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Blue Ink Blue Ink
  • 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).

  • Give me your best.

    @figuerres: you missed "Massage her feet". :)

  • @fanbaby, @bass and especially @beer28

    , Bass wrote


    Well one example: Amazon forked Android completely, they don't answer to Google at all. In theory any OEM can do this, but most don't think its worth the effort arguably because Android is royalty-free anyway. If Google started charging even $1 per device for Android I think a lot of the big OEMs would suddenly have a change of heart.

    Another example is the Nokia X for that matter, which is a pretty interesting situation.

    That, and other hints, indicate that Google doesn't have much control over the platform anymore and they may have to do something about it.

    Interesting times.

  • Scott Hanselman, what's your take on this

    , Craig_​Matthews wrote

    Patents have pages and pages of details and diagrams and flowcharts filed with the US Government. Not sure what 'vague' means here.

    You can flowchart all you want, this kind of patent is ridiculous, and any body of laws that enables me to file such a patent should self-ignite in shame.

    I'll be the first to say that Google is the one trolling the software industry (among other things), but that doesn't justifies the indiscriminate use of patents to fight back.

  • Cosmos on global warming

    , evildictait​or wrote


    No. It detonated like hydrogen detonates.

    With the Hindenberg, the fire spread through the ship at 50 metres per second. That's 110mph  - four times faster than a gasoline explosion in an ordinary gas engine.

      If those numbers are accurate, then the Hindenburg couldn't possibly detonate. At most it deflagrated.


  • Apple, Fiat, Starbucks tax evasion

    , JohnAskew wrote

    @Proton2: Nobody seems terribly interested in your wealth problems. Must be an awful burden.


    Isn't there a quote about the obligation of nobility? Isn't this the time to roll that out?

    Tax avoidance is a way to be UN-patriotic. It is "wrong". It will be illegal when reason takes hold.

    That's pretty much the argument about the "spirit of the law".

    Or even the lesser "law of the spirits": you don't show up at a BYOB party with a miniature.(protesting "hey, it is a bottle" will not help your case, nor your coccyx).

  • Cortana on other platforms

    , Ian2 wrote

    I guess a watch might be a step but I was thinking of some future as yet just abstract device.

    Lets see what a watch could bring beyond a phone?

    I guess touching our skin would allow it to gain some basic information from our bodies.- temperature, ongoing pulse, as well as changes in our body that somehow permeate through to the skin.

    A gyro could monitor our activity.

    We should also get all the benefits of a fitbit type device.

    I'm sure Cortana could do something interesting :

    Scenario 1: Pulse high but gyro indicates little movement:, or maybe just pulse erratic - I might want Cortana to text someone close to me?

    Scenario 2: (Assuming that the watch measures external air temperature as well as my own): I might want an alert if there was a significant change from my body temperature as compared and correlated to air temperature?

    Scenario 3: I didn't go for my daily run the previous day - I might want some encouragement from Cortana (don't forget I am a geek)

    I'm sure there are many more ...

    Would that be sufficient to make you wear a device that needs recharging at night? I may be not enough of a geek, but my patience with chargers is running real low these days.

  • Apple, Fiat, Starbucks tax evasion

    @DaveWill2: +1

    Also, it's hard to believe that governments don't have more creative ways to pressure companies into paying what's due.

  • Saying vs. Doing...

    , ScanIAm wrote


    is there profit in that?

    Apparently so.