Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 1) 781 781

When it comes to a truck which will have a sizeable number of large batteries, you're pretty much statistically guaranteed to never have more than a dud or two so long as the battery management process is sound.

In one truck, yes. The frequency of dead batteries, however, will be the same as passenger vehicles; who will dispose of those? The swap-off center will occasionally find a dud battery it can't reinstall in a customer's vehicle, which it then must replace with a new battery it purchases.

By, for example, any of the dozen or so methods already used for this purpose?

All of which are relatively involved. Testing a battery for charge capacity is one thing; 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. The amount of human labor required will make these inspections labor-intensive.

By rolling that into the swapping cost?

That may result in diesel being the cheaper fuel by far. You could take even odds on the batteries and lure people into your high-margin restaurant while the swap occurs, or try to tack on high-margin value-add services like general mechanical inspections and maintenance.

Battery swap in the much harder case of cars can be done in less than a tenth that time.

There are a lot more batteries on a truck.

You already have, today, stuff mounted to the underside of trailers. It's right where the structural strength is already located and you have tons of open space underneath for easy access and standard form factors.

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.

It's also fortunate that most of the air and electronic braking lines are out of the way, instead of bolted all over the bottom of the truck. That doesn't mean mounting won't be a problem--especially mounting in some sane manner, with armored plating to protect the batteries--but it does mean you at least don't have to deal with drive shafts, exhaust systems, and all kinds of other shit, some of which fortunately doesn't even exist in electric cars.

Comment Re:SD Card? (Score 1) 150 150

I said their premium model is +$50. You said it's not a premium phone. You just reiterated that it's not a premium phone. The fact of the matter is it's their premium offering.

Oh what a terrible problem! They sell two options, how awful!

The problem isn't with what they sell; the problem is with your argument. Your argument is they don't have a premium phone; the problem with your argument is they sell two options: the basic 16GB option and the premium 64GB option. The fact that their PREMIUM OPTION is cheaper than some Rolls Royce bullshit doesn't mean it's not a premium option.

Of course you can try to dance around words like a politician trying desperately not to let on that he thinks the audience is filled with retards, but I won't let you.

Yes it's all a big conspiracy that all the phone makers - who are also competitors - are colluding on

Ant theory. I've already explained that it's not lucrative to offer SD cards slots on mainline-model phones.

On some models they prefer not to have an exposed, mechanical and relatively bulky (if you're looking at the thinness of modern devices) mechanism for storage and instead use soldered memory to avoid these problems

"Some" being all modern mainline phones, which largely have exposed SIM card slots, exposed USB readers, exposed speakers, and exposed headphone jacks (not even the self-sealing type of jack that repels water).

The reader for my MicroSIM card is at least as large as a MicroSD reader. The MicroSIM is at least 70% thicker than a MicroSD, and itself sits in a plastic carriage that makes it even thicker; this may or may not mean the MicroSIM reader is thicker than a MicroSD reader, since you could certainly make a thick reader to hold a thin card if you really wanted to. You could also make an extremely thin reader, which most are.

None of your arguments actually have any merit.

Comment Re:Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 1) 781 781

I'll accept that. I think personal ownership of trucks makes that untenable; however, commercial interests may lease truck transit time, such as how city goers lease car time from ZipCar. Wabash may in fact not own any trucks, having ZipTruck, and so being able to charter a truck and return their truck for charging, exchange trailers, and continue to deliver Wabash goods on a Wabash-branded freight trailer pulled by some random ZipTruck. ZipTruck won't handle logistics; you pay Wabash to get your freight from one end of the country to the next, and Wabash pays ZipTruck to provide an engine. These are separate tasks.

You, sir, are a man of vision; at least you needed less a nudge than I. This is why I would surround myself with smart people if I ever ran a business: I may be able to envision great things with broad-reaching implications, but I need prompting or I may as well just stare directly into the sun.

For that matter, I think I'd want a quality cabinet if I ever became a member of Congress.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 781 781

No, but the brief of it is as obvious as gravity was in Newton's time (when everyone knew things fell down and planets orbited other large things, but nobody had described gravity).

All costs are human labor. Oil and coal require manpower to mine; the machines and fuel used require manpower to build, operate, and maintain, as well as to mine, refine, and ship. At the root of all of it is wages paid to workers.

Considering this briefly, imagine two mines producing coal, both by the same method. They each need the same manpower to mine a 100 cubic meter block of coal; however, one mine produces a solid anthracite block, while the other produces anthracite mixed with 50% rocks and dirt. The second mine spends twice as much labor per 100 cubic meters of coal (not counting refinement--removing those rocks and dirt), so that coal costs twice as much. Think about that when someone says a restriction of supply causes prices to rise: if your next best competitor needs to spend $100 more per unit than you, he can't undercut your prices unless you raise your profit margin to more than $100 per unit, which is how supply gets restricted.

