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Comment Re:I thought diesel ran cleaner (Score 4, Interesting) 186

I've wondered about this too. I've noticed pollutants in emissions are measured in PPM - parts per million air molecules in the exhaust. Not in parts per distance traveled. So transportation efficiency (emissions per distance traveled) gets you nothing (volume of air ingested decreases with higher efficiency), and combustion efficiency (more energy produced per cylinder detonation) actually increases PPM even though in practical terms it would be offset by needing to fire the cylinder fewer times to get the same amount of work done. Meanwhile being able to run a lean mixture makes passing these emissions tests a breeze. Heck, you could rig up a bypass to feed intake air straight into the exhaust stream (probably illegal) and drop your PPM to near-zero.

e.g. My 3.0L V6 diesel truck cruises at 65 MPHat 1550 RPM. My 3.2L V6 gas car cruises at 65 MPH at 1800 RPM. 7% higher engine displacement, 16% higher RPM, so 23.9% more airflow volume at the same speed. So even if the diesel put out 23% more PPM than the gas engine, it would actually be emitting less pollutants per mile traveled. The difference is even more pronounced at higher speeds or loads. The diesel can hit 80 MPH at 1900 RPM, while the gas engine will be up around 2400 RPM. 35% higher airflow.

Comment Wish we'd come up with the name "fake news" sooner (Score 4, Informative) 41

A bit off-topic but:

Foxconn is a tech manufacturing giant. It makes a lot of things, including laptops for HP, phones for Apple, games consoles for Sony, and its workers so depressed it has to install suicide nets.

That was fake news. The suicide rate at Foxconn was lower than that of the U.S. at the time of the spike in suicides. The Foxconn suicide myth spread and persists for the same reason other fake news spreads and persists - the people spreading it want to believe it's true, and thus pass it on without first vetting it with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Except in this case the people spreading it are journalists in the mainstream media, whose job it is to review these stories with a critical eye before publishing them. They want to believe factory workers in developing nations were being exploited by western corporations and thus were more prone to attempt suicide, so they recklessly published these stories perpetuating the myth, and still do. Foxconn installed the nets to try to make the Western media shut up, not because there was a greater suicide problem there than anywhere else. I have no love for Apple or Chinese assembly line labor, but this is one criticism they don't deserve.

Comment Re:As someone who streams, legally.... (Score 1) 63

That's probably it right there. AFAIK the streamed PBS shows do not include ads, so they're identical to the downloaded version. In that light, PBS probably isn't a good way to test the effect of streaming on sales, since a lot of the people opting to stream PBS probably just don't want to bother with downloading and saving the video first. While purchasers of, say, shows available on Hulu might be trying to avoid the ads.

In fact, try as I might, I wasn't able to find these purported paid download version of shows on the PBS website; only DVD and T-shirt sales. There are free downloads of some older episodes, but I could find most of their library only as a stream. There was one Frontline episode I really wanted as a permanent downloaded copy and was willing to pay for, but I wasn't able to find any way to download or buy it except as non-HD DVD. I ended up downloading a copy someone had put on YouTube.

Comment Re:What's inside a fake (Score 3, Informative) 113

Not that video. The "genuine" Apple charger turns out to be counterfeit, and not much better than the cheap generic charger. You're only going to be able to tell it's crappy if you're an electrical engineer who's dissected these before. (I took 2 EE courses in undergrad so understood most of the terminology he was using, but his rant about it being terrible was Greek to me.)

This related video shows the insides of a genuine charger. Jump ahead to 9m 40s if you've already seen that first video showing the innards of a crappy charger.

Comment Should be illegal (Score 4, Interesting) 51

Pricing their video service over cellular implies that the cost of the cellular hop is zero, and that the expense of transmitting the video to the viewer is all in the Internet link. Since their own video service is hosted locally, there is no Internet bandwidth consumed, and thus the price should be zero (which was what Netflix offered these guys for free on their landline ISP service and they turned it down). For a market economy to function properly, the minimum pricing has to reflect the expense incurred by the seller.

I can understand zero rating as a temporary promotional measure (e.g. streamed video doesn't count against your cap for the first 6 months if you use our service). But making it the standard price is equivalent to dumping to try to kill off competition. Especially if they're using revenue from other sources to subsidize this service, like say, extra money they're collecting from Netflix in contravention of Net Neutrality.

Comment Way back when ESPN was first starting out (Score 2) 122

A friend of my sister's worked there and gave us a tour when we visited. He showed us their vault room where they kept all their videotapes. It wasn't very big, so I asked him since there were so many different sporting events going on every day, how long did they save the recordings of these events. He said most of the stuff (local sports, lower-interest stuff like non-Olympics track events, etc) they only kept for a month or two. Pro sports were kept at least a year, longer for more important games. Playoff finals and particularly notable games, they'd keep indefinitely. But most of the "memorable" events could be boiled down to just a few highlight clips (e.g. a world record-breaking long jump).

