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NASA Inspector General Lobs Big Rocks At Agency's Asteroid Hunting Program

Maury Markowitz And the same is true for alien weapon research (34 comments)

"Lack of money, management structure and staff are hampering NASA's ability to effectively identify and track comets, meteorites and asteroids that might threaten Earth"

Oh god, who cares? If it's going to hit it's going to hit, end of story. It hasn't happened since we knew what asteroids were, and it didn't happen for the millions of years where we didn't, so it appears knowing one way or the other has no bearing on the outcome.

What a waste of time and effort. Trust me, if there's a big one and it's going to hit, you'll know. It will be the ever-brightening dot in the sky that doesn't seem to move day to day.

yesterday
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Maury Markowitz Re:So what exactly is the market here. (730 comments)

> What exactly is the reason to have this as well, as opposed to pulling your phone out of your pocket?

That.

What, you think that's silly? Tell that to all the hands-free vendors.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Maury Markowitz Re:Any removable storage yet? (730 comments)

> There's absolutely no way the iPhone has enough storage space to make recording
> video viable without removable storage

Yet it is the number 1 video source on the planet. So, clearly, the argument is logically wrong.

Here, let me re-phrase your argument so it is logically correct:

"There's absolutely no way the iPhone has enough storage space to make recording *the long videos I make* viable without removable storage"

Which is a pointless argument, akin to saying you can't use an iPhone to drive nails. The iPhone wasn't invented to do everything, it was invented to do some things really well. And the fact that it is the #1 camera and #1 camcorder in the world is proof positive that they have succeeded.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Maury Markowitz Re:Trust us with your payments (730 comments)

> So if you lose or upgrade your phone you have to re-setup all your stored cards

Ummm, what do you do if you lose your wallet? Re-set up all your cards, very rapidly, using a *phone*. Then you wait for days while they arrive. Or you go in person to a *bank* and get a new one.

Whereas with this you simply take another photo of your card.

> If not then they're storing it in your device

Wow. Did you even bother reading ONE SENTENCE about how this works before coming here to complain?

Really, this is just making you look foolish.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Maury Markowitz Re:Trust us with your payments (730 comments)

> Apple doesn't middle-man the banking/merchant transaction in their model.

*THAT* was the big takeaway from the announcement. They're not doing PayPal, they're simply providing tokens to the bank, like any NFC credit card.

That said, the film about the payment process falls on deaf ears anywhere outside the US. I did about four transactions today, three of them were tap-to-pay, one was cash. Having all my cards in one place and eliminating my wallet (I *rarely* use cash, maybe twice a week) is something worth paying for.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Maury Markowitz Re:So..... (730 comments)

> But something more focused on security versus the "bling" that apple is trying to promote

Really, you're claiming you're interested in an *Android phone* because of *security*.

> my 2c

Is obviously worth 0c.

> the gs5 --:> bigger, new features, better battery life then the last model, better processor

The iP6 -> bigger, new features, better battery life than the last model, better processor

You did actually watch the 'cast before writing this moronic post, right?

about two weeks ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Maury Markowitz Re:Any removable storage yet? (730 comments)

> Because I still have a camcorder hanging around and I use it when

And I'm guessing the last time you used it there were two zeros in the date?

> I want to take a video that lasts longer than a couple of minutes

And that puts you into 0.1% of the population.

Should we put a 5th wheel on everyone's care because they might want to pull a 1/2 container some time? I suspect that's about the same percentage, judging by the number of times I've seen it on a pickup.

> making it a toy at taking pictures and video

Making it the most used camera and one of the most used video systems, regardless of what you think.

I'm just guessing, of course, but I strongly suspect you have never sold a picture or video, so why do you think your judgement on what makes a toy is remotely valid? When you make your first photo sale to NatGeo or feature film you let us know.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Maury Markowitz Re:The stream was terrible (730 comments)

> I agree - the stream was terrible

It worked perfectly on the Apple TV, which I tried after repeated failures on two browsers.

about two weeks ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Maury Markowitz Read much (362 comments)

This statement:

"This situation is further amplified by the adoption of virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers by some users, allowing them to circumvent geo-blocking technologies and further evade detection," the BBC explains."

Doesn't appear to be remotely close to what the topic claims:

"BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates"

Quite the opposite, it very clearly that "some users" use it for multiple purposes.

Yet that hasn't stopped anyone here from simply assuming the article header is correct and complaining. Which is precisely why everyone ignores nerds.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

Maury Markowitz Re:Musk worship (260 comments)

> If I open a company tomorrow, how can I get away with not paying taxes?

You ask the local government. They all do it. They just have different ideas of which ones to fund and which ones not to.

But if you have a factory you want to build, and it's going to employ, say, 1000 people, you'll find a lineup of governments willing to give you a tax break.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

Maury Markowitz No, that's not what it says (260 comments)

"all of its own energy using a combination of solar, wind, and geothermal"

No, that's not what it says. It says it will be net-zero. That's a big difference.

This plant will be grid-connected. It will simply produce as much energy as it uses. Not all the time, not 24 hours.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Maury Markowitz Re:Everything in Objective-C (729 comments)

@sythesize MY_ASS

When I first used it, circa '99, it was small, light, and looked great.

Now, not so much.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Maury Markowitz Swift's ? and ! (729 comments)

No more needs to be said.

about two weeks ago
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Could Tech Have Stopped ISIS From Using Our Own Heavy Weapons Against Us?

Maury Markowitz I call BS (448 comments)

"Margaret Thatcher forced François Mitterrand to give her the codes to disable Argentina's deadly French-made missiles during the Falklands war"

Bologna.

I've seen the insides of 70's era AM39 Exocet. They don't have codes. They certainly don't have remote turn-off codes.

And then there's the fact that they worked perfectly. Six (five AMs, one SM) launches, four hits. Two sinkings. Much better results than anyone could have predicted.

about two weeks ago
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Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

Maury Markowitz Re:Gen III $0.15/kWh (130 comments)

> This paragraph was enough to stop me:

So let me make sure I understand what you're claiming here.

First, you're claiming that you made it to page 3, where you find the quote in question, but you *didn't* read page 2 where it said:

"Certain Alternative Energy generation technologies are cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies under some scenarios, before factoring in environmental and other externalities (e.g., RECs, transmission and back-up generation/system reliability costs) as well as construction and fuel cost dynamics affecting conventional generation technologies"

Is that what you're saying?

And further, that you stop reading things because you find a *single thing* in them that you disagree with?

Ok.

about two weeks ago
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Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

Maury Markowitz Re:Arevas failure (130 comments)

> This is actually pretty common practice on large-scale projects that are going to benefit the local economy

The local economy in this case was on the far side of the planet. The economy that paid for it had already dumped about $50 billion into the company by this point, so they could have the privilege of paying more so other people could get it for free.

> come to a completely bogus conclusion ("they took it off our hands")

Oh no, I didn't come to that conclusion from the other premise. I came to that conclusion because that's precisely what everyone involved says:

http://www.candu.com/en/home/news/mediareleases/CanduEnergyandChinaNuclearPowerEngineering.aspx

Basically if you read the articles on the topic, you'll see that SNC handed off all marketing and sales to China. China is selling them and funding them, so it's their problem now.

> And why would the Canadian government need to second-guess the environmental assessment
> of a construction site in China? It's the Chinese government's job.

So if you want to sell a reactor to North Korea, are you saying its perfectly OK to take their word for it on non-proliferation. Or might you insist your own inspectors have a look?

Forget proliferation then, would you be happy selling one of your reactors to, say, Sudan, without checking their ability not to destroy their local environment?

Because there's no possible way that anyone would blame *you* if *they* screw up, right? That *never* happens.

They passed the law for good reasons. They overturned it one day after no debate for bad ones.

> Could the Canadian government have gotten a better deal? Maybe

In the end AECL was funded to the tune of $55 billion, and sold off for negative $750 million.

Please, let me know about this better deal you're thinking of!

about two weeks ago
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Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

Maury Markowitz Re:Oh dear (130 comments)

> if they're being failed for having a model 493A door nob on an emergency exit instead of a model 493C then that's different.

No, you're wrong. It is precisely this sort of thing that causes airliners to crash. Someone puts on knob 493A because it looks just like knob 493C and it works just fine. And it continues to until routine maintenance comes up. So that person, who has no idea the part was changed, uses maintenance procedure A on knob B, because there's no way it could be a 493A. And then the aircraft falls out of the sky.

All complex machines are like this, you use the specified parts, or you don't build it.

about two weeks ago
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Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

Maury Markowitz Re:Gen III $0.15/kWh (130 comments)

From your article I see the current CAPEX is £16 billion, or about $26 billion USD. That's for a 3.2 GWe plant. That means the CAPEX is 26 billion / 3.2 billion = $8.125/W. These numbers are typical. Darlington B was quoted at exactly the same price, although there are rumours it was actually higher. Because of the high cost, Darlington B was cancelled. Same with Levy County and lots of others.

For comparison, click here and turn to page 8:

http://gallery.mailchimp.com/ce17780900c3d223633ecfa59/files/Lazard_Levelized_Cost_of_Energy_v7.0.1.pdf

Hinkley is on the high-end of the bar for nuclear, but I'm not sure that is the high-end because every reactor recently quoted is between 7 and $11, much higher than this report. Nevertheless, taking it at face value, one can compare it to, say, wind turbines at around $1.75, almost five times less expensive.

And that is basically that. When someone figures out how to get CAPEX down around $4 you'll start seeing lots and lots of new reactors. At $8, not so much.

about two weeks ago
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Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

Maury Markowitz Re:Arevas failure (130 comments)

> My point is that the process of bidding and bid evaluation on high priced projects is so burdened by politics,
> marketing hype, and luck that we might as well just flip a coin

One of the problems for nuclear, the other being the cost of concrete these days, is the long time lines. The longer the time line, the more chances you have for "shit happens" that kills the project.

In Germany you can go from paperwork to PV panels spinning the meter in two weeks. This greatly increases the chance that it actually happens. So when you scratch your head and wonder why all this low-density intermittent power is being built out - that.

about two weeks ago
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Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

Maury Markowitz Re:Arevas failure (130 comments)

> How come the Chinese are building these very same reactors on-time and on-budget

Do you actually believe that? Really? When *every* other reactor out there is over-budget and over-time, you really think that China has magically figured all of this out? Either you believe the Chinese are smarter than all of us put together, or there's something fishy going on.

Let me illustrate what really goes on here, with an example I am most familiar with (and even then, only in passing), Qinshan Phase III's CANDU6's. AECL, while they still existed, proudly boasted that they were completed "Completed under budget and ahead of schedule":

http://www.candu.com/en/home/news/mediareleases/Celebrating10yearsofCANDUTechnologyinChina.aspx

Except that for one thing, "on budget" required the Canadian taxpayer to provide China with over $1.5 billion in interest-free loans. Why we should need to do that, when China has all of our money already from all of us buying Salad Shooters, is open to interpretation. That interpretation is "we paid them to take this white elephant off our hands". Secondly, this was during a period when the Yuan was clearly devalued by about 50% or more, meaning that the project was actually on or over budget if you use a reasonable exchange rate. Oh, and then there's the part where we leased them the heavy water basically for free, instead of selling it which would have broken the budget ($200/kg, 1,000,000 kg required).

Then there's the on-time part. To make that work, Cabinet met in 1996 to completely revoke the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for this project. Normally there would have to be a Canadian assessment of the project as well as meeting any Chinese regulations. There were apparently = few of the later (it was an existing site), so the Canadian one might delay construction. So they just didn't do it. Actual construction was apparently delayed several times, and it was only by re-definining the project start date that it was completed "on time".

And what did we get for all of this? Well the Chinese aren't building any more for their own use. In spite of AECL continually pointing to them and saying how happy they are with CANDU, all future builds use US technology. Meanwhile, CAEA gets to sell the tech anywhere it wants. Win win!

I want my $45 back.

about two weeks ago

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