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Comment Re:Storage? (Score 1) 282

The bigger problem is that as great as pumped hydro is, there's a lot of awesome places for windmills and solar panels that also happen to be deserts with no water and many are also flat, with no place uphill to pump it to even if you had the water.

The giant battery farms are interesting, but after 10 years what percentage of the batteries need to be replaced? Because battery tech is so primitive, building lots of battery farms with batteries that burn out after a decade starts to sound like a real problem, especially if it involves massive mining efforts for lithium at 10x the current demand.

Personally, I'd like to see more done with raised mass storage, including some of the novel systems using large concrete "pistons" over a column of water. During the day (or when the wind blows, etc), water is pumped under the mass, raising it up, and at night the water flows the other way, spinning the pump/turbine.and generating power.

It's kind of like pumped hydro, but all you need to do is dig two cylinders for pumping the water from/to the mass, you're not as dependent on pre-existing geography.

Comment Re:It's pretty simple (Score 1) 167

I happen to like cold water, at least in the summertime.

However, I really don't like icemakers in freezers. 1) They take up a lot of space, and 2) they use tap water, which is nasty. There doesn't seem to be a way to easily plumb them to use the RO water I buy, so the icemaker in my freezer just sits unused, wasting space. And no, those crappy filters they put in fridges these days are not a proper substitute. 1) They're not reverse osmosis, they're just shitty charcoal filters, and 2) they're horribly expensive to replace.

They should make icemakers easily removable. I'm perfectly capable of making ice myself with trays, which lets me use the water I prefer and not the nasty tap crap.

Comment Re: God no (Score 1) 155

Um, I don't know about you, but while I do admittedly charge my phone on the bedside table, the phone is sitting usually face-up. That means the main camera is pointed at the table surface directly below it so it's useless, and the front-view camera is pointed at the ceiling. The only thing that front-view camera is ever going to see in that position is the belly of one of my cats when they decide to walk over it. (Sometimes the phone is face-down, but this isn't really any different, except that hackers will now have a higher-resolution view of my cat's underside.) The mic is definitely an issue though.

The devices that come to mind immediately as a real danger in this way are these new "smart TVs", since on these any camera is pointing directly at the users in their normal TV-viewing positions. If the TV is in a bedroom, that means it's probably pointed at the bed and has an excellent view of whatever activity happens there. And why a TV could possibly need a camera and microphone, I have no idea. If we ever get to the point where we're Skyping people over TV screens, I can see the use, but we've had Skype-like technology for ages now and it's only rarely used for video chat it seems, and never on a TV that I've ever seen or heard of.

Comment Re:Fail policy; fact checking is usually biased (Score 1) 106

This is simply another fail policy; fact checking of late has be shown to to be biased.

Of course it has. And Hilary Clinton is a Reptoid from the Hollow Earth and Donald Trump has been negotiating with gray aliens for the cure to cancer. Do not believe the people who tell you these are not facts. They're biased.

Comment Sure, Uber is evil. (Score 1) 236

It's an anti-social company that's a horrible place to work. Everybody knows that by now.

What nobody can know for sure is why an individual takes his life, or what circumstances would have to be different.

Take Google, which in several recent lists is the best company in America to work for. Google has just shy of 60,000 employees. Given the US suicide rate of 46/100,000, if Google were largely reflective of that you'd expect 28 suicides/year among Google employees. Of course (a) not all Google employees are Americans and (b) Google employees are economically better off than most people in their societies, so you'd expect there to be a lower rate of suicide. But it's safe to assume a dozen Google employees a year take their lives.

And if you look at them as individuals, you'd inevitably suspect work stress was involved, and if you'd look you'd probably find it -- because it's a chicken-or-egg thing. Suicide is a catastrophic loss of coping ability; when you head that way you will find trouble everywhere you turn.

When something like this happens to an individual, everyone feels the need to know why -- even strangers. But that's the one thing you can never know for certain. Now if suicide rates were high for Uber, then statistically you could determine to what degree you should be certain that Uber is a killing its employees with a bad work environment (or perhaps selecting at-risk employees).

I think its inevitable and understandable that this man's family blames Uber. And it's very likely that this will be yet another PR debacle for the company. But the skeptic in me says we just can't know whether Uber has any responsibility for the result.

Comment Can globalisation help ? (Score 3, Interesting) 167

The big manufacturers sell their products world wide. This means that they need to make them comply with the various standards that exist in different parts of the world. The EU market is about the same size as the USA one. The EU has its own energy standards and labelling, if the EPA Energy Star goes away in the USA they could simply display the EU ones in the USA. USA consumers would quickly learn what it was about, the manufacturers would save costs by not having to have their stuff tested twice; everyone wins. Going for global standards is where we will probably end up sooner or later anyway.

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