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Comment Re:This just in (Score 3, Interesting) 228

You have a funny definition of freedom if it means support and praise of people who back things like elimination of civil liberties, strict control of speech, elimination of equality, and convergence towards dictatorship.

You have a funny definition of freedom yourself if you think that it means developing and collecting techniques to use your personal electronics as spies for the government. Whatever Assange's relation to the Kremlin may be: on this specific issue they are fighting for your and my freedom with much more impact than any soldier ever had in the past 70 years.

Assange [...] doesn't believe in freedom, he believes in absolute rule by only those who he personally agrees with [...]

According to a 2011 interview with Forbes, Assange is some sort of libertarian. Now I tend more to what is called socialist in the US, and believe little in trickle-down economy and market shenanigans, but you are describing a fascist, which Assange has never given any reason to believe he is. On the other hand, the people who "believe in absolute rule" are also those who collect and use the hacking tricks used by the CIA. So what kind of fascist would ever disarm the brown shirts?

Comment Re:Honest Question: (Score 1) 160

Norwegian with electric car here, proud owner of a Leaf since August. No problem experienced this winter, even the days when it was cold enough that if you tried to wash your car the hot water would freeze on impact and keep the dirt in place for a few days (yes I managed to do that).

The problem is not the batteries themselves (though there could be if you hit 40 degrees below zero), but that electric power is used for car heating, which in gas cars is taken from the combustion exhaust. This means that I lose some range in winter, but nothing dramatic; I have seen a drop from 175 to 150 km in estimated full range. I have not adjusted my usage pattern in any way, but older cars without heat pumps and smaller batteries (like the venerable old models of Think) had more problems.

In general, battery cars start much more easily than fuel cars in cold weather: a friend of mine has had a lot more trouble with starting her diesel this winter than me with my battery.

Submission + - Wikileaks releases CIA hoard of 0-day exploits for mobile, desktop, smart TVs

orzetto writes: Wikileaks has today published a first part of a longer series of CIA leaks, called Year Zero, detailing a number of zero-day exploits that the CIA has been hoarding, which they have been handling with insufficient security and of which they have reportedly recently lost control.

"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Comment Re:Maybe he just wanted to shoot them in cold bloo (Score 0) 187

I'm not African, but lots of the countries you point at can still rightfully blame Europeans for their problems after independence:
  • Congo had its first post-independence leader assassinated by the Belgians
  • Rwanda's civil war was due to the racism between the Hutu and Tutsi groups, which was introduced by German colonists in a divide-and-conquer strategy.
  • Nigeria's ails are mostly due to immense corruption fuelled by oil companies, most of which based in the same countries that used to colonise the continent.
  • South Africa... apartheid, anyone?

The effect of classic and neo-colonialism on Africa is unequivocally disastrous, on a scale that makes the Holocaust look like a walk in the park.

Comment Re:The Goldman talks... (Score 1) 315

Your point is that Hillary Clinton charges as much as others, so she's no different. The problem is that "others" are actually a bunch of crooks, such as her husband, Trump, assorted politicians who all can be accused of corruption just as she is.

No one in their right mind pays hundreds of thousands of dollars for a speech—any speech. I am a researcher and I have been invited to give lectures in universities abroad occasionally, and the rule is that at most they cover your travel costs. Nobel laureates may get command some extra treats, like conference fee exemption, presentation placement in plenary and a nice hotel, but not big payouts; besides, in that case the speaker actually has to prepare something, not just spout some truisms and rehash some old presentation.

If someone is being paid hundreds of thousands for a 5-minute speech, the speech is only a fig leaf to cover for the transfer of money; now if you are paying that money to Malala Yousafzai, it's obvious you really want to support her work for girls' education; if you pay that money to a politician that may help your company, that's corruption, be it for a specific service or as "environmental corruption", where it is normal to regularly pay politicians to be on their good side. It is obvious that even in the absence of either written or oral agreements, both parties realise that the speaker will be in debt to the organiser. That's corruption, be it Clinton I or II, Trump or whoever else.

