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Comment: Re:Range is not the issue. Cost is. (Score 1) 117

I know about Musk and the giga factory. The giga factory for batteries are not exclusively focused on automobile batteries. They are going after residential solar energy storage. Those batteries do not have weigth, volume or crash worthiness requirements of auto batteries. So that problem is likely to be solved first. Musk is also promoting distributed solar utilities, companies that would own and operate solar panels in residences and sell the homeowner metered electricity just like a utility. Thus homeowner does not do any up front investment, nor has to do any break even point calculations. Solar PV is just coming around to a price point to make this viable. Giga factory is likely to benefit them first.

Comment: Range is not the issue. Cost is. (Score 1) 117

Almost everyone focuses on the limited range and the longer recharge times as the main reason why electric cars have not taken off.

I think that is not really the case. The initial extra cost of the battery is so high, even after subsidies the break even period for an electric car compared to gas car is very long. If this issue is addressed, some people will be interested in buying these cars, with 80 to 100 mile range.

Once people start buying electric cars purely on economic grounds, a whole array of secondary services will come up to alleviate the range problem. Charging stations would expand the commute distance from 30 mile max one way to 60 mile max one way. Gas car rental companies will come up with subscription plans to give access to a gas car a few times a year. Even car makers might offer such deals. BMW already offers gas car loaner for a few times a year for the buyers of BMW i3. Towed range extender batteries might show up. Towed range extender diesel packs might show up. Franchises offering charged battery swaps can happen.

Free market is a bitch. It is thwarting electric cars right now despite many great things about electric cars. No timing belt replacement, no oil changes, clean and simple cars, without any serious tranmission issues. Motor replacement is an order of magnitude simpler than IC-engine-transmission replacement. But battery cost is too high and the free market is emphatically saying thumbs down. Once the battery cost problem is fixed, the very same free market will turn around in a dime and nothing can stop electric cars from peeling of a significant market share. But it will happen only if the cost issue is addressed. It will not happen before that time.

Comment: Re:this is also known by a different name (Score 3, Insightful) 177

Apathy is the greatest danger to democracy. If the voters did not care to know the issues, if the voters could be bamboozled by a few million dollars spent on an ad campaign and turn against the mayor who tried to help them, how can the be helped?

Comment: It is their fault. (Score 2, Interesting) 256

They were delicious. And we were hungry. God did give them tooth and claw. Despite it they did not defend themselves. May be they wanted to be eaten.

You may not agree with this statement. But shockingly there is a strain of political thought in America that applies exactly this principle to the human society and the poor people. And ironically those who profess these "maker vs taker" are shocked when they are told they are practicing social Darwinism.

Comment: yeah, why can't they suck boundary layer ...? (Score 1) 127

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#47529735) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?
All that complexity of wrapping an airtight skin around sheet metal with holes, a vacuum system to create dimples on the fly... All to get some fuel efficiency through lower drag? An plug in electric car effectively buys as at some 2$ a gallon. Still, the extra price of battery makes the break even time longer than the life of the car. And what kind of pay back period for ugly looking warty lumpy bumpy car?

There are tons of complex technologies to reduce drag. Boundary layer suction for example. Drill small holes all along the skin of the aircraft or the car. Create channels below, connect to a pump and suck air. This controls the growth of boundary layer and it could delay the "separation" way beyond what a dimpled surface can. Typically smooth ball flow separates two or three degrees past the poles, and dimpling can delay it by another 10 degrees. Boundary layer suction can delay it way past 45 degrees. NASA experimental aircraft with boundary layer suction showed drag reduction by a factor of 2 or 3, can't remember. Remember the airliner makers are fighting in the third significant digit of the drag coefficient. Do you see any boundary layer sucking aircraft around?

Moral of the story, there are tons and tons of complex technology that can do wonderful things. Most will not get beyond a couple of papers in Journal of Thingamajigger, a tenure track position for a post-doc, and may be, if it is really interesting and really unusual, a 2 inch side bar in Popular Mechanics. (BTW does it still exist? Popular Mechanics, I mean).

Comment: Why would they conserve? (Score 1) 353

What is the real incentive for any one to conserve the ground water? If some one owns a square inch of land, he/she gets to suck out as much as he/she can out of the "his/her" ground. It is private property rights, stupid. If the owner did not do so, the neighbor will do so. So all it takes is a few short term "my property, my way, you go to hell" people, and it will be a race to the bottom in the earnest.

Half the congress is corrupt and is paid to keep quiet. The other half makes some half hearted noises and then it too keeps quiet. Gutless administration is not able to arrest and throw in jail a defiant scofflaw who did not pay taxes for decades, who owes millions of dollars and a few rag tag militia with some rifles drove off the BLM officials.

How can there be any water conservation?

Comment: aaargh! pinheads in the IT. (Score 0) 230

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#47501829) Attached to: Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads
One of my friends was complaining about his VPN. Fellow has 50 Mbps/25 Mbps FiOS set up. But the corporate official VPN uses some strange protocol. Once the VPN is connected ALL the traffic from the local machine will go the corporate VPN host. The host sends the packet out. And the corporate VPN host connection is something similar 100/100 Mbps. But that connection is divvied up into fixed slices per VPN connection. Between 50 and 75 users at a time. So each connection gets 1 Mbps or 2. But the site is drawing ALL the traffic from all the VPN users. The damned thing crawls to snails place. So his pricey 50/25 connection is useless as far as the VPN is concerned.

Symmetric upload/download will help him a lot because he runs OpenGL 3D graphics clients displaying CAD/CAM geometry over this connection. So this automatic upgrade to 50/50 should be a great news for him. Except he is in ISP giveth IT taketh away situation. Should call him, send this link and rub some salt into his wounds. Schadenfreude never felt this delicious.

Comment: Plain business as usual. (Score 1, Insightful) 171

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#47500607) Attached to: California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory
California was not in the running. Suddenly it is in the running. Looks like it is a simple bargaining strategy to extract more pounds of flesh from whoever is despo enough to want that factory. Expect 20 year tax abatement on property taxes, pledge to improve road/rail access to the factory site by local municipalities, some "flexibility" in enforcement of some regulations...

Or typical evil big business as usual.

As long as we coddle these "big" guys, they will take it all and come begging for more.

"An arm and a leg? That was last year? What are you giving me this year? How about the other arm and the leg?"

"Both arms and legs? That was last year? What about this year? Look, as business we are supposed to look for profit and not feel stupid things like gratitude. I hear the other state has both legs and arms. If I don't extract it from them, my shareholders will sue. So see ya."

Comment: Dumb idea. (Score 2) 156

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#47490199) Attached to: Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars
Subsidies will not make the product viable.

Electric cars has many inherent advantages. Maximum torque at zero RPM for the electric motors is a big one, removes the transmission and all complexities associated with it. Electric motors are far more reliable than IC engines. There are instances of traction motors, whose coils were wound and sealed in 1920s hauling street cars till they died circa 1960s. No oil change, no tune ups, no timing belt replacements... Charging them overnight from the grid would be like buying gasoline at 2$ a gallon.

Still the initial cost of a 100 mile range battery is so high, it does not break even for a long time. That is the major hurdle. Not range anxiety. If the battery price drops people will buy them. Car rental companies will come up with competitively priced plans to access gasoline cars for the few times a year people need the longer range. Third parties will develop towable battery packs or gasoline range extenders. U-Haul franchises might start offering battery swap stations. Range is NOT what killing electric car. It is the price of battery.

If/when that price breakthrough comes, you would find all the gasoline car companies stand line at Washington DC, holding their hats asking for more government subsidies for gas cars.

Comment: Motion sickness is protective. (Score 1) 154

The brain gets lots of sensory input. It has evolved some kind of input validation procedure. The inner ears are sending information about which direction is up and which is down. We are also getting visual input, from which you can deduce the "up" direction. The trees and shrubs in the jungle, pillars, walls of the building etc tell the "up" direction. The brain expects them to be in synch. When they contradict one another, it could be due to some poisonous thing one has eaten. So throwing up is a reasonable reaction.

Of course as with any evolutionary biology explanation, the brain did not reason it out. It the past the bodies that had a nausea response to contradiction between visual and inner-ear cues of direction of gravity survived better and passed on their genes to us.

Comment: Will have no effect in the company (Score 1) 383

All those people who can make a difference have are all gone, pushed out, cashed out or burnt out. It is PHBs all the way up and all the way down. What salary they save will be paid out as bonuses to the executives. It was going nowhere with N people, now it will get there faster with (N - 18000) people.

Comment: I got a fool proof method (Score 1, Funny) 278

I apply ROT-13 encryption on my passwords TWICE, and write down the resulting string in a post it note and paste it to the *underside* of the key board. Ha, ha, I am really safe. I can use this technique on all the sites, high value... low value... no value... INBD.

Comment: Re:Improving cooking is not easy. (Score 1) 204

oops hit submit too soon.

The flare pot looks nice and it might improve heat transfer. If the interior is also fluted, it would be very difficult to keep clean. The exterior flukes have nice large radius of curvature so should be easy to clean, but still not as easy to clean as the regular smooth pans. Food in contact with the wall might heat up too quickly and not transfer the heat to rest of the food. Food away from the wall might be undercooked and the food in contact with the wall might char. It is probably suitable for soups and broths. But for cooking rice and such not very liquidy food, heating the wall too rapidly would be a problem.

While money doesn't buy love, it puts you in a great bargaining position.

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