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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

TheRealHocusLocus Re:A Buff Trip Slip for a 6-cent fare (476 comments)

The "cloud" is an extremely centralized way of doing computing. There's no other way of looking at it. Basically, people/corporations give their data to (a few) other corporations to store in their enormous server halls. That's pretty much the definition of centralization.

It's also a movement to decouple function from what had been mostly single location single point of failure 'hosting'. A proper cloud may not offer provider diversity but it should offer a greater resilience to localized disaster. Consider it to be a step away from one (physical) point of failure towards 'zero'.

Our points of failure today are oil, coal and natural gas, not the corporations that serve them.

Too many people tend to think that intermittent energy sources are the solution to the 'big' problem, and they go on to spend all their thinking (and activist) time there. In fact, these sources have been a diversion from the real problem which is, can we come up with a path that could take every one of the world's 7 billion people to a level of technical affluence of, say, the United States, with diminished or no fossil fuels It's a mix of personal and heavily industrial energy draw. It's water treatment and distribution, sewage collection and treatment. Africa wants a grid.

The answer with just solar and wind and as-yet undeveloped storage technology and an incredible amount of manufacturing and capital is -- eventually at best. But probably never at worst because we will not be given enough time to do it before fossil fuel declines into the 'global war for resources' stage. Which will make today look like happy fun day.

Dismissing Thorium at this point in time is dangerous because there is barely enough time left to develop and scale it. If you're one of the few as I who also consider it vital that the United States take the lead -- rather than go further into debt to buy reactors from another country that is faster on the ball yet not necessarily as capable as we must become -- then time is really short. Fission is easy to do right because there are no 'surprises', only well defined problems to solve and challenges to be met.

Anyone who wants to go with a solution that could achieve this for a few billion people at best might wonder, what then will the remaining billions do? They would not go gentle into the good night if there is a light burning in the distance. Hope you're ready for company.

Only with a grand surplus of available energy in hand do we all stand a chance. Affordable, cheap energy is the only 'sustainable' form of wealth creation because only by increasing wealth by lowering the cost of living (personal and corporate) -- not by borrowing and taxation -- do things become possible tomorrow that are not possible today.

2 days ago

Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

TheRealHocusLocus Re:A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare (476 comments)

Thanks kindly for not mentioning Christmas fruitcakes in your post. If a whole generation would pass without anyone being compared to one then production would steadily decrease and the world could be fruitcake-free by 2050. Except for samples stored in deep freeze in meme warfare labs, of course.

That kind of argument can go both ways. When one single power line goes out, whole neighborhoods go without power. If the average household had a solar array with a Tesla (or other battery powered car plugged in), it could keep on running whether or not there were major interruptions in the power grid.

I get the dream, that is my dream too and it's a beautiful dream! And I agree that our species' approach to energy should be a decentralized network of push and pull. We push into grids when we can and pull when we must. But as you work outwards from house to neighborhood to region to country there must be some point at which there is a massive surplus of energy available to kick in when needed. If there isn't then the whole house of cards will tumble. Yet we can achieve it.

Your analogy comparing the electric grid with the computer cloud is valid and the replies dissing you for it fail to point out that if the power grid was a ring of DC interconnects then there would be no intermittency problems with variable sources, near 100% efficiency. Every concept put forward from 'net metering' to regional autonomy (which as you point put would be nice) would work!

But the grid we have is not that DC grid. Yet. I see a path leading there but it does not start with these micro solar inter-connect techniques that (badly) affect our resonant grid and suck resources and innovative attention away from the existential threat: reliance on fossil fuels. We need to solve the base load energy problem to survive, so modern civilization may live long enough to achieve these goals.

So when I rant on solar I am really ranting on the lack of focus and effort to solve the bigger problems. Sorry about that.

2 days ago

Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

TheRealHocusLocus A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare (476 comments)

This story was posted a couple of days ago:

Yes, which is rediscussion of even older topic [26-Dec-2013] Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy Well... if stories can be redished then I can recup hiccup my own muckraking comment from it [evil laugh] Where will it end??

---cut here---

SO to summarize every /. solar energy thread...

THE MANY: why don't [greedy, evil] utilities just build smart grids and [benevolent] governments just enforce buy-back at retail? Or [to make up for perceived greediness] more than retail? Plus [free money] incentives for home owners in Pleasantville [no multifamily unit or slum dwellings need apply] to buy the stuff. And [one in a hundred thousand, owns own house free and clear, grossing $70+k/yr] solar home owner says, but it works for me.

