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Comments

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Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

Bruce66423 Interesting and challenging, thanks (464 comments)

I guess the question that springs to mind is whether that covers ALL network costs, including the high voltage lines from the power station to the sub station. I'm also wondering whether the rural nature of your area doesn't provide a degree of latency and resilience that may be more absent in an urban environment. But I'm guessing there. But yes, you do make an interesting point; thanks.

I guess the other question about costings is about baseload; the issues are spelt out here:

http://www.economist.com/news/...

not quite sure how that translates to the western side of the Pond.

2 days ago
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Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

Bruce66423 Which PROVES they are making excess profits? (464 comments)

The fact that the UK's gas and electricity prices are among the cheaper in the EU is a hint that there's not a lot of price gouging going on, as does the relative failure of the cooperative buying efforts local authorities have organised. Of course it's attractive to blame the providers when price rises happen, and there IS a suggestion that they don't lower prices as rapidly as they might when wholesale prices fall. but I'm less than convinced that the CEGB and the regional electricity boards would have been any better.Yes Labour got itself a nice little bounce at the polls by proposing a price freeze when in its manifesto for the next election; the most probable effect of that is that all the companies increase their prices beforehand

2 days ago
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Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

Bruce66423 Oh dear - money grows on trees... (464 comments)

Utilities are boring because they do a simple job which generates small but predictable profits. Therefore investors put their money into them in the expectation that they will remain boring.

When a new development comes along that destroys their business model, one of two things will happen; they will increase their prices, or they will go out of business. Note that 'the government taking them over' is a subset of 'they will increase their prices'. The service that they provide; a reliable baseload supply and a safe network to distribute electricity HAVE TO BE PAID FOR. At the moment those costs are hidden in the average cost of a kWh. If private solar power reduces the average demand some of the time, the average cost of a kWh will have to be increased, or the other features be recognised and paid for.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no such thing as a free lunch, despite politicians pretending otherwise for several thousand years.

2 days ago
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FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Bruce66423 Either Amercian companies provide it or foreigners (353 comments)

So which does he prefer? This way he get to keep the backdoors that have been slipped in - just can't use them for evidence. The alternative is no backdoors. Great publicity for the firms; the FBI complaining they are secure. Anyone would think this has been choreographed...

4 days ago
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Not Just Netflix: Google Challenges Canada's Power To Regulate Online Video

Bruce66423 Netflix / Google's argument is surely valid (108 comments)

The purpose of the BROADCAST regulator derives, historically, from the limited number of channels available on TV, so it was argued that there was a public interest in controlling who put what on the air. The internet is surely more like the press, where there are no such limitations, so there is no justification for regulation. That the broadcast regulator is trying to butt into internet activities does seem like mission creep - always popular with the regulators as generating more jobs for their people, and with politicians who gain some leverage over the media. NOT good for freedom of speech however...

5 days ago
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Is Google's Non-Tax Based Public School Funding Cause For Celebration?

Bruce66423 Expropriation Nationalisation (88 comments)

Expropriation is the theft of a company by the state with no compensation - or as a result of a court order in connection with something else. Nationalisation is the state taking ownership but paying the owners a fair price for the assets. There is obviously a spectrum here; many Asian owned businesses in East Africa in the 60s and 70s were 'nationalised', but the price was paid in government bonds in an non-convertible currency that promptly inflated to zero value.

In the Western context, the process of nationalisation is essentially the same as compulsory purchase of land with a similar expectation of fair value paid. To do otherwise does constitute the state stealing the asset, and would probably constitute a post facto law; this, of course is why we have constitutions...

about a week ago
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Is Google's Non-Tax Based Public School Funding Cause For Celebration?

Bruce66423 So what else does the ban on post-facto laws mean? (88 comments)

In extremis. Of course you are right that laws change all the time, but at some level the constitutional principle has some significance. Certainly whole scale expropriation without compensation of things owned by corporations would be illegitimate. The issue is where to draw the line; the challenge is to resist being totally dogmatic in both directions!

about a week ago
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Is Google's Non-Tax Based Public School Funding Cause For Celebration?

Bruce66423 Corporations are belong to people = have rights (88 comments)

Because people have the right, under law, to create corporations and benefit from them, they inherit much the same right to act in the interest of those people as those people have. [Yes, this has probably been over-extended in the Supreme Court case that lets them do political donations to their hearts' content]. However the core idea in the organisation of a society is that laws lock in rights and expectations; if I set up an organisation with certain rights, then I have to right to expect to see those right protected.

Specifically if I invest money in a corporation with certain rights, I have the right to expect to see those rights not tampered with. What you are proposed is to overthrow that principle - technically this constitutes a breach of the constraint on the Congress not to pass a 'post facto' law - see section 9 of the US constitution, Whilst you may regret this situation, to assert that the situation can be reversed is not legitimate.

about a week ago
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Is Google's Non-Tax Based Public School Funding Cause For Celebration?

