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Comment: Re:So many reasons (Score 1) 553 553

too many of you tweedles and dees are coming from one population and urban planning context that is not in any way a given.

You're not getting it. 85% of the country lives in that context. We're already at the point where the vast majority of the country could go to even the inferior electrics and still be completely fine for the drives they actually do all the time. For the Teslas (the only EVs I don't consider inferior right now), 96% of the country would never get stranded in one. You are an outlier. And even you don't lie all that far out.

I'm driving more than a hundred miles in any given direction at least once a week. Maybe its family. Maybe its friends. Sometimes its work.

A Tesla Roadster 3.0 has a range of 400 miles on one charge. Tada, problem solved.

They're generally small which means you can't throw your crap in it or rug rats or pack it full of your friends.

Tesla Model S seats 7 adults quite comfortably, and has double the cargo capacity of any other sedan.

They're often more expensive which is not going to help sales.

THAT is why the 96% of the country that could use one doesn't buy one. No solution for that just yet.

...think they're helping the evironment or something because they bought a car full of highly toxic batteries.

Lithium batteries aren't highly toxic. You can eat them. (Seriously. 85% of ingested batteries pass on through without incident. [Eisen GM, Baron TH, Dominitz JA, Faigel DO, Goldstein JL, Johanson JF, et al. Guideline for the management of ingested foreign bodies. Gastrointest Endosc. 2002;55:802–6.])

I want us to transition to a fully electric fleet.

Do you Grock me? However... there is a time when it is right. We're getting closer all the time.

We are NOT there yet.

Really, we are. Except for the money. The available EVs that aren't hopelessly compromised are too expensive for the majority to buy. Even the ones that are hopelessly compromised are too expensive. But there's no physical reason the residential fleet couldn't transition today.

And for you outliers, relax. Diesel electric trains aren't going away. Neither is the diesel tractor trailer. One hopes it will become a diesel electric tractor trailer just like the train, but regardless, it will still have the diesel engine. Diesel will continue to be made, in bulk, for a long, long time to come.

I'm actually more interested in bio fuels at this point than I am in electric cars. A carbon neutral locally generated gasoline might a nice transitional technology.

I think I'd enjoy as well for the same reason I find e-cigs funny. They don't cause cancer but the anti smoking lobby hates them as much as they hate tobacco cigs. A carbon neutral diesel fuel would fill me orgasmic levels of trollish glee.

I think you'll get your wish, for diesel. Unless somebody comes up with alien technology electric energy storage, trains, semi tractors, and farm tractors may never transition off of diesel, ever.

Comment: Re:Range and recharging time (Score 1) 553 553

Physically, there is room. Economically, there is not. Pickups are already brushing the top of what people are willing to pay for them.

That's why I said it may require a whole Gigafactory of its own to hit the required price point.

And nobody is going to buy a Tesla pickup. People are married to brands in trucks.

Admittedly, the top three selling truck lines are Ford, Chevy, and Dodge, in that order, and their sales account for more than all of the other brands combined. Having said that, I recall a conversation between two of my neighbors, both pickup drivers. The one tells the other that he "could tow you down the street backwards" and the other objecting with "no you can't!" "Yes I can. Four wheel drive!" "Oh," and the neighbor with the "inferior" truck looked so crestfallen.

That, to me, looks like the thin edge of the wedge needed to pry some fraction of the truck market out of the hands of the F-series. An EV pickup done Tesla style could have performance characteristics head and shoulders above anything physically possible for an ICE pickup, in all of the categories that matter in an actual work truck, without compromising styling in the least. I'm not certain a Silly Valley company like Tesla could achieve that last point, since California doesn't love trucks the way Tennessee does, but maybe it could be done. Being made in America by Americans might at least let them do better than the rather pathetic numbers Nissan and Honda put up.

It would be interesting to watch them try.

Comment: Re:How much electricity was used last month to min (Score 1) 149 149

I don't get your logic, because both EVs and computers use electricity. Are you saying that EVs get their electricity from green sources, and Bitcoins are mined with filthy old fossil-fuel power?

Also, consider monetary systems where banknotes are hauled around in armoured trucks, vs. a computer network that accomplished the same with a fraction of the resources.

In general, people should do more with computers/networks, instead of driving around to offices.

FlyHelicopters isn't too bright. He's wrong a lot of the time, and every time somebody explains why he's wrong, as you did in your third and fourth sentences, he responds with shock that no one can understand why he's right. It's a rather childish defense mechanism, but he can't seem to help himself.

Comment: Re:So many reasons (Score 1) 553 553

And in the unusual situations you're utterly fucked in the ass if you have only an electric car.