I suggest you Americans to eject New York from the Union so you can get rid of both candidates and start over...

Comment Re:EU science programs open to non-members (Score 4, Informative) 517

It is possible to take part in EU science programs and funding like Horizon 2020 without strictly being an EU member.

Yes, but you need to be a third-world county or an associated country; source here. Essentially, you can get funding if you are outside the EU if you are:

  • a EU country, e.g. France;
  • a colony of a EU country, e.g. Greenland;
  • an Associated Country, which means countries in the wider sphere of influence of the EU, e.g. Norway;
  • a third-world country like Afghanistan.

Developed countries like US, Canada, Russia and China are excluded, and that's the set in which the UK will land after Brexit. Their only option is to join as an Associated Country, but that is more expensive than staying in as an EU member. Otherwise, they can wait until their economy tanks bad enough to join the other list.

I am coordinator for two EU projects, each with 6 partners over 5 countries, and I know the system fairly well. And I have a proposal with one UK partner in processing, damnit.

Comment Re:Aluminum (Score 4, Informative) 231

Last year I saw a presentation by the head of Technology Development of Hydro, which has aluminium electrolysis as one of their core businesses. He proposed the same thing you do, using aluminium as an energy carrier: make aluminium (primary production though, not recycling) where you have power, then transport aluminium instead of setting up expensive DC subsea cables.

Since I work in renewables and hydrogen, I asked him if this could be done for wind power; it could not, because aluminium factories require an enormous amount of steady power. If power is interrupted, not only production stops, but the electrolysis cells solidify and cannot be restarted: this is a damage that requires hundreds of millions of dollars and months of lost production to fix. For example, this happened when the Qatalum, Qatar plant went offline.

So, intermittent renewables such as solar and wind are not a good match for aluminium, because it requires constant power. Hydro power is a better match.

Comment Re:Ugh.. (Score 3) 371

I always suggest that people who try to deny this watch Triumph of the Will. It helps explain how the Nazis *saw themselves*.

No, no, no. You make a propaganda movie to influence how others see you. The Triumph of the Will is how the Nazis wanted German to see them, and indeed the word "socialist" was quite popular at that time in history, which is why they hijacked it in "National Socialist".

Of course, what they did had nothing of the "socialist" part. They were heavily funded by the wealthy industrialist class (Krupp is a name among a hundred others), they were against abortion and for high child-bearing rates, were fond of guns and trained children with toy guns from an early age, stressed competition and survival of the strongest, had good relations with high clergy, including the Vatican, to the point that they helped hiding many Nazi war criminals after WW2.

Then of course there is the issue of "scientific" racism and the idea of master race, persecuting political enemies (guess what, almost all in the left side of politics), invasion of the Soviet Union, persecution of Jews (an age-old right-wing conspiracy theory used to provide the masses with an easy scapegoat).

I get what you are doing, trying to pull off the Goebbelsian Big Lie by associating the Nazis to your political opponents, no matter how historically groundless and ridiculous the association is. Maybe you believe it yourself. I would suggest you read more about the Nazis, you might end up liking them a lot.

Comment Re:"Historically", uh? (Score 2, Interesting) 639

Nazis were LEFT WING

Two paragraphs, and Goering emphasizes the SOCIALISM of Nazis nine fucking times.

So, all that persecution of socialists and communists, all that Barbarossa business, all that money the Nazis got from Krupp and the German aristocrats and industrialists, and that little issue with racial purity—that was all a charade? The No True Scotsman brought to new heights...

I hope you are trolling, because the other diagnosis is that you are so retarded you could be a Trump voter.

Comment Re:"Historically", uh? (Score 1) 639

German Mavare is one murder victim in a particularly violent country, was not a national leader and apparently the murder was due to robbery. Venezuela is besides the only country I know of where the leaders of an opposition that organised a coup was not arrested en masse (as would be normal in any democracy) and executed (as it would be the case in the US, where treason is punishable by death).

While one murder victim is one too many, in a dictatorship the scale is very different, the violence systematic and organised. You're lucky if you don't have the experience to understand this.

