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Comment: Re:Umm, like I have an idea? (Score 1) 93

by Teancum (#48209383) Attached to: Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

Tesla is opening up stores and has repair shops in many of them (where it can legally be done). They just don't see the point of paying somebody else for the privilege of opening such a store that they will also have to pay to have constructed that will get a cut of the profits simply because they are an existing businessman in that state (ordinary citizens need not apply BTW.... you need to already possess the dealership license or pay a huge deposit to the state government that mere mortals need not bother with).

What advantage is there again for a dealership?

Comment: Re:Tesla faces a catch 22 (Score 1) 93

by Teancum (#48209345) Attached to: Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

On the contrary. There are several dealerships (especially the mega auto mall groups in major cities) who want to sell Teslas. A couple of them have even been blunt to Elon Musk basically saying that he can't sell a Tesla without cutting them in for a piece of the action.

That is all that is happening here, where these dealerships in the big cities (it was a dealer in Boston who threatened Musk) just want to get a cut of all of the sales... including the on-line sales where the dealer doesn't have to do a damn thing except collect the royalty checks for a company he neither invested in nor even bothers promoting. Oh yeah, he even expected Tesla to pay him for the privilege of selling Tesla cars on-line in Massachusetts with an annual dealership fee.

Profit margins can certainly be derived from the whole endeavor, which isn't the real problem. I do think Elon Musk's assertion that by going to these dealers who also own sales distribution rights for other manufacturers will sideline the sales of Tesla vehicles by shoving a couple Model S cars in a corner and only use them to get customers in the door for sales of other vehicles. It would ultimately hurt Tesla sales to use these dealers in the first place.

Comment: Re:dumbass governors (Score 1) 93

by Teancum (#48209289) Attached to: Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

As a matter of fact, those states allowing fracking have reaped huge tax benefits and for the most part has helped out ordinary citizens of those states too.

If only it was as simple as you suggest... and perhaps Detroit might not be so broke as it currently is. If only Detroit could become a major oil producing region of America, as it might do them some good.

I'm not saying there are so consequences to the practice that needs to happen as well, where the economic costs of the practice certainly need to be examined beyond the straight extraction of oil, but your illustration here only backfires and reinforces the GP post even more.

Comment: Re:Already illegal (Score 2) 93

by Teancum (#48209273) Attached to: Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

The question that should be raised here is not demanding a repeal of this law, but to question why the government thinks it has authority or purpose for regulating this activity in the first place? In the federal government, Article I, Section 8 explicitly states what Congress has the authority to regulate or control (like setting up laws for copyright, regulations for the military, controlling immigration policy, etc.) and the implication is if Congress doesn't have that authority explicitly granted by the Constitution, they are exceeding their authority to act. Not like that stops Congress from pushing boundaries on those limits in a huge way to absurd directions, but that is at least the original theory.

State legislatures similarly have defined limits on their authority according to their respective state constitutions. That state legislatures often exceed that authority may be true as well, but the voters in Michigan sure can question why they have that authority to act in the first place. It really makes no sense at all.

Comment: Re:Of Course it did (Score 2) 93

by Teancum (#48209217) Attached to: Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

This is a classic situation where there is a very narrow constituency who wants to have a particular law or program in place, but no comparable counter group opposed to the idea. Corn subsidies is another really good example.

Just watch this video to see if it makes sense:

Or if you want something less dramatic but still more of the same... and tries to explain why this happens:

The same thing that got Coca-Cola to make their products out of corn syrup is what got this legislation passed to prohibit Tesla from direct sales.

Comment: Re:Cold fusion - a hot mess (Score 1) 345

by Teancum (#48176839) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

Not all of them are unwilling to respond to such requests, but those who are willing to show everything that is going on usually don't make fantastic claims either. For them, it is just another interesting physics experiment that may show some additional insights as to how the universe is made. Anybody who tells you that it is anything else is likely a fraud or just wrapped up in conspiracy theories.

The only way they are going to go to a patent clerk is with a functioning device... and there is no point for a patent if it doesn't have net energy production or at least produces more neutrons than a Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor (which is used BTW for some medical therapy and research purposes where a neutron source is needed).

Comment: Re:TL;DR (Score 1) 345

by Teancum (#48174491) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

The problem is all of the money that is thrown about with fusion, and the presumed idea that you can use it to figuratively print money with unlimited amounts of energy and (claimed) low capital costs. These are folks who think that the Mr. Fusion device in "Back to the Future" was real and not just some Hollywood prop.

There is a whole bunch of interesting things that could be investigated with cold fusion theories even if it wasn't producing commercially viable levels of energy. Unfortunately, that thirst for the money and inflating numbers or even simply making stuff up to justify their research seems to be the name of the game at the moment.

It is also driven into the hinterlands of science where peer review is discouraged and further taints the topic when total frauds can't be distinguished.

Comment: Re:Heavier than air flight is impossible (Score 1) 345

by Teancum (#48174451) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

Not all cold fusion people hide from the neutrons. Some of them even claim detected neutrons, at least in small quantities. Those who are more practical about such issues, however, don't claim to have a commercially viable device and only assert it is a passing curiosity to play with perhaps an interesting physical phenomena to study and a place to sink huge amounts of money with almost nothing in return. Since physics journals won't even take papers on the topic any more, throwing money at the concept won't even produce PhDs as a by-product.

Comment: Re:Not the hydrogen -- it is everything else (Score 1) 345

by Teancum (#48174441) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

The hope was to use airships as a viable carrier platform, something that was even experimented with on several occasions. The largest problem was recapturing the airplanes once they were launched though.

The rough weather was definitely a problem for the Akron-class airships, but it was something that could be solved if it was required. Larger airplanes, particularly following the development of jet engines, pretty much killed the need for such vehicles though. Using an airship for launching and recovering jet fighters was also way over the top, and the single propeller bi-planes that could be mounted on these airships were obsolete even before World War II started. Similarly, the jet airplanes were much more maneuverable and flexible than airships even for scouting missions, thus no actual need remained.

The crashes were also a problem, but there were crashes and numerous deaths with other forms of aviation, including sea-based carriers. If anything, the airships were safer, but there are now a dozen carriers used by the U.S. Navy and no airships because the carriers can perform multiple missions and the airships can do none of them. It really is that simple.

Comment: Re:Here are your odds (Score 1) 345

by Teancum (#48174411) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

I wonder what the bet would be that there would be no stories about Cold Fusion on Slashdot in the year 2024?

Almost certain that somebody like Andreas Rossi is going to come out of the woodwork and come up with some other perpetual motion machine based upon "cold fusion" between now and then, likely even in the year 2024.

My hope is that somehow either ITAR, the Polywell, or something else finally is successful enough that practical fusion is possible. Unfortunately I'd be willing to offer the same deal of paying me $1 for a commercially viable fusion device if it doesn't exist and I'll pay you $10k if it does. I won't even bother with the "cold" part.... Lockheed-Martin not withstanding.

Comment: Re:Cold fusion - a hot mess (Score 2) 345

by Teancum (#48174365) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

It isn't the first time that some scientific experiments were not always reproduced in independent experiments.

One particular early experiment in electricity showed how a magnetically charged needle would move when put in a field caused by a coiled wire and have that needle change orientation. You would think this is a no-brainer and even something taught in junior high schools today.

Unfortunately this experiment was done by researchers who had their labs and lecture rooms oriented so the field was oriented north and south and didn't deflect the needle yet in other places it would work... simply because they weren't taking into consideration the Earth's magnetic field and that the direction of the experiment was thus an important factor.

I could give other examples, but sometimes experiments can't be repeated simply because not all of the variables have been addressed either by the original researcher or by the subsequent follow up experiments.

I could cite examples of Muon-catalyzed fusion (something that has ample experimental evidence) where some of the principles of "cold fusion" can indeed take place. Palladium crystals are also very famous for their absorption of Hydrogen atoms.

Based upon some physical experiments I've seen myself, there seems to be some actual fusion activity taking place in these crystals that could be called "cold fusion", at least in terms of detecting neutrons and some possible secondary detections of that activity. Those who think it could provide a practical source of power on the other hand are folks that I personally think are full of BS and just hyping things up for their own funding. You can even build a more practical "hot fusion" reactor that fits on your desk for a modest amount of money to produce even more verifiable reactions by simply building a Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor, but I digress on that point. The main issue isn't if cold-fusion takes place (it does), but those who claim to have found a way to make it practical for power production.

You can have extremely local high density pressures where it is presumed that somehow two or more Hydrogen atoms are confined in a crystal matrix of multiple other atoms to create a state where fusion has a measurable probability of occurring. That at least is the theory behind how it works. The trick is to be able to open that door into that little pocket, just a few atoms at a time, and then close it up again to make the fusion take place. It could be Buckyballs, Palladium, or some other substance but it is some pretty wicked nanoengineering in order to get this to work. This is also why it is hard to replicate or even to make in the first place.

The problem with major physics journals is that so many frauds and perhaps just misguided fans have submitted papers that they simply don't have time to sift through them to find any real science on the topic any more.... other than perhaps minor tweaks of existing papers that were around before the Pons & Fleishman fiasco.

Comment: Re:One word: (Score 1) 348

by Teancum (#48173847) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

If Barack Obama was to give a Kennedy-like speech (or rather if he had at the beginning of his first term) that he wanted to commit American industry and energy into establishing a colony on Mars as well as spend some significant political capital towards the endeavor....

I might agree with your assertion that he deserved the award.

The sad fact of the matter is that the Obama administration has put space policy concerns as dead last unless he wants to get the vote of Florida, Texas (especially the Austin area where there is Democratic support), and perhaps Alabama, California, and Washington state due to the huge infrastructure of aerospace industries. This can be demonstrated by the fact that Charles Bolden was very nearly the last major cabinet or deputy secretary level appointment made in his administration and relegates any discussion about space policy strictly upon the chief science adviser of his administration. Even when the Democratic Party controlled the House, the chair of the space subcommittee, Gabrielle Giffords, opposed any initiative coming from the White House (in other words, she didn't fear any sort of political consequences from opposing the president even when he was of the same party).

The only reason why commercial crew and some changes have happened at all is simply because it isn't Bush. In other words, current policy is mostly "If the Bush administration did something, we'll do the opposite".

I get your tongue in cheek response here, and I wish it was so simple. I also wish that Obama cared about this initiative to send people to Mars or elsewhere, but in reality it is just political posturing for some pictures and then to be ignored in the end. I seriously doubt any future historian will even say that Obama did anything about space colonization at all.

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.