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Comment: Re:Relativistic Species (Score 1) 172

by drinkypoo (#48453765) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

And if the only problem remaining to you in life is boredom?

You probably just take a several-billion-year nap.

But there's probably not enough energy in a star to get it up to that sort of speed, at least with any sort of "stellar engine" anyone has yet imagined.

The energy will have to come from elsewhere, then.

Comment: Re:Elon Musk's Opinion (Score 1) 242

I know hydrogen has a high "pain-in-the-ass" factor, but are electric cars that much better?

You're comparing apples and orange marmalade. The question is whether electricity is more easily managed than hydrogen, and with modern battery compositions, the answer is yes. Hydrogen is a PITA to manage. These days, batteries are fairly unlikely to burst into flames just sitting around, so the days when they were a big problem are over, unless you're Fisker.

Comment: Re:It's The Parts Count (Score 1) 242

I thought it was because US made cars were mostly shit; unreliable and liable to explode or fall apart on you. Japanese cars offered reliability at a reasonable cost.

Brief moments aside, America has long been so rich that we had excess cars lying about. Now we are so poor that we have excess cars lying about which nobody can afford to buy. They stack up at ports and rot there. Anyway, point is, reliability was not the primary concern for American buyers until recently, the two things that gave the Japanese a leg up were the energy crisis and emissions regulations. The American car companies just punted on emissions technology for years and churned out not just unreliable cars, but unreliable slow cars. Datsun and later Nissan was able to beat cars that were just as fast as Corvettes for half the money and with half the displacement (1971 240Z, 1984 300ZX Turbo, 1991 300ZX TT) during that era because it was competing with ultra-low-compression V8s with big crappy carburetors. And of course, when we first decided we cared about mileage, the Japanese were right there with double the numbers of the American companies.

Reliability is a factor, but the truth is that the American cars of the era when the Japanese got a leg up were just shit in every way. Today they're often actually quite good, surprisingly including and maybe even especially Ford.

Comment: Re:It has nothing to do with the part counts (Score 1) 242

I'm in the auto industry and I'm a cost accountant. The part count on cars generally has only a modest (though significant) effect on profit margin

Can you explain to us how the accounting is done? If I buy a part 20 years on for a vehicle for which I'm not even the first owner, and it's a part which can fit 20 different vehicles, how do you account for the profit? You don't have accurate statistics on failures on vehicles that old, because people don't bring them back to the dealer for service. From my various forays into automotive parts replacement and part ordering, I know that without exception the manufacturers charge absolutely abusive prices for replacement parts. You're telling me that having more expensive parts doesn't lead to more profit? Go on, pull the other one.

It's a competitive market so unnecessarily inflating part counts translates into reduced profit margin, not increased like you are implying.

Automakers derive significant profit from parts sales, and EVs both have less parts and are less prone to failure than vehicles with ICEs. Auto dealers also derive significant profit from service, so they don't want to sell EVs. They won't need as much service, and most of what they need will be stuff that can be done by anyone. There's no good reason to go back to the dealer for it.

Hybrids are expensive because the technology is new, complex and doesn't enjoy full economies of scale yet.

We've been driving production hybrids for fifteen years now. We already know the best way to do it, you replace the torque converter of an automatic transmission with an electric motor. In spite of that, people are still doing it in other ways which cost more money, and which increase parts count.

Comment: Re:next gen batteries (Score 1) 242

You eventually start running into problems supplying that much power to the charging station to power the car. A 4 car 'ultra-charge' station could pull more power than an entire neighborhood when 4 cars are there.

Bury a bunch of beacon power flywheels and top it with a generac natgas fuel cell

Or other brands, I just know these guys have stuff

Comment: Re:next gen batteries (Score 1) 242

Much more likely that that sort of connection will be made to specialized places, sort of like a gas station.

Our grid is not a grid, it is bullshit, so it is likely that these connections will be made anywhere there is actually capacity. That might well be in places which make some sort of logical sense, or it might just be in places where they think EV drivers go and where they can find someplace to plug in their kit.

Comment: Re:Maybe.....but maybe not (Score 1) 242

The energy density of diesel is much higher than hydrogen

Yes, that's true, it's seven times higher. But the specific energy is only about a third as much. So the question then becomes one of cost of containment. And that's the real reason diesel wins. Diesel fuel is the most convenient fuel we have in terms of actually managing the fuel itself. It has all the same advantages as gasoline (as compared to hydrogen) plus the lack of volatility.

the lifespan of a large diesel engine is vastly more than the lifespan of a hydrogen ICE engine

Yeah, but you pretty much have to be an asshole to want to burn hydrogen in an ICE, because it's so feasible to use it in a fuel cell.

HFC is probably worse.

Fuel cells have been demonstrated operating 10,000 hours without any decrease in efficiency, which is supposed to correspond to a roughly 300,000 mile lifespan. They'll have to make it at least twice that long, though, in order to get into big rig territory. On the other hand, the efficiency improvements gained by eliminating the big, complicated transmission could be significant.

Comment: Re:I don't think hydrogen makes sense (Score 1) 242

Containing hydrogen is no longer much of a problem, though compressing it in the first place is still expensive.

Last I checked, containing it was still expensive, too. That's a problem in my book.

Still, you don't really need a distribution network: the trend is to use electrolysers and produce the hydrogen locally.

So what's the efficiency of the electrolysers? Last I checked they were down around 40% at best. And since we don't actually have a national power grid, we can't simply ship electrical power around at will. We can only ship it for relatively short distances.

The energy density of Li-ion batteries is about 100 Wh/kg, hydrogen is 32500 Wh/kg

Yes, but in terms of volume, it's not notably better than Li-Ion.

Also, let us not forget replacement, which is going to have to happen at about the same time for the fuel cell as it does for batteries. Fuel cells are still very expensive, just like batteries.

Finally, the charging time for an electric vehicle may be measured in hours, but the charging time for a hydrogen vehicle is measured in years. We'll have to wait years for the fueling infrastructure. But you can plug your EV in right now. How rapidly do you really think we'll get hydrogen fueling stations anywhere but in a corridor similar to where Tesla has "supercharger" stations? Right now there's only a handful on the seaboards.

Comment: Re:AIDS is bad (Score 1) 98

by drinkypoo (#48453479) Attached to: Apple To Donate Profit Portion From Black Friday For AIDS Fight

Note that Apple is donating all of the proceeds to charity. It's kind of hard to make a profit in volume when you're losing money on each individual sale.

Note that Apple is not donating all the proceeds to charity, as the headline suggets ("profit portion") but in fact a portion of profits. I am not new here so I am not surprised you have not read TFA but in fact the truth is that 100% of the profits from 25 apps will be donated, while a portion of the profits from Apple retail locations will be donated. Congratulations to ZDNet, they fooled you completely with that headline. Sucker.

Comment: Re:Legal Issue (Score 1) 134

by drinkypoo (#48453397) Attached to: NASA Offering Contracts To Encourage Asteroid Mining

As it stands now, we are all effectively owners, as is our children.

No, as it stands now, we are effectively jerking off, because none of us are in a position to claim ownership of rocks in space. Only the first person to set up camp there will be in that position, not least because they will have a ready supply of said rocks.

I don't know about you, but I certainly won't give up my rights or claims and anyone with an ounce of sense wouldn't either.

You won't have to. They will be taken from you, just as easily as they were granted. Assuming you even think they were granted, which they actually weren't.

Comment: Re:Legal Issue (Score 1) 134

by drinkypoo (#48453383) Attached to: NASA Offering Contracts To Encourage Asteroid Mining

The question that needs to be asked though is if any country would be willing to start a global thermonuclear war over a sovereign claim made by another country?

The question that needs to be asked though is if any country would be stupid enough to risk throwing nukes when the response is going to come from space. Once you're actually in a position to mine asteroids, you're also in a position to bombard the Earth with rocks.

Comment: Re:Space Resources (Score 1) 134

by drinkypoo (#48453349) Attached to: NASA Offering Contracts To Encourage Asteroid Mining

Exactly. There are no people in space

chicken egg

nor is there much use for them

pot kettle black

So the water isn't very valuable either.

things are worth what people will pay for them

Too Short, Didn't Read? Allow me to elaborate. There's not much use for people here on Earth, mostly we stink up the place. Space is maybe not the next frontier (seems like we should finish exploring the oceans first) but it's coming up. We are curious monkeys, and we want to know what's out there. So we're going, sooner or later, if we don't drown in our own waste first. And in order to do that, we're going to have to mine asteroids, because of the externalities involved in lifting sufficient mass from Earth.

If you don't want us to go to space, I submit that this is not the site for you

Comment: Re:Eggs are a very healthy food (Score 1) 122

But you can't put egg yolks in a jar and put it on a shelf for months without refrigeration.

What? Who told you that?

Not without preservatives and/or by using some processed "egg product" instead of whole, fresh, egg yolks.

The citric acid in the lemon juice is sufficient once you've pasteurized the eggs. What it won't do is keep for years, which is why Hellman's mayo contains Disodium EDTA.

Comment: Re:What is it? (Score 1) 122

I agree with you about what we evolved to eat. But I don't agree with you about cows being environmentally friendly. Everywhere in the world they mostly graze land which used to be forest. Here in the USA that is definitely true. And I have a great example, in fact. I live in Kelseyville, which is in Lake County. It's named for a guy who enslaved, raped, and murdered the locals — it's a bit living in Hitlerville or Santa Torquemada. This town has a whole bunch of walnut trees, and indeed it used to be one of the biggest walnut producers in California. The US government paid people to plant these trees, and so they did. But first, they cut down whichever oaks hadn't already been cut down to make room for cattle ranching. Part of the idea, of course, was to eliminate the natives' food source. They ate acorns. You can live on those, but you can't live on walnuts alone.

So yeah, in places which naturally tend to pasture, grazing cattle is perfectly environmentally friendly. Problem is, those places are in the minority. Most places tend towards forest, if you give them enough time. And most of the places where cows now stand, trees once stood. Many of them have been recently slashed and burned.

I love me some meat, and I eat as much as I can, but let's not pretend that it's more environmentally friendly than vegetarianism. And sadly, cows are pretty much the worst. The methane of their flatulence is a significant greenhouse gas and the deforestation their existence implies is part of the problem with global climate today.

Comment: Re:Relativistic Species (Score 1) 172

by drinkypoo (#48453099) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

I always like to think that any suitably advanced civilization eventually develops space-drives that can reach appreciable percentages of the speed of light. The time dilation effects would make traversing the galaxy relatively(heh) reasonable. The only hitch is that relative to all other lifeforms not moving at a such a speed would blink in and out of existence in the time it would take them to burp.

That's why it isn't useful. You can't use it for anything interesting to anyone but you. So why would anyone do that? There's no real point to moving at near-relativistic speeds because your civilization will be gone by the time you get home from anywhere worth going. After poking around your own solar system, you really need to be able to travel faster than light to achieve anything meaningful by going anyplace. Sending out probes to other places might still be worth it, but if everyone you ever knew will be dead by the time you get home, what's the point?

Now, if you could move a whole planet through the universe at those speeds, that might be useful. You could move your whole civilization, and everything it needed to survive (assuming you're not dependent on a star.) And if you are still dependent on a star, obviously by choice at that point, I suppose you'll need to take your whole system.

So, what would a star moving at near-C look like to the rest of us?

Eureka! -- Archimedes

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