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Comment Re:Grid Scale Batteries (Score 2, Insightful) 67

Solyndra was a bet that silicon prices would remain high. It was a way to get more power out of less silicon. The bet was wrong. With the drop in price in silicon, their death was inevitable. They also had a weird design decision, going for the concentrator. It made sense (in the economics of the time) to go for either concentrators or CIGS, but not both.

That said, the government took way too much flak - politically motivated - over Solyndra. With any diverse profile of startup investments, you expect some to fail. Economists analyzing the ARRA post-facto have been by and large given it quite positive evaluations for its effects on the economy. The loans program office had already wiped out the Solyndra loss just two years later.

Comment Re:Renewables will never work (Score 1) 281

What that means is that the total MWs of installed capacity for renewables is higher than the that of coal. That doesn't mean that renewables will generate more MWhs than coal however, because coal tends to have a higher capacity factor than renewables.

Not to mention that it's physically impossible to have optimal sun conditions over every solar panel in the world simultaneously.

Coal don't care about the time of day, it burns as sweetly at midnight as it does at any time zone.

Comment Contradicts the definition of copyright infringeme (Score 3, Interesting) 89

The entire reason Jammie Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $222,000 was because she purportedly uploaded 24 songs to thousands of people. She was distributing the songs without a license from the copyright holder - something Copyright law expressly prohibits. In other words, by using copyright law crafted to stop wholesale copyright infringement, Capitol Records cast Ms. Thomas-Rasset as the mastermind of a bootleg music business and won a judgement of $222,000 against her. That judgment effectively indemnifies people who downloaded music from her uploads. She paid for the crime, not her "customers". When you shut down a counterfeit CD ring, you do not then go after the people who bought the illegitimate CDs.

If you throw all that out the window and instead argue that it's the act of downloading a song which is infringement (which current copyright law does not support), then this becomes really easy. Each downloader becomes liable for a single copy (the one they downloaded). And an appropriate fine would be, say, 3x or 5x the cost of buying the song from a legitimate source. So about $3-$5 per song. Frankly I think that's a much more sensible approach to copyright enforcement than ruining people's lives and depriving them of Internet service because they shared some music files.

But I suspect the *AA is going to want their cake and eat it too, and want to assess hundred-thousand dollar judgments against downloaders as well. This is a slimy and illogical (should be illegal) tactic of turning n crimes into n^2 crimes. If 10 people share a file and each copyright violation costs $100, then there are a total of 9 illegal copies made, and the total damages should be $900. But by the *AA's nonsensical reasoning, each person is responsible for 9 counts of copyright violation, so each person should pay $900, resulting in $10,000 in damages awarded. The math simply doesn't add up - they'd be getting $10,000 in court awards when the law has determined that they've only suffered $900 in damages.

You can't have it both ways. Either one person is liable for all the copyright infringement and you can ruin them financially. Or each person is responsible for a single copyright infringement (the file they downloaded) and you can only fine them a few times what it would've cost to buy the file legitimately.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2, Insightful) 897

The hippie solution doesn't work because even if you can convince 99.99% of people to be peaceful, that remaining 0.01% can still send the world into nuclear winter.

You need some sort of hybrid approach, where you convince easiest 99% of people to be peaceful, but retain enough military capability to dissuade the remaining stubborn 1% from doing anything nuts. Which is more or less what we're doing today. Except some of those pursuing the hippie part of this hybrid approach have deluded themselves into thinking their approach will work on the entirety of the remaining 1% just because it worked on the first 99%.

That's what hippies don't seem to understand. Even if you temporarily achieved 100% indoctrination into a peaceful, cooperative society and completely disarmed. It just takes one person to be born who thinks differently and builds his own devices and following in secret, and spreads chaos and ruin upon that idyllic and disarmed utopia. You must have some sort of defense against this in reserve. Always. I don't particularly blame hippies for making this mistake - people tend to think that others will act as they themselves do. So if it's beyond their conception as to why someone would want to kill and destroy in order to have power over (parts of) the world, then it will literally be inconceivable to them that someone would ever want to do this. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a bad assumption.

Comment Re:Innovative! (Score 1) 43

Not stopping with TV, how cool would it be if Amazon made recommendations to be based on my past purchases?

Indeed. It looks as if you bought an 8GB USB flash drive. Have you considered this other brand of 8GB USB flash drive? What about this 16GB USB flash drive? I've been using Amazon since the late '90s and they have yet to recommend anything that I actually want to buy. You'd have thought 'you bought books 1 and 2 in this series, would you like to buy book 3?' wouldn't be too hard, but apparently it is.

