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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.)

Comment It's "Don't pull the rug out from under me" (Score 1) 384

... the sheer number of "why would you want that at all" or "nobody needs that" or "the software is fine as it is" type responses from software users. What is particularly puzzling is that its not the developers of the software rejecting the suggestions -- its users of the software ...

You've answered your own question. To mix a few metaphors:

One of the things about software is that a LOT of people stand on the shoulders of each giant - by being users of his code. A change that isn't a straight augmentation (and even some that are intended to be) can shift the sand under their castles and bring them crashing down.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

If you look in the FEMA site, they say that they provide gramts to perform repairs not covered by insurance. And no, they don't do a needs test. Now, the typical rich person does not let their insurance lapse just so that they can get a FEMA grant. Because such a grant is no sure thing. They also point out that SBA loans are the main source of assistance following a disaster. You get a break on interest, but you have to pay them back.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

I understand your point about view land being desirable even though it's a flood risk. I live a mile or so from the Hayward fault. But I have California's risk pool earthquake insurance. The government wouldn't be paying me except from a fund that I've already paid into. I imagine that the government does pay some rich people in similar situations, but as far as I'm aware disaster funds go to the States from the federal government and should not in general become a form of rich people's welfare. Maybe you can find some direct evidence to show me that would make the situation more clear.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

What you are observing is economics. As a city or town population grows, the best land becomes unavailable and those who arrive later or have less funds available must settle for less desirable land. Thus many cities have been extended using landfill which liquifies as the San Francisco Marina District did in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, or floods. Risks may not be disclosed by developers, or may be discounted by authorities as the risks of global warming are today.

Efforts to protect people who might otherwise buy such land or to mitigate the risks are often labeled as government over-reach or nanny state.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

Oh, of course they were caused by misguided engineering efforts. Everything from the Army Corps of Engineers to Smoky Bear goes under that heading. The most basic problem is the fact that we locate cities next to resources and transportation, which means water, without realizing where the 400-year flood plane is. Etc. We have learned something since then.

Our problem, today, is fixing these things. Which is blocked by folks who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change, or even cause and effect at all. They don't, for the most part, register Democratic.

Comment The problem with your explanation (Score 5, Insightful) 307

The problem with your explanation is that it's fact-based, and stands on good science. This is the post-truth era. Thus, the counter to your argument will be:

  • Evidence for a human cause of erosion is thin and controversial, and is being pushed by loony liberals.
  • We need those oil and shipping jobs, and jobs building and maintaining levees, not more regulation that stifles them!
  • Cause and effect is not a real thing, except for one cause, God is behind everything.
  • This is part of God's plan for us. The end time is coming, and when the Rapture arrives it will not matter that Louisiana's coast has eroded. Cease your pursuit of unholy science and pray to save your soul!

Comment Re:Gen X was the same (Score 1) 214

Yep, I drank the Kool-Aid at Amazon in 2001 for a year, six figures. Never made quite that much again but it sure did help on the resume. And no, I won't go back there no matter how many head hunters call me. At least I was able to use that flush to buy a house in 2001 that we sold in 2007, walking away with $160k to out right own the house I live in now away from the city.

I ended up working for a French aerospace firm with killer benefits, fully paid healthcare, four weeks vacation, matching 401k, but lower pay. I also don't have to commute to downtown Seattle everyday, just from Tulalip Bay to downtown Everett. One of the major reasons that I have stay with my company is when my wife died back in January they were very supportive. Sent flowers and a card signed by all the managers, five weeks off, don't worry about it, anything we can do to help? Loyalty and truly caring about a co-worker is something a bigger paycheck just doesn't match. They will have to pry my cold dead fingers from my ergo-metric chair.

Comment Re:Two things (Score 1) 214

I also miss the standard 5% APR savings account. These days you can hardly find anything offer better than 1%, if that. Hell, I'm damn lucky that I inherited into a fund that is guaranteed 2.9% that I can only touch when I'm 62.

All the cream has been taken by the 1% and we're just left with the watery milk.

Comment Old rules prevent creating new networks (Score 2) 71

The old rules prevent anybody (with enough money) from buying an outlet in each of the bulk of the markets and setting up a new network. (That would be doable even by parties of relatively modest means, because there are a lot of little stations that are hanging on by their fingernails which might be available cheap.) They're limited to directly reaching about a third of the potential viewers (and partnering with other owners if they want to reach more).

Meanwhile, they don't keep someone from buying up essentially all the outlets in a particular area (since taking over more of the stations doesn't add any more potential viewers).

Both of those reduce diversity - the first nationally, the second within regions.

Seems to me that eliminating the rule would fix the first one and increase the diversity of opinion available to viewers.

(Meanwhile, if the FCC wants to prohibit something to try to increase diversity, they could limit the number of outlets within each region a single party could own. That would also free up some outlets for new wholly-owned network builders, too.)

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