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Comment Re:Hillary, is that you? (Score 1) 305

Income taxes are based on your taxable income with exemptions taken. The tax code, which is 6,500 pages long, describes both what qualifies as taxable income as well as the exemptions that can be taken to reduce how much of the taxable income is taxed. For the purpose of income tax, what qualifies as income can be described in 36 pages. 36 pages describing what all gets lumped together to be taxed at the 15-20% rate that was proposed.

Comment Re:And for what? (Score 1) 277

Look at the VLT for an example of an array of telescopes. It's an array of four telescopes with 8.2m mirrors. Each telescope has a 0.05 arcsecond resolution while the array of four can get 0.001 arcseconds. For comparison Hubble has a 2.4m mirror with a resolution of 0.1 arcsecond but that's kind of deceptive. The VLT and the TMT are both optical telescopes and will have better resolutions than Hubble. You may ask, wasn't the point of Hubble to get a better telescope without having to deal with interference from the atmosphere? Yep, that's it's purpose and it still is one of the best telescopes but it was designed and launched in a day where ground based technology couldn't match up to it. Ground based technology HAS caught up to it but we're still dealing with the problems of telescopes away from earth.

Most of our space endeavors are limited by launch payload and terrestrial production. There's no effective means out there for large scale space manufacturing and our best effort has been a LEO space station that has been under construction since 1998 and has a total current mass of 300,862 kg (give or take) which is 332 tons. It would take seven Saturn V launches to get the structure of the ISS to the moon. Compare that to the 31 launches it would take to get the TMT's instruments to the moon.

If you want to do anything complex outside of earth's atmosphere there needs to be a huge jump in either payload capacities or space-based manufacturing to enable such projects.

Comment Re:And for what? (Score 1) 277

A radio telescope is simple. There's plenty of plans for doing that which do not require manufacturing facilities on the moon. This telescope is not radio which is a completely different beast. The telescope and its direct instruments themselves are 1,430 tons meaning it would take 31 launches of Saturn V rockets just to get all that equipment there. That hasn't touched the facility, power generation, or additional factors necessary to keep the mirrors clean from moon dust. It also doesn't touch the surveying and foundation considerations that are crucial and significant to a observatory that aren't present in other constructions.

Maybe they could scale down the requirements of total mass needed or maybe you could address that mass problem by somehow establishing manufacturing facilities on the moon. After all, one of the best plans for mirror based telescopes is to use about carbon nano tubes and some sort of epoxy combined with moon dust in a tray spun at high speed. Calling an optical telescope on the moon a "solved problem" is a severe understatement.

Comment Re:Makes sense to me. (Score 1) 223

I believe Tesla can do just fine if they are producing a pickup truck for non-commercial usage or they build a crossover or SUV as they'll have far more flexibility in their design and engineering which is an advantage to them whenever they can sell the vehicle to the customer as is without the customer needing any further alterations which will encompass practically all non-commercial purchasers. I question their ability to crack into the commercial truck market because they're facing brand loyalty and price competition and to put a bit of pain to it there's a support network for the commercial truck business that is sensitive to the nuances in the engineering in cab and chassis of pickups. Tesla will have to conform to the dimensions utilized by the big manufacturers if they want that support network to be able to be utilized because they cannot reasonably expect those suppliers to produce equipment for Tesla vehicles at a price that is going to be palatable to commercial purchasers. It's a situation that could stick them into a following position whether than a leading position which could cause them to bring vehicles to market later making it more difficult to secure commercial sales.

Believe me, I would love for Tesla to become a player in the commercial truck business as it would be very helpful for my personal life. My suspicion is that Musk is talking about heavy trucks that exceed 10,000 GVW where the bodies are primarily cargo hauling flatbed or box trailers/trucks or lighter GVW box trucks if those even exist.

Comment Re:What Type of Truck? (Score 1) 223

Pickup buyers are not going to go electric, it's not in their DNA.

A pair of questions. Who do you think is responsible for the majority of purchases of pickup trucks? What if I told you that I know a buyer that was buying so many pickup trucks that GM had to tell them that they could only manufacture a portion of the order?

Comment Re:What Type of Truck? (Score 2) 223

I know of a company with a large fleet of pickup trucks that had placed an order for GMC trucks, four digit quantity, which GMC said the volume was too high for them to fill, by about 700 trucks. That company then went and bought the other 700 from Ford and that was a single year's order. That's the market and the reason why pickup trucks are the best selling vehicles. It's not individuals that are purchasing, it's companies with significant fleets and that's because there's this huge aftermarket for pickup trucks that involve modifying the truck, typically by removing the standard bed body and placing a different body with the cab and chassis and the trucks from each of the manufacturers are just different enough that those bodies are not universal to the truck.

You're probably right that the pickup truck is probably not what he's talking about. Tesla could trivially break into the consumer market for it but there's the huge support network build around Ford, GMC, Toyota, Chrysler, etc that Tesla simply doesn't have when it comes to aftermarket unless they engineer their vehicles to have the same fittings as, for example, a F150 and consequently can utilize Knapheid service bodies for the F150. When you get into larger trucks, where International is the big player, you'll find that the bodies are more custom in their approach, since International typically only builds a cab and chassis, so that's a bit easier for Tesla to break into.

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