2369 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Re: It comes down to power supply efficiency
It is pretty much impossible to design a switch mode power supply that is efficient at both low and high powers.
Not being an electronics engineer I won't say "bollocks"
But surely it's not beyond the wit of man to design a power supply that is integrated with a small rechargeable battery pack. The power supply would turn off leaving the standby electronics running off the battery. They'd be capable of commanding the power supply back on to recharge the battery as fast as possible when it was close to empty, and then off again. In normal operation that wouldn't happen, because the device would get used before the battery was close to empty.
You'd need a real switch to get it full-on if the battery had gone flat because of a long peropd without a mains connection. It might work better with an ultracapacitor instead of a battery (but NiMH cells are very reliable and could be user-replaceable).
Methinks it's a cost issue not a technological issue, and it needs legislation to outlaw devices with inefficient standby. Otherwose there's always an incentive to save pennies (straight to the bottom line!) by shipping inefficient devices.
Re: Definition of alien life
after 3.6 billion years very little has managed to adapt itself to live in very salty water
Alternative explanation: very salty water on earth is a short-lived and unstable ecological niche. It normally arises when salt in a body of water is concentrated by evaporation because it's cut off from the planet's oceans. Over geological time it will prove short-lived. Its limited water input will fail and it will dry into a salt pan and then become a stratum of rock salt. Or a narrow channel will open wider and dilute the very salty water down much closer to the norm of Earth's oceans.
Life has certainly adapted as the oceans gradually became saltier without huge short-term fluctuation. Most of the salt ever released from rock by weathering, resides in today's oceans. When life was new, they were almost freshwater.
Another alternative explanation. Once life works out how to do something fairly well, that mechanism tends to persist. It's rare for a second way to do the same thing to evolve. For example, the DNA/RNA codes are much the same in the wierdest and oldest archaea and in all plants and animals. Maybe because life here evolved in (almost) fresh water, it is not well suited to very saline water and struggles to adapt sufficiently.
On Titan, where all the "ocean" is all highly saline, evolution may have taken different paths of which we know nothing.
Re: One query
I mean, how can the market share of XP be increasing unless people are doing new XP installs?
How? If Microsoft's market share is decreasing, and an increasing percentage of Microsoft's home users are those who have an old system running XP and don't intend ever to change it. (Businesses ought to have migrated to Windows 7, or even 8, before XP EOL'ed, though we know that there are a fair number that haven't finished their migration yet.)
Which feels right. An ever increasing percentage of the students at the uni where I work arrive with Macbooks rather than notebook PCs. Then there are the many domestic users who don't work with a computer but just consume media and web-browse. They'll be scrapping their Microsoft PC without replacing it, buying tablet devices (Apple or Android) instead. They bought PCs in the past only because there was no alternative.
It just confirms what someone working in electronics-store retail will tell you, that there are lots of customers saying "I want a new computer, but I absolutely don't want Windows 8". If the shop is clued up it can offer them Windows 7. If it's not, I suspect that they buy an iMac, or in a few cases get steered to Linux by a clueful relative. (Are the figures for desktop iMac vs PC available, or do iPads and iPhones muddy the waters? )
Well, if you have to preserve an XP environment to preserve various people's sanity ...
Get a modern desktop system, preferably with an SSD. Install Centos (or other Linux of choice). Install XP and all apps into a KVM VM (using a Linux LV as the XP system's "hard disk").
Advantages: you can make backups of the VM with all apps installed, so recovery after it borks itself is straightforward. (Using LVM snapshot you can do this remotely or automatically, while the XP VM is running). You can use a "network" share for the user's data, and set Linux to work safeguarding the data in it. You can configure firewalling for the poor old XP using Linux. You can be sure it'll never stop working for lack of compatible hardware. Lots of other smaller advantages.
It'll still be much faster than XP native on the old box.
BTW VMware player is slicker and easier and free as in beer but not libre ... and probably not high on VMware's list of things to maintain support for. Which is why I'd recommend KVM, if you would rather put in more effort now than risk handling a problem years down the line when your elderly relative is even less able to adapt to using anything other than XP.
Edit - on second thoughts, probably not an SSD. Lots of RAM so Linux can cache loads without starving the XP VM, and software-mirrored hard disks, so your elderly relative isn't one disk device failure away from losing his sanity. (With smartd sending you regular reports, so you can turn up with a replacement disk drive when it's needed or soon will be).
