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Comment No, the reason is laws. (Score 3, Insightful) 99

There is a reason that American teenagers aren't working in orchards... if growers paid enough to get teens to take the jobs, nobody would be able to afford fruit.

No. The reason is that the laws (child labor, working conditions) make it impossible for them to use teenagers any more.

Meanwhile the illegals can't complain about working conditions - and will work for less than minimum wage in (those occupations where it applies.)

US citizens needn't apply because they can't compete. (Even if they were willing to work for sub-legal prices and/or in sub-legal conditions, the employer can't risk that they might turn around and demand the missing money or compensation for the conditions.) The illegals, meanwhile, can afford to work that cheaply because social programs can pay for much of the support of them and their families - turning programs intended to help the poor into subsidies for their employers.

Meanwhile, the government's non-enforcement of the laws against the illegals working means that, in highly competitive markets (such as construction contracting), employers are left with a Hobson's choice: Use illegal labor and be competitive, or try to use legal labor and go out of business.

Comment Part of why Silicon Valley is in CA (Score 1) 373

Most employment agreements are such that the company owns it even if it is outside of normal hours. So inventions you come up with on your own time are not yours.

And one of the key reasons Silicon Valley grew up in California is a law that, in effect, says:
  - As a matter of the state's compelling interest:
  - If you invent something
  - on your own time and not using company resources
  - and it's not in the company's current or expected immediate future business plan
  - you own it
  - regardless of what your employment contract says
  - and employment contracts have to include a notice of this.

Result: People who invent neat stuff their current company won't be productizing can get get together with a few friends, rent a garage across the street, and build a company to develop the new stuff. So companies bud off new companies, doing somewhat different stuff, like yeast. And the opportunity to get in on the ground floor attracts many other skilled people who might not be as inventive, but still wnt to be some of those "few friends" of the inventors.

Comment Re:Need this refined before I need a knee replacem (Score 1) 50

Sooner or later I will need a knee replacement. It would be nice to have a tissue one instead of metal and plastic.

I could use one now. I tore a meniscus in my knee a couple years ago, and it's healed as much as it will - which isn't enough. Surgery options only involve cutting it out (which leaves the bones rubbing each other) or replacing the whole joint (which is not only inferior but doesn't last as long a my current life expectancy).

Being able to drop in a replacement, grown from a printed scaffold of generic materials seeded with my own induced-pluripotent stem cells, would just fix it. (In fact it should fix it to be as good as it was decades ago, or maybe even better than it ever was.)

Comment Single target. (Score 1) 45

All [no standard] means is that websites will write their own version, some already have.

Indeed.

Also: In the race between weapons and armor, weapons always (eventually) win.

By creating a standard and getting the bulk of the "content providers" to adopt it, the WWWC creates a single big target that leads to breaking MOST of the DRM simultaneously. Meanwhile, content providers are left with the choice of getting behind the big target or being non-standard.

Which is fine: Like WEP, or a locked screen door, DRM won't protect things forever. But, like a "No Trespassing" sign, it DOES indicate INTENT forever. Intent of the content provider to limit access, and intent of the unauthorized content viewer to bypass that limit. That takes the "I didn't mean to do it." defence away, and gets any legal cases down to examining whether the poster of the No Trespassing sign had the right to limit the access and/or the crosser of the boundary had a right to obtain access.

Comment Re:Storage? (Score 2) 478

For coal, this doesn't really matter - it still loses. To pick up where renewables leave off, you want natural gas (or even petroleum) turbines that can quickly be brought on and off line. Coal and nuclear are not really suited to this.

The power industry makes the distinction between "base load" and "peak load" generation sources. Coal and nuclear are best for base load, running 100% capacity as much as possible. Combined-cycle turbines are best for peak load since they can be economically throttled.

The issue is both peak and base load demands are increasing. Turbines make great peak load sources but are poor for base load. TVA -- my former employer -- took coal plants offline due to Obama-era regulations making them impossible or unprofitable to operate (or both). They made up for the lost generating capacity by running their turbines as if they were base load generators. The result? Huge increases in turbine maintenance costs, more frequent maintenance outages, and more unplanned outages.

If the goal is to kill coal you have to replace it with something. Nuclear is a non-starter for most people because of their hysterical, irrational fear of it. Natural gas is cheap but, as stated above, it's not the best candidate for peak load generation. Nothing in the solar or wind column can come close to substituting for any current base load generation technology.