THE FEW: Grid already running near peak capacity because it was never built out for surplus, it was built as needed. Energy costs for base load generation plants is volatile and variable. Capital spent on new base load generation NOT re-designing and re-building infrastructure in Your Little Neighborhood.

THE MANY: but solar and wind generate during [daytime not night, never mind Winter] peak hours and so will we once the government gives us free money to buy all this great solar stuff so it's all good and when this [unlikely miracle] happens those base load plants can just bug off. While we're operational that is. We'll stay connected to the grid for old time's sake and to sell our power to the [evil] power company. Storage batteries will come along and will solve everything. For a day at least.

THE FEW: Who's willing to run some the odds that a geographically dispersed network of solar/wind hipsters each feeding a little bit into the grid is sure to keep it stable and keep this 24x7 factory running? What are the odds of a cascading domino failure triggered by the first untoward event, where the hipsters and tiny federally-subsidized hipster companies will drop off the grid quickly, like flies, to satisfy their own local needs?

THE MANY: Fuck the factory, and fuck those other grid people who do not embrace small scale or personal power solutions. They're probably wasting loads of energy anyway.

THE FEW: Okay, imagine trying to light a sports stadium with ten million tiny Christmas tree bulbs. The kind wired in series where whole sections go dark when one bulb fails. Now imagine that on the supply side, with a truly incomprehensible number of possible points of failure in place, instead of the historically reliable method of a few, professionally maintained gigawatt plants that generate baseload energy 24x7...

THE MANY: Sounds great! It would probably be good for the planet too.

THE FEW: [double facepalm] Troll us into oblivion why don't you.

Obligatory bump to the Thorium Alliance and my own letters on energy,
  To The Honorable James M. Inhofe, United States Senate
  To whom it may concern, Halliburton Corporate

2 days ago

When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Like most appliances for the past 40 years? (173 comments)

My washing machine has a controller board with the numbers erased off the embedded CPU.

My washing machine has a corroded useless controller board with a rotary switch whose spring loaded contacts failed, then fused. A burnt out hot water solenoid valve and a broken load weight sensor.

That is why my washing machine has a hole drilled in the panel in which I have mounted a double pole double throw center off toggle switch. Click it down to wash, up to spin. Click to center and it turns off. It's just a DC motor that agitates or spins based on direction. There is a garden hose hooked to the hot water tap I use to fill it. You can also do a great water saving spin+rinse by spraying inside the drum as it is spinning. It goes when I tell it to go and does not stop until I stop it.

I am happy with my toggle switch driven washing machine and it will probably last for years beyond anyone else's. I could make a joke about someone needing to replace their washing machine because it has no buttons and they lost the infrared wireless remote but it's not funny. There's probably a predatory engineer out there right now devising such an abomination.

My car requires proprietary tools to fix.

'93 Chevy standard six. I don't do engines, but every bumpkin genius around these parts (and yes they really are mechanical geniuses!) can fix it.

3 days ago

Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

TheRealHocusLocus Re:The story (165 comments)

Hold on... I just had an epiphany about why manhole covers are round - give me a sec, I think I'm going to submit it...

They could also be pointy or rounded equilateral triangles, leading to an interesting and annoying and dangerous pointy down dangle wedgie situation. But what is most annoying is that many sealed round lids have no lifter points on the underside, what were they thinking, so if it flips over before it settles into the ring you are reduced to prying opposite edges while wishing for a simple clamping magnet.

4 days ago

Mobile Phone Use Soon To Be Allowed On European Flights

TheRealHocusLocus Re:a question? (96 comments)

The other possibility is that the planes will contain a cell site...

Actually you are connected to a Stingray device that is contained in a briefcase in the overhead compartment above seat 6A.

That is why all web addresses are redirected to goatse, and all attempts at voice calls connect to this recording. Bing! Another text message! Cat Facts again.

4 days ago

Could We Abort a Manned Mission To Mars?

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Second recommendation (266 comments)

If you're interested in a hard sci-fi near-future look at how a non-catastrophic, well planned mission with unforgettable personalities and epic adventures, I recommend Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy: Red, Blue, Green Mars. There's catastrophe in there too but it occurs only occasionally.

