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Comment Re:Do the math... (Score 1) 163

How are workers supposed to dig into the roads to install cables, lay need sewer lines/etc?

It's a different basic idea. I'm not sure how wise the idea is, but I can definitively tell you that they have thought about your concerns.

Here's how a solar roadway install would go:

First, dig up the old road, and install a mounting frame for the modular panels. Along one side of the road is a special underground service tunnel, and bundles of heavy cables run along that; this is the electrical bus, which lets multiple solar panels aggregate their output. Also in the special tunnel is the designed drainage, so that when it rains there is some place for the rain to go, and it is possible to install electric pumps to make sure the rain goes where it needs to go. The web site calls this the "Cable Corridor". One of the claimed benefits is this lets electrical transmission wires be conveniently underground by the roadway, instead of up on poles where winds can bring them down.

If one of the solar road modules is damaged, or just stops working correctly, that one module is removed and replaced with another off-the-shelf module. The initial install will cost more than an ordinary road, and the modules cost more than an equivalent volume of asphalt or concrete, but the labor of swapping a single module is going to be massively less than repaving a pothole. I reckon that to fix one panel you would just need one or two people and a pickup truck; for fixing a pothole in a normal roadway you would need a digging machine, asphalt machine, steamroller machine, and people to drive all the machines.

The surface of the modules is textured glass: textured to make it less slippery. One of my questions is whether the texture will be ground down and polished away after a few years of heavy use, leaving a horribly slick and dangerous glass surface. Another of my questions is how often the mounting frame under the road will need repair or replacement... it's simple to swap out modules, but not so simple to pull all the modules, dig up the frame, and lay a new one.

If the solar modules last longer than asphalt, this may turn out to be a much better way to go, but that seems like an incredibly big if.

It's also not clear to me why the solar modules should be the road, rather than a roof mounted high over the road, with sloped sides to keep rain and snow from accumulating on the roof. Why melt snow off the road when you can keep it off with a roof?

After I read up on their web site, I did some math, and I determined that according to their numbers, each solar module will make something like $2 worth of electricity per month. I don't imagine the lifetime of the modules will ever be long enough that they would pay for themselves. So this is a good idea only if the reduced labor costs of swapping modules (vs. repaving a conventional road) work out to a net savings. Best to treat the free electricity as a small bonus, rather than gushing about how if 100% of all roadways were replaced with this technology, it could power the entire USA for free. And the part on their web page where they actually propose rewiring everyone's homes to run on DC power makes me wonder if these guys have practical engineering experience or are just pure ivory-tower types in love with a pretty theory.

I guess if massive mass production occurs of these modules, the cost could come down a bit. If the mass-produced panels are cheap enough, if they last long enough, and if the cost of the initial install isn't too horrible, these might be economic. If, if, if.

Comment Re:EM Drive -v ION drive = 1st space robot wars (Score 1) 132

(a) Appeal to authority. Facts are true or they aren't, and the majority opinion of scientists doesn't affect that.

(b) Catastrophism was proposed by J. Harlen Bretz as an explanation of the geologic features of the Channelled Scablands in Washington state. Basically he mapped out a bunch of geologic features and proposed that they were created by a catastrophic event: the unleashing of a tremendous volume of water that carved out new geologic features in a matter of days.

He was completely dismissed as a crackpot when he proposed it; not just wrong, but also not qualified to have any opinions on geology. The accepted dogma of the time was that everything in geology takes geologic time, not just most things (a strict form of uniformitarianism). 40 years later, his theories became accepted as correct by the mainstream geology community.

P.S. The modern view of uniformitarianism in geology is that most of the time things change slowly as they have all along, but sometimes catastrophic events like a megaflood or a volcanic eruption or a meteor impact can have a sudden effect. This just seems like common sense to me, but I guess the strict form of uniformitarianism seemed like common sense in 1923.

Comment What TypeScript is (Score 1) 89

I wasn't sure what TypeScript is so I looked it up.

