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Comment Re:How durable? (Score 1) 160

The reason for turning off the solar energy generation is that they don't want power pushed up into the grid when the grid is down. That can cause further damage and, even worse, injure or kill the line workers trying to fix the outage.

Now, a better system does exist where it will stop pushing to the grid when the grid is down and just provide power locally. However, that has other problems since you now need to have something to handle power imbalance - you don't want to brown-out or over-voltage the system in your house so you will need a big battery (guess what Tesla makes :-) ) to deal with that. So now you have a complex switch for feeding the grid / pulling from the grid (an automatic transfer switch) and some batteries (or large capacitors, albeit at that scale they are scary) and that adds to the cost (but also gets you the grid-down benefits)

Comment Re:Just what we need... (Score 2) 142

Actually, the correlation of lower birth rates is usually related to education and occupation. Lower skilled, lower educated groups tend to have more children. Part of this could be explained by the actual need for "labor" in the family farm/business/etc if there was a conscious choice made in that direction.

Submission + - Maybe it is not worms, but Mars has holes

DusterBar writes: NASA photographs of Mars have relieved some rather interesting holes on Mars.

The most interesting one also has a strange and very visible circular creator around it that is unexplained.

The holes are interesting as speculation is that they connect to some underground caverns that could act as shelter from the harsh surface conditions. This could be a place where, if there is life on Mars, it could be more likely to have survived.

Comment This has me thinking of Höhlengleichnis (Score 1) 745

We are just prisoners in a cave. Höhlengleichnis (or the Allegory of the Cave) is about the limit of understanding from seeing limited information (shadows on the wall).

Our view of the universe really is just like looking at shadows on the wall. One can come up with so many stories that seem to fit. Science is about eliminating those stories that seem to contradict something. We do this filtering by using our theory to predict something and then try to observe that "shadow" to validate it or fail to observe it to invalidate it.

While we have done a great job eliminating so many theories, the shadows still are so low in information that many theories still seem to fit. This is one that, by definition, would fit since, well, no matter what shadow we see we can claim that it is part of the simulation. In fact, maybe the shadows themselves are all there is to the simulation.

Comment Re:Meh (Score 1) 398

I do not think the railroad is a necessary *evil* - railroads do some things much more efficiently and reliably than any other technology available today. It may not be the sexy thing anymore but railroads are vital.

Now, Microsoft is currently not seen as sexy, but there are things that they are doing well. Windows Phone is actually a nice product. It does not have the installed base or app selection or public mindset but from a usability standpoint, I would pick Windows Phone over Android any day (and especially if I had to pick one of those two for my wife or my mother).

The *buzz* is not with Microsoft right now but I think that may change - but even as such, I would not count Microsoft out. There is a lot of interesting and advanced technology in Microsoft R&D - it will just be a matter of delivering to the market things that the market gets excited about. That is not easy when you don't have automatic buzz about your products and your competitors (Apple) gets front page news coverage about rumors about future unannounced products.

Comment Re:Linux on Mac?! (Score 1) 780

Let me see, 5 million pixels, 4 bytes per pixel = 20megabytes. Lets say we tripple buffer that, we are at 60megabytes. So how is 1,000megabytes (1GB) of video memory a limiting factor? You would have over 900megabytes available for 3D models and shaders even if tripple buffering *and* keeping the desktop display separate.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 1) 606

6% for 40 years is a bit over 10x (not 8%)

The math is (1 + %) ^ 40 == 10 which means if you put in 6% you get 1.06 ^ 40 == 10.28 thus 40 years at 6% will get you 10.28 times the number.

Now, add in the extras (anti-lock breaks, water cooled engine, airbags, air conditioning, power windows, etc) and you seem to have a much better/nicer/safer car for around the same price given your 6% number.

Note that inflation has been all over the map over the last 40 years. Since time value of money can not trivially be reduced to averages, it is not clear what the right number is, but if you look at the 3.5% number I have seen as the effective average over the last 40 years we see that you get only a 4x multiple rather than the 10x. This seems much closer to reasonable considering the significant differences between the VW bug from 1968 (a very simple device) to the one from 2008 (a rather complex and sophisticated device).

Comment Re:Debugging Is the Next Frontier in Faster Browsi (Score 1) 125

I wish that were the case. As web pages make use of more complex layout and dynamic data, the browsers have become key to not just rendering speed but debugging. Firebug was, for a long time now, key reason to use firefox.

Take a look at for what turned into an interesting benchmark of layout and js/dom manipulation. (It was not the intent but it sure shows significant differences). Since I did that page, Firefox actually got much slower than it was but it still beats IE but loses badly to Chrome.

Comment Re:Verizon better watch it. (Score 1) 430

Even worse, what if they don't throttle a child porn distributor but do throttle someone sending/downloading a Linux distribution?

What happens when they are then found to be co-conspirators in the illegal acts due to the fact that they claim that it is their microphone? Deep pockets to sue, that is for sure...

Comment Common carrier or free speech (Score 1) 430

I wonder if they really want to say that the network they built is their microphone. Doing so would state that it is their speech and thus they would be liable for any illegal speech.

Note that as a common carrier (like phone companies of old) they would not be liable for any illegal activities that were committed via their network. This is long standing law.

Once you start filtering, controlling, limiting the content that is transmitted then you can no longer to seen as just a carrier of opaque information and can then be held liable for that information (illegal data, illegal speech, etc.)

It would be interesting to see what stance they would take on that. For example, if their network was used to distribute child porn and thus they would be held equally responsible along with those who sent and received it.

Submission + - DNS outage 5

DusterBar writes: "What seems like a long lived outage has hit high flying Apple with at least 5 hours (and counting) outage of the whole domain.

The real interesting bit is that there does not seem to be any coverage of this, and yet it impacts all iDevice users, the app store, etc."

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