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Comment Outperform - less stable (Score 3, Interesting) 74 74

They say the new DNA outperforms the standard DNA in evolving to meet the researcher's criteria. That means it changes more easily. In other words, it's less stable.

In most situations, what we want is stability. Nature needs some ability to mutate and evolve, but considering that the wrong mutations result in cancer and death, too high of a mutation rate leads to failure. I suspect this is particularly true in long-lived larger organisms.

Comment Easy to implement (Score 1) 102 102

Adding a backdoor that is secure is very easy to implement. The government just needs to publish a public key. You then encrypt your private key using that public key and include it with whatever you encrypted. This would be much like the lock box on a house that holds the front-door key that only real estate agents showing the house are supposed to be able to access. And there's no reason it would be limited to just one. Opening a connection to a server in Turkey? Better include lock boxes for both your own government and the Turkish authorities.

The only big hole is the security of the government's private key (or more likely, keys).

The tricky part is that this government lock box has to be added to the common protocols. And how many different protocols would have to be updated? TLS, ssh, PGP, etc. What are the odds of introducing flaws that allow for new attack vectors when introducing the back door? For example, could you trick a victim's computer into thinking it needed to include the lock box for some jurisdiction that you control?

Now while the technical side of this could be made to work, as a public policy, it's a horrible idea. Let's not just say it can't be done and forget about it. We need to fight this as bad policy.

Comment Not in New England (Score 3, Informative) 203 203

I serve on the Planning Board in my small New England town. We've looked at some of these same measures, but many of them are eliminated because they make it more difficult for snow plowing. Anything involving raised crosswalks or bump-outs gets push-back from the DPW. Paint gets mostly sanded off every winter.

Separated bike lanes ("cycletracks" is the buzzword here) are great. The problem is our roads are too narrow and old, so even if we have the money to put them in, there simply isn't enough space without using eminent domain to take land for widening. That doesn't go over very well.

It's great that they can do these things in San Diego. It's unfortunate that we can't do all the same things here. Every location needs to find solutions to improve safety that work in that location.

Comment Extra space (Score 1) 557 557

Lots of good advice in other posts, so I won't reiterate everything.

The one thing I wish our house had was more space. We could use another linen closet. We could use a pantry for the kitchen--especially now that we do a lot of real cooking. Having higher ceilings would be a huge benefit. I would *really* like to have an extra half-car space on the side of the garage for the lawn mower and bikes.

I'm very glad there was a weird closet in the basement of our house which is now our wiring closet. I'm sure others have talked about that, though.

Comment Nitpicks (Score 1) 557 557

We had a central vacuum when I was a kid, and we hated it. The best use for a central vacuum system is to rip out the vacuum and use all the tubes as conduit for wiring. I guess that's really very much a matter of opinion. In any case, be sure you test one out before insisting on putting one in. I would much rather spend my money on a good Dyson (though I understand some people not wanting to lug around that much weight or relocate the bulk of the noise).

You also missed it on the power in the garage. You want 50A, not 30A. You can download the recommended installation guide from Tesla for a NEMA 14-50; use that and you should be good for anything. It's always better to overspec and then not need it than to underspec and have to go fix it.

Another item to put in the garage is in-wall wires for the garage door sensors. If you're putting in a garage door opener, it requires wires from infrared sensors to the motor so that it stops closing if something is in the way. It's simple enough to put those wires in the wall if you do it first.

Speaking of garage doors, you can get some really great openers. My in-laws got some professional Lift-Master openers that are absolutely silent. That's nothing like what you get when you buy your own at Lowes Depot. (They even have some that attach directly to the torsion rod if you have that kind of door, so there's nothing overhead.)

Comment Re:This is why we need O/S Level control (Score 2) 144 144

What's really needed is to have OS-level control of permissions that the apps can't see. If an app is denied access to your contacts, it can see a dummy contact list. If an app is denied Internet access, it thinks the device is simply out of range at the moment. If an app is denied location services, it's told that there's no signal (or optionally given a fixed location that you specify).

Otherwise apps will refuse to function based on the lack of access that they don't really need.

Comment Re:Market changer (Score 1) 318 318

If you think the battery will last long enough that when it needs to be replaced, the prices will have come down and the capacities will have gone up, it's not a bad idea. The risks are certainly different.

I wouldn't even be surprised if a company that found itself with a large number of used cars decided to offer them with new batteries, possibly even longer-range batteries than they originally came with. The downside for the company would be that they would compete with their own new market, so it probably won't happen.

Comment Re:Counting your chickens (Score 1) 318 318

To some extent, even if they fail, they will still drive the market. They've said they'll do it, and the other car companies believe them. That means they're going to gear up to compete. Tesla has set the bar at 200 mile range for $35K in 2017 or 2018. The other companies are undoubtedly aiming to have their own offering in the same class, and several will probably succeed. At this point, Tesla could fail, and probably still happen without them.

Comment Market changer (Score 4, Interesting) 318 318

The 3 will be a market changer for the low-end of electric vehicles. If they hit $35K with 200+ mile range, it means all the other electric vehicles in that range, such as the Nissan Leaf, will also have to hit 200+ miles or drop below $25K.

Right now there are a number of cars with 80-100 mile ranges in the $30K-$35K range. They won't be able to compete with the 3 without some major improvements.

This also will shake up the used market. Right now 80%+ of Leafs are leased, so about the time the Model 3 comes online all the Leafs on the road today will be for sale. That's a lot of cars, all with 80-mile-ish ranges. Now if new cars at $35K have over double the range, the price of the used cars will be much lower. So if a 80-mile range is sufficient (perhaps for your second or third car in the family), then you'll be able to go electric at a fairly reasonable price in two or three years.

I think the long-term impact will be that most people who have a good place to charge their cars at home will consider electric cars after the Model 3 has had a couple of years to shake up the market. I would guess in five years it will be typical for families with more than one car to have at least one electric, and in ten years the majority of new cars will be electric.

Comment Re:Any stats on how it will cope with -20 C temps? (Score 2) 318 318

I have a friend who raced in the Iditarod this year. (For the clueless, that's a 1000+ mile dog sled race in Alaska.) Temperatures were consistently -50F (-43C), and his Lithium Ion batteries for his light worked flawlessly. I would be more worried with the 12v lead acid battery (yes, it still has one for accessories) than the L-ion battery pack.

Oh, and one of his dogs was named Tesla.

Comment Re:Even 200 miles of range means that you... (Score 1) 318 318

Everyone's usage is different. The longest road trip we take in a typical year is under 200 miles. If we were to go farther, having to stop for half an hour at a Supercharger station isn't terrible.

For my family, having a Model S for trips and a second car for around town such as a Nissan Leaf would be ideal. We have no need for a gas vehicle.

Comment Nice, missing new features, limited filtering (Score 3, Informative) 65 65

Thanks to the person who posted the link:

Some of these cars are great deals.

You won't find the dual-motor versions, so they're all rear-wheel drive.

I don't think you'll find the autopilot feature on any of them.

And the real frustrating part of the experience is that the filters are very limited. You can't filter on particular features, such as panoramic roof, subzero package, or rear-facing seats.

I expect they'll improve the filtering when they have more than 20 cars to look at.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel