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Comment I remember farther back. (Score 1) 53

Sigh, I remember when Slashdot used to be a news place for Nerds and not this stupid political bull crap of pointing fingers at one another.

I remember farther back. (Note that I have two fewer digits in my I.D.)

It's always been like this. We may have a few more professional grass-roots trolls now that we have a couple orders of magnitude more eyeballs. But come politics season people's political leanings come out.

Face it: Politics IS "news for nerds" and "stuff that matters".

Comment And individuals should have no limits either. (Score 1) 53

Candidates have some limits, but PACs lost those restrictions in the suprime court ruling known as Citizens United.

And ordinary citizens shouldn't have limits for the same reasons - but didn't have the big pockets to argue that in court like the organized lobbyists do.

Campaign spending limits are a bait-and-switch. They pretend to level the playing field by cutting down the big spenders' power. But instead they block the grass-roots' influence - individually or when organizing - while leaving the rich able to circumvent them, and (by building a complex paperwork maze to navigate) give incumbent politicians a further massive advantage against upstart challengers.

What they're really about is helping those currently in power STAY in power.

Comment Re:$70K sounds pretty low (Score 1) 53

I don't claim to know any political internals, but $70,000 to get legislation that you basically write yourself passed sounds extremely low.

Part of the POINT of government corruption is that the cost is low compared to the benefits.

If using the money to actually build something consumers wanted to buy had a better return - and politicians didn't gate-keep and demand ransom ("rent-seeking behavior"), businesses wouldn't spend a dime bribing politicians - or at least those that did would be out-competed and driven out of business by those that didn't.

Politicians know this, and set their prices accordingly.

Comment Huh? (Score 1) 53

The more that ISPs seek to rewrite the rules in their favor, the more likely it is that the citizens will ignore those rules.

I give up. How do we ignore those rules?

Start our own ISPs - and get everything seized by the government for failing to play by their rules?

Hack the infrastructure - and get busted for "stealing service" or "unauthorized access to a computer system" - and get everything seized by the government, plus a felony conviction and the resulting revocation of constitutional rights for the rest of our lives?

Did you have something else in mind? I'm really confused about what you mean.

Comment The 1% told us that in the '60s and '70s, too. (Score 1) 539

Having children is a sociopathic act when we're overpopulated. At our current level of behavior, Earth is over its carrying capacity.

And we boomers have heard all that before. Back in the '60s and '70s the ruling class told us that we were about to be buried in a population explosion that would have us all starving in a toxic waste dump by the '90s and that technological improvements would only make it worse.

They even formed an organization called "The Club of Rome", which put together a computer model that cranked out these predictions.

So lots of responsible people held off on having kids - many until it was too late, even with major medical intervention. Enormous resources were diverted from production of material wealth to reduction of pollution. Costs went up, quality went down, resources were locked up, movement was restricted. Government power over everything, and the amount of money/value they pulled out of the economy grew and grew and grew. Anyone criticizing the paradigm or expressing a different view (especially a pro-technology view) was demonized - by activists, "leaders", and both the "establishment" and "underground" press.)

In the '50s, coming out of a depression and a World War, a family could live well supporting itself on a single income. Now it struggles with two or more full-time employed parents, or survives on a government dole. "There's a labor shortage!" - so the government imports more voters^H^H^H^H^H^H people from the more southern American countries to fill the blue collar jobs and from India, Aisia, and other places for the white-collar positions - and pretty much all of them from cultures where big families are the norm. So much for responsible self-population-limitation. (Think of it as evolution in action.)

But they made the mistake of publishing their software model. Computers got cheap, and programming became less of an arcane ritual practiced only by a tiny clique. Eventually skilled programmers took a look at the model - and found both flaws and gimmicks apparently designed to make it produce the gloom-and-doom, empower-governments, we're all going to freeze in the dark but that's better than extinction, predictions.

And the time came and went. And the disaster didn't happen. And technological improvements made things better, not worse. (And not just because of pollution controls: It turns out that pollution is INEFFICIENT, and as the cost of process control technology comes down and capabilities go up, reducing it can INCREASE PROFIT!)

So the "population bomb" turned out to be a dud. (But a convenient one for the rich and powerful, making them more rich and powerful.) And looking back at history we saw that this was just the latest in a long string of such operations:
  1. Predict disaster.
  2. Get everyone panicked.
  3. Increase power and control to "take action to head off the disaster".
  4. PROFIT!
Over and over and over again.

And then came "global warming" (replacing "here comes the next ice age".) Complete with computer models and lots of "scientific data" - from government scientists funded by billions from agencies that somehow only gave follow-on grants to scientists who predicted doom (or made some tie-in to global warming in research on non-climate-related subjects).

THIS time, though, they kept the raw data and models to themselves, handing out only conclusions and "adjusted" data. And after YEARS of digging, some outside the peer-review cliques found some evidence that the adjustments always seemed to increase the signal of warming, possibly by enough to create it out of nothing (or even out of measurements indicating global COOLING), and that this may have been deliberate.

But instead of opening the data to all, it was (and is) STILL kept largely hidden (or claimed to be lost), while a propaganda effort is raised against anyone questioning the conclusions, or the race to take over resources and wealth, and increase control of the general population, to "fix" this "disaster".

It all looks very familiar. "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." So expect skepticism from those of us who lived through the "environmental movement".

Maybe this new result IS a convincing signal. It sure LOOKS like one. But the "Hockey Stick" graph looked like one, too. (Very much like this one in fact.)

