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Comment Re:Why trust a cheap supermarket to be a bank? (Score 1) 65

Great question. I work in a county where there's an extremely well-known credit union with an education focus-- if you're a university student or employee of a school, you and your family can join the credit union. I joined as a student because it offered no fees for pretty much anything. As I grew into a career-person, I learned about the massive benefits. First, they're a not-for-profit. Their goal isn't to get rich and make people rich. It's to keep the money safe, keep member credit availability high, and then share what profits are had with their membership.

Here's a great example: Most savings accounts accrue infinitesimal interest (if any). At this credit union, you get a .05% APR. Nothing special. You can open a Money Market account and get .1% APR, though. What's the difference? To the end user, nothing, really. You put money in and you take money out. Here's the good stuff though-- There's a Summer Saver's account (remember the education focus?) where you can have up to $2,000 of each of your paychecks deposited. This earns 3.0% APR! You can withdraw some/all the money whenever you want, but you can only deposit via your paycheck's direct deposit. Thus, your money isn't tied up, but while it's there, it's bringing in better interest than any other no-risk savings I've ever seen.

Additionally, they have variable limit credit cards, rewards credit cards, home loans (PMI/Non-PMI, etc.)-- and all at rock-bottom interest rates because their goal isn't to milk money from you, it's to make sure you pay back your debt so that the members (including you), keep bringing in good interest returns.

Comment Re:The terrorists have won (Score 2, Insightful) 247

Riiight. And that's evident how? Tell me how your life exhibits the Constitution having been smashed. Which freedoms did you have, but do not have today? Ya, Western governments are over-stepping bounds, but I'm fairly certain you weren't shot for typing your response. Nor will you be prosecuted. Nor will anyone else give much of a damn. Your freedoms are 99.999% intact and the police will still come to protect them when you call and the legal system will continue to prosecute and defend the accused. But if living in a dystopic fantasy land is your thing, then you do you.

Comment Re:Airport charging (Score 3, Informative) 72

Plain ol' sockets won't do the job because it doesn't provide the data necessary to bill the driver to electricity used, manage the hundreds of plugs, etc.

Also, while it seems like common sense to place charging stations at workplaces and shopping areas, it doesn't make sense form an administrative or engineering standpoint. When stations go in at your job site, your job site becomes the administrator of those stations. They effectively become refueling stations and they become responsible for the smooth running of their workers refueling. This is much more complex than most people realize. Additionally, when you place massive amounts of chargers (level 2 chargers for that matter) in areas where people are likely to park during the day, you're encouraging additional peak-time load which usually means more pollution per kWh. It's also more expensive to INSTALL the EVSEs because you have to trench and run electrical cables into open lots, install new transformers, etc.

If you want to promote EV use, the solution is NOT more chargers in public spaces, but more battery capacity at an affordable price (like the Chevy Bolt) and more charging at home. And this is the truest obstacle of the push for EVs.

The cheapest energy is off-peak energy. If you charge at home between 9pm and 6am, you're paying a couple dollars at most to fill up your car's battery pack. This is what everyone wants. But not everyone has a garage. Not everyone owns a home so that they can install an EVSE with which to charge an EV.

If EVs are to succeed:
1. EVERYONE has to be able to charge at home.
2. The cars can't cost more than a Prius. (The federal rebate needs to be reworked to be useful to those of moderate/low income.)
3. The cars must have at least a 200 mile range. (All of us working in sustainability are looking forward to the Chevy Bolt.)
4. We have to find a way to make battery manufacturing, recycling, and disposal environmentally safe.

That's a lot to ask for. Which is why I genuinely think that we're over-investing in battery EVs when we should be building more solar/wind powered hydrolyzers and focusing on hydrogen fuel cell vehicle adoption (Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Tuscon, etc.).

Comment Definitions and Context (Score 1) 340

The title is correct, but then we have to define "renewables". It includes solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric.

With that in mind, know that wind and solar, the big newer, flashier energy sources in the media, are not the major sources of renewable energy. Hydroelectric (falling water) accounts for over 70% of renewable energy. Wind is at 15%. Solar is at 4%.

Percentage-wise, solar and wind have grown very quickly, but in the grand scheme of total energy production, wind and solar are still small potatoes.

Disclaimer: I'm not writing this post as a nay-sayer. I actually work in sustainability. I WANT more solar and wind power. I'm just trying to make sure that people don't accept hype-ish headlines as implying certain things. Within sustainability, we always have to manage the expectations of the hype. Everyone thinks we can "just put up some solar panels" and make free electricity for EV charging stations when FREE is never reality.

Comment Not My Experience (Score 1) 120

I get one email asking how packaging or service was. And I ignore it. I don't get repeat emails. What are these people buying?

FTFA: “I buy literally everything on Amazon, from hangers to batteries,” noted one disgruntled shopper.

Oh. So "Shoppers" don't "slam the spam". Some extreme Amazon shoppers slam the spam. Gotcha.

Comment Trump's a D-Bag, but... (Score 1, Insightful) 342

Trump's a D-Bag, but if there's literally no evidence that the DDOS came as a RESULT of the article (only that it came after the story), then why are we strongly insinuating causality?

There's no need for that. Trump's already shit stain and everyone knows it. There's no need to jump to conclusions and tie him to something that he may not be associated. Because if it turns out that he's NOT associated, this will just be conspiracy theorist and Trump pariah bait.

Comment Re:Entrepreneur Spreads Hype - News at 11 (Score 1) 282

1. First, they've had test vehicles. Test vehicles that aren't good enough to launch as fully "self-driving" yet or else they'd be knee-deep in the legal questions already. I can say that I'm developing a rocket booster in my backyard, but until I can approach its intended function to the point where I feel comfortable selling it, the product doesn't exist. It's all concept and research with no real deadline. So, as I said, without more tech and legal solutions, it's still speculation.

2. Yes, very expensive. Some panels are cheap, but panels cleanly sourced are expensive and it doesn't matter how efficient future panels cost if you sink the cost today. Moreover, most people that invest in rooftop solar end up doing it through a leasing process which means selling the home becomes more complicated. Batteries are still a **very** dirty storage method (dirty to make, dirty to recycle/dispose) that adds to the cost of the energy ecologically and financially. There's a reason there hasn't been a boom in full-sized solar and wind plants/farms -- they don't make fiscal sense. The power companies would be all over them if there was a method to make it work with current infrastructure.

3. It's all prediction based on precedence.

11. No, SpaceX has *said* they *plan* on sending a manned mission to Mars within a decade. There's no reason (at all) to believe the plan will come to fruition. Elon has said he'll build an EV for the masses, send people to Mars, send people at hundreds of MPH down a pressurized tube, make automated vehicles that would make obsolete transit, etc.

For the record, I know that I sound like an absolute humbug. It's not my goal to be a humbug, but I feel that it's necessary to nip some of the hyperbolic enthusiasm in the bud. Tech hype, in my experience, only serves to help people stuff their heads in the sand and ignore existing problems that could be eased or even solved today with existing technology. Instead, people like to ignore it all and say, "Technology will save us." So, I'll go down the list again and point out what we could do TODAY to achieve similar results...

1. Self-Driving Cars: The goal is to ease traffic and reduce traffic collisions. We can do this by better facilitating transit and increasing the minimum driving age to 21. We should require automatic braking (a today tech!) in every vehicle where airbags are required.

2. Clean Energy: The goal is to ease global climate change. To do that, we can use nuclear power with breeder reactors and keeping building rooftop solar and windfarms where they make sense.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality: The goal is to have an immersive experience where one isn't. Embrace the porn/games market. Hopefully someone will make something more useful out of it, but don't shy from the true buyers-in.

4. Drones and Flying Cars: The purpose is to reduce delivery and surveillance expenses (drones) and travel more quickly on demand (flying cars). There's not much you can do to further reduce delivery expenses, honestly. That's commerce. I don't think any private person wants to be watched more. And quick, on-demand travel should be the alternative transportation to transit being the standard option.

