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Exxon and Russian Operation Discovers Oil Field Larger Than the Gulf of Mexico

HiThere Re:Time for a new date (199 comments)

Ok. You are obviously much better informed than I am, and I guess you are quite pessimistic about the total amount of oil that would ever be found. But as prices rise, things which are hopelessly uneconomic become more plausible.

Mind you, I consider this totally the wrong way to go. But when prices rise enough there will be a lot more oil available. But there are lots of reasons that that it only becomes available when the prices rise dramatically. Small fields, difficult access, expensive construction, dangerous conditions, etc. Not to mention continuing CO2 pollution.

We *need* to develop renewable energy resources. I'm not really sure that we should be moving into full scale deployment now...except for cases where there isn't much downside, or whether the technology is already mature. (Hydro comes to mind.) But we need significant investment in developing renewable technologies to the "demonstration project" stage. (I.e., one step past the pilot project.) Some of the investment should continue to be in basic research, but more needs to be invested in moving from research result to useful plant. (Don't take that too literally. Rooftop solar isn't exactly a plant, but it falls within the pervue of what I mean.)

yesterday
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Exxon and Russian Operation Discovers Oil Field Larger Than the Gulf of Mexico

HiThere Re:Time for a new date (199 comments)

AFAIK, neither the deep ocean nore the sides of the continental shelf have yet been thoroughly explored. Some early explorations were discouraging, but MOST exploration is discouraging.

2 days ago
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Exxon and Russian Operation Discovers Oil Field Larger Than the Gulf of Mexico

HiThere Re:Time for a new date (199 comments)

Have you noticed at all that these new finds are in areas where it is more expensive to extract the oil? Underwater is a lot more expensive than on land. Under the Arctic Ocean? Well, waiting 5 years will probably make it cheaper, as ice heaves are terrible to construct around. Of course, 5 years may not be long enough to clear the ice.

FWIW, I'd bet that there are lots of undiscovered oil fields under deep ocean, or perhaps that you need to access by drilling sideways into the continental shelf. But that's expensive even compared to working in the Arctic Ocean.

Additionally, of course, every gallon of oil we burn increases our CO2 level. That's not just greenhouse, that's also ocean acidification. But you can't measure the damage that is done in any one day...so you don't need to worry about that, right?

3 days ago
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NVIDIA Begins Requiring Signed GPU Firmware Images

HiThere Re:that's sorta the problem (189 comments)

You aren't understanding. Since it was explained fairly clearly, I'd guess you don't want to understand. But I'll try again anyway.

These chips are broken. So they are sold cheap. You don't want to pay full price for seconds. Before they sell them, they use software to set the broken parts as not working. Some of them aren't broken enough that you'll immediately notice, but that doesn't mean they aren't broken.

Usually the breaks are only in one area. Some die didn't burn properly, or traces weren't properly laid down. Whatever. So that area is sealed off. The manufacturer doesn't do a detailed investigation of exactly what's broken, just one that's good enough so they can figure out what needs to be sealed off to have a working chip. Then the sell the working chip (with reduced functionality) for a much cheaper price.

So if you don't need the full functions of the chip, you can buy the cheaper, reduced functionality, model at a cheaper price.

IC manufacturers have been doing this since the i8086, or maybe the i80186. (Intel was the first one I ever heard of doing it.)

This is a deal for those who don't need the functionality of the full model. It also cuts the prices for those that do, as selling the seconds defrays some of the cost of manufacturing.

Those who are removing the imposed limits and selling the seconds as if they were first quality are the ones who are cheating the customers. They are also impugning the name of the original manufacturer.

4 days ago
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Underwater Landslide May Have Doubled 2011 Japanese Tsunami

HiThere Unfortunate, but not uncommon (27 comments)

Underwater earthquakes often, perhaps even usually, set off huge underwater landslides. Sometimes the tsunami from the landslide is worse than that from the quake. Quite often they will reinforce each other, at least in some directions.

So in this case it sounds like a huge earthquake acted in a normal way, but with an unfortunate direction of reinforcement. It also sounds as if it could have been a lot worse. The landslide was not huge as such things go. IIUC the one in Indonesia a year or so earlier had a larger associated landslide. And even that one is a lot smaller than some that there is evidence for. IIUC (again) a *LONG* time ago Puget Sound (in Washington on the Pacifc US coast) once had a much bigger tsunami that was triggered by an underwater landslide.

Please note: I am not an Oceanographer or even a Geologist. These "facts" are derived from general reading.

4 days ago
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Nearly 2,000 Chicago Flights Canceled After Worker Sets Fire At Radar Center

HiThere Re:dehumanization in action: (221 comments)

But which do you think is more common?