Re: Bane of my life
I swear western civilisation would crumble to dust if anything ever happened to all the Excel spreadsheets that appear to run most businesses...
But it already has! (for pretty much all possible values of "Anything" )
There's a theory that if anybody ever manages to understand the universe, it will abruptly end and be replaced by something less understandable. There is another theory that this has already happened. many times. My personal theory is that this explains hangovers.
Marginal utility? Software breakthrough needed?
The price of the hardware components has continued to fall, so why has nobody decided to build a bigger one, and why a lack of enthusiasm for upgrades?
I'd guess that the problem is that we're close to the limits of what can be done in parallel with the types of hardware we have got. Single node speed has hit the physics limits, large multiple node counts run into interconnect bandwidth limits. Energy consumed scales with the number of nodes, useful work output does not. The %marginal value of an x% upgrade diminishes as the size of the supercomputer increases. What's needed is either a hardware breakthrough on the interconnect front (much more bandwidth), or a software breakthrough that can automatically generate more efficient parallel codes than a human programmer can (if that's possible).
Nature's answer to the problem of using vast numbers of low-power processors (a brain) is interconnection much closer to a fractal dimension of three than anything we can do today.
Re: mIRCat It's for your own good.
So you would prefer paedos don't get caught
If that is the price of maintaining one's right to privacy, of not living in a goldfish bowl where the powerful can find out everything about the rest of us without us knowing until they use what they know against us ... then YES.
In practice once they know that an illegal image has been downloaded, that'll be all the justification they need for a warrant to find out who downloaded it. So what you are arguing, is that they should have warrantless acess to a massive database of everything that everyone has ever browsed, so (official reason) they can go trawling for criminals. Do you really believe that is all they will ever go looking for?
Oh yes, the security services already have this access. (Snowdon disclosures). Today, they have to keep that access secret and can't use it except within a fairly narrow "state security" remit. They're well down the slippery slope, though. I fear that Orwell's 1984 is coming true, just 30-40 years later than he thought. (To say nothing of the Vingean nightmare of a society pushed over the edge of chaos by omnipresent surveillance, crashing back to the dark ages if not the stone age).
As to bullying ...
With respect to cyber-bullying, what's the problem? The police have a complainant who is being bullied, and an internet service provider who can tell them where the bully is. They'll just have to get a warrant for that disclosure in future. Is it being suggested that a warrant would not be granted in these circumstances?
What's wrong with plug-in hybrids?
In a city-communter environment, is anyone really going to run them off the petrol bit unless the worst has happened and the daily charge has run out?
So give them the same urban-area advantages as pure electrical cars. After all, if someone with a pure-electric car needs to make a long journety, he's going to use his other car, or hire a conventional car, so the CO2 emission will also be the same or worse. (Worse, if two cars have to be manufactured instead on one).
Re: Cute people work for tech support too
Back in the old days when a disk drive was the size of a washing machine and required an engineer from the computer company to install one ...
He turned up, un-crated it, and asked to borrow a phone. "Not working?" "No, and it won't. I need to call the shipping company and our loss adjusters ... go and take a look at it ..."
I did. There was a neat rectangular hole in the side. The exact size of a fork-lift-truck's prong ... right through the controller (about ten foot-square circuit boards).
Re: Temperature control
Perhaps worth commenting that some insects can also raise their body temperature above ambient. Bumble bees are furry for the same reason that mammals are furry: to avoid excessive loss of body heat to a colder atmosphere.
Re: Say what???
Aren't dinosaurs the link between reptiles and birds? From the completely cold-blooded, to the creatures with (probably) the highest metabolic rate on the planet?
Dinosaurs were around for a long time. Plenty of time for evolution to get from cold blood, through cool, to hot. Pretty straightforward, compared to evolving feathers (a true miracle of biology, and perhaps the only radically new bio-structure since plants evolved wood? )
Re: Wasted IP ranges - tax them!
There's surely a good case here for an IPV4 address tax! Someone with a /8 block is likely to rapidly relinquish most of it, when a tax demand for 2^24 pounds/dollars/euros per annum arrives (about 4 million). Whereas the /30 block I have at home would cost me (via my ISP) an extra £4 per annum, which I'd happily pay. Heck, several times that wouldn't hurt much for any addresses actually being used.
Might even make ipv6 popular. People used to live in darkness rather than pay a windows tax. (NB, small W, 17th century).
Re: Stone Age?
My understanding is that it's only long (50km+) wires that are seriously vulnerable. Your rooftop solar panels are OK, and your inverter isn't directly vulnerable. I think you may be confusing a solar storm with an atomic-weapon-induced EMP.
What happens ina solar storm is that a large DC current is induced in long wires. Conventional 50Hz or 60Hz AC mains transformers can't transform that DC current, instead they dissipate it resistively, meaning they heat up. If the circuit is not made open-circuit pretty soon, the transformers then melt down and catch fire. HVDC transmission is immune - the solar storm either adds a bit more DC juice or subtracts a bit. Short urban-grid-scale wires do suffer induced curents, but less so proportional to their shorter length. The risk to them is a disorderly shut-down or melt-down of the long-distance grid, causing voltage surges, local overload conditions, etc.
Telecomms is similar, except that it's rarely copper and even more rarely DC coupled these days. Most of the long-distance internet is optical fiber. Long-distance copper is probably found only in very rural parts, connecting one farmouse or hamlet to the nearest town's telephone exchange many miles down the road in the old-fashioned way.
It's probably fair to say that if we'd been hit by a Carrington event in the 1920s through 1990s, our civilisation would have crashed.
Two things have changed / are changing. Firstly, the danger is recognised, and we now have satellites watching the sun that would give us a few hours' warning. That's long enough to prepare the grid. Controlled shutdown instead of fatal melt-down. Of course, whether they do enough "solar safety" drills to actually avoid getting the electricity grid fried, is an unknown until it happens.
Secondly, we are moving from a synchronous transformer-coupled HVAC grid (vulnerable) to HVDC long-distance electricity transmission (more efficient and not vulnerable). Likewise telecomms are moving from copper wires (vulnerable) to optical fibres (not vulnerable).
If we don't get hit by another X-unprecedented flare in the next couple of decades, we're probably OK. Except, we don't know what is the biggest flare our nearest star is capable of! The upper limit is only that it was never powerful enough to wipe out all land-based life (and there have been a few extinction events when something wiped out *most* land-based life ...).
A wimp, as these things go. The Carrington Event is estimated to have been X22 (on a scale that only officially goes to 20). So that's almost 1.5^20 times this one (around 3300 times bigger).
Re: Costs? (@Pen-y-gors)
Good Platinum ores are graded at grammes per tonne. You have to dig up, crush and chemically process a tonne of rock to get a few grammes of Platinum. This is one reason why it's so darned expensive.
Re: Salary versus Equity
Bad management gets the unions and workforce it deserves. (Those who can leave, have left).
As an organisation at the other extreme, I'd cite the John Lewis partnership. Unions? Why? Everyone has an equity stake in the business, and it goes from strength to strength in a very competitive sector.
Salary versus Equity
I think that a very solid line should be drawn between those who are paid a salary regardless of whether they perform excellently, adequately or badly
And those who founded a business and own some or all of the equity in that business.
Frankly, I don't see much evidence that many (any?) of the fat cats paid six- or seven-figure salaries are worth any more than the employees several levels below them. Indeed, it's usually the lower levels that do the real work, and can see how the self-perpetuating clique of fat cats more often than not have zero or negative value. They give themselves 10% or 20% pay rises, while the staff that do the work get 0%. They aren't working for a living, they are parasitising those who do!
In contrast, someone who put his own money and time into a business that is now thriving, should be allowed to enjoy whatever degree of success he is able to achieve, just as long as it is by way of dividends paid equally to all equity-holders, or sale of shares in that equity.
So (for example) I'd be in favour of higher levels of income tax on very large salaries, but not the same levels on capital gains (especially not on long-term capital gains, and especially not capital gains made by founders of businesses on equity that was worth nothing at all when they started). Anti-avoidance rules would clearly be needed to stop the fat cats playing the system.
