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Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

Patch86 Re:I believe solar thermal does benefit from scale (409 comments)

Solar thermal still makes sense where the aim is to generate heat, rather than electricity. As a method of heating water (either for domestic or industrial purposes) it will always be tough to beat, boasting as it does a zero wastage conversion rate (because there is no conversion- you produce the desired end product straight away).

An awful lot of energy is expended to produce heating, so cutting out the electrical middle-man is no bad thing. There is also no reason why you can't distribute hot water via pipes from a central solar heating installation.

about three weeks ago

Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

Patch86 Re:My favorite test (147 comments)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this would only "prove" the existence of (that variety of) multiverse in a very small subset of universes.

So, let's say I try to poison myself with a pill from a bottle containing 99 cyanide pills and 1 sugar pill. There is a 99% chance I'll die, and a 1% chance I'll live. So in 1% of all universes, I live. I repeat the expriement multiple times, until only 1 in 1 million universes has a surviving me in. That means that in 0.0001% of universes, a very smug version of me is winning a Nobel prize for proving the existence of the multiverse. In 99.9999% of universes, I am dead and nothing has been proven except that I really shouldn't be allowed access to the lab's supply of cyanide pills.

about a month ago

Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Patch86 Re:Dude! Sounds like a real way to make some bread (159 comments)

Both wine and "ale" beers are made with saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. Although there are different strands preferred for different styles of wine and beer, the differences shouldn't be too over the top. You're not going to end up with a fine best bitter with champagne yeast, nor are you going to get a competition-standard claret with ale yeast- but the results will be drinkable and tasty enough. See, for example, "champale" (beer brewed with champagne yeast which has been sold commercially).

Lager is made with a different species of yeast (s. carlsbergensis). So using a wine yeast is never likely to make a decent approximation of a lager.

Source: Have been making wines and beers for a decade, including many experimental batches as per the above.

about a month and a half ago

'Curiosity' Lead Engineer Suggests Printing Humans On Other Planets

Patch86 Re:A lot of bits (323 comments)

As others have pointed out, you wouldn't need to describe a human to a molecular level. You could create a biological clone using just the DNA- the human genome is some 24 gigabits (3 gigabytes?). That'd be something like "a few hours" to transfer over a standard home internet connection. Arguably, there are big chunks of that genome which will be common across individuals, so you wouldn't even need to transmit the whole thing every time.

Transferring a human's consciousness would be more difficult. As far as I'm aware, there are no serious estimates as to how "big", in bits/bytes terms, the human consciousness might be. Even if you could scan one, and it was a reasonable size for transmission, I can't even imagine how you'd go about "implanting it" into another human body (e.g. a clone). Without that, there's no "I'll just download into a Martian clone and have an explore".

about 3 months ago

'Curiosity' Lead Engineer Suggests Printing Humans On Other Planets

Patch86 Re:what is the point? (323 comments)

We have perhaps 100 trillion years to fill before the stars have gone out. The universe is only 13.5 billion years old. That means we are so far only 0.0135% of the way into the lifespan of the universe, with 99.9965% left to go.

Might as well do something to fill the time!

about 3 months ago

'Curiosity' Lead Engineer Suggests Printing Humans On Other Planets

Patch86 Re:Hmmm ... (323 comments)

Growing clones is hardly magic (and that is all "printing humans" means in this context). We can already do it with provisos (i.e., with the right embryonic cells and so forth)- there's no reason to assume we won't learn better methods as biology progresses. Animals grow new animals in their wombs out of nothing but carbon and nutrients all the time- can't be impossible to replicate.

The "magic" bit is transferring consciousness of one human to another human body. Nobody has the foggiest how that would work. But then, if all you wanted was a populated colony, who said you even need to do that? Grow the little humans to adulthood and raise them using robotic machines, and voila- one new colony, without the hassle of transporting 100's of humans 10's of light-years through space.

about 3 months ago

China Bans Government Purchases of Windows 8

Patch86 Re:And what's better? (200 comments)

It is disingenuous to count XP's support period from its first release date, considering that each Service Pack represented as big a change to the OS as each Ubuntu release (for example).

Support for original XP (without a Service Pack) ended in 2005- only 4 years supported. The last Service Pack, SP3, was released in 2008- giving it a respectable 6 years supported. If XP had exited support when it was scheduled to (2012- it was only extended due to a Microsoft product-line-up cockup at the hight of the netbook craze), it would have had 4 years in support too- less than any of the others you named.