Mind you, doing it in a way so easily traceable is a sign of being so upset that you count as crazy, but there's often a reason (or more than one) that people go crazy.

FWIW, "going crazy" in ways analogous to this is a part of our evolutionary toolkit for dealing with abusive management. It doesn't work as well in modern society, as those in control have learned to isolate themselves from the possibility of retribution, but in earlier times reactions analogous to this would lead to the abused person being killed, and the abuser being injured, often permanently. Which would make it much easier for his successor to take him down. The math justifying this is too complex for me to follow, but those who have worked it out say "it's probably right". It does assume that most of our evolution happened in small groups of reasonably closely related individuals, but that seems a quite reasonable assumption.

5 days ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

HiThere Re:Oh good (904 comments)

You are right. But sometimes if you don't have a car, you don't have a job. If your car dies, what are you supposed to do? Some people can scrape together enough to get the use of a car. Clearly, however, they couldn't get access to the car where you looked.

Actually, often it would be cheaper to buy a car from the current owner, but that can take significantly longer, and by the time they got the car, they might no longer have the job. I'll agree that it can also be quicker, but it's a gamble. And how do you go to look for the car if you don't have a car?

That said, I'll agree that many people make choices that I consider stupid. But often they're making the best choice that they can.

FWIW, I only own a car so that my wife can drive. I don't drive. There was a time when I did, but *I* decided that I wasn't a safe driver.

5 days ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

HiThere Re:Oh good (904 comments)

You were right, however:
I can't consider Wikipedia a better source than the history text I read in college.

(Actually, I'm always rather dubious about any "fact" that I find on Wikipedia. Many of them I have known-for-sure weren't facts at all. OTOH, most were indeed correct. But don't use it as a reference site for anything where anyone disagrees with it.)

OTOH: (from http://www.phrases.org.uk/mean...)

As to the origin of the expression, two notable contemporaries of Marie-Antoinette - Louis XVIII and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, attribute the phrase to a source other than her. In Louis XVIII's memoir Relation d'un voyage a Bruxelles et d Coblentz, 1791, he states that the phrase 'Que ne mangent-ils de la croÃte de pÃté?' (Why don't they eat pastry?) was used by Marie-ThérÃse (1638-83), the wife of Louis XIV. That account was published almost a century after Marie-ThérÃse's death though, so it must be treated with some caution.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau's 12-volume autobiographical work Confessions, was written in 1770. In Book 6, which was written around 1767, he recalls:

        At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great princess, who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, replied, "Then let them eat pastry!"

So I guess my history book was wrong. And apparently nobody knowns who originally said it, either.

5 days ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

HiThere Re:Oh good (904 comments)

There are definitely many who simply can't get ahead. AFAIKT, it's the great majority of them. Unfortunately, that's not newsworthy, so it doesn't get written up. What gets written up is the 1 in 100,000 who scams the system up to a middle class level of living.

I also agree that often poor people go for "shiney!". This is often because they don't have any hope of any real value, but sometimes it's just short-sightedness.

If you have no hope of getting ahead anyway, then borrowing will put you behind some time in the future, when you may not even be alive. (Many really poor people don't expect to live very long.) And at least for a short period of time you can have SOME measure of ,,, (it's here I get stuck. I don't understand their reasoning either. I think it's the admiration of their peers, but I'm not sure.)

FWIW, I've never known anyone who really fell for this loan scam, but I've known several who fell for the analogous credit card scam. (20%/month is just unconsciousable usury. There's no excuse for allowing that to be legal.) And I *do* consider that to be a strictly analogous scam.

5 days ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

HiThere Re:Oh good (904 comments)

You may not be rich, but you have clearly never been poor.

I, also, buy with cash, even (especially?) products as expensive as cars. But I have known many people for whom that was not an option. Not even on the used market. (I, personally, prefer to buy a car that's about three years old from a representative of the manufacturer. They often buy cars from people who are trading in on a new car. And they also want to keep the brand name in good repute.) But I've known many people who couldn't scrape together enough cash to purchase even an old used are.

Your question of "why people don't just get cheaper cars" is strictly analogous to Marie Antonette's "Let them eat cake." (though to understand this you do need to know that the cake referred to was dough that was caked to the sides of the baking oven during the baking process). For many people that is not an option. (There are, of course, the others. And, yes, foolish people exist. Just about everyon is in one area or another.)

about a week ago
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Australian Senate Introduces Laws To Allow Total Internet Surveillance

HiThere Re:There is no political solution. (212 comments)

No. The only possible (not probable) long term solution is technical...but the technical method involved is AI. And yes wit will be centralized, fur the reasons you gave.

