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Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies

rocket rancher Re: Are they really that scared? (461 comments)

Can you really not distinguish between sellers and buyers? Electric companies have no love for any particular means of generating power, they just want it cheap, and for most of them their primary concern in life is the NIMBY problem.

Electric companies, at least in some latitudes, are certainly worried about practical rooftop solar eating into their business, but for reasons that have nothing at all to do with love of fossil fuel.

As you say, electric companies just want to buy their energy cheap and sell it dear. Nothing inherently wrong with that. But they actually do have a love for a particular distribution model, if not a particular means of generating power. They are scared of the decentralization of power production, which smart grids coupled with residential rooftop solar installations represent. Koch Industries is the largest player in domestic energy production in the US. They have billions and billions of dollars invested in the centralized production of energy, so they are fucking scared of decentralization, and rightly so. Sadly, instead of embracing decentralization and adjusting their business model, they are successfully lobbying state legislatures and publicly-run utilities to create laws and regulations that make it damn near impossible to get a residential smart grid up and running.

about two weeks ago

Orion Capsule Safely Recovered, Complete With 12-Year-Old Computer Guts

rocket rancher Re:clock speeds yes (197 comments)

Spending money because something is advertised as new is foolish without determining if one will actually benefit from that new thing.

Hmmm. If everybody adopted your approach, the world economy would collapse. Capitalism doesn't work in a rational market space, which is what you would create if everybody actually considered the value of an item, and not just its price, before acquiring it. Fortunately for our global economy, hardly anybody understands the difference between value and price. As long as businesses can continue to successfully exploit that ignorance, the global economy will survive.

about two weeks ago

Kickstarter Cancels Anonabox Funding Campaign

rocket rancher Re:SlashDot Is Watching You (76 comments)

16 Companies Tracking This Page

This isn't what the Internet was designed to be, its not the outpost of freedom we wanted. I am trully disappointed.

wtf...? Dude, the internet was designed to allow American nuclear weapons research facilities (both private and governmental) to distribute their data so that they could survive a Soviet first-strike and continue to develop weapons. This was back in the early 1970's, and it was called DARPANet, after the US government think tank that funded its development, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. Seriously, it wasn't until the late 1980's and early 1990's that "the outpost of freedom" you are talking about began to take shape. Ironically, it wasn't on DARPANet that the whole subversive aspect of anonymous information exchange got governments noticing computer networks. It was the crude dial-up serial connections between PC hobbyists and their bulletin board networks. But it didn't take long for US government-funded researchers to scale up the hobbyists' point-to-point protocols with a couple of powerful tools that made distributed applications way easier to write -- network news transport protocol and unix-to-unix encoding - culminating in a store-and-forward distributed database nicknamed USENET which hitched a ride on the government-funded DARPANet. Thanks to USENET, developed after the dial-up BBS days but sharing the same spirit of information freedom, did the real power of network anonymity begin to manifest. This power was suddenly available to anybody who actually paid attention in their undergraduate CS courses. By the end of the 1990's HTML pretty much took over for NNTP and UUencoding, and the power of anonymity was available to anybody, not just engineers, scientists, and geek hobbyists. Look up Endless September for what happens when millions of middle-class American morons obtain cheap and easy access to a planetary information network -- that is what happened to your outpost of freedom -- people noticed it and turned it into a cesspool.

about 2 months ago

New DNA Analysis On Old Blood Pegs Aaron Kosminski As Jack the Ripper

rocket rancher Re:I now know what age Russell Edwards is (135 comments)

This is slightly off-topic, but why this?

...businessman Russell Edwards, 48, bought the shawl...

Why do they throw his age in there? Why does it matter? Is that in any possible way related to the story? I'm not calling out this story in particular, I see this all the time. I'd like to know the motivation behind the trend.

