* Posts by Ledswinger

4573 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

R2D2 delivery robots to scurry through the streets of San Francisco

Ledswinger
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Re: R2D2

The risk isn't crims. The risk is lawyers. As soon as these R2D2notreally are let loose, somebody will be claiming that an R2D2notreally knocked them off their feet causing life changing harm. This being the Land of No Proportion (the land formerly known as the Land of the Free), there will be an army of lawyers willing to take on a class action case to achieve "justice".

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Smelly toilets, smokers and the Kardishians. Virgin Media staff grill top brass

Ledswinger
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Re: Health and Safety

Now the regulations have been relaxed due to better check valves and mains pressurized hot water is more common, so mixers on basins will become more common.

No they won't because it works out very expensive. Even if the existing taps don't work, a couple of new contract grade standard taps are cheap as chips - ten quid or so per pair. To be compliant all the employer needs to do is stick a "danger, very hot water" sign up.

Regulations about backflow are essentially unchanged for donkeys years, and cheap backflow preventers likewise have been available for decades. There are indeed very good themostatically limited mixers, but if you fit a decent grade limiting mixer valve (eg a Pegler TMV) that's forty of fifty quid, the actual monobloc mixer tap is then another fifty quid, and then you've got the backflow valves and plumbing in. All in you won't have change out of a couple of hundred quid per basin, and that's assuming that you don't need to replace the basin to fit a monobloc mixer.

If you're ripping out the entire bog there's a chance it might get rebuilt properly, but as a retrofit, not much chance.

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UK copyright troll weeps, starts 20-week stretch in the cooler for beating up Uber driver

Ledswinger
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Re: "Get used to life being different."

He'd better make sure he never drops the soap.

Sadly he'll only do a few nights in proper clink. Because the Home Office don't have enough real jail capacity he'll quickly be classified as a low risk white collar type, and be transferred to an open prison, and he'll be out on day release in about three weeks, and the sentence will be rolled back to release on parole after nine or ten weeks.

Personally I don't think that's much punishment given that he conducted an unprovoked assault with clear potential to be fatal, but the judge doesn't have much leeway because of the HO sentencing guidelines.

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Microsoft: We're hugging trees to save the 'world'

Ledswinger
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Re: "The leading cloud companies have a responsibility to address this energy usage"

Here's an idea : how about pushing molten salt reactors that use Thorium ?

Problem is that batteries are a net consumer of power. Add in the considerable capital costs, factor in the energy losses, and batteries struggle. Certainly there's use cases (eg the recent EFR auction for those who know what I'm on about), but batteries have to cost about 20% of current costs before they change the world.

Ultimately storage will change the energy world (for better or worse!) but betting on any particular chemical battery is risky, particularly as supercapacitors develop. Likely outcome is a mix, but how much of a gambler is you typical investors

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Ledswinger
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It should be possible to stick data centres were power sources like geo-thermal and solar heat can take up the bulk of the strain.

Solar, no due to its diurnal variation. You could "daylight shift" round the globe, but the economic and environmental impacts of server under-utilisation would make no sense. And if you build where solar has the best performance (closer to the equator) you have much greater cooling costs.

On geothermal, maybe, but as a rule you've be supplanting existing uses of "easy" geothernal, so the net gains could well be nil.

The real answer is low cost nuclear. Bit in the UK we don't have that due to a bizarre decision to select the unproven and wildly expensive Areva EPR.

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Ledswinger
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Re: slow off the mark

Fascinating article in New Scientist today showing how burning bio-mass (traditionally seen as very green) is actually, on the whole, not very green at all.

And (speaking as an energy sector oik) this blindingly obvious insight has taken the tree hugging twats how long? Everybody who could think for themselves knew this decades ago.

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She cannae take it, Captain Kirk! USS Zumwalt breaks down

Ledswinger
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Re: OK it looks small to radar

You can switch to optronics, but it's less effective at night

On a big boy like this it doesn't really matter, does it? Unguided weapons would probably suffice.

And pretending your a fishing boat only helps if that fishing boat is somewhere well away from your real location - as I recall, most missile test firings are against tiny platform targets.

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Are you sure you want to outsource IT? Yes/No. Check this box to accept Ts&Cs

Ledswinger
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Re: The Cloud...

Other peoples computers you have no control over.

Indeed. But for a rare change, the name say it all without misrepresentation. Whether meteorological or IT-oligical clouds are shady, nebulous, fluffy, insubstantial, opaque and temporary.

But for some reason, company IT bosses fail to explain that to the board: "Yes, we're going to adopt a new IT delivery model, that means we stop doing difficult stuff, and Shady Enterprise Services Inc will take one or more of our business critical processes, and temporarily provide an insubstantial service for that, with opaque terms, fluffy pricing, and a nebulous commitment to reliability. We see this as a win-win."

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Latest F-35 bang seat* mods will stop them breaking pilots' necks, beams US

Ledswinger
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Re: Handling the G's

Learning to fly a fast jet fighter is a long expensive process - the pilot is actually more valuable in real terms than the plane.

This idea that crew are more valuable than planes is a 1940s idea when planes could be mass produced more quickly than pilots could be trained and gain the necessary experience to survive for more than a few sorties. The complexity and specialist components on a modern fast jet mean that your stock of aircraft is essentially fixed, and producing more requires years of supply chain preparation. Certainly at peak production rate you might be knocking one out every two days, but that's based on planning five or more years ahead, and ordering several years before that. All modern air forces train more fast jet pilots than they have fast jets by ratios of about three to one, and then give them non-front line flying jobs and even desk jobs to fill the time. So on that basis the number of aircraft ordered a decade ago is the limiting factor in terms of front line strength, not the crew availability.

Jet jockeys might think they're indispensable, but they clearly are because we're intentionally putting them in harms way. So why make the aircraft heavier, more expensive, more complex to build (and thus less reliable), and trading off the benefits of some crew survival against the admittedly smaller number of ejector seat accidents? And whilst probably not relevant to the very popular "bomb the natives" campaigns that have been the main form of recent warfare, in the air combat roles these jets are designed for, there is a significant maneuverability downside to having an additional half tonne of mass right at the sharp end of the aircraft, added to which that mass requires a heavier airframe and undercarriage, more fuel and/or less weapons...

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Ledswinger
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Re: Is there any other type?

If you are aware of an aircraft which might summarily eject its occupant(s) please give a link.

On an unplanned basis there's a number, as any competent web search will reveal.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @Wommit

The delay time for a drone to observe and act upon dogfight conditions would IMHO be too great.

You post that comment on an IT web site? Courageous, sir, if foolhardy and ill informed. Certainly Captain Scott lost his bet of machine over animal, but I'd wager that to claim that no meatsack can outfly a properly configured machine. The sad, sluggish reflexes of the carbon-based won't match the superior silicon, and that's before the weight and performance penalties for the meat.

Of course, if you're talking about crap like Reaper, yes, you're right. But I'd be very surprised if the main defence contractors don't have something they could build now that would kill off the Top Guns of the world. Of course they won't do that, because the top brass buyers of their kit are all former flyboys, still emotionally attached to the idea of the hero on his steed.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Handling the G's

Perhaps a simple1 tether to the back of the helmet that goes taut when ejecting would ease the problem while keeping the quick chute deployment.

Has anybody done a cost benefit on not having ejector seats at all? Yes, you crash, you bought it, but there's a cost to the extra weight and complexity of ejectors, plus a small but notable number of accidents where poor buggers have been thrown out of serviceable aircraft by ejector related mishaps (and a fair few ejected crew are sufficiently injured that they never fly again).

Some will say that's a bit harsh, given that every hull loss would then mean a pilot loss. But demanding a lifeboat when you fly a ship specifically designed to rain death on people usually without suitable means of defence against your weaponry seems a tad rich, perhaps? Chopper pilots take more risk and have no escape options, why do the fast jet ponces seem to merit this pandering?

