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US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

slim Re:Shit... (401 comments)

I have a woodburning stove, for the sole reason that the people I bought the house from had it fitted. I light it only on especially cold nights; the rest of the time the gas central heating does a good enough job.

Here in the UK, I'm not aware of any significant impact on house insurance prices.

Reading around the web, I've seen anecdotal evidence that wood is cheaper than the equivalent gas -- but I'm not entirely convinced, and of course that would break if everyone started using it. With very occasional use, I've made the broken palette our washing machine was delivered on last most of the winter, so that was free :)

It does burn clean -- the smoke from our chimney is not visible. The manual says some stuff about recirculating the combustion gases so they ignite a second time before going up the chimney -- while simultaneously maintaining a flow in front of the window so that it doesn't soot up. The volume of ash is tiny compared to the open fires of my youth, and it can safely be chucked in the compost bin. And as has already been said, if it's from managed forests, its carbon will be re-fixed by the next generation of tree planting.

about 7 months ago
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US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

slim Re:Shit... (401 comments)

There's nothing about CO2 in there. Those regulations are about dirty and poisonous emissions. Carbon monoxide and particulate emissions; black smoke. Nothing to do with global warming. All about keeping the air breathable in densely populated areas.

An ideal wood burner would emit just water and CO2.

Wood burners can be made very efficient nowadays; by channelling the air flow in clever ways, you can get more complete combustion meaning more heat, cleaner emissions and less ash. These regulations just make sure that the wood burners you'll be able to buy do that.

about 7 months ago
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Building a Better Bike Helmet Out of Paper

slim Re:Bike helmet? (317 comments)

So if all drivers are like you, I should not wear a helmet, knowing that you'll take extra care when you see me?

about 8 months ago
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Building a Better Bike Helmet Out of Paper

slim Re:Bike helmet? (317 comments)

He was talking about helmet-vs-no-helmet, not trad-helmet-vs-paper-helmet.

If you're cycling at 30MPH, come off cornering on ice, and hit your head on a kerb, a helmet may well save your life.

I do have quite a lot of sympathy for the view that there are circumstances where a fall is so unlikely that a helmet is a waste of time -- cycling in light traffic, with warm dry weather and no recklessness.

I finally bought a comfortable helmet, and since it's comfortable I always wear it. It's easier to do that than to evaluate the conditions every morning.

about 8 months ago
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"Clinical Trials" For Programming Languages?

slim Re:That is a beautiful start of a ... (232 comments)

Absolutely spot on. People need to embrace polyglot programming, using the right too for the job, and learning how best to make languages interoperate.

One great example is the various JRE-based scripting languages - jRuby, Jython, Groovy. You can be really productive in these languages, but sometimes you reach a point where you prefer the precision of Java. I did this when writing a server that did some crypto. Everything was Groovy except for some bit-twiddling stuff wrapped around BouncyCastle, which I wrote in Java because for that component I benefited from static type checking in the IDE.

Of course BouncyCastle use JNI to interface with OpenSSL, so that's three languages in one app.

about 8 months ago
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Helicopter Rescue For All Passengers Aboard Antarctic Research Ship

slim Re:Global warming. (168 comments)

AGW stands for "Anthropogenic Global Warming".

Anthropo- : of human beings
-genic : produced or generated by

Dunno where the hell "Ampholpological" came from.

Anthropology is the study of human origins. "Anthropological" means "to do with anthropology".

So I suppose "Anthropological Global Warming" would be global warming cause by anthropologists...

about 9 months ago
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Helicopter Rescue For All Passengers Aboard Antarctic Research Ship

slim Re:Global warming. (168 comments)

As global warming continues schools in Minnesota are preparing to close next week for more record low temperatures

Meanwhile, the British Midlands have barely seen a frost this year. Your anecdote about Minnesota is worth no more than mine about England.

about 9 months ago
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Emacs Needs To Move To GitHub, Says ESR

slim Re:Git, not Github (252 comments)

"They" is sometimes used as a non-gendered singular.

about 9 months ago
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Helicopter Rescue For All Passengers Aboard Antarctic Research Ship

slim Re:What the rescuees are paying with (168 comments)

Except that with Carbon Credits, carbon is a negative currency, sort of because it's abundant.

I doubt that this expedition was involved in any kind of Kyoto Protocol emission allowance trading.

However, it's not that unlikely that they'd have balanced the expedition's emissions with a voluntary offset scheme (a donation toward tree planting, renewable power source building, etc.)

about 9 months ago
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Google Testing Smart Appliance, Would Compete With Nest Thermostat

slim Re:Themostat (139 comments)

Results in the thermostat clicking off while other rooms are still cold.

about 9 months ago
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Google Testing Smart Appliance, Would Compete With Nest Thermostat

slim Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (139 comments)

Why do you need it as warm as 60F when you're out of the house? Unless you're drying clothes, the only reason for heating while you're out is to avoid frost damage.

Even when I'm at home, I don't want my house to be a constant temperature. I want the living room to be a nice temperature between 6pm and 11pm and frost-protected the rest of the time, when nobody's there. I want the bedroom to be cold most of the time, warming up a bit ready for bedtime, cooling down again while I'm asleep, getting toasty warm for getting up time, then cold while I'm away.

And I want different schedules at weekends.

about 9 months ago
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Google Testing Smart Appliance, Would Compete With Nest Thermostat

slim Re:Themostat (139 comments)

I live in the UK, where most houses central heating works on the KISS principle: there is one mechanical thermostat in the hallway. That thermostat switches on/off your boiler and pump, which sends hot water around a loop through every radiator in the house.

