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Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

Facegarden Re:Reduced revenues != lost profit (280 comments)

I said pretty clearly:

"As long as an industry is growing - there will be money to invest in lowering costs."

Once everyone is drinking milk, there isn't much room to dump money into lowering costs, because the profit gets squeeze out of the industry from competition. Many things do hit a floor and level out in price. But there is no reason to believe solar is anywhere near that floor. The raw material - silicon - is one of the cheapest and most abundant materials on the planet. Those lower cost rules don't go on forever for all products, but they are valid for periods of development in a product's life cycle. And I believe solar power will be one of the most important products of this century, so there is lots of room for growth. Humans cannot afford to keep hurting the Earth to get our energy, and solar presents a clear opportunity to harvest thousands of times more energy than we currently use. The technology is already on par with the cost of fossil fuels and we will continue to find ways to make it cheaper and more efficient.

Also, Milk is cheaper. You just can't tell because our dollars aren't worth the same amount. According to a short search, in 1950 a gallon of milk was $0.80, which is $7.88 in today's money. Milk is cheaper because we have enormous milk factories now, not little farms that have to support a bunch of workers.

And OF COURSE you can't reduce the cost of something below the cost of raw materials, but as I said in my previous post you CAN reduce the cost of raw materials by investing in better mining equipment.

about a week ago
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NASA Gets 2% Boost To Science Budget

Facegarden Re:2% is nothing (121 comments)

I'm gonna have to throw this one back at you buddy... You don't know what you're talking about. Military spending is about half of social welfare spending (a good rule of thumb for our budgets is about 1/3 Military, 1/3 Medicare/Medicaid, and 1/3 Social Security). That has been true for a while now. See this graphic for actual data: https://www.cbo.gov/sites/defa...

But the thing is, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are all programs where Americans pay into a program and then get that money back at a later date either as direct cash or as medical care. Military spending, on the other hand, is money that goes nowhere. Sure, we employ Americans, but if your plan to promote jobs is to just give everyone a government job then we might as well be socialist. Hundreds of millions of dollars of military spending goes to bombs we literally vaporize. A shitload of money in the last decade went to building those big ass MRAP trucks that cost $1m apiece that we ended up handing to local law enforcement around the country for free because the military never actually needed them. The US bought $485m in new jets from Italy for Afghanistan and then scrapped them for $32k because they didn't work. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/f...
US Military spending is RIFE with pork.

Do you know how large the military budget is? It is way too big. In 2010 the budget was $700 Billion a year. In 2000 it was only $300B a year, and we were still BY FAR the world's largest military. We've added $400 BILLION dollars to our YEARLY military budget in the last 14 years. And it wasn't Obama that committed to that military spending, it was Bush. The president who committed to massive wars without paying for them (actually decreasing taxes at the same time).

This is how our military spending stacks up to the rest of the world.
http://cdn1.globalissues.org/i...

If Obama wanted to add $10B a year to helping Americans, you'd probably flip. But unchecked spending on the military is just fine by you?

The budget that is going through the House tonight has $490 Million for a fighter jet that doesn't work and the military does not want. Meanwhile, we are cutting $92 million from the food stamp program.
http://bulletin.represent.us/5...

Military spending in this country is fucking insane man, you literally have no idea. I can tell by your invocation of Obamacare as somehow a significant force in our debt that in fact you have no idea what you are talking about. Obamacare doesn't move the needle. And don't just shout that you know otherwise. You've been lied to and you've eaten it up. Go find the factual data that says Obamacare increased our budget by even 1% of our military spending. It's okay, I'll wait.

about a week ago
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NASA Gets 2% Boost To Science Budget

Facegarden Re:2% is nothing (121 comments)

If the $10k was for his daughter to go to a mid-level college, but he was also spending $180k on gambling, buying guns he'll never use, and paying for personal protection far beyond what he needed, I'd suggest he cut those latter expenses before cutting the $10k for his daughter.