I'm going to speculate that you probably don't get much dead-tree journalism in your diet, which is why you seem to think this is some kind of trend. This was Journalism 101 prior to the advent of HTTP. Journalists used the 5 W's -- who, what, when, where, and why -- to establish a consistent framework for their audience. Including the individual's age helps establish the who and (possibly) the why part of the context for the audience. Unfortunately, the context-free environment made possible by HTTP has pretty much rendered conventional journalism protocols moot; establishing a consistent framework for the audience is kinda pointless, if the audience can switch contexts by simply clicking on a link. You can occasionally see some journalism online that still uses pre-HTTP conventions, but it is getting rarer, not more common.

about 3 months ago

Changing the Rules of a 15-Year-Old Game: Quake Live Update Causes Controversy

rocket rancher Re:More "elite" players? (170 comments)

If they require all these cheats (let's call them what they are) to play, how in the name of Hell are they "more elite"?

hmmmm...interesting definition of cheat there. rocket jumping and jump strafing are possible within the rules of any quake game, including the single-player campaign. If the rules don't forbid it, how is it cheating? Being elite means (among other things) being able to recognize and exploit useful emergent behavior. That is one of the things that made the quake engine great -- it was complex enough that interesting (read: novel) phenomenon like rocket jumps could emerge from the fixed and extremely limited physics of that engine.

about 4 months ago

"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

rocket rancher But... (184 comments)

you have to think in Russian! :)

about 5 months ago

Tesla Model S Has Hidden Ethernet Port, User Runs Firefox On the 17" Screen

rocket rancher Re:Should void warranty (208 comments)

If you jailbreak your car, however, and inadvertently change something that impairs reliability, you're compromising the safety of everybody else on the road. Everything (including braking) in Tesla cars is tied into the software, and this is not something you should mess around with.

Compromising safety and reliability in the name of performance is a tradition in car culture. "Jailbreaking" is a relatively new term; but functionally, I don't think it is all that different from what we called "hot rodding" back in the day.

about 8 months ago

The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM"

rocket rancher Re:Why? (769 comments)

Is it really so hard to just grind the beans and brew it yourself? I do this every morning.

Yes, it is hard to grind the beans, because it wakes up everybody in the house. If you are living alone, it's not an issue, but when you are sharing your life with somebody (especially somebody who likes to sleep late) It's hard to ignore the convenience factor of a Keurig. My wife brought a Keurig into my life when I first met her. The coffee tastes like boiled dirt, of course, but the ease (and silence) with which you can produce a cuppa is stunning.

about 9 months ago

GOP Bill To Outlaw EPA 'Secret Science' That Is Not Transparent, Reproducible

rocket rancher Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (618 comments)

Science paid for by the public, or science used to make government regulations at public expense, should be available to the public. Period.

If science isn't "reproducible", it isn't science. If you want to call that a "loophole", so be it. But if the truth is a loophole, learn to live with it.

No. You are wrong on both counts.

First, not all science is useful to the public, and in fact some science has the potential to harm it greatly, if it were furnished to the wrong people. I certainly don't want the science gained by government bio-warfare researchers, atomic weapons specialists, and neuroscientists studying torture methodologies to be readily available to anybody who wants it.

Second, climatology is not reproducible. It is a strictly observational science, like astronomy -- you can't do reproducible experiments on the climate, anymore than you can do reproducible experiments on a galaxy a billion light years away. It is still science, but it can never produce reproducible results. By demanding reproducible results as a matter of law, Schweikert is making it impossible for the EPA to cite climate models to support regulations aimed at curbing emissions. It will also make it possible for industries to challenge and overturn existing regulations that were supported by these now-illegal climate models.

about 10 months ago

Dogs Defecate In Alignment With Earth's Magnetic Field

rocket rancher No Shit? Really? (222 comments)


about a year ago

ABC Kills Next-Day Streaming For Non-Subscribers

rocket rancher Re:Cable Cutters don't care (169 comments)

hmmm...you make a great point. But the change in viewing habits that you refer to has to be countered because it is eating into broadcast TV's primary revenue stream. The national broadcast companies can sit back and watch their profits get time- and/or format-shifted to oblivion, or they can do something about it. The writing is on the wall -- it seems pretty clear that people would rather pay a subscription to avoid commercials. As long as consumers can control how the content is presented to them at their end, they are going to continue to lose advertisers. Tivo's 30 second skip pretty much was the first nail in that coffin -- I haven't seen a broadcast commercial since I bought a Tivo a decade ago. Companies are not going to continue to waste their advertising dollars on broadcast ads. Pretty much the only option for broadcasters is to adopt a streaming model ala Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hulu+. Broadcasters are going to have to control the pipe from end-to-end for their revenue model to work -- they have to eliminate a consumer's ability to avoid commercials.

