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Comment Re:I know we all hate ads but... (Score 1) 15

I hadn't heard of it either, so I don't even know if we are their target demographic or not. But from TFA, it sounds like something pretty much guaranteed to fail in any case. It sounds like they were trying to create a pay streaming service, i.e. competing with Netflix and Amazon, with the sole technical advantage being their p2p technology. The problem with that is that a) content is king, and they wouldn't have deep enough pockets to buy or create enough content to get a foot in the door, and b) the p2p aspect probably wouldn't go down well with users; the BBC tried that here in the UK a decade ago with the Kontiki p2p platform, but it did not go down well with the public, and they had to drop it. So even if they'd managed to get noticed, I don't think they'd have had much chance. If their technology is actually any good, they'd probably have been better off trying to sell it to someone like Netflix.

Comment Re:Wonder how it compares to Airlander (Score 1) 119

I was wondering the same thing. It's a bit of a non-story without any technical information whatsoever. The NASA prototype airship described by Alan Weston in TFA, which may be along the same lines as what he is developing with Brin, sounds more like Aeros' COSH "Control of Static Heaviness" system; pumping Helium from the main envelope into smaller bags at a higher pressure or vice versa in order to control buoyancy, which is a different approach to the Airlander combination of aerodynamic and buoyant lift. But there's no telling whether that's actually the way Brin's project is going.

Comment Re:Will never happens (Score 5, Insightful) 270

Want to go from City A to City B at 500mph? No problem. We already have a complete infrastructure in place that will allow you to go from just about any city to just about any other city at high speed.

It's called airplanes and airports and has existed since before you were born.

The actual flight part of an airplane trip may be fast, but getting to and from the airport generally is not, because airports generally can't be built right in the center of a city. For short domestic flights, the actual flight time is often only a fraction of the overall trip time. I haven't studied these hyperloop proposals, so I don't know where they're proposing to put the stations, but if they can put them close to city centers, then they could have a huge advantage over airplanes.

Comment Re:Weird, a broken mic is why I replaced my Nexus (Score 1) 68

Hmm, my Pixel's mic seems to be a bit crap, but I don't think it's this fault. It seems to sometimes completely ignore "ok Google", but when I manually hit the mic icon, it then responds fine to voice commands, so the mic itself seems to be working ok. Maybe I need to retrain the voice model. I tried to "ok Google" the other day, and the Pixel in my hand wouldn't respond, but the Sony tablet in the next room did!

Comment Re:it lets me do what now? (Score 2) 82

I'm no fan of pocket, it's disabled in my Firefox, but let's be fair, it does a little bit more than just bookmarks. You can view articles offline, which is still an issue for people who fly a lot (maybe other kinds of transport too) - you can see an article on your desktop browser that you want to read on your flight later, just pocket it and it's done. It does quite a good job of cleaning up pages, kinda like FF reading mode, and joining unnecessarily multi-page articles into a single document, at least on some sites. Sure there have been ways of achieving that since forever, I remember using some software back in the Pocket PC days to grab web pages and sync them to my Pocket PC for offline reading, but I haven't come across anything that makes it quite as easy as pocket. I didn't really play around with it enough to know what else it can do; if I travelled frequently, I'd probably use it, but since I only fly like three or four times a year, and the rest of the time I'm pretty much permanently online, I can't see a use for it.

Comment Re:first (Score 1) 382

See this report for example; excerp - "About 37 percent of Americans live in regions where a Leaf’s greenhouse gas emissions would equate to a gasoline-powered vehicle rated at 41 to 50 m.p.g.". That's about what I get from my diesel car, which is a 2 litre sporty car that delivers a lot more performance than a Leaf while delivering 45mpg. And that's taking the grid in those areas as a whole; it probably isn't 100% coal even in the worst places. So I'm afraid you're wrong.

Comment Re:And what IS "Magic Leap"? (Score 2) 62

The whole issue about Magic Leap is that they've been incredibly secretive about what they're actually developing. So the reason the articles don't explain that is because they simply don't know. Many have speculated that it's some kind of light field display, which would be a big deal, because it could solve the issues associated with all current VR headsets caused by the fact that your eyes are focussed on a fixed position screen close to your face, regardless of where in virtual space the VR object you are looking at is, amongst other things. But until they actually decide to announce a product publicly, or someone in the know leaks something concrete, we really don't know what they're doing.

Comment Re:Two references already to Man-Bear-Pig (Score 4, Informative) 158

The Hyperpigs in Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space series were also human-pig chimeras created originally for human transplant organs;

"The soldier whipped the blanket away from the huddled figure.

The prisoner, crouched into a small foetal shape, squealed against the sudden intrusion of light, hiding its dark-adapted eyes.

