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Comment Re:"All the jobs are leaving" as unemployment fall (Score 1) 171

And the people who have been out of work for 6 months or a year, how are they tracked? What's that number doing?

FWIW, the unemployment numbers have been "fixed" so many times that I have no trust at all in them. One way the "part-time unemployed" numbers are reduced is by stopping counting them.

That said, just expect this to get worse. Robots are increasingly cheaper to use than humans for an increasing number of jobs. It's not a steady trend, but it rarely reverses.

Comment Re:Depends who pays (Score 1) 295

Actually, wind driven ships with electronically controlled wind-masts aren't that unreasonable. It's been seriously considered several times over the last few decades. Perhaps with advanced technology it will become practical. They won't look like clipper ships, and they won't be fast, but you don't use ships for fast.

Comment Re:Depends who pays (Score 1) 295

I wish that things were as optimistic as your forecast, but the truth is we are ALREADY committed to an extensive change of large, but unknown, magnitude. What we can do now is more along the lines of limiting the damage. Unfortunately, due to lags in the system the results of the current actions don't really show up for a decade or so. And the IPC reports are politically edited to be be too distressing. (AFAIKT they don't actually lie, they merely omit the more extreme projections when calculating their model averages.)

Comment Re:Depends who pays (Score 1) 295

I believe that there actually are ways to use coal that don't significantly pollute. Unfortunately, they also raise the cost considerably. (One of them involves converting the stack gases into limestone. It is claimed that in certain rock formations this can be some simply by pumping them under an "impermeable" layer of rock, but that doesn't really convince me, as too many times there have been too many unreported leaks.)

Comment Re:Then do your homework? (Score 1) 295

While everything *does* have its costs, the land use required by solar and wind is not exclusive use of the land. Solar panels often sit on top of roofs, e.g., and wind towers are often located in pastures. Additionally Solar on rooftops doesn't require any extra cabling, and maintenance is generally trivial. The problem is it's not a base load.

An additional problem with ANY distributed solution is that the power grids are designed to transmit power in *one* direction. When the distributed source gets above around 20% of use this causes problems (given the current design).

P.S.: Wind often also doesn't require much additional cabling, as the power lines often go through exactly the same site as the wind flows. But it does require designing and implementing to allow local power input. (Ugh!)

Then there's the problem of line maintenance. The company that maintains the system generally earns it's money by selling electricity. This means that those who aren't purchasing from them aren't paying for maintenance...but somebody needs to.

So you're right, there are lots of details that need solving, and it's not simple, but you're misidentifying the real problems.

Comment Re:Contrast this with the incoming administration (Score 1) 295

Well, actually the proper answer is good insulation, but that brings in it's own problems (air circulation and quality) and only works if you own the property to start with.

The right answer doesn't involve lots of on-going costs (i.e. energy input), but it *does* require a bunch of up-front investment. How to get from the current situation to the "right answer", however, isn't clear.

Comment Re:Maybe voice activation is overrated? (Score 1) 204

25 years ago, sheets of forced air were common in Las Vegas grocery stores as a way to leave the cavernous doors open and form *some* barrier to the AC getting out into the desert heat.

Today, they're rare, generally replaced with automatic or manual doors. When you do see (err, feel) one, it's usually in conjunction with an automatic door.


Comment Re:Maybe voice activation is overrated? (Score 1) 204

>BTW, the part about knowing who's going to use the
>door and who isn't is probably doable with cameras
>and enough processing power.

Rule 1: if it isn't touching the ground, don't open for it . . .

Side effects would included positive (not opening for drones and birds), and negative (being sued for not opening for the differently gravitationalized, avian-americans, and so forth).


Comment Re:Hell yes (Score 1) 87

>Is there any negative side to Hangouts?

Wait a minute, are you suggesting it has a positive side?

Google voie was far more useful when it could be used on a gmail page without needing to launch another window and ask questions in that window . . .

Failure to ring has become far more common since the hangouts hijacking, too--changing from "rare" to "frequent".


Comment Re:Maybe voice activation is overrated? (Score 2) 204

BTW, the part about knowing who's going to use the door and who isn't is probably doable with cameras and enough processing power.

It is possible, and it has been built. A couple of colleagues in Sweden did just that for one manufacturer, more than fifteen years ago. The idea was to reduce the amount of heat lost from unnecessary door openings in winter, and to a lesser extent from cooling losses in summer.

It would recognize who was aiming for the door versus those that just walked past. It wasn't fooled by dogs or kids (would open for kids, but not dogs) or things like suitcases or prams. During development they built a version that would only open if you did the Vulcan hand sign thing.

But it was too expensive. Automatic doors are not a high-margin business - there's many competitors - and the actual savings did not make up for the higher price. The actual energy losses are pretty minimal for most shops, and door openings are usually not in error. Those that have a real problem with it tend to use revolving or double doors already.

Also, it didn't help that the shops might have needed permission to mount what is effectively a camera pointing out on the street.

Today the hardware would be cheaper, and cameras are far more acceptable. But from what I heard customer interest would still be small.

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