Also there should be an outright ban on any salary greater than the Prime Minister's salary in any part of the public sector (including universities, quangos and suchlike -- not just the civil service). If a corporation wastes its money, it will sooner or later go bust. That's a crude self-correcting mechanism that eliminates the very worst excesses. Whereas if an organisation is funded by the taxpayer, its fat cats can and will carry on leeching off society effectively forever. (In the rare cases where such an organisation needs a specialist who really can command such a large salary in a free market, it should obtain that service by competitive tender, with payment under the laws governing commercial contracts, including appropriate penalty clauses. Never by employing that specialist on a salary. )
Controversial, I know. Asbestos jacket in place ....
Anyone under 35 years old won't remember. Those who do remember, can be intimidated into not talking to anyone who doesn't. Those who won't shut up, are in jail or exiled.
Never under-estimate the human ability to ignore anything that isn't aimed directly at oneself. Remember Pastor Neimoller:
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
"Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
"Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
"Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
The technology of censorship and repression is probably as well ensconced here in the West, as in China. For now the sinister "they" lack the will to use it to completely destroy our freedom. Post-Snowdon, I fear the question is, "for how much longer?"
TDP is important. It determines the type and size of heatsink the system needs. It's especially important if you are trying to build a passively cooled system (no fan, no moving parts (SSD), no noise).
It's nice to know your system can turbo for a few seconds, relying on thermal inertia to avoid meltdown, and then down-clocking itself when not busy or in thermal distress to allow the heat to dissipate. But TDP, as the maximum long-term-average amount of power that a busy system will ever need to dissipate, is a critical parameter for designing it.
Re: Next project, build one of these for <$100
Of course, no reason it actually has to BE glass topped.
Marble or Basalt (if heavy, hard and shiny floats your boat). Easier to source any size than tempered glass (and you really don't wan't to think about untempered)
I've just run into the annoyance of a worktop so black that an optical mouse cannot "see" it, and for the first time in my life I had to find a mouse mat (OK, a sheet of A4 paper). Give me wood or wood-effect laminate any day.
Desiring the impossible
The assumption here is that if these companies didn't buy gold known to come from NK, NK would not be able to sell its gold, or would have to sell it at a huge discount.
A moment's thought should tell you that's not the case. A minuscule discount will suffice to sell their gold to a country or person who doesn't care, and once their gold is melted with gold from scrap jewellery or scrap computer parts, nobody will have the faintest idea where it came from. (Not that the Chinese even care).
Sanctions can only work for lower-value stuff, especially ones where the refineries are few and specialized. We can probably avoid buying Tantalum ores from war zones where it is dug out by slaves. We can track tankers full of Iranian oil and force them to sell it to customers further away than Europe, causing Iran a small percentage loss (at the cost of increasing global CO2 emissions!) For gold, there's no chance of anything like this working.
Re: @Nigel 11
No - saying C is not the simplest or sparsest language. That honour surely goes to LISP, and B was simpler than C. Simplest and sparsest is not the reason C is very popular in some programming communities. Like most successful languages, C has a niche, which is the writing of operating systems and realtime systems. I'll also grant that until computers became fast enough that interpreted languages weren't "too inefficient", C was probably the best general-purpose compiled language. (FORTRAN was and remains better for numerical coding, but only for numerical coding. Pascal, PL/I, and Ada never really caught on. I'll let someone else talk about C++ if they want to, because personally I loathe it).
Re: No need to be so special, Apple
I think it's a mistake.
Dealing with a small set of foreign glyphs that are universal in a global programming community, is far better than the fragmentation that arises if every programmer uses their own script for their variables. It'll compile elsewhere, but it might as well be object code for all the use that the source will be outside that linguistic domain. I'll add, anyone who studies mathematics, gets to learn the Greek alphabet, and a few letters from the Hebrew one, and a handful of symbols not taken from any alphabet (eg union, infinity, ...). It doesn't give Greeks or Israelis any mathematical edge.
I can imagine an alternative universe in which North America was settled by Russians. In that universe, the Cyrillic alphabet might be used globally by programmers. I'd be able to go along with that: learning to recognise a handful of new glyphs isn't hard.
But learning 6000+ traditional Chinese glyphs in order to code: no way. I'd rebel and create a programming language based on the Latin alphabet. As for those in the far East ... well, China, Japan and Korea have all chosen to map their languages onto the Latin alphabet. Because we got to IT first, or because there are intrinsic advantages to our small alphabet over their huge ones? Don't know, but in China, this happened under Mao when the West was the Enemy, and before IT arrived there.