There's more "things go wrong... in spaaace!" novels and movies than you can shake a stick at. During these boring space creature features I wind up doing a freeze frame on the movie.

I then mentally leave the room and walk around down the space station's corridors, look out the windows, maybe browse the tech manuals for the station. Then I key up some popular music these people of the future listen to, go to the space john (not much has changed) and visit the hydroponics bays. Have some lunch. If it's a lunar colony I don a suit and go play some golf, take a buggy ride. Then I strap on wings and climb the giant trees that fill the dome and jump off and fly.

Eventually I mentally return to the room that is frozen in time on the screen, take a deep breath and un-pause the movie. And the gallant characters resume their battle with the Space Menace and mostly become eaten or horribly killed and all the precious equipment becomes ruined in the process and everything blows up.

Life can be lonely sometimes when you're not into the things that other people enjoy.

4 days ago

Breakthrough In LED Construction Increases Efficiency By 57 Percent

TheRealHocusLocus Re:You know what this means (182 comments)

And the cradle itself is stupidly sculpted to match the remote, causing a different problem.

YES, this is confirmed to be of extraterrestrial origin.

At the dawn of the 21st century our LSI chip and circuit board designs were very advanced but rectilinear in the traditional sense. Ergonomics was understood to be about proper posture and comfortable wrist action.

Then a spaceship landed, probably in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. Traveling buyers and consumer electronics engineers were lured into tiny stalls with the promise of "see video with new product idea" where they were subjected to various experiments... and impregnated with alien spermatozoa which began (subtly at first) to reroute their neural nets.

And the general shape of consumer products began to change. Corners were rounded, globular forms emerged and things had been stackable and rackable became rounded and contoured. Today you will typically see electronic engineers called into conference where they are shown a molded plastic prototype with pseudopods, eyelike globes, tripod feet and a long slender body with a bright blinking blue LED in the center. They are instructed to "build a product inside it." Vestigial body forms of our alien overlords. Now the term ergonomic design has been adapted to mean any shape that would confuse and terrify a consumer from the 60s and 70s.

Things that are shaped like hands do not necessarily fit comfortably in the hand.

I welcome the rise of 3D printing, so I may use it to print rectangular enclosures in which to re-mount these electronics. So I may stack them once again.

5 days ago

Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

TheRealHocusLocus Predictions for 2030 (498 comments)

A whopping 10% of new buildings will have had their shingles replaced by 'smart' shingles which incorporate solar cells. Freakin' solar roofs! Then in a devastating flurry of bank foreclosures, rent-to-own house flippees and general financial ruin, leaks, hazardous conditions and owner angst, replaced again with... shingles. There will be at least one (1) closet full of corroded electronics, taped off wires in the main panel that used to go to "that thing". And in the kids' bedroom a silent panel on the wall that becomes the instrument panel of a spaceship.

If the presence of that silent panel helps kids to dream of going into space again, it will all be worth it.

So carry on. It's just that as a renter with no savings who would have been tapping at the middle class by now if it were not for the general economic outlook, who had to help the landlord dig up the sewer tap and re-plumb the bathroom to reduce the rent... all this hoo-hah to replace reliable wire-delivered base load energy with... toys that add complexity to a simple energy equation... seems outlandish.

I'm a techie and love science but also a realist.

5 days ago

Obama Presses China On Global Warming

TheRealHocusLocus Re:The pot calling the kettle black (260 comments)

[dancing like Snoopy]

[pause, stand erect, somber face]

It is utterly chilling to see educated people publically admire a tyrannical government, and openly wish we had the same in America. There are trees and ropes waiting for you kind of people.

[dancing like Snoopy]

about a week ago

Fukushima Radiation Still Poisoning Insects

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Relevent (119 comments)

However, hominization takes place on a much shorter time scale (couple of ten million years), so another intelligent species could still arise. Who knows, maybe the rats will succeed where the apes failed.

