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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

mpercy I regularly use crosswalks and wait for the light (324 comments)

I press the button at the cross walk and wait for the little man to light up saying it's OK to cross.

And I still--on an almost weekly basis--get run over by people coasting up trying to make a right-on-red without actually a) stopping or b) checking for pedestrians standing right in front of them.

2 days ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

mpercy Why are we saving imbeciles? (324 comments)

"If it saves the life of an imbecile who can't trouble to buckle up it MAY be worthwhile"

Aren't we just keeping them in the gene pool and overall adding to the eventual enfeeblement of the species re intelligence?

Seems to me that we need to have a lot less of this saving of the lives of imbeciles. E.g. Forest Service is increasingly having to mount rescue operation to save idiots who climb part way up a mountain wearing a t-shirt, jeans and loafers and no equipment except a cell phone.

2 days ago
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Denver Latest City Hit By Viral Respiratory Infection That Targets Kids

mpercy Re: No deaths? (174 comments)

The CDC says that approximately 90,000 people die each year as a result of acquiring an infection while in a hospital. Almost all of those deaths could be avoided if doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff would simply wash their hands and use hand sanitizers regularly and properly.

That is, regular hand washing in hospitals could save about twice as many people as Obamacare's supposed ubiquity for about $1T less. Recall that during the run-up to Obamacare there was the proclamation that "45 thousand people die every year because they don’t have health insurance".

This number comes from a Harvard study, so it is pronounced with great reverence and seldom questioned or considered. The study is widely available on the internet, and I suggest you read it. While reading it consider the point-of-view of one of the authors: according to the NIH website "Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler helped found Physicians for a National Health Program, a not-for-profit organization for physicians, medical students, and other health care professionals who advocate a national health insurance program." Of course, the number quoted is the highest number in the study, and comes about only when using criteria suggested by the Urban Institute. The lower end of the estimated range is 27424, or a just about 50% less, albeit this covers only ages 25-64. Ignoring the Urban Institutes guidelines, the number provided is 35327 deaths annually for the non-elderly (ages 18-64), compared to the larger number 44789.

about a week ago
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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

mpercy The night was moist (441 comments)

nc

about two weeks ago
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Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

mpercy Re:"Accidentally" (455 comments)

Was on jury duty for a DUI case where the defendant claimed there was some police brutality whereas the police testified that the defendant was simply falling-down drunk. During the trial, it came to light that the prosecution had not furnished the defense with a copy of the dashcam tape. Indeed, it appeared that the prosecution was claiming that they could not produce the tape. The judge stopped the trial, very strongly admonished the prosecution, and demanded that the tape be produced before the trial would proceed. Next morning the tape had magically been found! When it was played for the jury, the arresting officer provided voice-over testimony. "Here's where I am arriving at the scene...there's the defendant's car...for some reason the camera stops working at this point...here's where the tow truck has been loaded with the car..."

Indeed the camera recorded everything from the moment the officer was called out to the scene, stops recording just before the officer got out of the vehicle, then magically starts recording again after the officer got back in the vehicle. No part of the field sobriety test, alleged falling down, alleged assault on officer, alleged brutality, etc. is caught on camera. The judge was flabbergasted at this (and had more harsh words for the prosecution).

about two weeks ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Consider some related aspects (306 comments)

If you buy solar panels and install them on your house to provide your own electricity with no grid hookup, you are generally free to do so provided you otherwise comply with zoning and building codes.

If you do the same but have a grid hookup, you should expect to pay some fixed costs related to your share of the grid infrastructure. If you flow excess power back into the grid you may have other rules to comply with for safety if nothing else.

If you lease equipment, there's not much difference in the two cases above.

If you allow someone to build a solar plan on your property for the purpose of selling you the electricity, then that is a different picture altogether, given the public utility laws come into effect on any company that build power plants and sells electricity. This particular business model evolved as a way to use the various tax provisions (depreciation) and subsidies to maximize the profits and cash flow to installers, and locking "customers" into long term contracts for electricity.

The installers are crying foul in jurisdictions that say "you built and are operating a power plant for the purpose of selling electricity, therefore you are a public utility and shall be regulated as such in accordance with the pertaining laws."

about a month ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Leases work like this (306 comments)

For a small up-front cost, the leasing company will install several teens of thousands of dollars worth of solar power plant equipment on you house or business. You further agree to a per-kWh price that you will pay for the generated electricity, plus a small monthly lease charge.

So for virtually nothing out-of-pocket you get solar power. But the leasing company owns the equipment and collects the various subsidies, but that's not the sticking point. The part about them selling you electricity--even from "your" equipment--makes the company a electric utility and subject to piles and piles of public utility regulation and law.

about a month ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Re: leasing (306 comments)

What is biting the leasing installers in the ass is that they are often set up not to lease equipment to the homeowner, but to sell electricity produced by the installation to the homeowner. It is this sale of electricity model that bites leasing companies in Georgia. As I understand it, if they leased equipment like they leased cars and took payment for the leased equipment itself, they would not have so many problems.

The selling of electricity, though, drops them into the PUC's lap and the PUC's position is that "if you sell electricity, here's all the regulations you have to comply with" and the leasing companies cannot make profits if they have to comply with all the laws that bind large-scale public utilities so they blame the law as being "unfriendly to solar".

In point of fact, if you had a company that wanted to build a small coal-fired power plant and sell the electricity generated by it to the one house, people would demand that it be regulated out of existence and would use the PUC definitions as the basis under which to do so.

about a month ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Except that's not the case at all (306 comments)

If they had purchased equipment, then that would be the case as you put it.

  But these instances focus on a particular business model where "customers" do not buy or install the panels. Instead, they allow another party to install panels at their expense (the installing company remains the owner of the panels throughout) while agreeing to buy electricity generated from the panels.