These decisions are not made in a vacuum. You can't chide a spender for putting money into science but fail to address the huge waste in other areas. And don't say "well yeah we need to cut both". Pick the optimum place to start, and start there first. Don't cut science while we're still dumping money into war. If we fix war spending (which is not investing money back into Americans), then we can discuss how much we spend on science. And funny thing... "your friend" wouldn't be in debt at all if it weren't for that military spending (yeah, mixing metahphor...), and you'd find the could spend even more money on science. In fact, doubling his science budget would be no problem.

So a better question would be:

You friend makes $400k per year. He spends $180k on himself, $180k on his house, $180k on stuff he likes, and $10k on his kids (meaning he loses $150k due to overspending every year). He says he wants to spend more on his kids because it pays off in the long term. Do you tell him not to? Or do you tell him to go for it and chill out on the stuff he likes so he doesn't go deeper into debt.

Interestingly, my sig has been this way for ~4 years.

about a week ago
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Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

Facegarden Re:Reduced revenues != lost profit (280 comments)

Haha, wow... What an incredibly narrow view of the world you have. These "laws" are absolutely not nonsense. It is a real, broadly documented effect that the cost to produce goods in a large industry continually declines as a manufacturer learns over and over all the places they can reduce costs. http://www.economist.com/node/...

A manufacturer may come up with a trick to increase yield one year, so that there is 10% less product that falls out of the line after manufacturing due to defects. They may build more factories closer to consumers to reduce delivery costs. They may buy bigger machines to spit out twice as much goods for the same amount of labor, cutting labor costs in half. Their suppliers could get better at making the machines, offering faster machines for the same price - cutting down on overhead costs per part. The mines who supply the silicon could get more customers and invest in better machinery too, similarly decreasing their costs (which they can pass on to the consumer of those materials). Researchers can find new materials (like carbon for solar) that are cheaper than traditional materials. They could double efficiency for the same amount of material, cutting costs in half again.

Companies continually improve their processes to maintain their edge in a competitive marketplace. There is always someone who will come in and undercut you, so you need to be able to continually improve your processes or you will die. The whole phenomenon of continually lower prices was identified in the 1960's, and has repeatedly been shown to be valid over long terms. Moore's law for semiconductors is one great example, and solar panels still have huge demand above what we currently need them for. These laws apply to all kinds of things though... I'm sure it applies to tires, paper, pencils, shoes, televisions, LEDs, batteries, windows, magnets, etc. As long as an industry is growing - there will be money to invest in lowering costs.

You do need a place to put solar panels, but every rooftop in the country has more than enough room to power the underlying building with solar using just today's 20% efficient solar cells. We need power at night, but Elon Musk thinks lithium batteries will work just fine, and we have enough lithium to increase our use 20% every single year for 30 years before we'd need to even look for more. Lithium is one of the most abundant materials on the planet and the batteries are easy to recycle. Musk has said he plans on selling 30% of the batteries from his new factory to solar home customers (and he already owns a solar panel factory and a solar installation and leasing company). A solar-driven world seems very, very plausible.

Plus, we literally cannot afford to keep burning fossil fuels. We have no choice but to go carbon neutral and nuclear is not the option. We get free power from the sun. It is absolutely silly not to take advantage of it. Those fossil fuels we love? They were originally plants that grew from the sun or animals that ate plants that grew from the sun. Everything on Earth exists because of the vast power of the sun.

about a week ago
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Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

Facegarden Re:Reduced revenues != lost profit (280 comments)

Well, they're kind of in a losing position - raise rates to pay for losses, and people just move to renewables sooner.

It seems pretty clear that generating electricity from free sunlight is going to be cheaper than mining and transporting fossil fuels to a complex facility to burn them. Solar has it's own "moore's law" equivalent that says the price of the panels goes down by 50% every time we double installed capacity. We're currently only powering less than 1% of the world from solar, so there is a lot more room for doubling. You can find a study that goes either way, but supposedly solar is already at parity with coal power in certain regions, and fossil fuels only get more expensive, not less.

Regulated or not, if you're selling the horse and buggy and someone else is selling the automobile, your industry will die.

about two weeks ago
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Kiva Systems Co-Founder: Drone Delivery Could Be As Low As 20 Cents Per Package

Facegarden Re:Still not legal, right? (92 comments)

This is about raising awareness of the potential good things that can happen if the FAA gets their act together and allows commercial use of drones. The more good stuff we know about, the more likely they are to do something... theoretically.

about two weeks ago
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Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Facegarden Re:Cost nothing to run? (488 comments)

Are the blades carbon fiber yet? I just visited the Boeing 787 manufacturing plant today and that thing has carbon fiber wings and a carbon fiber body. They had several display sections and it seemed really, really sturdy.

It's the kind of thing that is mostly expensive due to labor, which means volume and automation could do a lot to make it cheaper.

about a month ago
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Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Facegarden Re:Home storage (488 comments)

I believe Nissan has stated that those are sold at a loss. They are only available for leaf owners as a service basically to avoid scaring away new buyers and give value to secondary sales.

about a month ago
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How the PC Is Making Consoles Look Out of Date

Facegarden Re:Not only graphics (568 comments)

You also need a PC with keyboard and mouse for precise controls. That's something consoles don't offer. There is no way you can use console to shoot me as fast as I can shoot you with a mouse. As soon as I see you, you are dead.

I hate using a keyboard and mouse. Its the only thing that has prevented me from every really picking up PC gaming. I know people who get used to it claim better accuracy (and tests seem to back that up), but as someone else here mentioned, if everyone is on a controller, its still even. And I love the Xbox 360 controller.
-Taylor

more than 3 years ago
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Android Devices Are Hives of License Violations

Facegarden Re:What the hell? (299 comments)

Stop feeding the trolls.

But he's not a troll, he was spot on and still modded down. I was pointing that out.

Unless you meant Slashdot is the troll, in which case, we're all feeding it.

Or if are *you* the troll, and you're pulling a Matrix like "don't worry about the vase" trick on me, because you knew I'd feed you for saying that...

Oh god, you're the oracle! And worse, I'm Keanu Reeves!

more than 3 years ago
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Android Devices Are Hives of License Violations

Facegarden Re:What the hell? (299 comments)

You have a negative one score, but there is nothing wrong with what you said. This summary is complete crap. Slashdot chose to publish it. So Slashdot is publishing crap. This happens often. It is then not unreasonable to say the site has stagnated. I sure am sick of all this bottom of the barrel content myself.

The submitted did not read the article, or was an idiot. The approver(s?) did not read the article or are idiots. Everyone involved in posts like this are doing a bad job or are an idiot. Why does slashdot keep doing this? I see extremely poorly written content all the time here. Its just dumb.

*ALSO*, most blogs nowadays read their own comments and post updates like "many people in the comments have pointed out...". I don't think I have ever seen this happen on Slashdot, or if I have, it does not happen often enough. You'll see times where 80% of the comments are rightfully pointing out that the story is BS, but it still does not get updated. Posting bad content and then not fixing it when it is clearly shown to be BS just shows that the people running the site do not care about the quality of the content, or at the least are very bad at showing it. You just see false stories hang out on the front page all day long. Its ridiculous.

Shape up slashdot!
-Taylor

more than 3 years ago
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Android Devices Are Hives of License Violations

Facegarden Re:Do no evil (directly) (299 comments)

You flag the app, and Google will remove the apps from the android market. Why are Google to blame here?

iOS has violations too. http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPhone/The+Blocks+Cometh/news.asp?c=26696

Ok, that's one iOS example down, 177,499 to go to equal Android ( at 71% of the 250,000 current iPhone apps).

I retract my previous post. I didn't RTFA, and didn't realize the Summary was misleading.

Sorry, Androids, I apologize. I guess we're ALL in the license-violation-boat together...

Honestly I'm a little surprised it wasn't obvious. Why would android be any different than other software? The android fanboy in me immediately noticed that it was probably unnecessary to single out that one OS. The article is now dead, but from what you say it sounds like I had the right idea.
-Taylor

more than 3 years ago
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Chandrayaan-1 Spots Giant Underground Chamber On the Moon

Facegarden Re:Data haven (322 comments)

True. In the event of something happening that takes out both the Moon and the Earth, your data will be the least of your concerns.

Unless your data includes "How to build a new Earth." Then you'd want it!

more than 3 years ago
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Aussie Brewery Creates Space Beer

Facegarden Re:Priorities? (118 comments)

This is real Nerd news, but there are sometimes I wonder why? Shouldn't we have higher priorities to spend money on? Space elevator, far space travel, populate Mars (coz frankly we are getting too crowded on earth)? But beer in space? Just what we need, some drunk space pilot docking to the space station. This is why I have no hope for the human race. Sure, I could lighten up, but I'm ready for the younger generation to get off my earth lawn!

Umm, isn't this the same tired argument people use *every* time someone does something other than cure cancer?

"OMG, why are you playing baseball, there's cancer to be cured!"

"Why are you playing guitar, there are starving people in Africa!'

"Why are you studying journalism, you should be studying engineering and solving the energy crisis!"

No matter what you are doing, there is always something more noble to be done, but we can't all be doing noble things. There's nothing wrong with brewing beer for consumption in space, or making Justin Bieber lunchboxes for kids or making yet another iPad case. People should do whatever they're best at, or whatever makes them happy.
-Taylor

more than 3 years ago
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Discovery's Final Launch Successful

Facegarden Re:whenever somebody says "it's our destiny..." (149 comments)

Whenever somebody says "it's our destiny" , I shiver. I'm conscious that any minute now they'll be waving a gun around and saying "God made me do it!" or "the voices in my head said it was my duty!".

Control your own future, my friend. Don't believe in destiny or any other crazy ideas that your future is mapped out and you have no free will. You don't have to base your life on the belief in Ancient Greek goddesses (though I suppose other people believe in other gods so who am I to say what your belief system should be based upon...)

Jesus christ man, chill the fuck out. I'm not some religious lunatic with a gun fetish. I'm not even religious. And I didn't mean its our destiny like "God has willed it unto us" or some shit. I just meant that it is the most likely outcome of the progression of human society. If I had to place a bet, I'd bet humans end up populating the solar system and beyond. I'm not here to debate the meaning of the word "destiny" as anything other than how things end up (regardless of how or why).

You've drunk your own kool-aid here, believing that you can simply assume people who suggest things you don't believe in are lunatics. But I'm not crazy. I mad a simple statement on where I believe we will end up, and you take me to be a gun waving lunatic. You can't look at everything like "You versus the crazies". There exist people with opinions that oppose yours who are in no way crazy. In fact, I suspect its a lot of people.
-Taylor

more than 3 years ago
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Discovery's Final Launch Successful

Facegarden Re:Yeah, they successfully wasted $700 million (149 comments)

It should be a crime to be as naive as you, falling for the common Star Trek "Final Frontier" misconception that exploring the impossibly vast, empty, radiation-bombarded, vacuum of cold space is in any way analogous to exploring different parts of the planet earth.

As naive as, say, Carl Sagan? Who made that exact comparison in Pale Blue Dot?

It has always been our destiny to cover this earth, and it is certainly also our destiny to explore the cosmos. Compared to the skills and resources of their time, crossing the vast Atlantic ocean really isn't much different than modern humans landing on Mars. I understand the immense difficulties in doing so, but there were immense difficulties in crossing the Atlantic back then. And there were many deaths, as there well may be when we begin to send humans far from Earth. Space is vast and inhospitable, but to a shipwrecked sailor, so is the ocean. They may live a little longer before the sea takes them, but if a storm sunk their ship, they had nearly as little chance of surviving as a human in a damaged Space Ship. There's nothing to drink, nowhere to take refuge, and generally nothing to eat.

Space now and the oceans of our past are not nearly as different as you may think.

-Taylor

more than 3 years ago
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BitTorrent Ponders Releasing World ISP P2P Speed Report

Facegarden Re:Forget advocates how about consumers in general (156 comments)

Or it could also be interesting that your 10 Mb/s speed is available never. How would that go over?

Reminds me of when I call places like my ISP and other companies. I always get the message "We're experiencing an unusually high volume of calls at the moment, please bear with us."

Really, unusually high? Why does it *always* seem to be "unusually" high? I would love to set up some automated system to call these companies and see how often I get that message. I bet that even if you called every hour for weeks, you would always get that message. Seems to me that you can't call something unusual if its always the case.

As far as bandwidth - yeah, its normally a crock of shit. Though currently I've gotten a great connection. I think my plan is only 20 or 25 Mb/s but I usually get over 30 on speed tests. This is Comcast in Silicon Valley (Campbell).
-Taylor

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Best setup for a small office network?

Facegarden Facegarden writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Facegarden (967477) writes "I am the unofficial IT guy at my work, where we have about 10 employees with maybe 6-8 Windows boxes at the moment. Right now I have a simple NAS that I use for providing everyone access to our collective files, and use FTP to access things remotely when necessary. We'd like to start keeping accounting data on the server, but don't want everyone to have access. I have also been having issues with adding any features to the custom Linux build on the NAS we have, so I have been considering setting up an Ubuntu server for us instead. I'm sure i could do pretty much anything with that, but what specifically would be some good things to look into? I've heard a bit about LDAP and it sounds like it may be useful for some things but I haven't found a clear description of what it does. I've also played around a bit with basic Samba sharing at home and it seems that can be used to share folders only with certain users, so that may be all I need. What kind of setup should I look into? Is there even an advantage over a simple NAS? I'd also like to set up a real VPN solution but so far OpenVPN has proved too confusing for me, so I've stuck with FTP, which has issues. Any suggestions? I'd like to stick with Ubuntu because I am (somewhat) familiar with it, if that is reasonable. What useful things can you do with a full linux server at a small office like this? Simple and reliable are important too. Thanks!"
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Ask Slashdot-The best way to keep files organized?

Facegarden Facegarden writes  |  about 7 years ago

Facegarden writes "Hello, I didn't know if this was the proper way to ask something for "Ask Slashdot", but hopefully this gets to the right person: I'm a mechanical engineer for a small company of about 7 employees, and I ended up being the IT guy because i'm the most familiar with computers. I recently bought a NAS box with RAID so we can have a safe and secure place to store all of our files, rather than having them strewn about everyone's (windows) computers (some of which are so old i fear for the day they die and lose our data). Anyway, the problem is that everyone needs to be able to access everyone else's data without having to ask whoever put it there where it is or if it is up to date. I currently organize my files in a way that makes sense to me, but it seems to utterly confuse my boss (and in his defense, i definitely rely on my memory too much for some of this stuff). My question is, what is the best way to organize our files so that it makes sense to everyone, or even if it doesn't make sense, it at least follows some protocol or guidelines that one can read to figure it out? Do you guys know of any books or websites with some good suggestions on this kind of thing?

We mostly are talking about product drawings, for both production parts and 1-off projects (and some 1-off projects may slowly become production items, so i'd prefer not to separate them too much), product manuals, product data sheets, in house production data (spreadsheets, etc), product artwork (everything from simple labels we print in house to high quality overlays that are printed by an outside shop), our website data, product photos, and probably a bit more.

One of the biggest problems is how to keep track of which things are up to date, which are in progress, and which are clearly wrong. I'd prefer to figure out a way using just good clean organization in Windows explorer itself, rather than buying some kind of software. The added cost and complexity of extra software would probably make it a no-go at my company, unless it looks like it will really make a difference and be easy for even the simple users to understand (though, actually, we try not to let the simple users make that kind of changes anyway).

Sorry if I'm not more clear on exactly what we need, that's kind of why I'm asking for your help! Thanks, -Taylor Alexander"

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