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Comment Argentina & Greece [Re:The American obsession (Score 1) 272

Just sit an watch Argentina, Greece

Argentina got in trouble larger for relying on a single product: oil. This mistake can happen in capitalism also, as the Irish potato famine showed. If anything, Adam Smith's "comparative advantage" encourages one to put too many eggs in one basket.

Greece got in trouble for overspending on lots of different things, including the Olympics. Politicians both left and right over-spend. Bush and Reagan were yuuuge spenders (and during non-slumps). I believe our military is too bloated, yet GOP wants to bloat it more.

I'm for a balanced budget amendment as long as it allows for stimuluses during slumps or emergencies. But that's nothing to do with capitalism versus socialism.

Comment Re:The American obsession with self-reliance (Score 1) 272

Self-reliance was great back in the day when you could (in theory) walk into the wilds and build your own civilization, but if you want a modern standard of living...

Many in the US are still more or less in this "live off the land" mentality, and that's why they consistently vote against larger-scale civilization and coordination.

Whether this rural viewpoint is realistic or good is another thing. But it's not going away any time soon. The culture wars burn on...

Comment Re:OK, cool... (Score 1) 113

Panels of the same form factor with higher-efficiency cells install in exactly the same way. 255W panels install the same way as 180W panels and 355W panels (all of the same size). They rack up onto the same hardware.

Oddly enough, the cost of micro-inverters for panels above 255W increases; and modern power-optimizing inverters actually cost the same, but fail less-often and provide more-efficient power regulation. The installation for string inverters, micro-inverters, and power-optimizing inverters is roughly the same: connect each cell to the next, then run a home-run wire to each end of the array. String inverters plug a wire into each end; micro-inverters and power-optimizers plug in the same wire connector, but with a little box dangling off.

The three options have some rough differences.

String Inverters are cheap. You might pay $500 for a 5kW array. The array feeds each solar panel into the next, and so an underperforming module drags the entire array down and strains other panels: shade on one cell can cut your entire array's efficiency by 50%.

Micro-inverters are more-expensive. You might pay $1,200 for a 5kW array. The array plugs each solar module into the next through a micro-inverter, which really converts the panel's 600VDC into 3-wire 240VAC. This gives you a 3-wire service feed. Micro-inverters have a relatively-high failure rate.

Power optimizers cost about what micro-inverters cost. You might pay $1,300 for a 5kW array. They wire in the same way as micro-inverters, but pass 600VDC down to what amounts to a string inverter. The power optimizers themselves function similar to a modern lithium cell battery management system, drawing more power from higher-output panels and less from lower-output panels without letting the panels interact and stress each other. Power optimizers are simpler than micro-inverters, dissipate less heat, and thus have less loss and a lower failure rate.

So the physical aspect of installing any solar array is the same. If you use high-efficiency cells, nothing changes. If you use high-output panels--larger panels or similarly-sized panels with high-efficiency cells--you have to use either a cheap string inverter or a power optimizer. Micro-inverters are probably the worst choice in any installation: for a single-panel or small area, you should use a string inverter; for multi-panel, use power optimizers.

Comment Re:OK, cool... (Score 1) 113

Shipping the cells requires more energy because they're larger and heavier. It requires more shipping hardware and energy infrastructure maintenance. It requires more handling to install them, wire them, and keep them free of the energy-robbing layer of dust. Manufacturing costs increase for an array with the same output, so decay from oxidization, delamination, imbalanced arrays and overvoltage, or plain old damage costs more--as does the shipping and handling, again.

If I could get a single 2 meter by 1 meter panel that output 6kW, I could have that slapped up on my roof for $500, and have a cheap $450 string inverter installed for $1,000. As it stands, I can get a 6kW array with a $1,800 power-optimizing inverter (required only for multiple-panel installations) for $5,800; I can also pay about $5,000 for the full installation labor, plus a good $400-$600 to ship the material in the first place.

Comment Re:cheaper to keep 'er (Score 1) 134

I simply don't want the instability of future rate changes--granted that can happen anyway, but it's typical for the long-term, non-promotional price to be higher for a bundle than an individual element. They might give me TV for free for 12 months, then what? I don't check my bill and I pay $30 extra one month, and I don't even watch TV!

Comment Probabilities (Score 1) 389

TFA: [A simulation] would require everything in the universe, at its smallest scale, has some definite property, some obvious state of yes or no. We already know that isn't true, explained Hossenfelder. There are few definite things in quantum mechanics, only probabilities. Elementary particles like electrons have a property called spin, for example. Quantum mechanics says that if we're not looking at the particles, we can't say what their spin value is, we can only model the probability of each spin value. That's what Schrodinger's cat is all about...

I don't see how that rules out simulation. Just because we "mortals" cannot see the probability computations doesn't mean they are not part of the simulation.

Further, some argue quantum physics supports the idea of simulation because it allows the details to remain fuzzy until somebody actually observes it. This is a common game strategy to avoid pre-building the details of an entire world: only fill in the details when the players get close to or enter something.

Comment Re:If it ain't broke... (Score 1) 245

Removing features is what made Firefox great. Firefox became a well-known piece of utter shit when it had added feature after feature and bloated to an enormous, complicated hulk of options lost in hundreds of options. Then alternate browsers came along with their slimmed-down feature sets, and people moved.

Chrome is ditching menu items few people use. It might not die of featuritis.

Comment Re:A John Deer bonfire... (Score 2) 453

Everyone seems focused on the farmers and their poor little butthurt selves.

What about the downstream cost? These failures reduce productivity and thus increase the cost of food. They draw money to John Deere for no value-add (rent-seeking). These things reduce the total number of products you can buy with your money (wealth), and reduce the number of people receiving (jobs) the money spent for a given investment of labor-hours (wages).

The inefficiencies of requiring a tech to stop by just to sign-off on a hardware change that actually works--and to charge $500 for the tech to do so--result in a reduction of wealth across the entire economy at every income level, and a loss of (primarily lower-income) jobs. This is an attack on all Americans and on all recipients of American agricultural exports.

Comment Why is this news? (Score 2) 156

Isn't this obvious? It's what we want of technology: do the grunt work so we don't have to. I wanna be hummin' to my fav tunes in the car, not watching for turning landmarks.

Brains are metabolically quite expensive. Therefore, evolution has designed brains to be lazy and kick into cruse control when it can to conserve energy.

Comment Re:AI is just software (Score 1) 177

Such licensing and certification will jack up the cost of software, perhaps double or more because of the extra review steps that may be needed, and the added difficulty of outsourcing such work to cheap-labor countries lacking certification infrastructure.

Is society willing to pay extra for software and software-based products?

It would be great for IT paychecks, though. Bring it on!

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