Any such results will need to be examined, and found to be completely open, honest, and based on a well-designed methodology, before even those of us who are truly interested in what's REALLY happening to the Earth, but got bitten by a previous pseudo-science movement, are convinced.

Meanwhile, there are a LOT of steps between "It looks like things might be warming up a tad since the Industrial Revolution." and "The government has to take over everything RIGHT NOW or WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!"

Comment Re:Science (Score 1) 81

... and "one cycle per second of error".

I.e. if your clocks are good for one part per million you have a tiny fraction of a millisecond before your pattern comes apart.

Their trick is to resynchronize at the start of every packet, to a reference transmitted by one of the transmitters, so they can get the packet squirted out (or received) while the pattern still holds together, rather than trying to keep the radios in sync constantly despite not being able to wire them together.

Comment Re:Science (Score 1) 81

They already did this. It is called MIMO.

We all understand that.

What you're missing is that:
  - MIMO works better, over longer distances, when the antennas are more separated. The more the separation, the greater the distance, for a given accuracy of phase.
  - But it also requires the radios to be synchronized to within a tiny fraction of a single cycle, so the patterns add up correctly. At 2.5 GHz an entire cycle is one quarter part per BILLION and MIMO reqires more than an order of magnitude better accuracy than that.

When the radios are all in one box, that's easy: You drive them from the same oscillators, and watch your wiring and components.

When they're in different boxes, separated by hundreds of feet or by miles, it's a whole different can of worms. VERY fancy equipment to generate VERY stable signals, extra stuff to estimate their drift (which varies from moment to moment), and it's still a massive pain. You don't get that kind of synchronization between boxes, even in a house, when they're connected by inexpensive commodity cabling.

What these guys did is tweak the protocol to add a tiny synchronizing burst from the designated master transmitter just before each packet. Combined with estimates of the moment-by-moment ongoing drift (computed from reception of the synchronizing bursts from previous packets) they were able to get current commodity-quality hardware to stay adequately synchronized to hold the pattern together for at least the duration of the packet. (I'm betting they can do the same sort of thing with the receivers, too, working off the sync burst from the master transmitter.)

The result is being able to do MIMO with radio/antenna assemblies in different, disconnected, well-separated, boxes, using only packet-quality interconnects and doing synchronization via a small bit of air bandwidth.

That got MIMO over a major hump, in equipment cost, antenna separation, and utility.

Comment Re:Science (Score 2) 81

Yes, more transceivers are better than less, thank you MIT.

But only if they're really tightly synchronized.

MIT got them to be tightly synchronized despite being in different boxes in different rooms, rather than all being in the same box, WITHOUT a lot of extra, extra-special, extra-fancy, extra-cost, hardware. This can be built with a bit more off the shelf stuff (maybe the SAME amount of the same off the shelf stuff but with a bit better firmware) and easily folded into the next generation's chips.

Comment Re:Not handy for the home (Score 1) 81

Since they are talking about many devices connecting to multiple routers it's not going to do much for the average home user then. I may have a couple of devices but only the one router.

Actually:
  - If you got a second router, put it some distance away from the first, and hooked them together with a network cable, you could use two devices about as fast as you could one with one router.
  - If you had three wired routers you could use three devices close to as fast as you could use one with one router.
And so on.

Note that I'm not talking about using the devices with each near a particular router. I'm talking about the routers spread out around the room or the house and the devices also somewhat spread out - but differently (even just at different spots in the same room) and with no particular relation between the device and the router locations.

Comment Re:We're not in a mimimum yet. [Re:Of course. . .] (Score 2, Informative) 396

There is some possibility that the sun may, at some time in the future, enter another sunspot minimum similar to the Maunder minimum of 1645 to about 1715. But we're not in one now.

Actually, there was a recent development in modelling the sun, which (if I recall correctly) resulted in a model of the sunspot cycle that has a high-90s percentage match to the historical data. (The key was to model it as TWO dynamos rather than one.)

Also (again, if I recall correctly) the new model predicted that we were going into something that looked like a new Maunder Minimum, with this cycle being weak and the next one nearly nonexistent.

(Sorry I can't dig up the reference right now. Only got a couple minutes left to post.)

Combine that with orbital forcing (which has been gradually, but progressively more steeply, pushing us toward another BIG ice age since about the time humans started using agriculture and settled down to dig up stuff, including coal), and the expected exhaustion of practically-extractable fossil carbon reserves in something like four more centuries, and warming might not be our long-range climate-change issue at all.

A Maunder minimum might only cover a half-century or so. But if it brought on another "little ice age", that (at about three centuries duration) might be about right to cover the period before global freezing is more of a concern than global warming.

Comment Re:Nah (Score 1) 171

On the other hand, an electric motor can easily produce its maximum torque at stall.

Then drop off like a cliff.

Not necessarily. You're thinking of older, more basic, motor designs, connected directly to a supply (such as a series-wound motor), not a modern electrical machines with winding currents controlled by switching regulators.

Torque is proportional to the product of the stator and rotor magnetic fields, which in turn for wound magnets) are proportional to current.

In a simple motor the current is limited by the fixed voltage applied across the winding resistance, which drops as the machine speeds up due to back-EMF generated by the motor's motion.

In a switching regulator controlled winding the resistance is very low (to reduce I-squared-R losses) and the current is controlled by the switching regulator. The current at stall is potentially astronomical as a result, limited by the regulator's dwell time, not the raw supply voltage. As the motor speeds up the current (and thus the torque) can be maintained at a desired (and high) value despite the rising back-EMF, up to an RPM and back-EMF where the switch would have to be on full-time (or full half-cycle time for AC-excited windings) to push the desired current through the winding resistance.

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