Re: ...without the bagage of C
C is one of the most simple and sparse languages there has ever been. That's why it works.
Oh really? So why hasn't it been universally trumped by LISP? (And for that matter why did they ever do C, given B? )
Re: Is it a proper programming language?
C is one of a small set of languages in which it's possible to write a useful operating system kernel. Don't knock it. But also don't use it, if you're not writing something that requires OS-like control over the fine detail of the generated code. And for heaven's sake don't teach it as a first language.
Re: No need to be so special, Apple
Works out pretty well in Python. Given tuple assignment you don't often need semicolons, but you can put multiple statements on a line if you want to.
As for Swift, I lost interest the moment I noticed that variable names are unicode strings not ASCII-alphanumeric strings. Bleugh. Immediate fragmentation of the programming world into human-written-language-script communities. I can process code written by (say) a Frenchman or a Finn. The variable names may be less helpful than ones created by a Canadian or an Ozzie, but at least the necessary processing skill is there in my visual cortex. Which it is not, for a string of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tamil, or umpteen other possibilities.
To say nothing of the fact that there are multiple unicode strings that generate the same visual representation (such as an e with an acute accent). It's bad enough dealing with O and 0, 1 and l and I. FAlL.
Anyone notice that one of this beastie's pins is designated PORN?
Re: As a 1TB flash drive ....
Thanks. That's what I wanted to know. They have cracked vertical stacking on a single piece of silicon. Call that stage 1: gaining access to the third dimension.
So the stage is now set for stage two: work out how to stack more than 32 deep, and how to stack smaller cells. Neither is up against physical limits, so Moore's law ought to get a second chance, and the Terabit or Terabyte SSD chip may be only a few years away.
Unless HAMR comes to the rescue (i.e. 100Tb drives), it looks as if spinning rust drives may go the way of the horse and cart in not much more than a decade.
Re: As a 1TB flash drive ....
On the other hand -- if they've really cracked fabricating 32 devices stacked vertically (as opposed to making 32 separate devices and merely assembling them into a vertical stack), the price of large SSDs may be set to fall something like vertically?
Which is why I'd also like to know more. One thing for sure, I wouldn't much like to be in the hard disk business these days.
No - these stats are based upon browser agent strings visiting a broad range of sites.
Someone, please. please write a benign virus that alters these strings! Wouldn't it be fun to watch Windows for Workgroups rising from the grave?
Microsoft doing that would create an opening for "Business Linux" (possibly hidden behind a non-Linux name, just as Linux's conquest of the mobile world goes by the name "Android").
Microsoft has jettisoned its CEO just in time, now to see if it can also jettison the business plan made out of FAIL.
Re: well very few products are competely new designs?
almost every device i think of already existed in some form or another before it became popular with the masses.
The original Sony Walkman? (Yes, miniature tape recorders pre-existed, but not for playing music to consumers as they went about their lives).
When these things hit the road, the "drivers" won't need to see out. So maybe they'll go for privacy instead, and paint over all the transparent bits. Blue, maybe.
Giving "BSOD" a whole new meaning?
Pity the poor authors
While the elephants duel, it's the authors who are getting trampled.
Not really embarassing for Red Hat. They do servers. They don't really claim desktop Linux (although personally I'm happier with my Linux desktop atop a Red Hat clone like Centos, than atop Ubuntu or SuSE).
BTW if you do run Redhat or similar on desktops, when you migrate them to 7, I'd recommend overriding the new default to keep ext4 as your root FS. I wouldn't entirely trust XFS in an environment where the electricity supply is unreliable (ie, where lusers have fingers on the power buttons).
Re: # rm -rf / tmp/foo/no-more-rubbish_here
Tab completion: Yes. To which I'd add,
# rm / tmp/foo/no-more-rubbis [TAB]
and add the -rf at the end of the line, if and only if it does tab-complete, and after you've mentally checked for the very last time, "do I really mean this"?
BTW if your command isn't amenable to this sort of rearrangement, an open-bracket will accomplish much the same for other commands. Add ) CR after you've thought hard.
# ( dangerous_command
Re: Apocryphal ?? There but for the grace ..
#1. Someone needed a Mollyguard clue.
