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Comment Re:Seems like using buoyancy would be more efficie (Score 1) 238

The links in included in my submission have several pictures that highly suggest that each full scale 30m sphere would have its own pump. There is also the wording of the write-up the Fraunhofer Institute posted when the test started in November. My translation of what was supposed to be tested was:

The prototype was used to test details of the construction, installation, powertrain setup, electrical systems, operation management and regulation, system state monitoring and the dynamic modeling and simulation of the whole system.

The power train part together with the cross section images highly suggests, to me, a pump for each sphere. To me there is also the question of practicality. I'd think it would be easier construct the whole thing on land then having to attach the spheres to the pump on the ocean floor. If that pump where to malfunction it would knock out a whole bank of spheres that would then have to be de- and reconnected.

Submission + - Pumped-storage hydroelectricity project StEnSEA completes first practial test (

nachtkap writes: The first 1:10 scale prototype of the Pumped-storage hydroelectricity system StEnSEA has completed it's practical test on Friday. It was retrieved from Lake Constance, where it was submerged at a depth of 100m since November. The System was developed by the Fraunhofer-Institut IWES in Kassel, Germany in collaboration with its inventors, the physicists Prof. Schmidt-Böcking and Dr. Luther from the universities in Frankfurt and Saarbrücken respectively. The German Trade Department and Department of Education and Research as well as the German construction company Hochtief are also involved with the Project.(Press release, Pictures and detailed project information in German)
The prototype was used to test details of the construction, installation, powertrain setup, electrical systems, operation management and regulation, system state monitoring and the dynamic modelling and simulation of the whole system.
The system's hollow concrete spheres are intended to be used in conjunction with off-shore wind-farms to serve as energy storage for peak hours. The spheres are ultimately supposed to be submerged near off-shore wind-farms and pumped free of water with excess energy. When additional energy is needed during peak hours the system goes into reverse and water rushes in driving a turbine. To be economical the full scale 30m spheres with 3m thick walls need depths of 600 — 800m. At 700m the system's has a capacity of 20MWh, with a linear capacity increase as depth increases. Good locations for these spheres would be coastal areas with high population density that feature such depths, such as Norway, Japan, the US and Spain.
Summary and translation from German are my own.

Submission + - German high court judgment should force review of all post 9/11 security laws.

nachtkap writes: The judgment (high court website) by the Bundesverfassungsgericht isn't just a judgment concerning the Federal Police law. The significance of this unusually extensive and unusually detailed judgment (google translate; original article in german) extends far, far beyond the law itself. It is a mile stone judgment about state security, a landmark decision concerning all manners of state surveillance: Wiretapping, dragnet surveillance, the bugging of apartments and digital surveillance.

The judgment could be a lot more concrete; but it is concrete enough to make it clear that the current state police law and previous security legislation is deficient in a lot of ways.

The three main consequences are:
  • Differing catch all phrases in legislation are insufficient to justify a violation of basic rights. The conditions that have to be present for surveillance have to be clear, conclusive and verifiable. This should necessitate an audit of all prior security legislation.
  • The core of private life will have to be better protected. Meaning there has to be an independent institution that examines and controls and intercepted communication before it becomes available to the security apparatus.
  • The security services can't arbitrarily share their findings with domestic authorities and certainly not with foreign agencies. The bar is set particularly high for the transfer to foreign agencies. Before any transfer happens it has to be ascertained the handling suffices basic human and privacy rights by the receiving authority.

All these rules boil down to that there always has be approval and control by independent judges and data protection officers. Further more the federal police has periodically account for its activities.

Comment frequent reader, infrequent commenter/modder (Score 1) 1839

I read /. quite a lot but seldom participate in discussions. Main reason being that with my initial score(1) I can seldom contribute in a meaningful way. A couple of decent comments and one submitted story have gotten me mod points from time to time. The difficult thing here is that most of the time I don't notice that I have mod points. I just dont look at the area of my screen that tells me so that much when reading /.. That's why I would like mail notifications for mod points when I get them.
At times I use /. as a knowledge/source base to back up my opinions with sources. That doesnt always work however. When trying to find a older story the /. search often returns to many result. For many clicks I cant be sure if I indeed searched for right words/phrases. This leads into the problem that the search parameters have to be quite narrowly defined to return good results. The biggest problem on that front is that related terms often dont get included in the search. E.g.: optical astronomy/telescopes/visible light [..] OR solving hunger/nutrition in the 21st century/using algae to reduce environmental footprint of food production. With those three queries I might look for the same story but I would expect results from such related search terms.

Comment Re:The ruling is pretty scary (IANAL) (Score 1) 401

The court then goes on to express hope that this does not introduce a new reign of censorship, but that is exactly what is may do.

