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Comment Re:No surprise (Score 1) 269

Generally no, the consumer never sees this price. The price-per-MW is going to be for transmission system exchanges ("power highway"), instead of distribution system customers ("local streets"). Odds are that the customers will see their bills go up in a month or two, as the power company exercises clauses in their utility contracts to 'cover their costs'.

In practice, it heavily depends on the customer's billing schedule. Here in Portland, OR, I have a fixed residential rate. Some companies, such as Pacific Gas & Electric (CA), Southern California Edison, and Hawaiian Electric, use (optional?) time-of-use (TOU) pricing, where the residential prices are higher during 'peak hours', when everyone is getting ready for work, or returning home and turning on their televisions. These TOU programs often have "if it didn't save you money, we'll bill you the fixed per-kWh rate" options. Real-time pricing for residential customers has been tested a few times, but hasn't been rolled out, for both technical and programmatic reasons. Check out the Olympic Peninsula GridWise Demonstration and the Pacific Northwest SmartGrid Demonstration from PNNL, starting here:

Comment No surprise (Score 1) 269

This is actually perfectly normal behavior from real-time priced power markets. There's a certain point where the consumers are going to become non-responsive (you'll pay $1000/MWh if it's 90 degF in your house as the sun is setting) and that non-responsive load exceed the available generation. There needs to be enough dispatch-able generation (like the gas generator in the article) to cover all of the non-responsive load, or you get "market failures" like this, where the effective spot price climbs to infinity.

Source: demand-response simulations with GridLAB-D, a powerflow & residential simulator.

Comment Yes, it's okay (Score 1) 765

There are cases where it's okay to up and leave, yes. Management may want two weeks to wrap up loose ends, but it's just a matter of 'being polite' or 'being professional'. Yes, your references will suffer.

On the other hand, it's remarkably rare for employers to offer the same two weeks when they want you to be out the door, ranging from "there are free cookies in the lobby" to "this isn't working and you're done on Friday". So it's really a matter of turnabout being fair play.

Comment Insanity (Score 1) 1651

Ultimately it should be a personal choice, but there's an element of wisdom in wearing a helmet.

I've been in two bike accidents (and am not yet 30), both times seemingly random faceplants at low speed. The first one was with a helmet, and I looked pretty banged up for it. The second was without a helmet, and required stitches.

Helmets are that ounce of prevention, and while bicycle accidents are statistically less fatal than car accidents, safety measures are still a very good idea.

Comment Load contracts (Score 2) 295

The fact that it's M$, as mentioned above, is a fluke. Large power consumers will enter into contracts that say 'we will use Xm to XM power annually with S loadshape, will not consume more than L peak power at once, and will throttle our power use up or down if asked to N times a year fo D days.'

Deals like this help optimize generation and keeps the grid balanced. Unlike in SimCity, you can't just plop down a stack of generators and wait for load to catch up with it, the generators have to output at a fixed 50/60hz (+/- a little). Like a truck engine, the fuel required to keep a particular speed is dependent on the load at any one time. Forecasting this load then becomes an issue that a *lot* of utilities put time, money, and effort into, so that they can ramp up or down as needed, keep to their own contracts of power quality and quantity, and efficiently use the generators they have. It's not like they're happy about selling less power when the loan payments on the multimillion US$ generator comes up each month.

The power customer with simply taking the more contractually prudent course of action ~ spending $70k, rather than spending $210k. The fine is as much to cover the fuel burned on generators that were left spinning for the customer as to thwack them upside the head about contracts.

(disclaimer, I write software for the energy industry)

Comment Re:Not sure about the thesis of the article, but.. (Score 1) 718

There hasn't been any mention of the tactical response times offered by a carrier. Sure, a country can launch ICBMs and strategic long-range bombers for long-range offense, but having a floating city twenty minutes out from the operational theater changes the game a fair bit.

In the rarely employed non-combat roles, there's again the benefit of having however many tens of thousands of tons of ship and resources at your disposal on-site.

Comment Hat-controller (Score 4, Funny) 219


A mouse that has a dedicated scroll wheel for hats.
Extra buttons for hat-based emotes: tip, straighten, salute, decapitating throw.
Two- and three- factor authentication.
Age recognition scanners to auto-ban 13-year-olds.
Hat-shaped controllers with force feedback.
Tickle-Me Companion Cube with lifelike 'clunking' sounds.

Comment Re:If this article... (Score 1) 398

Market value and strategic value are independent of each other. "Meaningful value" lacks quantifiable metrics.

What's the value of a company that designs and orders build contracts for entertainment devices? If the manufacturing is overseas?
What's the value of a company that refines aluminium and steel alloys? If they do this domestically?

Comment Good Idea (Score 1) 67

This is a really good idea, considering the fuel cost to get something up into orbit, plus the nonzero risk of the launch itself. Heck, if we can start with refurbishing 'orbital junk', we're getting into orbital manufacturing. Mix in an odd asteroid for raw materials, and we might actually get off this rock!

Comment Re:Erosion of the Commons (Score 2, Informative) 544

In general, the *USA* laws say that you can legally photograph anything visible from public property that does not require "specialized equipment", and anything on public property. You cannot legally take photographs of places where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, including in restrooms, within private dwellings, and underneath clothing. Exceptions exist, but the law is far less restrictive than social norms are about photography.

The UK laws imply that you have the right to apply lubricant, if you brought it, before they violate your rights.

IANAL, but I have fun with a DSLR, and educate myself on what I legally can or can't do with it.

In the parking lot, the most the guard has the rights to do is to ask you to leave, and to escort you off the property. The police can escort you off the property, should a representative ask you to leave. Confiscation of cameras in the US is theft. Charges of wiretapping are bullshit, and routinely overturned when some police officer feels threatened by a camera.

Comment Re:I don't know... (Score 1) 138

You must've never played on "Hard" or "Realistic". It's fairly tricky to set up an agent with believable vision and believable hearing. Being able to distract guards by throwing a bottle, and having them investigate fallen comrades, was a new level for agent environment awareness for the day.

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