(Out of interest, what do the military call Mollyguards? You know, the ones that stop you accidentally launching an ICBM when you sneeze, or blowing the bridge before your army has retreated over it, things like that? )
Re: Not quite
technology cannot outpace [energy] depletion for ever
In human terms, yes, it can. Dare I say fusion power?
Please don't laugh. We may even be able to get it working down here on Earth, if we really try hard enough. But if not, it's already working up there in the sky, keeping us all alive, and we now know how to harvest it. Just cover a smallish fraction of the Earth's deserts with solar panels (or with mirrors and systems for turning the capured heat into electricity - the jury is still out on whether solar-thermal might beat solar-PV).
Solar power will be as good as it is today for a lot longer than the Earth will remain habitable.
(BTW that's not a prediction of man-made eco-doom. It's just the fact that the sun is naturally getting hotter as it oh-so-slowly uses up its Hydrogen. The Earth will turn into a Venus clone a long time before Sol finally goes nova. Maybe as little as hundreds of My hence).
We can make diamonds pretty well as large as we want. The scientific and engineering processes are solved, but it's just not cost efficent - despite the wholly artificial scarcity brought about by monopoly.
Not sure that's true for large gem-quality diamonds. The problem is making anvils that can maintain sufficient pressure and temperature for long enough for a large flawless diamond to crystallize. It's certainly a problem where the difficulty comes close to the edges of what is physically possible with known materials.
There are all sorts of rocks which in chemical terms are similar to other rocks available by the gigatonne, but which have unique aesthetic properties. Blue John is one. Opal is another. But if they weren't rare, it's probable that they'd come to be seen as common or vulgar, and something else would come to be seen as beautiful and desirable. Fashion is arbitrary and fickle. Why do rubies have to be natural to be valued as gems? In a big laser, you'll find artificial (and therefore completely flawless) ruby disks many inches across. Could one fake them with natural-looking flaws? The gemologists claim not ... I have my doubts. Could you manufacture statue-sized chunks of flawless artificial marble? I suspect there's just not a big enough market for anyone to build the plant to make it.
On the aesthetic front, there are also new discoveries to be made. Tanzanite is a new gemstone (and one that will soon run out!). As for marble, at some point it may be worth someone's while to go out and core-drill some of the vast known deposits of metamorphised calcium carbonate that don't naturally outcrop. Find a beautiful one near enough to the surface, and open a quarry.
BTW someone mentioned Unobtanium. I think it's been obtained in very small quantities and christened Lonsdaleite. It's yet another carbon allotrope, considerably harder than even diamond. It's formed naturally as very tiny crystals by large meteor impacts on graphite deposits, which mercifully don't happen very often!
Re: You can recycle energy as well
Surely the best way to recycle low-grade paper is to burn it to generate green electricity? (CO2 goes up the chimney. New trees grow and absorb the CO2. The trees are made into paper and the cycle repeats)
Landfilling paper generates methane by anaerobic decomposition. If that leaks into the atmosphere it's a rather more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Yes, a well-built landfill site can trap the methane and feed it into a generator, which may be less polluting than burning paper directly -- but there's always going to be some methane leakage in that process.
Re: I divide recycling into three types
f colours are mixed in the waste glass it's a problem.
Not exactly. Slightly contaminated clear glass comes out green. Worse contaminated glass comes out brown to black. You see all of these being used as packaging. We use far too much clear (virgin) glass in order to advertise its contents. Things keep better in brown glass - it protects the contents from photo-degradation.
There are also good uses for the lowest grades of contaminated recycled glass. It makes the coloured chips that are used to mark roads (bus and cycle lanes) and the high-grip surfaces in locations where sharp braking is most likely to be required. It's also blended into insulation materials (rockwool).
Re: I divide recycling into three types
We can recycle absolutely anything if we expend enough energy on it. We could turn old tower blocks back into virgin Portland cement if we wanted to. But that would be insane. Better to go dig up more Portland and put the rubble into that nice new hole we've got.
Was that meant in jest? Seriously, living next to a site where an old concrete building is being replaced by new concrete buildings, I saw the old concrete being crushed(*) (to reclaim the scrap iron rebar), screened into appropriately-sized rubble, and used as ballast in new concrete.You can't recycle concrete 100%, but they do a lot better than they used to.
(*) first stage was more like "eaten" by something that looked a lot like a robot T-rex.
