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Comment Peak Load (Score 2) 374

Utilities will have something real to complain about when solar generation surpasses peak and intermediate load usage. Until then, they're usually saving from distributed generation because the cost of spinning up more generation to meet peak load is much higher than that for base load generation which is always running.

Also, the centralized grid system is an outdated liability. Decentralization is a good thing. Utilities rage on about decentralization hurting grid stability, but they've got better stability in Denmark & Germany where they use more decentralized renewables. In the US we have centralized plants that fail during extreme weather events when they're most needed, like heat waves or unseasonable ice storms.

Now is the time to start planning for the future. Fossil fuels incentives, subsidies, and tax credits outweigh solar & wind 10 to 1. We need to stop investing in century old technology, and start investing in energy infrastructure that will serve us better in the future. It's clear which way things are moving. The smart utilities are embracing slow change & planning for it now. The ones that are dragging their feet should be taken behind the barn and shot dead for everyone's good.

Comment Re:Of course they have no concerns, they don't tes (Score 2) 132

Does the US only slaughter 40,000 cows a year?

From your link:

'Additional concerns

In The Lancet (June 2006), a University College London team suggested that it may take more than 50 years for vCJD to develop, from their studies of kuru, a similar disease in Papua New Guinea.[59] The reasoning behind the claim is that kuru was possibly transmitted through cannibalism in Papua New Guinea when family members would eat the body of a dead relative as a sign of mourning. In the 1950s, cannibalism was banned in Papua New Guinea.[60]

In the late 20th century, however, kuru reached epidemic proportions in certain Papua New Guinean communities, therefore suggesting that vCJD may also have a similar incubation period of 20 to 50 years.'

Comment Of course they have no concerns, they don't test. (Score 2) 132

'The Texas Department of State Health Services says there are no state public health concerns or threats associated with the case. State and federal health officials continue to investigate and are trying to track the source of the infection.'

It's easy to say there's no concerns when it can take 30yrs to manifest, is eerily similar to Alzheimer's, and can't be diagnosed without a brain biopsy, which is rarely done.

It'd raise the price of beef 1 cent per pound to test every cow slaughtered, but they obviously lobby tooth & nail against doing so.

Comment Burden of proof of safety should be on mfgers (Score 1) 794

Ignoring the homeopathy nonsense, "whole foods" as they're generally referred to have the benefit of proving themselves through selection over tens of thousands of years. They are the baseline that we're working from, and in general the burden of proof should be put on deviations from that baseline.

Yes, there's been selective breeding, etc. But with the scale & pace of change in food "science" in the last 50 years moving at an exponential pace, there's little in the way of evidence that extremely processed foods are anywhere near as nutritious as "whole" foods.

Instead, there's a ton of anecdotal evidence to the contrary. That food "scientists" don't have anywhere near as robust an understanding of what it healthy & nourishing, and that when they try to break foods down to their constituent chemical parts and build something else from scratch, you get Frankenstein foods that are at their core unhealthy and detrimental to those consuming them.

To call the machinations behind modern food processing a "science" is woefully misleading. There are enormous gaps in knowledge, and if natural foods have proven themselves over a larger order of magnitude of historical time, we should be applying much more rigorous standards to deviations from animal-food relationships that have evolved naturally or at a much slower pace.

And you get people saying, "why should we require GMO food to be labeled? Prove that it's harmful" you have to look at the unhealthy relationship between big agribusiness money and studies saying GMOs are safe. We thought Lead in paint & gasoline were safe, we thought asbestos was safe, we thought dioxins were safe to be used as pesticides & herbicides, we thought tobacco products were safe. Until people started developing horrendous diseases & birth defects, and we learned they weren't. And even then, the manufacturers of those products continued to fund studies & propaganda campaigns to the contrary.

Comment It probably wouldn't save money (Score 1) 943

Planet Money did an analysis of the issue awhile back, and discovered that the habit of people to let coins collect in jars & drawers, while it would benefit the government, would alter the math and not end up saving us if we made the switch.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/11/29/166103071/no-killing-the-dollar-bill-would-not-save-the-government-money

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/04/19/150976150/should-we-kill-the-dollar-bill

Comment TurnItIn profits of others' Intellectual Property (Score 1) 306

Teachers submit students' papers to turnitin, those papers are checked against their database of essays then added to the cache of essays to check future papers against. Given that they make people pay to increase their stockpile of documents to check against, I'm not surprised they're playing both sides. It's a pretty simple way to make easy money off other people's work.

Comment Re:WikiDB (Score 1) 79

Well if you're creating a db of measurements or values, like dimensions of various objects, or automobile specifications, there's much less bickering to be done. If the nature of the DB isn't open ended && subjective, you avoid lots of landmines.

Comment Re:People use traffic congestion maps (Score 1) 422

In bigger cities/metro areas, they'll use those cameras to keep tabs on traffic from a command center, but oftentimes the speed data is collected by antennas near the cameras that track the times that people with EZ-PASS/EZ-TAG/RFID toll passes go by each point.

Anonymized RFID data is analyzed to see how long it takes for a vehicle to move from one sampling point to the next, giving avg speed for each segment, and this data is aggregated to give average traffic speeds.

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