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Comment Re:How Much? (Score 1) 71

I thought that much was obvious, but for those who have not been paying attention, we are close to using up our hydrocarbons.

Maybe four centuries for all sources of fossil carbon, hydrogenated or otherwise, depending on usage rate.

Remember that "reserves" means "the stuff we already found while exploring". Nobody with a financial clue spends today's private money exploring for stuff they won't be digging up and selling for decades. So you only have more than about 20 years of "reserves" when there have been giant finds, the known reserves are too expensive to exploit and there might be easier stuff out there, or too much of the known reserves are unexploitable due to things like government intervention. There's no doubt quite a lot more out there, though it's still finite.

Running out is not a disaster. We can easily make all the stuff that's made from oil and there are other energy sources - including more coming down the pipeline. We're only digging/pumping up most of our energy and much of our chemical feedstocks right now because it's CHEAPER than the alternatives.

But it's not cheaper by much. (Photovoltaic is now becoming competitive with grid power in many areas, even without government market distortions, and the tech just keeps improving.)

By the time the fossil fuels run out we'll have lots of alternatives, and they'll run out by gradually getting more expensive, so people will smoothly transition to alternatives (thanks to Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand"). The main problem (if the CO2->global warming conjecture is true and substantial) will be keeping the Earth from crashing into the next orbital-mechanics driven Ice Age (as humans MAY have been doing for about the last 10,000 years or so, as the orbital climate-forcing has been curving down steadily.)

Comment I live in Houston, fourth most populace US City (Score 1) 102

major space flight, technology, and oil and gas hub and we're not even on the roadmap for future deployment according to the pictures in that article.

I have a hard time thinking of Google Fiber as a serious business if they're ignoring us.

Now if they were ignoring us but they were intentionally targeting places like Jal NM, Pecos TX, Nome AK, Vale OR I would consider them serious. SInce they're just cherry picking mid-sized to large cities that already have reasonably good infrastructure - likely loads of dark-fiber - but ignoring large cities and bergs I can't take them seriously.

Also I know plenty of people in Austin that can't get Google fiber because "they're only near the capital, downtown, and college". Hard to take them seriously.

Comment Caller id spoofing already broke that. (Score 1) 119

The real way to handle it is to create an open source shared black list, have people sign up for a service, and vote when they answer a call on whether or not it is a telemarketer or robo-call.

Caller ID spoofing already broke block lists. By the time a call gets to your local telco there is no way even for them to tell where it really came from. They regularly spoof their identity - often as others they're robo-calling, or even as the phone they are calling.

IMHO the only way available currently is to trace back a particular call, from telco to telco, to see where it DID come from - then go after the actual robocaller. (Good luck getting that implemented, though. Or getting it to work across all countries, rather than letting the spammers run from safe havens.)

Comment Re:I really don't understand this drone applicatio (Score 4, Insightful) 43

Why would you use a heavier-than-air craft to essentially hover? Wouldn't an aerostat accomplish the same goal at a much lower cost, and lower risk of bodily harm should it fall from the sky?

I don't know why they chose it. Here's my take:

An aerostat requires tethers, which are points of failure, and has enormous wind drag. Lose the tether(s) and you lose control. Then you have a large, failing, floating device at the mercy of the winds, dragging first broken tethers, then its own large structure, on an uncontrolled path along the ground, wreaking unknown havoc.

A powered heavier-than-air (but still ultralight) has little drag and can also be made to change locations easily. With good design, if it begins to accumulate failures that jeopardize its continued operational ability, it can be made to fly to a repair site and land - after its backup has arrived to take its place.

If you have catastrophic events - like huricaines, tornadoes, or forest firestoms - it can easily be moved away (to land for shelter or fly around or above the storm) and brought back when the environment is calmer. You don't even have to take it out of service. Just fly it above the tropopause. The stratosphere is probably a good place for it to operate anyhow: Negligible weather, no cloud shadows for solar-powered planes, and gives you a lot of coverage per drone. (Balloons can get there, too, easily. But 50,000 feet or so is a LOT of tether.)

Comment But will they play Badger Badger Badger? (Score 1) 156

Over the past few years, Firefox has implemented Web APIs to replace functionality that was formerly provided only by plugins.

But will they play Badger Badger Badger?

Until that can be emulated on the "replacement functionality", removing Flash is a fundamental impact on the Internet Experience. ;-)

Comment Look huge to me. (Score 2) 40

Google has how many subscribers now? Somehow, these numbers look astonishingly small

Google has how many employees to process these requests now? Somehow, these numbers look annoyingly huge.

How much does this cost Google to process? How much more does this cost to resist if Google wants to try to protect its customers' data, how much more to research whether each particular customers deserves this effort?

Can Google bill the governments for this service? Does this qualify as a fifth-amendment "taking"? Can google sue for reimbursement of these costs?

How much does this cost Google in lost revenue from people who bail out, or don't join, rather than leave their sensitive data where it is subject to search without their knowledge, and potential disclosure?

How much does incurring these costs result in raised costs or reduced services for Google's customers? How many, and what, services might they have to terminate, or never deploy, or never even develop, because the money that might have provided them is instead eaten by servicing government information requests? How badly does this impact their business models, their stock price, their investors' returns?

Comment Re:I want to like Donald. (Score 1) 268

I hate Hillary with a passion, but any sentence out of Trump's mouth makes her look like Gandhi in comparison.

Such as, "At this point, what difference does it make?" Oh, wait...

How about, "Who's going to find out? They're trash...nobody's going to believe them!" (That was Hillary, talking about the women her lecherous husband has assaulted over the years.)

"Yeah, I got him off. So what? Who cares? We got the evidence thrown out, so he walked. I mean, sure, we knew he did it, but it didn't matter." (That was Hillary, talking about a child rapist she helped avoid charges.)

"I believe the primary role of the state is to teach, train, and raise children. Parents have a secondary role." (That was Hillary in It Takes a Village.)

Do I need to continue?

Comment Moo (Score 1) 325

At home: Core i5 4690K, 16 GB RAM, two 256GB SSDs (one boots Gentoo, the other currently boots Windows 10), 750GB spinning rust, a Blu-ray burner, and 28" 4K monitor for the main desktop. Server's an A4-3300 with 10 GB RAM, a 256GB SSD that boots Gentoo, and 7.5 TB spinning rust. A couple of Raspberry Pis with LibreELEC drive the TVs from files on the server.

At work: Core 2 Quad Q6600 (it's old, but it's still reasonably quick for most things), 8 GB RAM, 256GB SSD that boots Windows 7, 750GB spinning rust, and a Radeon 6870 driving two 20ish" monitors (one at 1680x1050, the other at 1440x900). We're a charitable organization, so most of what's in my work computer is stuff that I didn't need at home any longer and donated (get to claim a tax writeoff on it). More recently, I brought in an Acer Aspire Revo 1600 that I no longer needed running a TV at's now a Gentoo box with a built-in SD-card reader that mostly gets used to back up and restore the Raspberry Pis we have scattered around the building as digital signage, web kiosks, etc.

Model Ms are on all the machines I work with directly. joe is my preferred editor for Gentoo and Cygwin, though Windows installs also get Notepad++. Linux IDEs all appear to be varying degrees of hot mess, but they've not really been necessary for the things I've knocked together under it. At work, Visual Studio is what pays the bills. Whether on computers, phones, or tablets, Chrome is preferred over SJWfox.

Comment I'm a boomer, but... (Score 2) 606

Oh, and by "we", I mean "baby boomers". I'm gen X and wasn't old enough to vote when all this shit really started in the 80s.

I'm a boomer - but I voted against pretty much all of this stuff. And campaigned against it, too. Virtually nobody I ever voted for was elected.

As for the political institutions: The generations before ours held onto power until quite recently (and have bequeathed it to individuals who are their ideological colleagues among later generations). Their crooked lock on the voting process has kept them in power. Look at the ages of the congresscritters and presidents. Even Bill Clinton was a pre-boomer - conceived DURING WWII, and growing up in a cohort where children were scarce and pampered, rather than a flood to be "channelled" into government-approved career paths (by threat of the draft during the Vietnam adventure).

Don't fall for the "blame the boomers" line: It's another instance of the power elite playing divide-and-conquer, to cut you off from potential allies.

Comment I prefer an external power supply, (Score 1) 107

or some sort of take at a hybrid internal/external like Nintendo pulled with the 64.

Since, with the exception of the X-Box One or course, the power supply was one of the most likely things to fail (somewhere behind optical drives) making that an external device just makes sense.

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