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Comment Re:One consistent theme (Score 2) 605

With extinction looming on the horizon if we do nothing

What's the mechanism? How does one go from modest sea level rises over long periods of time to extinction? No one has presented any threat related to AGW that is significant enough to cause human extinction. Instead it's all idle hysteria.

Extinction may be overreach. But if you think about it, climate change means more rain and hurricanes in some places (and we get an idea of how much record-breaking hurricanes are costing us already), and maybe more importantly drought in others. We actually do have an example of what happens when drought affects crops in a region - war:


So the Mayans, numbering over a million in the Yucatan in 800AD, fell to less than 200k, just 100 years later (numbers coming from memory of a Jared Diamon book - correct me pls). It was almost a 90% drop in population due to war, famine, and all the other social effects that more and more evidence indicates were initially due to climate change.

And of course, the Mayans hadn't invented nuclear or even automatic weapons.

Comment Re:Just look at A Better Place (Score 1) 218

I meant the big main battery. This says new (level 3 - 480V?) chargers do 80% charge in 20min. How long does it take to reach 30%?

The small 2nd battery gets swapped and charged more slowly. I also don't mean to imply the idea can only be in charging stations. Maybe you want a little extra, and don't want to spend more than 16min at a diner. Any restaurant that can provide a charger can make space for a few batteries. And, it doesn't have to be only one battery. Why not 2?

I guess the important number is the amount of time you save by going through the trouble. I'm too tired to plug in numbers right now, but welcome any :)

Comment Re:Just look at A Better Place (Score 1) 218

The lack of take up probably has several reasons;
1. Different battery specifications for different vehicles.
2. The need to conform the battery to the dimensions of the vehicle.
3. The additional hardware required to make a large heavy battery swappable.
4. The reluctance of some people to give up their batter for an unknown battery.

We can not even get standard cell phone batteries let alone standard electric car batteries.

All excellent points. And one reason should go above the ones you mention:
0. Huge initial investment of charging stations. What is the cost to retrofit a gas station, or worse build a new changing station ala A Better Place?

However, I've always imagined something similar: Why don't all PHEV's have a 2nd battery - the size of your standard 12volt? You're in a hurry & out of gas. You stop at a gas station, plug your car in. Pop the hood and use a key to unlock 2nd battery. Pull it out and take it to the counter. Your battery gets promptly scanned and plugged in, on a shelf in the back. The battery your given might be in better or worse shape than yours was, but with a little diagnostics, it's all transparent and you might get a credit, or pay extra. Go back to your car and plug it in. You've now wasted 8min of your life, just long enough for the rapid charge to go from 05% to 37% on your main battery. The 2nd one you plug in bumps it up to 47%, and that's plenty to get you home, peace of mind included.
What? You're too lazy/weak/rich to do the manual labor? A $5 charge ($15 rush hr) gets the gas station attendant to do it for you.

The key here is that gas stations need to see a profit, with minimal initial expense. We're talking about a shelf that requires almost 0 change in infrastructure, and just one startup replacement battery (if they see profit with it, they can buy more). The spec would have to be agreed upon or mandated, but this fractional implementation of the Better Place idea would (practically) solve #0, #1, #2, and help with #3 and #4. The down side is that the upside is slashed, but I believe there is a market of people who are in too much of a hurry to wait for the fast-charge to complete.

Comment the waves (Score 1) 756

Oooh, the topic is driving? *steps on soapbox

Who cares where your hands are? There is one rule of safe driving that should always be mentioned b/c it sums everything up:

You must pay enough attention.

That's it. If you drive with with your pinky toe and avoid all accidents, then that's safer than 10/pi and accident-prone. And yes, you can avoid almost all accidents by paying attention. I've twice gotten out of the way when stopped and the car behind me almost plowed through me because I was watching the rear-view mirror. I've avoided a drunk(?) driver running through the light when I had the green arrow b/c I was watching him. 23 years of driving more 'dangerously' than 99% of you, and just one $600 accident. Why? I stopped paying attention (rule #2: don't get bored & start programming your radio when it's icey).

While I'm up here, I have a message to you bottleneckers: quit it! In fact, do the opposite. If the accident is on the other side of the freeway, quit looking and freakin gun it! If everyone were to gun it AT the bottleneck, guess what, there would no longer be a bottleneck!

Read about the waves:

One reason not mentioned is that waves happen because stopping/slowing down is faster than speeding up, if you're lazy. I like to drive through the waves without touching the brakes, but flooring it when I'm at the front of the wave or bottleneck, and I save gas (net) doing it. If everyone (or even a % of us) were to leave space before the wave, then gun it at the front, the wave goes away! The 'gun it' part isn't mentioned in the article, but it makes sense to me. And don't get me wrong, don't gun it so much that you have to hit the brake to not hit the car in front of you, but gun it as much as possible. Also, keep an eye on the traffic colors of your GPS, so you know when your at the front of the wave, if it's that big.

Hrm, there ought to be a 'kill the waves' day to spread awareness.

Comment Re:Why these ideas will not gain traction (Score 4, Informative) 284

Just to add: mandatory insurance allowed additional people to be insured that weren't before. That is something on a lot of people's list at the time:

pre-2008 polls say:
95% said that it is a serious problem that many Americans do not have health insurance
64% said that the federal government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans
60% would pay higher taxes to do so.
But only 43% said that it would be fair for the government in Washington to require all Americans to participate in a national health care plan funded by taxpayers, compared to 48% who said it would be unfair.

That last one is worded differently from what happened, so actually doesn't disprove my point. If they worded it, "require Americans who can afford cheaper insurance from private companies to purchase it", then the numbers would have been more favorable.

> free condom cover
I'm guessing you meant women's contraception. Big difference, although both save this country a lot of money and stress.

Comment Re:"Trust" is for idiots, look at the evidence. (Score 1) 877

Think of the financial industry, for example...

So you own 0 mutual funds I guess. The experts say the US dollar will be around for a long time, but they've been wrong before, so I'm sure you have all your savings in guns and canned food.

It's not just this industry. You can see similar things happen all the time. Food, with partially hydrogenated oils. In medicine you see a lot of treatments that are accepted one day, and then later they decide they are doing a lot of harm. Leaded gasoline was once lauded for it's ability to improve gas mileage by increasing the octane rating of fuels.
So you've never taken any medicine or gone to the doctor I presume.

My point is, it can happen everywhere, and experts are as susceptible to it as anybody.

You do make a rational point in that sometimes experts are wrong. But usually, they're more right than non-experts. And if you don't have the time or resources for giant wold wide studies over decades, then why would you trust your evaluation over the scientists? Really, even if you did have the resources, we as people don't have decades to make a decision. The data is in, the scientists agree. Of course we'll continue to measure and evaluate, but we need to at least do some simple steps to curb this. And what happens if the scientists are wrong? OMG we'll have cleaned up the planet a little, and have technology that makes us less dependent on fossil fuels, what a nightmare. Wait, that is a nightmare for oil companies.


Comment Re:The White House isn't "expressing" shit (Score 1) 273

So this sounds like your guessing what he would do. I guess the opposite, seeing as how he's always had more small contributions from non-corporations than his competitors, and also I'd guess he actually does care about the public interest.

Now, if we switch to facts, then I'd like to point out that H.R.3261 was put forward by a Republican, and seems to be backed more from that party than Obama's:
Interests that support this bill: Republican/Conservative, Christian Conservative
Interests that oppose this bill: Democratic/Liberal

Don't get me wrong, I consider all politicians manipulative jerks, but I try to keep track of which are behaving in the least evil way.

Comment Answer Slashdot: A quick review (Score 1) 792

Last post, so I know there will be no mods. But, I have my opinion, and then, to help answer the question asked, I wondered what Slashdot thought, combined with looking for bills that support/disprove my opinion.

> Consider the candidates (all of them, of any party) as a set. What
> issue can I use to divide them into two groups, such that one group is
> 'for' something and the other is 'against'?"

I'm going to list the Slashdot articles I found - emphasis on actual bills put forward, mostly more recent stuff.

