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

by Zobeid (#49290661) Attached to: New Jersey Removes Legal Impediment To Direct Tesla Sales

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

by Zobeid (#49266389) Attached to: Elon Musk Pledges To End "Range Anxiety" For Tesla Model S

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

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

by Zobeid (#49102441) Attached to: The Best, and Worst, Places To Drive Your Electric Car

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

by Zobeid (#48680453) Attached to: Tesla Roadster Update Extends Range

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.

Comment: Keeping it Readable (Score 4, Insightful) 368

by Zobeid (#48542149) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Yes, I also have griped about SF that shoehorns the distant future into the mold of today, or of the past. I have special disdain for those who want to recreate the wild west, or the age of piracy, or empires of the past with space opera trappings. If you love the old west, write westerns, man! The obsession with FTL travel (which seems unlikely to ever really become possible) also ties in with this.

To my way of thinking, conventional literature at its best explores the human condition. SF at its best explores how the human(-ish) condition could be different. SF that doesn't make it different seems like wasted potential, a missed opportunity.


I learned a long time ago that SF stories and SF writers have limitations that they must work within. SF is about ideas, and there are limits to how many new and unfamiliar ideas you can cram into a story without either losing your readers or getting lost yourself. Your readers are embedded in the culture of today. Even if you as a writer can mentally break out of the culture of today, bringing your readers along for that ride is extremely difficult.

You might want to write a story exploring the potential of AI and robotics. Or nuclear fusion power. Or asteroid mining. Or molecular manufacturing. Or life extension. All good topics. Now try to write a novel where *all* of those scenarios have become real and are interacting with one another. Oops... That's going to be really hard to pull off without ending up in a muddled mess, and it's also going to be hard to explore each of those ideas in the depth it deserves. (Especially if you also have, you know... characters, and a plot, and so forth!)

Comment: Re:Not cursive, but fountain pen vs ballpoint pen! (Score 1) 523

by Zobeid (#48497405) Attached to: Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

"...and I never learned how to use the fountain properly."

Give one a try! It only takes a few minutes to learn: orient the nib to the page, use a light touch, try holding it at a lower angle. You'll be doing just fine in no time, and soon you'll also discover it's less tiring to your hand than a ballpoint.

Comment: Re:Just cursive, or all writing? (Score 1) 523

by Zobeid (#48497331) Attached to: Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

Keep in mind that for a lot of us old-timers, cursive writing isn't "fancy" and was never meant to be. It's simply what we were taught and always used -- or what we always used after second grade, anyhow. I'm not sure why it's now "archaic", yet somehow the little kiddie writing is still considered necessary.

Comment: Re:CORRECTION!!!!!! (Score 1) 523

by Zobeid (#48496939) Attached to: Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

Something has got lost in translation here.

Writing in longhand or cursive is not "calligraphy". The styles and tools used are very different. How so many people (you're far from the only one) have come to equate cursive with calligraphy, I just don't know. You claim "NO ONE writes in calligraphy", but I can assure you that many, many people write in cursive.

Comment: Re:quick notes? (Score 1) 523

by Zobeid (#48496811) Attached to: Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

No. Writing with a fountain pen is out-of-mainstream, but it's not "exceedingly rare". If it was, we wouldn't have 25+ (by my count) brands of bottled fountain pen ink on the market today! Also, most of these are used for daily writing, not for "calligraphy". Fountain pens are actually not that great for calligraphy, and buying actual calligraphy pens and calligraphy ink is much better if you want to get into that.

Comment: Re:quick notes? (Score 2) 523

by Zobeid (#48496685) Attached to: Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

So, I had to do a quick test on this... I pulled out a book and found a long paragraph to transcribe, first in cursive with a fountain pen, then printing with a mechanical pencil. My results: 7 minutes 53 seconds with the pen, 9 minutes 20 seconds with the pencil. That works out to a 15% speed advantage for cursive. It's not a huge, dramatic difference, but it's significant. Also, writing with the fountain pen was much less tiring to my hand, and it came out looking neater and easier to read (although both were perfectly legible).

I've often wished that someone had clued me into fountain pens back when I was taking notes in school. I think it would have saved me a lot of hand cramps.

Comment: Re:don't tax alternative energy and transportation (Score 1) 516

by Zobeid (#48417107) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

Quote: "We have to transition to ~ 90% of the transport and energy in the economy to non-fossil, in a damn hurry (e.g. 2050)..."

You may believe that, and some others may believe that, but our society as a whole does not. If it did, we (globally) wouldn't still be planning and building brand new coal and gas fired power plants with an expected 40-year life span *after* they go into service.

Comment: Let's boycott the two-party system! (Score 1) 551

by Zobeid (#48326353) Attached to: In this year's US mid-term elections ...

I think next time around somebody should organize a boycott of the Republicrats. Vote for independents... libertarians... greens... cthulhu... whatever floats your boat as long as it's not a Republican or Democrat. It's the only way to get some real change.

Comment: Slam dunk bet! (Score 3, Interesting) 107

by Zobeid (#48326065) Attached to: Landfill Copies of Atari's 'E.T.' End Up On eBay

The E.T. game was a lesson in the folly of games based on movies. Sadly, it's a lesson many companies still haven't learned. There are still executives in the game industry who think the road to success is to license a big-name movie or other franchise and then sell a game based on it. And the key phrase there is "sell a game", without much thought given to actually creating the game, or what is going to make the game fun to play.

What makes a game fun and engaging is, primarily, the gameplay mechanism. Movies are non-interactive and have no gameplay mechanisms. Therefore, they have little of value to offer to a licensed game. Yes, you can take a generic, well-proven game mechanic and slap on a movie-colored coat of paint, but it means nothing. It may possibly turn out to be an OK game, but there's no reason to expect it to surpass games that were designed as their own properties from the outset. The reverse is more often true: a game concept originated by a game designers is more likely to produce a truly fun game, as compared with a movie concept that some programmers have been ordered to "turn into some kind of game that we can sell this Christmas".

The use of money is all the advantage there is to having money. -- B. Franklin