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Comment Re:Nothing new - PG&E was doing this 33 years (Score 1) 157

The point of reducing peak demand is that your generating capacity pretty much runs flat out 100% of the time. You can't readily bring added power production on-line at a moment's notice. You have to build to meet peak demand, not overall demand. If you reduce peak demand, you reduce the need for overall production.

Comment Nothing new - PG&E was doing this 33 years ago (Score 1) 157

Waaaaaaaay back in the year 1983 - you may have read about it in your history books, I worked for Pacific Gas & Electric. We had a project to engage customers to raise their thermostats and thus reduce cooling and power loads during times of peak demand. Air conditioning is the single biggest end use during times of peak demand.

This is nothing new.

Save power. Use less of it.


Comment Re:Harmon-Kardon Turntable (Score 1) 316

I don't stream at all. I listen to a lot of bebop, big band jazz and classical. Tidal doesn't have a lot of the artists I like. Doesn't matter how good they are if they don't have the artists you want.

I'm an Old School Audiophile. I run a Linn LP12 turntable with a Rega tonearm and Denon cartridge. I have about 500 LPs left (pitched about half of 'em out a few years ago). I ripped about 1000 CDs to flac format and play them off of my Ubuntu laptop. I use both the JRiver and Banshee music servers. JRiver allows me to do digital EQ based on curves generated through Room EQ Wizard.

My playback system consists of a Peachtree DAC for both the laptop and my CD player, which along with the turntable feed into a tube preamp. The loudspeaker system is an integrated design from Siegfried Linkwitz which has a 3-way active crossover. The loudspeaker itself is an open baffle design with tweeters facing front and rear, an open baffle mid-range driver and two bass drivers open baffle. There are separate 60 watt amp channels for each bass driver, the mid-range driver and the tweeters, for a total of 8 channels for both sides.

I use 14 gauge zip cord for speaker wire and interconnects I got from Parts-Express. No need for exotic cables. It's a wonderful system. Everyone who hears it leaves my home with envy. I will put my system up against any system, at any price.

The Linkwitz designs are all for DIY folks and are thus affordable. Total expense for all of my gear comes in at a bit under $8000. The current hi-end design from Linkwitz, the LX521, is not surpassed by any loudspeaker on the planet and you can build the system for less than $5000. In the world of extreme hi-end audio, that's an incredible bargain. His LXmini system is perfect for apartment dwellers and can be put together for about $1000.

Comment Human society is prejudiced! Really? (Score 2) 304

Years ago I was playing with a personality analysis application. You answered a number of questions and it told you about your problems, yadda, yadda. Naturally it said I was insecure and a loser.

So just for grins, I ran through it answering as I would if I were the biggest jerk I could imagine. It came back saying I was a shining example of a human being. Almost Godlike.

I told a friend about this and she suggested I run it again with the same answers, only instead saying I was a woman. A woman giving the exact same answers was said to be a major bitch, irritating, neurotic, etc...

The point here is that there is no truly objective Reality. Google's search engine is just software and like any other observer, interacts with what is being observed.

Comment Re:Not as big a deal nowadays (Score 1) 50

I'd love to switch back to broadcast, but we didn't even get the old signals very well at our house. I can't imagine the HD broadcasts reach us at all.

I live in the San Francisco area and am a home owner. I put up a good roof mounted antenna and get a good signal. If you don't get a good signal where you are and have tried a good roof mounted antenna , then you're stuck. Bummer man.

Comment Re:Amazing cheap loudspeakers (Score 1) 135

I've been an audiophile since Nixon was president. At one time or another I've owned most all of the different technologies in loudspeakers - horns, dome diaphrams, satellite/sub-woofer combo, magnetic planar, electrostatics and now, open baffle. Stats are wonderful, but have their issues. Flat panet stats and magnetics both have awful high frequency dispersion. You have to sit in the sweet spot. Stand up and the high end disappears and they sound like an AM radio. Walk around the room and you have the same problem. I solved that problem with my Magnepan loudspeakers by adding a ribbon tweeter crossed over at 10khz.

The stats I had were full-range curved diaphram loudspeakers made by my buddy in the San Francisco area. He's the same one who did the thing with the Sound Exciters and foam core. The stats had wonderful clarity and detail, but just didn't image well in my room. I also had to add some DIY sub-woofers to get some low-end. My buddy is also the guy who introduced me to the open baffle designs of Siegfried Linkwitz, a retired HP audio engineer. Visit his website at:

Linkwitz Lab

There's a ton of information there about loudspeaker design that will take you days and weeks to plow through. This guy is the real deal audio engineer, not the usual hi-end snake-oil salesman.