A shocking amount of stuff gets erased or tossed out simply because there's no space to save it (or need at the time). If you think about everything everyone does every day, it's a mindboggling amount of material which is produced daily, So it's inevitable that a lot of it is going to be lost (hopefully with a summary or end result saved). You have to be obsessive/compulsive to want to save everything.

Comment They're thinking long-term, not being fanboys (Score 1) 156

The thing that keeps Microsoft afloat is its Windows monopoly (and the Office suite and servers, but both are strongly tied to Windows as they have little presence elsewhere). Up until 10 years ago, the only threat to Windows was Mac OS which had been stuck at 5% market share for decades, and Linux for the desktop which lingered around 1%.

The last 10 years have seen two new entrants to the operating system market - iOS and Android. iOS still has a relatively small, but lucrative userbase. Android already matches if not exceeds Windows' installed userbase. A lot of people dismiss these as a "toy" OS for toy devices. But that's being ignorant of the march of technological progress. 30 years ago my primary computer was a desktop. 20 years ago it was a laptop that was nearly 2 inches thick. 10 years ago it was a notebook just under an inch thick. Today it's a half-inch thick ultrabook, but about half my screen time is on my phone and tablet.

Mobile isn't going to go away. Eventually it's going to eat the laptop and eventually desktop markets. Intel charges a fortune for their CPUs (about $100-$1000 vs about $5-$20 for ARM). As technology advances and ARM processors become more and more capable of performing everyday computing tasks, there will be less and less reason to spend an extra $100-$500 for an x86/x64-based "computer". And if x86/x64 dies, Windows dies with it. Microsoft knows it, and its shareholders know it.

That's why Microsoft worked so hard on Windows RT (basically Windows for ARM). That was their warning shot across Intel's bow that they had better do something to stave off the advance of ARM devices, or Windows was going to jump ship and abandon x86/x64 for ARM. It worked. Intel came out with some new extremely low-power CPUs which were almost competitive with ARM in power consumption but ran x86/x64 software, thus slowing ARM's encroachment into the laptop market (e.g. early Chromebooks were ARM, but they're now Intel). At least for now.

But the Intel can't keep it up forever. Their tax is very high per cm^2 of silicon compared to ARM. Eventually they're going to have to cut their prices, or ARM is going to win out. And if ARM wins, which OS do you think is going to dominate? Windows RT? Yeah neither do I. Which is why Microsoft's shareholders are so anxious that Microsoft do something, anything, to gain a foothold in the mobile (ARM) market.

Comment Re: Possible solution (Score 1) 94

The price was fine when GoPro was first starting out. Shooting underwater video (or even video where the camera might get wet, like kayaking) meant buying a video camera with a housing costing upwards of a thousand dollars.

GoPro took advantage of technological advancements shrinking the size of a quality video camera to something the size of a webcam, ditching videotape in favor of flash cards. That reduced the size of the waterproof housing needed, allowing them to make the whole thing for a few hundred bucks. That was a lot cheaper than anything else with that capability on the market at the time.

Their problem is that technological advancement has not stopped. Now other companies can make the same stuff they do for less than $100.

Comment Re:Yeah, GoPro (Score 1) 94

Getting quality footage is hard and gets in the way of the activity.

There's far better options online and most people would not care much to see yours because "awesome" stuff is like garbage these days.

I am not a hero and neither is 99.999% of people.

If you're buying something like a GoPro in hopes of shooting quality video and becoming in Internet star, then yeah there's a 99.999% chance you're going to be disappointed.

But if you're buying it to record family outings and personal events for sentimental reasons, it's actually a pretty good tool. Small, stays out of the way, and does a pretty good job for its size. The quality of the footage doesn't really matter when the footage is just to help your family reminisce about the activity later. If you want production-quality video of your outing, just hire a professional videographer to go along with you. Let him worry about all the gear, mounts, bags, repairs, batteries, dirt, and getting good shots.

Comment Re:You're confusing effects for cause (Score 1) 219

Social media just seems new because for the first time, we have a raw, unadulterated, and referenceable window into the inner workings of the mob that is society.

In the past, if a mob decided to go out and lynch a black man, it was extremely difficult to piece together after the fact exactly how the situation transitioned from a curious crowd gathering to see a dead body, to a furious mob which was somehow convinced that this particular black man was the murderer who needed killing. Now we can analyze it after the fact, or even watch it as it happens in real-time from thousands of miles away.

This unpredictable, unfathomable aspect of the mob was always there. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans complained about it. It's just that for the first time, we're able dissect it after the fact to see how it works. A lot of the stuff the media is hyping as new is in fact as old as humanity. "fake news" = gossip. "going viral" = spreading rumor. "social media" = schmoozing. It just happens on computer networks now (where it's all recorded) instead of via word of mouth.

Comment Biology 101 (Score 3, Interesting) 42

Although the malware has full remote access to infected devices, it doesn't appear to be stealing user data, but rather is content to go the click-fraud route.

Successful parasites do not kill their host - if they do that, they have to find another host. The successful ones minimize their impact on the host, using them as a free ride to other opportunities which they can exploit. Sometimes this even develops into a symbiotic relationship.

If the malware doesn't steal user data, the user has no incentive to detect and remove it. Much to the consternation of the ad networks which are the real targets. I wouldn't be surprised if the next step is for this malware to install patches to fix vulnerabilities in the OS, to prevent other less well-thought-out malware from being installed and eventually getting the frustrated user to wipe and reset the phone.

Comment Re:The "Mil-Lean-eum" Tower (Score 1) 240

If you have a problem with millennials, look to the people who raised them like that.

In our defense, we had to deal with forced indoctrination into a philosophy of no-failure and no-discipline. Kids' soccer matches didn't keep score, and everyone got a trophy - even the losing team. And heaven forbid we spanked one of our kids for breaking one of the house rules. The kid tells his teacher about the spanking, and we'd be facing assault charges and CPS would try to take all our kids away from us.

We're sorry we couldn't better prepare you for the real world - where you'll get hurt if you break the rules, and you have to keep trying because you're going to fail a dozen times before you succeed.. But we weren't allowed to.

Comment Re:"safe and could withstand an earthquake" (Score 2) 240

Most of the shaking during an earthquake happens at frequencies which most closely match the resonance frequency of a 3-story building. If you look at pictures buildings damaged in the Loma Prieta and Northridge quakes, you see most of the collapsed buildings were 3- or 4-stories. Those two were quakes which were just on the cusp of being strong enough to collapse buildings (in an area with strict earthquake building codes). It's harder to see this in larger quakes because they have enough energy to collapse buildings outside this height, and subsequent fires (or tsunamis) can wipe out buildings which survived the initial quake.

A smaller building, like 1-story, has a higher resonance frequency and just gets moved from side-to-side by an earthquake. A larger building like a skyscraper kinda just shimmies in place. It's only the 3-story buildings (and to a lesser extent the 2-story and 4-story buildings) which shake more and more the longer the earthquake goes on, and eventually fall apart. For a large skyscraper, you just have to make the support structures connecting the building to the ground strong enough to withstand this shimmying. Or decouple it entirely from the ground by mounting the building on flexible joints which allow the skyscraper to shake at its lower resonance frequency while the earthquake shakes at a higher frequency. (You can see in the test that the 5-story building has a slightly lower frequency than the input earthquake shaking.)

The main danger of building on landfill is, as you've alluded, that one section of the land underneath the building will liquefy more than others, causing the building to tilt. Not a problem for a short, broad structure like a warehouse, but a serious danger for a tall structure. If you're building a skyscraper on landfill, you're supposed to dig down deep enough to sink the building's supports into bedrock. That way your skyscraper is essentially built on solid ground, just that its lowest levels are underground surrounded by a bunch of landfill, instead of its lowest levels being the ground floor and basement. That the building is sinking indicates this wasn't done.

Comment I don't mean to belittle this (Score 4, Informative) 175

I don't want to belittle this because India is one of the places where solar actually makes sense. But even there its capacity factor is only about 20%. Compared to 14.5% for the continental U.S. and about 10% in Germany. Capacity factor is the ratio of actual electricity produced (after taking into account night, weather, angle of the sun, downtime due to maintenance, etc) to nameplate (maximum) capacity.

So while it's capacity is 648 MW, its average electrical generation over a year will only be about 20% that, or a more modest 130 MW. Electricity costs about 8 cents/kWh in India. So payback time (excluding operational expenses and interest on loans) will be

($679 million) / (0.2 * 648 MW * 3600 sec/hour * 8766 hours/year * $0.08/kWh) = 7.47 years

India is one of the better places for solar. (The 150,000 home figure seems a little screwy, since 648 MW / 150,000 homes = 4320 Watts, which is about 3.5x the electricity consumption of the average U.S. home. I suspect the 150,000 homes figure already took into account capacity factor, and is not "at full capacity" as TFA claims.)

Comment Surprised they aren't doing this already (Score 4, Interesting) 586

They should be keeping copies of the archive in multiple locations, along with parity files which can be used to validate potentially compromised and reconstruct corrupted data. That way if one location goes down or is destroyed (fires happen), you still have copies elsewhere. If one site gets hacked and the data changed, you can cross-reference the parity info with other sites to determine which is real and which is modified, and revert the changed data. Kinda like a worldwide ZFS or RAID 5.

Trump makes for a convenient excuse. But given that they're literally keeping snapshots of history, they should already be taking these steps just to safeguard the integrity of the data.

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