It's a language similar to JavaScript that allows you to optionally use types on variables. It "transcompiles" to JavaScript, so you can write programs in TypeScript and then they will run in standard web browsers that only support JavaScript.

It's possible to use standard JavaScript libraries with TypeScript, and further is it possible to write a header file that documents type information for those libraries. So it is possible to use TypeScript and take advantage of its type checking without needing to re-implement all the libraries.

Comment Re:Honestly it's not bad (Score 2) 121

What I liked about GNOME 2.x, and still like about MATE today, is that out-of-the-box it works like I expect. I tweak a few things, but if I boot up from a USB drive with a live image, I'm still comfortable and I still get work done.

With GNOME 3.x all the defaults are alien and uncomfortable for me. Yeah, with enough work I could make it do what I want... there's a project for that and it's called Cinnamon.

I think that the GNOME 3.x developers made a lot of decisions, early on, without usability studies... and those decisions are baked in and hard to change now. If I'm wrong and there are usability studies, and the studies prove that GNOME 3.x tests very well with ordinary users, then I'd like to see those studies and read them for myself.

Comment Re:Auto-extracting of archives (Score 1) 121

User research showed that people actually don't want an other app, they just want to access the content of the archive.

Can you please give me a pointer to where the results of the user research were published? I would like to read up on the research that the GNOME team uses to make their decisions.

Frankly, I didn't think the GNOME team did any research anymore. I read about the reason why the "minimize" button was removed for the GNOME 3.x release and it was one developer making a decision after talking to like two people, no actual usability studies run by usability experts. (In contrast, back in the day, Sun Microsystems ran usability studies on GNOME 2.x and the results were used to improve GNOME.)

If GNOME is having usability research done, and making decisions based on that, then good for them. And I'm not being sarcastic, I do want to look at it.

P.S. I just Googled and I didn't find whatever study you are talking about. I found a couple of cases where someone did a usability study on their own, but nothing about the GNOME project officially doing usability studies.

Comment Auto-extracting of archives (Score 3, Interesting) 121

I watched the video showing new features, and one of the new features is: you double-click on an archive and it automatically extracts the contents in the same directory as the archive.

I don't want that. I want it to not work that way. In fact I want it to work exactly like it works in my MATE desktop: I can double-click an archive and it opens in an archive manager app, and there is an "Extract" button in that app.

I could see putting a right-click menu option "Extract..." if it's so freaking important to extract an archive with minimal steps. But making the default for double-clicking be to extract in place? No no no.

Comment Re:H1B minwage needs to be like 100k-150K (Score 4, Insightful) 618

H1B minwage needs to be like 100k-150K

I like that idea, actually. The theory is that H-1B workers are hired instead of US citizens because the H-1B workers bring crucially needed skills otherwise unavailable, and not because they can be paid less and/or treated like slave labor. If they are that crucial, pay them accordingly.

And if raising the prices on something means you get less of it... in this case, that means less of H-1B workers, leaving more room for US citizen workers.

Comment San Francisco minimum wage heading to $15 (Score 3, Informative) 618

This was likely a factor in the decision: the minimum wage is $13/hour and will be $15/hour by 2018.

When something is more expensive, less of it gets bought. When it costs more to hire people, jobs start to go away.

Comment T-Mobile acts like they want our business (Score 1) 196

Verizon acts like they are doing you a big favor by letting you use their network. I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile because I wanted to be able to use Google Nexus devices. (My last Verizon phone was a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but Google got fed up with Verizon over how they mishandled the Galaxy Nexus so there aren't any new Nexus devices for Verizon.)

Overall I'm happy with T-Mobile. And it was fantastic when I recently visited Japan and my phone actually worked. It was 2G speed only, but Google Maps worked great, Google Translate worked great, messaging worked great.

There are a few spots I have visited where a Verizon phone gets good signal and a T-Mobile phone doesn't work. They are few enough that I'm glad I made the switch.