I now run Siegfried's Orion design which has a similar tonal balance to my old stats, but also image much, much better. I made that switch about 9 years ago. Siegfried's latest designs are even better and are well worth consideration for anyone who wants incredibly great sound at a price we mere mortals can afford. I've always been a guy with champagne taste and a beer budget. Many of my projects have been DIY.

His LX521 design is the successor to my Orions and is extraordinary. They perform as well as any speaker at any price. You can build them for about $3000 and then have to add in the cost of 10 channels of amplification at 60 wpc. There are 12 channel amps from B&K and ATI that cover this quite well for a reasonable amount of money. You could also build 10 channels of chip amp for a modest amount of money.

Oh. One other thing. My speaker cables are 14 gauge zip cord I got from Parts Express. And I still consider myself to be an audiophile...

Comment Re:Amazing cheap loudspeakers (Score 1) 135

My buddy was running 1/2" thick foam core. It really is available, though your local art supply store may not have it in stock. has 1/2" foam core at their website. The point of 1/2" thickness is to get as much rigidity as possible in your diaphram. You could also probably get away with gluing up two 1/4" pieces. As a 2 ply laminate, that might provide even greater rigidity.

Comment Amazing cheap loudspeakers (Score 3, Interesting) 135

I've got a friend who's a cabinet maker and loudspeaker designer. For years he crafted full-range curved diaphram electrostatic loudspeakers. Nowadays he's into horns. One day I dropped by his shop and he blew me away with something he'd been doing with Dayton Audio Sound Exciters (well, that's what they're called today on Amazon's web site). They're transducers.

Get yourself two 2' x 3' pieces of 1/2" thick piece of foam core from an art supply store. Attach two of these Dayton Audio Sound Exciters to each of them. Wire them in parallel and connect them to an amplifier. The tricky part is that you have to suspend them in mid-air. Hang them from your ceiling or something. The sound you'll get out of them is very, very good - especially considering you'll have less than $75 in the whole project. I'd put it equal stuff you'd spend about $1000 to $1500 at Best Buy.

They aren't what I'd call extreme hi-end, but they sound much, much better than anyone would think. Would make for a great garage or shop system.

Comment This is the next step to Borg (Score 1) 106

First it was people walking around being obsessed with USENET, discussion forums and flame wars. Then it was their iPhones - continuously textings, facebooking, whatever. I see them on the street all the time, not to mention in restaurants. But now that's not enough. Noooo... We're going to be connected through the Internet of Things - network connected refrigerators, stoves, home furnaces, lamps, medicine cabinets, toilets, table lamps and door knobs. And that's not to mention our self-driving cars and chips in our pets, kids and family members.

It's just the next step to Borg. Besides...

How is a guy EVER going to cheat on his wife?!

Comment Re:neighbor (Score 1) 388

Have you forgotten about DNA testing? State laws have obviously not kept up with the times, but if some people claim to be children of the deceased, then a simple DNA test can prove that fact, and they should get priority (second to the deceased's spouse/civil partner(s)) if there is no will.

Why should children have *ANY* claim to inherit just because they share the same DNA line? The point I'm hoping to make is that if you see marriage as irrelevant and that children are best raised by a community, then there is also no inherent right they should have to claim inheritance of any property from their DNA providers.

Yes, and for every couple like you, there's a dozen couples where they constantly fight about small things like that. Should they stay married because of "the sanctity of marriage", or should they go find someone more compatible so they don't have to be constantly miserable because they made a hasty and poorly-considered decision in their youth? Considering how many couples these days don't have any kids, it would make more sense if the State didn't encourage marriage (through various financial incentives and other privileges bestowed on couples) and made it much easier for people to get out of bad relationships.

Oh I agree. The quality of relationship I have with my wife is very much the exception, mostly because she is exceptionally kind. She chooses to make a loving relationship her priority and she doesn't take any shit from me. As I said, if more people had her perspective, stable, loving relationships would be much more the norm than the exception.

The problem with divorce is that it doesn't necessarily solve the underlying causes for the bad relationship. Far too often the next partner is just another copy of the first one because they have attractive qualities that are similar. I think divorce can make plenty of sense, but it doesn't solve the deeper spiritual issues that made a good relationship work. And I'm not using the word "spiritual" in the religious sense, but rather in the context of what we do and why we do it from the place of our own sense of who we are and why we choose to behave and live as we do.

I remember a relationship I had with a woman before my wife and I got together. She was a lot of fun and we enjoyed the same entertainments. But her purpose in life was decidedly materialistic and mine very much is not. I have nothing against people having material wealth and nice things. It's just that I don't see their acquisition as validating who I am. We just had very different perspectives on the meaning of life. She's entitled to hers and me to mine. I realized then that while she wanted a permanent relationship, I could see that it wouldn't last. I wasn't going to try to change her and she certainly wasn't going to change me, so it did not endure.

