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Comment Re: Why not blame the manufacturer? (Score 1) 260

I should think that it wouldn't be that hard to add parity to CPU registers, caches, etc

OTOH, I'm sure Intel could find a way to make the implementation obtuse and even further complicate their CPUs. And in any case, it's unclear to me what the device is supposed to do when it finds the number it is working with is wrong.

Comment Re:Why not blame the manufacturer? (Score 1) 260

and manufacturers are ignoring the problem and creating devices susceptible to such interference

If it really is a problem, it could be easily dealt with at very modest cost by using extra memory bits for memory error detection/correction. Although as others point out, modern software is so buggy that it might not be worth the effort to actually improve the hardware a little.

Those who were around 25 years or so ago will remember that the lack of parity/ECC actually can be laid partly on Microsoft. Early PCs had a parity bit on each byte (and they probably needed it). But memory was expensive back then -- $100US a Megabyte. And Windows needed a fair amount of memory. Which meant it needed a costly box to run on. So MS launched a campaign to convince us all that we really no longer needed that extra bit that added roughly 12% to the cost of memory.

Comment Re:50 feet? (Score 1) 225

Ahem, no. 1.7 miles, 3.37 Billion as of June 2016 With a number of outstanding lawsuits that will likely push final costs higher.

BTW, costs of Boston's "Big Dig" were probably in the same ballpark (total somewhere between 15B and 24B depending on who does the math) or higher although it's a more complex project and it's difficult to come up with a comparable cost per mile..

Tunnels under cities can apparently be kind of EXPENSIVE.

Comment Re:50 feet? (Score 1) 225

You might also have mentioned that your Seattle highway 99 tunnel is on its way to running about $2,000,000,000 a mile .. for two lanes in each direction. There's no reason to believe that auto tunnels under L.A. will be any cheaper. Hyperloop tunnels -- presumably a lot smaller in diameter -- might be a lot cheaper ... maybe ...

Comment Re:McDonalds (Score 1) 145

If you'd ever encountered the "fast food" that Macdonalds and the like replaced -- e.g. Howard Johnsons -- you'd probably have more appreciation for them. I don't eat Macdonalds often because they use way too much salt. But the food is cheap, consistent, and edible.

WRT to linux software distributions. I suspect Slackware ranks higher than one might expect because a lot of individual users have neither the brains nor the desire to be a Unix system administrator. Slackware is straightforward and well-behaved. The support forums have a lower jerk quotient than some better known distributions so dealing with the inevitable occasional problems is less tiresome than it might otherwise be. It's unix for those want stuff to work the way it always has. My guess is that if I somehow had to support a large number of users and were therefore forced to devote much of my life to Unixing, I'd prefer something like Red Hat or Ubuntu.

Comment Re:No time soon... (Score 1) 123

I dont think this happening within 3 years

That's a pretty safe bet. Hell it'd take three years to figure out how to license flying cars, insure them, and qualify the drivers. And that doesn't address the technology issues, or maintenance requirements or safety or security issues. Do you want flying cars zipping over your residence with the propeller making a funny sound and the equivalent of the Check Engine light on?. Safety? Like Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller has pointed out in a slightly different context, once you get off the ground, there is no Plan B alternative to a normal landing for getting down safely. Security? Anyone with a grudge can probably convert one of these things into a home made cruise missile.

Not that flying cars can never happen. But the problems are enormous. Way more than 3 years worth I think.

Comment Re:Already saw them 70 years ago (Score 2) 123

So no, VTOL does not mean flying car.

Strictly speaking, that's correct. But pragmatically, the next step after VTOL is STOL (short take off and landing) which means you need a runway of sorts to get the thing into -- and more important -- out of, the air. Space is kind of at a premium in urban areas. Also, the vehicle probably needs to be drivable for short distances to get into and out of parking garages, tree covered areas, etc. Probably doesn't have to drive at expressway speeds or handle like a sports car. But it probably needs wheels, lights, turn indicators and a "reverse gear".

So the likelihood is that your family flying car if it ever comes about will feature VTOL and be "car-like" in many ways is pretty high.

Comment Re:New tech... (Score 1) 212

"Battery installations for "buffering" are already being installed."


" They are already cheaper then peaker generation plants."

Absolutely NOT true. Do some research. I know, I know. You've been told different. Do the math yourself including maintenance and battery replacement/refurbishment. You'll find that the actual costs of battery backup for general usage are a lot higher than you've been told. BTW, pumped storage works and is cheaper, but only if you use it regularly e.g. Niagara-Mohawk's buffering of night time power from Niagara Falls at it's pumped storage facilities.