What, did Enterprise Rent-a-car just evaporate overnight? Did Hertz go bankrupt when I wasn't looking? Did Avis suffer a hostile takeover by... aliens?

Seriously, dial back the rhetoric just a hair. Most households are 2 car households, so the "if you only have an electric car" scenario is vanishingly rare to start with (most households don't replace both cars simultaneously), and for those few where it applies, there are plenty of rental options. Hell, I know people who own two ICEs who still rent a minivan when they want to go on a long road trip. They'd rather put the miles on a rental than their own personal vehicles.

Comment: Re:Range and recharging time (Score 1) 553 553

I leave home in a pickup truck and drive 267 miles to a motel.

I've been thinking for the past year that the pickup truck is ripe for replacement with an EV model. The Tesla Model S, the only pure-electric worth mentioning, is very heavy. It's not heavier than the ICE luxury sedans in its class, but it's right up there with them. Contrast that with a luxury pickup, where if you're not pushing 3 tons (GVWR), you're not trying. In a wheelbase that is both longer and wider than a luxury sedan. And 4 and 5 ton GVWR pickups are available.

Some of the weight difference definitely gets eaten by the vehicle frame, so it's capable of the hauling and towing capacities that make it "super duty", but there's a whole lot of room there for more batteries than any sedan could reasonably carry. As in, a ton or more of extra battery. An EV super duty pickup truck could be a 400-mile range vehicle. Possibly even more, just because there's so much room in the weight class. It could have so much extra battery capacity after only a 100 mile round trip to the job site that it could act as a portable battery pack for power tools. For job sites that don't have electricity yet, just run extension cords from the six NEMA 5-20 outlets integrated into a service panel in the side of the truck.

I'm assuming Tesla has already thought of this, but just can't build yet another line simultaneously with all the others. Plus it really needs a whole Gigafactory of its own to be a reasonable product line. But I could see it being a thing in 5 or 6 years. 800 horsepower full time four wheel drive with fantastic amounts of torque. It could outsell the Model X.

Comment: Re:A conundrum (Score 1) 81 81

Who do we root for? Prenda, FBI, or PirateBay.

Sadly, it's probably a moot point. Haven't we already read the stories of how PirateBay, in their zeal to become untouchable, keeps no logs? The FBI will come away disappointed that they can neither do what they were sent for, nor troll the logs for evidence of other illegal activity, and Prenda will skate on federal charges for lack of evidence. Truly a crying shame.

Comment: Re:Basically, you can only spend so much (Score 1) 184 184

Now take a Donald Trump. No matter how greedy he is there's only just so much he can buy. At some point his money is just sitting around, doing nothing. He'll invest some of it, lose some of it, etc. But He's only got so much time in the day to do that. Eventually it becomes a war chest laying around doing nothing.

Except, that isn't how it works. That money is doing something, somewhere, all the time. No, he doesn't have it in a shoe box.

It is also not sitting idle in a bank account, but even that has benefits to the balance sheets of a bank. It is in investment companies being invested into new companies that will create jobs.

No it's not. It's really not.

Trump is probably a bad example because he goes bankrupt all the time, but pick any other hundred-millionaire or billionaire and look at where their money is. It is NOT in new companies. It is in old companies. It's in the stock market, chasing fewer and fewer stocks, driving their valuations to stratospheric levels completely divorced from the P/E ratio of the companies involved. It's creating bubbles in stocks, in commodities, in real estate, jumping from "sure thing" to "sure thing" with manic desperation. It most definitely is not creating new companies and new jobs. Look at the statistics for both job creation and small business creation. Both are effectively nonexistent.

Why? Let's examine the reasons.

The four Walton siblings collect approximately $3 billion dollars per year in Walmart dividends, every year. That's cash money that has to go somewhere, and even the most lavish of all possible lifestyles can't suck it up, so of course some large fraction of that cash gets reinvested. According to Forbes, the four of them together control $144 billion. Much of that is Walmart stock, but the rest is wherever those dividends have been reinvested.

Let's try to put that number into perspective. They could, in theory, get together and buy outright any but the largest 36 publicly traded companies in the world. That includes names like Honeywell, ConocoPhillips, Goldman Sachs, Caterpillar, Walgreen, and Monsanto, to name but a few. Any two of them could buy General Motors and have at least $16 billion left over. Any one of them could buy Tesla Motors and have at least $9 billion left over.

Except, of course, they can't. It's not possible. Even if Alice Walton decided tomorrow that she really wanted to get out of consumer retail and into car manufacturing, she can't buy Tesla Motors. The NASDAQ couldn't take the shock. She'd have to liquidate some large fraction of her Walmart holdings, which would cause Walmart's share price to go through wild fluctuations as other billionaires tried to figure out what she's doing and whether or not she knows something they don't know about Walmart's health as a business. The NASDAQ circuit breaker would kick in, WMT would stop trading, and her brothers and sister would be on the phone yelling, "What the hell are you doing?!"

That's at the top end of what's conceivable, but not possible. Now let's consider the bottom end. Say, instead of a big splash, Alice Walton decides to use her ~$700 million in 2014 Walmart dividends, basically pocket money for her, to start a new business. Again, for the sake of comparison, let's consider a subject near and dear to Slashdot's heart, SpaceX. Elon Musk invested $100 million into SpaceX by the 4th year of its operations, according to the New York Times, quoting his own public statements. Alice Walton could, using one year of cash earnings from Walmart, invest seven times what Elon Musk invested into SpaceX in four years into her own new rocket company.

So where is it? Where's the new rocket company? SpaceX has done its capitalistic best to demonstrate that it's downright easy to compete with the United Launch Alliance, signing 46 launch contracts in a handful of years, demonstrating vast untapped demand, demand that pundits claimed didn't even exist just 5 years ago.

Ok, maybe rockets are too hard. Where's the new car company? Not a Walton family endeavor either. Tesla Motors stock has gone up by a factor of 450! Isn't capitalism about efficient (read, high return) investment? Yet the Waltons are nowhere to be found.

Ok, maybe any capital-intensive industry is asking too much. How about a new knowledge company? Technology and knowledge work are The Future, right? So where's the next technology-driven startup, funded by Walton family pocket change? Google? Nope. Twitter? Nope. I could go on, but let's just cut to the chase. There aren't any at all.

So where is Walton family money going? $1 billion of it went into an art museum in Arkansas, including as much as $35 million just to buy a single exhibit for it. That's about the only visible thing it has done in decades. The rest of those billions in dividends have disappeared into 20-some-odd estate tax avoidance schemes, as if the only purpose of billions of dollars is to make sure your children unto the 15th generation never have to work a day in their lives, while not paying a dime in taxes to a government.

Because of that intended purpose, the wealth management companies handling those trusts are doing what wealth management companies have to do: investing in "sure things." Fortune 500 stocks. Bonds. Mutual funds. Commodities. Real estate. In short, nothing risky, nothing new, nothing that creates jobs or even actual wealth. Most of what they do just makes numbers bigger.

Why? Because the 400 people who control over 50% of the wealth in the country are the most risk averse in the entire country. The people most able to lose money are least willing to lose money, and this has been true for more than a century.

So yes, in effect, the money of billionaires really is sitting in a shoebox. A very large shoebox to be sure, but it's hiding, because of the massive aversion to risk of its owners. Even without the risk aversion, a very large fraction of it is tied up in artificially inflated valuations of a handful of megacorporations, unable to move because it would deflate its own bubble if it did.

There's more to be said, about the indivisibility of human attention and concentration and the badly erroneous assumption that it is useful to model government as a business, but this post is overlong already. I've detailed some of the argument how correct the GP's point is. It will have to do.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 56 56

Might want to look up every single failed "Edutainment" attempt in history.

This. Microsoft may manage to demonstrate how to flush $2.5 billion faster than any company in history. There's no better way to convince kids not to use software than to use it as some sort of hamfisted teaching tool that is now mandatory.

Comment: Re:Internet of Stupid Things (Score 1) 76 76

I'll be interested in the Internet of Things as soon as I can get an IPv6 address for my balls.

Then rejoice! Hurricane Electric will give you your own /48 for free. Just set up a box to accept and route it and you can assign an IP to every single sperm in your beloved balls.

Comment: Re:Sidebar: Charging batteries (Score 1) 288 288

A thought just occurred to me: Assuming in the near to medium-term future we had many many large installations of battery banks (ala-Tesla batteries, for instance) charging and discharging constantly, how much waste heat would be generated by this, and how much would that waste heat contribute to global warming (positively or negatively)?

That depends entirely on where the power to do the charging comes from. If the power comes from the solar panels on your roof and is charging up your Tesla PowerWall, it's actually a net reduction in useless heat in your garage. Instead of the sun heating up your garage, it heats up your garage less and charges your batteries. The inefficiency in charging is a fraction of a fraction of what was going to be heat to begin with.

For other power sources, the waste heat generated is precisely the inefficiency of charging. For batteries that charge with 85% efficiency, 15% of the power is wasted as heat. One of many reasons why one of the criteria for a good battery is good charge and discharge efficiency. Still, the heat even from inefficient batteries contributes negligible amounts to global warming. The planet radiates heat into space from the top of the atmosphere, all day and all night. The biggest heat source is sunlight, and by biggest I mean it's literally trillions of times bigger than any one battery bank. (174 petawatts vs 10000 watts). The Earth radiates almost exactly 174 petawatts back into space. So exact that we have a hard time measuring it when it's different. Global warming is a thing mainly because of the potential for the composition of the atmosphere to change enough to change the amount of heat retention, not because of the waste heat of industrial processes. Industrial processes do nothing to change the temperature of Earth as long as Earth is able to continue radiating that heat into space.

Comment: Re:Super-car? (Score 1) 134 134

Are you trolling, or are you really ignorant of the amount of engineering that goes into NASCAR? Or dragsters, for that matter?

I said the vehicle in the article is a drag strip car, or at best a track car. It is not a street car. You quoted... drag strip cars and track cars as counter-arguments?

I'm confused.

As for the engineering, there's this. Which says, in summary, that you can build any frame you like, except it must have a roll cage, and the roll cage must have a Newman Bar, it must be built of mild steel, it must have the specified tube radii, and it even must be coated in a specified color. Among other restrictions, to the point where there's not exactly a lot of innovative engineering happening in frame construction in NASCAR. There aren't very many degrees of freedom left.

But that's all beside the point anyway. The point is that a space frame isn't necessarily the best design because of its weakness with respect to torsional stress. A weakness that is irrelevant to track cars and dragsters because there is no vehicle surface more tightly controlled than that of a race track or drag strip. They don't have bumps, they don't have potholes, they don't have out of spec bankings. They don't even have seams. They're not anything like a street, in other words. So the chassis design constraints are nothing like the design constraints of a street car.

And that toy in the article isn't designed for streets. That's all I'm saying.

Comment: Re:Right(s)... (Score 1) 1082 1082

Reconcile your argument with the 19th amendment...

Easy. The 9th and 10th Amendments. Plus a whole slew of argumentation in the Federalist Papers.

Yes, later generations felt obliged to write amendments as if they conferred rights, rather than secured rights, because people go completely authoritarian at the drop of a hat. It's certainly not the way the Constitution was written, and it's the polar opposite of relativism. It was absolutely stated that the document was intended to restrict the government, not citizens. Rights don't "float in the ether independent of government." Rights adhere to individual citizens independently of, and in spite of, government.

So now the language of the Constitution is self-contradictory in tone, because a bunch of lawyers felt obliged to phrase some amendments as positive rights, rather than negative restrictions. Somehow it's human instinct to seek to organize in tribes headed by a king, and establish a hierarchy to oppress everybody "beneath" them. It wasn't supposed to be that way, and the Constitution still stands today as a piece of seriously radical thinking.

"Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw. It was its tendency to bend at the knees." --Sir Terry Pratchett

Comment: Final Tally (Score 5, Informative) 316 316

Ariane 1 - second and fifth launches failed
Ariane 2 - only 6 launches, first failed
Ariane 3 - fifth launch failed
Ariane 4 - eighth launch failed
Ariane 5 - first launch failed, two partial failures in first 11
Atlas A - only 8 launches, 5 failed
Atlas B - only 10 launches, 3 failed
Atlas C - only 6 launches, 2 failed
Delta - first launch failed
Delta II - first nineteen successful, partial failure on the 42nd launch which substantially reduced the satellite's operational lifespan (55th was first total failure)
Falcon 1 - only five launches, first three failed
Falcon 9 - nineteenth launch failed (Secondary payload on the 4th launch aborted as a precaution)
Long March 1 - only 2 launches, both successful
Long March 2 - first launch failed
Long March 3 - no complete failures in first 11, but 1 and 8 were partial failures
N-1 - only four launches, all failed horribly
Proton - third launch failed
Proton-K - second, third, fourth and sixth launches failed
Proton-M - eleventh launch failed
Saturn I - only ten launches, all successful
Saturn IB - only nine launches, all successful (unless you count Apollo 1 - it didn't launch but still killed three astronauts)
Saturn V - second launch (Apollo 6) failed, Apollo 13 doesn't count because it was a payload, not launcher, failure
Soyuz - third launch failed, with fatalities
Soyuz-U - seventh launch failed
Soyuz-FG - first nineteen launches successful (all 49 to date completely successful, including lots and lots of astronauts delivered to ISS)
Space Shuttle - nineteenth launch a partial failure (ATO) (25th was first total failure)
Titan I - fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth and tenth launches failed
Titan II - ninth and eleventh launches failed
Titan III - first and sixth launches failed
Titan IV - seventh launch failed
Zenit-2 - first and second launches failed

It was a good run, but the game is over. Falcon 9 slots in to the rankings as fourth in the history of rocket development, with a success record exceeded only by Shuttle, Soyuz-FG, and Delta II.

Maybe Falcon 9 Heavy will have better luck.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov