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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

jmichaelg Stole a Tesla? How? (443 comments)

I thought Teslas had a literally encrypted key that all but guaranteed the car couldn't be stolen sans key.,

Did the service center leave the key with the car or is the car inherently insecure?

about two weeks ago

Interviews: Ask Former Director of JPL Edward Stone About Space Exploration

jmichaelg Early Education (58 comments)

In the early days of the space and aerospace programs it seems a lot of team leaders were engineers who had no college or stopped at a bachelors. Kelly Johnson at the Skunk Works is an example of the later.

When you started out, did you work for any men who didn't have a lot of formal education but were very competent?

about 2 months ago

Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

jmichaelg Re:The original Basic Book (146 comments)

The deal with Basic was it was everywhere. Any computer you had access to had Basic readily available from the command prompt.

Now , it's Javascript. Available on most computers and runs on most computers.

about 4 months ago

Daylight Saving Time Linked To Heart Attacks

jmichaelg Be skeptical (240 comments)

Went looking for the original paper to see how many cases were looked at. Dr. Sandhu doesn't show up in a search for UC at Denver so no luck there. A few news article referenced a Conference which points to .

That page says that the # of extra attacks is 8. Moreover, Dr. Sandhu is quoted as saying that the total number of heart attacks in the week leading up to and following the clock change is unchanged so if there is an effect at all, it's front-loading the week's expected heart attack frequency.

about 4 months ago

Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

jmichaelg Re:The real puzzle (382 comments)

The obvious implication is they were hijacked. The not so obvious explanation is hypoxia-induced dementia in the pilots.

I've yet to see anything that eliminates either possibility.

about 4 months ago

Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

jmichaelg Re:Says the WSJ (382 comments)

New Scientist is carrying the story as well. Not clear if they're parroting the WSJ or if they have an independent source.

about 4 months ago

It's True: Some People Just Don't Like Music

jmichaelg Count Feynman as one who disliked music (268 comments)

Richard Feynman said music sounded like noise to him. Didn't make any difference what type of music it was. He did however, like rhythm which is why he played percussion instruments.

about 5 months ago

Is Google Making the Digital Divide Worse?

jmichaelg Re:If only there were a system (259 comments)

...complete with regulators that would end up working for the companies they regulate.

And of course, said regulators would raise the price of entry so that the incumbents would have a natural advantage.

What a novel idea!

about 5 months ago

Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High

jmichaelg Both sides are spending lots of money... (846 comments)

Indian Chief paid $55,000 to attend anti-oil rally.

Synopsis: The Tides Foundation paid $55,000 to a Ltd Corporation that has is owned by another corporation that has changed its name twice in the past four years. The Indian chief is a director of the holding corporation. Tides made 25 different payments to anti-oil sands activists in a single year.

There's nothing wrong with paying money to support a cause you believe in but it's damn fishy when the money is flowing through corporations that are held by other corporations which keep changing their names. It indicates an attempt to hide who is actually receiving the money and how much money is flowing to said individuals.

The Saudis and Russians have a vested interest in stopping oil development in North America so it wouldn't be at all surprising to see them funding anti-oil activists.

about 6 months ago

Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Newegg Patent Case

jmichaelg Why software patents exist at all (204 comments)

Back in the day, software was not patentable as it was treated akin to a mathematical formula. The one patent I was aware of was a patent Atari snuck through by designing a circuit that XOR'ed a bit pattern to change the color a TV was displaying to avoid burn in. They patented the circuit and tucked a sentence into the patent that said they also claimed any implementation in software as well but the primary patent was for the circuit. We relied on copyright protection and pretty much ignored patents. Then the Supreme Court made a few rulings that opened the door to the possibility of patenting software.

Following up on the rulings, the Patent Office embarked on a series of "hearings" held around the country ostensibly to see whether it was a good idea to patent software or not. This was sometime in the early 90's. Towards the end of their tour, they finally brought their dog and pony show to San Jose.

Literally, almost *EVERY* developer testified that it was a really bad idea. The one exception that I recall was some idiot with a beauty salon app that would show you what you would look like with various hair styles. The rest of the developers said "No. We don't want this - it's a really, really, bad idea." Several developers made the point that we weren't constrained by a paucity of ideas as much as choosing which ideas to implement well.

The other group that was there in some numbers were attorneys - I recall Borland sent their corporate attorney. To a man, the attorneys all testified in favor of the idea.

Towards the end of the testimony, one of the developers pointed out the fact that the only people who seemed to like the idea were the attorneys. At which point, the Patent Office person (can't remember his name but iirc he headed the department at the time.) grinned and said something to the effect that the attorneys tended to get their way.

And they did. The people whom patents ostensibly protected were ignored in favor of the attorneys.

about 6 months ago

Army Laser Passes Drone-Killing Test

jmichaelg Re:Reflective Armor (173 comments)

How well a reflective surface would work would depend on the laser's power and frequency. Mylar doesn't reflect all frequencies of light and is imperfect at reflecting the ones it does. Pour enough joules onto the target and you don't care that 90% of them are being deflected - the remaining 10% will do the job.

I've always thought that the ideal anti-mortar device would be a radar that told you exactly where the mortar round came from. "You shooting at us? Here, have a little present in return."

about 7 months ago

Scientists Says Jellyfish Are Taking Over the Oceans

jmichaelg Plankton die off (274 comments)

Restore the plankton and you've restored the bottom of the food chain.

The plankton have died off by at least 40% over the past 60 years. John Martin at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute hypothesized in the early 90's that the die-off was due to diminishing iron in the ocean surface waters. He was quoted as saying "Give me a freighter full of iron fertilizer and I'll give you an ice age." meaning that spraying iron onto the ocean's surface would re-populate the plankton and they in turn would consume the excess CO2 that's currently acidifying the oceans.

In 2002, MBARI validated his hypothesis that spraying iron fertilizer would engender a plankton bloom. Subsequent studies have replicated MBARI's results.

Seems to me that if someone were to claim a 100 square mile chunk of ocean, they could fertilize it, seed it with anchovies and start a very profitable aqua farm. They would be harvesting a variety of predator fish such as bass and tuna once they discovered the anchovies feasting on the plankton. Since the farm wouldn't harvest all of the carbon the plankton consumed, it'd be a net carbon sink.

about 9 months ago

How Car Dealership Lobbyists Successfully Banned Tesla Motors From Texas

jmichaelg I don't get the feeling he's any different (688 comments)

So he spends a good deal of time talking about how contributions are perverting the process and finishes his post with ....

And if you can spare it, kick in some money to my campaign. Lord knows that after this post, Iâ(TM)m not getting any money from the Texas Automobile Dealers Association.

about a year ago

Chinese Developer To Build Ocean-Water Thermal Energy System

jmichaelg Second time around for Hawaiian OTEC (93 comments)

Hawaii already tried and failed at OTEC back in the late 70's. The difference between surface and deep water temperature determines the max theoretical efficiency and it turned out not to be high enough to make the process work given real-world heat losses.

After the OTEC project shut down, the state had a deep-water pipe off the Kona coast that they were wondering what to do with. Fortunately for Hawaii, at the same time the California Coastal Commission was making life miserable for an abalone farmer in California. He was trying to leverage some aquaculture research done at a marine lab near Monterey by seeking permission to sink a pipe into Monterey Canyon and pull up cold water to water his kelp which he would feed to the abalone. The Coastal Commission denied his request and so he picked up and moved to Hawaii where he started an abalone farm using the failed OTEC infrastructure.

The Commission's stupidity cost California taxes on a lucrative business as well a few jobs - a practice the state continues to this day.

The farm has done very well over the years. This species of kelp when doused with the deep cold water grows on the order of a foot a day. The farm harvests the kelp and chops it into little bits which are fed to baby abalone. The abs are harvested when they're a couple of inches across (way below legal limit if the abs were wild) and are shipped to Japan as an ultra-premium food.

about a year ago

Tests Show That Deadly New Flu Could Spread Among People

jmichaelg H7 doesn't have a history of causing pandemics (185 comments)

In 2003 when a bird flu was sweeping through Asia, Maurice Hilleman, a 20th century virologist who created more vaccines than all other virologists combined, said it would not turn into a pandemic. He turned out to be right: the pandemic didn't happen. During his career, Hilleman noticed that the flu pandemics have all been been associated with H1, H2 and H3 hemoglutens. The other 14 hemogluten groups, H4 through H17, haven't been associated with pandemics. Hemogluten is a protein that enables the virus to attach to the throat, and the flu virus has 17 different variants, numbered H1, H2, ...H17.

The other thing Hilleman noticed was that each of the flu pandemics has been separated from its former instance by 68 years. H2 caused pandemics in 1889 and 1957. H3 caused pandemics in 1900 and 1968 and H1 caused pandemics in 1918 and 1986. Based on that pattern, Hilleman thought the next flu pandemic would occur in 2025 when most people who were alive during the H2 1957 pandemic have died.