In other words, they allow someone to build a solar electric plant on their property and further agree to purchase electricity from that plant. Kinda like Verizon and Sprint giving you "free" phones so long as you agree to a two year contract for cellular service. You might not buy the $800 phone otherwise.

This keeps the property-owners initial costs low while locking them into a long term electricity contract. And it makes the provider a public utility--they build plants and sell electricity to customers--and therefore are unhappy to find themselves categorized and regulated as such under the laws governing public utilities.

about a month ago
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Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power

mpercy Poor and misleading summary (306 comments)

A more correct interpretation is that some states have a strong Public Utilities Commission that narrowly interprets public utility laws in a way that negatively impacts *some* solar business models.

In particular the solar business model that installs panels for free or at some low lease cost, and then sells the electricity created to the homeowner (and excess to the grid). In this case, the PUC sees the situation that someone has chosen to build a small electric power plant and sell electricity to a other parties. The notion that the primary customer is a single homeowner or business is immaterial. A company that builds electric power plants for the purpose of selling electricity to other parties is to be regulated under the same laws as any other electric utility company.

If you want solar power for your house, you are free to buy panels and have them installed at your own expense and you can reap the benefits of your self-generated electricity. There may still be issues involving whether and how you can sell excess power back into the grid.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

mpercy Re:Best metric (272 comments)

About 18,000...

about 2 months ago
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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

mpercy Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1930, 45.94
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1940, 48.54
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1950, 51.20
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1960, 52.58
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1970, 53.00
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1980, 55.46
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 1990, 56.63
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 20 in 2000, 57.82

In other words...

For those reaching adulthood in 1940, the average person was expected to live 3.5 years beyond SS age of 65. Pay in for 45 years, collect for 3-4 years.
For those reaching adulthood in 2000, the average person is expected to live 10.82 years beyond SS age of 67. Pay in for 47 years, collect for 10-11 years.

about 2 months ago
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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

mpercy Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

Perhaps, but those are longevity statistics (and not correct per CDC figures). You are ignoring the odds of making it to 60, mortality statistics.

Average life expectancy of people born in 1930, 59.20.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1940, 63.62.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1950, 68.07.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1960, 69.89.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1970, 70.75.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1980, 73.88.
Average life expectancy of people born in 1990, 75.37.
Average life expectancy of people born in 2000, 76.86.

Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1930, 15.24 (i.e., live to average of 75.24).
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1940, 15.91 (75.91)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1950, 17.04 (77.04)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1960, 17.71 (77.71)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1970, 18.34 (78.34)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1980, 20.02 (80.02)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 1990, 20.90 (80.90)
Average number of years of life remaining for those who were 60 in 2000, 21.55 (81.55)

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/n...

about 2 months ago
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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

mpercy Re:This will die in the senate (148 comments)

In earliest days of Social Security, there were hundreds of "contributors" per beneficiary, but that was a startup issue.
In 1945, there were 42 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 1950, there were 16.5 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 1970, there were 3.7 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 1990, there were 3.4 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.
In 2010, there were 2.9 people paying into Social Security for every person receiving retirement benefits.

Income inequality has nothing to do with the problem.

about 2 months ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mpercy True enough (190 comments)

In the past, Democratic and Republican administrations issued some contracts without competitive bidding for speed and to save money. When seeking the highest office in the land, Mr. Obama explicitly stated that he would not tolerate such practices. “I will finally end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all,” he thundered to a Grand Rapids, Mich., audience on Oct. 2, 2008. “The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton will be over when I’m in the White House.” After becoming president, Mr. Obama continued the attack and promised on March 4 to “end unnecessary no-bid and cost-plus contracts. In some cases, contracts are awarded without competition. And that’s completely unacceptable.”

That was then; this is now. Last week, the Army revealed that KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, was awarded a no-bid contract worth as much as $568 million through next year. This deal was announced only hours after the Obama Justice Department informed the public that it was joining a suit filed by whistleblowers who allege KBR used kickbacks to get foreign contracts.

http://www.washingtontimes.com...

about 3 months ago
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Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

mpercy it's OK, though because Obama says so (441 comments)

The Administration is going to say it's OK for wind farms to kill eagles despite what the Endangered Species Act says, perhaps because the owners donate to Democrats. Interesting to see the tree-huggers and green-energy people in-fighting...

ABC News.com

A California wind farm will become the first in the nation to avoid prosecution if eagles are injured or die when they run into the giant turning blades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday.

The Shiloh IV Wind Project LLC, 60 miles east of San Francisco, will receive a special permit allowing up to five golden eagles to be accidentally killed over five years. Previously, such a violation could potentially draw criminal charges and discourage private investment in wind farms known for catching birds in their rotors.

about 3 months ago
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Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

mpercy Re:Sounds about right... (441 comments)

http://www.duke-energy.com/pow...
http://www.duke-energy.com/pow...

Reservoir provides 1,000MW of capacity that can be tapped quickly, and water is pumped from the lower to the upper reservoir using off-peak power.
The whole thing is a as a load-balancing feature of the nuclear plant (2500MW). Use the off-peak load excess to pump water up to the upper reservoir overnight and tap it to level off peak demand that happens during the day.

Alternative power sources like solar and wind could certainly use such a system as a battery too, but geography might prevent it.

about 3 months ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mpercy Meh, $468M is about one Solyndra (190 comments)

And we got zippo for that expenditure.

Hey, maybe we can start using "Solyndra" as a unit measuring government waste.

about 3 months ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

mpercy Wow, CO2 beats out the Sun? (190 comments)

Perhaps you meant as a greenhouse gas, but then you dismiss water vapor?

about 3 months ago

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