Comment Re:Laying cable (Score 1) 189

I'm running into the same problem trying to get cable modem service to my business. The building currently doesn't have cable service.. The nearest location the cable company can extend service from to wire up our building is only about 1000 ft away, but they're estimating it'll cost them $14.5k. Most of that cost is in drawing up the plans and submitting it to the city so they can get permits to dig up the street to lay down new cable. You don't incur these costs when maintaining existing lines. They estimate the cost of sending a crew out to actually dig up the road, lay down the cable, and patch up the road will only be a few thousand.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 897

Should have been "alumium". Next best is "aluminum" (like platinum, molybdenum, most all of the classic elements like plumbum, argentum, etc). "Aluminium" is right out. It was derived from from alumina, not "aluminia"; the i is supposed to be the joining stem (lithia/lithium, magnesia/magnesium, titania/titanium, etc). There are a couple element names that are as poorly formed as "aluminium", but not many.

Not to mention that Davy was the one who named it, and he named it "aluminum", but suggested "alumium" as an alternative.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 897

1) US troops were in neither Iraq nor Libya during their last elections.

2) Afghanistan's elections are supervised by international monitors, recognized by the international community, and not widely boycotted by entire segments of the population who don't consider the new "government" - imposed by a foreign military just weeks earlier and headed by a local mobster - legitimate or having the right to hold elections.

Even when the US was in Iraq (before they got kicked out, before they were subsequently begged to come back when Iraq was being overrun by Daesh...), Iraqis elected a government that was pro-Iran and hostile to the US. The largest party in the 2005 elections, with double the votes of the next closest contender, was the National Iraqi Alliance - a pro-Iranian islamist shia coalition. Maliki was chosen as prime minister. Do you think the US rigged the election to choose pro-Iranian anti-US government? What about in 2010 when pro-Iranian islamist nationalist power was consolidated, leading to the 2011 sinking of the SOFA? Think that was the result the US wanted? If the US was rigging Iraqi elections, they're pretty bloody terrible at it.

Comment Re:Feeding the trolls (Score 1) 897

Automobile manufacturers, and others who compete against imports would benefit, at least for a little while.

The automobile manufacturers are all international corporations now. I don't think they would benefit. Probably some home-grown industry would benefit from protectionism if he actually managed to get any enacted, which is unlikely to actually be his goal given his current use of cheap overseas labor, his importation of immigrant labor, etc.

Comment Re:A well-written headline (Score 1) 74

Getting killed falling off a roof while installing solar panels is a more common way of dying than from a nuclear accident

That's true! Being a handyman is much more dangerous than being a cop. Handyman lives matter!

On the other hand, if we embrace more large-scale solar, the deaths will go down, because those deaths are primarily from small-scale installations.

Comment Re:No, they didn't. (Score 1) 897

The Russians have always been good at lower performance, low cost rockets. Higher performance, they've always struggled with (particularly upper stages), which hindered their ability to launch probes (they only ever launched to the moon, Venus, and Mars, and with a rather disappointing track record). But they've built quite a few reliable, cheap lower stages and full low-performance orbital stacks. Mind you, a few of their lower-stage engines have turned out to be lemons (most notably the NK-15/33/43), but most have been real workhorses.

As for advanced tech in general, Russia has always been great at conceiving of and doing small scale implementations of very advanced concepts, but they've struggled to bring it into mass produced products. In that regard, I think the US has more to worry about concerning China; while they've long been known for mass production of lower-tech goods, they're getting increasingly good at mass production of high tech goods. The key to the US's success has been the combination of both high tech and skill in bulk production (albeit disadvantaged in that by labour costs)

US vs. Russia, I think the AK-47 vs. M-16 is a great analogy. The M-16 is by most objective standards a much better weapon - lighter, significantly lighter magazines per bullet (yet with nearly the same impact energy due to much faster velocity), significantly greater range in most regards, greater accuracy, faster to load and change magazines, easier to work the safety, predictable trigger behavior, all sorts of other ergonomic features, less recoil, better sights, and on and on down the line. Yet the AK-47 is the one that ended up ubiquitous around the world. It was simple, easy to make, had loose-fitting parts that weren't sensitive to manufacturing defects, was tough to break or jam with dirt and grime, etc. Very much reflective of the philosophy difference in general.

Russia seems to be trying to change today, trying to move more toward the American philosophy of production, in particular with respect to arms. For example they're trying to make their jets less "disposable", designed for lower downtimes and more flight hours like the US and Europe do, in order to be able to give their pilots more flight-time training (among other things), like the west does. But the changes have been incremental, not by leaps and bounds.

Comment Re:Aren't they too power-hungry? (Score 1) 67

It's Intel. When most people say IoT, they mean 'embedded thing that can run a network stack, low power, probably powered by batteries'. When Intel says IoT, they mean something subtly different: 'computer, plugged into the mains, probably running Windows'. The overlap between the two is that they're both talking about insecure systems connected to the Internet.

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