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Comment Re:Lighting Choices Are Not Extraordinary (Score 2, Informative) 186

I picked lighting because it was the most-obvious waste of words in the article for the sake of green spin.

The "geothermal" mentioned in TFS (who reads articles, really?) is likely a ground source heat pump rather than a subterranean heat source/sink.
I like the efficiency numbers of such heat pumps, but am concerned about diminishing returns over time in areas with unbalanced heating and cooling seasons.
Evanston, IL is close to Chicago - 6450 HDD65, 750 CDD65 .
Assuming the target temperature is 65F (although 70-75 is more realistic in the US) and ignoring heat generation within the space (minimized by using "green" electronics and lighting), the pump could be pulling heat from the ground about 8 times as often as it puts heat into the ground.
This would tend to cool that ground over time, barring external influences.
The well field in what should be a heat source will be warmer than the ambient air on cool days at first, then on cold days after a few cycles, then only on the coldest days.
Once that has happened, they may as well have chosen an air-source heat pump (current models meet their design heat output to around 4F without significant efficiency loss) and foregone the cost of wells.

"Ultra-high efficiency refrigeration" sounds pretty cool.
I was under the impression that regulation of refrigerants to minimize ozone depletion (while in turn increasing global warming potential, but that's a different conversation) led to refrigerant cocktails operating at higher pressures so that their cycles would be useful in temperature ranges suitable for cooling food.
Do they have air-source heat inverters with food coolers as a source and HVAC as a sink?
I almost want to read TFA...

Comment Lighting Choices Are Not Extraordinary (Score 4, Interesting) 186

Daylight harvesting is a nasty misnomer - it really just means turning the artificial light down when natural light makes the space acceptably-bright. This is why Walmart stores built in the past two decades have skylights.
The 2012 IECC requires daylight harvesting or separate switching for daylight zones; complying with new codes is hardly a newsworthy achievement.

LED lighting for commercial spaces just recently reached a point where lumen output, specifically illuminance at the target work plane, can equal that of fluorescent for the same power input.
With a cost roughly double that of fluorescent fixtures, LED fixtures' lamp life allows the owner to spend less on maintenance labor, with a payback on the order of 2-10 years. A company as big as Walgreens would be foolish to use anything other than LED unless they expect to go broke before reaching their ROI.

I like what these guys are doing, but the PR spin is a bit much.

Comment Re:Freehostia (Score 1) 35

Let's pretend for the sake of argument you are one of the good guys - I believe you, but how can an even-less-technical user be sure?
Could something be done during routing traffic in the internet at large to block port 53 for an IP address or a range of IP addresses when there is reason to believe malicious redirection is occurring?
Is protecting a mostly-non-technical majority from falling for DNS-based bait-and-switch tricks worth having to appeal an occasional false positive?

Outside of the scope of TFS:
What do you do with your DNS?

Comment Re:Certified dumb for school use? (Score 1) 245

Dumb enough for primary/secondary school - maybe.
Dumb enough for college (or professional certification/licensure) - no way.
In courses from calculus to physics and beyond, scientific calculators without graphical bells and whistles are adequate for use with problems designed to demonstrate understanding of a subject.
If you really need data visualization use Matlb or Excel.
If you need to test for Matlab or Excel proficiency, let the students hand-write code on the exam.
It's just too easy to cheat with technology to use much of it during testing.

Comment A Non-software Engineer Intern's View (Score 0) 333

If professional programmers risk revocation of their right to program in their state if injury or damage to property occurs due to poor practice, then by all means call them engineers and require them to meet state-mandated licensure requirements.
If the field of programming practiced is unlikely to cause injury or damage to property, require only clients' preferred certifications.
A skilled programmer in either position should be paid well regardless of title.
If programming was easy women and children would be doing it ;-)

Comment Re:This is the in-law's house right? (Score 1) 372

The parent poster is right.
Depending on the local electric utility, you might have to have current transformers and a CT meter for a big single-phase service (over 320A around here).
Unless you have a dedicated transformer with CTs and a meter base far from the house you'll end up with more ugly boxes on the outside wall.

Comment Re:Easy answer (Score 0) 1199

Regarding smokers being more productive than non-smokers:
Non-smokers can stay in the office while on non-smoking breaks.
If an office has flexible hours and smokers choose to come in early so that their combined work time and smoke break time aligns their quittin' time with that of their non-smoking peers they can all do the same amount of work by the same deadlines.
The smokers still take longer, in total, from start to finish.

Is your statement about productivity a suggestion that smokers are actually better/smarter/faster employees?
That seems more a symptom of a Type A personality than of a love for nicotine.

Comment Re:Subscriptions? Donations? (Score 1) 362

That seems more a case of traditional market research into readership demographics than the targeting of individual readers suggested by TFS.
It would be a logical choice to advertise tailgate grocery specials in the sports section rather than the international news section - the opposite may be an indication of tracking and targeting.

Comment Subscriptions? Donations? (Score 2) 362

Once a site delivering free content is popular enough to have significant operating overhead, it's probably worth the effort and money to formally organize the content provider as a for-profit or non-profit entity.
The local newspaper in my town of approximately 100 thousand sells subscriptions to readers who want more than a fixed quota of articles per month.
Wikipedia has fundraisers.
Both of these free content providers have found ways to fund their efforts without using targeted ads.
Suggesting that ad revenue will disappear without personalized ads seems to overlook the fact that many people are willing to pay a fair price for content instead of expecting ads to support their mooching.

Comment Redhat - Ubuntu - Debian (Score 1) 867

The first burned CD I ever had in the late 1990s was a copy of Red Hat.
This was in the day of dial-up internet and my winmodem was either unusable or too complicated to figure out.
Installing Red Hat was an exercise in learning how to install an OS and nothing more.

In 2005 I downloaded and installed Ubuntu for fun after seeing relatively user-friendly Linux installations at the Georgia Tech math lab.
Upon dist-upgrading to Ubuntu 6.06 I found that most of my hardware, including accelerated graphics, worked without significant effort.
A couple Ubuntu dist-upgrades later I experienced a nasty regression in hardware support and switched to only using "LTS" versions for the sake of stability.

One of the recent LTS versions of Ubuntu changed the photo album software used by the default "ubuntu-desktop" metapackage, giving me the feeling that Ubuntu was more interested in keeping up with trends preferred by non-technical users than keeping functional features for nerds.
At that point I switched to Debian stable.
I have old hardware with Debian+GNOME and even older hardware with just CLI - both working smoothly with hundreds of days of uptime.

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