My theory, in simple explanation, is as follows.

Each improvement in efficiency is a reduction of human labor time invested in each unit of production. Where it takes 8 hours to make a chair by hand, hand-tool making of chairs on an assembly line produces twice as many units in the same time investment--essentially 4 hours to make that same chair--and so the chair costs half as much.

By this manner, each improvement in efficiency CREATES UNEMPLOYMENT, concentrating the wealth of the unemployed into the hands of the employed consumer: by competitive market forces (a great many more than just as my coal competition example), consumer demand arises for lower prices (either by another supplier charging less, or by consumers seeing a different good they find more important than yours). Since your prices come down, consumers, as an immediate effect, have more wealth (represented by money, but, more directly, buying power).

This residual wealth creates an opportunity: these consumers--a great many consumers, often--now make up a demographic owning more buying power than they currently exercise. That means you can sell them things which they previously could not afford.

The cost of producing your new goods is the cost of labor you consume, directly or indirectly. That CREATES EMPLOYMENT, which recovers the displaced labor--this may happen months, years, or decades down the line (industrial revolution created multiple generations of high unemployment)--and, of course, means the consumer must pay for that labor per unit new good created.

That is a basic outline of my theory of wealth. This theory implies many things, and lends itself to understanding many things.

For example: progressive taxes are good, as they reduce labor costs, which for obvious reasons I agree with; however, creating the production capacity to employ displaced labor does cost money, and so taxing the living fuck out of "The Rich" has a negative economic impact. When you roll in Social Security, a flat tax would be around 39.2%, whereas our progressive system is 39.6% above $400k and 16.2% at the lowest income bracket (if you don't flatten social security, the flat tax is about 26%, and everyone making under $117k pays 32.2% in taxes). An extra 0.4% taxes on the fabulously wealthy is absolutely acceptable in exchange for cutting taxes by 23.4% on labor.

My reasoning for a Citizen's Dividend at the ruthlessly bare levels is along the same lines: it *works*--it's amazingly profitable for any enterprising business choosing to sell needed goods and services to the poor--and it's, in total, just slightly cheaper than our existing welfare system. At the same time, it puts several thousand dollars into the hands of consumers; and I'm sure you can recognize the implication of keeping the tax percentage flat, thus following the growth of wealth and increasing the standard of living of the poor as the general total wealth increases. You can probably also imagine why I want to take advantage of an *absolute* *guaranteed* minimum standard of living (even for the broke and unemployed) to repeal minimum wage; if not, I suggest you research the Industrial Revolution and reflect on what exactly is involved in the upcoming wave of automation, and the particular value of spreading out the loss of 47% of jobs over time.

That last point is huge.

The Industrial Revolution was just business as usual, yet it cost us more than 60 years of horrifying unemployment, levels around 80%. That's because mechanization did exactly what I describe, but rapidly: instead of losing 0.01% of the jobs in the economy, 80% of the skilled labor jobs vanished overnight. Those 80% were still largely underemployed or unemployed three full generations later. By my theories, stretching out such an extreme upheaval will allow for more rapid backfilling of employment, which may make it an easier pill to swallow--and perhaps we ourselves will come out of it riding the enormous waves of wealth it produces, instead of waiting for our great-great-great-grandchildren to finally gain a glimpse of that wealth in the distant future.

I've already explained how these theories affect supply-and demand. You can imagine how that impacts the economy of scale as well, since arguing for discounts on enormous orders can only cut prices back as far as costs--your supplier will make those arguments with his supplier, all the way up, and compound these cuts; but things must actually cost less to make, or else you won't get so much of a discount.

I can even take this out far enough to explain communism, which has of course lead me to define in *very* *clear* *economic* *terms* why you shouldn't attempt to implement communism. Communism becomes the best system when wealth is such that every individual has more buying power than he cares for, after which you can just take it away and give it to others. In such a system, a person would most likely buy the last commodity: time. You only spend 75% of your income? Looks like you're working 30 hour weeks instead of 40 hour; but your employer has to now hire more part-time workers to fill the slack, meaning more jobs, although only a 30-hour week is needed to make a fully satisfying income. Take this out until nearly nobody is working more than a few hours a week, or when only a few bored workers are spreading their income around to everyone else, and you have communism; I'm sure you can see why it's impossible to force this system--as well as why it may never actually come upon its own--into existence. It's not a matter of idealism; it's a matter of wealth, and you can't magically supply all things to all men without the wealth to produce those things within the labor capabilities of all men.

