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Comment Re:String theory is just that: a theory (Score 5, Informative) 149

Right, a theory. But if you can't count it, can't measure it, does it really exist?

But we can measure it. Its gravity reveals its existence, its quantity, and its location. So yes it exists. We just don't know what it is, and the detector experiments are testing theories about what it may be.

We also have pretty good estimates of the density of dark matter in the solar neighborhood. It amounts to 0.49 ± 0.13 GeV cm3. This means, if you weight 70 kg, your body contains about 34 trillion electron-volts of dark matter (or 6*10^-20 grams).

Comment Re:The title is misleading (Score 2) 149

results didn't rule out WIMPS, only certain kinds of WIMPS. A new detector the LUX-ZEPLIN will be 100 times as sensitive and continue the search

True, but this is getting quite interesting. The constraints are squeezing the WIMP theory into a corner now. People who had been betting that dark matter would have been detected by now and beginning to suspect that the new detectors will also fail to find it.

Comment Re:Honest callow stupid question... (Score 2) 149

The mass distribution in the galaxy can be determined by measuring the orbital velocity of stars at different distances and positions, which includes not only stars in the galactic disk but a spherical halo that surrounds the entire disk. It turns out that most of the mass of the galaxy is in that apparently nearly empty halo. We can rule out invisible gas, black holes, and any form of solid matter or known particles as the source of this mass, because we could detect them with other means at our disposal. Whatever is contributing all that mass hardly interacts with anything at all, except by gravity. It is not normal matter or anything we currently understand in physics.

Comment This is Their Explanation?! (Score 1) 61

At the time, Apple noted that it didn't actually know what was causing this ... Previously Apple was using a less accurate metadata version of iTunes Match on Apple Music...

This is astonishing. Anyone, and I mean anyone, trying to manage a music collection is terribly aware that "metadata" for music is extremely unreliable, often not even able to correctly assign a track to the correct artist or album, and is entirely unable to determine the actual version of any track. It is basically just a slightly more complex version of deleting files by file name, rather than calculating a hash to determine whether it is the same file! (Gee aren't all files in the world with the name 1.mpg the very same song?)

The idea that Apple "didn't actually know" what the problem was, or how useless and dangerous there "match" approach was is not believable in the slightest, unless we assume extreme incompetence at every level of their music content business... (oh, wait...).

Comment Re: So what is YOUR plan? (Score 4, Insightful) 406

It's slightly worse than that. ISIS are actively trying to usher in the apocalypse. They believe they are the/a key component in the end of the world. Hopefully the desire to usher in the apocalypse is not shared by mainstream Republicans.

The central distinguishing characteristic of Evangelicals, compared to other Christians, is the belief that the Apocalypse is near at hand, and that is a wonderful, wonderful, thing! It is God's ultimate plan for the entire world! The wicked will be smitten and the righteous (themselves, that is) will be rewarded!

Evangelicals constituted more than 40% of all votes that Romney got in the last election.

So, nearly half of Republicans do ardently hope for the Apocalypse.

Comment Re: Good to hear (Score 1) 259

No, she broke the law, but not badly, and not deliberately. The law was vague, and she broke none of the rules, as she was "allowed" to do what she did at the time she did it, like everyone before her. The rules changed after, and she was grandfathered. She didn't leak anything, and the FBI guidelines from previous similar cases is to not prosecute if there was no verifiable breach. There was a theoretical possibility that there was a breach, but no evidence to support that possibility. So with no actual breach, and basic attempts to meet the guidelines at the time it was done, there's no criminal intent, nor actual loss to bother prosecuting.

Your development of the topic refutes your lead-in sentence. If the law is vague, and she broke none of the rules used to implement the law (which is in practice how vague laws are defined), and what she was doing was established practice, and - as you say - actually allowed (no scare quotes) how can she be said to have "broken the law"? This definite conclusion has no support based on your (correct) review of the situation. It is a perilous situation if one can obey all of the rules and yet be declared guilty of "breaking the law".

Comment Re:option for surrender (Score 1) 983

That was my question. Where did the cops get a bomb? Do American cops stock grenades now? Or did some clever officer mix together some common household products he found around the station?

Major cities have bomb squads with bomb disposal robots that use bombs to blow up suspicious packages. Happens all the time. It happened in Los Angeles yesterday and attracted negligible news attention.

Apparently the shooter claimed to have planted bombs. Sending in a bomb disposal robot is the obvious way to deal with that situation. Deciding to use it to blow up the suspect directly is unusual though.

Comment Re:More than a few questions (Score 1) 983

This is a tremendous shift. They didn't just detonate a bomb nearby the subject, the PLACED a bomb near the subject and detonated it. In my opinion that is not law enforcement, that's assassination.

Opinions aside there are a few questions raised: does the bomb squad keep a stock of bombs around? Are they fragmentary devices? Undirected charges or directional? Did they fabricate this bomb themselves or repurpose an existing explosive? Is this something they train for or were they improvising on scene (potentially risking even more lives)? Who made the risk/benefit determination? Similarly, who approved this action? The police chief? The Mayor? Governor? FBI? Justice department? Was compliance with the posse comitatus act waived? By whom?

I think I can answer all of these questions (though of course this is contingent on the information currently available).

Apparently the assailant claimed that he had planted "bombs all around" or some-such. To deal with the situation of a suspected bomb large cities have bomb squads with robots that - yes - carry bombs to blow up other bombs. I am sure you have heard of suspicious packages - that are not bombs - being blown-up. Happens with some regularity. It happened in Los Angeles yesterday and got almost no news coverage, the event is so common.

So they have the bomb disposal robot in the parking structure to blow up bombs, and as an impromptu decision by the commander on the scene most likely, he decided to blow up the suspect instead when he refused to surrender. In such a situation the commander usually has the authority to order a sniper to shoot. Presumably he regarded this as an equivalent action.

Comment Re:Another reason not to run Norton junk (Score 1) 113

I have not installed a Symantec product, or permitted a pre-installed Symantec product to remain, on any machine I control in a decade. In the five or six years before that I made several attempts to use Symantec security or utility products. They were never usable, in some cases they never worked at all. Antivirus programs that insisted on running at 95% CPU all the time if they were installed, but proved very difficult to uninstall. A backup program that did all their backups as uncompressed full image proprietary binary files, wasting huge amounts of storage (when it was not dirt cheap). Fortunately I tested the restore function before I had a need to actually restore, and it did not work on a stable system with no errors. Security products that only reported cryptic, undocumented codes, that even Googling could not explain. Embedded advertising for Symantec products making the thing you purchased into malware. The uninstallation problems also had many malware traits, one actually reinstalled itself and then demanded payment in pop-ups since I did not have an active subscription.

Eventually I said "enough!". I do not know how Symantec got its huge name and status. Not from shipping decent products.

Comment Re:title seems to be misleading, at best. (Score 2) 263

Pumped hydro (your "giant batteries") serve only a single purpose, which makes them much more expensive.

Than what? Other forms of power storage? The natural gas peaking plant alternative? Those are the only relevant points of comparison.

In the U.S., due to the low cost of gas, they are more expensive than gas peaking plants, but not "much more expensive". In the rest of the world they may be competitive with gas. If the cost of gas increases (due to the environmental damage of fracking perhaps, or the imposition of a carbon tax so that it does not get a free ride) then pumped hydro is likely going to be competitive.

They are also only practical for short term generation - generally to shift peak generation to meet peak demand within a single day. They don't work well at all to supply generation capacity over a longer time period - even a few days of low wind or overcast would require a huge pumped reservoir sitting idle for most of the time.

So its great that power storage is not our only option, it is not even a likely option. Long distance power transmission makes these "few days of low wind or overcast" a non-issue it is never the case that the entire continent has low wind, or overcast, much less both. Shipping power back and forth between coasts also pretty much takes care of even the peak demand shifting since the peak is not felt everywhere at the same time. And such a system even makes pumped storage cheaper since it can provide service to the entire grid and thus have a high utilization rate (and can thus invalidate the costs I cite above).

Comment Re:title seems to be misleading, at best. (Score 1) 263

How's that supposed to work in a country like the USA? Grab power from Mexico when needed? By starting with building a nation wide grid? So Texas can use power from Nevada or Florida instead of running ist own isolated grid?

Obviously the "German" or "European" way is portable, see India, Australia, Africa, China ...

In the US, we basically only have 3 grids. Eastern Interconnection, Western Interconnection and the smaller Texas Interconnection. Because of losses over current transmission lines, it doesn't make sense to ship power from Nevada to Florida, but in times of emergency...

FWIW, the Tres Amigas SuperStation project is currently planned to be built to provide a more economical way to transfer power between the 3 interconnections (using DC superconductor technology) in anticipation of the surge in renewable energy plants coming on line in the next decade.

Yes, we certainly have the time needed to build a long distance power transmission solution to make a unified North American electricity market, and fairly exotic superconductor technology is not required. High voltage DC lines have been used to move electricity long distances since the 1930s, and a 800 KV line (such as have been in operation for 50+ years) can ship electricity from San Diego to Portland, Maine with only an 11% loss.

When you have a continent wide grid most of the problems claimed by the persistent nay-sayers disappear (why do they hate new technology so much?). Sunlight in the west can power the evening power slump in the East, and the late night power excess from the East can do the same for the West. The wind is blowing somewhere all the time, etc. Demands for gas peak plants is drastically reduced, and the capacity can be distributed across the continent, and so forth.

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