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Comment Re:Extracting friends list etc is trivial (Score 1) 194

I used a pretty easy method:

- Open a Yahoo mail account. Use their 'import facebook to contacts' feature.
- Export your Yahoo contacts to a CSV file.
- Upload the Yahoo/Facebook CSV file to your Gmail contacts, perhaps in a 'facebook' group.

Google+ automatically uses your contacts to recommend contacts for your circles, so you know pretty quick if your facebook friends are on G+. Has worked well for me so far.

Comment Re:Only in America (Score 2) 286

As a heavy consumer of both the American dirt water and more "cultured" European styles of coffee, I will defend the American drip coffee as a product of utility. Cheaper, easier to make, can be kept in a pot for hours without degrading, and about 30% more caffeine per serving (130mg in a cup of drip coffee, 100mg in a shot of espresso). We drink that dirt water to survive, not to savor.

That doesn't mean we don't enjoy the finer coffees (I will obsess over a French-pressed dark roast Sumatran), it just means there's a place for both. I'm a beer snob too, but if I'm out fishing on a canoe in the Texas heat I have no shame reaching for a cold and refreshing Keystone Light. I'm not out there to pontificate on the malts used or the varietal of hops, I'm out there to get drunk on a boat, and you can't argue the utility of cheap canned beer.

Comment Re:They can either do it openly or covertly (Score 5, Insightful) 353

They certainly will have to pass on the costs, and I would prefer openly, but why-oh-why do they pick the tiered level approach? It's the same way the cell phone companies do it: you have to guess how many minutes you're going to use ahead of time, then get shorted for what you don't use and pay huge overages for when you exceed you're initial guess. Let's get back to the electric utility model where you are charged for exactly what you use, and if anything, you get lower off-peak rates.

Comment Re:It think they've been duped. (Score 1) 392

I didn't realize geostationary was so far out (42,000 km), definitely cool to see how easy it would work. Now I just want to know more about how you beam 200 MW that far.

Rule of thumb: engineers (like me) assume we don't know everything about every field, and often attempt to learn more by questioning what we don't understand. Even in our own fields and of our own work, we attack designs and problems by raising concerns and asking questions. Sorry if voicing concerns of my own limited field of knowledge comes off as condescending, but I'm glad I did it. I learned a lot in this thread.

Comment Re:It think they've been duped. (Score 1) 392

I tried to do the math, but spherical geometry isn't my strong point at this hour. I'm guessing it'd have to be closer to the poles to approach that 98% daylight exposure while geostationary, but even then it would require a pretty good altitude. That only adds to the difficulties casting a 200 MW beam back to Fresno. Disregardless, it's still very cool to see a utility distributor taking the idea seriously.

Comment Re:It think they've been duped. (Score 1) 392

If you put the panels in orbit to be constantly on the day-side of the earth, then yeah, the power is constant. My question is how they plan to beam that energy around the earth to Fresno at night. Seems you'd have to have the array in geosynchronous orbit above Fresno to maintain that beam, which means the array will be in the earth's shadow just less than half the time.

Comment Re:Why do we still care? (Score 2, Interesting) 299

You know, I kinda follow your logic, and want it carried out to the full extent. Let's have two sets of athletes. First, the "cup-pissers," a group of archaic old fogies who demand that we only have athletic events that mimic our ancestors hunting abilities as they run around in loin cloths. And second, the "glory-of-human-potential" category, where they are allowed to take absolutely whatever strange chemicals they desire, have neural implants overriding pain receptors, and hell, even replace their heart with a Plutonium powered mirco-turbine.

And let's just guess which group gains more notoriety and fame...

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