What *could* happen is that an AI could take charge of handling communications. But it couldn't start there, it would probably need to start with handling business records (perhaps at AT&T) and branch out from there to handling users calls. Your information would not be secure from the AI, but the AI would, as it was designed to handle business records, be designed to protect them. You'd get end-to-end encryption that was transparent to the user. And nothing that could damage the corporation if revealed in court would be retrievable.

As I said, I don't think of this as probable, but it is *A* solution. Perhaps the existence of one solution implies that other solutions exist.

about a week ago
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Australian Senate Introduces Laws To Allow Total Internet Surveillance

HiThere Re:Not the government's fault. (212 comments)

I've read the Quran. I've also read the Bible. The Quran isn't much worse. Both have their vile spots.

  (And how should that word be spelled. I've always spelled it Koran. "qu" should be pronounced about like "cw", since that's the french spelling of Old English words: "cwen" vs. "queen". I suspect that the better spelling would be something like "Q'ran", but perhaps it depends on which country you are transliterating from.)

about a week ago
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Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist

HiThere Re:I thought... (356 comments)

I trust that was a joke...the science is NEVER settled.

about a week ago
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Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist

HiThere Re:Hmmm ... (356 comments)

That's true, but it's not at all clear that just because it works for a simplified, idealistic object it will actually work for any plausibly existing scenario. It might, but ...

I don't know enough math (or astrophysics) to analyze her arguments, but for now I'm going to classify them as "interesting" rather than "probable". Sort of like I did the other black hole replacement theory that I'm remembering as "Magnetar", but actually must be something else, because that refers to something much more observable. It was in the Scientific American a year or two ago, but a quick google didn't find it.

about a week ago
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Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

HiThere Re:No big deal (395 comments)

There's no way I'm going to move all at once. None. For a time I'll run both systems in parallel. (Yes, I would *also* first run the BSD system isolated from my other work...but that's not a real test, that just makes sure that it won't break something.)

My current system uses ext4 on a large partition, so any system I contemplate switching to must be able to read and write file to a large ext4 partition without problems. If everything works, then I'll consider moving over to a replacement system, and THEN I could consider switching to a different partition format.

N.B.: I don't have a lot of spare hardware. Or space to set any more up. Or, for that matter, budget.

about a week ago
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Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

HiThere Re:No big deal (395 comments)

That might be why the BSD folk don't use it, but that rather lets BSD out for my use. I need to share an existing large partition with a Linux install, because I'm not going to switch entirely to BSD without first trying it to see if it fits my use case. I didn't even do that when switching from MSWind to Linux back in 99.

about a week ago
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Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

HiThere Re:No big deal (395 comments)

The problem I have with the BSDs is that they can't handle large ext4 partitions...which is where I have all my data. I'd considered switching to them (in a dual boot mode) but that limitation made it out of the question.

about a week ago
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To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

HiThere Re:Solution (407 comments)

Well, if you revert the government to prior to the income tax amendent, you have the feds taxing the states, and the states taxing the citizenry. There are actually quite a few good arguments for this. The income tax amendment may have been a bad idea. But it's sure not straightforwards, and would require a large number of other changes in government.

One of the advantages is it would increase the power of the states relative to the federal government. I feel that the federal system has become quite imbalanced as the feds absorbed more and more powers. Another possibility is to return to the state governments appointing the senators. There were many reasons why that was deemed a poor practice, but it did help balance the power of the states against the feds.

Both of these changes would cause drastic changes in the government. I don't know whether they woud be good or not. Fast transportation and communication has acted to make a larger governmental unit seem reasonable, but it is also less responsive to the will of the citizens.

about a week ago
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To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

HiThere Re:Or just go to a flat tax system and (407 comments)

A flat tax is inappropriate, but an linear tax (tax = rate * income - base) is probably reasonable. or even a quadratic tax (tax = rate1 * income^2 + rate2 * income - base).

For various reasons I prefer the simpler linear tax with a fairly large base, so that people living on minimum wage would actually get a small amount back. The tricky part is defining income...it's got to include ALL sources of income, including long term capital gain, but you don't want to discourage investments. However, that should be done OUTSIDE THE TAX SYSTEM. Keep the tax system as simple as possible.

about a week ago
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To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

HiThere Re:Did you find that hard drive yet? (407 comments)

I have a trouble with the word "they". I grant that certain individuals violated laws and should be prosecuted. I deny that an organization is a self-willed entity. (I also don't believe that corporations are people.)

So. People at the IRS violated laws is a reasonable statement. The IRS violated the law is nonsensical. (Note also that the second form also turns some particular laws into a general generic "the law". Another piece of fallacious reasoning...and an increasingly common usage.)

about a week ago

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