IANAL either but I know from frequent conversations with law students I know that intent plays a major role in a court's decision. A good example for this is theft. If I take your property it isnt automatically theft, unless the court is convinced that I didnt intent to return it. Under no circumstances do I see another court (and appeals courts) not paying attention to the intent of the ECHR. Especially because an actual censorship case could to make it back to the ECHR. They would most likely ask the lower court if they are off their rocker, because they explained their intent in the original ruling.
If anyone claims free speech impairment by the ECHR, that extra ordinary claim better have extra ordinary evidence. This doesnt.
I have been paying attention to the ECHR (and the German high courts) for over 10 years and NOT EVEN ONCE have I noticed a sliver of unreasonableness. More the complete opposite. Think of a law that could be part of a conservative wet dream and you will probably find high court decision against something similar.

Comment Your boss please (Score 1) 479

I dont have issues with my ISP very often and if I do it usually isnt their fault. Trying to get them to understand that I realize that it isnt their fault was always the real issue. I usually start the conversation assuming that they know what they are doing. That inevitably fails and I talk to them as if I am the tech support.
I usually give them 2-3 minutes to see if they are knowledgeable enough to deal with my problem. After that I resort to my catch all phrase: "If you dont know what I am talking about then either connect me to someone that does or LET ME TALK TO YOUR BOSS." Either action has a good success rate. I also over emphasize the severity of my problem because otherwise they often think they know enough to deal with my problem.

Submission + - Candy Crush Saga will included in Windows 10

nachtkap writes: And there I was just considering switching to Linux fulltime.

If you’ve been paying attention to gaming (or pop culture in general) chances are pretty high that you've heard of King's smash mobile hit Candy Crush Saga. With its compelling blend of tricky puzzles coated in gorgeous eye candy, Candy Crush Saga is a global phenomenon for good reason. Windows Phone users have been enjoying Candy Crush Saga since its launch on the platform in December, and later this year, all Windows 10 owners will be able to experience the hit game that's swept the mobile world like wildfire. As an added bonus, Candy Crush Saga will automatically be installed for customers that upgrade to or download Windows 10 for periods of time following the game launch. It will even include cross-play options for your iOS and Android devices.

Submission + - Hamburg court: Marriage agency can't charge people; doesnt apply to dating sites

nachtkap writes: The German Civil Code 656 from 1900 says that an company can't ask for money if its service brings people together for marriage. The ruling only covers marriage (and similar relationship) agencies. Dating sites in general are unaffected.
The public relations officer of the Hamburg consumer rights center said: "The ruling applies to dating sites using prior matchings that haven't been paid for. The consumer doesn't have to pay in those cases. What this decision means for the future depends on whether more consumers decide not to pay."

Comment Re:Europe, here I come! (Score 1) 77

The solution seems to be to live on/near the line then. as far as I can make out the areas to live in would include Paris, Frankfurt, a sizable chuck of the Rhine, Stuttgard, Lake Constance, Vienna.
Just view the state religions as Europe's 2nd Amendment. A somewhat annoying relic from a bygone age where the (hardcore) adherents ruin the general climate for everyone. Assuming religion while be around for good while longer, having state religions in secular state isn't as bad as one might think. In my opinion it keeps the religions from going of the rails because they would lose their befits if they don't play nice.

Submission + - European Court of Justice strikes down data retention law

nachtkap writes: The BBC reports:

The EU's top court has declared "invalid" an EU law requiring telecoms firms to store citizens' communications data for up to two years. The EU Data Retention Directive was adopted in 2006. The European Court of Justice says it violates two basic rights — respect for private life and protection of personal data.

Germany's supreme court did call on the ECJ to look into this issue as well.

Comment hyperion (cantos) and thawn (Score 1) 796

Dan Simmons - Hyperion (Cantos)
At least the 1st novel is like a kick in the stomach at times. It also moved me to tears on a level I would thought impossible. Includes: Spiked killing machine, Poetry, evil AI's and a Scifi world/society that feels way more believable then Star Trek/Wars ever was.

Timothy Zahn - (1st) Thawn Trilogy
It is hard not to like these books if you like Star Wars IMO.

Imaginary Friend - The Bible
Most of it can be skipped but select parts like Genesis and the Sodom and Gomorrah bit should be read. Cant imagine that there isn't a list for that.

My "short" list consists of the best known books of these people: Names like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Ernest Hemingway, Hermann Hesse and Bertrand Russell speak for themselfs.
I have only read very limited passages from those authors. That glimpse convinced me however that their works must provide the best access to differing points of view possible.

Submission + - German State's attorney investigates law firm that sent porn streaming letters

nachtkap writes: The State's attorney for Cologne is investigating the law firm that sent the threating letters to German Redtube users. The investigation will look into the method that was used to determine the IP adresses of the redtube users. The method described in the affidavit doesn't match the traffic investigation performed by a reader. in turn verified the plausibility of his results.
[graphic in German and google.translate links]

Comment Re:A company can actually ban someone from a sport (Score 1) 114

Or something free like beach volleyball, where a Brazilian pro player was (at least partially) baned for being outspoken about something. Sadly I can't find a source.
But I agree that 'Sport' isn't the right label here. It should be labeled as a 'competition' just like every other 'sport'. After all we watch a competition between professionals (people that devoted way more time to a activity, then we could be bothered to, and there got really good at it) based on set rules. IMO we only call professional sports 'sport' because we most likely play/played that sport.

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