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Blue Ink Blue Ink
  • Scott Hanselman, what's your take on this

    , davewill wrote


    Don't we get into a slippery slope by saying one concrete idea can be protected longer than another concrete idea?

    Not necessarily. Patents must expire when the invention is still valuable, otherwise inventors would get what amounts to a permanent monopoly.

    If ideas in some field get old faster, it follows that those patents must expire earlier.

    Now, given that being granted a temporary monopoly is extremely valuable, it's interesting to see how we can make sure that states never end up making a bad deal...

  • Evaluation of tablet market and what Microsoft should ship ASAP

    , androidi wrote


    It just makes absolutely zero practical sense to upgrade from 2003 and normal users I've talked to feel the same. For a new tablet Office, thus ability to roundtrip the documents with existing 203 installs is key.

    Here's some practical sense. You may be on your personal crusade against Windows 8, or the ribbon, and I respect that, but I can tell you from experience that if you recommend unsupported software to friends and customers, these won't stay your friends and customers for long.

    This leaves relatives, though: relatives are OK.

    Seriously, though: even if you can manage to make stuff work, that will become the scapegoat of anything bad happening on that machine. If you really hate the ribbon so much, I would recommend you take a good look at LibreOffice instead.


  • Cosmos on global warming

    , Proton2 wrote


    You still haven't addressed the fact that Zeppelins were being riddles with bullets and they did not explode.

    Hydrogen and oxygen still need an energy source to get things going and despite what Hollywood likes to make us believe, a bullet is not an efficient way to blow stuff up.

    For what it's worth, from Wikipedia:

    Contrary to expectation, it was not easy to ignite the hydrogen using standard bullets and shrapnel. The Allies only started to exploit the Zeppelin's great vulnerability to fire when a combination of explosive and incendiary ammunition was introduced during 1916.

    Since then, we learned how to use sparks to ignite gas mixtures, which is fortunate: tracer rounds would probably add a funny aftertaste to the stew.

  • rename this place ....

    , MasterPi wrote


    I wasn't referring to thread count specifically - people could be around C9 and just never post anything for a long time. While your account age is definitely a good indicator of whether you could be trusted or not, I don't think it should be weighted so highly.

    I'd use account age as an indicator that allows mods to bulk delete the posts of a user. That alone would mean that our good mods don't have to spend the afternoon cleaning up.

  • is this just me Bing Map?

    You don't need a compass. The side of your phone with moss on it is facing north.

  • rename this place ....

    , Duncanma wrote

    @Bas: yeah, true enough. Just trying not to make something that will be easily circumvented. Continuing with *the plan*

    I don't know what your big plan is, but did you ever consider open sourcing this thing? Instead of pestering you with our "one line of code" change that would make us happy, we could provide actual pull requests.


  • Cosmos on global warming

    , Proton2 wrote


    Look, I took physics in University, I'm a scientists. Hydrogen well mixed with oxygen is a very powerful explosive. The zeppelins during WWII didn't explode when bombarded with hundreds of bullets by air gunners, they just slowly leaked and returned to their home German ports.

    Hello, I'm your resident nitpicker for the day. :)

    Not sure what you saw, but there were no military Zeppelins in the skies in WWII. The last rigid airships were scrapped by the Germans in 1940 shortly after the war began.

  • Cosmos on global warming

    , BitFlipper wrote

    @Blue Ink: Yes solar has the downside of output only during a short time of the day, however you don't need coal or batteries to provide energy during the off peak times. It can circulate liquid between hot/cold reservoirs so that you can get output 24 hours of the day so it is clean (compared to coal or batteries).

    Also, given the size of uninhabited deserts we have lying around, is the size of solar farms really an issue or just a scare tactic? The vast majority of the required area will be taken up by arrays of cheap mirrors.

    OK, scratch batteries, replace with energy storage. It's not the technical means, it's the concept: energy storage can mitigate solar variability, but the system will always be subject to extreme conditions.

    The size issue is complex; there are energy transmission costs, grid refactoring, the simple fact that not every country has a spare desert. But aside from everything else, it boils down to the fact that the larger the installation, the more expensive its maintenance. Which doesn't mean that solar is impractical, it's just something that has to be considered.

    , JohnAskew wrote


    PV?  Re: large amounts of water; is salt-water not feasible? It's plentiful enough...

    I got my Geothermal panties on.

    PV == Photovoltaic.

    Salt water? Maybe. Or sewage for that matter... cheapest depurator ever. :)


  • Cosmos on global warming

    , BitFlipper wrote

    Can geothermal really be practical on a very large scale? It seems solar thermal would just be easier and cheaper on every level.

    Geothermal can be very practical very fast, solve our energy problems in just a few decades and keep us going for centuries. If you are interested, there's a comprehensive study on the subject: "The Future of Geothermal Energy" (2007) by the MIT.

    Except it won't be allowed to happen: it's a lot like fracking, except it's long term, no instant jackpot, no support by deep-pocketed oil companies. Enough to scare politicians and investors away for the time being.

    By the way, geothermal is significantly better than solar on two counts: it's constant 24 hours a day and 365 days a year (which means no coal power to back it up, no batteries, no nothing) and it doesn't require thousands of square miles.

    To be fair, it has one downside to PV, and that's that it requires large amounts of water, considerably more than the equivalent fossil-fuel power plant.


  • Cosmos on global warming

    , BitFlipper wrote

    It seems all forms of mass power generation follow the following pattern:

        Heat source > Steam > Turbines > Electricity > Transmission

    We'll ignore photovoltaic cells since they are cost prohibitive at that scale. So it seems then for the most part we can ignore everything else and focus just on the heat source since that is the only variable part.

    Now I often wonder about the following: For all heat sources except solar, we cause heat to be released in large quantities, whether by burning coal, nuclear, even the mythical nuclear fusion. But in the case of solar (both photovoltaic and thermal), we are simply capturing energy and then releasing it at a later time somewhere else (because almost all of the electrical power is eventually released back into the environment as heat). IOW, other than for solar, we are adding additional heat into the environment.

    So how much does this play part in the overall picture? Is it significant enough that it is yet another advantage that solar has over other energy sources?

    Rough calculation:

    The Sun shines some 1.1 billion TWh every year on our planet.

    We produce some 150,000 TWh every year.

    Even assuming we completely switched to nuclear (all the energy we use would be "new heat"), our contribution would be less than 0.015%. I'll let you decide if that's relevant.

    Keep in mind that a lot of other energy sources are really fueled by insolation, except with some variable delay. For instance, hydroelectric (< 1 year delay), biomass (< 1 year, usually), biofuels (< 1 year), wood (3 - 50 years), fossil fuels (> 1000000 years).