* Posts by Alan Brown

4410 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

Stop forcing benefits down my throat and give me hard cash, dammit

Alan Brown
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Re: @DaveDaveDave

"In certain of my business dealings (shiny metals) if I buy something from supplier A at half the fair market rate, say 45% of spot, I will expect to get in trouble with the law."

Plenty of businesses (large ones) will quite happily do that and then come to an arrangement with the law. When you have enough money and power, it can be quite profitable to deal in stolen property and even do so with state blessing.

For all the carrying on about benefits dependency: The current structure is setup to encourage it. If minimum wage was set at a proper level then those who work wouldn't be dependent on state handouts and those who didn't would have a good incentive to seek out work.

The current arrangement suits employers far more than it suits beneficiaries because it means that workers need to push for substantial pay rises in order to escape the loss in marginal taxation caused by welfare clawbacks if they go for less - and the problem is that for the most part there's always someone willing to work for minimum wage.

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Alan Brown
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Re: People are nice etc, corporations etc less so.

"The problem with all this libertarian claptrap is that it ignores the fact that many employers will screw their workforce into the ground in the pursuit of profit. "

The law dictates that in the absence of directions to the contrary (from the shareholders), a company must maximise value to the shareholders.

This results in companies being more-or-less legally required to be pathologically sociopathic - in such an environment, sociopaths do well and climb the tree quickly - up to the point that they fly the company into the ground by diverting funds into their own pockets (bonuses) and "screw the shareholders". (Eg: Enron, MCI, etc etc)

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Alan Brown
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"Zero hour contracts are desired by quite a few people."

Those people have always been able to opt for zero hour contracts.

The problem is when you make them mandatory for everyone.

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Alan Brown
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"People in the UK give over £10 billion a year to charity, despite also being taxed. "

Well gosh. That would pay the nation's pensions for 3 days (And yes, govt pensions are welfare)

If you wiped out welfare overnight and made payments rely on charities, you _might_ get £30billion per year. Where you'd get the other £270 billion from is why there's a tax-based welfare system in the first place.

Amongst other things, such a system ensures that London doesn't have 30-50 murders _per_day_ like it used to in the "good old days", along with a life expectancy (excluding infant mortality) for most of the population of around 45-50 (which is what it would return to if the health system wasn't tax-funded as most people wouldn't be able to afford treatment - and that's another £200 billion you'd need to fund via charities).

Some people might yearn for a return to such things but I certainly don't. It's easy enough to live in a "libertarian" society if you want to, several such places still exist in the world and they're generally regarded as hell-holes.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Another advantage of being a contractor

"Many continental countries allow this to be done by employees anyway. So those French colleagues are not only paying about one third of your travel costs, they can charge it against tax, too."

Dutch colleagues get 100% of their travel costs (public transport) paid for(*). The alternative is Amsterdam and Rotterdam turning into something worse than London in terms of both population density and congestion. This way people are spread along the Randstad and it's generally a pleasant country to live in.

I used to commute from Rotterdam to Amsterdam every morning on well-run trains. The UK equivalent would be a catchment area from Hastings/Brighton/Portsmouth to Nottingham/Birmingham/Kings Lynn/Bristol, but for everyone working in London, not just the upper middle classes.

The side effect of this policy is that businesses have stopped heavily clustering around the major cities and are also spread up and down the Randstad

The UK's transport and taxation system is bass-ackwards in a huge number of ways and working tax credits are one of the more stupid examples - it's far more efficient to let people keep more of the money they earn than to make them pay tax, handle it internally and then pay it back out again.

(*) There are allowances for company cars but these are taxed heavily and road taxes are a killer too. A public transport season pass allows unlimited travel outside of working hours and gets covered by the company, whereas every non-work km in a car is taxable as a perk.

As far as Tim's proposal goes: As others have pointed out, it would be a return to policies of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the defining characteristics of the middle 20th centuries (up to ~30 years ago) was a decline in inequity.

Since Reganomics and Thatcherism became the governing policies, the gap between rich and poor has been widening ever more quickly. Such gaps tend to lead to popular uprisings, which means they're not sustainable long-term - and unlike even 20 years ago it's almost impossible to cover up and intimidate groups into silence, no matter how much people like Murdoch might think they control the flow of information.

