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Comment Re:working to offset expansion of the money supply (Score 1) 403

Creditors cannot cash in their debt because that's not how debt works. The debtor pays whenever the agreement states that it's to be paid, and not before. You don't get to call in debts whenever you feel like it. (I don't know where people get this silly idea, have they never borrowed money?)

While this is technically true, there is a secondary market for bonds, and if people start dumping bonds on the secondary market it puts upward pressure on the rates that investors will demand for bonds during the next bond issue.
A lot of institutional investors dumped bonds in places like Ireland in 2008-2010, forcing bond rates to ~8% (not that we sold bonds at that rate) which was the reason we were pushed over the edge into bailout (upon which the IMF and the EU hit us for ~6% on those loans while refusing either buy, or to let us buy, the discounted bonds on the secondary market with those funds). Some US funds made billions on this by buying Irish bonds for 40-60 cents on the euro, and getting the whole whack back.

Comment Re:Politicians always lie (Score 3, Interesting) 259

Thing is, that figure was still not correct, the £350M was shown to be wrong, the actual number is £180M, which is just over half the figure used by the Exit campaign. And people still went for it because it was "truthy", so it played well to their own preconceptions. Similar to the rhetoric about Eurocrats, when the reality is that the EU has less bureaucrats employed in total than the UK has bureaucrats working in Birmingham, their second largest city.

I think one item that made it very clear that people were voting with their feelings rather than weighing positives and negatives, was Cornwall realizing, after the vote, that they get a lot of EU support, and trying to put pressure on London to match this. Whether or not it will happen, who knows, but after the vote probably wasn't the time to bring it up.

I've said before that I believe that much of the negative feeling towards the EU is from governments all over Europe using the EU as a handy scapegoat, and claiming that any unpopular decision was a result of the EU. This has been going on for 40 years in the case of the UK, which was bound to have an impact. It also doesn't help that people find it difficult to distinguish the EU from the ECHR (a separate organization) and EU related immigration from external immigration (in the UK, the largest number of immigrants are from India, for instance). This is a great example of what the article is saying because it shows that the narrative has been prioritized over the reality, and it's really difficult to dispute a narrative now because it's dispersed, rather than having a small number of sources.

Comment Re: Don't Panic (Score 1) 535

Smaller. Beureaucracy.....

There are 55,000 eurocrats working for the commission (source). There are 60,000 in Birmingham alone (according to the same link) and for the UK as a whole there were 405,573 in 2015 according to the UK's own statistics.

The UK joined the EU as an economic basket case in 1973, and its trajectory since has been largely upward. This simple fact was lost in the debate. In every way, the UK is more prosperous now than it was then. Obviously, this is an aggregate and some areas have faced particular hardships, the older mining areas in particular but that was nothing to do with Brussels and everything to do with internal politics. The NHS funding issues are nothing to do with migrants and everything to do with the current government attempting to cut back. The migrant integration issues have almost nothing to do with EU migrants, and nearly all the problems occur because of immigration from former imperial holdings like Pakistan and (to a lesser extent) India. The European Court of Human Rights (a particular bugbear of the Daily Mail) is not related to the EU, it predated the EU and the UK is still subject to it.

The leave arguments were trivially debunkable but very emotive, and the remain arguments were basically putting a sheet over their head and saying "woooooo, scary". It really doesn't help that the UK government (and they're not alone in this) spent the last 40 years justifying every single unpopular decision by claiming that the EU made them do it. They are reaping what they sowed, and we can only hope that 1973 isn't their destination.

Comment Re:wrong understanding of Heinlein (Score 1) 180

Most people seem to think of "Starship Troopers" when they think of Heinlein, or the incest focused subplot of Farnham's Freehold but he was a seriously prolific writer and it seems that his real schtick was challenging assumptions about society and government - in 1960 he wrote an essay with the sentiment that "Maybe we should let women rule the world - they can't do worse than men have, and might do better".

He explored collectivism in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" along with polygamy, he explored militarism in Starship Troopers. He saw a world where Africa reigned supreme after a nuclear war ruined the first and second worlds in Farnham's Freehold. He tried to envisage a world where a "prophet" broke all the accepted rules of society in A Stranger in a Strange land. Those are just the highlights. Heinlein, whether you agree with anything he wrote or not, is a writer that everyone should read in my opinion.

He was also decent chap, as his treatment of Philip K Dick in the latter years of his life shows.

Comment Re:This site is so biased now! (Score 2) 210

That link is of a conversation where she tells an aide to remove the classified material and headers.
Effectively, she told the aide to do something similar to the process where documents are released redacted. If the classified portion of the material is removed before transmission, the remainder is no longer classified and can be transmitted.

Seriously, if it were as simple as portrayed, this would be a non-issue because she would have been charged.

Comment Re:MH17 was shot down by Russian missles (Score 1) 120

If you believe that the Russians are the underdog in the Russia-Ukraine situation you may wish to re-assess that. If you were supporting underdogs, you'd be supporting Ukraine.

Whatever your views on the general situation, the separatist forces on the ground claimed this before they realized it was a civilian airliner, and then they panicked. It was really, really obviously the separatists in the Donbass who did this - whether it was regular Russian troops manning equipment from Russia may be less certain (although the balance of evidence is that this was the case given reports from locals in the area at the time). Russia would have been better off going for an explanation that the poorly-trained separatists had looted a BUK AA missile battery from a Ukranian military base - they could have slapped the separatists on the wrist but generously provided them training to ensure no more mistakes were made, and moved on. Instead they picked an explanation that was couldn't hold up to scrutiny and doubled-down when caught. The reason people are accusing you of being a Russian troll is because you must be discounting everything except sources that are known to be supported by the Russian government to argue your cause.

