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Comment Re:It's even more misleading than that (Score 1) 364

The leading contention of the article is flawed as you are observing. It gets worse. How about energy produced or converted per person hour? Using this as a challenge, it isn't even close. So, on one hand, a crew of four people installs a $20,000 solar array 5KW when the sun is in the best position and an average of maybe 2KW over an eight hour sun day. Also, the batteries haven't caught up yet; so, the owner is still stuck on the power grid. So, let's look at the competition. Another home owner elects to install a natural gas 15KW generator, automatic changeover switch, and heat recovery accessories for about$3500. Now, gas that would have been used at 80% efficiency just to provide heat is now producing electricity, heat, and possibly hot water. Unlike the solar installation, this rig works on demand 24/7 any season of the year an is unaffected by the weather. Finally, no quibbling with the power company about buying and selling power over the grid. Why are so many more people employed by "solar"? We are still in the leading toe of the Sigmund curve for this industry. All those roof top installations represent infrastructure being built. Think of Hoover or Grand Coulee Dam for an example of how this works. For five years or so, these projects employed thousands of people doing a lot of hard work. The current maintenance force is less than one tenth of that. Sooner or later, solar will be "built out" and the labor force will shrink accordingly.

Comment Oxygen Level Used to be Higher (Score 1) 167

Over the past 220 million years, the earth has suffered some catastrophes of which I recall two; the end of the Permian and Jurassic Eras. After each, the oxygen level was markedly lower. Back in the Permian days, it was around 36% and the carbon dioxide level was a lot higher, too. Animals and the plants they ate grew huge. The end of the Permian Era was a mega-disaster that wiped out about 99% of the species. The crocodilians and a few others survived; talk about tough! Something happened that caused a line of volcanoes to erupt across what is now Siberia. The end of the Jurassic was milder by comparison and there was another drop in oxygen level after that event. Since then, there has been a lot of competition for that 28% remaining oxygen and if it wasn't for volcanoes and plants, we'd be in a lot of trouble. The environment tends to sequester carbon dioxide as carbonates and lock them up in rocks and shells taking the oxygen along for the ride. But then, the occasional volcano belches a bunch of CO2 back in the air that the plants then turn into oxygen and carbohydrates. Conclusion: We need some more volcanoes.

Comment Re:Terrible place for a solar plant (Score 1) 159

From the Second World War maps, I recall Ukraine's northern border being roughly the same latitude as the south side of Germany. There is less cloud cover in the north area of the country, so it may work. After the California desert experience with solar to thermal conversion, we now know one way to not do it. Photocells work even if the sun is hiding behind clouds, just not as well. Ukraine needs the energy, so it won't need to be shipped as far. I saw a Life After Humans episode that had Chernobyl coverage. The local critters ranging from voles to deer appeared to be in good shape and the abandoned buildings were being overtaken by plants. This does not mean it is safe. The Eniwetok experience showed low surface radiation but the coconuts had enough cesium in them to be quite dangerous.

Comment Re:Yeah, but he REAL test!!! (Score 1) 109

I was on an Air Base where the RADAR folks would sometimes play in the band next door in the Club. The PRR in the height finder was about 400 PPS and that would excite the "A" strings in the guitars. It sounded like plunk plunk..............plunk plunk........ as the antenna swept down and then up. That was back in 1976.

Comment Re:Vacuum tubes handle EMP's better (Score 1) 109

I remember when they sneered at the MIG-25 Fox Bat because of the absence of solid state devices. Then, I learned about the Compton Effect and had one of those clarifying moments. Since then, the Russians have gone to fly by wire and on board computers (MIG-29, etc.). I wonder how they are dealing with the EMP issue?

Comment Inside Job at Sony? (Score 1) 177

Two indicators come to mind. First, Korea used to be known as the Hermit Kingdom. Today, that title accurately describes North Korea, a country with limited communications links which suggests that they would need a lot of "outside help" to pull off this stunt. Second, the depth and breadth of the attack appears to be so massive that it almost looks like everything on their servers was copied and carted out. If they actually did this from outside, the Russian hackers must be green with envy. An additional thought: If you have this kind of capability, why blow it on a small target? For comparison, look at the Allies' preparations for D-Day in 1944 and notice how we cloaked our capabilities and methods. As I'm writing this, Leo Laporte, the Computer Guy, came on the air making the same points. Way to go, Leo.

Comment Ben Franklin or War Hysteria-Time to End It. (Score 1) 613

Ben Franklin was the first person that I know who suggested it as a way to add daylight hours at the end of the day. Then, the idea remained dormant until The First World War when it was adopted by both sides to increase production and save illumination fuel. One origin of the term "Wartime". It kicked in again for WW-II, of course. Then, somebody added two months to it during the "Energy Crises" in the mid-Seventies which had mothers escorting their children to the school bus with flashlights due to the darkness. Crazy! When I was flying, it didn't matter because my watch was set to Zulu and never changed. So far, three places don't buy into this foolishness. NE Indiana, Arizona, and Hawaii. The idea of dropping it like yesterday's garbage has been proposed in Utah which would align us with Arizona. Time to call my legislators and do some suggesting.

Comment Re: Nature (Score 1) 113

So was the outer skin. You can see the burning edge in the shot that shows the tail on the ground with the front drifting down. The fabric was doped with iron oxide to protect the fiber from light. Then it was given a top cover with powdered aluminum to keep the fabric from heating in the light. Very logical except that the end result was a craft coated with Thermite from nose to tail.

Comment Re:But what IS the point they're making? (Score 1) 342

Think of where that lime came from. Some parts of the CO2 cycle involve natural sequestration of the gas into the earth. This is where limestone, marble, stalactites, stalagmites, etc. come from. By the way, "lime" is Ca(OH)2 which reacts with CO2 to form a bicarbonate (soluble) and then the carbonate (spots on your car after washing). Thank the volcanoes for liberating this life giving gas into the atmosphere; otherwise the life forms on earth would be way different.

Comment Re:name and location tweeted... (Score 1) 928

Here in Utah, somebody complained about their "service" on Yelp. Then, he received a billing notice on his account because the fine print in his contract included a anti-disparagement clause as well as the usual "arbitration" crap. He refused to pay and the next step by the contracting agency was to place adverse entries on his credit record and the fight was on. This story is now about four years old but there was a recent update story about it in the local newspapers.

Comment Re:Nitrogen? (Score 1) 1198

Nitrogen is slow asphyxiation and that could be a problem. Carbon dioxide has a rapid onset at concentrations over 10% with the first symptom being a "blackout" because the retina is the first thing to shut down (personal experience from reaching into an ice chest for an ice cream cone ) followed by other things shutting down (the brain and CNS, then the rest of the body). CO2 stimulates respiration which makes it work even faster. The drawback, if it matters, is the decedent looking like a smurf.

Comment Re:Time to move into the Century of the fruit bat. (Score 1) 1198

But, it does guarantee that he won't do it again. Three Strikes, Mandatory Minimums, Megan's Law, and the proliferation of Concealed Carry laws resulted from some truly egregious crimes by repeat offenders back in the Seventies and Eighties. Those crimes also caused a lot of states to keep their housekeeping laws in effect. Housekeeping as in "take out the trash".

Comment Where Is It? MH370 (Score 1) 233

Most of the large trucking companies track their rigs 24/7 using a system similar to On-Star. There is at least one world-wide cellular phone system (Iridium) operating and there may be more. In any case, an aircraft as expensive as a Boeing 777 rates a tracking system. I would suggest a simple periodic reporter that would activate anytime an engine was in operation. They would all use the same channel was a common format [Aircraft ID, GPS Location, Altitude in Flight Level format]. The transmission length would be about one second and sent once every fifteen minutes. The system could be common access meaning anyone could see the moving spread sheet and, because a lot of people could use it, losing the data would not be a problem. Obviously, it would show up on the Internet. So, for example, you are in San Francisco and wondering where Flight 11 is? Visit the site and enter AA-11. You would see a list of the locations and altitudes starting with the latest and going back at fifteen minute intervals all the back to Boston Logan Airport. Where is the plane now? Draw a 125 mile circle around the last position and start looking.

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