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Comment Re:19th and 20th century powerhouse (Score 2) 206

Solar panels have a very large capital expense, they are cheap in the long run, but they are not feasible for running industry in poor countries.

Raw, ready-to-mount, single-crystal panels are down to $0.50/watt now, in pallets of ten at about 350 watts each, and have good lifetimes. Even adding the control electronics and batteries for nighttime and bad weather power, and replacing the batteries periodically, that's cheaper than building and running coal plants and their distribution infrastructure (even at third-world labor prices).

The control electronics is mostly semiconductor devices and still benefiting from Moore's Law. Solar panels are still improving, as are batteries (following their own Moore's Law like curves.) Solar has a factor of several in efficiency yet to go, and lot of room for cheaper manufacture. Batteries are pretty efficient, but still have lots of room for improvement in charge/discharge rates, lifetime, and manufacturing cost. Coal plants, meanwhile, are already close to as efficient and cheap to run as they can get. So solar will continue to improve its lead.

The main remaining advantage to coal plants is grid power gives suppliers an ongoing revenue stream and a captive market, while solar provides only an occasional capital purchase.

(But why do you never hear about the greenhouse effect of solar panels?)

Comment Re:The U.S. government is CORRUPT! (Score 2) 100

Rich corporations and people are allowed to do what they want.

There are exceptions: Volkswagen to pay $2.8 billion in US diesel emission scandal

That's because they cheated the GOVERNMENT.

But it's nice to see the individuals who got hurt (lower mileage once the patches are applied, lower resale value) getting some of the bux for a change.

(Why do you still get robo-calls? Because the Fed preempted state laws that had let people sue the robo-callers for damages.)

Comment I thought this was released weeks ago (Score 4, Interesting) 100

I thought one of the previous releases mentioned Weeping Angel (or at least weeping something) and that it turned Samsung TVs into room bugs. So I assumed this one was more details on it.

But the media seems to be talking about it as if it's new with this release and a big surprise.

Did they just notice it now, or am I misremembering the earlier stuff? (Either way, it's good that it's finally getting public attention.)

(Sorry to bother others with the question. But I've been too busy to plow through it all personally and would appreciate info from people who have done some deep-diving.)

Comment It's "Don't pull the rug out from under me" (Score 1) 386

... the sheer number of "why would you want that at all" or "nobody needs that" or "the software is fine as it is" type responses from software users. What is particularly puzzling is that its not the developers of the software rejecting the suggestions -- its users of the software ...

You've answered your own question. To mix a few metaphors:

One of the things about software is that a LOT of people stand on the shoulders of each giant - by being users of his code. A change that isn't a straight augmentation (and even some that are intended to be) can shift the sand under their castles and bring them crashing down.

Comment Old rules prevent creating new networks (Score 2) 71

The old rules prevent anybody (with enough money) from buying an outlet in each of the bulk of the markets and setting up a new network. (That would be doable even by parties of relatively modest means, because there are a lot of little stations that are hanging on by their fingernails which might be available cheap.) They're limited to directly reaching about a third of the potential viewers (and partnering with other owners if they want to reach more).

Meanwhile, they don't keep someone from buying up essentially all the outlets in a particular area (since taking over more of the stations doesn't add any more potential viewers).

Both of those reduce diversity - the first nationally, the second within regions.

Seems to me that eliminating the rule would fix the first one and increase the diversity of opinion available to viewers.

(Meanwhile, if the FCC wants to prohibit something to try to increase diversity, they could limit the number of outlets within each region a single party could own. That would also free up some outlets for new wholly-owned network builders, too.)

Comment Re:So actually enforce the law? (Score 1) 619

Those [tiny job ads] are needed for job-based green card applications, not for H1-Bs.

They used to be needed for H1-Bs also. Then the requirement was dropped.

The classified ad section of the Saturday issue of the San Jose Mercury News shrank from a small telephone books to a few pages. (And the paper and postage expenses of Silicon Valley technical people on unemployment dropped in proportion.)