A quick scan of aircraft losses suggests that having no ejector seats on fast jets would have cost about ten additional lives in Afghanistan. Compared to the c3,000 allied troops killed (and 1,500 "contractors" about whom you can make your own mind up). Not to mention around 30,000 civilians.

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Ofcom smacks Sky for breaching broadband switching rules

Ledswinger
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Re: Ofcom are a joke

They only have to worry a bit about competition from Virgin media.

Don't forget that VM are lining up alongside BT to campaign against the split-out of Openreach, so they are more allies than competitors. And the reason for that is that VM's cable network passes 30% of UK homes, and if Openreach are unbundled, VM reason that there's a real risk of their network having to offer local loop unbundling.

Having seen my Virginmedia bill almost double over the past eighteen months, I'm deeply unimpressed but wholly unsurprised with the consequences of the Cable Cowboy's takeover. 150 Mbps sounds good, but doesn't feel any different from 50 Mbps, and when I've spoken to them VM staff are clearly trained not to compete with Openreach based offerings.

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Victoria Police warn of malware-laden USB sticks in letterboxes

Ledswinger
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Or maybe it was targeted

...at an individual, with a load of other sticks distributed in the hope of making it appear more random?

One or two people were intended recipients and all the others were mere obfuscation, a physical form of spear phishing, if you like. Whilst the actual cost of a USB sticks is low, even that cost and the effort of physical distribution seems odd when you can use email and dodgy websites near enough for free. From the perps point of view, physical distribution is surely quite risky - even if the person delivering them didn't know what they were, he must have been paid by somebody to deliver them, and there's the risk of track-back.

Would seem to me there must be more value at stake than just hijacking a bunch of random computers.

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Margaret Hodge's book outlines 'mind boggling' UK public sector waste

Ledswinger
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When I worked for a GEC company the standard methodology for MoD contracts was:....

Still is. And this is the modus operandi for BPO and IT companies serving private sector companies too. Government aren't getting special treatment, its just they're even shitter at playing the game than companies daft enough to outsource anything they care about.

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HP Inc's rinky-dink ink stink: Unofficial cartridges, official refills spurned by printer DRM

Ledswinger
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Re: Obligatory EU thread

That got stopped, and now any competent mechanic can do it.

And very few people take the opportunity to do that. If you want to make a warranty claim after non-franchise servicing you may need to prove that the mechanic had appropriate training for the make/model, had (legitimate) access to the official service document, access to any model specific tools, and used consumables approved by the car maker.

Of course they may just pay up without this proof to avoid any bad press, but if they refuse then you either pay for the repairs, or end up in court. Maybe at small claims court they'll wuss out and present no defence, and you have judgement by default. But if they defend, their lawyers will ask the same questions in front of a judge to verify that the maintenance has been up to scratch. At the SCC they shouldn't be able to claim their defence legal costs against you, but even so, is it worth the potential savings?

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RAF Reaper drone was involved in botched US Syria airstrike

Ledswinger
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Re: Most unfortunate

This will set back a diplomatic solution, if it doesn't make it impossible.

I very much doubt that Assad will be either more or less inclined to some forced compromise by virtue of sixty odd casualties on his side.

Very unfortunate for those on the receiving end, but the "coalition" has been causing collateral damage across much of south central Asia for over a decade, without apparently seeing any need for changing its ways.

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Radar missile decoys will draw enemy missiles away from RAF jets

Ledswinger
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Re: Encrypted chirps...

Personally I'd be less worried about the security of this baked bean tin full of tricks than about the survival of the aircraft it is supposed to protect. All that talk of "looking up the pre-programmed threat library", and "applying advanced algorithms" persuades me that this is military snake oil. How well does it work against threats not in that look up table? Presumably not very, otherwise you'd build it as a hard-coded generic device in the first place.

