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Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 672

But we'd have a real problem trying to invade Canada without the resources to wage an extended war.

I'm pretty sure all you need to do to invade Canada is to walk across the border and ask the first person you see, "Where's the nearest Tim Hortons, eh?"

They'd fight us to the death defenting a Horton's! Probably send out coffee to us during fighting breaks as well.

Who said anything about fighting? I was suggesting getting into the queue.

Comment Hot Chips Conference (Score 2) 108

Perhaps more interesting is the semi-detailed presentation about AMD's Zen. Other people have already pointed out that a paltry few hundred million transistors doesn't get you very far. What are the billions of transistors used for? The Zen presentation is quite informative. Loads of cache is a fair chunk of it. Überfancy predictive logic is another big chunk of it. The rest is absorbed by 4 completely parallel ALUs, two parallel AGUs, and a completely independent floating point section with two MUL and two ADD logics. And after all that, what you get is parity with Intel's Broadwell. Barely.

So for perspective, that took a decade of hard labor by quite well paid engineers, and there was no low-hanging fruit in the form of the register-starved x86 architecture for AMD to pluck this time. The difference between half a billion and two billion transistors is very very substantial.

Comment Re:You've captured Manslaughter! (Score 1, Insightful) 172

Do you think the injured/dead parties won't?!

They won't. It's Japan. They're not overly litigious, because they don't suffer from an infestation of libertarians and their government actually works. This guy WILL do time, and it won't be short either. Japan takes an extremely dim view of traffic fatalities and they have a functioning government that will enforce the traffic laws.

Iphone

A Design Defect Is Plaguing Many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Units (iphonehacks.com) 222

Evan Selleck, writing for iPhoneHacks (edited and condensed): For many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners out there in the wild, a design defect is apparently causing some huge issues. Gadget repair firm iFixit has reported about a flaw dubbed "Touch Disease", which it claims is cropping up. With it, owners of the phones are experiencing, to start, a gray bar that appears at the very top of their display. And, for many others, the display itself becomes unresponsive to touch, or less responsive overall. In the blog post, iFixit says the problem stems from issues with the touchscreen controller chip, which is soldered onto the logic board. Interestingly enough, iFixit posits that the same internal design decisions that led to "Endgate" might be causing the issue leading to Touch Disease, too: "In both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Touch IC chips connect to the logic board via an array of itty-bitty solder balls -- "like a plate resting on marbles," Jessa explains. Over time, as the phone flexes or twists slightly during normal use, those solder balls crack and start to lose contact with the board. "At first, there may be no defect at all. Later you might notice that the screen is sometimes unresponsive, but it is quick to come back with a hard reset," Jessa explains. "As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch function become more frequent."

Comment Re:crap shilling article is crap (Score 2) 290

One of the main reasons I LIKE email is that it gives the sender time to organize their thoughts. Much better than listening to some user or boss hem and haw and backtrack and contradict themselves wasting endless minutes of my life.

Worse, said boss will then claim that every self-contradictory thing said in among all the hemming and hawing is necessary and required. Such people don't actually listen to themselves speak, so they don't even notice when they contradict themselves and fail to clarify which contradictory instruction actually holds. They certainly don't clarify it to themselves.

No, no voicemail.

Comment There's a reason. (Score 4, Informative) 188

There's a reason they're doing this. It's not just that the IOC is incredibly greedy. It's that their greed is fueled by NBC's money, and NBC is damn well going to get their pound of flesh for the $1.29 billion they paid for exclusive rights. If recent news reports are accurate, NBC is just barely breaking even, having sold $1.2 billion in advertising so far.

So sure, blame IOC's greed. But don't forget to blame NBC's greed too. They want every second of Olympic imagery to be surrounded by inescapable commercials, or they could be in serious trouble. If the interest of advertisers falls off even a tiny bit, they start losing money on the Games, and they have a contract out through 2032.

Comment Re:Remember, it's because people aren't marrying (Score 4, Informative) 531

It is widely claimed that the subjects of pornography are typically vulnerable girls, and that the profits pass largely into the hands of powerful middle-men.

I have bad news for you. The powerful middle-man is a woman. Nor is this unusual today. Sure in the '70s the industry was financially dominated by men. Those days are over. The Internet was the great emancipator of porn stars. Nowadays, savvy girls are busy building their personal brand, complete with a personal website featuring live shows and special deals on recordings, taking 95% of the revenue for themselves.

It is also widely claimed that porn stars often struggle to maintain a happy family life off-screen...

Judging by the divorce rate, so does 60% of the population.

