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Journal Journal: Gone Again!

As always, if slashdot has borked the text, just go here.
She was gone again, shortly before my elderly cat died. I refer to my muse, of course.
I looked everywhere I could think of, to no avail. Stolen again? I went for a walk, on the lookout for that aged black aged Lincoln with that blonde and that brun

Comment Re:Coal is a campaign punchline (Score 1) 425

That's possible, but I think it's unlikely. If Trump were to regulate wind and solar into oblivion, local energy prices would go up and the power companies would simply import power from Canada and Mexico where wind and solar would still be legal and still be cheaper. They'll buy whatever energy is the cheapest. If that's not domestic power then so be it. Money will cast the final vote.

Sadly we don't have the same freedom of choice with internet yet.

Comment Leeches are already back. (Score 1) 425

When will Trump bring back leeching?

They're already back. They're used in limb reattachment surgery post-operative treatment.

When limbs are reattached the arteries work well right away but the veins not so much. So they have poor circulation and inadequate oxygenation, especially at the finger and toe tips. This can lead to further cell death, infection, and transplant failure.

Leeches applied to the extremities of the limbs can pull out enough blood and bring in fresh to keep more cells alive and bring more infection-fighting white cells to the area. And leeches do little damage other than draining blood, and provide their own surgical tools and anaesthetic. (It's in their evolutionary interest to not bother the victim into pulling them off while they're feeding, and not leaving wounds that would make him tend to avoid the location later.) So raised-sterile leeches are used, with substantial improvement in reattachment success rates.

Comment Re:Storage? (Score 1) 425

To pick up where renewables leave off, you want natural gas (or even petroleum) turbines that can quickly be brought on and off line.

Also: If you really are concerned about carbon dioxide, they produce a lot less of it per unit of energy.

In fossil fuels most of the energy comes from burning the hydrogen to water. Burning the carbon to carbon dioxide provides some, but it's mostly useful for packaging the hydrogen. Oil and gas is essentially long-chain-of-carbon molecules with two hydrogens per carbon and two more to cap the ends of the chain (with occasional tree-structures with the same carbon/hydrogen counts, and the odd ring-shaped or multiply-bonded impurity that''s short one or two pairs of hydrogens.)

So oil is a little over two hydrogens per carbon, gas goes from about 2.5 (butane) to 4 (methane). But coal is essentially just carbon. So gas is best, liquid oil fractions are not as good (though convenient for mobile engines), and coal is worst, on the energy/CO2 production ratio.

Comment If coal is dead, killing its bueaucracy won't hurt (Score 1) 425

Coal is dead. ... trying to resurrect something ... dying [from] market forces ... is [perjorative].

This isn't about trying to resuscitate the coal industry (though if it lets it run a little longer and die more smoothly - rather than being suddenly assassinated in a fit of political vitrual-signaling - it will let the miners and their offspring migrate to other jobs, rather than to government assistance.)

It's about killing off the massive, expensive, and intrusive regulatory infrastructure that no longer serves any purpose.
If Big Coal IS being killed by market forces, the government needn't bother killing it off.

It also gives Trump the opportunity to keep a promise to some of his voting base, make political appearances claiming credit for it, and engage in some virtual-signaling of his own (conservative style).

Remember: He didn't promise to bring their jobs back (though if some of the jobs do come back, or existing ones not be ended as soon, it is a bonus). He promised to dismantle the regulations that had already killed jobs - and give a dose of job-killing medicine to the regulators.

I suspect schadenfreud will please his coal-state voters, and the prospect of voter revolts and sweeping reforms may make at least a few future regulators think twice before stomping jackbooted on the faces of those they regulate.

Comment Coal is a campaign punchline (Score 4, Insightful) 425

Coal isn't coming back. It's something that sounded good to Trump's fans on the campaign trail, that's all. The coal industry employs fewer people than freaking Arby's. Fixing the coal industry would be like using a teaspoon to bail out a sinking Titanic. Middle America has far bigger problems that the dwindling coal industry.

Only reason why it's an issue at all is because it sounded good on the campaign trail for Trump's supporters. It's dog whistle politics, not an actual energy plan. To everyone else it sounds like Trump is saying "Coal is the future and will meet our energy needs cheaply and effectively!" Which it absolutely won't. But to his fans, it sounds like this: "Rust belt and former mining communities will get their jobs back and be prosperous again!" Sadly, it doesn't actually mean that either. Deregulate all you want, wind and solar are still going to be cheaper.

I feel bad for those folks in coal country counting on this guy to fix things for them. He isn't going to. He isn't able to. It'll be pretty bitter when they realize that.

Comment I wonder how much is really malware? (Score 1) 130

I wonder how much of this stuff is really leftover Adobe metadata and how much is components of malware?

With 20% to 40% of the code/data space of major applications composed of "along for the ride" data that's never interpreted, there's a LOT of room for malware to park itself, its redundant copies, its resources, and its purloined data without having to actually create files of its own.

Comment Size is still important (Score 3, Interesting) 130

I used to [use a tool to de-bloat images] This was important since much of the world was still on dial-up back then.

It is still important.
  - Some of the world is STILL on dial-up. Even in the US. (especially the rural part: At my vacation/retirement ranch I had only 28kbps until AT&T upgraded the cell tower to LTE last year).
  - Some of the "high-speed internet" isn't very - like DSL at 1.5 or 6 Mbps, or WISPs serving an entire town with what amounts to a WiFi hotspot.
  - Some services charge by the bandwidth used.
  - Some services throttle back "heavy users"
  - Some services sell tiered usage, with higher prices for larger monthly data caps, and killing the link (e.g. prepaid), drastically throttling down (e.g. 4G dropping to 3G speed), and/or charging punitive "overage" rates for bandwidth beyond the pre-purchased tier.
  - As the users get farther away, latency and setup-turnaround for the components of a web page display also slow the process.

Web developers tend to work with disks and servers built into their machine or attached by a fast LAN. So it's easy to miss that the actual users' experience may be slower - even drastically so. (Thus was the web, at the dawn of image-laden web pages, nicknamed the "World Wide Wait".) And they're not charged for that bandwidth, so they also don't get their noses rubbed in the price of it when they receive their monthly bills or hit their monthly caps.

So keeping a web page's bandwidth use small is still useful:
  - Even on broadband it makes it quicker - "snappier" - which improves the user experience.
  - It can reach a wider audience, as those on slower or more latent links don't give up in disgust.
  - It saves some users substantial money.

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.)

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