In the safe, contained environment of a Qinetiq test, I'm sure it can be demonstrated to work. Against the poorly known capabilities of unfriendly regimes I'm wholly unconvinced. But given the poor suitability for purpose of so much of our military kit, what's another few million up the wall?

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Ledswinger
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I'm experimenting with being diplomatic

Why? We don't come here for diplomatically written stuff, and despite trying, you'll need to put in a lot more practice with the rose-tints if you're looking to make it as an MoD PR oik.

Say it how it is.

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Skype shuts down London office, hangs up on hundreds of devs

Ledswinger
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Re: So I Did Not Make A Mistake

Actually you did make a mistake....it's "lose" not "loose"

The OP could still be correct, in that not having tried Skype, he may not have had a stream of heartfelt invective to let loose. Or he might have voided his bowels mere minutes ago, and thus has nothing further to loose off. All manner of possibilities.....

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Apple's tax bill: Big in Japan. Like, $120m big

Ledswinger
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Re: Scapegoats

the very, very rich are allowed to not pay taxes, basically.

Citation please. The very rich often appear (anecdotally) to manage to avoid the marginal rates of tax applied to middle and higher income proles, but I suspect that the facts will show that the very rich still pay vastly more absolute tax per capita than you or I do.

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Great British Great Bake Off gets new judge

Ledswinger
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Re: From a week or so ago

Just thought I'd toss that out there patronisingly.

I shall consider myself patronised.

But to make things right, I lay claim to my new Law of Comment Forums, and declare with immediate effect that the concept that any British comment thread degenerates until the Daily Mail is invoked shall henceforth and evermore be known as Ledswinger's Law.

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Ledswinger
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Re: From a week or so ago

to do so until the Daily Mail catches on

If Godwin's still around he needs a new law, to cover the fact that any comment thread on the Reg will deteriorate really, really quickly until some moron irrelevantly invokes the Daily Mail as the fount of all evil.

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British mobile AI 'bot perfecter stalked by Silicon Valley – report

Ledswinger
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Re: AI will be fantastic

The goal is to declutter the notification system on mobile phones

So, you say it'll do "all sorts of great things"? Call me a cynic, but if the article is correct and the height of the developer's ambition is decluttering mobe notifications, then I'm all up for selling their business to the Yanks for a shedload of cash.

But then again, my phone spends most of its time with mobile data turned off, because I couldn't give a sh** about the sort of things it might want to bring to my attention.

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UK Science Museum will reconsider its 'sexist' brain quiz

Ledswinger
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Re: History

as if the entire field of behavioural psychology

Curious thing is that degree courses in BP are almost always Bachelors of Science, when they clearly should be Arts. And sticking to the theme of the original article, shouldn't the women get a Spinster's?

"Oh, yes I got my Spinster's of Arts in Behavioural Psychology from Wrexham Glyndŵr University. It was really hard work"

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Spam texters fined £30K

Ledswinger
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Re: Still paltry fines

There's on-shore companies that do it too.

That's what Carfinance247 were doing, but they still got nailed. The SMS spammer appears to have covered themselves by the agreements they had with the company, with Carfinance247 making out that they had the permission and the SMS sender saying "sure, we believe you".

Even if they managed technical anonymity, I don't think that would protect the beneficiary company, because the ICO investigation would find that they'd tried to hide it, and that would be taken into account.

Interestingly the ICO report says that they had almost a thousand complaints via the SMS spam reporting. If that's relevant to the 65k spam texts, then the spam reporting service (forwarding to 7726 but adding the sending number) works, and the ratio of complaints is much higher than say email spam.

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Ledswinger
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Still paltry fines

1) Spam text messaging is easy and cheap

2) Surprisingly, text message marketing can be very effective

3) The fines are insignificant

If I were the people behind this I'd be looking to see what my net return on campaign costs were, including the fine. And I suspect they'll conclude its still cheaper and more effective to use spam texts than any other marketing channel. If the penalties don't escalate and there's no personal sanctions against bosses, why would they stop?

