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Comment: Heading away from gasoline/diesel anyway. (Score 2) 190

by MtViewGuy (#49264745) Attached to: UN Backs Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign

I think now that we may be on the verge of major breakthroughs in battery technology, we could soon see the beginning of the end of using gasoline and diesel fuel for motor vehicles anyway.

Around 2010, Volkswagen Chairman Martin Winterkorn predicted that by 2020, a vehicle about the size of today's VW Golf model--with similar carrying capacity in terms of passengers and cargo--could travel 800 km (497 miles) on a single full charge of the car's electric battery pack. Thanks to new forms of lithium-ion batteries that use dry electrodes and graphene sheets and carbon nanotube supercapacitors, such a goal may not be such a far-fetched idea; if Winterkorn's prediction proves true, that will truly start the transition from away from using internal combustion engines fueled by gasoline or diesel fuel for personal vehicles.

However, gasoline and diesel fuel will be around longer until the change I mention above is complete, thanks to new industrial catalysts ("cat crackers") that can convert natural gas into very clean-burning forms of gasoline and diesel fuel--and it will be cheap to make, too. This will provide a "bridge" of fuel technology until long-range electric cars I described earlier become common.

Comment: We don't have an "English Academy".... (Score 1) 667

by MtViewGuy (#49264663) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

....defining English spelling and grammar like the famous "Académie française" in France or the "Office québécois de la langue française" in Canada does for the French language. As such, the English language has changed at an enormous pace, and people would be amazed that the average English spoken in the USA circa 1900 can be quite different than the English spoken in the USA in 2015.

Comment: Re:Could be. (Score 1) 392

by MtViewGuy (#49230985) Attached to: Does USB Type C Herald the End of Apple's Proprietary Connectors?

Apple chose to develop Lightning for two reasons:

1. It is definitely WAY sturdier than the MIcro USB Micro-B connector.

2. Lightning offered more I/O flexibility than the Micro USB connection.

Now that the USB Type C connector has all the physical advantages of the Lightning connector (small size, reversible and much more durable physical connections) and offers far higher throughput than Lightning (which is limited to USB 2.0 speeds), it's not a far-fetched possibility that Apple may drop the Lightning connector in favor of USB Type C on the iPhone by 2017.

Comment: Re:I Disagree (Score 1) 315

by MtViewGuy (#49230935) Attached to: Clinton's Private Email System Gets a Security "F" Rating

It's still a terrible idea in my humble opinion, unless Hillary Clinton hired the very best IT people to diligently upgrade the server operating system, the mail server software and properly configure the server to make it as secure as possible. Otherwise, someone--including the Russian FSB and the Chinese Ministry of State Security with their excellent hackers--could have taken all of the mail from that server and she would have never known what happened.

Comment: Re:Are amateur scientists EXTINCT? (Score 1) 77

by MtViewGuy (#49010813) Attached to: Mystery Ash Clouds Rain In Parts of Washington, Oregon

I'm actually surprised that someone at university in the Pacific Northwest has not taken a sample of the rainwater and do some chemical analysis. If it is volcanic ash, they need to compare against the volcanic ash spewed out from Sakurajima just east of the city of Kagoshima in Japan or the Shiveluch volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, both of which have erupted in the last month or so.

Comment: I do think it will be popular, though. (Score 1) 332

by MtViewGuy (#48897931) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

Here's the reason why: the cost of above-55" flat screen panels have been dropping rapidly, and you can now get a very good 70" LCD flat panel at surprisingly reasonable prices. Once you go past 60" screen size, you can start to see the pixels on even a 1080p display; I've seen Ultra HD display on a Sony 55" monitor and wow, it's so clear you feel like looking through a window. As such, Ultra HD Blu-ray will have a surprisingly fast uptake, especially since the technology is not significantly more expensive that Blu-ray is now, given they didn't have to go to a purple-spectrum reading laser, which would have made the cost exorbitantly expensive.

Comment: Microsoft will be more successful with Windows 10 (Score 4, Insightful) 489

by MtViewGuy (#48850263) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

And with good reason: the default user interface of Windows 10 on desktop and "conventional" laptops is the Desktop user interface, not the "Modern" tiled interface that frustrated users transitioning to Windows 8.x to no end. As such, users of Windows 7, Vista and XP will be able to transition to Windows 10 quickly, and that means much higher consumer end user and corporate user acceptance this time around, meaning likely a much more "normal" upgrade cycle.

Comment: Re:While suborbital flight may be too expensive... (Score 1) 300

by MtViewGuy (#48781959) Attached to: Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

The big problem with the Concorde was not only was the plane very noisy on takeoff because you needed the Olympus 593 turbojets to run at full reheat on takeoff and acceleration, but you had to run a good amount of reheat (afterburner) to maintain the Mach 2.0 speed, which of course increased fuel consumption.

