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Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 1) 501

by Jeremi (#49593271) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

2) Cloud... And the difference [between sunny-day production and cloudy-day production] is less than you'd think - it's about 90% of summer rather than the 25% or similar you might think.

That has not been my experience. For example, here is my system's output on April 25th (which was a cloudy day), and here is the output on April 26th (which was a sunny day). The cloudy-day output was about 10% of the the sunny-day output.

Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 2) 501

by Jeremi (#49593225) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

What would make solar energy viable would be panels that didn't cost $30,000 to buy and install. [...] I just don't happen to have $30K laying around.

This game changer has already occurred in many places. There are many locations where you can get a home solar array installed without paying any money for it, because the installing company is willing to pay for the equipment and installation in return for selling you the generated power. This is appealing to consumers because they get a significant reduction in their monthly power bill, they don't have to pay anything, and they don't have to take on the risk of not getting the expected return on their investment.

The fact that solar companies are willing to take the financial risk on the customer's behalf indicates that the risk/reward ratio of home solar installations is already low enough to be economically viable, and it will only improve over time.

Comment: Re:Car analogy (Score 1) 125

Telling people they'll be okay once they know how to drive is the wrong idea.

The difference between driving and VR is that VR is supposed to simulate your being physically present inside a computer-generated environment. People already know how to physically exist in a location. If the VR system requires special training to interact with, then the V isn't doing a very good approximation of the R.

Comment: Re:The grid needs storage - not battery storage (Score 2) 329

by Jeremi (#49568889) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

A used car battery won't hold a charge, or deliver current. That's why they are replaced after all.

I think you might have a misconception here -- it sounds like you are thinking of the engine-starter batteries used in a gasoline-engine car. The used batteries the previous poster is referring to are the (much larger) battery packs from an electric car. Those batteries are typically swapped out when their capacity deteriorates to the point where the car's maximum range is no longer acceptable. In that state, the batteries are still perfectly capable of holding a charge and delivering current; just not as much charge as when they were new.

Comment: Re:Not enough resourcees (Score 4, Insightful) 480

by Jeremi (#49560283) Attached to: Audi Creates "Fuel of the Future" Using Just Carbon Dioxide and Water

There isn't enough CO2 in the atmosphere to make this work.

That's okay, because they are unlikely to be taking the CO2 out of the atmosphere anyway. It would be much cheaper and easier to capture and reuse the outputs of an existing CO2 source (e.g. a coal plant) than it would be to suck CO2 out of the ambient air.

Comment: No need to overthink this (Score 5, Insightful) 359

by Jeremi (#49557801) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Google's social networking features remain marginal for the same reason all of the other social networking sites remain marginal: the value of a social networking application is proportional to the number of people who are already using it. And Facebook hit critical mass first, which means that anyone who wants to "socialize" online with all of their buddies is going to want to do that on Facebook, because that's where all of their buddies are to be found online.

Asking people to also sign up for a second social-networking service is a losing proposition, because it inconveniences them (now they have to check two sites every day) without providing any compensating benefit (why talk to their friends on site B when they could already do that on site A?).

Comment: Re:"Worth" (Score 1) 72

by Jeremi (#49524715) Attached to: I predict that by next Earth Day Bitcoin will ...

Bitcoin has no inherent worth. At least fiat currency, in physical form, can be burned for heat or used to clean-up after using the bathroom, or melted down and used for weights for fishing.

... and that's precisely why people turn to physical cash -- they never know when they will run out of toilet paper or kindling. No currency will ever be truly accepted unless/until it can also provide those vital services!

Comment: Re:Results may be interesting. (Score 1) 336

by Jeremi (#49522827) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

That's not what I call "release". That's move from one cage to another. Maybe a bigger cage, but it's still a cage. Not freedom.

They wouldn't survive in the wild, so leaving them in the wild wouldn't be freedom either, it would be a death sentence.

That doesn't mean that putting them in a humane environment isn't the right thing to do. Keeping an animal in a 4x4 wire cage for its entire life is cruel. The distinction you're trying to make (an abstract idea of "complete freedom") isn't relevant and would be meaningless to the chimp; what's relevant is the chimpanzee's quality of life.

Comment: Re:Necessary step (Score 1) 336

by Jeremi (#49520319) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

What we've learned from our history is the stronger power typically enslaves the weaker, why would you think non-terrestrial intelligence wouldn't enslave us?

Historically there has been an economic advantage to enslaving people; if you enslaved someone you could get them to do work for you, so you didn't have to do the work yourself.

A non-terrestrial intelligence, contrariwise, would either not be present on Earth (in which case it wouldn't have the ability to enslave anyone on Earth), or if it did get to Earth, it did so by harnessing enough energy to make the trip across interstellar space. Any species capable of harnessing that much energy on its own is unlikely to need to enslave anyone to get its work done. It would be like you or I 'enslaving' a hamster to generate electrical power for our house -- there's not enough benefit to make it worth the effort of doing.

Comment: Re:Matlab (Score 1) 181

by Jeremi (#49516469) Attached to: Swift Tops List of Most-Loved Languages and Tech

there has to be a good reason for it, and making it easier for bad programmers to produce more bad code is not a valid one.

If all you've got is bad programmers, and their bad code is nevertheless good enough to accomplish the tasks you need to get done, then a tool that allows bad programmers to produce more bad code may be just the thing you need. (of course some would argue that that niche is already filled by Java, but time will tell)

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein

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