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Comment Re:hyperloop without the hyper or loop (Score 1) 218

The Tesla car has higher instantaneous torque and a flat torque curve. The cost for me to drive 300 miles on gasoline is around $25 now; on biofuel, it's around $35; on diesel, it's around $12; on electricity, it's $3. Battery storage loses less energy in conversion than biofuel chemical storage. Electric cars are less complex and require less maintenance than reciprocating piston engines. Superior power, performance, durability, longevity, and cost doesn't seem inferior.

While I'm a huge fan of Tesla, I also greatly enjoy my dinosaur-burning sports cars. So I'm going to argue a few points here. For comparison's sake, consider a Chevy SS, powered by a LS3 6.2L OHV aluminum V8. IMO one of the greatest engines ever invented. Let's also consider a hypothetical engine swap with the torque-monster direct-injected LT1 from the Camaro and Corvette (the LS3's direct successor engine).

1. Performance. While the Tesla has instantaneous torque, the LT1 still delivers 300 lb-ft at ~1000RPM. That's barely above idle. Also, the SS is about 10% lighter than the lightest ~315hp Model S (4,000 vs 4400lbs), so the power to weight ratio is vastly superior. While the P85D probably skews outright power back in favor of Tesla, the damn thing weights nearly 5,000lbs. And the P85D is a 6-figure car. For the extra cost of that package, forced induction can be easily added to the V8 and return the balance of power to the Chevy.

2. Durability/longevity. Jury is still out on this one as I'm waiting to see how barely-maintained 10-year-old Model S's hold up. But pretty much all the kinks have been worked out of the LS engine platform and T56 6-speed manual transmissions. The only engines in the family that aren't utterly bulletproof are the 7.0L LS7 (high-G oil starvation during track use) and the supercharged LT4 (quality control during fabrication).

3. Fuel cost. Starting price on a Model S is ~$30,000 more than a Chevy SS. You would have to drive 400,000 miles to break even via fuel savings.

I'm really curious how you conclude that "power, performance...and cost" don't seem inferior on the electric cars.

Comment Re:Prohibited (Score 1) 336

LOL, you don't think the military has figured out this frequency hopping problem yet and Homeland Security/FBI hasn't purchased the necessary hardware?

Me thinks you are bit naïve...

I'm almost finished my Masters thesis on frequency-hopping software-defined radios, so I'm pretty sure neither naivete nor ignorance is a factor. Until recently, the hardware systems involved with frequency memory and principal component analysis, especially over a high bandwidth, were neither cheap nor widespread. This is partly because there aren't too many opponents outside of national militaries who are using FHSS comm systems. The first thing the Feds have to do is realize you are using FHSS in the first place. Then allocate some of those expensive EW assets to monitor or jam your comms.
Like most forms of security, you don't expect to be invulnerable, but to force your opponent to expend a disproportionate amount of resources to compromise your operations.

Modern Communications Jamming: Principles and Techniques especially Chapter 12

Comment Prowler? (Score 2) 132

I thought this article was about the flight computer used in the Prowler Electronic Attack aircraft....

Aren't they out of service? How did the aircraft get a flight computer from the 30's? How could Gene Roddenberry possibly get his hands on a (then-modern) military aircraft computer during the original Star Trek's run?

but that's the EA-6B......

Comment Re:Still sucks (Score 1) 467

The problem is we didn't really see Ren hurting from the gunshot wound. We saw him get shot, and we occasionally saw him wince and bleed, but that doesn't really register with the audience. If I could see him obviously hobbled or otherwise hurting as he fought it might be relevant,

I'm not sure why that wouldn't "register with the audience", it registered fine with me. He was pretty obviously trying to muscle through the pain of his injury, and succeeding.

but what I actually saw on the screen was Ren defeating Fin by a narrow margin,

He aggressively dominated the tempo against Finn from the first blow, culminating in burning a hole in his shoulder. Finn recovered enough to score a glancing blow on Ren's shoulder, after which Ren promptly disarms him in 2 moves. I don't consider that a narrow margin but I suppose we could argue the point indefinitely.

and losing to... the girl with a slightly less memorable name. Ren as the bad guy is frankly not scary.

I think that kind of issue was indicative of the movie, there's decent ideas but they didn't think them through so they didn't really work. Imagine if Ren was a rage-filled fanatic with a ridiculous amount of power instead of a little kid with a temper tantrum. Now I'm actually scared of him.

I think he works as a realistic villain partly because he's *NOT* an all-powerful badass. He's young, inexperienced, and highly unpredictable. He's not disciplined enough to control his powers well. It reminds me of a Vice video I saw about hitmen in Peru: most of the sicarios are teenagers. Kids on a power trip are not to be taken lightly.

More to the point think about how meaningless it was when they Death Star fired and blew up a Republic that basically had no role in the movie.

Agreed on this point. It's a persistent problem with JJ Abrams and his sense of world-building and scale (or lack thereof). And now I'm wondering how a movie with a 2-hour runtime can somehow not find time for a few scenes to help get the audience emotionally invested in the consequences of Starkiller Base.

Comment Re:Still sucks (Score 5, Informative) 467

I realize that exercise isn't a priority for most geeks

And having served as a Marine Corps Officer, I think I'm more familiar with physical exertion than most geeks. You emphasized the distance ran, I would emphasize getting shot, and from a noticeably high-powered weapon at that. If you shot me in the side with a Dragunov rifle (which fires the same 7.62x54mm rounds as the PKM light machine gun) and told me to run the Marine Corps obstacle course ( less than 100m), and THEN fight another Marine....I'd almost certainly lose, regardless of the melee skills of my opponent.

But Ren didn't lose, he won. The entire argument of "Ep7 sucks because the Dark Jedi lost a saber fight with a Stormtrooper" is moot...because it's factually incorrect.

Comment Re:Still sucks (Score 1, Troll) 467

I dont know what I saw? It may have familiar props and actors in it. But it wasnt star wars.

Please define "Star Wars" in your mind. And be specific about the elements missing from Ep7.

The fact even Finn could defeat a dark Lord of the sith shows how much of a joke it is.

Spoiler Warning....

Did we watch the same movie? I never saw Finn defeat a Sith Lord. I saw Finn LOSE to a partially-trained Jedi apprentice who fell to the Dark Side. And said apprentice defeated Finn even after getting shot with Chewie's bowcaster and running hundreds of meters outside to confront the heroes in the forest.

Comment Re: John Oliver (Score 2) 954

it's the phrase "ethnically homogenous" that is troubling; japan alone has more than 300 differening ethnic groups

Citation needed. The Japanese government doesn't even track internal ethnic stats: Wiki You'll be hard-pressed to find a Japanese person who identifies as anything other than "Japanese", except maybe Okinawans. I dated a girl in Sapporo who clearly had Ainu ancestry, judging by her facial features. "You're my ainu snow bunny." "I'm not Ainu, I'm Japanese."

Although you didn't list mainland china it's also worth pointing out the not-insignificant minority ethnic groups within its borders.

Mainland China is 91% Han Chinese. Japan is probably closer to 98% Japanese. So what is the statistical cutoff for "homogeneity" for practical discussion purposes? I'd say 90%. If you consistently walk into a room with 9 other people and you are the only one who is're some place homogeneous.

Comment Re: John Oliver (Score 1) 954

The difference is, when asked to turn over their guns Australians replied "Meh....ok". Why? I dunno. But if your population had responded "No. Just try to take them!".....Australia's size/demographics would absolutely present the same enforcement problems that the US has. A majority of Americans oppose "assault weapon" bans: ZeroHedge

And $10,000 for a handgun? Geez, what an arbitrage opportunity. Someone could run a mobile machine shop out of a cargo container, produce and sell guns for $3,000 and still make a killing (pun intended).

Also, there aren't even that many firearms in Australia, comparatively. ~3 million for a 2000 population of 20million ~= 15%. The US has 7x as many weapons *per capita*.

Comment Re: John Oliver (Score 2) 954

You make some valid points but it's a shame you spoilt it with "ethnically-homogeneous...Confucian culture". You really should go and do some travelling or at the very least some reading.... your characterisation is profoundly ignorant.

While working on my undergrad I studied Mandarin for two years and picked up a Chinese Studies certificate. I'm an American who has been living in Japan for four years. I've also spent a year in Korea, and just returned from a month in Hanoi. Two weeks in Slovenia (a friend is a Slovenian Army officer) and two weeks in Siberia (way back when I had a Russian girlfriend) for some European exposure too.

So yes....Taiwan/Korea/Japan/Singapore largely conform to East Asian value/social systems, which stem from Confucianism. Go read some Mencius and get back to me. Filial piety runs deep out here.

Comment Re: John Oliver (Score 2) 954

Ok. How about the UK then.

The overall UK homicide rate is roughly the same now as it was prior to the ban: graph
So a decrease in firearms cannot be conclusively correlated with a decrease in fatalities (firearms fatalities yes, overall fatalities no). Likewise, in the case of the US, we have seen a large increase in the quantity of firearms in America yet overall fatalities and violent crime have been on a consistent decline. graph So firearms and deaths are again not positively correlated.

I'm not informed enough to comment on what social factors enable effective policing by unarmed police in the UK. I know it works here in Japan....which is part of the reason why I live here.

No requirements for storage, no requirements for training, no requirements for mental health, etc..

Storage requirements somewhat negate the utility of the weapon as a last-ditch means of home defense. Of course, if we built better houses in the first place, maybe home invasions wouldn't be so easy and whipping out your shotgun in the dead of the night wouldn't even be necessary. I don't think breaking into my apartment is particularly easy....but I live in a building that is proof against Category 5 hurricanes (we get a Cat5 typhoon about once a year here), which of course affects how the doors and windows are reinforced.

Training and mental health screening are things that I would agree with. I think most "pro-gun" people see training requirements as an infringement of their rights...maybe an alternative is to instead offer MASSIVE tax breaks (like the Earned Income Tax Credit) for those who complete training. So you could still legally own weapons with no training, but you have very little incentive to do so. With the exception of my parents, every firearms owner I know is ex-military or law enforcement, so we are already at least somewhat proficient in basic weapons handling and marksmanship.

Comment Re: John Oliver (Score 1) 954

None of the countries you list are viable examples of what we can implement for the United States. They are all small, highly-urbanized, ethnically-homogeneous, never had a large civilian proliferation of firearms to begin with, and are based on Confucian culture (with an emphasis on conformity and sacrifice for public order).

The United States is the size of a continent, possesses vast tracks of low-population-density wilderness (very difficult to efficiently patrol/police), ethnically-diverse (which, honestly, is the cause of some of internal divisions/conflicts/paranoia/crime), and with a culture of staunch individuality. We also possess ~300 million firearms, which is, IIRC, more than the rest of the entire PLANET combined.

Do you have any idea how many law enforcement personnel, how many total man-hours it would take, to have even the slightest chance of enforcing a firearms ban? Take a look at the German experience against partisans in the Eastern Theater of WW2. Too much territory to cover with too few people.

Comment Re: John Oliver (Score 1) 954

1. There have not been "dozens" of attacks at military bases. There's been 1 at an Army base in Texas, and 1 at a recruiting center (where a Navy officer returned fire against the attacker with his personal firearm).

2. While all military personnel receive basic training with firearms, very few have easy access to them. The bulk of the weapons are stored in high-security armories. Even in training environments where you carry weapons 24/7, you don't have access to ammunition. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from buying a bunch of 5.56mm rounds at the local Cabella's....

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