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Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

Jeremi Re:NIMBYs? Crackpots? (420 comments)

According to the gov, 33% total efficiency for coal.

Of course if you take into account the energy expenditure it will take to pull the excess CO2 and other chemicals back out of the atmosphere, that number goes down a bit.

(Impractical to do, and therefore will never be done, you say? Okay, take into account the costs of living with a permanently impacted atmosphere, instead)

8 hours ago
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FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Jeremi Re:CONSIDER THE ETHICS (130 comments)

Maybe instead of automating the grunt work, we need now to automate the automating itself,

Why instead of? We can (and should, and will) do both.

8 hours ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

Jeremi Re:Did I miss the breakthrough? (259 comments)

What you don't know about fusion
Could fill a shelf of books
You are the type of man who looks
For new miraculous advances
But overestimates the chances
Of breaking-even on the power flow
You only have to open up your mouth to show
What you don't know
About!
Fusion!

yesterday
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FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Jeremi Re:CONSIDER THE ETHICS (130 comments)

Keep in mind, a cheap solution would be a threat for most the worlds farmers, who are not high tech like the ones in the 1st world nations.

The world's small farmers are already being driven out of business by automated mass-production farming that their labor-intensive, small-scale methods can't compete with, and that they can't afford to replicate. Cheap, easy-to-use small-scale automation could allow them to grow food more cheaply, making them more competitive, not less. I doubt that any of them enjoy doing back-breaking field labor for 10 hours a day for very little compensation; why wouldn't they want a robot that could do the tedious labor for them?

yesterday
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FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Jeremi Re:How to prevent illegal immigration (130 comments)

It seems like that would cut down so heavily on demand for labor, that not many people would find it worth trying to cross.

Not to mention that anyone with a sufficiently capable farm-bot could use it raise their own crops to eat, and would therefore no longer need to go searching for a menial job in order to feed their family. Win-win!

yesterday
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FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Jeremi Re:There is no "FarmBot" (130 comments)

There is no "FarmBot".

If you watch the video at the bottom of the article, you'll see photos of several prototype FarmBots that do, in fact, exist.

yesterday
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FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Jeremi Re:not true at all (130 comments)

And thus this is likely yet another solution without a problem.

I think there's definitely a market for this. For example, I'd like to have a nice vegetable garden in my back yard, but I don't have the expertise or the free time to do the work necessary to keep it healthy and happy. If I could buy a FarmBot at the local Home Depot, set it up, press "Go", and not worry about it until harvest time, that would be a pretty tempting prospect. And once the technology got cheap enough and reliable enough for most people to afford and install, anyone with some land could easily grow their own organic produce, exactly to their own specifications. For people who don't have their own land, neighborhoods could do slightly larger-scale versions of the same thing in the community gardens. Peoples' ability to feed themselves (rather than rely on buying food from large corporations) would increase, which can only be a good thing.

yesterday
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Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

Jeremi Re:MUCH easier. (237 comments)

Given a choice, I think autonomous cars at some point WILL be programmed with such a choice. For example, hitting an elderly person in order to avoid hitting a small child.

I doubt it. Any company that wants to stay in business will instead concentrate on making sure the car does not get into a position like that in the first place -- because once the car is in a "no-win" situation like that, it doesn't really matter what choice it makes, the company is going to be hit with a big lawsuit either way.

2 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Jeremi Re:Like Nikola Tesla... (432 comments)

A fully wireless "grid" could only work in a communist/socialist society where "the people" are the suppliers.

Not to mention only in a society where energy was so plentiful that they could afford to waste 99% of it by sending it in all possible directions all the time.

2 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Jeremi Re:Expert?? (432 comments)

There is no such thing as negative energy price, unless you're retarded?

Apparently they are retarded in Germany...

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

Jeremi Re:Whitelisting and whitelisters (318 comments)

As much as people like to bash Windows, I'd estimate that 99% of malware can be avoided if the user knows what he's doing.

True, but not particularly helpful since 99% of the time the user does not know what he's doing (at least, not from a computer-security standpoint -- all the user typically knows is that he's trying to accomplish task X, and here's a dialog that says it can help with that task if he clicks OK...).

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

Jeremi Re: No, you don't need AV, even on Windows (318 comments)

What mail reader in this day and age automatically activates malware?