I personally witnessed a case of greatly accelerated hominization:

Day 1: odd pink lump
Day 2: lip smacking goober
Month 1: squaller with hiccups
Month 3: large cranium drooler
Month 4: creepy crawler
Month 9: bipedal menace
Year 2: cute backtalking tyrant
Year 5: regal household overlord
Year 10: why why why machine
Year 13: critter
Year 17: varmit
Year 18: best friend

about a week ago

Ancient Campfires Led To the Rise of Storytelling

TheRealHocusLocus Eyeshine, Paleo-Humans, Children & Campfires (89 comments)

I have noticed in myself and several others an extremely strong fear-reflex to orange eyeshine. The eyes need to appear suddenly, they must be perceived as being near, and most interesting -- it seems to peak out at an ruddy orange color. Blue and green are surprising, yellow can be alarming but into the orange there is an extreme response, a silent 'snap' in the upper spine like an electric shock followed by a sensation of warmth/adrenaline response. As a kid I would shine my flashlight into the bushes as I walked at night to find cats. Countless times I caught yellow or green reflections (even up close) I'd smile and say "gotcha!" Then one night I got a shine that was a dull ruddy orange, I think it was an old tomcat with cataracts... I was riveted to the spot with symptoms described above, with great effort I stepped backward then sideways, and (though I knew it was just a cat) found myself running home.

Didn't think about it for years... until I encountered a young girl who loved Fantasia 2000. She'd watch it over and over. But as one particular moment approached she would hide her eyes under a blanket or even jump behind the couch. It was this moment . After the Firebird rose up moments later she'd be fine, sitting down watching intently. I started asking around. At least one other person had a similar reaction to orange eyeshine, and several others when given a choice chose orange as the eye color they'd least like to encounter at night.

This led me into a theory. Imagine paleo-humans around a campfire. The adults exhausted or asleep from the strenuous activities of the day... but the children are alert and awake, keeping watch. They are watching for eyeshine on the fringes of camp. This makes sense because it is the children that predators are watching. Whether or not they were tasked with this duty, or even if it was an "eye game", it may be that we are descended from a successful lineage of children who kept watch at night and successfully sounded the alarm.

Before people huddled around campfires this eyeshine predator fear response could not have been so strongly tuned to orange as it seems to be. Reflected moonlight may give you a faint flash of eyeshine if conditions are right. But when you are between the fire and the eyes it would be really bright, and a predominately orange fire would reflect mainly its own color. Only with the modern electric light would we 'see' those brilliant greens and yellows. So an eyeshine predator fear response would have developed after we tamed fire. As such it might be the most recent base instinct, and because it arises from firelight -- exclusively human.

I have another theory too, it was the domestication of the canine that initially allowed us and our children to sleep through the night, leading into the elaborate REM sleep and dream cycle of modern humans that acts as a wellspring of intelligent creativity.

And it has scarcely been one hundred years since we were paced by animals.

about two weeks ago

NSA Metadata Collection Gets 90-Day Extension

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Beware the 'Metadata' straw man (73 comments)

[$2000] you have no idea what you are talking about

Yeah I did pick that out of my backside, could have added a couple of zeroes. But hmm...

If every one of the 700 million currently assigned numbers in North America makes 3 calls an hour on average, that's ~1.5 trillion call records per month. Plus duration and a bit of geolocation data if available, we're only interested in unique number queries (not ranges) so keys are hashable, no strings, write once read forever... this is really a best case database.

Yup, need to add a zero to buy the disk space. $20,000. Add another zero for a cloudlike platform with several years' data that's not down a third of the time for record maintenance.

about two weeks ago

DARPA Funds Harvard's Soft Exoskeletal Suit

TheRealHocusLocus This has been tried before... (29 comments)

But nature always finds a way. Teeth become stronger and sharper to pierce the hide directly, armored gullets and crops evolve to subject swallowed prey to slow grinding until the hide is pierced and the juices leak out. Suction arms pin the prey to rock as a horny beak drills through the exoskeleton. Birds lift the prey into the sky and let gravity do the hard work, gathering the yummy bits from the wreckage.

The military should be focusing its research on making soldiers better at hiding, smelling and tasting really bad.

about three weeks ago

NSA Metadata Collection Gets 90-Day Extension

TheRealHocusLocus Beware the 'Metadata' straw man (73 comments)

Fuck you and fuck no!

That's the spirit. Things have got to change, But first, you gotta get mad!

All of this furor is over call and subscriber data being sent to the NSA directly on a regular basis. If I wanted to build a computer platform capable of storing and doing queries on this information for the whole United States I could probably assemble one off the shelf for a couple grand.

I would not need a water-cooled data center in Utah, centrally located so you can lease dark fiber to carry multiple terabit streams into it. Among other data centers in other parts of the country which are in planning, already constructed, or just manage to stay under the radar because they were built from the black ops budget. I would not need secret agreements (negotiated voluntarily or by threat) with service providers to tap and split optic cables.

This issue of NSA bulk metadata collection is a straw man, a distraction to divert attention from NSA's full content backbone tapping capability. It is a little duck set loose for Congress to shoot down, so they can hold up the dead duck as they pose for a group photo, leaning on their rifles.

The horrifying truth is -- if and when, possibly now -- NSA has enough backbone taps in place, they would already have access to this data that is being sent to them. In the modern world there are but a few major telecoms and their call data converges at central billing and collection points. The telecoms would gladly keep these links unencrypted or leave the keys in the mailbox for a nudge nudge wink wink absolving them of public ire.

Even the judges are stalking this duck and believe me, they are relieved when the topic of conversation fixes on call data rather than bulk content interception. That is because there is legal precedent for law enforcement collection of so-called 'pen trace data' without warrants, and they have a leg to stand on.

I'll serious money that if YOU were to ask any member of Congress a very specific and impeccably worded question about bulk content collection and backbone taps, you would get a clumsy response about call metadata. And move on to the next question. It is that insidious.

NSA has crossed the line. It needs to be completely disbanded, its secret assets colocated at Tier 1 and Tier 2 exchanges completely disconnected, dismantled and sold at auction. Its employees sent home. Or we're all fucked.

LYNCHPIN of warrantless spying: Hepting v. AT&T
Clap on! Clap off! Clapper's PRISM DISINFO Gambit
RAISE CONGRESS, while you still can!
A fable: NSA and the Desolation of Smaug

about three weeks ago

The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Who would have thunk (194 comments)

A. A railroad crossing without signals
B. A roundabout
C. Construction work
D. "Some specific turns"

As it approached the railroad crossing the Google Car coasted almost to a halt, at ~1% of full power. This was due to an excess 'poisoning' of Xenon-135, a persistent condition that was generally understood but specifics directly relating to operational safety at low power had not been addressed. At this point conditions for the driving test were inherently unfavorable and dangerous. Tuptunov sensed this, but he lacked the knowledge, vocabulary and resolve to communicate this to Dyatlov -- who ordered the car to be driven manually over the crossing.

This led them into the roundabout, where a single path to the destination exists but the Google Car was not configured to confidently know how and when to exit. The automated systems drove the car in circles for several minutes in low gear at high RPM. The car was still in a state of equilibrium and would eventually have allowed the excess Xenon to absorb neutrons and decay to Xenon-136, which has a much smaller cross-section. But again Dyatlov was impatient for the test to complete and he was getting dizzy, so he ordered to withdraw all but six of the control rods and manually lurch the car into the turnoff.

At this point the car was screaming at full RPM in low gear as it approached the Construction Zone, lurching and swaying. The operators knew they were in some sort of trouble, but the Google Car jerked forward automatically until it spotted the red cones and barricades. It disengaged to manual control and Tuptunov slapped the vehicle into its lowest possible gear. Under normal conditions this engine-assisted braking procedure was the best possible course of action. But the pistons and rods were tipped with graphite which causes a temporary neutron flux when inserted, which escalated power and deformed the rods.

At this point things in general took "some specific turns" for the worse.

about three weeks ago

Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

TheRealHocusLocus Re:Obviously. (291 comments)

If, 150 years ago, the average life expectancy was 30-40 years, but the average human level of general health in those 30-40 years was better than the same in the first 30-40 years of modern humans's lives, then you could say that something we did back 150 years ago was better and we were healthier and living well on whatever we were doing.

I believe that 150 years ago you were 'healthier'... IF:

1. you didn't live in a big city, OR were upriver. This in the time before water distribution networks with chlorine treatment and build-out of sanitary sewer projects, sewage treatment to help the poor folk downriver to avoid cholera. This is not strictly geographic. Thanks to some awesome engineering New York City is now 'upriver' because of their aqueducts.

2. you did not succumb as a child to smallpox or malaria. Vaccine and antibiotics kick ass here. I would also like to give a shout-out to my bud dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane a.k.a. DDT who cleared malaria out of the southern US states. Completely. The ongoing tragedy of malaria-affected children today is being marginalized by folks who parrot ddtcancerbad but fail to apply historic perspective to the (irresponsibly) massive amount that was used for agriculture and the (small) amount required for effective mosquito control.

For example, chlorine kills, but 1-3 parts per million of it placed in your drinking water... so long as the treatment plant properly filters organic material to discourage formation of trihalomethanes... just saved your life.

3. your teeth were ok through adulthood and when they became diseased you yanked 'em out quick. Gingivitis and its slow poisoning is a true killer. I think there are many people in a poorer general state of health today because their dentists are trying to "save" their teeth.

4. you did not have one of the (far fewer then) occupations that allowed you to sit more than half the day. These days a good percent sits while awake, working or Internet or television. I think this, more then obesity, is a death sentence. We were not evolved to sit! You don't have to pump iron or run Marathons. Just don't sit down!

There, some Significant Factors that do not include salt or fat or blood pressure or food quality.

about three weeks ago

Restoring Salmon To Their Original Habitat -- With a Cannon

TheRealHocusLocus the feet of a duck (147 comments)

I suspended the feet of a duck in an aquarium

From these humblest origins of freight -- where the simple brain of a duck determines terminus loci -- human kind has leveraged the Duck Foot Apparatus into a vast global network with computer-optimized logistics management. Producers and shippers of commodities no longer need to wait until they are stepped on or eaten by a duck. This confers numerous advantages for cargo weight and scheduling and the ability to choose destination.

Early inventors believed you merely needed to graft duck feet onto Medieval torture devices to harness the abilities of ducks. In the Wright Brothers' first aircraft design running duck feet gathered the seeds of grass and mosses during takeoff. The goose neck trailer arose from early attempts to shove large volumes of freight down the neck of a beheaded goose, until it was discovered that large swinging doors in back facilitate deeper penetration and ease of loading.

Anyway, "the rest is history", and what the hell does that mean?? From milligrams to mega tonnes, the modern network of Things That Do Duck Things though they no longer resemble ducks carries invasive species to every "corner" of the globe. And what the hell does that mean??

Ocean shipping networks carry so much freight you can see their routes arching and sagging on this map. This is partially offset by the buoyant effect of air cargo.

To those of us old enough to remember air travel in the bowels of fowls, what a marvel modern transportation is indeed.

about three weeks ago

First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

TheRealHocusLocus Re:NSA and the Desolation of Smaug (199 comments)

They used FLOWERS???
Or did you mean germanium?

OOPS yeah thanks. Only Elvish tech uses certain flowers and essential oils because the scents stir their shared cultural memory, traverse the elf blood brain barrier easily and allow them to perceive history as one glorious song. Selective cultivation over eons has allowed elves to tailor flower DNA to store their herd memory in complex organic molecules. Either that or the tales were written into flowers all along and the elves adopted that story as their own, who can say.

Other hominids lack these specific receptors so it can come across as a dull throbbing headache, low rushing sound or whispering voices. If you hear voices in elevators and hallways it is likely that elvish tech is used in the building. Elvetech should always be used with adequate ventilation.

about a month ago

New HTML Picture Element To Make Future Web Faster

TheRealHocusLocus While we're at it... CLIP 'n FLIP? (161 comments)

Where one can specify a X1Y1+WIDTHHEIGHT region of the image and that, not the full image, becomes what is actually rendered or stretched by the element.

And if either the X and/or Y have a MINUS sign, then the same absolute coordinates are used -- but also the presence of the sign causes the browser to FLIP the image horizontally, vertically or both. This deals with the case of mirror elements.

Modern web pages are full of small design elements such as bits of custom corners, tiles that are stretched horizontally and vertically and small recurring icons and pieces that are common to many pages. There can be dozens of these unique elements all told.

Wouldn't it be nice if only ONE image that has been carefully crafted to contain these rectangular regions, is loaded to the client, thus keeping all these bits and pieces from spamming the world's server logs and keepalive sessions?

Yes one can do something like this active scripting and with layers and canvas, but putting clip'n'flip into a newly designed PICTURE tag would achieve what I've been suggesting since... 1995. It would give me personal closure. It would make me feel needed.

about a month ago



The Rise of Wagnerian Science [corr]

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about two weeks ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Just encountered Negative Results are Disappearing from Most Disciplines and Countries [2011] from master lexicographer Daniele Fanelli, whose 2009 work on scientific misconduct was covered on Slashdot. He finds "the proportion of papers that, having declared to have tested a hypothesis, reported a full or partial support has grown by more than 20% between 1990 and 2007." Does this mean that as a species, we are becoming better at guessing — or are there other forces at work?

One thing that jumped at me in Fanelli's paper [Fig 3, p7] was the smoothness of this progression for the US authors, as compared with other countries. Richard Feynman noted "The thing that doesn't fit is the thing that's most interesting." Are we seeking those things? Newton was almost right. Bereft of rigorous testing to invalidate popular hypotheses, would we be likely to notice "negative results" such as the disparities that led into quantum mechanics, today? Or would they be swept under the rug of selective funding and implied consensus?

Years ago when listening to The Ring I found myself switching the turntable to 78rpm to complete the Cycle in a few hours — its musical sentiment was soo obvious and I "see" where it was going. Science should embody more Contrapunctus, a fugue where negative and positive entwine in a thoughtful dance. Writing this summary I must endeavor not to relate this to climate science. Oops."

Link to Original Source

The Rise of Wagnerian Science

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about two weeks ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Just encountered Negative Results are Disappearing from Most Disciplines and Countries [2011] from master lexicographer Daniele Fanelli, whose 2009 work on scientific misconduct was covered on Slashdot. She finds "the proportion of papers that, having declared to have tested a hypothesis, reported a full or partial support has grown by more than 20% between 1990 and 2007." Does this mean that as a species, we are becoming better at guessing — or are there other forces at work?

One thing that jumped at me in Fanelli's paper [Fig 3, p7] was the smoothness of this progression for the US authors, as compared with other countries. Richard Feynman noted "The thing that doesn't fit is the thing that's most interesting." Are we seeking those things? Newton was almost right. Bereft of rigorous testing to invalidate popular hypotheses, would we be likely to notice "negative results" such as the disparities that led into quantum mechanics, today? Or would they be swept under the rug of selective funding and implied consensus?

Years ago when listening to The Ring I found myself switching the turntable to 78rpm to complete the Cycle in a few hours — its musical sentiment was soo obvious and I "see" where it was going. Science should embody more Contrapunctus, a fugue where negative and positive entwine in a thoughtful dance. Writing this summary I must endeavor not to relate this to climate science. Oops."

Link to Original Source

Death to the Trapezoid.. Small aggravations and big 'fails'

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about 10 months ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Extreme bandwidth is nice, intelligent power management is cool... but folks should be spilling into the streets in thankful praise that the next generation miniature USB connector will fit either way. All told-- just how many intricate miracle devices have been scrapped in their prime — because a tiny USB port was mangled? For millennia untold chimpanzees and people have been poking termite mounds with round sticks. I for one am glad to see round stick technology make its way into consumer electronics. Death to the trapezoid, bring back the rectangle! So... since we're on roll here... how many other tiny annoyances that lead to big fails are out there?"

The Dismantling of POTS: bold move or grave error?

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about 10 months ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "The FCC is drafting rules to formalize the process of transition of "last-mile" subscriber circuits to digital IP-based data streams. The move is lauded by AT&T Chairman Tom Wheeler who claims that significant resources are spent to maintain 'legacy' POTS service, though some 100 million still use it. POTS, or 'Plain Old Telephone Service' is the analog standard that allows the use of simple unpowered phone devices on the wire, with the phone company supplying ring and talk voltage. I cannot fault progress, in fact I'm part of the problem: I gave up my dial tone a couple years ago because I needed cell and could not afford to keep both. But what concerns me is, are we poised to dismantle systems that are capable of standing alone to keep communities and regions 'in-touch' with each other, in favor of systems that rely on centralized (and distant) points of failure? Despite its analog limitations POTS switches have enforced the use of hard-coded local exchanges and equipment that will faithfully complete local calls even if its network connections are down. But do these IP phones deliver the same promise? For that matter, is any single local cell tower isolated from its parent network of use to anyone at all? I have had a difficult time finding answers to this question, and would love savvy /. folks to weigh in: In a disaster that isolates the community from outside or partitions the country's connectivity — aside from local Plain Old Telephone Service, how many IP and cell phones would continue to function? Are we setting ourselves up for a 'fail'?"