Clavain stared. The prisoner was nothing that he had been expecting. At first glance it might have been taken for an adolescent human, for the proportions and size were roughly analogous. A naked human at that - unclothed pink human-looking flesh folded away into the hole. There was a horrid expanse of burned skin around its upper arm, all ridges and whorls of pink and deathly white.

Clavain was looking at a hyperpig; a genetic chimera of pig and human...

Somewhere before the dawn of the Demarchist era, in the twenty-first or twenty-second century, not far from the time of Clavain's own birth, a spectrum of human genes had been spliced into those of the domestic pig. The intention had been to optimise the ease with which organs could be transplanted between the two species, enabling pigs to grow body parts that could be harvested later for human utilisation... The genetic intervention had gone too far, achieving not just cross-species compatibility but something entirely unexpected: intelligence. " From Redemption Ark, by Alastair Reynolds, 2002

Comment Re: DAB is useless nowadays, ever heard of streami (Score 4, Informative) 303

DAB here in the UK is a failure because we adopted it too early, and we are stuck with first generation DAB rather than DAB+. I hope Norway is a bit more advanced. Most of our stations including many music stations broadcast in 64kbps mono MP2 (no joke). So here, DAB sounds like shit, frankly, and because of the many DAB radios out there that don't support DAB+, it will be a long time before we can move on now. I have a good DAB radio in my car, but I primarily listen to internet streams and FM.

Comment Re:Wood burning is not clean (Score 1) 111

You can artificially tie together those two things and call it "carbon-neutral", sure. And you could also plant trees after burning coal (let's say on a small scale) or running your car and claim that coal and gasoline are carbon-neutral as well.

There's nothing artificial about it. If x tons of carbon is locked up in a managed forest, and you burn and plant wood from that forest at such a rate than x tons of carbon continues to be locked up in that forest, then that usage is, both by definition and absolute and incontrovertible weight of fact, carbon neutral. That's what the term means; no net change in the amount of carbon released.

And yes, you could do the same with coal and oil, as long as the trees you plant are new growth, are never cut down, and never counted against any other carbon usage; that is the whole concept of "offsetting". However that is much harder to keep track of, and in my opinion not a great idea.

This is missing the point. We're almost certainly not going to be able to grow enough trees or other plants fast enough to recapture all of the carbon we release through all of our hydrocarbon combustion.

Nobody argued otherwise. The fact that wood burning can't practically be carbon neutral on a massive scale doesn't stop it from being carbon neutral on a smaller scale.

What else would they have done with that wood? To get a proper accounting, you have to compare this to the counterfactual situation where there is no wood burning.

Again, neutral means neutral; no net change in the amount of carbon. Sure, you could potentially do even better than neutral, if the wood is used in such a way that its carbon never ends up being released into the atmosphere, but that doesn't stop neutral from being a good thing to aim at. Solar power and wind power are only carbon neutral; they aren't scrubbing any carbon out of the atmosphere, they just aren't adding any. So sustainable wood burning is on a par with solar and wind power in carbon terms, and I think it's a bit fatuous to complain that that's not good enough.

Comment Re:Wood burning is not clean (Score 2) 111

The only way this logic makes sense is if those trees were planted by humans for the primary purpose of burning.

Look up the Drax biomass generators;

The wood pellets used as biomass fuel at Drax are made from low-grade wood such as forest thinnings, tree tops and branches, as well as residue from sawmills and agricultural waste such as straw and seed husks.
[...]
If you burn wood pellets from the waste cuttings of the timber industry in a converted coal-fired power station, it should be possible to produce electricity that is largely carbon-neutral, provided the carbon of wood fuel is replaced by the carbon of growing trees – which Drax insists is the case.

What? Greenhouse gasses are fungible. It doesn't matter if the carbon was captured recently or (as with coal) in the distant past.

When the carbon was captured is not the issue, the issue is whether there is a net release of carbon. It does not matter whether the trees were planted specifically for power generation, what matters is that the wood is replaced at the same rate that it is used, as would be the case with wood from sustainably managed forests existing in many developed countries. This obviously wouldn't be practical on a huge scale, but there might be scope for a few projects like Drax, converting a coal plant to a renewable (or largely renewable) wood burning biomass plant.

Comment Re:I predict a lot of misunderstandings about BI (Score 4, Informative) 441

Considerable irony here, seeing as you're guilty of misunderstanding BI yourself. There are many different BI schemes proposed, of which what you describe is just one, so saying "that's not how it works" is clearly not very meaningful. The most practical BI schemes are the ones that are fiscally neutral, whereby existing welfare schemes are scrapped, and the budget used to fund a basic income instead. The Finland scheme is of that sort. It's not about modifying or increasing taxes to pay for it; the big change is the scrapping of the existing complex, bureaucratic, and expensive welfare systems in favour of a basic income payment. Tax is supposed to remain pretty much unchanged.

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