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Your voter-trolling autodialer is illegal: The cringey moment the FCC spanks a congresscritter

Alan Brown
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"Of couse, claiming they don't need to abide by the Telephone Preference Scheme opt-out as they aren't selling anything, "

I make a point of being as offensive as I can possibly be to such callers.

They're breaking the law. It might be the only job they can get but that's the same argument that pickpocketing teams tend to use too.

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Just ONE THOUSAND times BETTER than FLASH! Intel, Micron's amazing claim

Alan Brown
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latency

Bear in mind that DRAM latency hasn't improved much in the last 20 years, if you do the math on the wait states for DDR4 it's still about 50ns.

If anyone starts selling memory which has picosecond access times then effective processing speeds would take a big jump - CPUs spend a _lot_ of time waiting on memory..

As far as various storage technologies go: What matters most is that it works. How it works doesn't matter nearly so much, from an enduser point of view.

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Bloke who tried to get journo killed by SWAT cops coughs to conspiracy charge

Alan Brown
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Re: Conspiracy?

"It sounds like attempted murder to me."

Yes and should be charged as such.

but then again that would mean admitting that US SWAT teams are homocidal nutters who go in guns blazing before properly evaluating the situation.

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Alan Brown
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Re: The problem isn't Caller ID

"if you'd disarm the population, you'd see crime rates rocket up 100xfold. "

Statistically unlikely. Gun crime rates closely track the increase in overall gun ownership. Gun injuries and deaths (ie, accidents and suicides) outpace that by a good margin.

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Hurrah! Windfarms produce whopping ONE PER CENT of EU energy

Alan Brown
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Re: @OutsiderEX It is possible and we are the example

" but bigger countries have the advantage of scale and funding,"

Bigger countries don't have anywhere near the hydro resources that Costa Rica can tap into.

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Alan Brown
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"As for the storage technology there are great solutions of compressed air at great efficiencies."

The laws of thermodynamics are conspiring against you on that one.

When you compress air it heats up. If it gets too hot you need to dump it (energy loss), when you decompress air it cools down. If it gets too cold it will liquify, so you need to supply heat (energy loss)

Deep cycle compressed air systems have an overall end-to-end efficiency of less than 30%. So does battery storage. So does Dinorygg - that means in order to get a steady state output you may need to put 3 times the energy in that you get out.

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Alan Brown
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"Cost of Sellafield clean-up"

Sellafield/Windscale was a military reactor producing plutonium for bombs and operated in such a way that was recognised as dangerous even then and it would have been completely illegal if it was a civil installation.

if you're going to claim that vs wind subsidies, how about factoring in the costs of all those wars to keep oilfields accessable?

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Alan Brown
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Re: And what does the past tell you?

"ps: It costs 3 times more to de-commission a 'nuke' than it does to build it in the first place."

This is well known. Costs for doing so are built into the production lifetime.

UK generators must pay into a cleanup fund as they go along. USA ones must come up with it at end of life, so they declare bankruptcy and dump it on the state.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Why's this a story?

"The biggest of the Severn proposals could produce 15GW!!"

Yes. For 6-8 hours out of 24.

You still need backing capacity and that's what makes it impractical.

The projected environmental impact of tidal schemes is unbelievable AND any tidal schemes in the south+west of the UK will be destroyed away when the next tsunami hits (based on historical data one is due about now, either from the large fault off Portugual or one of the Canary Islands volcanoes slumping.)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Gangsters running on vodka.

"yet it only killed everyone ever killed in accidents at nuclear reactors."

Not quite true, but SL1 was a military installation. Chernobyl is the only civilian one to have killed people.

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Alan Brown
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"Hydrogen can also be produced cleanly with electricity and hot water "

Making hydrogen is easy - and best done where needed.

HFCs are straightforward

Storing the stuff safely under pressure in an automotive environment with equipment which will last at least a decade in service is a task of materials engineering that we can't do yet.

Metal hydrides have been "promising" for the last 30 years but they cost too much.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Battery cars are impractical

"The most effective use of the current generation of EVs, e.g. Nissan LEAF, is as a commuter car. They can pay for themselves with the fuel savings."

No real surprise: This is the same reason I used a little french diesel crapbox (Pug 106) as my daily beater over the 2 litre japanese large family car.

The pug ended up getting twice the annual miles the Nissan did.

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Alan Brown
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Re: European Grid

"Here in the Antipodes we are able to move wind/hydro/gas/coal electricity thousands of kilometres, even across the Bass straight"

How many GW is the Bass strait Interconnector?

I'll save you the effort: It's 500MW

The UK has 2GW to france + 1GW to holland + 1GW to Ireland.

If you look at http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ you'll see that _minimum_ power demand within the UK is around 20GW and that wind power at the absolute best it's ever been (7GW) has been about 3/4 of the nuke plants on a bad day (2 reactors were offline), whilst peak demand is just under 40GW.

Even if the interconnectors could handle the load, if the UK was 100% solar/wind, there isn't sufficient capacity in the whole of mainland western europe to act as backing store for a cold winter night and that assumes that europeans all froze to death instead of switching their heaters on.

Wind power is mostly in the 1-2GW camp and it regularly goes to zero as you can see in the weekly chart. Solar is so low it doesn't even register.

Even if the UK was carpeted in windmills, average output would still only equal the existing nuke fleet, which is only 1/4 of minimum current energy demands, let alone having them go up by a factor of 5-15, which is what would be seen if all housing moves to electric heating and transport towards BEVs (My gas-fired central heating system is rated at 55kW and on a cold night will average 8-10kW just maintaining temperatures at 16-17C)

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Alan Brown
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"But Hydrogen might be okay, except only a few people are looking at it.."

Hydrogen is _hard_. It's highly reactive and makes just about everything you use to store it, brittle.

The best way to use hydrogen as a transport fuel is to bind it to carbon atoms. There are more hydrogen atoms in a litre of petrol than in a litre of liquid hydrogen and we already have pretty good infrastructure for handling the stuff (if you're going to make synfuel then you'd probably make a form of kerosene and burn it in diesel engines. This would have low contamination and high conversion efficiency in terms of particulate output being almost null - it's the long chain stuff which is problematic)

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Alan Brown
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"(The National Grid) ... was designed for reasonably distributed generation and would not handle the currents of having most of the generation situated in a localised area."

It's worth noting that electricity generators have to contribute costs towards building new grid infrastructure if they decide to locate their plants in inconvenient (for the grid) locations.

"Renewables" generators are exempt from this. Another form of indirect subsidy to hide the true cost of the things.

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Alan Brown
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Re: dealing with waste from nuclear power

"Have you ever read up on the costs of that?"

Have you read up on the costs of ash slurry ponds from coal plants? The USA's _2_ largest environmental disasters have been caused by those, not by Deepwater Horizon and there are 5000 similar sites the EPA knows about across the USA (they weren't notifiable until a few years ago, so they're only discovering most by chance.)

Reactor housings only need sequestering for 3-400 years at absolute most. Technology to do that is straightforward. The actual contamination is in the top millimetre of the things, so they could be scraped down and the waste problem made a _lot_ smaller if agencies were motivated enough to do so, but space isn't a problem so they don't have to.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Why's this a story?

"...their reactors had to stop as the rivers were frozen?"

Molten salt plants run at 700-1200C, not 300-500, which means the exhaust can be air-cooled without overly impacting efficiency.

Which in turn means you're not beholden to frozen or overheated rivers.

The french are researching molten salt plants for this reason, but not thorium cycle.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Why's this a story?

"If we'd gently started a new nuclear rollout a decade or more ago, it might have stood a chance of being relevant by now. "

In the meantime we should be pouring research into it NOW and using gas plants in the meantime, not pissing money against the wall subsidising wind and solar systems which will never achieve breakeven, let alone be profitable.

Regarding tidal: Even if every single scheme was built tomorrow, there isn't enough of it to supply more than a few percent of current electricity demands, let alone what happens when heating and transportation become more-electric.