about a year ago

The iOS 7 Jailbreak Fiasco

rocket rancher Re:Jailbreakingg (210 comments)

Hmmm. I'm not calling you a hypocrite (at least, not yet) but you'd be up in fucking arms if somebody violated the GPL, right? But not Apple's ToS -- that doesn't apply to criminals. It's just words on a page that a criminal has to scroll past to get to the "I Accept" button so that he can start cracking the device that he just agreed not to crack. You make some (weak) rationalizations for why it's ok for criminals to break the ToS, but you just highlight the real problem. Here's a clue: You can't maintain one ethical standard for hackers and a different standard for everybody else, dude. Not if you want to be taken seriously, anyway.

about a year ago

Google Acquires Boston Dynamics

rocket rancher Re:will be interesting to see what they do with it (104 comments)

But defense contracting would be a bit of a shift in how they like to do business, and I'm not sure a positive one. Alternately, they could just repurpose the acquired tech and expertise towards Google's own robotics projects, and dump the military clients. That would be leaving quite a bit of money and existing business on the table, though, not to mention possibly annoying some politically powerful folks.

Boston Dynamics *is* a defense contractor, so by extension Google is one too, now. I am going to try to remain optimistic about the positive effects that Google can have on human advancement. Science and engineering seem to leap forward much farther and much, much faster when they are deployed in the service of armed conflict. Companies like Planetary Resources, Armadillo Aerospace, and SpaceX are going to have to be able to defend their extra-terrestial ventures, and NASA has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that robotic missions in space are far more cost-effective in terms of results than manned missions. The minute Planetary Resources starts exploiting the asteroid belt, they are likely going to need a way to defend against claim jumpers, and I'm hoping that by hoovering up all these robotic companies,Google is positioning itself to defend these companies in their (hopefully) peaceful occupation and exploitation of the solar system.

1 year,5 days

Bitcoin Miners Bundled With PUPs In Legitimate Applications Backed By EULA

rocket rancher Re:Free Software (194 comments)

I think there's a big future for a testing company, like Underwriter's Labs is for physical goods, to do just that. Anyone big or small can send them code to review, and pay a fee, and they'll certify the resulting binary as trouble-free, at least to level of confidence you's expect from a good app store or distro (acknowledging that sufficiently clever malware can hide anywhere, but forcing it to be really clever would probably fix 99% of the problem),

This. So what if some company certifies the code as non-toxic? For every legit code certifying company that goes online, there will be a hundred phishing sites popping up over-night to take advantage of it. The problem is not toxic code --- the problem is the toxic levels of foolishness and naivete of the vast majority of users on the net.

1 year,20 days

Woman Fined For Bad Review Striking Back In Court

rocket rancher Re:Waiver of rights (249 comments)

Just because you can't prevent anyone from doing something (murder, rape or holding a speech) doesn't make it a "right".

Try arguing your "right to life" with a hungry lion, rights only exists between entities that recognize those rights. If your government doesn't recognize freedom of speech, the difference between having it and not having it is entirely philosophical.

Hmmm. Excellent post. But I'm having trouble reconciling these two assertions.

From the point of view of a warlord, superior military force confers the right to murder and rape. Indeed, it confers any right the warlord chooses to assert. Ditto your hungry lion -- his right to eat me stops at the muzzle of my rifle.

It would seem to me that you need something more than just the other party recognizing that you have rights. You have to be able to successfully assert those rights. In French, it is "preter main forte" or "show the strong hand." In English, it would be "might makes right."

1 year,21 days

Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

rocket rancher Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (961 comments)

I always chuckle when I hear people say 'if I die...", when the correct wording is "when I die...". The exact circumstances vary from person to person, but the end result is always the same.

And I always cringe when somebody makes an assertion that is counter to my experience and to my intuition. I think about death fairly often, dude, and so do *a lot* of other people. I like to participate in activities -- skydiving, motorcycle racing, and stunt flying, just to enumerate what I did this weekend -- which could reasonably be expected to be fatal if not done correctly or well. I like to think that my parachute is going to open *every time* I exit the aircraft, that there is no debris that found its way onto the track at the apex of a blind turn that is going to cause me to high-side at a buck fifty, or that I'm not going to pull so many negative g's that I red-out and auger in, so that my death remains firmly in the hypothetical. I want "if" and not "when" to remain the correct way for me to phrase thoughts about dying for many, many, decades to come. I will happily concede your point that dying is inevitable, but for some of us, getting close to death is pleasurable, and we would like to dance with it for as long as humanly possible. Yeah, we are probably not going to die of "natural causes" but we will be part of the tiny fraction of humanity that gets to at least have some say in the time and manner of our demise. Unlike Scott Adams' father, whose time and manner of death was dictated by the fiscal self-interest of the medical facility that was prolonging his life for financial gain.

1 year,24 days

Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

rocket rancher Re:Should be legal, with caveat (961 comments)

So you get to starve to death or dehydrate. Excuse me if I don't consider death by organ failure over several days as "quickly". I don't think anyone would call that humane.

We would put down a dog in that condition. Not let it starve or die by dehydration.

"No heroic methods." That is the magic incantation that let's you die with dignity. At least in jurisdictions that allow advance healthcare directives, anyway. Run, do not walk, to your nearest legal professional and execute an advance healthcare directive, if you want to be able to die with dignity. If you don't live in a jurisdiction that allows advance healthcare directives, move to one that does. Period. BTW, morphine takes the edge off -- if you specifically allow the use of palliative measures in your directive, you can die with dignity and do it painlessly as well.

1 year,24 days



GPS Surveillance case heads to Supreme Court

rocket rancher rocket rancher writes  |  more than 3 years ago

rocket rancher writes "The case before the Court concerns a 2004 investigation by a task force of FBI agents and officers of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department of a suspected drug trafficker named Antoine Jones. Officers had obtained a warrant for a GPS tracking device, but they didn't place the device until after the ten-day window to plant the device had expired. Jones appealed his conviction and won, arguing that the prolonged GPS surveillance by the government, without a valid warrant, constituted an illegal search. The government is maintaining that it didn't actually need the warrant in the first place, because this type of surveillance is not prohibited by the fourth amendment, and that to prohibit it would jeopardize the ability of the government to conduct any kind of long-term surveillance. The three-judge D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, comprised of a Reagan, a Clinton, and a Bush II apointee, overturned the conviction, ruling that Jones had a "reasonable expectation" of privacy because all of his movements over a prolonged period were not actually "exposed" to the public. The summation, from Reagan appointee Douglas Ginsberg, was quite succinct.

"First, unlike one's movements during a single journey, the whole of one's movements over the course of a month is not actually exposed to the public because the likelihood anyone will observe all those movements is effectively nil.

"Second, the whole of one's movements is not exposed constructively even though each individual movement is exposed, because that whole reveals more, sometimes a great deal more, than does the sum of its parts."

The amount of information that we reveal over the course of our day-to-day lives can be organized into profiles that can reveal much that we never intended to be revealed in public. I doubt the Supreme's decision either way is going to change the fact that the government will continue to build profiles on everybody of interest to it. Upholding the appeal would probably not have the dire consequences that the government think it would, but I suspect that it would be a victory for privacy advocates, and anybody who has noted and is dismayed by the progress of the US down the slippery slope to a surveillance state."

Link to Original Source

Hawking on Discovery Channel's "Curiosity"

rocket rancher rocket rancher writes  |  more than 3 years ago

rocket rancher (447670) writes "Steven Hawking will be the first guest host on Discovery Channel's new series, "Curiosity." Good choice, having a distinguished scientist like Hawking as guest host for the premier episode. What caught my eye was this quote from MIT physicist Sean Carrol at richarddawkins.net:

The Hawking special is the kick-off episode to a major new Discovery program, called simply Curiosity. I predict it will make something of a splash. The reason is simple: although most of the episode is about science, Hawking clearly goes all-in with “God does not exist.” It’s not a message we often hear on American TV.


Link to Original Source


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