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Comment: Re:moving vs. stationary (Score 1) 141

by Tom (#47719265) Attached to: Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board

Microsoft were the ones who brought desktop computing into the mainstream.

But they did neither invent it nor made they any innovative progress. They are a marketing company - good at repacking other peoples inventions and selling them to a mainstream market.

What are the alternatives?

Thanks to over 20 years of monopoly practices and systematical destruction of potential rivals, indeed there aren't very many. But that's like saying that you don't have any alternatives to being a muslim in Iraq. Just because someone has taken away all your other choices doesn't mean the remaining choice is any good.

and alot slower than Microsoft Office.

True, but let's be honest here: We are comparing different flavors of shit. Office, in any of its incarnations, is an abomination.

Comment: They are a bit nutty.... (Score 1) 77

by Lumpy (#47719109) Attached to: How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

The battery pack is not the bulk of the price of an electric car. It's all the other bits.
So it is not going to drive down the price, not by any reasonable amount.

What is needed is a single company making the motors and standardization. If the Govt demanded that all cars follow a standard motor design then suddenly costs will drop. Ford,GM,Toyota,Honda are NOT going to standardize unless forced to. And prices will not drop until there is a standard that is interchangeable.

Comment: Re:Fire (Score 1) 77

by Rei (#47718877) Attached to: How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

Nuh uh! There are also compressed air cars - they only explosively decompress upon tank failure! ;)

At least with batteries, flammability or explosiveness aren't a fundamental requirement of how you're trying to propel the vehicle, just an unfortunate side effect of some variants of the technology (even not all types of li-ions are flammable). There's lots of people who assume that flammability is a consequence of electrical energy density, but that's just not the case. The actual charge/discharge lithium batteries via intercalating into the anode or cathode is more an atomic-scale equivalent of compressing air into a tank, you're having little affect on the substrate flammabilities and you're not even changing their chemical bonding, you're just cramming lithium ions into the space between their atoms. The flammabilty of some types comes from side effects, such as flammable electrolytes or membrane failures leading to lithium metal plating out; these aren't a fundamental aspect of the energy storage process.

Now, li-air, that involves an actual lithium metal electrode, and that is fundamentally flammable. Of course, so is gasoline. I have no doubt that they can reduce fire risks on li-air cells and keep them properly contained to prevent failure propagations. My bigger issues with li-air are its terrible efficiency, lifespan, and cost. I'm certain the latter would come down, and I expect that they can improve the lifespan, but I'm a bit uneasy about how much they can improve its efficiency. Right now, they're as inefficient as a fuel cell. : Who wants to waste three times as much power per mile as is necessary?

Comment: Re:non sequitur? (Score 1) 77

by Rei (#47718833) Attached to: How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

It is a non-sequiteur. The energy density of a li-ion battery doesn't even approach the theoretical maximum storage for the element lithium shifting between ionization states. That's hardly the only way this article is terrible, mind you. My head hurt every time they said the word "efficiency", it's like they were using it to mean everything possible except for actual efficiency. And if I read it right - who knows, the article is such a total mess - the researcher isn't talking about reducing battery cost, but increasing longevity. But maybe that was mangled too.

Comment: Re:Nicatoids and bees (Score 1) 78

by bill_mcgonigle (#47718435) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

That is the reason.

Not every GMO contains nicatoids (engineers would know that). There are still some kids in China who could use yellow rice, and they definitely could export it to their neighbors.

Monsanto deserves a firey death for setting back non-psychopathic GMO's by 30 years or more.

Comment: Re:Off topic (Score 1) 78

by bill_mcgonigle (#47718421) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

I don't want to be another complainer, but this site is begging me to stop visiting. I am not very happy.

There's a town nearby that is behaving similar to Slashdot '14. They have a tax shortfall, so they raise taxes, and people move out. This creates a tax shortfall so, GOTO 1.

The property values have literally fallen in half in the past decade, while other area towns' properties have maintained or slightly increased, and there are many abandoned properties now (with associated problems).

Slashdot will seemingly keep increasing the "revenue enhancers" until everybody has moved out. At that point, I guess they declare victory and go home.

Comment: Light but reactive element = high energy density (Score 1) 77

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47718377) Attached to: How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

"lithium is in the upper left-hand corner of the periodic table. Only hydrogen and helium are lighter on an atomic basis."

  I'm wondering if this is a non sequitur for electric batteries.

Not a non sequitur at all.

An important factor for batteries is energy density: How much energy is stored per unit mass. This is particularly important for electric cars: The higher the energy density, the less mass you havce to haul around for a given amount of "fuel", which means the less "fuel" is spent hauling your "fuel" around, so it's a more-than-linear improvement.

Lithium is both extremely light and a very reactive nonmetal. So you're talking about a lot of energy per unit mass for the lithium-based electrode's contribution to the reaction.

Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue. - Seneca