A key difference between the 1957 instance and the 2025 instance is the fact that the US no longer has any company willing to manufacture vaccines here - they're all overseas. Hilleman spotted the 1957 outbreak before anyone else did and bulldozed the design and manufacture of an effective vaccine in a matter of months. He knew the manufacturers personally and was able to coordinate them into gearing up the necessary production. A lot of what he did then would be impossible today given the FDA's increased power.

about a year ago

Observed Atmospheric CO2 Hits 400 Parts Per Million

jmichaelg From 3 to 4 parts per 10,000 (367 comments)

Bringing the numbers closer to human-scale, a 300 parts per million is the same as 3 parts per 10,000. Similarly 400 is 4 parts per 10,000. So basically, we've gone from 3 molecules per 10,000 to 4 molecules of CO2 per 10,000 molecules of air.

In the same period, plankton levels have declined over 1% per year since the late 1970's. John Martin at MBARI postulated that the decline was due to a decline of dissolved iron in the oceans. He's quoted as saying "Give me a tanker full of iron and I'll give you an ice age." A series of experiments, IRONEX and SOFEX demonstrated that he was right - adding iron caused the plankton to bloom. The SOFEX bloom lasted longer than the 45 days allotted to collect plankton samples. IRONEX demonstrated that the predators could find the bloom and feed on it.

You want to reduce CO2 levels? Stop hunter-gatherer style fishing and start farming the oceans. Of course, then the problems will be keeping the earth warm enough to avoid another ice age and preventing fish rustlers from making off with your harvest.

about a year ago

No Such Thing As a Tax-Free Lunch At Google?

jmichaelg Re:No you don't. (631 comments)

I was a majority owner of a software publishing business in the 80's. After we started making money, I decided to have the company buy health insurance for all the employees including myself. Treated the health insurance as an expense just like every other corporation did.

The difference was I was a majority owner of a privately held corporation. In 1989, the IRS decided that people in that situation should pay income tax on the health benefit. My employees weren't taxed, just the three officers/owners of the company were taxed.

Since we were the owners of the business, we decided to make ourselves whole by granting ourselves a raise equivalent to the tax burden. At the time, the federal tax rate was 36%, State taxes were 9% and social security and payroll added another few percent so we were paying close to 50% income tax. That meant for every $100 in additional tax we had to pay, we had to pay ourselves an additional $200 to cover the new tax. The reason was that when we gave ourselves a $100 raise to cover a $100 in taxes, we now had $100 additional income we had to pay 50% income tax on. Give ourselves another $50 raise and we have to pay $25 tax on that and so on.

There's an aphorism in conservative circles that governments tax activities they don't like and subsidize activities they do like. The IRS is saying they don't like Google employees getting their meals paid for even though Google can make an excellent argument for doing so. Doesn't matter.

The IRS has become so onerous in its demands on small businesses that I eventually threw in the towel even though the business was profitable most of the time. I didn't go into business to work for the government but that's basically what ended up happening.

about a year ago



Send The ISS To The Moon

jmichaelg jmichaelg writes  |  about 6 years ago

jmichaelg (148257) writes "Michael Benson is suggesting that NASA send the International Space Station to the moon instead of leaving it low earth orbit. He points out that it's already designed to be periodically moved to higher orbits so instead of just boosting it a few miles, strap on some ion engines and put it in orbit around the moon instead of the earth. That would provide an initial base for the astronauts going to the moon and give the ISS a purpose other than studying the effect of micro gravity on humans."
Link to Original Source

An application for Berkeley's Nanotube radio

jmichaelg jmichaelg writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jmichaelg (148257) writes "Hot on the heels of yesterday's article about Berkeley's nanotube radio receiver comes this Los Angeles Times article about John Kanzius, a former radio technician who was diagnosed with cancer. Kanzius, who has no medical background, applied his radio skills to his cancer with the intent of baking the cancer. Between chemotherapy treatments, he built a radio transmitter in his garage. To find the ideal radio receiver, he teamed up with Richard Smalley , the 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize winner, who was also being treated for cancer. Smalley gave him two vials of nanoparticles which, when heated by Kanzius' radio transmitter, destroyed 100% of cancerous cells in a petri dish. The task now is to design a delivery mechanism based on antibodies that'll transport the particles an in-vivo cancer. Kanzius is listed as a co-author on a peer-reviewed paper to be published in the December issue of Cancer."



jmichaelg jmichaelg writes  |  more than 3 years ago

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