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Comment: Terahertz frequencies would enable nantennas (Score 1) 35 35

Nantennas can't compete with photovoltaic cells because current diodes can't operate at terahertz frequencies.

Hope this tiny diode can finally jumpstart the nantenna industry, and kick off an efficiency race with the PV industry. That would be fun times!

Comment: Re:Tethering (Score 1) 313 313

Thanks for the info. I checked with T-Mobile, and the $50/month plan gives you 1 GB per month of 4G data. If I understand correctly, after you reach that limit, your phone continues to work at some slower data rate (how slow, they don't say) and your tethered devices stop working altogether. (Is that consistent with your understanding?)

So for that reason alone, I think this is a no-go as a replacement for my home DSL service.

Comment: $7-per-month service (Score 2) 313 313

If you're like me, it's the expense of your talk, text and data plan that you dislike, not the features of a smartphone.

I pay $20 every 90 days to Virgin Mobile (works out to $6.67 per month). I'll upgrade to a smart phone if and when the price of a plan that includes a reasonable amount of data drops to $15 per month. Until then, I'll make a mental note of what online content I'd like to consume, and wait until I get home to consume it.

Calculate the annual cost of your cell phone plan; do you find that having instant gratification of your online desires is worth that cost? Not judging; just curious.

Comment: The very fatal flaw in your argument is obvious (Score 1) 372 372

TFA says CO2 levels are at an all-time high. That means the predicted disasters were not averted because anybody did anything to reduce CO2 emissions. The predicted disasters were averted because the predictions were wrong. Predictions such as...
* "entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.” -- U.N. official Noel Brown, in 1989
* We have only “50 days to save the world from global warming” -- UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in 2009

Comment: Humans will survive (Score 1) 372 372

we have no guarantee we can survive in any climate other than the one we evolved in

Except historical precedent. Even low-tech humans have adapted to a huge range of climates. Think Inuit living on the edge of Baffin Bay, and Bedouins living in the deserts of Sudan.

Technology can't provide us with food when none of our crops can grow anymore.

Think veggies growing in greenhouses that are either cooled or heated -- depending on which way climate change goes -- by nuclear power plants. Is that not an example of technology providing us with food?

(Nevermind that global warming will cause the amount of arable land to increase. There are huge tracts of land in Canada, Siberia and Alaska that will be farmed if the growing season gets a little longer.)

I'm not saying mucking with the climate is a good idea. But your dire predictions of possible human extinction are right out; they're the kind of alarmism that destroys credibility.

Comment: "had" -- past tense? (Score 1) 365 365

Of course, then we had the prospects of global thermonuclear war hanging over our heads as well, so the idea of the world having to rebuild everything didn't seem far-fetched at all.

I wasn't aware that threat had gone away. As of 2013, Russia had 8,500 warheads and the U.S. had 7,700. China and North Korea both have more now than they did in the 1970s.

Comment: Implications of reduced following distance (Score 1) 477 477

even when they're nearly bumper-to-bumper

Driver's Ed teachers always told their human students to maintain a two-second following distance. With the much faster reaction times of autonomous vehicles, a safe following distance can be redefined to a much shorter value.

This is going to tremendously increase the carrying capacity of the existing highway system.

Comment: Fear of hydrogen is unfounded (Score 1) 140 140

Hydrogen is a safe lifting gas for airships. “Odorless, Colorless, Blameless” by NASA employee Richard Van Treuren (Air and Space/Smithsonian magazine, April/May 1997) provides a great explanation. Here's a summary:

Comment: I'm angry, eh? (Score 1) 265 265

Solar energy has always "worked." But it has not always been cost-effective.

Slashdot readers who held nuanced views that mass adoption should wait until it was cost-effective, have been characterized by other, un-nuanced Slashdot readers as "angry."

And it's not "hippies" who were right about solar; credit goes to the semiconductor scientists who kept upping the efficiency of PV cell designs, while reducing manufacturing costs.

Comment: Should have been spelled out in the contract (Score 1) 133 133

If the customer (the U.S. government) wants its auditors to be able to question individual employees, that should be clearly stipulated in the contract, and then the contractor should have no qualms about meeting the terms of that stipulation.

Lesson learned for how to draw up future contracts, I guess.

Comment: Massive subsidies (Score 1) 229 229

Three years ago, it was reported that the total government subsidies that had benefited the Volt, divided by the 6,000 Chevy Volts that had been sold, amounted to $250,000 in subsidies per vehicle sold.

Can you give us an update on total Volt sales, so we can recalculate that subsidies-per-vehicle figure?

Comment: It's worse than not caring (Score 1) 538 538

It's worse than not caring. After the IRS Commissioner testified before Congress that Lois Lerner's emails were lost and gone forever, the Inspector General located the backup tapes easily -- and we learn that THE I.T. GUYS HAD NEVER EVEN BEEN ASKED TO RETRIEVE THE BACKUPS.

The rule on staying alive as a forecaster is to give 'em a number or give 'em a date, but never give 'em both at once. -- Jane Bryant Quinn