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Comment: Re:Not as original as they claim (Score 1) 218

(...)because $24k is hardly unaffordable.

It's not unaffordable. It's uncompetitive. A Dacia Sandero costs $9k, runs on LPG, transports 4 plus luggage. $16k covers a lot of cost for the fuel price difference, and you get a lot more use cases out of the vehicle.

The Lit C-1 doesn't compete head-to-head with cheap cars, like the Dacia Sandero. Yes, the Sandero has all of those advantages over the C-1, but cars like that are much more expensive to own in the longer term, will never be as environmentally friendly, are less agile in traffic, probably less fun to drive and certainly don't look as nice. Those are also the reasons (in descending order) that I would have for buying a C-1.

Perhaps I should also mention that I live in the Netherlands where the gas price is currently about $9.00 a gallon (the highest in the world, mostly due to excise tax) and commuters tend to spend a lot of their time stuck in traffic -- another reason why I find the C-1 so appealing. Also, the Dutch government has extra taxes for people with cars than run on diesel and LPG, so cars that burn those fuels only makes sense for people who expect high mileage.

Comment: Re:wow....200 whole orders??? (Score 1) 218

by FridayBob (#47277661) Attached to: It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

200 pre orders?? Screw that. The Elio has 20,000 pre-orders, and it's not built yet, has a nice low (projected) cost of $6800 and gets 84mpg. And I'd much rather have the Elio than the C-1 (although for a brief moment, I considered the C-1)... But for the long range I need, the Elio fits my requirements better.

An interesting concept, and at less than a 3rd of the price of a C-1 I can see why this is a popular idea. However, the Elio is still a gasoline-driven vehicle and even if it were possible to get 85 MPG all the time, that would not even be twice as efficient as my old Honda Civic and nowhere near as efficient as will be possible with the C-1 (0.6 cents per mile). In fact, the C-1 is so much more efficient, that here in the Netherlands it could mean saving the cost difference between an Elio and a C-1 within four years (note, however, that in the Netherlands gasoline currently sells for about $9.00 a gallon -- the highest price in the world). The C-1's 200-mile range-limit may make it an unacceptable option for you today, but battery technology has come a long way and performance is only getting better. And I've been told that battery upgrades for the C-1 will be possible.

Comment: Re:This is Awesome (Score 1) 218

by FridayBob (#47277111) Attached to: It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

Does it come with air conditioning? Wonder if you could have a two-seater?

See this FAQ. I was told a while back that the C-1 will also include air-conditioning, cruise-control, and even a head-up display (HUD), but I wonder how much of that will make it into the final production version. However, they also wanted to make many of its parts upgradeable, so perhaps it will be possible to add some of those bells and whistles later on. It will be possible to take a passenger, but they say you will only want to do that for relatively short distances (whether this is due to excessive battery drain or discomfort, I don't know).

Comment: Re:I prefer more tires for more contact with the r (Score 3, Insightful) 218

by FridayBob (#47277033) Attached to: It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

I like it when my brakes stop me before I slide into something.

Motorcycles are actually better at stopping than most cars. Ever heard of a stopee?

(I ride a motorcycle, I find riding in the rain to be unpleasant for a variety of reasons)

Yes, because if you manage to get your motorcycle's front wheel to slide, it usually means you fall will over. But, that's exactly one of the reasons why the C-1 is so cool: it's gyroscopically stabilized, so if it slides for whatever reason it won't fall over. In that respect it will behave much like a car.

Comment: Re:Suspension? (Score 1) 218

by FridayBob (#47276931) Attached to: It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

The wheels are very close to the chassis. I wonder whether the vehicle has any suspension at all.

Yeah, I saw that too. But, remember that the one in the video is only a prototype. I have little doubt that any production version will have more suspension travel. For example, I suspect that the latter will have slightly smaller wheels.

Comment: Re:So it's a gyrocar? (Score 2) 218

by FridayBob (#47276885) Attached to: It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

Gyrocars are nothing new. ... What makes this one so special and why do they think this gyrocar will succeed where others have failed?