Comment Worse than that: The body shops lie. (Score 1) 619

A degree from India is absolutely meaningless. They have a "university" practically on every street corner ...

Worse than that: The body shops often claim the worker in question has degrees that they don't actually have - but which the employer requires.

= = = =

Back before things got egregious, more than a decade ago, my wife was involved in making a hiring decision, and one of the candidates was an H1-B. My wife asked her about the masters degree on her resume and she was appalled: She had no such degree, (nor a CS bachelors - just some classes in the field.) She risked her immigration status rather than be party to the fraud.

(My wife hired her: She had adequate skills for the position and had demonstrated her honesty.)

Comment And bowing to a Muslim chief of state!? (Score 1) 619

And, frankly, he's no more of an embarrassment than Obama was ...

At least we know that he's not a (knowledgeable about the religion) Muslim.

He bowed to a Muslim head of state. There was some flap in the US media about that, but they missed a big point: That was literal blasphemy. Muslims don't bow to heads of state - or anyone else but God.

It was a very good thing he had diplomatic immunity. An ordinary person doing that in a country with a sharia-based legal system could have been in serious trouble.

(By the way: Citizens of a republic also don't bow to heads of state, according to diplomatic protocol. In a republic we're ALL (at least all that are elegible to vote) sovereigns, and thus formally peers with kings and queens. The President is just the guy holding a particular job - which is why he's addressed as "Mr. President".)

Comment Re: Make America Great (Score 0) 619

You are making the assumption that people buying things have complete information about the products they buy. That assumption does make the math easy in econ 101, but it is not true in the real world.

That's because econ 101 courses are taught by Keynsian, rather than Hayekian / "Austrian School", or Friedmanite / "Chicago School" principles.

(That's largely thanks to financial meddling in the economics journal and university department "marketplace of ideas" by the Federal Reserve Banks, in the form of selective grants of large amounts of (freshly "printed") money.)

Both the Austrian and Chicago schools analyze market decisions with respect to the marginal cost of collecting information for making better decisions vs. the marginal benefit of the improvement of the decisions.

Comment I don't use chrome, am curious why you switched (Score 4, Interesting) 49

Using Firefox in Linux is truly painful anymore, I quickly use it to install Chrome these days.

I don't use chrome, and am curious why you do.

1) When an employer's IT guy deployed it as the default browser, a few years back, I stopped using it (and installed Firefox) when a typo brought up a NSFW site - and then I couldn't get Chrome to dump it from the autocomplete (even by following their excuse for online documentation), where it insisted it be the top entry whenever I typed the first keystroke of a site name that started with the same first letter.

2) Like several appliances, its voice-typing feature forwards the sound samples over the Internet to servers - acting as a room bug. (Even if it doesn't do this all the time - and how do you know it doesn't? - it provides the infrastructure for trivial malware hacks to do so.)

3) The version on my new Android smartphone has a click-through license that includes an adobe license, which in turn constrains the user - for the rest of his life - to not compete with Adobe's products or work on security matters related to them. Accepting that (on an appliance that is identifiable as mine and no doubt "phones home" with the acceptance) would be a career limiting move.

So I don't use Chrome, and don't understand why any computer professional would.

Comment 16 bits in 1979! (Score 2) 857

Proudly, my first was a TI-99/4A. And did I ever get every penny out of that thing, nursing it along until 1993 or so. Texas Instruments makes more chips (to this day?) than Frito-Lay. So of course their computer was something special. 16 bit TMS9900 CPU. Amazingly high quality parts and construction - literally cast aluminum around my 32k RAM expansion card. And they built-in owner loyalty by fostering and supporting users groups, even after they'd left the Home Computer market. TI knew how to sell to scientists and engineers; they clearly didn't know how to sell to the general public. And they kept the software model closed (any different from Apple today?). It was the very earliest days of the digital age; they failed in the market as much for social reasons as for design reasons. So, sadly, that machine becomes an evolutionary dead end. But what a machine. Look at TMS9900 Assembly Language.

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