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Comment Re:Less service? (Score 1) 433

Granted I don't know much about cars, but don't eletric cars still need winter tires, aren't there still moving parts that needs oil, etc?

You only need winter tires if you're in a location that experiences winter. Even then, for most of the USA good quality all-seasons* are more than sufficient. You still need to replace them though.

Yes, there's generally still 'lots' of oil in an electric vehicle. However, the reason engine oil needs to be replaced so often is heat and contamination. The heat breaks down the oil eventually, and the byproducts of combustion contaminate it, which is why you need a filter.

The oil in a properly operating EV never gets that hot though, and is thus treated more like gear oil - so it's like the oil in your transmission, gear boxes, etc... Which is generally changed out far less often.

Regular maintenance items an EV needs: Tires, wipers, wiper fluid, cabin air filter, lights, etc...
Regular maintenance that an EV doesn't need: Engine oil, coolant, brake pads*, air filter, spark plugs, etc...
Maintenance that's more expensive on an EV: Replacing the battery, but costs are coming down 'quickly'.

*EVs still have brake pads, but regenerative braking cuts their usage enough that a pad designed to last around a decade for a regular vehicle lasts the lifetime of an EV.

*Disclaimer: ~2" of snow and today I had to push a woman in a tiny car who had gotten stuck in the middle of the road because she was driving on half-worn 'all seasons' that were 90% summer tire.

Comment Re:Easy solution (Score 4, Informative) 433

Which state would that be, as the ACs mention?
From wiki:

In the United States, direct manufacturer auto sales are prohibited in almost every state by franchise laws requiring that new cars be sold only by dealers.

Customer Experience
According to one survey, more than half of dealership customers would prefer to buy directly from the manufacturer, without any monetary incentives to do so. An analyst report of a direct sales model is estimated to cut the cost of a vehicle by 8.6%.[11] This implies an even greater demand currently exists for a direct manufacturer sales model. However, state laws in the United States prohibit manufacturers from selling directly, and customers must buy through a dealer.

Comment Re:Yep, Pacific Rim was bad physics (Score 1) 211

It was only one example, sheesh...

The point is that, much like the uncanny valley, it's often the little things that break our suspension of disbelief, not the big things. We can take superman just fine, but we go 'wait a moment!' when he picks up a car by the bumper.

Elves, orcs, trolls, and such are easy to take - alternate evolution. *shrug*. Wizards operate by unknown/unknowable rules. So we accept that they can TK lift a car.

Superman, though, is presumably trying to do it by sheer physical force. We don't know how superman's physiology works, but we know that an industrial machine putting the same pressures in the same spots would tear through the car, not lift it.

Summary: it's the little things, not the big things that break suspension of disbelief. As such, it's better to avoid breaking the laws of physics(and behavior) where possible in your story, no matter how fantastic it is. When you do break them, either 'go big' or explain the breaking.

Comment Re:Summary wrong: Uber is NOT being sued (Score 1) 210

Uber drivers and their cars are not TLC-Licensed so no Uber does not follow the rules.

From NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission, I'm seeing that Uber IS TLC licensed.
B02598 UBER-HINTER LLC 27-55 JACKSON AVE LONG ISLAND CIT TLC License Base - Black Car 1523
B02617 UBER-WEITER LLC 27-55 JACKSON AVENUE LIC TLC License Base - Black Car 2161
B02682 UBER-SCHMECKEN LLC 27-55 JACKSON AVENUE LIC TLC License Base - Black Car 7822
B02764 UBER-DANACH-NY,LLC 27-55 JACKSON AVENUE LIC TLC License Base - Black Car 4357
B02765 UBER-GRUN LLC 27-55 JACKSON AVENUE LIC TLC License Base - Black Car 1540
B02835 UBER-DREIST NY LLC 27-55 JACKSON AVENUE LIC TLC License Base - Black Car 3954
B02836 UBER-DRINNEN-NY LLC 27-55 JACKSON AVENUE LIC TLC License Base - Black Car 2917
B02864 UBER-SIEBEN-NY,LLC 628 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 15
B02865 UBER-VIER-NY LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 37
B02866 UBER-ZWEI-NY LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 111
B02867 UBER-FUNF-NY LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 30
B02869 UBER-ZEHN-NY LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 62
B02870 UBER-NEUN-NY LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 15
B02871 UBER-ACHT-NY,LLC 628 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 294
B02872 UBER-EINS-NY,LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 16
B02875 UBER-SECHS-NY, LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 32
B02876 UBER-VIERZEHN-NY, LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 16
B02877 UBER-ZWOLF-NY, LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 19
B02878 UBER-ELF-NY,LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 584
B02879 UBER-FUNFZEHN-NY, LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 32
B02880 UBER-NEUNZEHN-NY, LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 75
B02882 UBER-ZWANZIG-NY,LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 10
B02883 UBER-SECHZEHN-NY, LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 10
B02884 UBER-DREIZEHN-NY, LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 30
B02889 UBER-ACHTZEHN-NY, LLC 636 WEST 28 STREET NEW YORK TLC License Base - Black Car 11

So, with it being shown that they ARE TLC licensed bases, with well over 9k associated drivers/vehicles, do you have any further complaints about widespread non-following of NYC's own rules? I know uber violates the rules in other jurisdictions, but they seem to follow the rules in NYC. At least as much as the taxi companies themselves do.

Comment Re:In Situ Leach Mining (Score 1) 148

These are the options the Nuclear industry has to consider to get it's fuel, it's no better than coal this way, just differently bad.

The fact that you need to process at least 3 orders of magnitude less ore for a given amount of electrical power still means that, while a uranium mine might actually be worse at a local level, it's still better on the grand scale of things, because you don't need a lot of uranium mines to produce an equal amount of power.

That being said, if you look at my posting history you'll see that I'm very much in favor of reprocessing, to the point that I think that a Yucca Mountain style repository is missing the point because our heirs would be digging it up for the valuable stuff we buried.

Of course the third risk is if you run out of that available fuel you *have* to use hard ores which means you have committed yourself to a very low energy return for the remaining lifetime of your new AP1000 or EPR.

Uh... It's more likely that the AP1000 or EPR would be vastly beyond it's original end of life... We have centuries of ore available, and we can even filter the fuel out of seawater on an energy-positive basis. Basically, at about an OOM above present ore prices, filtering the Uranium out of sea water becomes profitable.

why the development of burner reactors was so important to end mining whilst transmuting existing transuranic stocks from the once through cycle.

wouldn't actually end mining, but would reduce it an order of magnitude or so...

t both of the mining processes create significant negative environmental externalities.

Depends on how you consider "significant". Coal mining was, for the longest time, the single most polluting mining activity due to sheer scale. Uranium mining is so small that it's below things like mining for metals like copper and iron.

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 1) 210

Correct. If you can't get money out of it, it's a sunk cost, and if the value of a medallion goes from $1M to $400k because of competition, that $600k would count as a capital loss, just as if it's discovered that your property is chemically contaminated and thus worth less because of cleanup costs or that it can't be used as a playground/child care facility or such.

That being said, if your medallion is suddenly worth less, it reduces the opportunity cost, so you're more likely to hold it. Unless the reason it's value is dropping is that competition is causing you to earn less money, which means that you have to do the 'whole' cost analysis thing again.

And on that note I wonder if I have a cyber-stalker working to downgrade my comments...

Comment Re:It's a tax (Score 1) 210

I've talked to taxi drivers in other jurisdictions who said that if Uber would just raise the price by about 30%, they would drive for Uber instead. In NYC where the prices are high, I'm surprised that drivers are staying within the system at all.

It depends on the market and level of service you're performing for Uber. I assume you mean that the 30% is the rate at which Uber pays it's drivers?

The basic Uber service is the cheapest. If you drive a car of sufficient luxury and have a professional license, you're paid more per trip.

In a number of markets a professional Uber driver makes more money than a Taxi driver putting the same hours in. This is generally in the cities with the most restrictive Taxi regulations. The net result is that a lot of the 'best' drivers, those that can keep up 5 star ratings, leave the taxi companies for Uber, making taxi service, on average, even worse.

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 0) 210

I know of them as opportunity costs.

Basically, if you forgo purchasing X, and instead dump the money into investments, how much would you make? How much would you make if you sold the X and dumped the money into investments?

So an object that's worth $1M has an opportunity cost somewhere between $50k-$100k a year, because you could make 5-10% in returns if you invested in the markets.

Comment Re:Summary wrong: Uber is NOT being sued (Score 1) 210

They've made an artificial monopoly, yes, but part of the 'problem' is that Uber is arguably NOT acting as a taxi service per the rules of NYC. They're operating under their 'black car/livery car' rules, which are more relaxed, and do not have medallions.

Another problem is that they're not actually 'charging people a lot of money'. Sure, there's fees to operate a taxi, but they're not that much higher than for a black car. The medallions are permanent in nature and were mostly issued ages ago, and are thus sold between private parties, often at auction.

So the argument of the medallion owners is that NYC, who created the medallions in such a way that they could be sold, now has a duty to protect the value of said medallions(I saw reports that Uber has knocked ~40% off their value at their peak). I'll note that the Taxi companies themselves have and will lobby heavily against the issue of more medallions, because more medallions waters down the value of the ones they have now.

Then you introduce Uber, which can afford to pay it's drivers ~$4/ride more because they don't have to pay for a medallion. Charge the riders less because they don't have to spend the money installing an official taximeter, paying dispatchers, etc...

Because of their rating system though, you have to be a quality driver to stay with the service, but it pays more money. So you get the drivers who know that they're being rated, are motivated good drivers, going to uber, leaving the bad ones with the taxi companies. This causes even more people to take Uber.

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 3, Informative) 210

The permit is to run "plenty of taxis".

The permit is to run ONE taxi at any given time. As I mentioned, they hand the permit off to successive drivers, so nominally speaking the permit is in operation as close to 24/7 as they can manage. Though maybe I should have been more explicit that they'll trade off cars as well.

There are single taxi drivers with their own medallion, there's restricted medallions where the owner can only own 1, and must drive something like 210 'shifts' a year with it, it's an owner-operator medallion, and is somewhat cheaper than an unrestricted one.

The company they are driving for has one.

Actually, the company they're driving for probably has 'numerous' medallions. As I said, they need 1 for each taxi on the road collecting fares.

Comment Yep, Pacific Rim was bad physics (Score 4, Informative) 211

I'm with you on all of those.

For those that might be wondering about the oil tanker(and such). Consider how strong, proportionally, insects are compared to humans. This scaling continues. It's relatively easy to make a toy helicopter that can fall from several times it's height, ram it's blades into objects, and such and still come out without damage. A helicopter big enough for people? No way.

Things like oil tankers are carefully balanced and strong where they need to be strong for their designed purpose. A tanker is designed to carry it's weight while supported on all sides by water.

It's also why Superman's hands should tear through vehicles like paper instead of lifting them, much of the time. You don't jack up so much as 1/4 of a car without using specific points that are capable of holding the structure.

Comment Re:Well written and funny article (Score 2) 211

A real world suspension bridge design would most certainly not be strong enough, but his analogy is flawed.

First, any analogy is flawed if you look into it deep enough. That's why they're analogies.
Then, you mention something that would make it 'flawed', but that no real world bridge would be strong enough, so they'd still fail, making the clothesline analogy 'good enough', at least in my opinion, because the net effect would be the same(bridge/clothes fall down).

Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 4, Informative) 210

The main difference in the business models is that Taxi companies have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a taxi license/plate/medallion, the supply of which has been artificially restricted by government regulation. This forces costs up for them and prices up for customers.

Given that this is specifically about NYC, which I've done a bit of study on, it's actually worse than you say. NYC taxis are some of the most highly controlled in the world. London's Black Taxis are up there too, but at least they require quality drivers. NYC, from my understanding, is much more concerned with the vehicle, medallion, and operating methods.

Peak price for the medallion was over $1M, and the loan using one as collateral ran roughly 10%. So the 'permit' to operate a taxi in NYC ran, as an opportunity cost, roughly $100k/year. Before the costs of the car, insurance, fuel, and driver. If you figure on 3 rides an hour, 24 hours day, 365 days a year(they hand off the permit to successive drivers in the company), that's 26k rides. Or the permit being $4 for every ride.

2014 factbook: 13,437 medallions, 485k per day. That's 36 rides per medallion(I was figuring 72, double theirs), which increases that to $8/ride. Though I think the value of medallions have dropped from their high, and interest rates are lower. $740k@7% is only $142 per day, or still around $4/ride. ;)

Comment goalposts (Score 1) 350

Ah, you're doing the equivalent of talking about Swimming when I'm talking about football...

From what I understand, robotic cars are already quite good, superior to humans, at what I'll term Rule 1: Don't hit anything. I guess I wasn't clear about that enough on my first post.

There remains other concerns - routing and such. I'm not saying they're ready for prime-time.

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"