Aside from which, the problem with wind/solar is that one can experience extended periods of "outage". That means that you don't need one day's worth of battery storage, you need maybe a week's worth. Which will cost about seven times as much as a day's worth unless there are some unexpected economies of scale

Comment Re:$190 / kWh and $20 / kWh less than $100 / kWh (Score 1) 212

"Let's see what happens to the price of oil in 20, 30 or 40 years."

Good point. And keep in mind that the 80% of humanity that doesn't live in developed countries are going to become richer and start thinking about an SUV or two parked in front of the yurt, slum, apartment complex or hovel. OTOH what we saw a decade ago was that when petroleum prices got to around $100 a barrel, a lot of expensive, not especially high quality, hydrocarbons started popping out of the ground. For that matter, ICE will run just fine on Compressed Natural Gas. My understanding is that there are a couple of million CNG powered cars and trucks on the road in (of all places) Iran and Pakistan. And Coal to Liquid probably is economical at $3-$4 a gallon. South Africa produces a significant amount today.

Also keep in mind that the cheap prices claimed for wind and solar electricity are bogus. Reality is that we have to bribe investors to build wind/solar. Without subsidies, there would be little or no investment. That'll change also someday I imagine. But there's always going to be a need to cover electricity demand during the 50% of the time that the wind isn't blowing (or is blowing too hard) and the sun isn't shining. There are a few places blessed with lots of hydro or a convenient volcano or three that can enjoy adequate non fossil fueled power.. But what are the rest of us to do?

Comment Re:New tech... (Score 1) 212

"It's starting to look as if electric cars and clean energy may actually be manage to kill off the fossil fuel industry in the foreseeable future."

Foreseeable? Yes. Immediate, No.

The fossil fuel industry isn't going away for quite a while, if ever. Aviation isn't likely going to go electric unless the cost of hydrocarbons becomes prohibitive. Batteries have, and likely will have, relatively poor energy density compared to the same weight of hydrocarbons. That'll be true for a long, long time. Maybe always. And plastics are going to use hydrocarbon feedstock. Again, for a long, long time.

Also, nothing much is actually going to happen (unless and) until "batteries" get cheap enough to buffer unavailability of wind and solar energy against long periods of cloudy/windless days. That will require vast amounts of dirt cheap storage. That'll probably happen someday, but not for a number of decades. The alternative would be a frightening number of nuclear power plants or occasionally sitting for hours in front of a wood burning fireplace (where does the wood come from) reading physical books by the light of a candle.

Comment Re:$190 / kWh and $20 / kWh less than $100 / kWh (Score 2) 212

OK, that's clear enough. Thanks.

So, an order of magnitude cost reduction in 20 years? And we'd like to have about 100kWh in the battery after a charge? So, that makes the cost of a car main battery $100000 in 2010? $10000 in 2030 and $1000 in 2050? (all using 2017 dollars) That suggests to me that electric vehicles really might be cost competetive with pure ICE in 20 or 30 or 40 years. Assuming that the other issues -- charge time, capacity declining with time, cold weather performance, weight, etc ... don't prove to be intractable. My guess, most vehicles really will be electric in the latter half of the century. But for now, internal combustion rules. And we're probably going to see a lot of hybrids before pure electric cars become dominant. And there will likely be some applications for ICE for a long time. Wouldn't you prefer that the fire truck protecting your house from a forest fire could be "recharged" in a few tens of seconds from a few cans of liquid hydrocarbon hauled to it's site by whatever transport was available?

Comment Re:Grow amazing crystals in minutes! (Score 1) 242

the orange powder resists degradation for over 100,000 years unless eaten.

It actually isn't degraded by eating either. You, and every other Cheeto eater are slowly filling up with orange powder. This situation will be recognized in about a decade and Cheeto dust will be proclaimed a revolutionary new state of matter.

Comment Re:White space (Score 1) 489

People who print out website are in a low percentage of users.

Could be related to the fact that printing from mobile devices and even Windows 10 seems to be so unreliable/non-existent that the only computer in the house that prints reliably to our HP-1102w is this Linux box. It's getting to be routine that the other denizens of this place email or sneakernet me stuff to print for them.

When CUPS works better than anything else, a reasonable person might begin to suspect that there might be a problem.

Comment Re:Easy answer (Score 1) 489

Assuming that you are talking about IBM's Common User Access Spec, there's a copy on the internet at

Given that it dates from the 1980s, it's pretty impressive really. CUA compliant software might be a bit clunky by modern standards, but it would clearly be reasonably usable -- at least on a device with a multiple line text capable display and a typewriter keyboard with function keys. That's more than can be said for a lot of more modern stuff.

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