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Comment Re:Reads Like An Ad (Score 1) 325

Yes, the wind/solar farm needs to use the existing "batteries" that so-called "base load" plants currently use to match the supply curve to the demand curve - namely hydro dams and gas turbines. Don't fall for the coal industry FUD that "base load" plants have some sort of magical advantage over renewables just because they produce a flat supply curve. The "advantage" doesn't exist in the real world for the simple reason that no city on Earth has a flat demand curve. A coal/nuke plant needs "batteries" just as much as a wind farm, which is why most nations have a national grid and a well regulated wholesale electricity market. Out of all the commercial methods of generating electricity, solar probably has the strongest advantage when trying to match its output to the demand curve of a modern city, this is due to the fact that peak air-conditioner demand normally coincides with peak solar output.

Comment Re: No sex between rulemakers. (Score 1) 118

They are still contractors in Oz, normal cab drivers and a lot of couriers are also contractors. The law in Oz is that 'contractors' on piecework/commision rates must be paid at an equivalent (or better) rate than the min hourly wage. Strangely it's one industrial relations law that no state/federal government department enforces and no tabloid ever mentions,

Comment Re:Not Infinite but Still Useful (Score 1) 325

Not all renewable resources require large area. Solar Space Power Satellites, e.g., don't require a lot of area, and have a potential smooth path of development (via powering other vehicles in space, e.g. allowing ion rockets to go beyond Jupiter without using on board fission power).

OTOH, SPSS aren't all that flexible, and if you use tightly focusable E.M. to deliver the power they have the potential to be dangerous. (Delivery to Earth by microwave looks pretty good, but it would louse up a part of the radio spectrum that can easily get through rain. And power transmission via laser is going to either be very low power or very dangerous.)

IOW, every single form of energy generation/delivery has it's drawbacks. Solar and wind can't be started up whenever you need them, e.g., necessitating lots of network ballast and storage.

Comment Re:Should have a Deep Impact.... (Score 2) 325

That's an overbroad statement, but it's true that this is being well oversold as a "clean energy source". But if it can be made to work properly there are several environments where it would be the best choice. The questions are things like "How much maintenance would it require?", "How self-contained can it be made?", "How small/light/cheap can it be made?" Etc.

This should produce a lot less waste than a fission reactor (though there are interesting claims being made about the molten salt reactors) and after full development might be the superior choice of power in places like Antarctica, the moon, Mars, interstellar ships, etc. The problem is getting from this early development model to a final model.

Comment Re:Since this wasn't a line item in the budget ... (Score 1) 105

They still could have declared it as "payment for services rendered", or even "earnings from work as a law enforcement informant". The IRS doesn't care where the money you earned came from. If you declare it and pay your taxes on it, they're satisfied.

Comment Re:Independent contractor? (Score 1) 118

In some countries, like Canada any kind of contract relationship that looks too much like an employer-employee relationship can be deemed as such, and there have been companies nailed very hard if they're determined to be an employer; particular when it comes to various payroll taxes or violating maximum weekly hours.

Comment Re:Public information? (Score 1) 99

It doesn't matter if I'm alright with it or not. They're allowed to do that. That in fact happens with many celebrities, they're called paparazzi. As long as they only film and photo in public, it's perfectly legal for them to be doing it.

If I ever got that famous, I suppose that'd be a good problem to have. If the person acts threatening or harasses you in any way, they could be prosecuted under harassment or stalking laws. But if they just want to waste their time taping me, hey, have fun being bored to death.

Comment Re: Who's to say? (Score 1) 105

Well, if you want to be pedantic (of course you do), heat isn't radiation. Black body radiation is a consequence of heat. And in point of fact the ionizing spectral components of the Sun's radiation generates over seventy-thousand cases of cancer in the US annually, and over ten thousand deaths. If there were an artificial radiation source that was that harmful we'd be right to be very concerned about it, that's substantially more than 3x the number of people who perished in 9/11 every single year.

The real issue here isn't people using linguistic short hand like "radiation" that Internet trolls can play "gotcha" with; it's people not understanding the difference between radiation per se, ionizing radiation, and radioactive fallout. Maybe you don't need to be a Nobel Prize-winning physicist to run the DoE, but you should at least be able to explain the difference between these things. And you'd certainly want anyone working in government to know the difference between preventable and non-preventable deaths.

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