With a modern variable cycle jet engine, flying at below Mach 1 the engine runs like a high-bypass turbofan with its lower attendant fuel consumption, then changes mode to run at supersonic speeds (probably without reheat at speeds up to Mach 1.3; above that, some reheat operation is needed, but not as much as you needed on the Concorde flying at Mach 2.0).

Comment: While suborbital flight may be too expensive.... (Score 4, Interesting) 300

by MtViewGuy (#48743143) Attached to: Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

....We may see a return of supersonic flight within the next 15 years.

Thanks to better understanding of how sonic booms are generated from the shape of the plane and definitely way better jet engine technology, we may be able to very soon build a business jet seating 10 passengers capable of flying at Mach 1.6 at ranges up to 6,000 nautical miles with just about no sonic boom audible on the ground even when the plane is fly at Mach 1.6.

How is this possible? First, aerodynamic research using computational fluid dynamics have identified ways to minimize the pressure wave buildup that causes the sonic boom in the first place with very careful shaping of the fuselage and wings. This makes to possible to effectively eliminate the audible sonic at speeds up to Mach 1.6. Secondly, modern engine design using variable cycle engines (GE Aero Engines successfully tested the technology on a engine intended for the Advanced Technology Fighter program that resulted in the F-22A Raptor) means high-bypass turbofan fuel efficiency at subsonic speeds but can change configuration to fly at supersonic speeds with a small amount of reheat (afterburning) to keep fuel consumption and harmful exhaust missions as low as possible. Finally, by keeping the top speed to Mach 1.6, it means less structural heating from flying at supersonic speeds and less need to run a lot of reheat (afterburning) on the engines, which means lower fuel consumption and less need for expensive high-temperature rated stainless steel or titanium structural parts like those used on the Concorde.

I've read companies that sell fractional ownership of private jets such as FlexJet or NetJets would immediately buy 50 of these supersonic business jets once approved for production. The ability to fly from New York City to London in around 4 hours as opposed to the circa 7.5 hours with current jet airliners makes it very attractive to business customers, especially since many live by the motto of "time is money."

Comment: 48 fps may be TOO clear? (Score 2) 187

by MtViewGuy (#48671033) Attached to: Human Eye's Oscillation Rate Determines Smooth Frame Rate

I think the problem is that because we're so used to 24 fps on theatrical motion pictures, going to 48 fps can be quite jarring, since everything looks so much "clearer" that you have to rethink set design, costume design and even the use of special effects to be less obtrusive at 48 fps. (Indeed, this became a huge issue with Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy because everything looked TOO clear.)

The late Roger Ebert liked the 48 fps "Maxivision" analog film format, but that idea never took off due to need to use a lot more physical film and the increased stress of running a film projector at twice the speed of regular projectors. But with modern digital movie cameras, 48 fps is now much more viable.

Comment: Great except server farms can't keep up. (Score 1) 110

by MtViewGuy (#48670989) Attached to: US Internet Offers 10Gbps Fiber In Minneapolis

While it's great to get super-fast Internet, we may run into a big problem soon: many web server farms may not have the bandwidth capacity to handle many millions of users who have above 100 megabit/second download speed Internet access at the "last mile" connection. It's going to require a major upgrade of content delivery networks to handle much faster connection end users.

Comment: Mount Aso is more dangerous than many think. (Score 1) 24

by MtViewGuy (#48485357) Attached to: Volcanic Eruption In Japan Disrupts Flights

I think people forget that the Mount Aso volcanic caldera is NOT small, and there is the constant threat of a major eruption there. There is a chance--though small--that Mount Aso could erupt with the force and volcanic ash output of Mount Pinatubo in 1991--a scale of eruption that could seriously affect the Japanese economy and could even substantially cool the Earth like what Pinatubo's huge ash output did.

Comment: Re:The French (Score 1) 395

by MtViewGuy (#48484989) Attached to: France Wants To Get Rid of Diesel Fuel

The problem with diesel engines is simple: it's ungodly expensive to make a diesel engine just as clean as a gasoline engine. For example, the Daimler-Benz "BlueTec" system that uses common-rail direct fuel injection, a sophisticated particulate filter, and urea gas injection into the exhaust stream to break down the NOx gases for easier catalytic converter removal costs a lot of money per car, to say the least.

Besides, with battery technology rapidly improving, we may soon have 400 to 500 km per charge range electric cars without the need for a big an heavy battery pack, which means electric vehicles are now very viable for commuter cars.

Comment: Re:Home vs Corporate (Score 1) 192

I think because Windows 10 defaults to the Desktop UI on laptop and desktop computers, it is the true successor to Windows 7 in the corporate world. Indeed, I expect Windows 10 to cause a major uptick in PC sales because people familiar with Windows 7 and earlier could pick up Windows 10 a lot faster.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS

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