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Comment: Re:Time (Score 1) 160

by Rei (#49610195) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

i simply don't belive it. the same argument was used to justify subsidies for electric cars, yet they still don't make economic sense and are more of a novelty or rich person's toy.

Really? So the Model S costs the same as a Roadster?

Sorry if we can't please you with prices instantly dropping to 10% of their former value. I find it unfortunate that you have to be inconvenienced by the fact that these things don't instantly jump forth by orders of magnitude. But if you can't see the continual line of improvements in electric cars from the start of the California ZEV days up to the present day, then I can't help you there.

Comment: Re:Not Actually $3500 (Score 1) 160

by Rei (#49610167) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Of course we're not talking about what the houses uses all the time. We're talking about the spikes that make up part of everyone's everyday lives. Using the stove. Using the microwave. Using an electric kettle. Using a hair drier. Using an electric washer or drier. Running the toaster. And on and on. These things all can use 1 1/2 kW on up just on their own. Anything that needs to make heat is going to gobble down the power.

2 kW sustained max is just way too low.

Comment: Re:Not Actually $3500 (Score 1) 160

by Rei (#49610147) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Burning natural gas, aka heat, is not a "higher grade" energy than electricity, it's a lower grade energy. Electricity can be converted losslessly into heat. Turning heat into electricity loses a large chunk of it.

I agree though that 2kW sustained / 3kW peak is too low for most people - even if they don't use an electric stove. Yes, one can arrange to not use multiple high consumption devices at the same time, but the goal needs to be to not make people's lives more complicated. It's so easy to forget what you have going, too... I always forget that I can't run my microwave and my electric kettle at the same time because they're both on the same circuit and combined it's too much power consumption.

Comment: Re:human overpopulation (Score 2) 132

by ranton (#49608509) Attached to: Empty Landscape Looms, If Large Herbivores Continue to Die Out

Seriously, that gets brought up regularly. The problems start when you start considering "who" we need fewer of. People have a tendency to assume there will be fewer of the "other" people, but we'll keep the population of "good people like me".

Let's not pretend this is the only problem with lowering the global population. Let's also not pretend that any time a problem is not easily solved we should just give up on trying to solve it.

It will be very hard to limit population growth, but without some major breakthroughs in science we may not have any choice. Most likely the people on the short end of the stick will be the ones with the least wealth, just like everything else in life.

Comment: Re: GIGO (Score 2) 72

by Rei (#49608161) Attached to: Microsoft's AI Judges Age From Snapshots, With Mixed Results

I agree. Duh, the program is obviously not perfect and screws up sometimes. But I'm amazed by how good it actually is. Even being able to just ballpark it some of the time would be impressive, but the fact that it gets pretty reasonably close most of the time, I find that incredibly impressive.

Someone on my Facebook feed was complaining about how in a washed-out picture of three children the picture guessed only two of them right, but saw one (a young boy) as an adult woman. My response was to crop out just the washed out face, take it out of context, and point out, if you saw this face, not understanding anything about the context, could you guess it? I certainly couldn't have. But that's exactly what the software has to do.

I took a number of pictures of myself in different angles, making different faces, etc, and its range on age guesses was only 3 years. My brother-in-law managed to get a 20-year difference in guesses by making faces, but I couldn't manage it, and neither could most people I know who tried. Again, computationally, it's very impressive.

Comment: Re: Transphobic assholes (Score 1) 150

by Rei (#49607621) Attached to: Statues of Assange, Snowden and Manning Go Up In Berlin

And how exactly do you know what her DNA is? There are XX men and XY women.

And seriously, of all of the stupid measures of who someone is, DNA has to take the cake. "Okay, okay, this Stephen Hawking guy seems to be smart, but that doesn't matter, what does his DNA say? Does his DNA say he's smart? If not then I don't care what he has to say."

Comment: Re:Minumum Wage will push these sooner (Score 1) 45

by ranton (#49606831) Attached to: Robots In 2020: Lending a Helping Hand To Humans (And Each Other)

One problem with looking into the future is most people only think of one thing changing at a time. For instance many people though that as buildings became taller, restaurants and other services would need to be built in sky scrapers to provide basic services. They didn't think of potential inventions (such as elevators) that would simply make it easy to travel back and forth between 40 stories. Many of the tasks you describe feel very similar to this issue.

Did you know that most McDonalds shut down every night, everything in the kitchen is taken to the sink to be washed and sanitized, then put back so the morning crew can flip a switch and start serving customers?

Robots will not use the same dishes and utensils that humans use to make food. For instance it isn't like you use a robotic arm to physically flip burgers on a pan, you create a conveyor belt that cooks on both sides at the same time. The machines built to replace humans will not only take into consideration the most efficient way to cook food, but also the most efficient ways to either self-clean or be cleanable by another machine.

Did you know that twice a week a huge truck comes by, drops off boxes of food ingredients, and those have to be inventoried and stashed properly so they can be used throughout the week.

If only there was a major e-commerce retailer that has already been working on using fleets of robots to make loading / unloading products easier. I'm sure this technology will never proliferate to other industries. [/sarcasm>]

When that stuff comes, the next promotion that comes around has to be deployed, cardboard cutouts assembled, decor changed, etc.

Even if you couldn't accomplish this with digital signs / posters / etc, these tasks are done infrequently enough that a small group of human employees could probably service dozens if not hundreds of stores.

What I'm trying to tell you is that you can automate the cooking of the meat or the dispensing of the shake but you're not removing any significant amount of man-power to the place. You might be able to shave one or two people during the weekday lunch shifts, but until they start making full on androids you're nowhere near minimum-wage motivated store automation.

1) Kiosks taking orders. If Walmart self-checkout lines are any indicator, one human operator with six kiosks could probably replace six cashiers.
2) Machines cooking the food. Plenty of machines already help cook food now, but once again I could forsee machines that reduce three line cooks with one line cook and more machinery.
3) Machines packaging the food. Again you will likely need some human intervention, but this also removes a few staff members.
4) Lower number of employees also means a lower number of shift supervisors.

I could easily see a McDonalds crew being cut by half or even 75% with only today's level of technology. The only thing stopping it is the robots are still more expensive than humans. More engineers would certainly have jobs, but probably around the rate of 1 more engineering job per 10-20 crew member jobs lost.

Comment: Re:Popular support (Score 1) 173

by Rei (#49604743) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

I don't think NASA needs to make the fictional heroes; I think every piece of sci-fi that comes out helps inspire the next generation. I guarantee you that there's tons kids and young teens who saw, say, Gravity and think that's what it is to work at NASA and have set that as their aspiration. "Astronaut" is usually in the top 10 of what kids want to be when they grow up.

More than anything else, I see the main point of having astronauts is just to inspire kids. Just knowing that there's people going up there is enough - they don't need ot be doing big stunts that cost hundreds of billions of dollars to put a footprint on a distant body; they simply need to be twirling around in zero G in LEO.

Do molecular biologists wear designer genes?