5. Artificial Intelligence: The goal is to think less for ourselves because we're wrong about things. This is a bad goal. Drop this goal.

6. Pocket Supercomputers for Everyone: There is no goal here. It's just a pat on the back.

7. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains: The goal here is to avoid surveillance and, if that's the case, then why support drones?

8. High-Quality Online Education: The goal here is to make education easier for the entity responsible for providing education. However, education is hard because people are complex and the job of an educator is more complex than people realize. We can improve everyone's quality of life if we focused more on educating the underperformers and less on those who perform well regardless. It's called improving from the roots up instead of the leaves down.

9. Better Food through Science: The goal here is to make more food in less space. We're already doing this.

10. Computerized Medicine: The goal here is to end medical pain and suffering. We can do that today in MANY WAYS if we actually valued people in other countries. Instead, the goal may actually be to reverse the effects of luxurious living (obesity, gout, colon cancer, etc.). The real solution is prevention.

11. A New Space Age: The goal here is righteous-- to learn more. But it will be a slow go for the next 50 years if we don't sort out other issues first.

Comment Re:Feedback (Score 2) 226

LOL. We are of a similar mind:

"The Eye" - This is creepy and much too reminiscent of Big Brother. And the color scheme screams of Norton AntiVirus.
"The Connector" - This looks like the very long history of very bad Olympics logos. Bad shapes, confusing, weird colors. It would not be immediately associated with a "web browser".
"Open Button" - This is better, but reminds me of the many audio/media players with last track, pause, and next track button. This would be a great logo if Firefox were WinAmp.
"Protocol" - This is cool, but confusing to the uninitiated. It's kind of like the inside joke of ""-- when someone would ask you the website address, you would say "H-T-T-P-Colon-Slash-Slash-Slashdot-Dot-Org".
"Wireframe World" - Nope. Too much empty space for too little communication.
"The Impossible M" - Maybe if the patterns weren't so late 90's computing retro and the M wasn't so wide. It has to be an icon, right?
"Flik Flak" - This looks like a marketing logo for an architecture firm using a default color scheme from the Microsoft Office suite.

Comment Entrepreneur Spreads Hype - News at 11 (Score 4, Insightful) 282

1. Self-Driving Cars: If the tech and legal issues ever get sorted, it can be great. But that's nowhere near happening, so the hype machine needs to continue to roll to continue bringing in new investors.

2. Clean Energy: Very expensive and requiring massive diversity of investment. Wind and solar (the big "new" players) are not for every environment. Moreover, there has only been minimal gains in the grid balancing act required to make use of these intermittent energy sources.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality: Porn and games. For all other applications, it would just be too much of a distraction.

4. Drones and Flying Cars: Drones come with MASSIVE safety and privacy risks. Flying cars are and always will be BS.

5. Artificial Intelligence: Always just around the corner.

6. Pocket Supercomputers for Everyone: If we can designate smartphones supercomputers because they're as powerful as supercomputers once were, then I am the smartest man on Earth (by comparison to pre-Enlightenment Europe).

7. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains: Until there's a means of securing cryptocurrencies in peoples' hands, they will never gain sufficient faith for widespread usage. Until then, they're just volatile niche currencies.

8. High-Quality Online Education: Online Education will be crap until you can figure out a way to use it to consistently educate the lower socio-economic ranks. Until then, we're going to continue to NEED to require them to physically show up to a classroom with humans adjusting to the needs of the students.

9. Better Food through Science: This is the past. We've been doing this for hundreds of years.

10. Computerized Medicine: Which will be useless unless our social policies surrounding the relationships between medical costs and medical profits aren't addressed.

11. A New Space Age: This is where the drones comes in. Today's governments are spending more money on keeping their populations healthier and prolonging lives. As they invest more, there will be less money for exploration (and 99% of exploration is funded by governments). It is, and will continue to be for a long time, to just send drones to do our exploration for us.

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"I say we take off; nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." - Corporal Hicks, in "Aliens"