It sucks.

It sucks a little less if you manage to "balance" your radiators by adjusting their valves just-so, so that the first radiator in the loop doesn't get all the heat. Otherwise you get situations where your spare bedroom is like a sauna, your living room barely gets any heat, and the hallway where the thermostat is never warms up. Or perhaps the radiator in the hallway gets all the heat first, so the thermometer trips off before any other room warms up. Getting this right is voodoo.

It sucks a little less if you have Thermostatic Radiator Valves on each radiator. These control flow into each radiator individually, so you can set the temperature you want for each room. But one radiator must have no TRV, otherwise it's possible to damage the boiler when it tries to pump against a closed system. So you get situations where the TRV-less radiator is blasting out unwanted heat; or where the main thermostat clicks off, so the boiler isn't on, while rooms are cold. So it still sucks.

All I want is a system where every radiator has a TRV, and the boiler knows to run unless every TRV says it's warm enough. Should be simple. Can't seem to get them. The closest I've found is a range of WiFi TRVs that rely on your boiler detecting that returning water is no cooler than outbound water, and your system having a safety circuit to avoid excess pressure when all the valves are closed. I don't think that's standard.

But if I were to be greedy, I'd also want to be able to set schedules for individual rooms. And hey, why not have stuff like, "when my phone notices I'm leaving the office, turn on the home heating"?

about 9 months ago
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Standardized Laptop Charger Approved By IEC

slim Re:There's probably patents involved (289 comments)

A Yank resistant plug might do well in Europe and Asia, but I think most manufacturers wouldn't want to alienate the American market.

about 9 months ago
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Google's Dart Becomes ECMA's Dart

slim Re:OK, I'll bite (190 comments)

JS is like Perl. You *can* write clean code in Perl. You *can* write clean code in Javascript.

But both languages made it very easy to write a huge mess if you don't know what you're doing.

Crockford et al have come up with a bunch of nice conventions which, if you follow them, facilitate clean JS code. But browsers don't enforce those conventions; most programmers don't get exposed to them, and they end up writing horrible code.

There's a sweet spot between a language being too restrictive, and being so loose that it steers you into writing badly structured code. JS is too far into the loose side.

But I agree, with discipline, or the right tools, you can write great JS.

about 9 months ago
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Why Bitcoin Is Doomed To Fail, In One Economist's Eyes

slim Re:What does "fail" mean? What does "succeed" mean (537 comments)

Really? Your employer doesn't tell you what's expected of you?

Being quite a large company, my employer has a fairly heavyweight goals management system, in which you and your manager set expectations, then measure yourself against them during the following year.

about 10 months ago
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Why Bitcoin Is Doomed To Fail, In One Economist's Eyes

slim What does "fail" mean? What does "succeed" mean? (537 comments)

We have no idea what Satoshi's success criteria were. so how can Bitcoin be a failure?

Perhaps the aim was for Bitcoin to be routinely used by almost everyone in the world -- in which case, yes, it'll probably fail, but that would have been an outrageous target.
Perhaps the aim was for it to become useful to a few thousand niche users -- in which case it's already a success.
Perhaps the aim was just to see what happens -- in which case it can't fail.

Bitcoin is what it is -- and it's interesting to watch.

about 10 months ago
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Google Launches Voice Search Hotword Extension For Chrome

slim I'd use it... (54 comments)

... if I worked from home or had a private office.

As it is, in an open-plan office, I don't want to disturb my colleagues, or feed them a constant stream of what I'm searching for.

However, I've only just started using voice on my Nexus 4. I'd simply assumed it wouldn't work well enough, but I gave it a go when I wanted to send a text in a hurry -- and was astonished to find that it *faultlessly* transcribed "I'm on my way. If I'm not there in ten minutes avenge my death", spoken at full speed.

So since then I've checked out the full range of voice instructions, and plenty of them are useful.

about 10 months ago
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EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem

slim Re:Customer Service (470 comments)

It's a question of customer service. If you make me pay for a bag, by removing the free alternatives and selling your own, then I'll avoid your store if I can.

Not if it's a legal mandate, so every other shop is charging the same for bags.

Take a bag with you to the shop. It's not difficult.

about 10 months ago
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EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem

slim Re:But what about my trash (470 comments)

Well, I don't know about you, but I hardly need bags for general waste any more.

All food waste either goes into my own compost, or into the green wheelie bin for composting by the council -- my council now accepts meat and cooked leftovers.

Paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastic packaging goes in a recycling box for kerbside collection.

That leaves a very small amount of other waste, to go in the grey wheelie bin. It's seldom a quarter-full when the fortnightly collection day comes. There's just no need for bags, because it's all dry.

If you feel you need trash bags, you should pay for them. You can either pay for carrier bags, which you then re-use as trash bags, or (cheaper) buy a roll of actual trash bags.

about 10 months ago
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EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem

slim Re:England (470 comments)

Yes, and everybody got used to it really quickly.

Even though it's a negligible charge, people tend to react by carrying a couple of spare carrier bags with them in case they go to a shop.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Is music piracy killing Spanish Music?

slim slim writes  |  more than 4 years ago

slim writes "According to the BBC, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) says that without global government legislation, countries like Spain, where anti-piracy laws aren't what they feel they ought to be, will become "cultural deserts".

The article doesn't seem to have any opinion from actual Spanish people, seeing their culture whither."

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