Year: 2016

Ethics: slippery subject because people have different stances.

Ethics is a slippery subject. Different people have different ethical stances, so if I were to say “that’s unethical” to you, you’d be likely to misunderstand me. One common ethical stance is utilitarianism. This stance purports to optimize collective welfare. I don’t know any NSA people, but it seems likely that they share a utilitarian approach to ethical decision making,… Read more →

Sample text in many languages

Have you been around long enough to remember the Kermit terminal program? It was a very important way of getting online in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Frank da Cruz, Kermit’s creator, also has an interest in world languages and Unicode. He put together a terrific web page containing samples of text in many languages. If you’re looking for short… Read more →

Battery costs and the smart grid

The GM company recently disclosed, to their vendor’s dismay, that they can buy electric-vehicle batteries for their new Bolt EV for US$145 per kilowatt hour. It’s rare enough to find costs for these batteries that it’s worth doing a scratchpad computation of what the payback might look like for home electric use. My home electricity supplier (National Grid) charges separately for… Read more →