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Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 77

by ultranova (#47438473) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

I'm not a user, but my understanding is that pot is a very hearty plant, easy to grow and cheap to grow. Why invest money, time, and effort in learning to get the THC without it?

Because yeast is still easier, and it would be to everyone's advantage if at least some of the alcohol producers switched to pot. Except the "thank God for dead soldiers" crowd, of course, since they're never happy as long as someone else might be.

Comment: Re:Why are the number of cabs [artificially] limit (Score 1) 78

by ultranova (#47438423) Attached to: Lyft's New York Launch Halted By Restraining Order

So your argument against permitting people to hire their services is that it will threaten others' wages? Congratulations, you just cast your vote for no progress ever. Please move back into a cave, and give up your PC.

Strictly speaking, I don't need a PC to stay alive and capable of working. That means the PC is a luxury; I have one because at some point of my life, I had spare income. That, in turn, is an inefficiency - I could had undercut other workers by asking for less. So, if you advocate a perfectly efficient job market yet have anything you could give up without dying, you either are a hypocrite or don't know what "economic efficiency" means.

Comment: Re:Why are the number of cabs [artificially] limit (Score 1) 78

by ultranova (#47438397) Attached to: Lyft's New York Launch Halted By Restraining Order

This is the reason why people have so much debt: the entire economy has become a "competitive market" where those participating in it - employees - barely survive, no matter how much it produces.

No, people have so much debt because they insist on buying things they can't afford. No, you really don't NEED a Tesla. Or even a new car. A five-year-old used car will do fine. Nor do you NEED the latest tech toy. Etc, etc, etc.

So do you agree with me? Because you seem to be saying the same thing I did: employees, in an efficient market, can't afford anything beyond they NEED - in other words, they're just barely surviving. Which is only natural, seeing how "sellers barely survive" is the very definition of economic efficiency in a marketplace, even in the job market.

Which is an awesome thing for anyone who is buying the labour but horrible for those selling it. In fact it's so bad it historically led to the birth of Communism due to unbearable conditions. Sane countries avoided revolution by deliberately introducing inefficiencies - such as labour unions - which forced employee profits up to the point where they could live. The US, on the other hand, uses easy access to credit to hide the truth. But the problem is, debt can't grow forever. As it reaches its limits, both economy and social stability in general deteriorate. The vast majority of people simply can't afford anything.

The US is trying to compensate that problem, in turn, by blaming indebted people for being "irresponsible", when in truth they've done nothing wrong. They simply had the bad luck of being born in a "market liberal" country and believing the lies they were told. Perhaps they could had faced the ugly truth earlier, but in any case the sheer mass of debt build up is forcing the issue now. It'll be interesting to see if US can introduce the necessary inefficiencies to its job market before the smoldering anger passes the tipping point and the country goes up in flames. Judging by comments like yours repeating the frankly stupid propaganda, and the continued arming of the police with military gear, which is odd if the nation doesn't expect to use them in military-style missions against its own population, I'd wager "no".

Comment: Re:Hard finding any worth it these days (Score 1) 473

They don't need to be high voltage or high current, they just need to have electrolytic caps, like most analog circuitry does. Electrolytic caps don't need to run hot, they just need to be electrolytic and made in China, and they're virtually guaranteed to fail early. Go read about the Capacitor Plague.

Comment: Re:Triangle (Score 1) 66

Note that I was only discussing speed of light lag, not lag caused by archaic hardware and other problems that apply equally well to links NOT using satellites.

Fair enough - still sounds like it's not the full ping though. Did you only count a one way trip up? How about down to the ground then back up and down again which is what it has to do to reply? It looks like you did not but were pretty quick with the criticism about being sloppy just the same.

not lag caused by archaic hardware and other problems that apply equally well to links NOT using satellites.

Except it doesn't apply in most other cases which is why the latency observed is much worse.

My point stands - if you care about ping times at all then satellites are not on the list unless they are the only thing available. If you don't care much about latency then they are worth considering.

Comment: Re:Ranges from bad to terrible ping times (Score 1) 66

Iridium orbit is ~780 km. Which means worst case ping times (due to the satellites) should be around 75 ms

Wikipedia to the rescue! (
"Latency for data connections is around 1800 ms round-trip, using small packets"

However half way to the moon for a high orbit was a vast exaggeration on my part so sorry about that.

Comment: Re:Manager (Score 5, Insightful) 135

by Teckla (#47437475) Attached to: New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

But seriously, hopefully Microsoft will benefit from him and become a bit more popular amongst nerds.

Why do you hope for that? Microsoft pretends to reinvent itself regularly, but one thing remains constant through the decades: Their goal has unswervingly been lock-in from top to bottom, while trying to nickel and dime you the whole way.

For nerds, this means locking you into their programming languages (e.g., VB or C#), or if not that, at least lock you into their APIs (so that you're as good as locked in, even if you're using C or C++). It means abandonment of entire domains that no longer suit them (look up how woefully out-of-date and ignored the C part of their C/C++ compiler is).

It means locking you into their platforms, whether that be the operating system (Windows) or the browser (Internet Explorer).

It means high prices (have you seen the prices on Windows Server and/or Microsoft Azure lately?), which is not-at-all nerd-friendly. It means guaranteed stagnation in those domains where they achieve dominance. It means product churn for the sake of profits. It means ignoring customers and forcing bad implementations on them (*cough*Metro*cough*) and then taking forever to admit it was a mistake and fix it (when is Windows 9 due out? Next year sometime?).

Just because some new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss is singing some unicorns-and-rainbows song doesn't mean the core of Microsoft is going to change. They're still after the same things they've always been after: Lock-in so severe that the pain of escape ensures most people remain slaves, and profits, profits, profits.

Comment: That said... (Score 4, Informative) 48

by Rei (#47437451) Attached to: Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance

... the greater your capacity, the less cycle life matters. If you want an EV that battery that will run a 250Wh/mi vehicle for an average 20 miles a day for 15 years, then you want it to cycle through about 30MWh. If you use a 100 mile (25kWh) battery pack, then that's 1100 cycles. If you use a 200 mile (50kWh) battery pack, then that's 550 cycles. If you use a 400 mile (100kWh) battery pack, then that's a mere 275 cycles. Actually, the improvement is even better than that in the real world, because the greater your capacity vs. how far you're actually driving, the more you can cycle the cells through a less destructive state of charge range rather than doing deep discharges.

A lot of people picture battery packs in EVs backwards, they think that things like hybrids stress the packs the least, PHEVs moderately, and EVs the worst. But it's reversed. If you look at how big hybrid packs are vs. how much electric range they hold, you'll see that they're disproportionately large, even after you factor in any differences in Wh/kg. The reason is that because hybrid packs get cycled so much, they have to keep the cycling in a very narrow state of charge range, only allowing shallow discharges. So if you only have a narrow discharge range, you have to make your pack bigger to make up for it. EVs can discharge through much more of their pack because they need fewer total cycles and only rarely go down toward the lower end of their allowable discharge range. Some EVs also let you limit the max that your pack charges up to to further extend lifespan (it's usually destructive both to use the very top end and the bottom end of the discharge range).

Comment: Re:Correct me if I'm wrong, but... (Score 4, Informative) 48

by Rei (#47437401) Attached to: Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance

1024 mAhg1 is excellent capacity even vs. brand new graphite or amorphous carbon, about 3x as much as graphite's maximum. Silicon's theoretical max is 8-10x that of graphite, but the main problem with it is durability, it tends to tear itself apart on loading. There are silicon anodes in some newer li-ion cells on the market, but the tech is in its infancy.

That said, the real papers you want to be on the lookout for are cathode improvements, there's a lot more potential for volume/mass reduction there than in the anode. But it seems to be a more difficult challenge. Getting a 3x improvement in anode density is absolutely not the same a getting a 3x improvement in battery life.

Comment: Re:Little Bit of History Repeating. (Score 3, Insightful) 48

by Rei (#47437377) Attached to: Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance

Commercial li-ion battery energy densities have continued to improve during that time period, including the commercial introduction of cells with silicon anodes. Of course, silicon anodes are a new tech, so there's a great deal of room for improvement, which probably won't come close to "maxing out" for a decade or more.

Of course, that said, this article is your typical fluff piece following the guidelines of fluff science reporting.

1. Present an oversimplified version of one technology challenge that may or may not address the biggest issue and certainly doesn't address all of them - but don't mention that.
2. Introduce an outside-the-establishment loner with a passion - or at least someone you can try to present as "outside the establishment" and glaze over anyone who helped him.
3. Loner gets a "vision" based on some everyday activity
4. Present their solution and make it out to be a huge revolution that will certainly solve all our problems - if they can only get corporate backing / funding!

I think these sort of articles hurt the image of science because people read them, think "OMG, all our problems are solved!", then when everything's not solved afterward, fail to trust science in the future. For example, in this case, the most important element to improve is the cathode, not the anode. And cathode improvements are less common and usually less major than anode improvements. There's also tons of different anode improvements out there in various stages of research. Pretty much all of the silicon ones get way better than graphite or amorphous carbon.

That doesn't mean that this isnt an important paper - actually, from looking at it, it looks pretty good. It's just not "all that".

BTW, anyone know how credible this journal is? I see it's hosted on but not part of Nature, and I tried to find an impact rating for it but couldn't.

Comment: Ranges from bad to terrible ping times (Score 1) 66

Oh ? You don't need to know the orbit, even ?

Nice try at whatever you are attempting to do there, but it is always going to vastly exceed the time going via the much tighter curve of the Earth's surface even if it's as low as Iridium which is about as low as you get for a long term circularish orbit. (Spy sats get lower for short periods but have very elliptical orbits and don't last long).

So to sum up ping times are going to vary from bad (Iridium) to very bad (nearly half way the the moon for geostationary), thus if ping times are a criteria at all it's always going to look bad.

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce