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Comment Re:Not good at math (Score 2) 776

You only need to cover a half a percent of the Earth's surface with off-the-shelf 15% efficient PV panels to provide all of humanity all of its energy needs.

This is true, but the problem is, solar power is at the wrong place and time.

It would be entirely feasible to power Arizona using concentrating solar plants. Those plants could use thermal storage to provide power during the night. They could provide baseline power, all year long.

If we wanted to power the United Kingdom with renewables, however, it would be a very different matter. Concentrating solar thermal plants in the UK would have almost zero output for about 5 months out of the year. Photovoltaics would have very little output during the day in mid-winter there, and no output during the night. It is not possible to power the UK using wind turbines.

It would be very difficult to power densely-populated areas in northern latitudes using renewable power. That is why we need nuclear power for those areas.

Comment Re:Quite the opposite: Nuclear is not enough (Score 3, Insightful) 776

Why does everybody overlook that uranium resources are limited and that what is available today barely can feed the existing reactors?

Because the claim isn't true.

Nuclear energy has brought nothing but trouble and wasted shiploads of money.

What? Nuclear energy has provided almost 20% of electricity worldwide and has powered entire first-world countries such as France. It has averted millions of deaths (over 30+ years) that would have occurred if we had burned coal instead. Is that really "nothing"? Is it really a waste of money?

Comment Re:The problems with nuclear aren't pollution.... (Score 1) 776

1) Expense. nuclear power is incredibly expensive to do safely

Nuclear power is not incredibly expensive to do safely. New nuclear power plants are far safer than those a Fukushima and would not have melted down under those circumstances. They cost modestly more than coal-burning.

And if you have a nuclear plant you have most of the really hard bits of a nuclear weapons program.

This is not true at all. Nuclear reactors are not helpful in gaining a nuclear weapons program.

It's uranium enrichment that helps with a nuclear weapons program. However there is already an international treaty whereby any one of seven countries will provide any other country with a 30-year stockpile of nuclear fuel if that country wishes to pursue nuclear power. As a result, it is not necessary to enrich uranium in order to have nuclear power. As a result, it's entirely possible to separate nuclear power from nuclear weapons.

Comment Re:Logic! (Score 1) 776

That may be true, however a typical coal burning plant still causes more deaths over its lifetime than a nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. An average coal-burning plant causes thousands of deaths from respiratory disease and heart disease throughout its 40-year lifetime (not taking into account the deaths that will be caused by climate change) whereas the total number of predicted fatalities from all 4 melted down reactors at Fukushima is less than 1,000.

Comment Re:Logic! (Score 1) 776

How many square kilometers of land have been made completely uninhabitable for the next 200 years or so as a result of coal power?

If you count global warming and sea-level rise, then large areas of the surface of the Earth including Bangladesh and Florida, will be uninhabitable for 3,000+ years.

All I can do is pull my hair out and cry.

Climate change is caused by a confederacy between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives deny that it exists, and liberals make it happen.

Comment It's an excellent musem (Score 4, Informative) 93

If you're ever in Los Angeles, you should visit the museum. The specimens are only about 50,000 years old and they were almost perfectly preserved by falling into the tar pits. Their skeletons are remarkably intact. It's not like dinosaur fossils which are extensively reconstructed. Every last little bone and joint is original and in excellent condition.

There are all sorts of massive mammals like sabre-tooth tigers, giant sloths, giant camels which apparently roamed North America until fairly recently, etc.

It's a worthwhile excursion if you happen to be in LA.

Comment Re: should slashdot be asking if the U.S. should b (Score 1) 659

Are you sure that's not a crackpot source?

From wikipedia:

The introduction to a book later published containing each panelists' papers noted that Bacque is a Canadian novelist with no previous historical research or writing experience.[40] The introduction concludes that "Other Losses is seriously—nay, spectacularly—flawed in its most fundamental aspects."[39] The historians conclude that, among its many problems, Other Losses:[39]
misuses documents;
misreads documents;
ignores contrary evidence;
employs a statistical methodology that is hopelessly compromised;
made no attempt to see the evidence he has gathered in relation to the broader situation;
made no attempt to perform any comparative context;
puts words into the mouths of the subjects of his oral history;
ignores a readily available and absolutely critical source that decisively dealt with his central accusation.
As a consequence of those and other shortcomings, the book "makes charges that are demonstrably absurd."[39]

Comment Oh thank goodness... (Score 2) 184

Finally, they have a chemical process to verify that the $500/kg coffee is, in fact, Kopi Luwak. Thank goodness! Gone are the days of me paying $500/kg for coffee and not being able to tell if it's Kopi Luwak or just Folger's. I'm a discerning customer with stringent tastes. I want to know if the $500/kg coffee I'm drinking is actually high-quality. I don't want any of that $5/kg shit being passed off as $500/kg coffee, and then I don't notice and get ripped off.

Comment Re:I skim RT daily (Score 1) 254

I read RT for the first time today and was surprised how crude it was. It consisted mostly of articles that were obviously written to stir up hatred/anger towards the US, and towards the west more generally. One article referred to the Bank of England as "monetary jihadists" and claimed they are "financial terrorists".

That kind of propaganda is just way too crude. The average person can see through it.

RT would be much more persuasive if they toned it down a lot. Right now, it's just silly.

Comment Re:Last revolutionary M$ product (Score 1) 213

C# is an excellent language, and is superior to Java, in my opinion.

C# hasn't really gone anywhere, because MS isn't really pushing it anymore, but it was well-designed.

There are some other MS products which were pretty good. SQL Server was fine (I realize it was based on Sybase 4). Visual Studio is pretty good.

MS's worst products, in my opinion, were Exchange and Outlook. MS should have fired everyone that was working on either of those. I was astonished that Outlook still sucked so badly after a decade of development. Basic features still didn't work well, in my opinion, around 2008. It's not that hard to write a mail client.

Comment Re:the importance of dominant designs (Score 3, Interesting) 27

Hi Martin. How are things. I didn't even realize you were a slashdot reader. (I worked at Eucalyptus until fairly recently).

In my opinion, cloud APIs are different from the other APIs or architectures you mentioned (WWW, x86/windows, LAMP), in that applications are not written for a particular cloud API. The cloud API is exposed to cloud management tools, not to the applications which will run in the cloud. Thus, the same application will run on either an AWS cloud, or a Rackspace cloud. This situation is quite different from (say) the windows API, which had applications written specifically for it.

The big exception is S3, but the S3 API is very simple and can easily be handled by a compatibility layer.

Furthermore, almost nobody interacts with any AWS API (except S3) directly. Sysadmins interact with the AWS API through tools, like command-line tools and web consoles. The AWS API is only truly important to people who write cloud management tools.

The value of AWS compatibility is in two things: 1) familiar cloud management tools, and 2) hybrid clouds.

Perhaps OpenStack should make a suite of command-line tools and a web console, which resemble Amazon as closely as possible. That way, any deployment scripts etc would continue to work. It doesn't matter very much which web service API the tools are communicating with.

Also, OpenStack may need to support hybrid OpenStack/Amazon clouds in the future. This depends upon whether hybrid clouds take off.

Let me know if you think there's something I'm missing here.


Comment postgres is not oracle (Score 1) 372

I'm a big fan of postgres and have been for many years. I consider it to be an excellent RDBMS.

That said, postgres is not a replacement for Oracle. Oracle has a large number of enterprise features which are too numerous to list here.

One important thing which springs to mind is the lack of index clusters in Postgres, even in the most recent versions. The postgres equivalent (cluster table using index) is just not the same thing at all, or even close. This by itself could easily cause some complex queries to take more than 5x longer in postgres.

Another important thing is that postgres has no equivalent to RAC or other clustering technologies available in commercial RDBMSes. Hot standby is not the same thing.

There are many other examples that are too numerous to list here.

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 1) 566

If you're on a tiny system however this is problematic.

I grant that tiny systems can be a good reason to use proprietary binary formats. With tiny systems, the CPU overhead of comrpession can be excessive.

The definition of "tiny" is changing though. Previously, cell phones used to be "tiny" insofar as they had really small CPUs and little ram. Now even low-end smartphones have 1GHz out-of-order dual-core processors, for which the overhead of compression would be negligible.

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