Comment Re:Don't insult Hillary Clinton on Facebook (Score 1) 96

All the news of my friends is made available over Facebook. "I got a new job!" "I just ran a marathon!" "Got a new kitten!" "Broke up with my boyfriend." Whatever.

If your friends don't use Facebook, maybe you get the news of them the old-fashioned way. But I'm getting nonzero value out of reading my friends' news of themselves.

I share news that way too. I try to keep it interesting and non-political. I have friends who have different political views than I do, and Facebook isn't a place to convert anyone.

I really do wish that a decentralized friends network system could catch on and give us a Facebook-type experience without any one company being able to put a thumb onto the system. But it doesn't seem very likely now.

Comment Don't insult Hillary Clinton on Facebook (Score 1) 96

Liberty Memes ran a Hillary Clinton meme and Facebook took it down and suspended their account.

IMHO the meme was well within normal political satirical norms. I can imagine "memes" that I would agree should be taken down, but this seems like a case of lese-majeste enforcement by Facebook.

I think I could get away with posting a meme like that; I'm not famous or popular. It's only if something starts getting lots of likes and shares that it will get slapped down. You are free to do whatever you want as long as nobody notices. Facebook isn't absolutely chilling speech, but I do think they are managing which things are allowed to trend.

Sigh, I'm still using Facebook. Pretty much everyone I know is on it.

P.S. I just checked and the Liberty Memes account is back up, so the suspension must be over.

Comment Re:Headline is misleading and a little clickbaity (Score 1) 474

And yet did any of the executives cut their salaries, stock options and bonuses to help out?

Four executives had their salaries cut to $1 for the year 2012. As far as I can tell this was a gesture to make the workers happier since the plan was to cut worker salaries or else close down the company.

I'm not a real expert but I pulled together a whole bunch of supporting links for this post:

The supporting link for the $1 per year salary is now a dead link, so I Googled up one for you that still works:

How dare those greedy people in labor want living wages, that were probably 1/50th of what the CEO made, instead of being content living in poverty!

They can want whatever they want to want. However, the company was not profitable and after the second bankruptcy they were out of investors to pump in more money to keep running at a loss. Their one chance to keep the company alive was to cut their biggest expense: pay and benefits to the giant unionized staff. The BCTGM didn't yield (twice! they didn't yield twice!) and Hostess shut down.

Now instead of an unprofitable company employing around 19K workers, it's a profitable company employing 1170 workers. It's fewer workers than before, but those workers know the company isn't going to go bankrupt and lay them all off. And since the company is able to operate now with that number of workers, it makes no sense to wish they would hire 19K workers anyway when they don't need 94% of them. You might just as well wish that Apple Computer start hiring tens of thousands of people to use hand tools to carve MacBooks out of aluminum blocks rather than using computer-controlled milling machines to do it.

Comment I hope they standardize on an open file system (Score 1) 221

A UFS device is just a flash drive device so it will be possible to use any file system, but I'm wondering what the de-facto standard will be. If I buy a camera with a UFS slot, what file system(s) will the camera be able to use? If I buy a UFS card, what will it be pre-formatted to?

History suggests that they are most likely to license NTFS from Microsoft, since Windows is so hostile to open file systems. But I can dream and hope that they will standardize on something open, and just provide some sort of drivers or custom app for accessing the cards on Windows.

How about Samsung's own F2FS? (Already contributed to Linux!)

Comment But they did file charges against Saucier (Score 4, Interesting) 801

FBI Director Comey said that there was no evidence of any guilty intent, so "no reasonable prosecutor" would file charges. So why were charges filed against Kristian Saucier, who unwisely took photos of a classified area on a nuclear submarine? No intent was proven or needed to file charges against him; he had photos of classified stuff on his phone, charges filed.

I am disturbed that there is clearly one standard for ordinary people, and another standard for Hillary Clinton. I sincerely hope that Mr. Saucier appeals his verdict on the grounds that the FBI Director said "no reasonable prosecutor" should have filed the charges, and he clearly didn't get equal protection under the law as Hillary Clinton got.

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