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Comment Re: Not gonna happen (Score 3, Insightful) 298

His point is that there aren't really any oil companies left anymore. Most of the 'big oil' companies are now fairly diversified energy companies. Fusion would be great for them, because it has very large capital costs, but huge return on investment, meaning that only companies with experience in power systems and a lot of spare capital will be in a good place to be first movers. They wouldn't want to kill this, they'd want to own it and be the first to provide electricity in the kinds of quantities promised by fusion.

Comment Re:Reads Like An Ad (Score 5, Insightful) 298

I'm in my 50s, and I've been hearing that practical fusion generators were only 10-15 years off since I was a little nerdling

There was an article a few years back that put these in perspective. They pointed out that N years in the future really means $M dollars more spending in the future and that these predictions have been quite consistent: if we'd kept funding at the anticipated rate in the '60s, we might have working fusion already.

Comment Re: Ahh (Score 1) 67

From one device, you're right. From a few tens of thousands or more, it does, and the costs of storing it all on the server add up very quickly. Even if it's only 9.6Kb/s (enough for telephony), ten thousand users adds up to around 100MB/s, or about 7.7 TB/day. With a million users, that's a pretty difficult cost to justify.

Comment Re: Ahh (Score 1) 67

Typically, these things use a very low-power DSP to recognise the pattern of plosives and sonorants that match the trigger word. They keep a very small ring buffer of audio and wake up a more power-hungry chip if there's a possible match. They won't record all of the audio, because it would be too power hungry and they won't stream it all to a remote server because the bandwidth costs would be too high.

Comment Re:Google, Motorola, Intel . . . (Score 1) 265

And California would be sucking pretty badly without Silicon Valley too.

Without Silicon Valley, California would still have Hollywood, which adds a lot to the state's economy. California would look pretty bad if you took out San Francisco, Los Angeles, and their surrounding areas, but most states would look pretty bad if you took away 75% of their population.

Comment Re:"Anonymous platform moving away from anonymity" (Score 1) 71

I think that it was more text based(and obviously included vastly more overhead, being a smartphone 'app' and all); but your summary is chillingly accurate. Take the awesome power of an internet connected general purpose computer and carefully emulate a moderately obscure, insecure, and kind of noisy short range communication medium. I can't imagine why it wasn't more popular.

Comment Re:So.... Yik Yakked? (Score 1) 71

In a sane world, their body would have been cold ages ago; but given how big the hype for "social/mobile" is, and the chatter about "zOMG did Facebook/Google/etc. 'miss mobile???" the VCs probably figured that it was a worthwhile bet just because it had a chance of scaring one of the incumbents enough to get bought out for stupid money(not entirely implausible, given things like instagram and tumblr somehow being 'worth' a billion dollars each).

It's annoying; but a really stupid investment can be sensible if somebody even dumber is available to take it off your hands for more than you paid. In this case, it looks like that won't be happening; but I can see why somebody would be willing to make the bet(as part of a diversified portfolio, anyone who invested more than they could afford to lose in one company, especially something dumb like this, is denser than most rocks).

Comment Re:What do UK, USA, Aus, NZ, Can have in common? (Score 1) 99

I agree, though even with the Theresa May et. al. view of accepting the referendum results there are problems they're glossing over - Leave only won by 1.8%, but it's not clear that they can show all 51.8% prioritise immigration as their reasons for leaving, when prominent Leavers like Daniel Hannan say immigration wasn't the reason he wanted to leave I think it's entirely dishonest to make the case that immigration reform has to become before all else, even if we leave there's no evidence that a majority support leaving and screwing ourselves based primarily on immigration changes.

But this is why parliamentary scrutiny is of fundamental importance, to challenge the idea that a vote to Leave in the referendum is a vote for Theresa May's cabinet to be the sole decider of what shape that takes even if that completely defies the democratic will of the populace.

Even if you ran the referendum again, and even if Leave won again, which I suspect they wouldn't, I do not for one second believe you'd ever get a majority supporting exiting the European Economic Area even if we leave the EU, and yet that's exactly what they're proposing despite there being not even remotely near a majority for it. A substantial number of even the hardest Brexit voters still support the idea of remaining in the common market.

Thus May's government simply cannot keep claiming they have a democratic mandate, they were given a mandate for one thing and one thing only - leaving the EU, they have no mandate to decide anything else beyond that regarding immigration, access to markets and so on and so forth. Democracy is also not a one time thing, so I also absolutely agree that any package should be put to the people in a second referendum with the option of rejecting it and staying in the EU - democracy is about giving people choice to decide, and people's views change. It's not democracy if you refuse to recognise that change, otherwise we could merely declare the referendum result invalid because people previously voted to join in 1972, if singular votes define things for all eternity then why not that one? The whole argument against a second referendum is fundamentally democracy denying, despite the argument they make that it's a refusal to accept the will of the people - finding out the will of the people on a rolling basis by definition cannot be classed as refusing the will of the people.

Comment home cinema (Score 1) 337

The main reason left to go to a cinema is that the screen is bigger and the sound system is fantastic. Everything else you can have at home.

With a good home cinema setup, you can come close, and you have none of the expensive popcorn, queues, guy next to you getting on your nerves, obnoxious advertisement and other bullshit. Plus you can pause the movie to get a drink from the kitchen and cuddle your cats while watching.

Cinema is on the way out. Once Hollywood understood the lesson that the music industry had to understand, things will get better.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 1) 322

The equivalent of "stop outsourcing" would be like Wyoming blocking imports of almonds from CA just because it wants its own local almond farmers to have business.

I agree that the question isn't borders. If you are in Texas, northern Mexico is more "local" than NYC. But in either case, China is not local.

People *are* permanently unemployed. Not a large percentage of the population but unemployment has never been 0. Ever. I'd say what well-intentioned tariffs we've passed to try to keep unemployment down aren't working very well. And with the upcoming onslaught of automation...I don't see how you *can* keep people from being unemployed for long periods of time.

The part that's never zero is called "structural unemployment", and was mentioned in the part that you cut. People between jobs, people who are moving, etc.
But unemployment-because-you-cant-find-a-job is not god-given, and in fact in various countries around the world there have been periods when this unemploymend was zero.

"the upcoming onslaught of automation" - the 60s called. They want their argument back.

Rather than cling onto the idea that everyone needs to be employed (when reality obviously isn't letting that happen), perhaps it's time to revisit how we make sure every citizen is taken care of in a post-industrial society and this idea that "everyone needs to work".

Oh, I agree on that. I've had periods in my life without a formal job (self-employed, my own small company, not working very much) that were wonderful except for the not-much-money part. If that were somehow covered, I'd immediately go back to working 20 hours a week, or 80 hours a week on stuff that I love.

Trade and technology are the 2 pillars that create wealth

How we are all caught in the Silicon Valley mantra and the Venture Capitalist religion. Most of the really large and powerful companies in the world are not called Google and Facebook. They are energy companies, food companies, and a dozen others. Trade and technology matter, but you buy an iPhone every year while you buy food every day.

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