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Comment Re:Not enough data (Score 1) 105

One word: trees. Plus, the only thing you're going to get from GIS is a building foot print. There's no data on the slope of the roof. You need to stop thinking urban because contrary to popular belief, most people don't live in an urban area. I can show you two different Google satellite images of my house, one taken in June and one taken in January. The shadows case by the trees are dramatically different. My point is that you can't get an accurate assessment of available sunlight throughout the day on just a computer model alone. Here in Arizona, there are a lot of lawsuits brewing against outfits like SolarCity because they convinced people to lease systems saying the lessee would be making money by selling the excess electricity. That turned out to not just be false but it's actually costing people more than before because of all the hidden fees involved.

As an engineer, my first thought is: Hey, cool, I can cut my electric bill to the bone. I've got a huge roof with southern exposure. That roof shows up great on Google imagery. But then I actually look at it throughout the day and the pine trees cast long shadows that sweep over the whole thing. It's worse in the winter when the sun is lower. My neighbor, on the other hand, just had a system installed. 18 panels. But his house is totally unobstructed because he's on the top of a hill with full southern exposure. Ultimately, solar will never be this magic talisman that makes everybody's energy problems go away. Right now, I'd compare it to the dotcom era where people are willing to believe everything and the equipment providers are looking for any way to market the product because they're making money of the subsidies. Eventually, people will realize that it's not all that and a bag o' chips.

Comment At least he's interested (Score 1) 442

Contrast that with some people who want to turn NASA into a community outreach program.
The problem with Trumps view is that there are ALWAYS going to be "earthly concerns" that can never be fixed which will soak up available funding. Of all people, he should know that a major space program creates a whole lot of ancillary business.

Comment *Raises hand* (Score 0) 90

Um, I have a question: WTF does NOAA have to do with this? They can't get a weather prediction for next week right so why do they have anything whatsoever to do with this? Bitch and moan all you want about mistreatment of whales but the bigger issue is too many chiefs and no indians.

Comment Re:Offensive to the gravitationally-enhanced (Score 1) 373

I agree. However, there are far too many people who are taking the shaming approach to solving it. Personally, I'm an advocate of the H. Pylori hypothesis. For years, everybody "knew" that ulcers were a result of poor diet. That turned out to be wrong. Even the researchers who discovered the pathogen were dismissed to the point where one of them infected himself to prove it.

Comment Witness the folly (Score 1) 417

The obsession with the belief that there are ideal environmental conditions is a Sisyphean task. And I'm convinced that the people behind it want it that way because it keeps the masses from rising above their current station in life. Case in point: why aren't the people opposed to the use of Golden Rice being called racists eight ways to Sunday?

Comment Re:Offensive to the gravitationally-enhanced (Score 1) 373

By universally-tolerated I mean overtly by the media and people who get easily offended at everything else. Some big shot makes a fat joke and nobody screams bloody murder calling for their resignation or for a public apology or for criminal charges be brought against them.

But to your point, a number of years ago, there was a piece on 20/20, IIRC, where Diane Sawyer did a "study" about short men. They set up this police lineup style room and had women judge the men in the lineup. None of them picked the short guy as someone worth dating. Then they would start telling the women details about the people they picked, fake details but increasingly disparaging e.g. that guy has a criminal record, that guy never went to college, etc. The women still didn't pick the short guy. Then they starting telling details about him e.g. he's a neurosurgeon or CEO of a major company, etc. They pretty much had to make the short guy a god before the women would go out with him. So busted. Short men are just dismissed without comment.

Comment Maybe because it's not about the cars (Score -1, Flamebait) 232

One could argue that Tesla is really interested in making electric cars but rather taking advantage of economic fascism i.e. the government mandates that the "fleet" meet unrealistic fuel economy and emissions standards but the cars that people really want to buy can't meet those goals so Tesla accrues carbon credits or emission credits or economy credits or some other phony currency which they then sell to the normal car companies. They don't care if their cars work or sell.
Given that Elon Musk is also into the solar leasing industry which takes advantage of the tax credits, this might be true.

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.