Even stupid LWR nukes are a (short term) necessity. We should be building them now. Better plants will come but we can't afford to wait for them. Commercial fusion won't happen in my grandchildrens' lifetime, let alone mine.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Why's this a story?

"They are still faffing about with excuses as to why not a lot has been done about Windscale and other plants."

Ahem:

The safest thing to do is button the things down and wait for high level short-lived radioactives to burn themselves out (mainly caesium, which takes about 35 years) before proceeding.

1: The Three mile Island reactor is being dismantled at the moment (yes, it's been 35 years)

2: The windscale _military_ reactor (It was producing plutonium for bombs) is in the process of being dismantled.

3: Chernoybl will be safe enough to dismantle in another 20 years

4: Fukushima will be in 30.

Going in too quickly is just generating more risk, not less.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Why's this a story?

"therre still doesn't appear to be an easy and cheap way of dealing with waste from nuclear power"

There is if we keep working on the remaining issues with thorium cycles.

Uranium cycle is hellaciously inefficient (40% of mined uranium never gets near a reactor, 97% of what's put into the reactor is thrown away on the other side as "waste") - and all that leftover U238 makes a dandy tamper for increasing the yield of hydrogen bombs.

On the other hand, spent fuel rods are only seriously dangerous for 400 years. Then they can be put back into reactors for another round of usage.

If thorium can be made practical then most of the waste becomes reactor fuel you can use _now_. MSRs are already proven practical and are intrinsically safe (can't burn, can't blow up, aren't pressurised and if the fuel leaks, it freezes solid at 400 celcius, so it's not going to go far or contaminate air/waterways. Doesn't need water cooling (no need to be near rivers/sea and no derating in high temperatures), the high heat output means that turbines are fairly efficient and they can be rapidly throttled up/down without xenon poisoning, meaning that you don't need gas-burning backing capacity for all those wind turbines - alternatively you can run thorium nuke plants as baseload _and_ have the output follow the load when peaks occur, making wind/solar superfluous)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Why's this a story?

"countries such as Denmark are producing far higher proportions of their electricity from wind,"

For brief periods (a few hours), at massive cost (Danish electricity is more expensive than buying it on a pacific island like Rarotonga) - and when they have to export it, it's sold at a loss, but "yay, we're exporting wind electricity" headlines happen.

They're one of the largest per-capita CO2 emitters thanks to the coal plants which operate as backing capacity for the windmills.

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Alan Brown
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"Offshore wind is a joke, just wait until the repair bills start piling up"

For those not paying attention: Large wind turbines chew through gearboxes at a prodigious rate and the cost of replacing them means that without continuous subsidies turbine operators would run at a stonking loss.

The bigger the turbines, the faster they eat their gearboxes.

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Alan Brown
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"Even taking into account increased instances of radiation-induced cancer that aren't noticed until nearly half a century later?"

For all statistical purposes, they simply don't happen.

Radiation exposure tends to kill you relatively quickly or not kill you at all. The bigger issue is poisoning from radiation breakdown products (beryllium is a nasty carcinogen as a for-instance) and heavy metal poisoning from things like uranium 238 - which isn't radioactive to speak of, but is an environmental toxin.

Being exposed to radioactive isotopes doesn't mean you _will_ get cancer. It raises the risks - you might go from a 1 in 1,000,000 risk to a 1 in 500,000 risk as a for-instance (which gets "doubles the risk of cancer" scarelines.) Bear in mind that cancer levels in Nagasaki and Hiroshima are 2% above "normal", whilst down the road at Minamata Bay it's about 25% higher thanks to organic mercury compounds in the seawater.

Pressurised water reactors have a "sweet spot" at 7-10MW electrical power generation (which is hardly surprising, as that's what the original research was aimed at for submarines). Scaling them up to 1400MW is bad news, but they're still safer than every other form of electricity generation and produce less waste than coal ever will. That said, there are safer methods which aren't pressurised and don't use metals which catch fire on expsoure to air, or graphite cores.

