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Comment Re:Theoretically (Score 2) 172

Nice try, but the ideal market does not exist in the real world. Some markets are more "ideal" then others but none are perfect. As a result, government has to impose regulations to ensure the market is as close to ideal as possible. At this point capitalism can do its thing and optimize for efficiency. Without said regulations the market does not balance, corruption and/or monopolies emerge, and consumers are generally screwed.

Regulations should be minimized but never removed entirely. I personally support a system that regularly reviews regulations to ensure they still serve their original purpose. At times, updates will be required. So be it - regulations have to evolve with changing markets in order to ensure the market remains healthy. But any person (or organization) who claims that regulations have to be abolished is either horribly naive or has vested interests. All those lobbyists come to mind. Lobbyists are important because they inform government on the cost of regulations - but giving them all that they desire is never in the public's best interest.

Comment Re:Headline doesn't really match actual news (Score 1) 170

Apple does not have any "graphics" on mobile. They license the best design for their specific needs and then build it into their CPU core. No reason why others can not do the same - they just have to be willing to pay for it. So Apple does have killer graphics with their iDevices - but it is not their design. I do give them credit for making excellent engineering decisions because licensing the design has worked out quite well for them.

Comment Re:I understand this (Score 1) 152

Eating while making "smacking" sounds signals that the food is really good. Generally speaking, it is considered to be complimentary - at least this is how it was explained to me. This implies that cultural upbringing plays a big part in what sounds trigger misophonia because the entire population of China appears to be OK with it. By comparison, it triggers the desire to kill in ~ 1/4 of the people I know (in NA).

Comment Re:But they use lithium-ion (Score 1) 201

The main application for these batteries is in vehicles. They can also be used in a stationary setup - but only after they have been pulled from a vehicle because they only hold 80% of their original charge. In another decade there will be a large number of such batteries being made available. At that point we should see some interesting stationary setups become reality. If the giga-factory can produce more cells then Tesla can use we might see it sooner but, I wouldn't count on it.

Comment Re:Daily dose (Score 3, Insightful) 69

I am afraid you are more then a little wrong. For example, in British Columbia around half the lodgepole pine have been consumed by beetles. Why? Because it has not gone below 40 degC in the interior for the decade or two. Takes going below 40 degC for a week to kill the buggers. This has decimated the forest industry and put many people out of work. And this is just one example - wait until the glaciers are gone and Calgary is out of water.

Climate change actually hits northern countries the hardest. While the US might experience an average increase of 1 degC, Canada will experience an average increase of 3. And while an increase in temperature can be pleasant, if the local infrastructure and environment were not designed (or evolved) to handle it then it brings disaster. Some reservoirs go dry while other areas flood. And half the problems will be such that we can not predict them coming - like the pine beetle example.

Comment Re:Cockpit recorder: shit, instrument panel on fir (Score 1) 142

According to the article you linked to, the fire the pilots were trying to put out was not responsible for the crash and was likely a secondary fire. From Google translate:

What is certain is that it was not this fire [cockpit fire the pilot was attempting to extinguish] that suddenly cut, at 37,000 feet, the other black box, the flight recorder (FDR), located at the back of the plane.

So there might have been a fire but it is more likely it came from inside the instrument panel then from on top. Either that or there just happened to be an exploding phone the exact same time a different explosion took down the plane.

Comment Hard to believe. (Score 1) 142

One would think an electronic device that catches fire while _on_ an instrument panel would be noticed long before said fire is able to damage the instrument panel and cause the plane to crash. The cockpit recorder should have picked up a few explicit verbal phrases if such an event had taken place. Different story if the phone was within luggage in the bottom of the plane. Perhaps right under the cockpit?

Comment Re: labor participation never recovered (Score 1) 142

The "Civilian Employment-Population Ratio" is greatly influenced by an aging population. A 3% change over 8 years is not unexpected given the number of people leaving the workforce. Best to not read too much into it. The unemployment rate is a better indicator of economic health.

Comment Re:I don't see why they would change (Score 1) 268

Hopefully Apple will get to the bottom of what happened in the tests, and make the laptops better.

Odds are good it is a software problem. Either that or a firmware problem that can be patched with software. I would look at the two GPUs and ensure they were not both turned on at the same time. But regardless of the cause, if they can get 19 hours after being patched then that makes for some amazing run times.

Comment Re:They forgot... (Score 4, Insightful) 212

Yes, but you never see MacBook [Pro] computers fail because their power cords have been tugged on. I fixed a couple of Toshiba laptops by simply re-soldering the power connector back onto the motherboard. The magnetic connection does an excellent job of preventing stresses on the internal components of the laptop. Power connectors, USB connectors, and 1/8" audio connectors are highly prone to damage resulting from cables being pulled. USB is not bad on the back of a computer, but when people plug USB sticks into the front of a computer (or side of a laptop) is is asking for trouble. Too bad it is so damn convenient - maybe the Type-C connector will be more robust.

Comment Re:I am amazed that there is no current limiter (Score 1) 243

Resettable polyfuses are a wonderful idea - but they would not work. They require too much area to heat up and as a result - are slow. This sort of application requires a more traditional fuse. Such a fuse would require significant board space and still require that blown devices be returned for repair. In short, unless this becomes a serious problem, I can not see such protection circuitry being added.

Comment Re:I am amazed that there is no current limiter (Score 5, Informative) 243

That is basically what a protection diode is - except they do not use zener diodes. They have one diode connected to ground and one to VCC. If the voltage drops below ground, one diode conducts clamping the voltage to ~-0.7v. If the voltage increases beyond VCC, the other diode conducts and clamps the voltage at VCC+0.7v. This is effective when dissipating a small charge that could potentially be at a high voltage - think ESD. But if you have prolonged current the diode will blow and short.

So you have a short (blown diode) but you still have a significant amount of energy to dissipate. This results in a large current that will cause the diode to physically explode or possibly blow a trace. USB data lines typically use very thin traces and can not conduct much power. If a trace goes then USB is screwed but the rest of the computer will probably function correctly. If the diode explodes your protection is gone and the high voltage will now cause all sorts of damage.

Comment Re:I am amazed that there is no current limiter (Score 4, Informative) 243

Of course they have current limited USB switches. The point is this device slowly collects charge over time then drops it onto the data lines instantly. The protection diodes found within the USB host are only designed for ESD-like voltages and currents. They can not handle a high voltage being applied for a long time. They blow then the rest of the USB chipset blows. If you are really lucky, the charge then passes through the USB chipset and blows other ICs in the host.

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