Thanks to the fact that the C-1 is electric and makes use of modern computer technology, it's simpler, lighter and cheaper to produce than its conceptual predecessors and has the potential to be much more reliable. Oh, and a gyrocar in production... that would be something new.

Comment: Re:Not as original as they claim (Score 4, Interesting) 218

by FridayBob (#47276755) Attached to: It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

They are not as original as they claim. There was a similar concept in kit car magazines in the 90's. There is a Youtube video (Yes, it is Flash but so is the video on the story)-

Yes, and over 30 years before that there was the Ford Gyron, which was much more like a car, and even it was not original. However, nothing like that has ever made it into production. If the C-1 does, it'll be the first gyroscopically stabilized vehicle ever to make it to market. And I figure it has a good chance of success, because $24k is hardly unaffordable.

Comment: Re:Guaranteed Death (Score 2) 218

by FridayBob (#47276503) Attached to: It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

Guaranteed death in a car accident -- what's not to love?

That's an unfair comparison. You're thinking of it as a very, very small car, which in the case of a collision involving almost any four-wheeled vehicle can never offer its occupants an equal chance of emerging unscathed (the reason why a friend of mine always preferred that his wife drive a Cadillac). Instead, think of the C-1 as a greener, much safer and more comfortable version of a motorcycle that also has a cost per mile of 0.6 cents.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 3, Interesting) 218

by FridayBob (#47276207) Attached to: It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

The gyos add complexity, and dropping a third wheel doesn't save that much space. ...

You must be thinking of something like the Peraves MonoTracer, but my impression of it is that it takes some getting used to. The C-1 will be much, much easier to deal with (not to mention better looking). As for the added complexity, the gyos make it easier to drive and don't make it prohibitively expensive ($24k, v. $104k for the monotracer), so who cares? As long as it works.

Comment: Re:Change is coming for car dealers (Score 1) 455

by FridayBob (#47268201) Attached to: NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

...electric cars don't have alot of things that car dealers make money with ... . Alot of dealerships make much of their profits from such things, ... . So the dealers have alot of money, alot of friends ...

Just between you and me, "alot" is not a word, although it could be a misspelling of the verb "allot". In this case, you mean "a lot" (two words), as in many. As for style, it may have been deliberate, but generally it's distracting when a word or phrase is needlessly repeated so often in just a few sentences, especially when there is so much else to choose from, e.g. "many", "plenty of", "large numbers of", "(is/are) flush with (cash)", "lots of", etc.

But, now that you have my attention, I agree with your opinion. That's crony capitalism for you; it's the downside of deregulation and industry knows it (which the best way I can think of to fight in general is to get money out of politics). Let's hope other vehicle manufacturers follow Tesla's example.

Comment: Re:Nice, but money is the root problem here (Score 1) 422

by FridayBob (#47232147) Attached to: GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists

The solution is to vote out your incumbent. Period. It's the only way to get Congress to listen to us.

In any other case you'd be right, but the problem is that for the candidates, money makes too much of a difference. How else can they be expected pay for all those expensive TV adds? If you don't have any serious money (millions) you almost never have a chance (candidates like Dave Brat being the exceptions). So, chances are that the person who wins is someone who has accepted those legal bribes and, after the election, will not do for their constituents as promised. That's why money in politics is so corrosive and must be eliminated before most of us can even begin to trust our elected officials again.

Comment: Nice, but money is the root problem here (Score 2) 422

by FridayBob (#47231305) Attached to: GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists

This sounds like an interesting method by which individual problems, such as immigration reform, might be solved, but we must recognize that the root cause of disfunction in DC today is money; that bribery in US politics is now legal and that the politicians see it as the norm. As a result, they -- particularly those in the federal government -- almost never care about what their constituents think: in 94-95% of all cases all they have to do is raise more money than their political opponents so that they can outspend them all in every next election.

When seen in this light, it becomes clear that issues such as immigration reform are not going to be solved unless those who fund our politicians also agree. Those donors are big corporations and very rich people, and in this case they seem to think that immigration reform will likely lead to higher wages and thus less profit, so they will tell the politicians to vote aginst any such reform or else their money will diverted to the next politician in line who will vote against it. The politicians think they have no choice in the matter, but that's also how they got elected in the first place (by doing what their donors told them to do).

So, anyone who thinks that the politicians they vote for should be acting primarily in the interests of their constituents, instead of the rich and powerful, should realize that we first all need to act together to get money our of politics. And it can be done! After that DC will once again start to get things done.

Comment: Flare stars suck (Score 1) 76

by FridayBob (#47154065) Attached to: Red Dwarfs Could Sterilize Alien Worlds of Life

Being small and dim, red dwarf stars exhibit relatively violent flare activity. For example, flares occur regularly on our own star, but the energy this releases is small compared to what is produced in total. However, a flare like that on a star 10.000 times dimmer than ours can momentarily double the energy output. Moreover, flares on red dwarf stars can emit up to 10.000 times as many X-rays as they do on our sun. Oh, and remember that there can be more than one of these flares at a time. So, any life on planets orbiting stars like these has a lot more to contend with than just atmospheric erosion.

As more red dwarf stars are studied in detail, increasing numbers are being classified as flare stars. This may have to do with the type of core that these class-M stars have. Solar flares are caused by magnetic reconnection events that are responsible for the acceleration of charged particles (mostly electrons) that interact with the solar plasma. Our own sun, a G-type, has a radiative core that may result in a more stable and even magnetic field than is produced by the convective cores of M-type stars. If so, then it may turn out that all red dwarf stars are flare stars and, since class-M stars are by far the most numerous, this will have significant consequences for the Drake equation, i.e. the likelihood of finding other intelligent and communicative civilizations in our galaxy.

Comment: Nothing to stop the errors creeping in (Score 4, Informative) 200

by FridayBob (#47100231) Attached to: Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate
For a few years I maintained a sizeable collection of Wikipedia articles. I was very meticulous in checking all of the data, trying to use only the best sources and citing them all, per section of each sentence if necessary. However, it was a constant battle to keep others from adding anything from dubious information found in newspaper articles ("Somebody printed it, so it must be true!") to subtle attempts at vandalism (e.g. changing 501 mg to 502 mg for no reason). Many poor articles are eventually raised up to a certain level, but over time the good ones are also erroded to a point where they contain many more errors than expected. Other than relying on armies of experts (who often receive little respect) to constantly police their articles, Wikipedia has no mechanisms to prevent this from happening. It's a fundamental problem for them, but one which they can do little about without changing their most basic policies.

Comment: Not drive, but "be transported by" (Score 1) 437

IMO it's not a question of letting kids drive autonomous vehicles, but whether we should let them be transported by them without any adults on board.

It would be simple enough to not allow children to give the vehicles any instructions regarding their destination, but perhaps such vehicles would also have to be made "child proof". They should not be able to influence the vehicle's behavior even if they tried and it would be preferable if an adult could intervene remotely at any time in case the vehicle got into trouble, or was stopped by e.g. a police officer. For instance, it would be good if the car had lots of cameras and microphones, as well as a few screens and speakers with which the vehicle's owner could see and speak to the child (say, via a smartphone), as well as anyone else inside or outside the vehicle, and possibly give the vehicle a new destination.

However, things can get more complicated if an incident occurs, no matter how seemingly innocuous, and the kids manage to get out of the car. Who's responsible for them at that point: the police officers, who might have wanted to search the vehicle? The garage owner, who needed to fix a mechanical problem? Or the parents, shouting at them from the car's speakers? Ultimately the latter, of course, but there will probably be situations that are not so clear.

I put up my thumb... and it blotted out the planet Earth. -- Neil Armstrong