H.R.3261: Anti Net Neutrality (1): Stop Online Piracy Act
Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Interests that support this bill: Republican/Conservative, Christian Conservative
Interests that oppose this bill: Democratic/Liberal

H.R.96: Anti Net Neutrality (1): End FCC's regulation of internet
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Interests that support this bill: Republican/Conservative

Open-Source Textbooks (2)
Darrell Steinberg (D-CA)

Location Privacy (3)
Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

Pro Net Neutrality (1): Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011
Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Al Franken (D-MN)

Here is my take on what /. thinks:
(1) Slashdot is vehemently for Net Neutrality, and it seems D's are for, R's against. This looks like by far the biggest issue for slashdotters, and easiest issue to see who falls where.
(2) Given the corruption of the current system, OS textbooks is a geeky, cheap solution. Not a high priority issue.
(3) Slashdot really doesn't like big companies following their location.

Some other interesting articles/discusions:
Al Franken (compared to other representatives) is often discussed and ./ seems to appreciate his work. Here's a couple:

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tells Facebook to quit sharing more of its users' data than they signed up for.
joined Schumer's call: Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Al Franken (D-MN).

Although they mostly debate religion, it's interesting, and my take is that slashdot seems agnostic with an aversion away from attacking or blaming Republicans, although there's not much refutation to their anti-science label.

> Consider the candidates (all of them, of any party) as a set. What
> issue can I use to divide them into two groups, such that one group is
> 'for' something and the other is 'against'?"

To answer the question, my opinion is: Republicans on average, seem /extremely/ anti-geek-issues, compared to Democrats. I did not immediately find one bill or issue that showed the opposite. It looks like Slashdot generally agrees, perhaps the consensus would replace 'extremely' with a lesser word, although I'm not sure why.

My opinion wasn't only formed by finding so many issues Republicans are anti-science/anti-geek, but by other experiences, including:

- Read an engineering magazine in 1999: IEEE Spectrum. They asked the two potential presidents a series of questions on their stance for engineering issues. I liked some of Gore's answers, then was surprised to find Bush didn't even answer the questionnaire! Well, that's kind of telling I thought.
- The many stories over the years in news outlets that support my opinion (even some on fox)
- 'The Republican War on Science'. Not a particularly great book, but I never see anything seriously refuting those claims.

Comment Re:Want free texting? (Score 1) 348

No, when your Google Voice gets a reply text message, you can have it set to automatically send a real text message to your non-data plan phone.

More advantages:
- One phone number for the rest of your life (probably)
- Keep contacts in one place (and it shares this same contact list with other services you might use - gmail, google+, picasa, etc.)
- Add/remove contacts and send/recieve text messages from the computer (hello fast/easy typing)

Comment Re:Want free texting? (Score 1) 348

[Googlefanboi] There are other features you could benefit from. One phone number for the rest of your life (probably), keep contacts in one place for same time span (and it shares the same contacts with other services you might use - gmail, google+, picasa, etc.), add/remove contacts and send/recieve text message from the computer (hello fast/easy typing). I think there's an option for when you receive a text message or call to GV, it can forward that message/call to your cell phone that has no data plan. Ya, it makes things a little more complicated, but if you ever move to using Google services in the future, starting now will allow you to start entering your contacts and getting used to the service with no penalty. Try to honestly make the statement "Oh, I will never own a smartphone." Then get back to us in 10, or even 3 years and let us know how it worked out. [/Googlefanboi]

Comment thanks for the subsidy (Score 1) 348

Until consumers realize how cheap text messages really are, I'm perfectly happy watching other people subsidize my bill while I text away on the Google Voice app. I want to guess this will finally make the app more popular, but the average consumer has been this slow for so long about it, this will be interesting to watch.

Comment Re:Because the entire economy is based on confiden (Score 1) 1040

> the long term value of money is not the result of psychology, rather a simple division of the economic output of the country by the outstanding monetary base

> Yup, we should stick to what we know works: spending money that will be paid by the future generation. I can't see any reason why this can't go on for ever.
True we can't spend forever, but we also need to weigh in the problem of good and bad economies. It's most effective if the government softens the blow of bad economies, while saving money during the good times. This has been proven time and again from Hoover to 90's Japan. Now that we didn't save, the arguing goes into high gear, and nothing productive gets done. Seems prudent to slowly and surely, but not drastically and immediately, cut the deficit (unless you feel that we are in good times with a great economy - then by all means lets cut like crazy).

Everyone's original offer focused on the 4 trillion number S&P has been asking for a while. The only way the negotiations fail and the problem wouldn't get solved is if one side takes the position of not negotiating.

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Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell