and be more catholic and be open to words/ideas/concepts "not invented here".

Comment What about Caveat Emptor? (Score 4, Insightful) 251

I am no fan of S&P rating agency and what they did was horrendous. There was clear conflict of interest in rating a bond/secutiry/instrument and getting paid by the sellers of the very same instruments. But on the other hand the people who were "duped" by the practice are not tiny small investors, without the means to do independent verification or the means to do due diligence on the rating agencies. Heck, the very same big banks that claim to be "duped" by the inflated ratings given by S&P actively participated in the very same rating rigging scheme. They know very well every body is doing it. These banks that bought the bonds were also repacking the very same bonds and putting them back on the market, and they paid the very same rating agency the very same "commissions" to get them inflated too.

Look, at the height of madness, these derivatives which no one could possibly understand, derivatives so complex even God Almighty could not understand were given the same rating as US Treasury bonds or just a microscopically lower ratings. If these banks really believed the ratings by S&P they would have bought them at the same yields as US Treasury bonds, (or microscopically higher yeilds). But these derivatives were yielding a full percent, and then they were shooting up.

Why? These bastards knew, no matter, what lipstick S&P and Moody's slap on these beasts they are pigs. If small investors were taken in, that lone retiree conserving his/her nest egg, despairing at the ridiculously low interest rates they were getting, buying one lone bond for 12000$ and losing it all, they have my full sympathies, and wish they would be able to take on these bastards and send them to jai.

But, the buyers were the big guys. Why are they buying bonds, whose rating was paid for by the sellers?. Why can't they come up with a plan to pay for the ratings themselves? The bankers could have decided the buyers of bonds would chip in a few dollars and create an agency that will never be paid by the sellers of bonds and would be totally funded y the buyers of the bonds. They still have not done it.

What is playing out in the courts is something like a lovers spat or falling out between the thieves.

Comment ah.. That explains it. (Score 0) 66

I was wondering how the $party [See below to get the value of $party] is able to defy the public opinion and try to impose its autocratic will on the population, despite electoral defeats. Looks like the bubbles they are living in is strengthened by the electricity!

if ( $myparty == "republican") then
$party="democratic"
else
$party="republican"
endif

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