Bruce66423 It doesn't OWE the taxes (88 comments)

It may be argued to have a moral duty to pay them, but 'owe' implies a legal obligation. The reality is that corporate lobbyists have created some loop holes that the corporations are legally using to avoid paying what they don't have to pay. However unless you forgo ALL the tax claw backs you are eligible for, it is questionable if you have a right to criticise Google.

about two weeks ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Bruce66423 Immigration control (494 comments)

Doesn't mainly focus on a fence - though that would be necessary - but on depriving Scots without rUK citizenship of the rights of rUK citizens to live and work in the rUK.

And yes, I have no doubt that Scotland will be excluded from the EU for a period unless it rolls over and plays dead on a lot of issues, the Euro, abandoning Maggie's rebate and any control on Spanish fishing boats being some of them.

about two weeks ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Bruce66423 Look at the geography (494 comments)

Look at a map. The roads north out of England only exist to provide transport to and from Scotland. The question is whether the English will bother to maintain them once there's no union; we get relatively little benefit from them, since Scotland is a relatively small market for us. For Scotland it's a big issue. It's therefore entirely reasonable for us to look for a contribution from Scotland for the maintenance of those roads, whether as a toll or explicitly.

about two weeks ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Bruce66423 Re:This is bullshit from start to finish (494 comments)

"There are and will continue to be plenty of banks in Scotland."

In order for banks to lend, they must have deposits. Given the risk of holding money north of the border, a 'Yes' vote will generate a stampede of cash south on Friday. There may be banks, but they won't have any money to lend

"There is and will continue to be freedom of movement".

Really? If Scotland has left the EU, then it will be necessary to impose border controls

"There is and will continue to be access to European markets."

Only if you get to renegotiate membership of the EU. Good luck with that until you've agreed to pay your share of the UK's debts, and then only if you are nice to the Spanish

"Scotland has and will continue to use The Pound, and there is nothing the UK government will be able to do to stop them."

Sterlingisation will result in substantially higher interest rates for all bank loans as the risk of holding money in a country without a lender of last resort is significant.

"Prices are will remain competitive; arbitrage and competitive pressures will prevent large price rises."

This, at least, is accurate because you admit there will be price rises. If you are very lucky there won't be a toll on the M6 north of Carlise and the A1 north of Berwick, but it would certainly be rational for us to impose one to pay for the cost of maintaining roads to enable good to travel to and from Scotland.

"Russia will NOT invade Scotland... FFS! Why do I have to comment on this kind of purile shit?"

Given Putin's ambition and Scotland's oil, an attempt seems like an entertaining prospect. Not a visible invasion at first of course; Scottish socialists would start rioting as a result of the economic chaos following Scotland's ejection from the EU and then invite Russian peacekeepers to restore order. A referendum would be organised for Scotland to join the Russian Federation.

Of course that's not likely - but the idea that Scotland should become freeloaders like many other European countries, dependent on Uncle Sam to protect them from a bear that is demonstrably on the prowl is disappointing.

about two weeks ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Bruce66423 1914 vote? (494 comments)

Naw - there was a bill before Parliament that disappeared when war started, but no vote, unless you can provide me with evidence to the contrary

about two weeks ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Bruce66423 Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (494 comments)

"If the remaining UK screws over Scotland out of regret for allowing independence, then it would hurt the UK just as much as it would Scotland." Certainly not. Scotland is a small country whose screwing over would barely effect rUK, but who could bring the Scots to total chaos in days. We merely want to ensure that they pay their debts; they are the ones who raised the prospect of using that as a threat - we need to ensure that they don't even think about it.

about two weeks ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Bruce66423 Whoops (494 comments)

1) Statement of fact: Norway is not in the EU 2) Scotland will not be independent on 19th September, it will have voted to seek independence. It will have no control of its taxation, until that is agreed. It would be logical for the rUK government to inform Alex Salmond on 19th that at an imminent date the cash from UK wide taxation will cease to be paid to the Scottish government that keeps it going until it agrees to accept its debt. 1st January 2015 or the start of the new fiscal year spring to mind. 3) Until full independence, all state power will remain in the hands of the UK government

about two weeks ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Bruce66423 Religion offers a coherent rationale for morality (937 comments)

In an ideal world, human beings could be motivated by appeals to great ideals. Some people are: I have to admire the 'red martyrs' of communism who accept death for their beliefs with no hope of resurrection, unlike the 'black martyrs' of the Church. However in reality most people will rapidly drift back to being selfish. Therefore the prospect of eternal reward and punishment provide an external goad that, within the religious worldview, is a reality that will encourage people to stay on the strait and narrow. Of course it may not be true - but if it is, it is a reality for the believers.

Atheism offers no such goad. It has to construct a vision for the future, and depend on politicians to evangelise for it. This has not gone well...

about two weeks ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Bruce66423 And this is relevant how? (937 comments)

Given my need to live cooperatively, then it makes rational sense to live by these standards. However this doesn't offer any insight into the role or otherwise of Atheism in this debate.

about two weeks ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Bruce66423 You're adding 'rational systems and evolution' (937 comments)

Quite possibly true, but to do so requires an additional presupposition that 'rational systems' or evolution should provide a basis for morality. Why should they?