Comment Re:"Historically", uh? (Score 4, Interesting) 639

Proof you are wrong, sir: Hugo Chávez won all his elections fair and square, according not just to himself but to former US president Jimmy Carter, who was quoted saying "Venezuela probably has the most excellent voting system that I have ever known".

Chávez' opposition, instead, organised riots, a coup against him, and he was so magnanimous as not to have them sentenced to death (which is undoubtedly what would be done in case anything remotely similar were to occur in the US; it's called treason).

Just because you don't like his policies, his attitude or his inept successor does not make the man a dictator. And by the way there are still elections scheduled in Venezuela, and it is likely Maduro is going to lose.

Comment "Historically", uh? (Score 4, Insightful) 639

Historically speaking, that's where the real danger is.

If I understand you correctly, you are claiming that the "real danger" comes from the "socialist" left wing of politics. You curiously attached the adjective "historically", even though, in the history of democracy, not one single time has any established democracy ever been replaced by a repressive Soviet-style stalinist regime. Not. Once. Ever. The closest you get is when the USSR invaded the baltic states early in WW2, but that's more like a country-to-country invasion that would have happened no matter what the regime in Russia was.

As observed by Eric Hobsbawn in The Age of Extremes, real dangers to any established democracy have always, without exception come from the right wing of politics: fascism in Italy, nazism in Germany, Franco in Spain, Austro-fascism, Vichy France, various dictatorships in South America, the colonels' regime in Greece, Salazar in Portugal, the Shah in Persia, Suharto in Indonesia.

And the way dictatorships start is not by censoring news in a private media outlet, however despicable the practice may be; it is by instilling fear in the populace, identifying an enemy (real or imagined), and convincing the masses that they have to give up their rights and trust a heroic leader to gain security and maintain prosperity. Sounds like anyone you know?

Comment Re:Again? (Score 2) 121

The charge times are a factor, but mostly it's cost, cost, cost!

Batteries are economically unsustainable: Li-ion batteries (the type with high energy density that you need in any battery vehicle) cost about 500 $/kWh. You can expect it to drop somewhat through the next decades, say to 300 in 2050, but they are already being mass-produced and unless a significant, revolutionary breakthrough happens, this technology has already delivered what it can.

Hydrogen storage, instead, costs about 12 $/kWh, much cheaper (I'm talking of the only commercial technology, compressed hydrogen at 350 or 700 bar). In addition to that, you need the fuel cells to convert hydrogen to power, and they cost about 300 $/kW (not kWh, kW). However, they are not mass-produced, in which case projections indicate they would cost about 50 $/kW or lower.

Now, trust me on this one (or do the calculations yourself): of the world's 10 most sold cars, almost all have one kW in the engine for every kWh of fuel in the tank (netting for engine efficiency). So mass-produced hydrogen cars can have a powertrain that is an order of magnitude cheaper than batteries by the kWh when mass-produced. Not only you can build a car that drives 500 km—you can afford it too!

But what about efficiency, I hear someone in the back shouting: it is true that batteries are about 90% efficient, and the electrolysis, compression and fuel cells train is about 40% efficient. However, consider this: a battery can operate for about 1500 cycles before end-of-life. Every kWh of capacity will store and release 1500 kWh, which in consumer prices (different by country, I know) is about 150 $. This means that the cost of batteries is much higher than the cost of the energy they will store through their entire lifetime. Efficiency in operation actually takes a back seat when investment costs are this high.

Finally, what about capacity? Li-ion batteries store 0.25 kWh/kg (that's why Teslas are so heavy). Hydrogen (including the pressurised tanks, that are 90% of the weight, and netting for 50% efficiency) provides 2 kWh/kg, again one order of magnitude higher.

To be clear: there is a marked for batteries and one for hydrogen. Smaller applications for short usage are better with batteries (think commuter cars). Larger applications, or applications that in general need a lot of energy compared to power (taxis, buses, trucks, even ships) are better served with hydrogen.

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