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Comment Re:Laying cable (Score 1) 114

That seems high considering the local gas utility has been replacing gas lines in the neighborhood (largely built in the mid-50s), and I would imagine that active work on natural gas lines is more complicated than laying fiber -- ie, you can't disrupt gas service and you're dealing with a flammable and potentially explosive gas.

I would imagine that the equipment side of a fiber rollout would have a lot of costs as you would have all the expensive networking gear to deal with, but the actual directional drilling part wouldn't be as complex as a live natural gas distribution system.

Comment Re:Filter theory might be correct (Score 2) 563

Cooler heads? Kennedy blockaded Cuba, a direct military threat to the Soviet Union.

I think interdependence is a bigger reason it wouldn't happen. The major nuclear powers in the 1960s were largely self-sustaining, and wiping part of the map wouldn't have had much an impact. At worst we may have had some dependencies on third world countries for raw materials in some of the same sectors we had in WW II, like rubber

Now? Even a six month major disruption in economic activity would bring even the US to its knees as we can't make much of what we need at home, and its probably worse elsewhere. The US has the know-how (probably) to jump-start its manufacturing base given a 3-5 year strategic commitment to investment, but we would need to operate at WW II levels of rationing and economic intervention.

There's also the question of elite status -- the elites are in a powerful position in terms of economic status and political power, there's no telling what even a limited nuclear exchange would do to them. A handful may become more powerful, but it seems more likely that a large number would lose their status forever, either due to the economic disruption or due to outright nationalization of assets and the promotion of national security/military interests.

Comment Re:Let me know when ... (Score 1) 180

The football analogy is stupid. Reaching the 35 yard line has no value in itself, indeed neither does reaching the 0 yard line. The only thing that goes up on the score board is getting into the end zone.

Generating, say, half of your energy from renewables is more like reaching the half-way point in your quest to earn a million dollars; the half-mil in your pocket has utility right now. What's more since non-renewables aren't going away overnight, reducing their use is immediately useful in reducing carbon emissions and other pollution.

The economics of renewables are considerably different than non-renewables, which means we have to adjust our thinking (and engineering). To maximize the impact of renewables, we need a much better electricity grid, which will help us smooth over local variations in supply. We'll also need to work on storage at some point. Storage for renewables doesn't have to be as physically efficient as it would be for non-renewables, but it has to be cheap to build and operate.

Comment Re:Tzar Bomba (Score 2) 563

Actually... This thing can potentially deliver up to 15 separate warheads, which could in aggregate sum up to 50 MT, which coincidentally was the approximate yield of the Tsar Bomba. However those warheads would have immensely more destructive capacity than the Tsar Bomba.

The reason is simple geometry: the energy of an explosion is dissipated in three dimension, but people live on an approximately two dimensional surface; all that energy which goes down and up is wasted. To do more destruction, you need to find a way of distributing the energy of the attack across the surface of the Earth, which can easily be done by delivering two warheads of half the size, or even better ten warheads of 1/10 the size.

This is what is behind the whole "area the size of France" thing. You couldn't do that with a single massive bomb, but ten smaller bombs might do the trick. Also note that terrain makes a difference -- as it did in the Nagasaki bombing, which missed its mark, causing the blast to be contained by the Urakami Valley. Southern France is extremely rugged, so it is unlikely that all of France could be destroyed by one of these things; however, there's no question that France as a country would be destroyed.

Comment Re:Spoofing? (Score 1) 48

I'm pretty sure nuclear plants aren't run by just one guy who logs in when he gets a pager message and then hits the "shut down plant" button.

There's an entire staff and it would take spoofing all of them and making the on site people not believe the actual plant control systems to take an action that would be "wrong".

Comment Re:Filter theory might be correct (Score 3, Insightful) 563

I don't think a global nuclear was is likely. I think it's more likely that a small state actor that has nuclear weapons ends up getting hit in a pre-emptive or punitive strike for credibly threatening or actually using one against the US or Russia in a single strike.

Should that happen, it seems unlikely that a major nuclear power would risk some kind of retaliation what would surely end up mutual destruction.

I also doubt that any small state actor, no matter how apparently crazy, would try to do so because you just can't fight and win a nuclear war with Russia, China or the US. The Iranians or the North Koreans simply lack the ability to hit a major player hard enough to prevent an overwhelming retaliatory strike that would be the end of the regime and knock back the country's development by at least 500 years.

If we didn't have a nuclear war in the early 1960s, we aren't having one now.

Comment Re: Watches are worn as bling (Score 2) 325

I like Skagen, and they're a rare example of clean design at an affordable price. I especially like an Ancher model -- the arabic version with leather band for general wear and the baton dial for dress. The Holst with day/date dials combines two things I don't usually like (subdials and day/date complications) but does it in a way that I actually like quite a bit. For me it's not the existence of the complication per se, but the readability of the watch. Unfortunately the Holst is a bit on the thick side, but you can't have everything. Shave 3 mm off the thickness and you'd be looking at a $1000 watch.

There are few odd missteps in the lineup. Their rectangular dress watches have batons in a circular pattern, which is a bit... unusual. They also have a watch that has a month calculation. It's done nicely, but it's an utterly ridiculous feature.

Overall Skagen designs remind me of Baum et Mercier at about 20% of the price, and just little bit more Scandanavian if you know what I mean.

Danish Design watches seem pretty similar; I wouldn't be surprised in they came out of the same company. They almost certainly use the same movements. Ironically the faces seem less Scandinavian to me but what do I know? One of their designs reminds of the famous Swiss railway clocks.

I don't have watches from either of these companies because I focus on vintage pre-80s watches.

Comment Something seems rotten here (Score 1) 22

Isn't an "associate" by which I assume "business associate" of a talent agency watching a movie kind of something Warner wants to happen? Like they want industry visibility of their product, especially to talent agencies?

Isn't it also fair to assume that among industry insiders "off the books" copies of films have been around forever and are widely circulated? I'd guess old timers have significant libraries of 35mm and 16mm prints which were never paid for and some of which may have been made in labs for nothing more than the cost of film and developing.

Unless the talent agency was actively allowing people not associated with the agency to download these films, I'm kind of wondering what Warner is so wound up about. There's literally nothing happening here that hasn't gone on forever, especially since the VHS era.

While I'm sure some finance guy at Warner feels like his numbers would work out better if he could somehow include revenue from every time a film biz insider looked at a Warner film, I'm also guessing that filmmakers making money off of people involved in the filmmaking business isn't exactly what you'd call a business model.

Comment Of course there is. (Score 1) 130

Smart people usually spend slack-ish time examining things they *might* want to do. It doesn't mean they *do* want to do those things, but one thing most of us know by now is whenever you're asked to do something, "in a hurry" is the default pace, and yet "slapdash" is not acceptable. So you don't want to be in a position where you use time figuring out how to use Material Design that you need for coding or testing.

And even if you don't use those little hypothetical forays, they're still valuable in understanding your competition, both weaknesses and things you can learn from them.

Comment Re:How dare you try to get around us regulating (Score 2) 104

And yet other companies manage to stay in business without committing fraud.

The reasons for emissions regulations are so that when consumers make the cost/performance tradeoff when buying a car, they don't externalize costs -- which is an economist's way of saying make other people pay for their choices. A car would be cheaper and perform better if it didn't have a catalytic converter (just dump your partially burned hydrocarbons on everyone else), EGRs (just dump your NOx on everyone else), PCVs (spread engine oil over everyone else) and mufflers (dump your noise on everyone else).

All of that stuff you'd be dumping on everyone else costs everyone else. You can argue about precisely how much it costs them, but it is certainly not zero.

So let's turn your little rhetorical device around: How dare you fraudulently make the public subsidize your business?

Here's the thing about markets: they're not about making everyone happy. They're about efficient distribution of resources. If costs go up producers are unhappy and some of them go out of business. That makes the owners and workers unhappy, but it is a rational response to costs going up. Dumping those costs on others and pretending they don't exist isn't rational; it's hysterical.

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