Whilst they might be wary of doing it too directly next time, I'm sure there's dodges using offshore companies to do it on your behalf.

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Sorry Nanny, e-cigs have 'no serious side-effects' – researchers

Ledswinger
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Re: Looking for an excuse to regulate (tax) them

Yes, because smoking = income. That it creates a delayed burden on health costs isn't their problem:

To be brutally logical:

I'd argue that the health costs are probably more than offset by the fact that many smokers die relatively quickly and relatively young. The care costs for those dying promptly (like my grandfather) needs to be offset against the possibility of thirty years of slow decline and weekly GP and frequent hospital visits by the non-smokers (like my grandmother). And a smoker stands less chance of collecting their (often unfunded) pension and top up benefits, so there's more economic upside.

From the cash point of view, anything that both raises money and causes more people to die fairly quickly in middle age is great for the economy. So we had Logan's Run in a packet of twenty B&H.

Maybe we should be adding a slow cumulative poison to vapeing liquids?

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Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order

Ledswinger
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Re: So turn off mobile data

How does turning off mobile data stop your data from getting to Google?

It stops it going in real time, which reduces the value a tiny bit, but crucially it means that THEY can't reach me unless I've chosen to enable data, and they can't drain my battery with unrequested two way snoop 'n' spam.

Do you also have wifi turned off?

Most of the time. Settings for mobile data and wifi are moved to the quick access toolbar, so its hardly a chore to flick on and off.

but a smartphone without any sort of internet connection is rather pointless,

But I still always have access to and use the advanced capabilities when I need them. Most of the time when the phone is in my pocket it only needs to be alert for voice and text (that don't use mobile data). I don't need to have the phone permanently waiting for email or the latest social media post, so why slash my battery life just to pimp my data to Google in real time, and enable them to spam me in real time and on a location specific basis?

Yes, my privacy is still being compromised, but in a manner that minimises the cost to me, and reduces the value to Google.

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Non-doms pay 10 times more in income tax than average taxpayer group

Ledswinger
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Re: On a related note

No good bringing your logic here. The Graun readers believe in the First Principle of Socialism, which is that "Everybody with more money than me deserves to have all of it taken off them and spent by the state for the common good. But the amount I earn is a fair and just return on my honest toil"

After all globally, everyone in the UK (yes everyone) is in the 1%.

Aah. That's a problem. So it's 90% tax all round, wouldn't you agree my lefty friends? Your claims that "the rich" should be soaked needs to include you at the same value as the other 1%ers, rather than any hypocritical and parochial sliding scale based on your bourgeois British history?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Is Paul Dacre in?

I would have thought that on a site like this we would at least get independent research referenced

If you've every paid any attention to the distribution of taxes and benefits, you'd have found a similar outcome from the multiple sources that have covered this. But never mind facts, why not try an ad hominem attack on the source?

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Post-Brexit UK.gov must keep EU scientists coming, say boffins

Ledswinger
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Hold on! Isn't that the same GSK....

..that has done shit like transfer administration, production & R&D facilities offshore at the expense of UK workers? And the same GSK that transferred patent and brands for its drugs to Puerto Rico, and to Ireland to dodge UK taxes?

As usual. Big fat bastard corporation doesn't really want to pay UK salaries much of the time, or any UK taxes that it can avoid. But wants access to UK courts and legal system, privileged lobbying access to our government, and to have ready access to such UK research as it chooses to conduct here.

Hypocrites.

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End all the 'up to' broadband speed bull. Release proper data – LGA

Ledswinger
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Re: "local data for local people"

local data for local people

Given that the LGA represent the bureaucrats that decided my festering rubbish only needed to be collected every two weeks, have shut down half the libraries, can't maintain roads, are slashing the social care and community health provision (to spend the money on other shit, like in my local council's case, a music festival) I'd suggest that the LGA stick to talking about things they know about.

It won't be a very long list.

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You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

Ledswinger
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Re: import/export meters and storage

It's the tea drinking that gets us in this country, specifically when Corrie has a break.

There's a kernel of truth in that, but the reality is that the main problem oif the whole system is being able to accomodate peak demand on the three or so peak days. These are usually the coldest weekdays away from public holidays, and reflect full commercial and industrial use, full domestic municipal and transport demands, and the peak is somewhere between 16:00 and 21:00. Being the coldest days, people are using electricity for top up heating, storage heaters are depleted, so those users have them on in non-storage mode, everybody's inside, and every light in the land is on.

TV schedules have little bearing on that peak demand nowdays.

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Ledswinger
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Re: import/export meters and storage

Do the current specs for the smart meters incorporate export metering?

Yes. SMETS2 compliant smart meters are required to record active export of power.

However, that's not really material for most people, because the main payments (for older PV contracts) are the generation component (recorded on your PV generation meter), and the export element (a further and much smaller payment) is at present usually guessed at 50% of the generated power. Export metering for domestic users will for the most part merely shift the incidence of those export payments between different PV households to those who don't use as much of their PV output from those who use more. If you can it is generally better to use on site and not to export because the additional export rate is usually much lower than your grid imports.

Having said that, the whole UK PV scheme has been a misbegotten scam, throwing money at a technology that doesn't help us at all, and puts up evertybody else's bills.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The question not asked....

Will continuing to use my appliances at the times I currently use them, cost me more than it is now? Taking in to consideration inflation similar variables.

In theory no. The reason for that is that on the wholesale market power prices vary every half hour of every day, and that's for the "spot" market. Most volume is traded in advance through contracts. What the energy supplier does is then to smooth out all of the variability in the wholesale pricing, the various time of use charges for transmission and distribution systems, and charges you a fixed price.

So if the time of use charging had minimal additional costs, and was reflective of the underlying costs, then on a variable tarriff you shouldn't be paying extra. If you shifted some of your demand from peak to off peak hours you'd be better off on average, but the actual benefit should be quite small - you still need to recover the transmission and distribution costs of the whole system and they won't really change, you still need to recover the asset and operating cost of generation. And if enough people shifted their demand, then the off peak prices rise anyway.

Time of use charging is being pushed by the government (DECC, now BEIS) who see this as a way of fixing the huge policy mess they've created, that means that as old thermal plant is decommissioned, nobody wants to build new plant because the market structures won't provide the returns that encourage new build (despite the subsidies of the "capacity market"). If BEIS can avoid the need for more power stations by pricing that forces families to cook their evening meal after 21:00, and send the kids to school in damp clothes, that's an entirely acceptable outcome for civil servants.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The benefit:

I'm with you apart from wind farms killing a lot of people (relative to fossil fuels?). What have I missed?

Let me explain what you've missed: The costs of our "save the planet" energy policies have thus far added something of the order of £150bn to consumer energy bills, (with at least another £50bn in the pipeline, even before policy costs rise further to achieve the 5th Carbon Budget recently rubber stamped by this government).

We then see the same politicians who approved these policies wringing their hands about high energy costs, fuel poverty, and excess winter deaths and then blaming the suppliers for this. These suppliers are required by the terms of their licences and by the market structures invented by government and regulator to recover all the policy costs. And we expect to see retail energy costs to continue to rise over the next few years (and possibly through until the mid 2030s), reflecting nothing more than the policy costs imposed by government.

Unless you dispute the official line on climate change, fuel poverty and excess winter deaths, then it is a simple matter of fact that all the eco-bling of wind turbines and PV saves polar bears, but kills pensioners.

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Florida Man's prized jeep cremated by exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Ledswinger
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Re: The windscreen glass melted

The engineers involved must include or assume such a unit of Time in their calculations.

That's true. But how quickly does the energy in the fuel tank get released if that is ruptured by the heat of a car fire? I'd guess (on the basis of no evidence at all) about four minutes unless the air gets used up. Say 500 kWh released in four minutes, that's a lot of MW in terms of power....

And your 500 kWh would be the fuel in the tank, tyres and plastics would I suspect double that, although they'd take a bit longer to burn. So perhaps 1 MWh per car, and perhaps 8 MW peak power?

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US Marine Corps to fly F-35s from HMS Queen Lizzie as UK won't have enough jets

Ledswinger
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Re: Not why we got rid of Mil SAR

“Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) is the better choice – it drastically reduces the training requirement."

Ahem.

But think how much was saved on training.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sad state of affairs

Europe doesn't have tactical nukes, which was why the reliance on the US.

The UK doesn't now, but had tactical nukes up until the early 1990s, and that's what the Tornado was built to deliver. The Typhoon was built to stop Soviet aircraft hitting our airfields until the Tornadoes were airborne, and after that it didn't really matter if either Typhoons or airfields survived because that part of the detente mechanism had been "clicked". And I believe the French do still have a modest arsenal of air launched tactical nukes.

The whole point of detente is prompt response and marginal escalation. If Europe thinks it is protected by US tactical nukes lurking in a warehouse six thousand miles away then they are kidding themselves.

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Ledswinger
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Oh sorry, all the problems in the world are created by the West aren't they. I forgot. I apologise, I'll renew my subscription to the Guardian immediately...

No, you should renew your subscription to Flawed Logic Monthly or What Strawman.

You have tried to paint me as some anti-western Grauniadista, when in fact the only point I'm making is that pouring more troops, bombs and weapons into a sectarian civil war zone will only amplify the problems, raise new grievances, whilst not resolving existing sectarian, tribal and ethnic disputes. Afghanistan and Iraq show you can't invade and impose democracy, not matter how much you spend, not how mighty your forces (the British and Russians can attest to that in Afghanistan). Libya and Egypt show that removing a despot and creating the space for a liberal democracy fails equally spectacularly.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sad state of affairs

As to there being no Russian threat, how do you explain the invasion of the Ukraine? There was no talk of Ukraine joining NATO before it was attacked.

By the open admission of its own officials, the US spent about $5bn on "democritisation" programmes in Ukraine since 1990. Looking at the fascist thugs and crooks running the country that doesn't seem to have any democratic outcome, although rather curiously a pro-Russian leader was toppled by a violent coup supported by right wing extremists for a pro-European pro US leader. If Russia had spent a similar sum "socialising" Scotland, where the US have their Holy Loch submarine base, how do you think that Westminster and Washington would react? Arguably the Russian only need to support Jeanette Crankie in winning a further referendum for the same outcome, but you get my drift. The West was openly and expensively meddling in Ukraine, to diminish Russian influence, and would have known (in my view intended) that this would deny Russian access to the deep water naval ports on the Black Sea. They foolishly assumed Putin would sit back and take his medicine, and they failed to realise that eastern Ukraine is ethnically Russian.

The Russians turned a neighbouring country with a few thousand mile border with them into a failed state for heaven-knows what reason,

See above. But note that Ukraine has always been close on a failed state. It never has been wealthy, law abiding or democratic, which is true of most states where map lines fail to represent ethnicity and national loyalty. Other similar examples include Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Sudan, and more than a few others, and its interesting to note that those names are fairly synonymous with protracted and in some cases unwinnable wars.

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Ledswinger
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Re: it's Pearl Harbor

American film, Rubbish film

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Ledswinger
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Re: They should save time...

the Germans aren't allowed one

That appears to be their interpretation of laws written for them by the occupying forces after WW2. Nothing to stop them changing their mind, but looking at how aircraft carriers aren't good for much and cost a fortune, I can't see why they would.

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Ledswinger
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I think we've ordered 138 at the moment. But the original order was only for 48 - i.e. one air group. However you would expect any warship to be out of commission for maintenance, repairs and refit for about 20-30% of its lifetime

Given the complexity of the F35, the availability of the aircraft itself is going to be even poorer than anything preceding it. And, as the crash record of the Harrier showed, S/VTOL aircraft tend to have dreadful accident rates, whether through pilot error, technical failure, or other hazards like FOD and bird strikes that seem to be more significant for S/VTOL types.

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Ledswinger
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we only go to war these days when the US tells us to

Don't worry, Hilary's itching to rain death on Syria, 'cos that's what US presidents do.

And wouldn't it be great if she could have somebody else's carrier at risk rather than USN assets, yet retain full operational control of the military asset?

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Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Sad state of affairs

With the increased threat from Russia

You believe the official line on that then? I did my bit in the Cold War working on military systems, I don't believe for one moment that the Ruskies now pose any real military threat to Europe. The pantomime wars in Georgia and Ukraine are unimportant, but in any event largely a Russian response to US meddling in those countries' politics and ambitions to expand NATO as far east as possible,

Out of curiosity, why this reliance on the US for defence anyway? If Europe really thinks the Russian threat is real, it should pay up and arm up. It has roughly similar GDP to the US, and a larger population to draw on for soldiery. And in fact, Europe's defence budget is about three times that of Russia (€300bn versus €70bn), and has twice the number of active serving personnel. If I were an American tax payer I'd be asking why the US was expecting to keep sorting out wars in Europe.

The only fly in the ointment is the supposed strength of Russia's reserve ground forces, but a large fleet of rusting and out of date tanks doesn't seem to me to alter any of the arguments above, particularly given the state of the art in anti-tank munitions.

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Ledswinger
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The USN had more aircraft over Afghanistan than the RAF

I wouldn't dispute that. But its a bit of a niche case, isn't it? How often do we expect to be attacking impoverished land-locked countries with no functioning government, no modern defences, no international allies, but who are surrounded for hundreds of miles by nations hostile to both them and the West? And unlike 2001, there are now far better ways of loitering, surveying and dispensing death than running vastly expensive combat flights from carriers almost five hundred miles away.

The Yanks didn't dare risk carriers near Libya, they'd be unwise to do so off the coast of Iran if having a another hobby war, and I suspect they'd be pretty circumspect about using them anywhere near Syria. And that's just two third world, failed states, and a country that's been under sanctions for three and a half decades. There's certainly a handful of other occasions when carriers might see use, but in all cases where they might be a viable strike asset, you certainly don't need something as complicated as the F35. If you need the capabilities of the F35, then your adversary certainly has the capabilities to wipe out your carriers rather effectively.

Of course, if the 'Strines (making assumptions from your handle) would like to join the carrier club, I'd invite them to put in a bid for one or both of the QE class carriers. You're planning on buying F35s anyway, why not add to your military bling?

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Ledswinger
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the plane isn't fit for purpose, too expensive, and should've been euthanised long ago

The same is true of the carriers in all honesty. Even the most tin pot of regimes can muster a few medium range anti-ship missiles, which makes carriers vulnerable. Not that much more vulnerable than any comparably sized ship, but if they are the core of your strike force, losing the one is a bit of a problem. Go up against even people like the Iranians or Norks, and they've got patrol boats capable of sneaking around and launching medium or even long range missiles, so that extends the at-risk range (before we consider drones, mines, mini-subs and other cheap solutions. Before you know it you find that air to air refuelling and flying out from a nominally friendly territory is your best option (as with the Libya debacle).

Admittedly a strike force has defensive capabilities. But you'd have to be pretty confident in 100% success to rely on those, given that countries like Argentina and Iraq successfully used near supersonic sea skimming technology against British and American ships three decades ago.

The idea of flying complicated, heavy manned aircraft off of a huge, complex, vulnerable floating platform was great before radar and guided missiles. These days carriers are like battleships in the second world war - hugely impressive, but not really of very much use.

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UK's EE scores network reliability clean sweep, rival dwarves fume

Ledswinger
Silver badge
Gimp

"one giant toying with three dwarves"

You've seen that vid clip as well?

Can we have an icon for "Aarrghh! I can't unsee that!"

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