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Comment Re:Shipstone! (Score 1) 102

The novel Friday mentioned obliquely the biggest problem with the concept of the Shipstone. If you have an object, which has the ability to store large amounts of energy, you have a bomb. The Shipstone story in the novel has Shipstone himself telling his wife that the best minds in science wouldn't be able to figure it out themselves, or would blow themselves up.

Let's say we have a solid state battery that would produce 30 years worth of electricity for your house. (in the book a lifetime Shipstone was mentioned as being built into the foundation of the house). If a typical home goes through 20 kWh per day, then this battery would need to store approx 220 MWh of juice at installation. That's 748 Million BTU. Or 790 000 MJ. OR roughly 170 metric tons of TNT. Would you live on that kind of stored energy object that is designed to be easy to use? I'd rather have my household energy delivered continuously via pipeline or wire, or even in discrete loads of say 1 month at a time.

Let's not even imagine the security necessary to transport a charged Shipstone for an apartment building or skyscraper.

Now, having a really good battery with the energy storage capacity of gasoline, would be awesome. But it would be fantastic if it could be recharged at the same rate that I can fill up a tank of gas. It would be unbelievably transformative if it could also be recharged at home at the same rate.

Comment Twist (Score 4, Insightful) 257

Interestingly, this also means that a large chunk of the population believes that they're doing nothing wrong.

No, I'd say this means that a large chunk of the population believe that the value of the product (content) offered plus the probable cost to acquire the content is less than the sale price. People who watch pirated content are aware that what they are doing is not 100% clean. Most will shrug when asked if what they are doing is legal.

Unless the sale price drops or the probable cost to acquire the content rises, the value of the product (content) must increase to decrease pirating.

So, if you don't want to decrease the price point, and you can't think of an economical way to increase the probable cost to acquire the content, then you have to increase the value of the product. How can you increase its value? Well, for one, make it as easy as possible to get a copy of the content legally, and make that product as easy to use (for all values of use) as the pirated version.

However, content owners will simply view the equation as a need to come up with a cheap way to make the probable cost of acquiring the content alternately more expensive. Through higher rates of fining, or higher fines, or making piracy more difficult to achieve.
Changing the usability of the content or decreasing the price point are things the studios simply won't consider.

Comment Regulation (Score 4, Insightful) 333

Our government officials are screaming that regulation is killing our economy. And those of use that don't live in the USA are constantly told that in the future we will need to align our current regulations to that of the USA, regardless of how valuable they are, all in the name of the race to the bottom.

The supervolcano explosion or extinction-sized meteorite strike can't happen soon enough. We've proved beyond a reasonable doubt that we aren't worthy of surviving.

Comment Re:Suprise (Score 1) 858

Nope. Its because some men feel that watching tv with their women counts as quality time. My wife and I occasionally watch the same TV. She doesn't like hockey & baseball and I don't watch whatever it is she watches. When we do watch the same stuff, we're both watching because we're both interested. I don't make her watch what she doesn't want to and I don't watch what I don't want to. Maybe we're just comfortable enough with our own lives, that we don't need to be in each others' company all the time ??

Quality time with my wife doesn't include a TV.

Comment Re:Not seeing how this is any different. (Score 2) 240

I was in a '82 Honda civil at highway speeds as the car in front of me changed lanes. The Ford LTD now in front of me hit the nearly stationary car in front of it. Its rear end rose with the impact. I was able to bring my car to a stop just short of the bumper when the Chevy Econovan plowed into me from behind at 100 km/h. The Ford's bumper sheared off my hood. My glasses ended up sitting on the Ford's bumper. Every window in the civic was smashed. I had linear bruises from my seatbelt.

The engine was still running.

Tough little car, caught between a immovable object and an irresistible force.

Comment Re:Calculating "environmental cost" (Score 1) 530

For the sake of argument, if we assume that national governments are neutral in this, then they can place a proper value on that environmental cost. The downside of this, of course, is that means that the cost value will be set by politicians.

Even if the cost assigned is incorrect (too high or too low) at least it starts the conversation. Some energy generators do not like the benefits/subsidies given to other classes of power generation and some energy generators can point to their type as having a lower environmental cost. It is also obvious that some environmental costs are unknown as we simply everything about what we're doing.

What needs to be recognized that damming the river to generate power has an environmental cost, not just a construction cost. Wind turbines have downside. Solar panels have downsides. Nuclear fission (and potentially fusion) process have environmental costs, including the mining of the raw fuel. Fossil fuels have environmental costs. If we fail to take into account these costs (i.e. if we fail to recognize the downside to any power source) we risk basing our economy on a false values. If the governments let coal burners dig coal out of the ground for free (no royalties) but charge natural gas burners royalties, we can imagine that we will lean toward burning coal, as it may be cheaper due to the royalties.

Right now, the economics of long term damage are wrong. Individual companies are taking profits from risk they are downloading to the state. The state has no method for properly obtaining money to fix the problems created by the companies. If the cost to the company reflected the environmental cost for that product, then the market will move to the least cost options first.


you've asked "who". The short, sad answer is the same people who decided subsidies in the first place. Politicians. If they can hand bucks to folks to generate power, they can hand bills to folks who generate power in the same way. Hoping, of course, that their decision point of view is for sustainable economics, and not short term advantage.

Comment Re:The low pressure means the parachute couldn't w (Score 1) 99

Great post! With the way you wrote that comment, I can't tell if you're posting that crap to make a humourous contribution or if you actually believe that conspiracy-theory nutter! Well played.

Unless, of course, you were serious about your post. In that case, I pity you.

Comment Re:What's your plan to stop terrorism? (Score 5, Insightful) 243

And yet he posted as AC - the irony here is palatable.

The reasons why encryption is necessary for the internet to actually function are legion. The reasons why making things hard for government surveillance are likewise manifold.

I am not obligated to provide you the education to realize that private communication being private goes to the core of western democracies. I ask you this: I could use physical mail to send communication back and forth. Without a warrant, this communication cannot be read. I could also write this communication in a code, before I mail it. These facts are set. The legal protection of these papers is set. Any yet, some people believe that electronic communication should not be private. There are wonderful existing reasons why physical mail is protected. Why have we allowed governments to decide that simply because the format of communication has changed, its protection is no longer needed?

a professional spy working for a spy agency is complaining that the easy methods to gather communication are becoming obsolete, because folks are protecting their communication. Meanwhile, credit card agencies are bringing in tighter security to ensure credit cards are protected. Security is good for business. Security is good for the internet. Security is good for communication. Security is good for law enforcement. If the easy, cheap ways are beaten by simple encryption, then proper investigation is necessary. Getting permission to spend that money usually requires a warrant to justify its expenditure. Any government action/investigation that needs a warrant for justifications for invading an individual's rights will be done properly, using better tools.

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