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Comment Though there *is* a question re: interest conflict (Score 1) 260

With regard to the issue of dealers, I'm not sure that it's just electric cars they don't want to sell.

In 2013 I was in the market for a gasoline-powered automobile. Did my research, selected a make and model. It wasn't the most common car on the planet, but it also wasn't extremely rare (a mainstream Japanese car). I identified three dealerships in the metropolitan area that, according to their websites, had a model on the lot.

I could not for the life of me get them to give me a test drive. The first dealership I visited, the salesman said they'd "lost the key" to that particular car and I couldn't test drive it or buy it that day, I'd have to come back "later." (He couldn't tell me just when "later" was.) But he put on the *very* hard sell for two other models.

The second dealership, they claimed to have lost the car, period. No, not on the lot, they said. The third dealership, they claimed that I didn't really want that model, it wasn't reliable. When I pressed, they told me that their (brand new 2013) instance was in the shop, that's how bad it is. "Honestly," they didn't want to sell me the marque's "worst model." *They* were looking out for *me*, you see. Which is why they really, really wanted to put me in this *other* model in the showroom....

I finally bought one online and had it driven in from out of state. It's been a great car and performed as expected with the features I needed.

I don't know exactly what was going on when I was trying to make my vehicle purchase, but to me it screamed "conflict of interest" as they clearly didn't want to serve me, the customer, by selling me a product that I came for and that they clearly *had*.

Comment Re:Easy solution (Score 1) 260

You can still buy the "less expensive" incandescent bulbs that are actually much more expensive than LED's now (plus the risk of changing high lights on a ladder every 9 months.

Did you read the parent post? This is a case of buyers who want to buy electric... who walk in prepared to buy electric... and the sales people steer or even actively push the buyer away from electric. Mainly- again from the article- because the electric car will cost the buyer LESS money on maintenance.

You can bet the dealerships have set up commission structure to encourage sales of gasoline cars too.

Electric cars don't make as much sense as they did in 2014 with oil breaking $40 a barrel. But in 2-3 years oil is going to scream back up to over $100 (inflation adjusted) a barrel (it's done it twice before) and electric cars will be almost free to buy then when you consider improvements in battery life and capacity combined with an average $16,000 gasoline savings vs an average $1600 electricity cost. Plus another $4,000 in reduced maintenance costs.

The gas car is the "less expensive" bulb that breaks down and requires more maintenance AND burns 10x the energy that that the "more expensive" bubls do.

Most LED bulbs (now at $4.98) pay for themselves in 3 months now. The rest is free money from reduced energy bills.

Comment Re:Easy solution (Score 1) 260

For my last three honda's, I used internet pricing.

I send an email to each dealerships requesting a bottom line final offer quote and then go buy from the best price.

One time I got their and they tried to change the price (which was ironically about $700 over the next price but at a more convenient location). I walked out the door and got the car cheaper at the other dealership. After getting service there a few years, I switched to the more convenient dealer (probably bad practice on my part encouraging the scammy dealer but it was a half hour difference in driving time each way).

Comment Re:The judge issued a verdict ahead of trial? (Score 1) 218

States are people.

Allowing the creation of states with 38 million people 2 senators while other states with 560,000 people also got 2 senators warps government tremendously.

If the founding fathers had any idea this was possible, they would have probably set limits on how big a state would be and we would have 200 to 400 states.

Comment Re:The judge issued a verdict ahead of trial? (Score 1) 218

Very interesting. It wouldn't fix the problem since it says to limit to at least 200 representatives and at most 1 representative per 40/60 k citizens (they'd probably resolve the senate and house versions to something like 50k.

But thanks a lot. I'd never heard of this odd corner of the u.s.a.'s history and constitution.

Comment Re: Private companies don't do exploration of fron (Score 1) 272

The thing is, you're not going to mine 500 lbs of platinum, it's quite possible you're going to mine millions of pounds of it, along with other valuable metals. Yes, you wouldn't be able to dump that on the market too fast, but you would put all the existing platinum mines out of business quickly. And with lower prices for platinum, more uses would be found for it, increasing the demand. More people would want it for jewelry and aesthetics probably, but also it's quite likely new industrial uses would be found for it which were previously unexplored due to its extremely high cost. You have to think more long-term about these things, which it doesn't look like you're doing with your analysis. An endeavor like this isn't going to be something small, it's going to be absolutely huge, and mining a single asteroid will span for decades most likely.

Finally, look at the environmental aspect: mining is terrible ecologically. Wouldn't it be better to do as much mining in space as we can, so we aren't digging giant holes in the ground, polluting groundwater and rivers, shearing the tops off mountains, etc.? We just had a bad incident with river pollution in one of the western states (CO I think), and mining always has problems with environmental opposition in advanced nations (and in backwards nations causes all kinds of problems, like fueling conflicts as with coltan). Environmentalists won't care if you break up asteroids for mineral resources.

Comment Re:Space-based Economy (Score 1) 272

Last I heard, they found a lot of water at one of the poles.

And all those other things, while not extremely rare here, are still valuable for building stuff on the Moon. Iron, aluminum, and titanium are very useful for making things. Plus there's tons of sunlight there to provide solar power, without any clouds or atmosphere in the way.

So with all this, you should be able to build a Moon base which you can use for refining captured asteroids (which have far more valuable ores) and doing low-g manufacturing.

As for the gravity well, it's half the gravity of Mars, and it's very close to Earth. These sound like big pluses to me. I guess if you really need extremely low gravity or zero gravity, you could just build a big space station at the L1 Lagrangian point. And again, all that material on the Moon you think is "boring" would come in handy there, because it'd be far cheaper to lift all that mass from the 1/6g Moon than from the 1g Earth.

Comment Re:Fail. (Score 1) 224

I don't see the problem here. If you're looking for a phone where you can easily replace the CPU, that doesn't exist and never has, and it's just plain idiotic to ask for that. What's important is if you can replace the screen (since they get cracked sometimes), the USB port, the battery, the camera lens, etc.: the things that actually do get broken or wear out and need to be replaced.

Comment Re:I would like to say for the record... (Score 1) 445

If you're all PhDs, then you're not real engineers, you're statistical anomalies. In 15+ years of work, I've never even met a PhD engineer except when I was at college, and college professors aren't actual engineers since they don't do any engineering work.

We're talking about real engineers here, the kind who work at companies and do regular, everyday engineering work. Most have BS degrees, or at most, MS.

Comment Re:Private companies don't do exploration of front (Score 1) 272

The return is high relative to the return they would be getting without government funding, which is close to zero.

No, it isn't. They could do some other commercial work and potentially get higher profits, but with higher risks. They do government contracting because it's low risk, not because there's a lot of profit in it.

You seem to be implying that without government funding, corporations would simply go belly-up. That's ludicrous in the extreme.

The trouble with money is it costs too much!