I don't believe it is a crock -- most people know roughly what their elevation is -- if not Google is your friend. I grew up around Allentown (actually Macungie) and I knew it was around 400 ft back in the '70s, long before Google was even a thought. I now live in Louisville, KY (Ohio RIver Valley) and we are at 550-600 ft above sea level depending where you are (I'm closer to 600 ft). For y'all who think in Metric, that's 122 meters, 168 meters, and 183 meters, rounded.
Electric motors are efficient as far as speed, but IMHO the Achilles's heel of electric cars is the range on a charge along with the ease and speed of charging the vehicle. I'd hate to be motoring down the Autobahn at 130-140 mph and run out of battery. A gasoline or diesel powered car has a range of 300-500 miles (depending on speed, engine efficiency, and size of tank), so assuming a 1/2 full or better tank, running out of fuel after 80-100 miles is not an issue. Even if the tank is low, it is easy to find a station and fill up in a few minutes, then get back on the road.
DeLoreans can go fast, it just takes a little while to get that fast -- the stock engine wasn't the greatest. Interesting trivia fact from Back to the Future -- the DeLorean speedometer actually only goes to 85 MPH, like all cars made back in the 80's (federal law). The 95 mph speedometer in the DeLorean in BTTF was custom made for the movie so that 88 mph wasn't "faster than the speedometer went."
The other problem with electric cars is the range. 60 to 100 miles is fine for a commuter vehicle (for most commuters), but is no good for longer distances. So far, battery technology has not been able to create an all electric car with the range and recharge convenience of a gasoline, diesel, or natural gas vehicle. Find a way to solve this problem and get the cost down, then the electric car will be practical.
When I was in High School (graduated 1981) in Pennsylvania, we (the High School) had access at school to the Lehigh University using an old paper tape reading terminal at 300 baud. We were able to write and run BASIC programs using this set up. We also had a TRS-80 (the original model) in the "computer" room. Granted, this was a fairly limited setup, but I'm sure if our High School was able to get access to a University system, then so could other High Schools.
We were lucky to have a computer savvy math teacher and a High School that was willing to purchase computer time from Lehigh.
I was able to afford a Radio Shack EC-4000 (rebranded TI-57 calculator) - did lots of "programming" on it. I always wanted a TI-59, but was unable to afford it. A classmate of mine had a TI-58.
WWII brought the U.S. out of the Great Depression not only because jobs were created making bombs, guns, planes, tanks, etc., but because by the end of 1945, most of Europe's and Japan's factories were destroyed or in bad shape due to bombing, while factories in the U.S. were untouched. This lead to the economic boom in here in the States during the 1950's and 60's. We rebuilt the destroyed factories in Europe and Japan with the Marshall plan, so by the 1970's Europe and Japan had new factories, while the U.S. was still using the same factories built in the late 19th and early 20th century. This was one (of many) reasons why so many factories and mills closed in the 1970's and beyond.
When I was growing up, a guy from my parent's generation could graduate High School and get a job with Bethlehem Steel, G.E., or any number of companies, and have a "job for life." Those jobs payed well enough to raise a family, buy a house, a car, and maybe a toy (like a boat or R.V.) on one salary. Now those jobs (and many of those companies) are gone, and everything is made in China.
Not everyone is College material, but College is required for almost any job. I'll get off my soapbox now.
I'll second you on that. Every one of my Daughter's friends has Limewire installed on their computers, and I'm sure their parents use it too. When I clean up their computers, the culprit is usually something that was downloaded from there. I see the usual songs that I would expect teenagers (and younger) to download, but I also see a lot of stuff from the '70s and '80s. Those are most likely downloaded by (or for) Mom and Dad, but on the other hand, I see kids wearing copies of tee-shirts and listening to music that were popular back when I was in High School and College (Pink Floyd, Rush, etc.), so those songs might not all be from/for the parents.
Personally, I use uTorrent (micro torrent) or Frostwire once in a great while, but that is just me.
I'm not sure how it works everywhere, when my Daughter went to High School here in Louisville, KY., the band had to pay for the music they used on the field and in competition. The band director went through an organization that supplied the sheet music, made sure that the show purchased was not being used by any other band in any of the shows we were going to compete in, and made sure we had the right music for the instruments we were using. For our size band (50 to 75) students, the cost of the show we used in the 2008-09 school year was somewhere between $2500 and $3500. The cost of the show varies by popularity and band size. Our band organization foots the bill (read band fees and fund raisers) since the schools do not provide any funds to speak of. The cost of the show includes any and all performance fees, so in the end, yes, we are paying performance fees. A High School Band, costs a lot of money, especially if the band is big, and the suppliers of the music make sure that they get their cut.
If we allow Star Trek type replicators to copy cars, then before you know it GM and Chrysler will go bankrupt, then before you know it Billy Mays will die. We can't allow that to happen. Wait, what's that....
Never mind. Instead of changing with the times, our pals at the MAFIAA (BSA has honorary membership) has to create another joke video instead. Oh, well...
Actually, I can understand someone referring to it as "the CPU." In the old mainframe world, you actually have a box which contains the CPU(s) and core memory (RAM). Peripherals such as disk drives (DASD anyone?) and tape drives all were in separate cabinets. I remember 256M platters the size of a cake container, complete with a clear plastic cover. Systems are smaller now, any many minicomputers have multiple components in one box, but you haven't lived until you have had an old mainframe programmer request more core or DASD for his PC.
But for the wisdom of a few Supremes back in the 1980's, the VCR could have been made illegal. Fortunately, fair use prevailed that time.
This is so stupid, it is time for the Entertainment Industry to grow up and accept that people want equipment like this. Make Real's implementation illegal, and the "illegal" versions will get that much more popular. They already are easier to use and have more (and better) functionality. The MPAA (and RIAA) want total control, but end up losing more control every time they win one of these cases.
I think that the RIAA made a BIG mistake when it shut down Napster. That was the beginning of the whole mess that we have today. Now imagine an alternate future, where the industry actually used the brains that God gave them. Instead of shutting down Napster, they buy out Shawn Fanning, take over the web site, improve it, and charge $5/month to use it. I think that most people would have ponied up $5 per month for all of the MP3s that they could want. There would most likely still be piracy, but it would be a small subset of users that the industry could either fight or even just ignore. Remember, at this time, the RIAA didn't have the stigma it does now, so it would have been a lot easier to marginalize a small pirate community when you have a large legal Napster community to support you.
Fast forward to today, In the 8 years since Napster was shutdown, we have added movies and TV shows to the mix, and now have had 40 Gig+ MP3 players for years. In a sane world, the industry could have responded by upgrading and changing the Napster platform to accommodate those changes. New pricing structures could have been developed to match. They could have rolled out various packages -- anything from a basic MP3 only package to a deluxe "get it all, fast" package. Bit torrent could have been added to the infrastructure to make things more efficient. You still would have DVDs, Blue Ray, and CDs for those who want physical media (don't underestimate the bandwidth of a Netflix subscription). The industry could have also licensed other stores such as iTunes or Amazon store if they wanted.
It would have been a win-win situation. Customers would be able to legally fill up the 40 Gig iPods for a reasonable price ($10,000 to fill an iPod at $0.99 per song, assuming the average song is 4 MB, is NOT reasonable). CD sales would have still dropped, but with a steady, predictable monthly cash flow, the industry would have had money and time to lessen or eliminate the impact. They movie industry would also have that predictable cash flow (remember, our mythical Napster was updated over the years as technology grew), plus they would still have income from Movie theatres and DVD sales, just as they do now. I'm sure there would still be piracy, but it would be a small fringe group that wouldn't seriously impact the way that the RIAA and the MPAA do business.
Unfortunately for everyone, the RIAA and the MPAA decided to go the route they did, and now they (and we) are paying for their stupidity. The industry has spent the last 8 to 10 years paddling upstream and wondering why they aren't getting anywhere, and it looks like they aren't going to stop any time soon.