...and that their economic prospects are bleak once their breasts begin to sag or they suffer scarring from a caesarian section.

Sure. And if you're a software developer, your economic prospects are bleak at about the same age. Nobody said porn or software development is a lifetime career.

Some people claim that porn stars are discouraged from using condoms and are particularly likely to suffer unwanted pregnancies or life-threatening sexually transmitted disease.

Such people are idiots speaking from ignorance. The entire industry has heard of The Pill and uses it. The vast majority of the industry is also vociferous about STD testing since an AIDS outbreak in the '80s. Since 1998, the industry tests every actor every 30 days, initially at AIM Healthcare, now at Performer Availability Screening Services.

Comment Re:Expect it to get borked (Score 1) 195

I once did the math on what it would take for me to live off the grid. I assumed I could have a solar panel the size of my roof, any bigger and I'd run into building code problems.

<snip>

The cost of the solar panels, battery chargers, etc. was more difficult to calculate since prices for such are rarely advertised outright.

Times, they are a-changin'. Costs of panels and inverters are now quite public. 7000 watts of panel capacity will cost you $7700 for a pallet of 25, delivered. Those are 17% efficient, made in America. An inverter to match runs around $1500 plus $70 per panel, give or take. Charge controllers run $1000 or so, often as an added feature on an inverter that includes the charge controller built in. Batteries are indeed a bit arbitrary. Giant sodium ion batteries run 60 cents per watt-hour. Large flooded lead acid run 27 cents per watt-hour. Sealed AGM lead acid run 15 cents per watt hour. And of course the Tesla Powerwall is 47 cents per watt-hour. $3000 for an overnight supply (somewhat arbitrarily), and on up from there depending on personal preference. An approximate minimum for an overnightable off-grid system that puts out an average 35 kWh per day in the Midwest is $15,000 in parts. With a couple of days additional storage, call it $20,000.

Installation prices have not yet faced the new reality of panel prices. Installation is absurdly expensive, running $35,000 for a 25 panel system. Installers were accustomed to that ridiculous labor markup being invisible against a much higher panel and battery price. Those days are over, but panel installers haven't noticed yet. Install it yourself and pay an electrician for the inverter installation and it's $500. Just don't fall off the roof.

35 kWh per day can be enough to go summer and winter without a drop of grid energy, depending on your house. It's certainly enough for the new mostly brick house with a heat pump that my parents occupy in Illinois. Such a system costs 1/8th as much as a house, not twice. Maybe one quarter as much, including the 15 cubic feet of battery you describe. About two fridges worth. If you live in Minnesota, it won't do, but then why the hell would you live in Minnesota? Leave it for the moose and move south. If I spent one quarter as much as my house is worth, I would be very comfortable going off grid with that system.

Comment Re:Expect it to get borked (Score 1) 195

Cost twice of what?

You have serious reading comprehension problems. I said it would cost a lot, twice. Twice I said it would cost a lot. See? I didn't say it would cost double.

And you're a bit confused about how electricity works too. No, not "at best the week before." It depends entirely on how over-provisioned the battery is and how over-provisioned the solar array is. In my area, the average is 4.8 full sun hours per day. A cloudy day cuts that to 15%, so the equivalent of 0.72 full sun hours. If I over-provision the solar array by a factor of 7, I don't have to use any battery power at all, even on a cloudy day. Of course that's a bit silly and takes a lot of space. Similarly, I could have stored the power to use on a cloudy day a month ago, if the battery bank is over-provisioned to the point of being capable of storing a full month of power and the solar array is over-provisioned just enough to provide my daily power plus some charge for the battery. That would actually physically fit in my basement. In fact, it would fit with room to spare. For my worst case month (which is in the summer, not the winter), it's only 20 fridges worth of batteries. That fits with room to spare. On the other hand, the factor of 7 over-provisioning of panels would not fit on my property.

But over-provisioning either one by such a huge amount is unnecessary. As I said, the average for my area is 4.8 full sun hours per day. The base system is provisioned with that in mind, and then over-provisioned by any arbitrary amount I care to hedge. If I fail to provision enough for a worst case number of consecutive cloudy days, then yes, I run out of power and the heat stops. In my region, that's only uncomfortable. Only the coldest of cold snaps make my house so cold that it even endangers the pipes. It certainly doesn't endanger life. I've gone two full winters with no heat but the waste heat from my computer, so a few hundred watts. Uncomfortable, but proven possible. So if I'm foolishly cheap, I can provision no storage at all and seriously under-provision the panels, and still my house is habitable. I don't propose to sacrifice one iota of comfort or convenience, and it is still possible.

Expensive, but possible.

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