Even if you stubbornly disagree with what I'm saying about SPs and wish to count it all the way from SP0-SP3 end of support, might I also reiterate above that support was only extended at the last minute due to a Microsoft cockup- namely, that Vista was wildly unsuited to the then very popular netbooks. The standard offer from Microsoft is 10 years support (which is what you might reasonably expect to receive from Windows 8). This is the same as Red Hat, and comparable with other Enterprise-market OSs.

about 3 months ago

Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps

Patch86 Re:frosty piss (664 comments)

Morally, no. Legally, yeah it's still wrong. There are pretty strict laws against vigilantism. At its simplest, you've got the principal of "innocence until proven guilty" to contend with- you THINK he did it, in fact you think you KNOW he did it, but no court has been persuaded of that fact. You're pretty damned sure that the laptop you took is yours (pretty bloody damned sure- they're easily identifiable items)- but unless you've persuaded a court that it's yours, you're still in the wrong.

It sucks, but it's life.

about 4 months ago

Yahoo To Produce Sci-Fi Streaming Sitcom

Patch86 Re:It's cold outside (121 comments)

Goldfish shoals, nibbling at my toes

about 4 months ago

Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

Patch86 Re:LibreOffice (285 comments)

Debatable, but I would bet the long-term money on LibreOffice. Why? Licensing. LO is under the LGPL, while OO is under the APL. LO is able to reuse any OO code that they like, nicking any cool new features Apache develop. OO cannot- the LGPL will not allow it. So if OO develop any cool new features or improvements, they'll turn up in LO one release later. If LO develop any cool features or improvements of their own, it remains an LO exclusive.

about 4 months ago

PC Gaming Alive and Dominant

Patch86 Re:Simple math (245 comments)

Cost of a PC monitor = the cost of a TV to use with a console. Do you count the cost of the £500 TV in your lounge when you count the cost of your PS4? In my case, I've had the same two monitors (dual screen) hooked up to my PC for around than 10 years now- and one of them was free second hand in the first place. My lounge TV, on the other hand, I chose specifically and spent good money on not so long ago.

Cost of a router applies equally to both console and PC. Both of them need to connect to the internet, and both of them will have the same "advantage" in reduced latencies, if you're so inclined.

So the cost of my PC which could be fairly compared to a console would be- the PC itself and all internals came to around £500. The mouse was £50, but it is getting towards 10 years old now (was a good Logitech MX518, and is still going strong). The headphones were about £7.50. I own a joystick, and although I hardly use it I'll include the cost- it was around £25, bought in an offer along with X-Wing Alliance back in 2000 or so (Microsoft Sidewinder, still works perfectly). Keyboard came bundled free with the PC case (as did a decent mouse which I don't use). So total cost- perhaps £580 or so, ignoring the fact that several peripherals have survived multiple PCs.

More expensive than a console with a single controller, sure. But not exactly breaking the flipping bank.

about 5 months ago

Civilization: Beyond Earth Announced

Patch86 Re:With Linux Support! (89 comments)

People say that Slashdot has fallen a long way...but that's just sad. A thread about a AAA game which is being released on Linux- with no mention in TFS, nor the chosen TFA, and only a tiny comment batch discussing it.

Even Reddit managed better coverage of the fact this is a Linux game than Slashdot. If I was just relying on Slashdot for my news, I wouldn't even have known this WAS a Linux game.

about 5 months ago

How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

Patch86 Re:I would love to see this poll resurface... (202 comments)

Depends where you draw the positive/negative lines on the crappy poll answers. I'm reading it as "Keep it away from me"/"Not terribly interested"/"I'll evaluate it when they're out" as being negative (the last one because it's essentially "not enthusiastic yet"), and that equals 50%. Positive answers are "Looks amazing"/"I'm interested", which are only 30%. The remainder are "Vaporware"/"What year is this"- which are more negative than positive, although for different reasons.

If you put the "I'll evaluate it" one in the positive camp, that still only brings positive and negative to level pegging. And I'm of the opposite opinion to you in terms of what being pre-release does to these things. Your view is that people are positive about it without having seen the product, and their enthusiasm will go up when they've got something in front of them. I see it the other way around- that getting excited by hype is easy, and a lot of people's enthusiasm will wane when they see it in action- not to imply that it won't be good, but that it won't be good enough in reality to justify the expense and hassle. Just like 3D.

But you're right, I am jaded by novelty toys- they never live up to expectations. But I've got no control over anything- I'm just a guy writing things on the internet. We can wait and see what happens when it happens.

about 5 months ago

Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

Patch86 Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (440 comments)

I used to have relatives who owned a pig farm. Boiling the slops was a standard part of their routine.