Comment Re:neighbor (Score 1) 388

It is natural for humans to pair off.

What do you base that assumption on?

It seems pretty self-evident to me. There are any number of species that mate for life. I see no reason that couldn't be a natural facet of human nature.

Pre-contact Hawaiians did no such thing, and their society probably closely resembles ancient hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Also, polyamory is quickly becoming popular across America, as well as open relationships.

I have yet to see an open relationship partnership which has endured.

But let's explore the notion of family from another direction. I've known any number of people who never knew their birth parents but had a deep need to know who they were. They "wanted to know where they came from". That may not be important to you, and you're entitled to that feeling, but you can't begin to suggest how others should feel about something like that.

Why should children be entitled to inherit property if marriage is without meaning or value?

What does one have to do with the other? You're not making any sense here whatsoever. If someone wants to will their property to their kids, they should obviously have that right.

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't be able to will your property to anyone. But if you do pass away without making a will and you own property, then your children have a right to inheritance per state law. If you suggest there is no value to marriage, that everyone should be able to have sex with whoever is a consenting partner, then why should you have any specific responsibility to children just because you were a sperm donor?

The need for marriage as a cultural institution is all about providing a structure for the agreement of the rights and responsibilities of families - however you choose to define what a family is. Many families are childless and that makes them no less valid than those families that do have children. It is the family structure which conveys the rights and responsibilities inherit in them. One of the big issues in the pursuit of legitimizing gay marriage is for one partner to have the right to be considered a family member to the other, which is essential in medical decision situations, spousal support, inheritance, etc.

I have no problem with anyone choosing to not marry or to live in a polyamorous manner. For that matter I do not believe in the notion of "sin". I do believe in the right to make choices, good or bad, and that everyone is responsible for the consequences of the choices they make. I do not believe that anyone is entitled to forgiveness for making a bad choice, though it's certainly OK for those affected to do so.

I feel that everyone has the right to choose their own path in life and that includes accepting or rejecting contemporary social norms within the bounds of the law.

Personally, I think the Hawaiians had the right idea all along: no marriage, no permanent pairings, people can have sex with whoever they want, and the village takes care of the kids collectively.

In a hunter-gatherer culture, there is no real concept of property, so this is a viable social model. I don't see as viable in our technical industrial culture.

You may see polyamory as a viable life model and your partner may agree, but my wife sure wouldn't. I always have the choice to make for myself and as such, have continued to choose for myself to stay in a traditional one-to-one marriage. If everyone had someone as kind and genuine as my wife, we'd probably see a lot more marital stability. I am a VERY fortunate man.

Let me tell you a story. Some years ago I took a day off from work and took my wife to a very nice lunch in downtown San Francisco at the Palace Hotel. We ate in The Garden Room, which is one of the most beautiful dining spaces on the planet. Afterwards we were wandering around in one of the nearby department stores and my wife said, "I hate to shop. Let's go home."

I'm one very lucky man indeed.

Comment Re:neighbor (Score 1) 388

That must be why marriages are so long lasting and reliable in our culture...

Also, a lot of failed marriages are ones where the couple got married very young, so they either weren't selective enough (didn't make sure they had compatible long-term plans and such), or they changed a lot since they weren't mature when they hooked up.

To my mind, the real issue has to do with expectations in our contemporary American culture. Over the past decade I've worked with a lot of engineers from India, who all seem to have much more stable marriages than the typical American couple. Arranged marriages are still quite common in Indian culture though certainly not the rule. But I have yet to meet anyone Indian who has been divorced or re-married.

It seems to me that the romantic dimension is less important in Indian culture than the value and merits of family.

But it's also arguable that the whole institution of marriage is fatally flawed to begin with.

It is natural for humans to pair off. That males would feel territorial about their females is common in more species than just man. I don't know of any species where females feel territorial about their males other than humans. But beyond that there is the question of property inheritance. If you question the institution of marriage, then you should also question the practice of property inheritance. Why should children be entitled to inherit property if marriage is without meaning or value?

If you want to understand what's wrong with marriage in our culture, consider this little story.

A young man from a wealthy family stands to inherit a sizeable sum, but is informed that he can only inherit if he marries by the age of 30. As he is approaching that age, he decides it's time and figures he'd better pick from one of his 3 current girl friends. Because there is a lot of money involved he decides to test them by giving them each $10,000 and see what they do with it.

The first girlfriend is delighted with her windfall and lavishly spends the $10,000 on herself, buying clothes and jewelry.

The second girlfriend spends her $10,000 on him. Taking him out to fine dining, buying him clothes, massage and a trip to Hawaii.

The third girlfriend invests her $10,000 and doubles it in a week. She immediately returns the $10,000 he gave her and leaves the rest in her investments.

Which girlfriend did he marry?

The one with biggest tits.

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