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Comment Re:The central pro-escrow argument is idiotic. (Score 1) 54 54

You would think a pair of gloves would render all the police fingerprinting useless, yet haphazard criminals are caught by it all the time. Like everyone else with limited resources, they either catch you because you're important or because you make it easy. Heck, I bet many criminals using computers don't even know what crypto is.

Comment Re:Smashing idea (Score 2) 91 91

In a no-holds-barred fight, they have a HUGE bullseye painted on them, and will be easy to take out.

Easy being a relative term.

Keep in mind that in World War II, the Japanese had lots of bases on little tiny islands. And it took hundreds of thousands of Marines to take them away.

The only reason this was done was because carrier aircraft of the era didn't pack anywhere the same punch as land based aircraft. Land based aircraft didn't have the range to hit Japan from areas under US control and return to base. In-flight refueling was still very experimental. Island hopping is no longer necessary. These rocks are small enough to completely obliterate in an afternoon by air anyway. Anybody left is not going to be in a position to threaten high-flying aircraft or ships.

Comment Re:better late than never (Score 1) 73 73

For varying definitions of successfully contained given all the radiation that poured into the ocean and polluted soil for miles around the plant. Let us also not forget that they were warned to raise their generators higher off the ground. The new specifications would have prevent the failure in the first place and we'd still have a nuclear power pant if they had spent the money when it mattered.

"Warned" by who? And how credible were these warnings? I know you think you know the difference between foresight and hindsight. But you don't. You have to understand when people knew what and how fast a very conservative bureaucracy responds to newly exposed risks.

Here's my understanding of the timeline for the tsunami risk assessment. From previous discussions on Slashdot, I gather it was realized before the earthquake that the risk of much higher tsunami had been underestimated. But this risk wasn't even revealed till 2001 (that's the oldest reference anyone has given me).

Then the various nuclear plants were instructed to review this risk some point after that with TEPCO completing their assessment of the Fukushima plant some point around 2008 or 2009. At that point, apparently, it was determined that the plant did not have adequate sea walls for the worst case.

At this point, you have various complicating factors such as the planned closure of these reactors over the next decade and the fact that nobody in the nuclear industry moves fast.

It is much like the levies in Louisiana that flooded the whole city. The army core of engineers had already recommended improvements that were not performed because nobody wanted to spent the few million it would have taken. So instead we spent 10s of billions cleaning up the mess.

Except that those risks have been known for a long time and the risk of New Orleans getting directly hit by a strong hurricane remain considerably higher than eastern Japan getting hit by very high tsunami. New Orleans still faces that same risk despite the levee upgrades.

For example, if a hurricane stalls over New Orleans, then it'll be just as flooded as it was that time. It's also worth noting that they still have the habit of appointing the sort of irresponsible leadership that led to the high loss of life in the Katrina disaster.

Comment Re: Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 1) 861 861

I called you daft for not understanding the concept that someone who runs a swapping service station covers all costs related to their business activities and rolls them into what they charge for service, just like every other business does. I fail to see what is hard about this for you to understand. The answer to "who pays for X cost" is *always* "the service provider, with the costs indirectly passed on to their customers via the rate charged".

Really, you think that bad fuel can't damage an engine? It can and does. And it's the supplier who ultimately bears the cost. No, "bad electricity" is not a proper analogy (although your sarcasm in this regard is funny given how many devices are damaged by surges every year); a gas station fuels vehicles by insertung fuel into them, while a swapping station fuels vehicles by inserting pre-charged batteries into them. Batteries correspond to fuel in this context.

In what world do you live where car parts are regularly inspected by the manufacturer after being installed into the vehicle? Cars have hundreds if not thousands of parts more safety critical than a battery pack, and yes, manufacturers *are* liable if their failure modes due to damage pose an unreasonable risk of injury. Think of a famous failure case - say, for example, the Ford Pinto fires. Were the gas tanks defective? Nope. But the cars had an unacceptably bad failure mode in certain types of crashes, and it fell on the manufacturer to fix it - as it always does. A part must meet its use case, and if its use case is "deliver electricity from a swappable system and not burn the vehicle down if damaged", it has to contain the necessary safety systems to do that.

Lastly, you're still stuck in bizarro world where ICE vehicles full of combustible fuel are incombustible, whereas EVs with no combustable fuel and more often than not with batteries less flammable than a block of cheese (once again: *not all li-ions are the same*!) burst into flames left and right. Meanwhile, in the reality that the rest of us live in, the opposite is true. Heck, last summer I saw a flaming hulk of a passenger car with fire crews trying to put it out to extract the burned bodies of the two tourists who had been driving it. Meanwhile, Teslas and Leafs have been in many wrecks - go to Google Images and search for "crash tesla" or "crash leaf". Where are the fires from these oh-so-flammable vehicles? Yes, they have happened, but at a much lower per-vehicle rate than gasoline cars according to NTSB stats. Sorry, but your fire conceptions are just not based in reality.