Who knows? The whole point of a zero-day exploit is that it takes advantage of a previously-undiscovered flaw. So there is a bug in your email reader that causes it (under certain circumstances) to automatically activate malware, you probably wouldn't know about it until after the fact -- and if the infecting software was subtle (hi NSA!), probably not even then.

3 days ago
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Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

Jeremi Re:compilers touted as early form of A.I. (422 comments)

Right. Before they wrote compilers, the concept was considered possibly a hard AI problem. Now they have you write a compiler as an undergrad.

To be fair, it's a lot easier to write a compiler (or any other program) if you have an existing compiler on hand to help you do it. Writing a compiler using only assembly or machine code is well beyond most undergrads' capacity.

5 days ago
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Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

Jeremi Re:Is the complexity of C++ a practical joke? (422 comments)

The language seems to have reached the point that C++ gurus design it for other C++ gurus, and everyone else ignores it.

I think this is very close to true -- in particular, many new C++ features are there mainly so that the STL can 'magically' do the right thing in more cases. Mere mortals are not expected to make use of the new features directly; rather they are expected to use the improved STL and benefit from its smarter behavior.

5 days ago
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New Watson-Style AI Called Viv Seeks To Be the First 'Global Brain'

Jeremi Re:Watson is not AI (161 comments)

Most people haven't written a symphony. Most people can't go beyond basic algebra. Most people cannot play chess.

Most people could learn to do those things (with greater or lesser degrees of skill) if they cared to devote the time to required do so.

about a week ago
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New Watson-Style AI Called Viv Seeks To Be the First 'Global Brain'

Jeremi Re:Digital versus Analog (161 comments)

In Digital, everything either is a "0" (zero) or a "1" (one), which means, everything is either true, or false

Take 32 of those bits and put them together, now you've got a floating point value that can represent "true" as 1.0, "false" as 0.0, and a few million shades of "maybe" in between those two extremes.

If that's not analog-y enough for you, make it 64 bits and now you can have trillions of shades. And if that's still not enough, add more bits until you've got the resolution you're looking for.

I don't see any significant distinction between analog and digital, since digital logic asymptotically approaches analog as you add bits, and with today's memory sizes there are plenty of bits to go around.

Our meatbrain can cope with a lot of stuffs that the digital computer can't precisely because our brain makes its decision based on imprecise feedback

Or perhaps because it's running a radically different kind of algorithm that no human has ever understood or implemented on a digital computer.

about a week ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

Jeremi Re:COBOL was better than JavaScript. (291 comments)

To someone who writes Javascript code every day, like myself, nothing at all is "broken" with the language (though obviously, like any language, it could use some improvements).

Ah, good old Stockholm Syndrome. Don't worry, I feel the same way about C++ ;^)

about a week ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

Jeremi Re:what a load of utter bullshit (291 comments)

Somebody please stab and kill the HTML/DOM stack so we can move on to a better GUI fit.

Hmm, perhaps Qt running in a NaCL environment? The only fundamental limitation would be that it's Intel-only, but then again so are most desktops these days.

about a week ago
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Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

Jeremi Re:Oddly nobody factors in risk and after costs (409 comments)

If you're looking for body count, take out a stadium during a finale game (of course that's no longer a viable option now that they're probably better protected than Penn Ave 1600 itself, but back then definitely easy).

I'm trying to imagine what sort of defense system a stadium could have that would prevent a rogue 747 from crashing in to it. There must be some pretty damn impressive anti-missile technologies hidden under the parking lots ;^)

about two weeks ago
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Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

Jeremi Re:Finally!! (409 comments)

They also make it look like the systems last 80+ years when the reality is they at most last 25 (for solar) which at that point you are looking at full replacement.

Solar panels are typically warrantied for 20-25 years. The warranty specifies that they will still provide at least 80% of their rated power at the end of that period; and that is a conservative figure, so expect them to do better than that in practice. After the warranty period ends, there is no reason (that I'm aware of) that they should not continue to operate as before, albeit at a somewhat reduced capacity.

Whether or not it will be worthwhile to add additional panels, replace them all, or just keep using them as-is for longer will be a decision to make at some point, but AFAIK there is no reason why the system should suddenly stop working at the 20-25 year mark. (Your point about the inverters needing maintenance or replacement every 5-10 years is valid, though)

about two weeks ago

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