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Comment Re:Tables are turning (Score 1) 374

Actually, a fine of $10 per MWh almost exactly eliminates the disparity in Federal subsidies for renewables (excluding biomass aka burning wood) vs fossil fuels. (Table ES2 divided by Table ES3 to get subsidy dollars per BTU, divide by 293071 to convert trillion BTUs to MWh.)

Coal = $1085 million subsidy / 5923 MWh = $0.18 per MWh
Gas = $2346 million subsidy / 8309 MWh = $0.28 per MWh
Nuclear = $1600 million subsidy / 2379 MWh = $0.70 per MWh
Biomass = $629 million subsidy / 1317 MWh = $0.48 per MWh

Hydro = $395 million subsidy / 756 MWh = $0.52 per MWh
Geothermal = $345 million subsidy / 64.5 MWh = $5.35 per MWh
Wind = $5936 million subsidy / 454 MWh = $13.07 per MWh
Solar = $5328 million subsidy / 83.8 MWh = $65.57 per MWh
Total of above four = $12004 million subsidy / 1358 MWh = $8.84 per MWh

So it's not really an unapologetic subsidy for the coal industry. It's a leveling of the playing field.

Comment Re:I'm ok with this... (Score 1) 374

They'd probably be just fine with a dome over their state. Wyoming only has 586,000 people. Its population density is 1/27th that of New York, 1/16 that of California, and 1/6th the world average. In contrast, their forested area is 1/6th that of New York, 1/2 that of California, and 1/3 the world average. If you put a dome over their state, they could emit roughly 2x more CO2 per capita than the world and New York average, 8x more than California's average, and their air's CO2 concentration would still be lower due to their forests scrubbing it out.

I didn't vote for Trump and am horrified at the thought of what his Presidency could bring. But your mistaken assumption legitimzes what Trump's supporters have been saying about the election results - that the people living in the 2% of U.S. counties which voted for Clinton simply don't understand the problems and living conditions faced by people living in the 98% of the U.S. counties which voted for Trump. In fact if we took your dome idea and applied it across the country, and you added up net CO2 generation minus absorption by vegetation, you'd probably find the Clinton voter counties are net CO2 producers while Trump voter counties are net CO2 reducers by a massive margin. It's the urban areas and the trendy environmentalists which would suffocate first. The rural areas and real environmentalists trying to live sustainably off the land would be just fine.

Comment Re:Typical studio assholes! (Score 1) 141

If you're going to invest your time and money in a creative endeavor, don't base it on someone else's property. That puts you completely at their mercy. Just like Zynga is completely at the mercy of Facebook, you are completely at the mercy of CBS/Paramount if you make Star Trek fiction. They own the creative works, they get to decide what should be granted a reasonable license, not you and me. If they want to be asses about it, they can.

Fanfics are fine since they represent a minimal investment of your time and resources. But if you're going to put enough effort and money into it to make a feature film, you really should be creating your own sci-fi universe. Or before you start production, you can negotiate with CBS/Paramount for a license to use their universe. Intellectual property law is completely made-up, so it isn't grounded by real-world physical limits and economics. That means it doesn't fall under the "easier to beg forgiveness than it is to get permission" rule.

Comment Re: What complete nonsense (Score 2) 290

$15/hr * 40 hr/wk * 50 wk/yr (2 weeks vacation) = $30,000/yr. Most people would consider that a living wage. Federal poverty level for a family of 4 is just $24,250/yr.

So the $15/hr target is too high. If you target the poverty level for a family of 4 (assuming it's a single income family), the target is $12.12/hr. Poverty level for a single person is $11,770/yr, which translates into $5.89/hr, which is actually below the current minimum wage of $7.25/hr. So the current minimum wage is in the right ballpark of a compromise between singles and single-income families.

Yes this assumes full employment throughout the year. The minimum wage has to be tied to productivity because wages are tied to productivity. If you try to set the minimum wage based on poverty levels for people not being productive the full year, you end up eliminating jobs of people who are fully employed and productive the full year. Inability to find full employment is an employment problem (number of jobs available), not a wage problem (how much you're paid for a job).

