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Comment Re:Predestiny? (Score 3, Insightful) 144

But diesels can meet emission standards honestly if auto makers include a urea tank. They just fear consumer reaction to having another consumable fluid (that needs to be refilled every 9 thousand miles, or so) and don't want to do the heavy lifting of consumer education. Considering we are a lot closer to a renewable biodiesel fuel than other fuels, it seems like it makes a lot of sense. Of course, that begs the secondary question of whether farm land should be used to grow food or to grow fuel for cars, but that is a secondary debate.

Comment Re:Oh, bullshit (Score 1) 479

Actually, you won't meet emissions standards without adding a urea tank to process the exhaust on the way to the tail pipe. It isn't magic to take out NOx, it's just that marketing doesn't want to explain why people need to buy another consumable, and have the tank refilled every 8 to 9 thousand miles or so.

Comment But... it's less important than gambling (Score 4, Insightful) 126

Whenever the topic of allowing government or public access to review source code comes up (like with, oh, say, voting machines) I always think of these guys:
and I realize that not of this is as important as gambling (and the collection of taxes thereon).

At least if you judge by how seriously we take access to the code. Just try to deploy a slot machine in Reno without letting someone at the Nevada State Gaming Control Board review your code. Won't happen.

Comment Re:It's GREAT when research groups go make product (Score 1) 137

Well, except that if you are half-way through graduate school, you might have just been torpedoed and suffer a multi-year setback. If I recall correctly, CMU had something on the order of US$19M in robotics research grants from various organizations. (19M might not be the right number, but it was around that, or somewhere in the 20's, my memory is fuzzy.) That's funding for a lot of graduate students. Uber hired away PI's representing something like 40% of that. So, you lose your principal investigator, your thesis advisor, your RA stipend, probably most of your committee, and oh by the way: you need to start over at ground zero on a new topic, too, once you find another advisor. Good luck with that, since everybody you know is going to be scrambling for what ever scraps are left.

But, hey, you still get to live in Pittsburgh.

Comment Re:I been wondering (Score 1) 213

Totally doable. The last time this topic came up on SlashDot, I think the discussion included a pointer to an ap for rooted Androids (or at least some specific models) that could detect stingrays. So this could be easily crowdsourced... if enough people carried Stingray detectors, and automatically uploaded to a website the plotted them on a map, we could pretty much have a real-time map of stingrays in operation. The problem is more social than technical at this point.

Comment Do you like history? (Score 1) 149

The railroaders that stay with the hobby are usually into history in some fashion. The research is the fun part.

Anyway... a few random hints:
1) Get a copy of "Track planning for realistic operation" by Armstrong and read it cover to cover about 37 times.
2) Learn about DCC track wiring and train control.
3) is a good place for miniature tools (not necessarily at the best price, but good selection.)
4) Practice your skills on something *small* to start with. Like a bookshelf switching layout that you can complete all the way to fully ballasted track and full scenery. There is no teacher like experience.

Comment Interview? Where? (Score 1) 38

All I found was supposed summary of the interview. Given that Fried's attitudes about open hardware are at best schizophrenic, I'm not sure I trust her summary of the conversation. Fried is on record saying that "tools don't matter" -- so to her it doesn't matter if open hardware designs are only editable using proprietary tools, or even if the design files aren't released at all except as a pdf of the schematics. She is very, very short-sighted in that regard, but hey, it's a profitable form of short-sightedness.

As for Makerbot -- until proven otherwise it is best to assume they are beyond redemption. After all, they are owned by an aggressive patent-hoarder in the 3D printing space.

Comment Ummm.... no. (Score 1) 410

Sorry Jimmy, I just got back from London a few days ago, back to Sili Valley where I have lived for almost 30 years. Living in London would make me hate life after about 6 months. Heck, after 3 days I was more convinced than ever that the American war for independence was a very smart move. I'll take Sili Valley over London any day.

Comment Re:Snowball effect (Score 1) 469

I agree whole-heartedly that Linus' people-management was the largest factor. But he also got another thing right: There is an old O.S. maxim -- "He with the most drivers wins." GP post says he "diligently kept rolling up contributions", which is the general case, but old O.S. grey-beards know "it's the drivers, stupid". Linus rolled in drivers for everything from everywhere, and had trustworthy lieutenants vetting them.

Linux won because it had a critical mass of drivers that let it run on just about any generic, main-stream hardware. Linus' project and people management caused that to happen.

Comment Re:AngryGoat 1.0 (Score 1) 46

This is the most hilarious thing I've read on the internet all week. And it is totally doable -- just mount a weed whacker on a Boston Dynamics Spot and you have a pretty good prototype for AngryGoat 1.0. The great thing about the weed whacker is that it is effective for both cutting grass and driving off burglars.

Comment Re:What about a bus? (Score 1) 280

If you are up for it, search for information related to the Google self-driving car project. The data I saw was part of a presentation by one of their engineers at an IEEE RAS (Robotics and Automation Society) meeting that showed that in most cities, self-driving taxis would be a big efficiency win over buses, entirely because of low off-peak load factor.

I didn't make it up, but I don't have a link.

Comment Show me the math on the Tesla. (Score 4, Insightful) 280

Show me the math for both ICE cars and Tesla, from well-head to road. Because generating electricity takes energy, and there are losses in the distribution system, and the charging systems are not 100% efficient either. Of course, getting oil out of the ground, refining it into gasoline, and moving the gasoline to refueling stations takes energy, too. Show me the end-to-end math, and then let's talk. A 4:1 advantage for the Tesla seems optimistic to me.

I have the same gripe with calling Teslas "zero emission vehicles". They are not. They are "displaced emission vehicles". Of course, it is easier to control pollution at a single point, and pollution controls scale up quite well, so the overall emissions are less for a Tesla versus an ICE vehicle. But don't claim the emissions are zero, they are just someplace else. (And I will grant that there are benefits to simply displacing emissions -- the Los Angeles valley, for instance, is a bowl, and so pollution tends to hang around in the air for a long time certain months of the year. Displacing the emissions outside the bowl has it's own benefits.)