They actually used to have arrangements with all of the local pubs and restaurants, which every day would collect all of the plate scrapings, left overs and kitchen offcuts into slop buckets. Every morning my uncle would go around collecting the slop buckets and take them back to the farm, where they would all be emptied into a big vat and boiled for a number of hours. The end result would be a mushy stuff with the texture and smell of vomit, but which would be sterile of any nasties that could harm the pigs. The pigs loved the stuff. Filthy buggers.

Chucking a few jars of peanut putter into the mix every day would have been easy enough.

Of course that wouldn't even be strictly necessary, seeing as the manufacturer of the peanut butter seems to be swearing blind that the product is uncontaminated and fit for human consumption. If the farmer were happy with this, they could go nuts and just feed it straight to the pigs.

about 5 months ago

Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

Patch86 Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (440 comments)

Then sell it as livestock feed. Pigs eat far worse than peanut butter. Boil it up along with the rest of the slops to kill off any salmonella, and it'll be perfectly safe (if disgusting, from a human point of view).

Still a waste of perfectly good human food, but at least it's better than burying it with the trash.

about 5 months ago

Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

Patch86 Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (440 comments)

Seems like it would have been easy enough for their lawyers to draw up a contract to fix this. One which says "Costco is returning full ownership of this product to the manufacturer and is absolved of all responsibility for it's future uses". Then the manufacturer would have been free to resell it (or donate it), and would be fully liable for any risks. It sounds like the supplier is in some financial difficulty, so would have welcomed the chance to relabel and sell it on to a different retailer. Seeing as Costco weren't willing to pay for it, I don't see what objection they should have to that- and it's not like that decision would have any impact on their competition (i.e., it's not like their competitors would have to do without peanut butter if this shipment gets destroyed).

Sounds like corporate apathy to me. It's simply easiest for Costco to destroy a batch that they aren't willing to sell, and they have no motivation to do anything else.

about 5 months ago

How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

Patch86 Re:I would love to see this poll resurface... (202 comments)

There were people like you last time 3D started it's resurgence. You don't hear many 3D cheerleaders these days- the fad is now on its way back out again.

VR just doesn't interest me, in the same way as3D didn't- it's not that I actively hate the idea of it, it just doesn't excite me at all while at the same time it has all sorts of drawbacks (i.e., VR means having to buy and wear an expensive and cumbersome headset). Some people obviously are enthusiastic about it, but it will be interesting to see how the numbers pan out. This survey (unscientific as it is) seems to confirm that the majority of people are take-it-or-leave-it. Maybe we'll all be wowed when we actually have one of these things strapped to our face, but I doubt it.

about 5 months ago

Gunshot Victims To Be Part of "Suspended Animation" Trials

Patch86 Re:Space travel (357 comments)

"Travelling fast" is one thing, "travelling fast in such a way as to successfully arrive in orbit of a planet light-years away without missing and getting lost in space" is another, and "travelling fast in such a way as to rendezvous with an impossibly tiny ship halfway into the interstellar void launched centuries ago, slow down enough to dock with it, drastically reconfigure it mid-flight, then speed back up again and still arrive in orbit of a planet light-years away" is still yet a third thing.

Basically- doing that would be REALLY hard.

about 5 months ago

Taxis By Algorithm: Streamlining City Transport With Graph Theory

Patch86 Re:Actually (72 comments)

You've sort of hit on the problem and solution. What we need is something that is not called a "taxi" for this. Rather than taking the existing taxi system and adding ride sharing, we should supplement taxis with a new form of public transport based on this system. The new system would be somewhere between a bus and a taxi- a medium sized public vehicle (perhaps "minibus" size), but which would be summoned on demand and travel to your chosen destination like a taxi rather than travelling a fixed schedule like a bus.

This would solve both of the obvious problems- the first being that people who order taxis expect a private vehicle taking the shortest trip possiblem and the second being that existing taxi drivers and firms don't have a pricing system that could cope with this sort of change.

If you made the vehicles sufficiently sexy and space aged (rather than just using regular old minibuses), you could easily sell it as "the mass transit of the future". Since the vehicle wouldn't be expected to take huge numbers of people at a time (only really two or three small parties at once), you could make the insides suitably comfortable on a standard van frame.

about 5 months ago



OUYA Console Starts Shipping to Kickstarter Backers

Patch86 Patch86 writes  |  about a year ago

Patch86 (1465427) writes "The team behind the Android-based OUYA games console have announced that they have begun shipping their first consoles. As the console originated as a Kickstarter project the first consoles will be shipped to backers; the console is due to be released for general sale for the 4th of June with a $99 price tag. As the BBC notes, this is the first of a series of major new entrants into the games console market, with others on the horizon including fellow Kickstarter Android project Gamestick, Nvidia's CES surprise Project Shield, and of course Valve's "Steambox"."
Link to Original Source


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