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Comment Re: Thanks, Trump! (Score 0) 79

Peaking does not cause blackouts; peaking prevents blackouts. I'm thinking that perhaps you're confused about what a peaking plant is.

Yes, but cross country grid loading is a bad idea. Very bad.

Interconnected HVDC grids offer increases in grid stability, as cascading failures can't propagate through them (AC failures are prone to cascade as different parts of the grid go out of sync with each other). Yet most of the time a nationwide renewables-supporting HVDC grid is not used at near peak capacity (its capacity is sized for peak load transmission requirements, not average), and thus can generally have their power routed through other legs if one line goes down without curtailments (often, even, without need for peaking - it depends on timing). The grid itself is designed, as with everything else concerning electricity generation and transmission, to provide a statistically-guaranteed level of power reliability.

It's important to remember also that in the US you have basically three separate power grids today - west, east (which is kind of a patchwork), and "ERCOT", which is basically Texas doing its own little weird thing. To allow them to support each other, they have a number of converters, mainly DC ties. Basically, HVDC terminals without any actual long-distance transmission lines. So it's already done to improve grid reliability and economics. Also, certain parts of the grid already rely on long HVDC lines. Not just for "moving peak power because of intermittent shortages in one region", as a grid for supporting high renewable penetration does, but actual baseload. For example, in the northeast, RMCC moves 2 GW of remote Quebec hydropower to New England. It's almost always run at near capacity.

Europe and China uses HVDC a lot more than the US. Europe mainly for undersea lines, China to move power from inland to its densely populated coast. Both have major plans for expansion.

Comment Re:Hosts speed up the web 2 ways (Score 1) 192

[Kernel-level DNS blocking uses] Less power/cpu/ram + IO use vs. DNS/routers [...] + less security issues/complexity.

Eh, pihole is faster.

You still need to provide power to that Raspberry Pi. And you didn't address "complexity", as you also need to build your Pi (or do they come in cases yet?), install Pi-Hole, configure Pi-Hole, and keep Pi-Hole updated.

Comment Re: The same PR talk crap that everyone else does. (Score 1) 174

That's what you get for not insisting that your software vendor make a version available for other platforms. You've willingly made yourself dependent on that one software vendor (the business application provider), instead of looking for alternatives or making your own, so now you suffer the consequences.

Comment Re:Mandate reporting when antibiotics are prescrib (Score 1) 68

...overprescribing of antibiotics by physicians, especially when a patient obviously has a virus for which an antibiotic is useless...

The reason antibiotics are prescribed in the case of viral disease is to prevent secondary infections. I'm not going to start second-guessing physicians who have extensive training in the matter.

I acquired a MRSA soft tissue infection several years ago while in my local hospital. It wasn't pleasant. Now that I'm on the "MRSA list", though, I always get a single room when I'm hospitalized, and that's pretty sweet.

Comment Re:Thanks, Trump! (Score 1) 79

What happens when the wind plants and solar plants aren't producing?

Peaking. Now do you have any other absurdly easy questions?

Covering average demand is ONLY covering average demand.

Yeah, it's not like variability has ever been a part of the grid before. Current grids have their own annoyances on the demand side, including daytime power consumption being much less than nighttime, summer and winter variations (sometimes major), etc - as well as also on the supply side, such as interlinks or plants suddenly dropping offline. It's not some sort of new ground.

The short summary of a high-renewables-penetration grid is:

1) Peaking plants (NG is a good choice).
2) Geographic smoothing (aka, while one front is leaving the US east coast, another is coming on the west; while there's a high stuck over one part of the country, a low is churning up winds elsewhere; also, midwest and east coast wind is strongest in the winter, while west coast wind is strongest in the summer)
3) Geographic timeshifting (aka, desert southwest sun is still shining when it's evening demand in NYC, the evening wind is blowing on the east coast during the morning rush on the west, etc)
(HVDC grid needed for #2 and #3 - est. 0,3 cents per kWh amortized cost for construction and maintenance, saving 1,1 cents per kWh in reduced generation hardware requirements)
4) Multiple source variability compensation (e.g., wind and solar tend to run opposite to each other - highs make low winds but lots of sun, and vice versa; winds are strongest at night, solar during the day)
5) Hydro uprating as storage. Optional storage additions = solar thermal, wind flywheel, battery (price is dropping fast), etc as needed/desired, but are not a fundamental requirement.
6) Demand shifting if needed (aka, power-hungry industries get favorable power rates if they're willing to occasionally shut off as needed; this is not a rare arrangement)

For the future, EVs also help, but are not required - insofar as they're mainly nighttime loads, steady draws, and easy targets for charge rate modulation (or even reversal). Nobody cares exactly when their vehicle takes power from the wall, so long as it has a full charge when they told it to be done by. The more flexible they let their car be, the cheaper they get their power for. But again, this sort of arrangement being wirespread is not a requirement - just a bonus.

Comment Re: This works for me (Score 1) 197

So where are they going?

It was easier for smart Germans in the 20s-30s: they could just go to America, or maybe Canada. It was easy to get in, it was industrialized, etc.