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Washington DC to return to automatic metro trains

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about two weeks ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.washingtonpost.com/... After a crash some five years ago, automatic operation was abandoned. Now however replacement of 'faulty' modules means that moving the whole system on to automatic operation can happen.

One quote is depressing: 'And because trains regularly lurch to a halt a few feet short of where they should be at platforms, Metrorail riders have grown accustomed to hearing an announcement while they’re waiting to board: “Stand clear. Train moving forward.” WTF. That never happens on the London underground with human operators? What's wrong with American drivers?"
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J P Morgan and 'four other banks' subjected to 'sophisticated' cyber attack

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about a month ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.independent.co.uk/n...
The quality of the attack, which appears to have led to 'gigabytes' of data being lost, is raising the prospect of a state being the source. The present culprit suggested is Russia... why the assumption it's not China — just because China isn't invading the Ukraine at the moment?"
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UK prisons ministry fined for lack of encryption at prisons

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about a month ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.theguardian.com/soc... reports that the UK Information Commissioner has levied a fine of £180,000 on the Ministry of Justice for their failure to encrypt the data held on external hard drives at prisons. The fine is nominal — one part of government fining another is rather pointless, but it does show that there's a little bit of accountability. Of course it's interesting to consider the dangers of this hopefully old way of storing backups; but the question of whether we do a lot better now is quite pointed."
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NSA knew about destruction of the Guardian's data

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 3 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "As people may remember, in a piece of theatre worth of Monty Python staff from GCHQ destroyed discs and computers at the London HQ of the Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-... As anyone with an ounce of sense knew, all the data was safely elsewhere as well. Now it appear that the NSA leadership was enthusiastic about this — which indicates how out of touch they are"
Link to Original Source
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Aircraft disappear from European air traffic control radar

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 4 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "Over the course of a month some 13 aircraft at high altitude disappeared from the screens according to http://www.independent.co.uk/n... The article quotes 'unnamed experts' that 'interference between the aircrafts' transponders and ground control was apparently to blame'. Really?"
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NSA claims its systems are too complex to obey the law

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 4 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
Just when you thought it couldn't get any more unlikely, the NSA throws a dozy. This of course implies that they have no backup system — or at least that the backup are not held for long. So that means that a successful virus, one that blanked without making obviously deleted, getting into their systems would destroy ALL their data. Interesting..."
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Google discriminates in favour of Asian employees - or what?

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 4 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.theguardian.com/tec...
The Guardian — a left wing newspaper — has a headline to this article that focuses on the absence of women and especially blacks. But given the 30% Asian headcount, it's dubious this is a function of discrimination against blacks, but that's how the left likes to portray it.

It's easy when you know how to spot the biases..."
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Long but brilliant explanation of why Snowden did right

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 4 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.theguardian.com/tec...
Gives a very full exposition of the mess that we are in and the need for real change. An interesting revelation — at least for me — Obama had indicated his intention to filibuster the law that protected telecoms from the consequences of their failure to resist NSA snooping. Then suddenly he voted in favour, after he was all but the Democratic candidate for President. The only question — how did they get to him..."
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School hacks confiscated phone and suspends girl for relationship

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 4 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...
A secular state (i.e. public) school is reported to have broken into the private files held on a girl's phone — which were password protected — and used the information as evidence to suspend her because of a totally legitimate romantic relationship with a boy at the school 'on religious grounds' — the school in question coming under control of Muslim ideologues."
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A hardware hack of phone lines causes ructions

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 4 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.theguardian.com/mon...
tells the story of a street of seven houses whose bills ALL showed up large overseas call charges. This is done by putting a handset on at the junction box. You have been warned! Surprisingly some people have been arrested for the offence in this case; clear evidence that the police don't have anything much to do these days given that crime is falling so fast..."
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London black cabs threaten chaos to stop Uber

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 5 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/tech...
reports that the drivers of London's black cabs — they're the ones whose drivers' 'knowledge' — the test of the streets of London they have to pass to be a driver — has been made obsolete by GPS, are threatening to cause traffic chaos in London to see off 'American monster' uber. How incumbents whinge when their monopoly is destroyed..."
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Chick-fil-a to end using chickens raised on antibiotics

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 8 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "Time reports: http://business.time.com/2014/... The company recognises that this will increase costs; the depressing thing is that this is being done voluntarily, given the clear evidence that prophylactic antibiotic use is one of the drivers of the terrifying rise in anti-biotic resistance."
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UK to get FBI to investigate US companies who breach privacy

Bruce66423 Bruce66423 writes  |  about 8 months ago

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "The information commissioner in the UK is seeking to get the FBI involved in investigating US companies that broke UK law in getting hold of British residents' personal data. Whilst this is a logical development after the US attempts to extradite British residents who hacked US websites whilst in the UK, it seems to ignore the 800lb gorillas of the probably illegal behaviour of the NSA and others on the same grounds..."
Link to Original Source

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