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Comment Future Shock (Score 1) 483 483

We did wait about a century for battery technology to get better. Then NiMH batteries came along, and then the entire Li-Ion family of chemistries came along, and battery technology got a whole lot better.

I wonder if this is a case of future shock? Sometimes technology leaves ingrained, conventional wisdom in the dust, and some people are very slow to acknowledge it. Example. . . I still encounter those who say solar power will never be anywhere near cost competitive with fossil fuels. For about fifty years solar was wildly expensive, then solar panel prices fell off a cliff. Some folks still haven't got the memo.

It'll probably be the same with fusion power. We sometimes forget in these discussions that fission plants are merely a stopgap technology until fusion is up and running. We've repeated the joke -- "Fusion power is 40 years in the future -- and always will be!" -- so often that we've all begun to believe it's more than a joke. We've got to the point where the only thing Joe Sixpack knows about fusion is that it's never really going to happen. Joe is going to get a big surprise someday.

Comment How much electricity do refineries use?? (Score 1) 188 188

I have to wonder if this study took into account the vast amounts of electrical power used to refine gasoline? Those refineries are some of the biggest users of grid power in the country. I've even heard it suggested (though I haven't seen a by-the-numbers breakdown) that it takes, on average, as much electrical power to refine a gallon of gasoline as it would take to power a BEV the same distance driven. If that's true -- or even in the ballpark -- then it could turn the conclusions of this study upside-down.

Comment Re:So many reasons (Score 1) 688 688

quote: ". . .you're talking about stopping every 200 to 300 miles to charge for six hours"

If you're gonna make this argument, at least try to get the numbers right. A Tesla Model S at the "Supercharger" station can go from zero to 100% charged in 75 minutes, not six hours. And that's the absolute worst case, because the charge rate does slow considerably as it nears full. Tesla recommend charging to 80%, which only takes 40 minutes. If your goal is to get to the next station, then adding 170 miles of range in about 30 minutes will usually do it.

I don't know about you, but I need to take a break from driving after two or three hours. You don't have to stand next to your car while it charges; you can go have a snack or find a bathroom during that time. I don't see why this would a deal breaker unless you're doing a cannonball run or fleeing from the laws.

Personally, I try not to ever plan a trip that'll have me driving more than about 500 miles in a day's time. Even that, I can't remember how many years it's been since I've done it, or since I've gone more than the full range of the Model S in one day. I understand that my driving habits aren't everyone's driving habits, and there are some people who take long road trips, and that's OK. I'm just saying. . . There are significant numbers of people for whom this would never ever be an issue.

Now on the other hand, if you're talking about a Nissan Leaf with 70 miles range. . . HAHAHA! No. Just no. That wouldn't get me to the next town and back. But I think short-range cars like that will be a historical footnote very soon.

Comment Re:One Assumption (Score 3, Interesting) 609 609

Quote: "The Tea Party and similar ultra conservative factions are forcing Republicans to keep fighting culture wars. . ."

The Tea Party has no position on cultural issues. The Tea Party has no position on gay marriage, or abortion, or immigration, or drug legalization. It's a one-issue group, just like the NRA is a one-issue group. The NRA's issue is guns. The Tea Party's issue is the national debt.

I know, there are many in this world who will try to tell you different. Most of those are either liberals trying to tar the Tea Party, or social conservatives trying to hijack it. Neither group are tea partiers. (And IMHO, Ted Cruz is no Tea Partier either. He walked away from us to do his own thing shortly after getting elected.)

Comment Re:not a new topic (Score 1) 365 365

Yes, I wondered if I should have alluded to that. However. . . Global thermonuclear war ain't what it used to be. Although the likelihood of some kind of nuclear exchange hasn't gone away at all, not many of us still envision "blowing up the world" the way we used to with 10,000+ H-bombs going off all at once.

Comment not a new topic (Score 4, Interesting) 365 365

As an old-timer (or at least a mid-timer), I can remember this very issue being raised and discussed as far back as the late 1970s by people in the SF community, such as Jerry Pournelle, for one example. Of course, then we had the prospects of global thermonuclear war hanging over our heads as well, so the idea of the world having to rebuild everything didn't seem far-fetched at all.

The other issue was whether we could even keep modern technological-industrial civilization running. There was a very serious fear that "resource depletion" would cause everything to collapse without any need to invoke armageddon. Those fears have, thus far, proven mostly unfounded for reasons alluded in TFA: because we have developed high-tech machinery that can recover even low-grade deposits of ores and fossil fuels. That still doesn't mean the question won't crop up again at some time in the future, though, and we still have periodic scares over commodities such as: copper, gold, rare earths, and of course, "Peak Oil". The solution that Pournelle advocated back in the 1970s, exploiting the resources of outer space, is still out on the fringe somewhere.

Comment Re:Jesus! (Score 4, Insightful) 85 85

Why does this lie keep getting repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated. . . It's been going on for YEARS now. It gets frustrating after a while, especially since anybody could spend a couple of minutes with Google and find out the facts.

I think most normal people without an axe to grind understand that there are other sources of electrical power besides coal, and that we do have nuclear plants, and we do have hydro plants, and we do have natural gas, and we do have wind farms, and we even have a small (but rapidly growing) amount of solar. Some of them may even known that the percentage of power from coal in the US has been dropping for years and is well under half now. So, when you talk about a highly polluting coal-powered electric car, you're only making yourself look dumb in front of everyone.

Comment Range Anxiety Anxiety (Score 5, Funny) 286 286

First of all, "Range Anxiety" is a registered trademark of General Motors. I hope Elon doesn't get in trouble for using it without GM's permission!

Most people who actually own electric cars experience very little range anxiety. Far more common is "range anxiety anxiety": the fear that if you got an electric car, you might experience range anxiety.

Also prevalent among car makers is "range anxiety anxiety anxiety": the fear that, if you made an electric car, range anxiety anxiety might prevent people from buying it.

Remember folks, we have nothing to fear but. . . fear itself!

Comment I'd go for C (Score 4, Interesting) 407 407

Yes... You can do OOP in C. With todays toolchains, libraries and techniques, C is more viable than a lot of people give credit for.

I personally have always disliked C++, and I know I'm not the only one. I've been OK with Obj-C, but... It is a bit eccentric, and it's probably on the way out with Apple now promoting Swift.

C, on the other hand, is eternal and evergreen.

Comment Tesla and Leaf are different (Score 1) 212 212

The study seems focused on Leaf, but the Tesla has an active cooling system that the Leaf lacks. Some Leafs in hot climates had a lot of battery degradation. That doesn't seem to be happening with the Teslas, nor should it.

Li-ion cells do degrade with both time and charge-and-discharge cycles. Data coming in from Teslas seems to indicate time is much less a factor, and charge cycles are the main determinant. The implication is that a bigger battery pack will last longer, since it takes more driving miles to put the same number of cycles on it.

Comment Re:Cd of 0.36 in the 21st century??? (Score 1) 128 128

Several of the Roadster's limitations (and I suspect aerodynamics falls into this category) resulted from the design process, which was basically starting with a Lotus Elise and then modifying, and modifying, and modifying... It imposed a lot of constraints, and Elon Musk later admitted it was a mistake not to design a new vehicle from a blank sheet of paper.

The cost of feathers has risen, even down is up!