Where are smart Americans going to go now? There really aren't a lot of great places to flee to. You could go to Canada, but Canada is basically joined at the hip with America. If America's economy tanks, Canada's goes right with it, and Canada seems like they're usually echoing America's moves. You could go to the UK, but they're even worse: the pay for tech workers there is atrocious (like half of what you get in a decent tech hub here) while the cost of living is insane, and they're busy trying to turn themselves into the place envisioned in "1984". You could go to China, but you'll need to learn Mandarin (no easy feat) and wear a gas mask at all times because the pollution is so horrific. You could go to Japan, but you'll need to learn Japanese (also not easy, but probably easier than Mandarin), and they're really not that welcoming of foreigners, nor are you likely to get a great tech job there. Plus with Trump in charge, America might pull back on their support of Japan and China could end up taking over the whole region. You could go to western Europe, like Germany, where it's not so hard to learn the language, and it'd be easy to adjust to the culture and food, but they don't seem to be that interested in immigration from America for some reason so it's not very easy to get in. Plus they seem to be having a lot of problems with unrest and terrorism lately, and are busy electing their own far-right demagogues that look much worse than Trump.

I do read about American expats living in places like Cambodia, but I can't imagine that places like that have much to offer experienced tech workers. Perhaps Australia?

Comment Re: This works for me (Score 3, Informative) 197

Such an oversimplistic reading.

1) The real thing that led enabling Hitler was the battle with communism. The Communists plus the Nazis had finally achieved just barely over half of the votes, meaning that you had to work with at least one of them - something that the moderates found horrifying. Of course, many people who voted for the Nazis did so because they thought they were the only ones tough enough to stand up to the communists. Parliament ultimately sided with the Nazis, who had sold the public and parliament on the idea that there was an imminent communist revolution about to take place.

Summary: fearmongering (and outright fictions) about "the great threat if the other side seizes power" causes the public and parliament to acquiesce to someone they're very apprehensive about.

2) The way Hitler leveraged that into a dictatorship was through driving out those likely to oppose him on bills to consolidate his power, and negotiating with the rest. First, with fear of a Communist revolt stirred up by the Reichstag Fire, he got the Reichstag Fire degree passed, allowing for the elimination of his communist opponents. Intimidation from Nazi paramilitaries also managed to intimidate some other people from taking or attending office. The key element he needed to gain full state power was the Enabling Act, which required a sizeable supermajority. This was achieved with a combination of paramilitary intimidation and horse trading. The Catholics failed to see, until it was too late, how much of a threat he really was, and so traded the enshrinement of provisions favorable to the Catholic Church for the extra votes needed to get the Enabling Act passed.

Summary: Paramilitary intimidation and use of the powers of the state to get enough power to horse trade your way to complete control.

#1 is fully and completely applicable, and anyone who pretends it can't apply to the US is kidding themselves. #2 is at present, not applicable. However, I should stress "at present". First, the Republicans control all branches of government (or at least will shortly after appointing at least one, and likely two or more) Supreme Court justices. Fear of the base has so far shown effective at keeping wayward Republicans in-line. Republicans also control nearly the 75% of state legislatures needed to pass constitutional amendments. So the prospect of an "enabling act" type amendment is actually plausible, so long as the grounds for it can be stirred up.

Stirring up? You have a president elect who directly coordinated actions with foreign state intelligence services to dig up dirt on his opponents (as now admitted to by the Russians, both the coordination and the giving the info to Wikileaks). He obviously has no qualms about this sort of thing. Now he's getting the keys to the candystore, so to speak - full control over US intelligence services. J. Edgar Hoover managed to maintain a disturbing level of control through such means, and he's far from the limit of what sort of pressures can be exerted. Things need not be only backroom, Hoover-style blackmail, but can also be very public "airing of dirty laundry" to rally the public against desired targets - political or public, foreign or domestic.

One thing that Trump thankfully lacks is a paramilitary. As long as this remains the case, I'll feel a lot more comfortable.

But still uneasy.

No, I don't think that it's at all likely Trump will try to achieve "President for Life" status. Honestly, that's near the bottom of my list of concerns, and it's a long list. But I think it's naive to pretend that it couldn't happen, given the right combination of provocations. Nobody in Germany in the 20s would have ever guessed that the 30s would see them in a Nazi dictatorship. The concept seemed the height of absurdity.

Comment Re:between 3 and 10 Mb/s is slow? (Score 1) 192

my Mother-in-law streaming Hulu

She should be watching television

And spending $800[1] to time-shift over-the-air television.

my kids gaming while playing Youtube videos

make them go outside and play

For one thing, I have no idea how to make the weather suitable for that on any given day. For another, stranger danger hysteria has increased since you grew up, to the point of parents getting arrested for letting their kids walk to and from the park.[2]

the telephone works just great for talking to people

Yeah, at $6 an hour for long distance on a landline. A better suggestion might have been to downgrade from video to voice over IP, which is billed at a much lower rate than POTS long distance.

[1] Estimated price of a TiVo DVR with an All-In subscription.
[2] See "5 Things Everyone Did Growing Up (That Now Get You Arrested) by Chan Teik Onn, "5 Things Your Parents Did (They'd Be Arrested For Today)" by C. Coville, "Cops called on Texas mom for son playing outside" by Philip Caulfield, "Mom Lets 4-Year-Old Play Outside, Faces Jail" by Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, and "When 'Stranger Danger' is actually the police and CPS" by Katherine Martinko.

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