Re: I would argue the situation was even worse
So mandatory voting and a box labelled "none of the above" please.
No and Yes.
My view is that the vote of a person who doesn't want to vote is not worth counting, and at worst they might distort the results. Not voting means they've chosen to accept whoever is chosen by those who do vote. I'd go further. Postal votes are too easily stolen or cast without thought. Return to the old system where you have to walk to a polling station unless you can show why you can't (away from the constuituency on polling day, or infirm. I would add being over seventy, and living more than a mile away from your polling station, as acceptable reasons for obtaining a postal vote).
But when I choose to exercise my vote, I'd definitely like to have "none of the above" as a choice. Further, if "None of the above" won the election, there would have to be another election a reasonable time (say two months? ) later, in which none of the candidates who were rejected the first time would be allowed to stand.
Re: Ahem. @ BlueGreen
Other forms of transport will still need some form of oil, and battery technology is unlikely to change that, due to the energy density needed for lorries, aircraft and shipping.
Sorry, there are no fundamental problems here, just a need to migrate to new technologies as and when they become cost-effective (mostly here, because the old ones become more expensive because of fossil-fuel depletion).
Lorries can go electrical in the same way cars can go electrical. The "problem" in both cases is recharge time. We need batteries that can recharge at a higher current, or a standardised battery-swap technology with recharging being done slowly at the fuelling stations. The latter could be done with today's tech. Both would need a huge investment in infrastructure which is unlikely to happen while oil remains at its current price. (There's also compressed natural gas, which is already replacing diesel to some extent in the USA and elsewhere where NG is cheaper than diesel, but that's a short-term work-around).
Oh, and if you segregated freight from cars to a degree, trolley-lorries would be another viable approach. Wire up the M-ways and main A-roads, build pull-overs for HGVs to unhitch themselves, their batteries would be fully charged after an hour or so travelling along the wire, for an onward local delivery. ISTR this was actually implemented somewhere in the FSU.
Shipping could use liquified natural gas. Post fossil fuel it could revert to "sail". Modern wind technology wouldn't look anything like the square meters of canvas of yore. Think vertical powered rotating cylinders (Bernoulli effect) and/or huge computer-controlled kites, plus energy generated from wind to charge battery banks for use in close-quarters manouvering or escaping port during dead calms. (Low tech batteries: sail ships need heavy ballast so they can tack, may as well be lead-acid batteries? ) Finally add in modern weather forecasting and telemetrics. The sail ships of tomorrow would never become becalmed because they'd know where the calms were going to be, and navigate elsewhere. Really BIG ships, if needed at all, might be nuclear-powered.
Which leaves aircraft, and the simplest (only?) solution there is that we go back to the 1920s. The very rich or those sent by rich employers fly in craft powered by (necessarily expensive) biofuel. The rest of us stay on the ground. Mass air tourism and most air freight is not a necessity, it's a luxury.
Nightmare: Google will use Optimization by Vector Space Methods
Suppose this is done without it being a vector for advert targeting. A really good idea? NOT.
It's one of the SF-inspired nightmares that haunts my imagination. A society optimised too close to the edge of chaos. Then some small thing goes wrong, and it crashes via a set of un-anticipated interactions. Crashes hard. Crashes so hard and with so many interlocks and interactions, that it can never get back on its feet before 90% of the population are dead.
Maybe we're there already, with JIT delivery and internet and computers replacing people in finance and sales. World CyberWar One may be worse than a nuclear WW3. But it could get an awful lot more fragile in the future, if the warnings are not heeded.
Fact. Half of the USA's electricity grid was once knocked out by a suicidal squirrel carbonising itself. But at least there was enough resiliece in that system, that they could (manually!) re-boot the electricity grid over the next twelve hours or so, before the rest of society crashed.
Re: Smart' Traction
Not remembering logos doesn't mean that they don't influence your purchasing subconsciously
Is the majority of the human race really like that? For my part, I certainly do remember the logos consciously. If the advert is intrusive enough for me to notice it, it's a positive reason why I won't be buying anything displaying that logo until I've forgotten the intrusion. Same thing happens if I feel that a company's product or conduct has been particulrly heinous. I haven't bought anything SONY since they deliberately inflicted malware on the computers I was looking after, and I haven't had any cause for regret.
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