Comment Leeches are already back. (Score 1) 478

When will Trump bring back leeching?

They're already back. They're used in limb reattachment surgery post-operative treatment.

When limbs are reattached the arteries work well right away but the veins not so much. So they have poor circulation and inadequate oxygenation, especially at the finger and toe tips. This can lead to further cell death, infection, and transplant failure.

Leeches applied to the extremities of the limbs can pull out enough blood and bring in fresh to keep more cells alive and bring more infection-fighting white cells to the area. And leeches do little damage other than draining blood, and provide their own surgical tools and anaesthetic. (It's in their evolutionary interest to not bother the victim into pulling them off while they're feeding, and not leaving wounds that would make him tend to avoid the location later.) So raised-sterile leeches are used, with substantial improvement in reattachment success rates.

Comment Re:Total regulatory impact 2-3 percent (Score 2) 478

Coal has been made disproportionately more expensive over the last several years by government fiat, not market forces. Burdensome regulation and carbon taxes have made it so. Until recently I worked for TVA (mostly nuclear plants but some coal, hydro, and combined-cycle turbines). Several coal plants were shut down well ahead of schedule simply because Obama-era regulations made them unprofitable to run. Remember, candidate-Obama promised to destroy coal. He certainly worked hard enough at it.

If coal is allowed to float without government interference it will be quite a bit cheaper than renewables and much more abundant. Windmills only spin when the wind is blowing. Solar only works when the sun is out and your panels aren't covered in snow. Coal runs 24x7, rain or shine, windy or calm, hot or cold.

Comment Re:Storage? (Score 1) 478

To pick up where renewables leave off, you want natural gas (or even petroleum) turbines that can quickly be brought on and off line.

Also: If you really are concerned about carbon dioxide, they produce a lot less of it per unit of energy.

In fossil fuels most of the energy comes from burning the hydrogen to water. Burning the carbon to carbon dioxide provides some, but it's mostly useful for packaging the hydrogen. Oil and gas is essentially long-chain-of-carbon molecules with two hydrogens per carbon and two more to cap the ends of the chain (with occasional tree-structures with the same carbon/hydrogen counts, and the odd ring-shaped or multiply-bonded impurity that''s short one or two pairs of hydrogens.)

So oil is a little over two hydrogens per carbon, gas goes from about 2.5 (butane) to 4 (methane). But coal is essentially just carbon. So gas is best, liquid oil fractions are not as good (though convenient for mobile engines), and coal is worst, on the energy/CO2 production ratio.

Comment Re:Total regulatory impact 2-3 percent (Score 1) 478

Adapt. Fossil fuels are over. They're too expensive.

Says the guy whose lights and computer are very likely lit by electricity generated from fossil fuels. Who, if he has a car, is likely powered by fossil fuels or has a battery charged by fossil fuels. Or, if he uses mass transit, it's either fueled by fossil fuels or powered by electricity derived from fossil fuels. Whose synthetic plastic materials around him are made from fossil fuels. Who, if he's ever flown anywhere, was in a plane powered by fossil fuels. Who, if he stopped to consider it, would be utterly unable to function today in any useful capacity without power, products, or motive force made possible in whole or in part by fossil fuels.

But hey doesn't it sound all trendy and shit to say "fossil fuels are over"?

Comment Coal won't cut it? (Score 2, Informative) 478

From the DoE:

Major energy sources and percent shares of U.S. electricity generation at utility-scale facilities in 2016:

Natural gas = 33.8%
Coal = 30.4%
Nuclear = 19.7%
Renewables (total) = 14.9%
Hydropower = 6.5%
Wind = 5.6%
Biomass = 1.5%
Solar = 0.9%
Geothermal = 0.4%
Petroleum = 0.6%
Other gases = 0.3%
Other nonrenewable sources = 0.3%
Pumped storage hydroelectricity = -0.2%

So, wind + solar = 6.5%
Coal + natural gas + nuclear = 83.9%

Winner = not renewables

If coal's been on the decline it's only because the Obama administration demonized it and because we had a happy accident of finding an abundance of natural gas. Wind and solar would be nowhere without massive government subsidies.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting on those fusion reactors.

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