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OccupySF IT Admins Using Pedal Power For Protest 202

99luftballon writes "The OccupySF team have been running an ad-hoc computer network on the streets of San Francisco without a steady power source, no Wi-Fi and even the occasional police raid. It turns out the best way to keep the lights on is car batteries and pedal power."
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OccupySF IT Admins Using Pedal Power For Protest

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  • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Informative)

    by demachina ( 71715 ) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:45PM (#37720998)

    The TARP was a TINY fraction of the free money the banks got. They paid back the TARP money they got directly but they didn't even have to pay back all the money that was funnelled through AIG directly in to their pockets, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche bank in particular. If AIG has been allowed to fail and those tax payer billions hadn't been funnelled through AIG, Goldman Sachs and the rest would have failed.

    The banks are still getting free money by the truck loads.

    First, they got to unload hundreds of billions in toxic assets on the Fed in exchange for fresh green backs at 100 cents on the dollar.

    The Fed has their interest rates to banks set at approximately zero. The economists term for this is "financial repression", where interest rates are substantially below inflation. Its designed to completely screw people who save to bail out debtors including banks. It especially screws seniors who live on CD interest. It is designed to force them to gamble on the stock market to just stay even. Many seniors who remember the '29 crash dont want to play the stock market.

    There are also still trillions in loan guarantees that will dealry cost someone if those assets crater which some of will if there is a double dip.

    And the Fed constantly pumps hundreds of billions in short term, low interest loans, to all sorts of troubled banks, all the time through the discount window.

    Companies like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are pure gamblers, they pocket the profits when they win. They should NEVER be allowed to come to the U.S. taxpayer or the Fed when they lose.

    Bottom line, banks get their money at zero percent. The poor get their money from payday loans at 30% and up.

  • Re:Really.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by subreality ( 157447 ) on Friday October 14, 2011 @09:47PM (#37721004)

    Bizarrely, the double conversion might be more efficient than a car charger. Car chargers are often just linear regulators, which means they're dropping 12v to 5v by dumping the difference to heat. They're only about 40% efficient.

    An inverter is usually 80-90% efficient. AC switchmode power supplies (which is what USB wall-warts are) are 80-90% efficient. That's about 65-80% efficient, full-cycle. The inverter won't do well at low-load, but if they have a half-dozen wall warts on a plugstrip, they'll do better than your average car charger.

    People recombining technologies to make a new thing isn't bad. From a philosophical standpoint, electrical engineers are doing the same thing - they're just recombining slightly lower-level technologies. Sure, a 12v-5v DC-DC converter will do better, but is it really worth the extra engineering effort when you already have the necessary higher-level components to build something that works?

  • Re:waste of time (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:32PM (#37721296)

    Can the protesters focus on winning instead of trying to be techie??

    Winning what? Nobody knows what they actually want, including the protesters. Their message ranges anywhere from simply giving unions a bigger piece of the pie to outright Marxism.

  • Re:Really.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2011 @10:35PM (#37721316)

    i've taken apart about 20 no-name car chargers now. linear regulators are too expensive, too much dissapted heat means you need expensive metal to make a heatsink. counter-intuitively, switching regulator designs are cheaper to produce. they are almost all based on the mc30463 or equivalent circuit.

  • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Informative)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Friday October 14, 2011 @11:38PM (#37721626)

    A brilliant lie. Almost believable, with that tiny grain of truth in the middle. Of course, the top 10% of earners pay 70% of income taxes. Which account for well under half of the government's revenues. Most of the rest comes from Social Security payroll taxes, of which the vast majority is paid by the middle class.

    Once you account for that, you quickly find that the top 10% earn about 45% of the income and pay about 45% of the taxes. Except for one small problem. No one is out there saying "We are the 90%". The top 1% of earners have 35% of the wealth and pay only around 25% of the taxes.

    And then, of course, you need to account for disposable income. Someone in the bottom quintile has no disposable income at all. If you charge them an extra dollar in taxes, you have to give them an extra dollar in food stamps or else let them starve. Someone in the middle quintile has some disposable income, but not much. Most of their paycheck immediately goes to their mortgage and car payments and insurance premiums and grocery bills and so on. They pay what they can, but higher taxes can cause them serious hardship.

    In the top 1%, nearly all wealth is disposable. These people could live in luxury on just 10% of their incomes... often on just 1%. Raising their marginal tax rate by 5 percentage points would have no real impact on their quality of life, while giving us enough extra money to (and this is just an example, not a recommendation) double the funding of the Department of Education.

    And I haven't even started talking about sales taxes yet....

  • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Informative)

    by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Friday October 14, 2011 @11:51PM (#37721702)

    Well, it did nothing for the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.

  • Re:Uh... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Grave ( 8234 ) <awalbert88.hotmail@com> on Saturday October 15, 2011 @12:59AM (#37721958)

    "take money away from people who have a lot of it"??

    When the fuck did paying your fair share of taxes become akin to theft?

  • by ukemike ( 956477 ) on Saturday October 15, 2011 @05:43AM (#37722700) Homepage
    Anyone who says he doesn't get what these demonstrations are about is clueless or lying. We want this country to be run for the benefit of all the people. It's that simple, and that complex. Though I don't fully agree with it, I think that the Occupy Oakland website makes some good points:

    To the Politicians and the 1%: This occupation is its own demand.

    Since we don’t need permission to claim what is already ours, we do not have a list of demands to give you. There is no specific thing you can do in order to make us “go away”. And the last thing we want is for you to preserve your power, to reinforce your role as the ruling classes in our society.

    It may not be obvious to you, but the decisions you make daily, as well as this system you are a part of, these things are not working for us. Our goal is bring power back where it belongs, with the people, so we can fix what politicians and corporations have screwed up.

    Stand aside!

    To the Media: Our struggle won’t fit in a 15 second soundbite.

    This occupation is a beginning, and we have a long way to go. And while we have much in common, we believe the people are stronger united behind many banners, rather than a single one. We want to make it very clear that Occupy Oakland is not putting forward leaders, tactical or strategic directives, or a uniform message or political platform.

    One of the ways I disagree with that statement is I believe there are concrete things that can be done now that will make a big difference in our lives. Without even taking a breath, I can rattle off a dozen of things, any of which would start us down a path to the overall goal of running this nation for the people and by the people...

    1 corporations are not persons and do not have rights other than those explicitly granted in their corporate charter
    2 return of the Glass-Steagall Act
    3 a small transaction tax on all trades of stocks, bonds, commodities, and derivatives
    4 minimum requirements for cash on hand for all financial institutions
    5 restrictions on derivatives including bans on instruments that pose systemic risk
    6 a public banking sector, run at the state and local level like in Germany, to provide reasonable and fair financing to people and businesses
    7 progressive income taxes and capital gains that are more in line with historical periods of prosperity, like the '50s or '60s
    8 real patent and copyright reform
    9 single payer healthcare or a robust public insurance choice
    10 ban all donations to elections or elected officials except limited and disclosed donations from individuals, screw that, publicly funded elections are better, make the bastards come to my neighborhood and talk me into voting for them and ban all bribes/donations
    11 audit the Federal Reserve
    12 stop waging wars, especially unnecessary wars

    now once that is in place we can start talking about real reform.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson