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Comment Re:Less than public transit? (Score 1) 250

That way the founders and investors could get out with their cash and Wall St. (read - your 401(k)) would be left holding the bag.

Only if the managers of your 401(k) were idiots.

After all, the Fed is pumping so much printed money into the system something has to soak up all that extra cash.

The Fed doesn't just "print money", either figurative or literally (the Treasury does the literal printing). It has several methods for adding money to the economy, all of which are quite reversible.

Comment Re:Heat (Score 1) 189

I would be more interested in this if it worked the other way, warming my house.

There are lots of designs for doing that. Look at any renewable energy bulletin board (such as fieldlines.com).

Common thread is:
  - Black (or otherwise visible light absorbing) target.
  - In an insulated box.
  - With a glass window (that does NOT have an infrared reflective coating)
  - And some way of transferring the heat from the black target to the house air.

Glass is opaque to infrared and passes visible light. Sunlight goes through, is absorbed by the black material, and heats it (to the tune of about a kilowatt per square meter at noon). The material re-radiates, but it is far too cool to re-radiate in the visible spectrum. So it re-radiates in the infrared, which doesn't escape through the glass and is thus re-absorbed.

It's called "The Greenhouse Effect". B-)

In one of my favorite designs the black target is a series of tubes consisting of used aluminum drink cans with the tops and bottoms removed, painted black. They're very good at absorbing light, because it takes multiple bounces down the valley between the tubes, giving the paint many chances to absorb it. A 4" computer fan pumps air through the box to extract the heat.

But there are LOTS of other designs. Including houses with large south or south-east facing windows and overhanging roofs that shade them in the summer but not in the winter (to rough-tune the absorption). The floor, walls, furniture, etc. serve as the visible light absorber.

My ranch house works like that - a little too well. In the afternoon it will git to 90+ degrees when it's single-digit temperatures outside.

Comment Re:Too good to be true. (Score 1) 189

It's a neat idea, but what happens in the winter?

Put a cover over it.

Glass is good. It is pretty much opaque to far infrared. Instead of seeing the cosmic background temperature of a few degrees kelvin, it will see the temperature of the glass - which is about the same as its own temperature. So the radiative heat flow will be just about zero.

But ANYTHING opaque to infrared will do the same.

Another approach: Instead of coating the house, coat a radiative cooler to make chill water, and pump that through a heat exchanger in your forced air heating/air conditioning system. Don't want cooling? Don't pump the water. (Adjust how much you pump it to regulate your temperature.)

That's not "no power", but pumping chill water is very little power, and you need to circulate the air anyhow. Most of the energy cost of air conditioning is refrigeration, and you still get that for free.

Comment RTFA. They DID try it on people. (Score 1) 154

RTFA. Then follow the link to the paper. They DID try it on humans. Worked reasonably well (though the sample was small so it was more "does this maybe work on people, too? Is it worth a big study to check?" rather than "do all the results reproduce in people just like mice or are they quantitatively different in THIS way?").

Interestingly, they used a proprietary commercial boxed Fasting Mimicing Diet - L-Nutra's ProLon (Developed by a team including a USC Davis professor specializing in gerontology and life-extension) - on the human experimental subjects.

Comment Re:"Research Projects" (Score 1) 74

The problem is that all these attempts to interest kids in STEM are so earnest and dull.

What we should be doing is tempting them with mad science. You see? It's not all death rays and monkey testicle implants.

It's important to hook them by middle school, when the all important sense of being misunderstood is its keenest.

Comment Re:Call me crazy... (Score 1) 89

Well, they're both solutions. But they run afoul of questions. Which users benefit most from each solution? And if someone benefits most from the massive battery with conservative display and processor specs, can you sell it to him?

I'll tell you right here that I'd much prefer LG's approach, but I'm an engineer. I think about my requirements differently than most people.

Comment US Life Expectancy is 91.9 years (Score 3, Insightful) 107

If you're a woman in the top 1% by income. If you're a man in the top 1% it's 88.8 years.

If you're middle class you live about 78.3 years if you're a man, which is big step up from 1980, probably because of smoking. If you're a woman you live 79.7 years, a decline of a few months since 1980.

Now if you're a poor your life expectancy has declined since 1980, to 76.1 for men and 78.3 for women.

So here's the picture: if you're rich, medical advances since 1980 have increased your expected lifespan by about seven years. But those advances haven't had any effect on middle class lifespans. If you're poor you apparently are having difficulty paying for medical care at all, which is not surprising because health care costs have consistently outpaced inflation since the mid-70s. If you're a working poor American health care inflation meant you basically screwed by the 2000s: you were too rich for Medicaid, to poor to avoid medical care.

One more thing: US has a GINI coefficient (measure of income disparity) of 45. That's the highest in the industrialized world, and much higher than it's low point of 34 in 1969. Basically all of the income growth sicne 1990 have gone to the top quintile, in fact the lion's share to the top 5%. People at the 80th percentile by income and below have seen basically zero income growth when adjusted for inflation. And since health care inflation rises faster than inflation, it means 80% of the the US has seen a cut in its disposable income.

Comment Re:So, America might have a lower life expectancy. (Score 1) 107

Why single out one cause, when there's obviously many.

Take food. I live near a supermarket that is probably three times the size of the one my parents went to, but the produce section is smaller, the meat and dairy sections about the same size. The surplus acreage is taken up with cheap, calorie dense, no-preparation convenience food.

Or the fact that Amercians spend more time in cars than they used to, on average over 290 hours a year.

Here's another interesting fact: research shows that the portion size you choose is positively correlated to the size of the package you serve yourself from; this doesn't happen consciously, it's just that a cup of cereal from a 9 ounce box appears like a lot more than a cup of cereal from a 21 oz box.

The huge sizes are driven in part by an attempt to cut down on trips to the grocery store. American home kitchens are the largest in the world, and most of that is needed for storage because we don't do very much food preparation.

So if there's a single root cause it's the pursuit (sometimes failed) of efficiency; we have the wealth to try to reduce labor and time spent doing things, but our bodies are designed to spend time doing things.

Comment Re:The solution is simple. (Score 1) 321

The problem may be the while Garcina Cambogia causes 30% more weight to be lost, 30% more of zero is still zero.

If that's what happens anyway it's somewhat problematic to use the word causes -- unless it's a different 30% in each case that would have happened otherwise. It's a bit like Woody Allen's the Great Roe: "A mythological beast with the head of a lion and the body of a lion, though not the same lion."

Comment The solution is simple. (Score 1) 321

If at first you don't succeed, try try again. Then if you succeed, try try again. Carry on until you have constructed a body of results you can evaluate as a whole.

There is a reproducibility problem for who have a model of the universe that works like this: If A is true, then investigation will uncover evidence supporting A, and no evidence supporting not-A. If this is your world view, then the instant you have any contradictory data you have a worldview crisis.

It is perfectly normal for science to yield contradictory results. That's why when you see a study reported saying taking Garcina Cambogia yields astonishing weight loss results you don't immediately run out to the health food store to buy miracle pills. It's absolutely routine for results like this not to stand up. The problem is that journalists are too ignorant of how science works to understand this.

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