An anecdote to amuse: There was a nasty cluster of cancers amogst workers in the old Rutherford laboratories at Oxford. The labs were cleared out and gone over with a fine-tooth comb to fine what residual radioactives might be causing this. Nothing was found, so they virtually tore the place apart trying to find them eventually finding the cause - which was nothing radioactive at all. A long time before Rutherford even set foot in the labs they were used for chemistry research and mercury from broken thermometers had found its way into the floorboards, oxidising and forming nasty carcinogenic organic compounds.

This risk is well understood and looked for in chemistry departments, but because "Radiation" might have been the cause, everyone was blinded to looking for anything other than a radioactive cause.

last week someone posted pictures of deformed daisies around Fukushima as "evidence" of radiation poisoning. Never mind that the species in question is well-known for producing odd shapes all the time without any radiation exposure, somehow these particular ones are a direct result of non-existent radioactive contamination simply because they're in the area.

The USA let off a large number of atmospheric tests in the 1950s, many of which produced substantial fallout downwind because they were fired too close to the ground. The statistical increase in cancers in those areas is about 5% over "normal". This is down in the noise as changes like that are seen all over the world without radiation exposure (the highest spikes are downwind of coal burning plants and they're more statistically obvious). Areas around US military nuclear installations are bad news requiring superfund cleanups, but that's the military all over. Civilian installations have been very clean.

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Alan Brown
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Re: @Mad Mike

"Maybe north Africa somewhere politically stable."

Uh yeah, right. Giving african countries get another source of complaints about rich countries stealing their resources and preventing them from moving forward economically.

Not to mention that there would be 10 times more demand south of those solar farms than north of them.

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Invisible app ads slug smartmobes with 2GB of daily downloads

Alan Brown
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Re: Ad industry got spit roasted..

"Screwed one end by blockers"

No, they screwed themselves in that respect by making advertising intrusive. It was only when this started happening that people got annoyed.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Think of the advertisers!

"You could block these via a hostfile on your own network, but I can't think of a way to do it on a mobile network."

On a rooted android you have adaway, amongst others.

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Alan Brown
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Re: @bazza

"it's because advertising, like it or not, has been demonstrated to increase sales volumes and hence revenues. "

Only if it's the right advertising, in the right media

Bearing in mind a local newspaper campaign I ran for a company which netted 0% of the cost ($2500) of the advertising (20 years ago) - that's right, not one single sale attributable to the adverts.

meantime a single advert in the back pages of another newspaper ($60) picked up 100 times more business than the cost, repeatably.

You should have seen the size of the pout on the local newspaper ad rep when I informed her of the differences and exactly _why_ my advertising dollar was going to the rival from another city. (She had the cheek to offer a new campaign with double the number of placements with a 10% discount on the higher chargable rate and then got upset when I laughed at her)

Similar things happened with radio advertising.

Placement is everything and most Internet adverts are worse than useless. (They don't get sales _and_ they irritate potential+existing customers)

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ROBOT SEEDS to be scattered into upper atmosphere of JUPITER: NASA scheme

Alan Brown
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Re: Lightning

"the part of most likely to be struck by lightning would be the radio antenna."

Slot antennas are easy on blimps or aircraft skins and have been in service doing such things for more than 60 years without problems.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QjYtNJZmWLEC&pg=PA809&lpg=PA809&dq=aircraft+slot+antenna&source=bl&ots=Xr7WtATA_-&sig=9KZ7y3q9_JERriO4_wSdWXt2DuQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CEEQ6AEwCGoVChMIl9yAoJT-xgIVyzwUCh143wk1#v=onepage&q=aircraft%20slot%20antenna&f=false

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Alan Brown
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Re: Two problems: One solution

ISS solar arrays fold up like an accordian, are made of flat panels and aren't very large - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_system_of_the_International_Space_Station

High gain parabolic dishes are a lot more complicated. Current large designs are built like umbrellas, but the largest ever flown was less than 10 metres when fully opened. You're limited not just in weight but also by maximum fairing diameter and length.

The deep space network dishes currently used to talk to remote probes are 30-50m across.

If you put some at a Lagrange point then you need to make it 110% reliable or develop technology for servicing missions. So far everything sent that far has been a one-way trip and less than a dozen manned craft have been beyond LEO - even GEO is currently unattainable as robotic servicing mission, let alone manned flight.

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Fiat Chrysler recall BLUNDERING could lump carmaker with $105m fine – report

Alan Brown
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Re: "...forced to recall..."

"A 'request' that would become a demand if required."

According to a radio report on R4 yesterday, Fiat-Chysler has just entered an agreement with the NHTSA to contact owners and _buy back_ up to 500,000 light trucks, in order to get them off the road.

The report didn't say what the issue was. If the buyback is true then we're talking a world of serious pain for the makers.

Edit: Yup. It's true.

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/autos/fiat-chrysler-must-buy-back-hundreds-thousands-ram-pickups-n398911

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Alan Brown
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Re: Dose of Reality

"The insurance industry should start getting worried too"

As with range rovers in north London, they'll simply decline to provide cover

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New study into lack of women in Tech: It's NOT the men's fault

Alan Brown
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"maths is hard" says Barbie

The real problem is that teachers who are poor at math are expected to teach it and they pass their prejudice onto children who subsequently do poorly at math.

The surprising part is how many do well IN SPITE of poor teachers - and those tend to be the kind who are on the autistic spectrum who like numbers and focus on them no matter what.

To fix the problem, fix the teaching. There's no inherent reason why mathematicians should predominantly be socially unaware misfits, it's all down to a lack of inspiration at young ages.

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Software-defined what? Look at our glorious ASICs says Cisco

Alan Brown
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Cisco bet the farm

On ASICs

When they looked at SDN, it was calculated that moving into this area would turn $60 billion/year sales into $40 billion/year sales (SDN does more, with less) and rejected it on the basis of the monetary loss in turnover.

What they overlooked was that failing to do so may well turn into $0 billion/year sales - ROI is one thing, but CONI(*) is something accountants consistently fail to take into account.

(*) Cost of not investing

Cisco is mostly an ASIC dinosaur in an age of commodity switching chipsets - but what they fail to mention when pooh-poohing rivals' use of things like Broadcom's Trident range is that they're using the same things in equipment such as their Nexus brand.

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The Wilson Doctrine isn't legally binding, MPs CAN be spied on, says QC

Alan Brown
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Re: Reneging on a "gentlemen's agreement"

"But I thought one of the advantages of our Humphrey-based Civil Service was supposed to be its ability to take the long view?"

That long view is "what benefits the civil service the most, particularly those at the top when they retire?"

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Alan Brown
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Re: QCs don't make the law, or decide what is legal

"The general consensus is that the letter leaves it up to the captain. Captains, after they have retired, have pretty uniformally indicated that they would not fire their missiles. Presumably they would opt to join the Australian or New Zealand navies on the other side of the world, as they have the range."

Neville Shute probably had it pretty much right all along. :)

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Antitrust this! EU Commish goes after HOLLYWOOD’s big guns

Alan Brown
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Re: Not to mention.....

WRT DVD region coding: The Australians already ruled it an illegal restraint of trade back in 1994.

They had to repeal laws prohibiting region locks when they joined a "free trade" agreement with the USA.

Whose benefit was that agreement for?

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Alan Brown
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Re: For its part, Disney said

Unlike the USA, Disney is not going to get a Mickey Mouse copyright act here and keep everything past Steamboat Willie out of the public domain.

Where I grew up, one of the phrases bandied about from time to time was "American Cultural Imperialism"

Which means what it sounds like.

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So what the BLINKING BONKERS has gone wrong in the eurozone?

Alan Brown
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Re: coming off the gold standard in the Great Depression

"The effect was that the dollar was off the gold standard even if they kept saying it wasn't"

It was on _A_ gold standard. The fact that there was a fixed exchange rate makes that point.

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Alan Brown
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There are banks and there are banks

Specifically, there are trading banks (the kind you and I deal with) and there are investment banks (the kind that play the stock markets).

Letting the investment banks go titsup is perfectly allowable. They're essentially legalised gambling on a scale noone else can imagine.

It would be the loss of the trading banks which would severely nobble the economy.

The fundamental mistake of both the US and UK governments was to knock down the walls erected between the two types of bank after the Great Crash of the 1920s - walls put there specifically to ensure that an investment crash wouldn't take out the trading system.

Commentators on boths sides of the atlantic were predicting that there would be a crisis within 25 years. They were right.

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US State of Georgia sues 'terrorist' for publishing its own laws ... on the internet

Alan Brown
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This might help (or confuse)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_government

Edicts of government, such as judicial opinions, administrative rulings, legislative enactments, public ordinances, and similar official legal documents are not copyrightable for reasons of public policy. This applies to such works whether they are Federal, State, or local as well as to those of foreign governments.

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Alan Brown
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Re: devil in the detail @ Alan Brown

"Let's bring this over the pond to Blighty."

The difference is that in the UK, the crown reserves copyright on all works and as such can control access/availability.

US copyright law expressly prohibits copyright on governmental works and edicts.

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Alan Brown
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Re: devil in the detail

"neither does it remove issues concerning the State profiting from the publication of these annotations."

If the state is publishing them, then it's a government work.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Major change needed

"But the local authorities do a lot of this sort of stuff, you have to sign that your bathroom remodelling meets the county plumbing rules, a copy costs $500 and changes each year -- it's just a hidden local tax."

Based on my interpretation of US copyright law, there is no copyright on any governmental documentation, and that goes right down to local govt or provate corporations performing a governmental function (such as housing associations)

IANAL, nor do I play one on TV. The problem when fighting this kind of thing is that unless the federal circuit courts make a ruling you can expect the local/state authorities to fight it every last step of the way, as it takes away their ability to profit from control freakery.

Edit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_status_of_work_by_U.S._subnational_governments

Federal law expressly denies U.S. copyright protection to two types of government works: works of the U.S. federal government itself, and all edicts of any government regardless of level or whether or not foreign.

That's pretty clear - and rules/regulations are edicts.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Major change needed

"Deny the right to right to assert copyright in anything extruded from a state outfit."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_State says:

As a matter of longstanding public policy, the U.S. Copyright Office will not register a government edict that has been issued by any state, local, or territorial government, including legislative enactments, judicial decisions, administrative rulings, public ordinances, or similar types of official legal materials. Likewise, the Office will not register a government edict issued by any foreign government or any translation prepared by a government employee acting within the course of his or her official duties.

http://www.cendi.gov/publications/04-8copyright.html#312

3.1.9 Are Government websites provided copyright protection?

In accordance with 17 USC §10571, works prepared by government employees as part of their official duties are not subject to copyright protection in the U.S. (See FAQ Sections 3.1.1 and 3.1.2). This applies to government employee prepared works posted to government Web sites and to the government website itself if government employees as part of their official duties prepare it.

However, if a government web site is developed or maintained by a contractor, parts of the web site authored by the contractor that are subject to copyright protection (i.e., that qualify as copyrightable subject matter) are protected by copyright. Ownership of the copyright and the respective rights of the Government and the contractor are in accordance with the terms of the contract under which the web site was developed or maintained. Additionally, it is possible that copyrighted works owned by others may be posted to government web sites. Copyrighted works that are not owned by the Government should be included on government web sites only with permission of the copyright owner and should include an appropriate copyright notice.

3.2 Government Works Included In Non-Government Works

3.2.1 May another publisher or individual republish a U.S. Government work and assert copyright?

A publisher or individual can republish a U.S. Government work, but the publisher or individual cannot legally assert copyright unless the publisher or individual has added original, copyright protected material. In such a case, copyright protection extends only to the original material that has been added by the publisher or individual. (See 17 USC � 40372 regarding copyright notice requirements for works incorporating U.S. Government works.)

(It goes on to cover a lot more. My reading of this is that Georgia is going to find itself pilloried over this.)

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Crazy Chrysler security hole: USB stick fix incoming for 1.4 million cars

Alan Brown
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Re: Jeepers!

"And I thought Microsoft's Blue&Me system that's in my Alfa was bad."

Microsoft and Alfa - the most perfect partners one could ever dream up.

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