IMHO the problem isn't the minimum wage, it's the capital gains tax is way too high for lower income people. People always complain the 15% capital gains tax is too low without really researching who actually pays a 15% income tax. The tax rate is graduated meaning just because you're in the 25% tax bracket doesn't mean you pay a 15% income tax. The threshold where you actually pay a 15% income tax (single, standard deduction) is about $58,500. The threshold where the average American pays 15% income tax (after credits, exemptions, and itemized deductions) is closer to $90,000 (you can figure this out from the IRS tax stats). So it makes little sense for people making less than this to invest their money when it's going to be taxed more than if they just spent it and increased their income via raises (e.g. raising the minimum wage) rather than investments/savings.

The economy rewards you with income for two things - generating productivity (working), and deciding where productivity is needed (managing/investing). The current flat 15% capital gains tax effectively discourages lower income people from participating in the latter. It needs to be graduated like income tax so lower income people have more incentive to save and invest. (The rationale for the capital gains tax rate being lower than income tax rate at higher incomes is the same. It encourages rich people to invest their money thus re-injecting it into the economy, instead of wasting it on gold toilet seats. Same logic applies to lower income people, except some of them "waste" their money on big screen TVs, iPhones, car leases, etc.)

Comment Crowdfunding is investing (Score 1) 62

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter try to make it seem like you're pre-paying for a final product, but you're not. You're investing in a business concept - basically you're a venture capitalist. If it works, you'll get your product. if it doesn't, you'll get nothing.

Crowdfunding is actually worse than venture capitalism. With the latter, you the investor get part ownership of the company, so if it becomes successful (e.g. Oculus VR, Pebble) you share in that success. With crowdfunding, all you get is a shiny trinket. If you even get it at all. All the risk, none of the rewards.

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 1) 1453

People advocating hypotheticals based on popular vote are arguing on the basis that fairness (majority wins) should override methodology (Electoral College). The problem with arguing Clinton should've won the election based on fairness is you're artificially limiting the election to just two candidates. Clinton and Trump only got 93.97% of the vote. Your "fair" projection disenfranchises 6.03% of the voters

So in the interest of fairness, say you include as many of those 6% as you can. If you add up the votes for the liberal candidates (Clinton, Stein, Sanders, Riva), you get 49.22%. If you add up the votes for the conservative candidates (Trump, Johnson, McMullin, Castle) you get 49.89%. So in all fairness, based on the popular vote the correct winner of this election should be a conservative candidate.

Also, California's last Republican Senator was John Seymour. (Appointed to replace Pete Wilson, who ran for and won the governorship in the first election I was allowed to vote in. The Republicans had made it a priority to get him elected as governor because the 1990 census was being conducted and the governor could veto the gerrymandering Democrats had done to the state's districts.) And the problems you cite (weak economy, broke government floated on large companies) pre-date Schwarzenegger. Gov. Davis was recalled due to California's poor economy following the dot-com bubble bursting, and the huge budget deficit. Schwarzenegger didn't cause these problems as you claim - he was elected because of these problems. Finally, the governor doesn't control the budget. The legislature does. All the governor can do is sign or veto whatever the legislature passes. And the last time California had Republicans controlling even one branch of the state legislature was the '95-96 state assembly.

So it was Democrats who are responsible for every California problem you cite.

Comment My experience (Score 2) 25

Signed up for it at the end of their promo a week and half back (100+ channels, gen 4 Apple TV and 3 months service for $105, I added on HBO at $5/mo).

The browser version is unusable. Crashes, glitches (shows freeze or stop playing), gets stuck in low res mode, often can't connect to the stream or gets 5 seconds and stops. I wasn't really planning to use it with the computer so not that big a deal for me. The main drawback is I have no way to stream it to my projector since they haven't added Roku support yet.

The Android version mostly works. I've been using my tablet as a mini portable TV when I'm doing stuff around the house, which was really the point of getting the service. I still have an unlimited phone data plan, and am able to use it + hotspot to use the service on my tablet when I'm traveling. Transition from hotspot to regular WiFi is seamless. A few annoyances I've found.
  • Occasionally logs you out. This was happening every 30-60 minutes when I first started the service, but it's only happened once in the last few days so they seem to be getting it under control.
  • Yes they have ABC, NBC, and Fox (CBS wants you to pay for their channel to get OTA shows). But only in certain metro areas. And if you move outside of that metro area, the channels stop working. The Android app needs location permission or it refuses to run. I haven't yet traveled to another supported metro area, so dunno if this is just checks for supported locations, or if it's tied to your home address metro area.
  • Limited to 2 streams. Not an issue for me, but this will be a deal-breaker for some.
  • Most streaming channels don't list DirecTV Now as a service. So even though I can watch the Discovery Channel with DirecTV Now, I can't watch their Roku channel since there's no way for me to activate it. Hopefully this is just due to the services being slow to add DirecTV Now as an enabling subscription service. It does work for HBO, and someone else has said it works for ESPN.
  • Swiping up/down on the guide often advances the show listings forward an hour.
  • The favorites selection is right next to the channel names. It's easy to accidentally favorite/unfavorite a channel while scrolling through the list, or when selecting a channel to watch.
  • Favorites list is slow to sync between devices.
  • Only has a single favorites list. I was expecting multiple favorites like with their satellite tuners.
  • Guide defaults to all channels every time you open it.
  • Starts muted when you first start the Android app. This threw me off for a bit as I tried to troubleshoot it. IMHO it should remember the audio state the last time the app was run. (Just checked and looks like the update they released today adds an option to let you set it to on/off on launch.)
  • Easy to change from partial screen (with a list of recent channels you've watched underneath) to full screen. But impossible to switch from full screen to partial screen.
  • No configuration options for closed captioning. Text is probably the right size for a phone, but too small for my tablet (2560x1600 screen).
  • After living with the Roku for a year, it's really horrifying how much of the show times are taken up by commercials.

I'm gonna keep it for now. HBO alone is normally $15/mo, so it's like I'm getting the other 100+ channels for $25/mo. (The 100 channel promo ended Jan 10. It's now priced at $65/mo. $35/mo now gets you just 60 channels.) Yeah they're having a lot of problems, but it seems to me to be teething problems. And my cable company's basic TV plan was nearly double the price for far fewer channels. Here are comparison of DirecTV vs Sling vs Vue channel lineups and features

Comment Re:Self-fulfilling Prophecy (Score 1) 306

Harvard has a $37.6 billion endowment. Even with the abysmal 1.38% return in the S&P 500 in 2015, that would translate into $518.9 million in profit. Across 22,000 students, that's $23,585 per student.

So yeah, Harvard is in the unique position to be able to offer something like this. In a better year like 2016 (11.74% return), their endowment would've raked in over $200,000 per student.

Comment Re:I Explain This to Millennials Constantly (Score 1) 62

I used to run my own personal email server, so when the small business I worked for wanted its own domain and email in 2004, I offered my services to set it up for them. The setup part is easy. The PITA is that every time there's a problem, you have to fix it. Server down? Figure out what went wrong and get it running again. Mail being bounced? Contact the spam list to get you removed. Someone not able to access their emails? Walk them through to troubleshoot the problem.

I lasted less than a year before throwing in the towel. I was spending more time babysitting the email server and acting as email technical support than I was doing my actual job. I signed up the company for Google Apps for Business (basically email hosting for your domain using gmail - it was free back then). Google's staff takes care of all these problems now. I did suggest a pay email service as an alternative, but the company wanted free even if it meant they might be giving up privacy.

Comment Missed opportunity (Score 1) 384

1080p 3D TV needs at least a 120 Hz screen refresh rate. 60 frames each second are used to show the left image, 60 frames each second to show the right image, 120 frames per second total. (If the set is designed to eliminate judder when displaying 24 fps movies, it needs a 240 Hz refresh rate to do it in 3D movies shot at 24 fps (48 fps for both views).

The problem is, every 120 Hz or 240 Hz TV I've seen has made this refresh rate internal-only. They only accept a 60 Hz input signal (which is 120 Hz for 3D-only). Probably because HDMI only supports a maximum of 60 Hz (120 Hz for 3D-only). A few times a week, I run across a gamer asking if they can hook up their 120 Hz TV to their PC and play games at 120 fps. And I have to tell them it's not possible - the TV isn't designed to accept a 120 Hz non-3D input signal.

If they had designed the 3D TVs to accept 120 Hz non-3D input, you'd have gamers tripping over themselves to buy 3D TVs to use as 120 Hz monitors, with the 3D stuff being a "free" added capability. A few of them would then probably experiment with playing their games in 3D (where the depth perception can actually be advantageous), and that might have been enough to make 3D displays catch on.

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