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Comment Nuclear is stupid; here is why (Score 1) 135

I'm giving up moderating hoping to wake some people up.

1) Nuclear power takes 10+ years to build. This is fact not some next gen "in 5 years" magical nuclear power which can go from permit to power in a year. By the time they build nuclear power, the coal plants will have been running too long. Global warming has time limits... which we probably passed already (but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to minimize how much we are screwed.)

2) Solar is cheaper than nuclear, has been for years now. Wind I believe did or will soon.

3) Nuclear is HEAVILY subsidized by government, it's totally dishonest. If you subsidized solar and wind that much they'd be so much cheaper it would be funny to look at anything else. (coal is subsidized too; even with automation killing about half their jobs natural gas is the main reason they can't compete and I don't think natural gas is subsidized as much as coal.)

4) Base power issues are almost solvable with an upgraded GRID. the transition process might take 10 years (depending on our motivation if we acted like this was WW3 it would be done in no time.) Natural Gas can fill the gap.

5) Battery storage is a new market. It is moving quickly. We could move to storage right now at higher prices-- we don't need to WAIT for the perfect solution-- which is a common trick used to delay progress. The time and cost wasted on nuclear can be put into battery storage power. If we are SERIOUS we can take the added expense on, it's pure BS to say we can't do something right now.

6) Nuclear regulation is poor and less of it won't help; more of it likely won't help either since it's just more of the same incompetence. They only people who seem capable of managing nuclear properly is our military. The worries about it being safe are totally justified. Sure newer stuff is better, the newest things actually being done NOW are way better but are they as safe as our growing incompetence? I think that is hard to predict... Maybe the "in 5 years" tech will be that safe but it's going to take too long to implement even with a faster build process because it's new tech that won't be proven for maybe the 10 years a conventional nuclear plant would take to build.

7) too many people. most problems are a result of too many people in the world. that is the topic that never gets discussed. we will have 10 billion people not long from now unless a bunch die off. (many years ago now everybody needed was born-- they will have kids at projected rates and that gives us 10 billion. known. already. trends have to drastically change for the basic stats to not be proven true.)

Comment Re: Bullshit. (Score 2) 86

"Using a chat program to hide " doesn't even make logical sense.

It does if the chat program using public key encryption between the users. In that case even the mediating servers don't have access to message contents.

The scheme is flawless -- but then it almost always is unless it's devised by a total ignoramus. What they get you on is implementation.

Comment Re:Illegal labor (Score 1) 117

If picking fruit paid more and had more benefits than programming, I would have no problem picking fruit on the side.

If jobs picking fruit paid that much, the fruit would be so expensive that nearly nobody would buy it, and therefore nearly nobody would grow or sell fruit. I don't think destroying the agricultural industries of the US will be considered an acceptable solution by anyone.

Comment Re:You can't generalize. (Score 1) 379

It does *sound* a bit sociopathic, doesn't it? But sociopathy is a pathological disregard for the rights of others. While deception is often used to violate someone's rights, but it can *also* be used to protect someone's rights.

For example if I knew an employee was embezzling money, I don't have to tell him I know. I can deceive him into thinking I'm not on to him until I gather enough proof or discover who his accomplices are. This is deceptive, but not a violation of his rights.

Comment You can't generalize. (Score 2) 379

Anyone who works on unauthorized personal projects should certainly expect to be subject to firing. But as a supervisor I would make the decision to fire based on what is best for my employer. That depends on a lot of things.

I don't believe in automatic zero tolerance responses. The question for me is whether the company better off booting this guy or disciplining him. Note this intrinsically unfair. Alice is a whiz who gets all of her work done on time and to top quality standards. Bob is a mediocre performer who is easily replaced. So Alice gets a strong talking to and Bob gets the heave-ho, which is unfair to Bob because Alice did exactly the same thing.

But there's a kind of meta-fairness to it. Stray off the straight and narrow and you subject yourself to arbitrary, self-interested reactions.

Now as to Alice, I would (a) remind her that anything she creates on company time belongs to the company (even if we're doing open source -- we get to choose whether the thing is distributed) and (b) that any revenue she derives from it rightly belongs to the company. But again there's no general rule other than maximize the interests of the company. I'll probably insist she shut down the project immediately and turn everything over to the company, but not necessarily. I might choose to turn a blind eye. Or maybe even turn a blind eye until Alice delivers on her big project, then fire her and sue her for the side project revenues if I thought we didn't need her any longer. If loyalty is a two-way street, so is betrayal.

Sure, you may rationalize working on a side project as somehow justified by the fact your employer doesn't pay you what you're really worth, but the grown-up response to that is to find a better job; if you can't, by definition in a market economy you are getting paid at least what you're worth. If you decide to proceed by duplicity, you can't expect kindness or understanding unless you can compel it.

Comment Re:60Ghz (Score 1) 136

I agree it sounds impractical. So I looked at the patent -- which not being a radio engineer it's perfectly safe for me to do (n.b. -- it's always dangerous to look at what might be bullshit patents in your field because you open yourself up to increased damages for using common sense). But I was a ham radio operator when I was a kid so I do know the lingo.

There are a number of problems with broadcasting power, starting with the fact that it's inefficient to saturate ambient space with enough radiation to be usefully harvested. But that's not what they're proposing. 802.11 ad operates in the extreme microwave range -- about 5cm wavelength aka the "V" band. This band is also unregulated so you can try weird things in it. What they propose is to use an array of antennas to create a steerable beam -- like a phased array radar. This would confine the power to a specific plane so that you wouldn't have to saturate all of ambient space with power. The beam steering would be done "dynamically", which I take to mean it would figure out how to maximize signal strength with some kind of stochastic algorithm. So it might not work if you are unicycling around the room.

And because the wavelength is so short an antenna array would be relatively compact.

Even so, it doesn't sound that practical. It's bound to be limited to line of sight, for example: the V band does not penetrate walls or the human body at all, in contrast with the S band that conventional wifi operates on. I can certainly imagine applications for it, but making it practical for charging your phone is apt to be very expensive. You'd have surround yourself with V band antenna arrays.

By the way, reading this patent reminds me of why I hate reading patents. They're infuriatingly vague in order to make the claims as broad as possible, and yet are cluttered with inanely obvious details ("the radio receiver can include active and passive components") and irrelevancies (the device may include a touch screen). I think the purpose may be that someone trying to figure out whether the vague language applies to a cell phone will think, "I don't know WTF this is claiming, but look this phone *does* have a touch screen." It just shows how broken our patent system is.

Comment the underbelly of entrepreneurship (Score 1) 86

My last two reads in this area were The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (2013) and When Genius Failed (2000), both of which I found highly engaging.

Is that what you were looking for?

On my near-term list is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (2014).

Perhaps that's more what you're after.

I also liked The Man in the Machine (2015).

Comment a poor-man's wild west (Score 2) 101

If you haven't got a billion dollars, you can't blather on about colonising Mars. How admirably crytocurrency fills its niche as a poor man's wild west. It's got everything. A Chinese Boss Hogg with a Fu Machu mustache can suddenly jump out of the woodwork at any moment. Hot damn!

I was never much of an Oregon Trail dreamer myself, so this whole scene amuses me greatly.

Comment Re:Uh huh. (Score 2) 88

Getting the actual people there (and back) is the costly part. "Stuff" doesn't require four or five levels of fail-safe. "Stuff" doesn't need to take a shit or get sick or argue about politics.

Then the solution seems pretty straightforward: send only "stuff" up there for the first few years.

Once the "stuff" has organized itself (because robots) and is looking pretty good, then send up some human beings, if you still want to. They can walk right into to their prefab moon-hotel.

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