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Comment: Re:And Joe Schmoe wont care. (Score 3, Interesting) 342

by TomGreenhaw (#47421833) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere
While your post is a bit off-topic, in essence its all about national defense.

You raise a lot of good questions.

Q) why should the US help arriving children?
A) Because we can. Isn't it right to keep children safe? That doesn't mean they get to stay here, but we want to treat them the way we wish our children would be treated.

Q) Why exactly do people expect the US to accept illegal immigrants?
A) Its hard to take someone "demanding that we accept illegal immigration" seriously. That said, we are a nation of immigrants. Deep down inside, most of us recognize the hypocrisy of denying immigration to those who want to live in the United States. Its obviously too hard for people to immigrate legally or they wouldn't risk their lives to come here. We should be flattered that people want to become Americans. There is plenty of room here for people who are willing to work and contribute at least as much as they take.

Q) If you're going to accept every person who shows up at the border, then why even have a country?
A) This is a very good question. Nationalism may be becoming obsolete. We are all human and basically want the same things. Technologies like air travel, the internet and global commerce are blurring boundaries.

Comment: My late father talked about this a lot (Score 2) 165

by TomGreenhaw (#47024755) Attached to: US Navy Wants Smart Robots With Morals, Ethics
He devised a system he called "Utilitarian Dynamics"

He had a formula, V=DNT
V is value
D is degree; i.e how happy or unhappy somebody is
N is number; the number of people
T is time, how long they were affected

Morality is very tricky, but objective attempts to quantify and make optimal decisions cannot be a step in the wrong direction. Maybe well programmed machines will help improve human behavior.

Comment: Re:WTF does it do for me? (Score 1) 272

by TomGreenhaw (#47003271) Attached to: Why Mobile Wallets Are Doomed
Paying with a phone should be more secure. Card security is based on something you have, whereas a phone can also use bio-metrics as well as something you know. Most people will immediately know and report a lost/stolen phone too.

Finally, the opportunity to offer loyalty programs and discounts would attract many customers.

I'm surprised that Google and Apple haven't bought up large payments companies like Paypal and taken this over...

Comment: Re: Motivated rejection of science (Score 1) 661

This is an interesting exercise.

There are a few areas in your approach that I think account for our discrepancy.

The first and I think biggest flaw in the above calculation is assuming that heat energy in BTUs from petroleum with the 35% efficiency for ICE greatly overstates power efficiency of ICE vehicles. Only experimental engines get that as a maximum at an ideal load and RPM. In reality at the wheels a standard ICE vehicle gets less than half that at best - maybe 15%. This is a really hard number to pin down and why simply comparing energy usage per mile is less prone to calculation error.

Second (and you're absolutely right), I was only estimating personal transportation which accounts for about half of the petroleum used.

The third is that you are not considering the efficiency gains of an electric vehicle through regenerative braking, no idleing losses and the impact of no transmission as well as maximum efficiency at nearly all RPM. Electric cars on average use much less energy per mile.

The second and third points account for a factor of 8 - electric vehicles are about 4 times more efficient than gas vehicles on average and I was only addressing half the problem.

In any case we're definitely talking about less than 10 new nuclear power plants and probably much less.

I guess we have to give the envirowackos a choice between a possible problem with nukes vs. a for sure problem with fossil fuels. Just because its not easy or obvious shouldn't cause us not to try.

Comment: Re: Motivated rejection of science (Score 1) 661

The amount of power electric cars use is not that much. We might need to build a few more power plants and the current distribution grid can handle it with reasonable upkeep.

Check my math:
0.4 kwh/mile This is what we get with our Tesla. Most people get better mileage but I live in a climate that causes poor economy.
0.470588235 kwh/mile Adjusted 85% for charging loss
2.125 miles per kwh This is much cheaper than gas by the way
24.8 average new car mpg average fuel economy
365 million gallons of gas per day consumed in the US
14717741.94 miles driven per day in US
613239.2473 miles driven per hour in US
1635304.659 kwh per hour electric car equivalent

14.3 billion kwh per year electric car equivalent - this is an estimate of how much electricity we would use if all cars were Teslas

11.8 billion kwh per year - average nuclear power plant generates this

Comment: Re: Motivated rejection of science (Score 5, Insightful) 661

It's here in laymen's terms from the National Academy of Science:

1) Who needs a computer model when you can see the polar ice melting. Yes, its really melting - go see it for yourself it you don't believe it. Strike up a friendship with somebody in Iceland if you disagree and ask them what they are seeing.
2) Who cares, the house is on fire. Let's not waste time arguing about how it got started.
3) We only have one earth so there will be no control group or second chance. You don't need to be a medical doctor to know that a self inflicted gunshot wound is a bad idea. You don't need to be a climate scientist to see that the global climate is changing and that the logical explanation is mankind's burning of fossil fuel. The time for skepticism has passed.
4) The data has been readily available and its being ignored. Our innocent descendants need to be protected from the selfishness of our generation and the previous two or three. Even if global warming is a hoax, is it fair that our generation uses more than its fair share of the planet's resources so a few super rich multinational corporations can get super richer?
5-9) See #2

The vast majority of free thinkers who have reviewed the data agree that man is having an unprecedented impact on the atmosphere and the ocean. For better or worse we are reshaping the climate and there will winners and losers. The losers are innocent people and wildlife who cannot adapt to the changes and our descendants left with a planet stripped of its resources.

If we want to be selfish and immoral - fine - let's just don't be a hypocrites about it. As we all pump gas into our cars and adjust our thermostats we should recognize there are consequences of our actions.

Comment: Re:No explanation for why though? (Score 1) 254

by TomGreenhaw (#46930575) Attached to: Anti-Virus Is Dead (But Still Makes Money) Says Symantec
Because some of these companies have discovered that they can sell products that don't work and still make a boatload of money. Declaring AV dead as an excuse to avoid investment in security threat mitigation technology and still sell the product that doesn't work is basically fraud as far as I'm concerned.

We have switched to Sophos which seems to be doing the job. I'd be very interested in hearing opinions of which AV products aren't dead.

Comment: Re:Obligatory Tesla Plug (Score 1) 865

by TomGreenhaw (#46925179) Attached to: Did the Ignition Key Just Die?
I agree that careful design and redundancy are hallmarks of robust systems. Taken one step further the simplest systems are usually more reliable. Sometimes electrical systems are simpler and more reliable than mechanical equivalents.

In my experience moving parts and those prone to thermal cycling usually have the highest failure rates. Well designed electrical systems without moving parts can last far longer than mechanical equivalents.

The ignition switch of a car is a good example of a system that is employed on every use. Operator abuse and wear of moving parts is inevitable. This is a classic example of a problem looking for a solution without mechanical moving parts.

As engineers we need to decide what is best - the cheapest and most profitable solution vs. the one that is maximizes safety and utility and is designed to last.

Comment: Obligatory Tesla Plug (Score 5, Informative) 865

by TomGreenhaw (#46923035) Attached to: Did the Ignition Key Just Die?
With the Tesla you simply walk up to the vehicle with the proximity fob. The car unlocks and you get in and drive. No key. No button. The On/Off switch is the lever on the steering wheel column you use to put it in drive, reverse and park. When you get out of the car and walk away, it locks itself. You can also use a mobile app to lock/unlock, warm up car etc...

After a year the only problem we ever have is leaving the engine running and walking away from our gasoline car because you get so used to how the Tesla works.

Comment: Re:Russian Rocket Motors? (Score 1) 166

by TomGreenhaw (#46895075) Attached to: SpaceX Wins Injunction Against Russian Rocket Purchases
I was just commenting that I (and probably many) was ignorant of the fact that Crimea is overwhelmingly ethnic Russian.

I wasn't really trying to answer the questions you've posed, but what the hell, if a nerd cant ran't about news on Slashdot...

Question 1) So far the Russian government has stopped at Crimea, although they do seem to be knocking on other doors...

I'm certainly not defending Russia's actions. It appears that their annexation of Crimea, while popular in Russia and maybe even Crimea is a violation of international law and treaties. The redrawing of sovereign state boundaries today at best invites chaos and potentially blood shed for no good reason. It should however come as no surprise that any fair election in Crimea would always reflect the desire of it ethnic Russian majority.

While I don't think there is much the rest of the world can really do about it, hopefully the very real threat of a major economic response as well as a really cold war will serve as a deterrent to the annexation of anything more than Crimea. Certainly any real threat to NATO countries is off the table because nobody wants to fight world war 3.

Question 2) I'll admit to ignorance about how ethnic Russians were openly abused by the Ukrainian government. Some research indicates little evidence for this, but the Human Rights Watch for years gave the Ukraine very poor marks for protecting the rights of its minorities, and that's an indictment of Ukraine's past government and maybe even its people. All countries including mine (the US) still have much work in this regard and few have any right to criticize.

Personally, I wish nationalism were obsolete. We are all humans living on one planet. We should all want the same thing - that it is in everyone's interest to treat each other with respect in the spirit of the golden rule. Peace prosperity and freedom should be available to everyone. Fear and greed are toxic and extreme concentrations of power and wealth that drive despotic governments should not be tolerated by their people. Our destiny should not be a zero sum game where there have to be winners and losers - we can make rules where all can win. We should all be ashamed of the wealth we squander on national defense and the unfortunate fact that it is necessary today. Democracy is a step in the right direction but only of value if we all use it for the greater good. Our race has a long way to go, but if you look at the progress we've made in the last 150 years in 50 year increments the trend is promising. As a US citizen, I've enjoyed the personal contact I've had with people from all over the world and am dismayed that most of our world's governments treat each other with mistrust and hatred when as individuals we generally get along just fine. It should not matter what part of the planet the best rocket motors are made when deciding where to buy them, although I'd bet a lot that Elon Musk and Space-X would likely be near impossible to beat.

If this is timesharing, give me my share right now.