Comment Re:RFID (Score 1) 109

The problem is that the information sent wirelessly isn't unique to contactless payment schemes. In fact it's everything on the front of your card (name, exp date and card number) which is all you need to make online transactions. So walking around a shopping centre with an antenna is an ideal way to anonymously collect card numbers.

This, while true, is also mostly irrelevant The NFC card will still generate an ARQC that uniquely validates the transaction based on a key present on the chip which the attacker cannot gain without gaining the card.
The data can only be used online if the attacker has the CVV2 from the back of the card, which is never transmitted.
That card could be cloned and used via magnetic stripe but again you don't have the CVV1 (which is on the magnetic stripe and won't be transmitted via NFC because it uses another validation method) and chip card cloning still hasn't happened, again thanks to the key on the chip.

And, as pointed out, using a Point of Sale device like this makes it trivial to trace the recipient of the funds.

Comment Re:RFID (Score 1) 109

The odder thing about this is kind of attempted fraud is the question - where does the money go?
It can't go to an arbitrary account because the POS device is tied to a merchant. You need a merchant account at the bank (you can't just use your retail account for this). So the first time this is noticed, everyone involved should be trivially identifiable. The money HAS to go through the merchant's account.

Comment Re:It isn't an all or nothing approach... (Score 1) 645

No, the problem is: what worst case can happen.

Which is? They run tourist trips to Pripyat! There is an area around it that you probably wouldn't want to live in if you didn't have to, but bear in mind that Chernobyl WAS a worst-case scenario - the reactor exploded. The world's still here.

First: no one can prevent the lifting without an act of war.
Secondly: the beam down would be low density microwaves, no one would that even notice.

I did flag these as opinions! I think that it would require an international agreement before beaming and form of concentrated energy back to earth would be allowed by governments. And if you think that people will be happy about "being bathed in microwaves from a space satellite" no matter how diffuse, you haven't been paying attention to the media.

That is nonsense. The solar panels we typically put on roofs are made from: sand

Please stop saying this. It's like saying "my i7 processor is made from: sand!". It requires microchip grade silicon, rare earths, and copper to make a solar panel. You can't go to the beach and steal a kid's sand-castle to make one. In particular there is a potential bottleneck around the supply of rare earths.

Wind is situational Depends on the size of the area, no?

Yes it does. But what it means is that the total installed power generation capacity will (probably) never be reached which leads us to:

and without better storage or matching generation will not be a trusted generation source.

Tell that the countries that use significant wind power.

It appears that these countries are building LNG and Coal backup plants, such as in Germany? Germany also can import nuclear power from France on a calm day. Another wind-power stalwart, Denmark can import power from the Scandinavian peninsula's hydro power and from Germany's neigbours via Germany too. Wind is a great power source, but pretending it doesn't have issues around base-load at the moment is disingenuous.

Also, offshore wind is going to be really, really expensive on maintenance. Few substances are as corrosive as salt water.

That is why the generators are 200m above sea niveau ... there is no salt water. Also, for obvious reasons: the generator nacelle is water tight.

The pylons will require significantly more maintenance than their onshore cousins, as will the blades.

You probably mean wave generators?

Yeah, I did. Theoretically, they are great but practically the maintenance considerations make them non-economic right now.

Most tidal plants need a big basin that is filled during high tide and emptied during low tide. So four times a day for roughly 2h each, it does not generate power at all. And more important: you need a suitable spot at the coast and a high enough difference between low tide and high tide.
Similar problems with the 2h break periods have current based tide generators. They exist and work well, maintenance and corrosion seem solved problems: but again you need special spots where the currents are strong enough. We build them around the british islands btw.

Maintenance and corrosion are "solved" by very, very intensive maintenance.

Comment Re:Israel won't like it (Score 1) 229

What if those Jewish immigrants declared they were going to buy up land in New York instead, and once they got enough people there they would declare their own state. And with a UN endorsement they did so until the UN announced a partition granting Manhattan to the new Jewish state.

This is viciously ironic given how the land rights for the island of Manhattan were acquired from the native Americans.

Comment Re:It isn't an all or nothing approach... (Score 1) 645

Chernobyl was not really an accident, though - Chernobyl is what happens when you turn off all the safeties and then deliberately stress the reactor to see what happens, and have your B team there and no backup plan. Chernobyl was deliberate. The result was not what they expected, but they effectively pushed the big red button to see what would happen. And even then the casualties were light (using WHO figures, your opinion on their reliability is your own), especially compared to the fear that it generated.

Argue economics about nuclear, but it has an enviable safety record. The problem is perception - you can name all the nuclear accidents but probably few, if any, accidents for coal or gas, even if the casualties were higher. Heck, dam failures are more devestating but people are still more afraid of nuclear.

Other opinions:
Orbital solar is unlikely to happen because no-one is going to allow anything that can beam energy in the control of another nation in orbit at the moment, all other considerations aside.
Solar panel production is going to become a bottleneck - particularly the raw materials needed - if the solar build out accelerates significantly. In the long term it will only become the bulk of power generation if we get continent sized grids or better grid-level storage. It is the preferred solution, for sure, but it will take time.
Wind is situational and without better storage or matching generation will not be a trusted generation source. Also, offshore wind is going to be really, really expensive on maintenance. Few substances are as corrosive as salt water. Otherwise we'd be using tidal generators everywhere.

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