Comment Re:The title is terrible (Score 1) 183 183

The car insurance industry is making a lot of money on the fact that your driving profile is individual and will trick you into keep paying a high premium despite having moved into a lower risk segment. All autonomous cars of the same model will drive the same way, which makes it a lot harder to price gouge. It doesn't matter if you're 18 or 80, male or female, single driver or whatever. It's one Google car, 10000 miles/year, parked in garage - what are you charging? In fact, Google might easily just offer insurance themselves since they're the driver and got deep enough pockets they don't need an insurance company.

Comment Re:Ha, lower rates lol (Score 1) 183 183

One of the major reasons traffic deaths went down is we redesigned cars so that instead of being able to withstand a crash without injury to the car, they absorb the crash in a 'crush zone', meaning the car itself takes the damage instead of a person.

And this made a lot of lesser crashes that wouldn't have injured the passengers anyway far more expensive because even small damage is distributed on a large area. I was in an accident not so long ago and despite being a fairly low speed collision where the air bag did not deploy, the damage to my car alone amounted to about 1/5th of the sticker price for a new one and in total I think it wiped out everything I've paid in insurance premiums over the last ten years. So I got no reason to complain, really...

Comment Re:better late than never (Score 1) 73 73

Another alternative here is that you can acquire your viewpoint of reality through some other means than the current whim of a politician. I just fail to see the value of the argument that some dude who is a "local governor" happens to have an opinion on the Fukushima accident.

Comment Re:Why go without GPS? (Score 2) 29 29

On the Moon or Mars they wouldn't reach very far. But a RTG-powered version on Titan would have unlimited range (although may need to land periodically to recharge its flight batteries). And even a rocket or gas jet version would have quite significant range on an asteroid.

Such a design is obviously going to be very mission sensitive, hence the need for different propulsion systems. Some missions would benefit significantly as well from wings to allow for long distance flight on bodies with atmospheres (Venus, Titan, maybe Mars, etc). A couple worlds, such as Titan, might benefit from landing floats. And so forth. But that's where rapid prototyping tech (such as 3d printing) becomes useful - they engineer the base model and then can play around with variants with ease. Hopefully in the end they'll have a sample collector module with a workable version for almost any body in the solar system. And for the interests of science, we really need something like that, a universal adaptable drone module - to be paired with a universal adaptable ion tug module, one of a couple variants of a universal adaptable reentry / landing modules, and the same for adaptable ascent modules.

It's impressive what science can be pulled off on the surface of another world. But it's nothing compared to what we can do here on Earth with a sample return.

Comment Re:Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 1) 861 861

In one truck, yes. The frequency of dead batteries, however, will be the same as passenger vehicles; who will dispose of those?

Seriously, you can't be this daft. The operator, of course, with the price rolled into the service cost.

All of which are relatively involved.

No, they're not. Even your laptop battery estimates its capacity, and that's about as simple as li-ion battery packs get. Coulomb counting, voltage measurements at start and end compared to the charge temperature, charge voltage curve shapes, direct measurement of pack heating over the course of charge to measure internal resistance, and about half a dozen other methods are all usable and widely used to estimate capacity remaining in a pack. Pretty much every modern EV and hybrid in existence checks its battery pack's performance at least at the pack level, if not the individual cell level (Tesla does it at the "brick" level), to see how it's aging and when components or the pack as the whole need to be replaced.

Measuring remaining battery capacity is a concept older than the light bulb.

testing and inspecting a battery for damage and danger conditions so you don't install it into someone's vehicle and get a lawsuit for "vehicle exploded in a giant flaming blaze" (or drive all your customers away with "we don't test our batteries for anything but charge, and damaged batteries may set your truck on fire") is wholly different.

Just like gas stations check their gas for impurities that can cause damage to an engine? No, it's the manufacturer's issue to ensure that the product meets its stated usage specs - in this case, the specs including safe handling of damage and X number of swap cycles. Meeting damage control specs is why Tesla isolates each cell in a canister to prevent failure propagation. And why packs always come with fuses/breakers that blow when the pack gets wet or there's otherwise a short.

(Just ignoring that many types of li-ions don't burn even when abused. Tesla uses standard cobalt-based 18660s, which is why they have to have a failure isolation system, but vehicles like the Volt and Leaf use more stable spinel chemistries)

That may result in diesel being the cheaper fuel by far

Tesla's battery packs have an 8 year, unlimited-mile warranty. Even if we assume that they're only good for 1000 full charge cycles (which should be well on the low end), at 30 tonne-miles per kWh of charge, times 1000 cycles, and $150/kWh for the pack, that's 200 tonne-miles per dollar of pack capital cost. A diesel truck will get about 120 tonne-miles per gallon of diesel, and diesel costs somewhere in the ballpark of 6x more than electricity per unit range (depends on your location), meaning that the electric version saves about 3-4$ per dollars of energy cost per dollar of pack capital cost.

There are a lot more batteries on a truck.

Wait, so you're picturing them being done individually, one after the next? Seriously? *smacks forehead*

Fortunately, if you mount batteries under there without a bunch of armored doors and other shit to hold it all together, the cargo container catches fire when the batteries become damaged.

In the parallel world where EVs are always catching on fire, and petroleum-fueled vehicles aren't - quite unlike our actual world.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen

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