If ONLY Compact Flourescernt Bulbs are lighting this room, right now...

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a year ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "POLL IDEA

* They better for me AND I want to threaten everyone to use them with a stick
* Illumination is BETTER than incandescent bulbs
* No difference, who cares
* Illumination is WORSE than incandescent bulbs
* Worse for me AND I want to break them all with a stick
* Naver mind this bulb business, I just want to use the stick
* Disqualified: I have an incandescent desk lamp, I am blind or all my bulbs have burned out"

Breakthrough: Manned Space Travel Achieved Using 40-Year Old Technology

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  1 year,4 days

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Paul Rosenberg has uncovered some surprising new evidence that manned space travel is not only possible, it has actually been achieved using decades-old technology. Some 40 years in the making, a tale too amazing to remain untold. With a few quaint photographs he asks, could we build this? The answer is no. Or is it? It is uplifting to read that "Productive humans have been delegated to mute observance as their hard-earned surplus is syphoned off to capital cities, where it is sanctimoniously poured down a sewer of cultured dependencies and endless wars..." for it must take something really compelling to prevent us from reaching the stars, and he has nailed it. This essay makes the case that the headliner of 2052 may well be: Breakthrough: Manned Space Travel Achieved Using 80-Year Old Technology. I can hardly wait! Down with robots."
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The future of energy must be crowdsourced, needs your help

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a year and a half ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "It wants to power our grid — completely. It wants to eat our existing nuclear waste, all of it. It does not want to explode or release radioactivity via steam or overpressure. Oil companies are trying to make you fear it (duh). The Big Nuclear Industry will not touch it because it eats anything, and they cannot lock you in to a solid fuel contract. Environmentalists are still confusing it with 'traditional' melt boom irradiate nuclear power technology. Kirk Sorensen wants to tell you about it. TFA is two hours long but there is not a idle moment in here, it's a mini physics course in itself. This is all about keeping the lights on, surviving the Winter, keeping our technological lead."
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How 'hackable' is EAS? This just in: Zombie acopalypse in Montanna

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about a year and a half ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Perhaps uncoincidentally with the Walking Dead's return on AMC, unknown persons have managed to inject a fake EAS (Emergency Alert System) message into the stream of KRTV in Great Falls, Montana. From CONELRAD [1951-1963] to EBS [1963-1997] to modern EAS, the US has had infrastructure in place for an attention signal to alert a hierarchical network of broadcast stations. In 1979 I conducted weekly EBS tests at a small FM station which always required direct operator action. But now so many stations run unattended, it is surprising incidents like this do not happen more often. But this begs the age old question: how could you secure such a network without introducing excessive complexity, reducing reliability?"
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Only two real challenges face us today, besides restraint (for comment)

TheRealHocusLocus TheRealHocusLocus writes  |  about 2 years ago

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "There are only two real challenges to face in this world.

There is only only one doomsday scenario that requires us to come together and take action to ensure our survival: to deploy technology that can identify, then divert or destroy asteroids on a course to impact our planet.

There is only one actual piece of social engineering that needs to occur to ensure our survival: to marginalize the opposition to nuclear energy and to build and scale up efficient and safe modern designs to completely power our electric grids with enough surplus energy for electric ground transportation, trains, cars and trucks. To gather and store the nuclear waste responsibly until breeder technology matures. The developing world wants electric grids (not our charity dollars), in the developed world the grids are the only thing between us and the dark ages. Coal, oil and gas harm the environment and their depletion curves yield a perpetual resource war and eventual doom. Disaster-hardened underground nuclear reactors hold the ONLY real promise we have for continued existence in the style to which we are accustomed.

That's it. Only two challenges. All the rest are matters that may be solved with restraint.

This practice of taking issues such as violence and war or drug abuse or overpopulation, and treating them as 'disasters' and not issues of restraint — worries me. It is a grave mental disorder to portray them as anything more than they are, simple issues of personal restraint.

John Galt's motor does not exist. Fusion even if it proves possible will not be scalable soon enough. Hydrogen is a great fuel for transportation but it requires energy for harvest. Nuclear fission is the *only* energy source that could keep us alive through a long dark winter so it must be pursued — until it is perfected, to the exclusion of everything else.

In other words, GROW UP humanity, this little recess from technological innovation while we burn off the oil and turn away from danger in the sky, is over. It's time to get back to work."


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