One day, I'll actually sit down and properly pick apart each basic economic theory--and the various market theories--with this theory. I'll use that to pick apart the greater, more complex theories which settle themselves on top the ECON101 theories. I'll use those to pick apart Marx and Keynes. I'll demonstrate why things have worked in the past, and why people were wrong in the past, and what theories are actually correct, and why they're correct. I've done much of that on cursory examination. The result will undoubtedly be a tome of all modern economic knowledge; it won't be a prescription, because what economic system is appropriate depends entirely on what level of wealth your society can supply (our welfare system used to cost 1.5% of our total income, when my dividend would have cost 120%-135%; now they both cost about 17%, so why would I think a particular system is correct?).

For now, I've taken the constant economic comments that "X could be accomplished with less labor" and explained, once and for all, what exactly that phrase means. It's as if people kept commenting that moons orbited planets and planets orbited the sun, and I pointed out that massive objects in fact attract one another--which is exactly what Isaac Newton did after several hundred years of that nonsense. It's not as big and wordy a statement as one might want to make to impress people, but it's a statement with important implications.

When I say finance isn't the same thing as economics, I mean it. When Trump opens his mouth and says you need to be a rich guy to be President because only rich people have that method of thinking, he's a fucking idiot. The method of thinking required to attend to the needs of an economy is vastly different than the method of thinking required to attend to the needs of a business.

Yap yap yap.

Comment Error at the start (Score 1) 422 422

I tried to use Windows 10's Media Creator to create a .iso I could burn to upgrade multiple computers. It threw the trending "Something happened" error message. Great start.

I later figured out that this error is thrown if you try to save the .iso to a directory junction. It's probably not the only cause, since directory junctions that aren't preinstalled are rare, but it is one of them.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 781 781

You're not getting this.

That $300,000 house was a $100,000 house before the interest rates dropped. Its price skyrocketed during that "housing bubble" thing, you know, the minor issue that tore down our economy.

Do you imagine that $300,000 house, at 14%, will simply command a $3550 monthly payment? When interest rates recover and return to 1980-level rates, do you imagine middle-class families will beat a path to the banks's doors to put their entire monthly paycheck plus whatever they can beg off welfare into their mortgage payments?

In 1990, the average middle-class family spent 47% of their income on housing--mortgage or rent. When the interest rates dropped from 10%-ish to around 3%-ish, do you know how much the average middle-class family spent on their new homes that they just bought, those same homes that other families sold at an immense profit? 47% of their income. A lot of people make arguments like "you're getting more equity now!" to explain this away.

When the interest rates go up again and people try to sell their overpriced houses, how much do you think people will pay for that $300,000 house?

Comment Re:Streetlights useful to remark road in bad weath (Score 1) 256 256

Uh. Germany specifically labels street lamps with "you may park here without parking lamps on" signs on street lamps that don't turn off at night, because they ticket you if you park next to one that turns off at midnight.

Comment Re:Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 1) 781 781

Changing batteries carries other engineering problems. How old are the batteries? Do you own your battery? What is a battery worth? Do you load your truck with aging, unreliable batteries to swap-off with other aging, unreliable batteries? As a service station manager, how do you test each of these batteries to ensure its safety and reliability (its level of aging), and swap them out? As a service station manager, how do you offset the cost of rotating out old batteries traded in by truckers?

Changing batteries in something like a truck is a labor-intensive process. Mounting the batteries affects balance, thus handling, thus safety; mounting may preclude a fast removal operation. Batteries are heavy, and large machinery is required to remove the batteries. Running a 200A cable to a truck is one thing; but if you want to swap batteries, you're going to have to get in line. The operation may take 40 minutes overall--so may an 80% charge. Even in an EV like the Leaf or Tesla Model S, swapping out those enormous batteries--they're the size of the whole god damn car--is akin to swapping engines, or at least oil pans or transaxles; expect to be there an hour or two.

Think about it as if you were going to swap an entire, pre-filled gas tank, rather than just fill the tank. Sure, it sounds good in theory; but that kind of mechanic work takes space, labor, and time. Filling a tank is faster. Filling a battery is slower than filling a tank, but not that damn slow.

besides, why does a driver-less truck need to wait for food?

A driverless truck would use the rail system as freight transport, and drive last-mile. Labor costs would be cheap enough to justify the longer driver-miles of such crude distribution. Driverless trucks can spend a lot more time just driving all the fuck around with no cargo, since it costs 1/5 as much for fuel, and the driver's wage is eliminated.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson