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Comment Re:Massive Economic Benefits = Going to Happen Fas (Score 1) 142

I think this will come eventually. I suspect the solution will involve lots of radar, forwards and backwards, along with several pairs of 3d cameras. The problem with lidar is that it doesn't work in snow or heavy rain. Humans drive based on 3d vision, so why not have computers do it. Problems could arise if the cameras get blocked, but the same think can happen to human drivers. If there are multiple pairs of cameras, perhaps with mechanisms to clear their own view to the outside, they could be quite reliable. If one combines this with radar, one could have a computer with a fairly good picture of the outside world.

I know google's car uses a combination of lidar and video. I think it is 2d video, but I'm not sure. Their car probably uses lidar to find objects around the car. The video system then probably uses neural nets to identify what the object is. It can also likely tell whether the objects are moving or not. I suspect that there is research in the pipeline that uses neural networks that have been so successful at 2d image classification to work with 3d stereoscopic imagery. Google "3d computer vision with neural networks" to see that this is being thought about. I suspect that it would be a useful avenue to train the neural networks not just by feeding the networks pixels from the cameras, but also by feeding it the readings from radar and sonar sensors.

Comment Re:Show us the data (Score 1) 421

In order to balance the equation you end up needing over 200% of your peak demand in nameplate generating capacity, significantly more than the current inventory,in order to have enough capacity when the renewables are not available (during bad weather for example) and allow for maintenance down-time.

You seem to be determined to put down wind as an energy source. You seem to have done some thinking about this. Seem to. But I really wonder what your motivations are. You neglect to mention that in places that have lots of hydro power, a renewable, it is very common to have natural gas power plants sitting idle for long periods of time, waiting to power up. For example, in British Columbia, Canada, the Burrard Thermal natural gas plant sits idle for long periods of time during times of lower electricity demand and high hydro production. When demand goes up, they fire Burrard Thermal up to meet the excess demand. This has worked for decades. And British Columbia has some of the lowest electricity rates in the world. If you were interested in the validity of your arguments, why would you ignore examples like this? What you post seems like obfuscating propaganda.

Comment Re:Show us the data (Score 4, Insightful) 421

Yeah unless the wind stops blowing then waddya gonna do then huh? HUH?

When the wind stops you use a natural gas power plant. Duh. DUH!

The point is to reduce the amounts of fossil fuels used to generate electricity. If you still need it sometimes, who cares. You have still reduced the amount of fossil fuels used.

Batteries are becoming cheaper and more reliable. In the end, we will likely store large amounts of power in battery banks when the wind blows and the sun shines. This will further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Maybe we still need fossil fuels in the future, but our consumption of them will be reduced by 80%. It won't be the end of the world. Except if your entire fortune is based in the fossil fuel business.

Comment My Kobo is unplugged from the internet (Score 2) 145

I bought a Kobo H2O. All of the books I have come from "other sources". The wifi is turned off so the device can't track what I read. It is as close to a paper book as I can get in electronic form. I would never buy a Kindle with always on 3G. I don't want to be tracked. All I want is the nice screen and water resistant device.

Comment Re:So when are they making something we can AFFORD (Score 2) 323

Selling cars that cost as much as a small house is all well and good if your target market is 1%ers and boomers, but if you want to sell to the mass market you need something that's priced for a generation that will probably never be able to afford to own a home.

The base model will be less. And they are working on a $35000 model that will compete with BMW 3 series cars. This car is meant to compete in the market that buys Porsche Cayenne's and the like. The top turbo model of the Cayenne goes for over $130000. The base model of the Model X will likely go for $60000 or so.

Comment Re:How much will it cost. (Score 1) 398

If the price is right 1,000 km range electric cars will signal the beginning of the end for IC engined cars.

The 1000km number doesn't actually seem that far fetched. The Model S is a hugely heavy performance car. At its best it does 0 to 60mph in 2.8 seconds. If they built a car that still had a lot of batteries but was instead optimized for range rather than performance, I can see how they might accomplish this.

On the other side, Tesla is working on a new version of the Roadster. If they can make a family sedan do 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds, imagine what they can do if they design a pure sports car. It might have the best acceleration of any production car ever made. Perhaps 2.2 seconds? Perhaps better? Why not. The model S is a luxury sedan and yet look what it does.

Comment Re:How patriotic! Criminalizing decent (Score 1) 737

I don't think it is "criminalizing dissent". I think that anyone will be free to say whatever they want in public. What is criminal IMHO is using large sums of money to pay individuals to post and say particular things while pretending that those things they say are actually their own opinions. The real criminals are the billionaires who are using their money to poison the public debate. Doing that is demonstrably against the public interest. Thus I believe it may be criminal.

