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Comment Re:Trucks will be hybrids, not pure EV (Score 1) 889

I've wondered about that too. The technology is well understood and has been in place for a substantial amount of time on locomotives. My guess is there is something about the trucking industry or routes that make the advantage not as big. Otherwise trucking fleets would have converted already.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 2) 889

Doing the analysis though shows that the rent vs buy decision is usually fairly close when you consider all the transaction costs, repair costs, opportunity costs, etc. It's tilted a little in the favor of owning in most cases, but it's not as big a difference as most people make it out to be. The average time you need to stay in a home is fairly long in order to make owning come out ahead.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 4, Insightful) 889

People are sick and tired of car payments and insurance payments.

I'm sure that's partly true, but I would bet it's more due to the fact that cars last longer than they used to. It used to be relatively rare for a car to drive 100,000 miles, but now for many cars that's their first scheduled tune-up. If cars weren't lasting longer it wouldn't matter if people were sick of car payments, they'd still have to buy another one when their current car broke down. Yes and there does seem to be some evidence of particularly younger people choosing to live closer to work where they can bike and walk to work, but it's certainly not as big a factor (yet) as cars lasting longer.

The future will be driverless cars, mass transit and bicycles in urban/suburban areas.

That's probably true. Though bicycles may never catch on in the US the way they have in Europe and elsewhere. The car lobby and car culture in the US has been successful at limiting the options for biking.

Comment Re:No argument other than medical necessity (Score 1) 545

You "full stop"ped at the wrong spot. After where you stopped listening was where the argument was about religious freedom not being more important than keeping people from harm. The poster you replied to said nothing about not believing in ANY religious freedom, only that religious freedom doesn't give you the right to harm others. There's plenty of room for religious freedom within that constraint. Your post after the full stop was a complete non sequitur.

Comment Re:What an Embarrassingly Vapid Article (Score 1) 477

Agree too, but you've missed a couple factors that should be considered.

1. All the "You can have my steering wheel when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!" people.

This problem will almost entirely be solved by the pricing of insurance and cars. If that doesn't resolve any problems then drivers licenses and regulations will solve the rest. Consider that once the percentage of cars that operate autonomously hits a tipping point then the drivers that are not represent a hazard and remove the possibility of many of the benefits of driverless cars. Costs of insuring a car to drive it by oneself will go through the roof due to the much higher accident rate and most people will not be willing or able to pay that. That higher insurance cost alone will greatly reduce the number of people driving their own cars. Then if people driving their own cars is still a problem licenses can either no longer be issued or driving simply not be allowed.

I was once like you I loved the freedom of driving, but I've become more flexible and realized that as long as I can get where I want to it doesn't matter how I get there. In fact I'd rather save the time driving for something more enjoyable. I get the same sense of freedom by taking a long distance bike journey.

But I think you're spot on with a lot of the potential risks of trusting the driverless cars. The extent to which those are managed well will determine whether driverless cars represent a benefit or harm to society.

Comment Re: 3D prints (Score 1) 230

I guess if you want to call expensive industrial laser sintering "3D printing."

But that is the standard now. Language evolves and that is now the standard usage. Wikipedia is no authority, but it does tend toward standard usage and in this case it does align with common sources. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3...

I think most people, me included, see "3D printing", as opposed to "additive manufacturing techniques we've been using for thirty years", as something you might want to do in your home.

Yes, as 3D printers improve they will find some uses. Currently I don't think there are any good ones. There ARE interesting things being done to develop 3D printing into a useful tool, but we keep getting hype-filled stories like this one instead.

Ok, see your point, but you should've specified the 3D printing methods you referred to earlier.

Comment Re: 3D prints (Score 1) 230

Problem is, there aren't any of those. The nearest anybody seems to have found is printing gun parts, and that's only because the parts in question are weirdly regulated by the US government.

No, it seems there are at least a few good applications of 3D printing like the GP talked about such as 3D printed body part replacements like titanium jawbones. They are apparently cheaper than the alternatives, can be custom shaped to the patient, and be made faster than the alternatives. As materials improve the integration into the body is expected to improve as well. I agree though the summary of this one was bad. This was a good learning exercise and it was improperly changed to "Working" making it into something it wasn't. There's nothing wrong with learning something new, but making it out to be something it isn't is not so good.

Comment Re:As a parent, which requires no testing or licen (Score 1) 700

2. Homeschooling academics can be more rigorous. As an engineer, I consider math to be the foundation of all my success, and common core has turned math into a laughingstock. Enter homeschooling, where I can pick the "Singapore Math" curriculum. Singapore typically scores number 2 every year on the international math achievement exams, their math program is entirely in (British) English, and I can have their exact program for my kids instead of common core.

Losing mod points to respond to this, but as a math teacher I can say based on substantial study and practice that you are drinking the wrong cool aid about common core. To see why you have to understand what common core is and isn't. Common core is just the set of standards, and it's important to read a bit of them to realize what that means and doesn't. Everything else that isn't written in the common core standards, but yet people still incorrectly call "common core" is just an attempt at implementation of the common core. If you see a given incomprehensible homework assignment, that's the implementation, not the common core. The standards don't give implementation details, the teacher, textbook, and/or district provide those.

Before I go further though, I will agree with your first statement. Homeschooling can be more rigorous, but as I am considering homeschooling my children, the thing I would do would be to implement the common core to it's fullest extent and attempt to exceed it.

I'll cut to the chase and give you the summary: the common core standards are more rigorous and are a substantial improvement on every state standard before them that I am aware of. They embody the important parts of the best of education research and the math standards for example are substantially based on the previous work of the Principles for School Mathematics developed by NCTM. So if a given implementation is bad, it means either the teacher or textbook are not as good as they could be, not that common core is bad.

Look at the Standards for Mathematical practice: http://www.corestandards.org/M...

and the following specific standard: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.REI.A.1

Explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution. Construct a viable argument to justify a solution method.

A classroom attempting to implement the standards for mathematical practice to fully meet the standard above will be leaps and bounds above a traditional classroom in terms of rigor, cognitive demand, ability to reach diverse students, etc.

Also having studied the TIMMS study in depth I can say that the reason Singapore does well on the exams isn't necessarily related to their curriculum, but likely has more to do with parental support for education.

Comment Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 495

I've come to agree on this. In cases of infrastructure free market forces don't work well enough to work for the good of the consumer. Telephone, internet, highways, etc. The costs of entry are so high there's not a real market and corruption etc as you've explained well take over. In that case I agree government is better than a natural monopoly, but I don't think government ownership is the only option. An in between option is possible where a independent government sanctioned organization owns the infrastructure but has a bit more flexibility and incentives to operate efficiently. Now it may not work, think the post office where poor government oversight hamstrings their ability to make decisions, but even there it's probably better than outright government ownership. The post office does actually do their job fairly efficiently and at low cost. But in that case you're basically asking for smart regulation, and that's tough to do. Not all regulation is bad, bad regulation is bad but smart regulation is hard to do. There's a chance though it can be better than outright government ownership and retain the benefits while still adding flexibility. The structure can be anywhere on a continuum from full government ownership to full independence or somewhere in between. The more freedom the more chance for more efficiency but the more chance for failure.

Comment Re:Study limited to sugar cane and maize for ethan (Score 2) 224

Yeah you sound like you know what you're talking about, except you don't. I know the studies you read make it sound easy, except it didn't turn out to be so easy. If it were that easy people would be investing billions into it to earn the profits that the oil companies are currently earning on petroleum. The studies you read, I read too, and they are smaller scale, talking about hoping to scale up. Optimistic pilot studies are practically legend and this seems to be a case. When trying to scale up, difficulties seem to have arisen. When you look into the companies that are trying to scale it up, it isn't working out as well. The contaminants are happening, the yields are lower, the costs are higher, etc.

Comment Re:Hello, the 1980s are calling, they caught your (Score 2) 224

Yeah you've repeated the rah rah promising sounding stuff from the decades old NREL reports. It sounds really great, I've read those too. But read them carefully--they're very initial studies that never scaled up. They are full of statements to the tune of "when scaled up to commercial volumes". Excepts it's been decades and no one has been able to do it. I've followed a number of the experiments of people trying and it doesn't seem to be as easy as the NREL papers made it sound. The open raceway ponds get contaminated with lower oil strains and don't produce the oil at the rate the papers hypothesized and the closed systems are expensive and difficult to operate. I'm not saying it's not possible, but the magical oil from algae to produce 100% of our transportation fuel isn't going to be nearly as easy as it seemed. Possible? Maybe yes, but probably not economical anytime soon. Think of it this way, if it worked, oil companies would be pouring billions into making it work rather than spending those billions drilling underwater or paying despotic dictators. They don't care where their oil comes from and if biodiesel from algae worked they'd be all over it to sell that to you cheaper than the other oil companies. They are researching it and possibly when crude oil is 4, 10, 20 or more times more expensive than it is now then algal biodiesel will be cost competitive. It wasn't when oil was over $100 a barrel, but it's possible something will be figured out that hasn't been in the last few decades to make it feasible by the time it gets back there. Or maybe it won't.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 310

I love how the mere suggestion that people take responsibility for their actions and the raising of their children provokes an insult as a response. When you don't have an argument, resort to insults, right? Besides, you should look up what those words mean before using them. I may indeed come on hard times but I have a seven layer deep contingency plan to try to avoid it. If all else fails, I grew up with very little, so I know how to live on very little. I choose to plan and focus on my children because I see bringing a child into the world in part as a serious responsibility. I'll still put the focus on my children if I do "fall down on my luck". But I believe you make your own luck.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 310

More than 99.9% of those people were not forced to have children. Maybe they could have considered whether they had the ability to raise their children before having them. Yes that's making a value judgement about the value of spending quality time with children and the value of education, but the benefits of those are easy to support. And yes, there are other situations like divorce, but there are other options too, like considering before having children your ability to afford to raise them should a divorce occur, etc. I know it's crazy talk to hold people responsible for their own actions and raising their children.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972

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