Comment Re:There's still no magnetosphere (Score 1) 261

Energy source: Nuclear. Chlorine is likely quite common. You'd have to find Fluorine...there is likely a lot there somewhere. Carbon, as you said can come from CO2. You wouldn't need to make that much. Some chlorofluorocarbons are extremely potent greenhouse gasses that have a long life in the atmosphere...half-life in multiple decades if not a century.

Comment Re:There's still no magnetosphere (Score 1) 261

And the parent post demonstrates why America is languishing as a civilization. Behold the "can't do" attitude. Dream small. Spend big. (I'm thinking about the California high speed rail line here...amongst the slowest and most expensive in the world). America is becoming a corrupt small-minded oligarchy.

I think the poster is understating how much protection the atmosphere provides. The Earth's atmosphere alone provides radiation protection equivalent to about a three foot thick slab of metal. As for atmospheric degradation due to the solar wind, from what I understand, if we densified the atmosphere, it would take about a million years for the solar wind to undo the changes.

Comment Re:There's still no magnetosphere (Score 2) 261

An atmosphere on Mars would degrade over time, without replenishment if we don't have a magnetosphere. So basically, we'd need to crash a comet or two onto the planet every century.

If the Mars atmosphere was degrading that quickly (century timescales) due to the solar wind and no magnetosphere, then Mars would have no atmosphere right now. From what I have read, any changes we make would last a million years or so. The real changes happen when you tip the system into a new equilibrium. If you add more greenhouse gasses, then that causes warming. The warming causes frozen CO2 to pass back into the atmosphere, causing still more warming. The idea of thermonuclear bombs at the poles seems like an effective way of releasing large amounts of greenhouse gasses (frozen CO2) into the atmosphere. To keep up the processes, you could probably release certain versions of chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere over time. They are somewhat persistent and are extremely effective at trapping the Sun's radiation as heat. If we did start to set up settlements there, we could manufacture such gasses in situ.

Comment Re:It's already happened; we're at $250/kWh now. (Score 1) 130

I was looking at lipo's last night. Still over 4x the cost of lead acid. I got my batteries @ ~$100/kwh. That's roughly the cost at a few places I've looked: walmart, costco, golf cart and auto repair shops. And that's with lifespan et al factored in.

I don't think what you said is true. Either you have not thought out what you posted and have not done the correct calculations, or you are just making it up. Here is an actual price comparison between lead acid batteries and Li-ion batteries. To summarize, lead acid batteries cost 0.76€ / kWh / cycle, while Li-ion batteries cost 0.42€ / kWh / cycle. That is, lead acid is 81% more expensive per kWh/cycle than Li-ion. In addition, lead acid batteries are bulky, stinky, heavy, and don't last very long. That means you will have to lug them in and out of your house with far too great a frequency, and doing so will not be fun.

Comment America is an Oligarchy, and Not a Democracy (Score 5, Insightful) 213

According to this study, America is an oligarchy. Here is a quote (as per the New Yorker):

Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then Americaâ(TM)s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

When I hear about abuses of power, when I hear about the NSA spying on everyone, when I hear about militarization of police, when I hear about local police departments running roughshod over the Constitution as implied in the parent article, I start to think that something is deeply wrong in America. Then I remember that Americans still have the right to vote in those who rule them. And that is encouraging. But then I realize that most Americans have lost the ability to comprehend the systems of power that rule them. I remember that too many Americans vote based on shallow ignorant views, that they are persuaded by 30 second political TV commercials instead of actual rational argument, which is boring and long and tedious. And I remember that those 30 second TV commercials are expensive, and that politicians must go begging to those with large amounts of money in order to buy those 30 second commercials. And I remember that when politicians accept money from those very wealthy interests, that they become enslaved to them. And this makes me feel hopeless.

Then I remember that if Americans stopped listening to shallow arguments given in 30 second TV commercials, if they started to demand rational argument instead of the shallow blather that has so far persuaded them, then they could take back power from the corrupt wealthy interests who have driven the country into the ground over the last three and a half decades. And that makes me a little bit hopeful.

Comment Re:A Common Tactic (Score 1) 49

I believe that it is common to have paid propaganda posters on newspapers and discussion boards such as Slashdot, especially on issues such as global warming. Some of my reasons for believing this are:

1) It is effective. It discourages the believers in particular causes, making them feel alone. It makes readers feel that the beliefs of the elite funders of the paid poster are actually the views of the common people.

2) It is a cost-effective way of reaching the eyeballs of particular and influential groups of readers. Having one poster make many posts under different accounts from a single computer is not difficult. Posting through several IP addresses is not difficult.

If you think that this only happens in Russia and not in our own corporate state, you are quite naive.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux