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Comment: Re:As a side note, my own thoughts on future autos (Score 1) 134

by Rei (#48459619) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

Again, if a person is willing to pay the costs, they should be allowed to. Secondly, there's a difference between the car having to drive 10 minutes to a parking garage and circling endlessly for hours. Third, when you're talking fully automated roadways, you get greatly increased throughput. Fourth, your "there's only so much road space in downtown areas" claim makes no sense, we're talking about how automated vehicles can free up space downtown by preventing the need for "convenient parking", allowing parking to be clustered into dense and/or less convenient locations, depending on the situation.

Comment: Re:Not so fancy. (Score 1) 134

by Rei (#48459577) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

Moving parts != motor oil. Electric motors most commonly have a small amount of grease that's designed to never need replacement. There's also some that use hydraulic or air bearings.

Motor oil that's designed to wear out with time is part of the consequences of having to work in the harsh environment of internal combustion engines. It's not a fundamental requirement of moving parts.

Comment: Re:We need a *social* change (Score 1) 366

by Rei (#48459501) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

People would spend their time engaged in their preferred hobbies. Tinkerers would tinker. Musicians would make music. Writers would write. Programmers would program. Gardeners would garden. And on and on. I see nothing wrong with such a world.

Now, whether people's needs (let alone wants) could be met when you're having such a big global GDP cut, I think THAT's a more serious concern...

Comment: Re:It boils down to energy storage costs (Score 3, Interesting) 366

by Rei (#48459457) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

In reality, nukes are terrible as backup power. Just assuming you have a plant that can ramp up and down quickly (most can't), nuclear plants are almost all capital cost. Hence they need to run at a high capacity factor to pay back the investment; it doesn't pay to idle them. But if you're wanting to use them as gap filling in low wind/solar times, then that's exactly what you're suggesting be done - sit idle until more power is needed. It's a terrible use of a nuclear plant.

Pumped hydro isn't that expensive. It's currently the cheapest option out there by a good margin (except for uprating already-existing conventional hydro). But other techs are trying to beat it. Probably the best thing you can do is simply have a powerful HVDC grid so you can move power between different geographic regions and to use different types of renewables techs. The randomness goes way down when you do this. NG is commonly used as a peaking fuel, and I see no problem continuing to do this (instead of doing energy storage) if you can keep it down to an average of under 10% or so of the total generation mix. It's low carbon to begin with and modern NG peakers can hit upwards of 60% efficiency once warmed up. So 90% renewables, 10% efficiently-used NG, you're talking near total elimination of electricity-related CO2 emissions.

Comment: Re:Well if two google engineers say so (Score 5, Informative) 366

by Rei (#48459367) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

It's not the engineers' fault; It's rare that I've seen as big of a misrepresentation of an article outside of say Russian state propaganda that I've seen with this Register article. Starting with the title.

The original article absolutely, positively does not say in any way, shape or form, "Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK'" or "Whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible."

The actual article says something very, very different. The engineers went into the project hoping that if we make the incremental improvements to make renewables as cheap as coal, then there will be a mass-switchover to renewables and CO2 levels will be held down. Except that that doesn't work. Why? Because of lead times. People who have existing coal power plants for example aren't just going to take them down because new renewables projects are cheaper than new coal plants. You need to get the price down well below that of coal to where it justifies them throwing their already-invested capital costs out the window. Without doing that, your switchover rate is limited by how fast power plants go offline, which is a very long time. So in their "as cheap as coal" scenario, they only get to a 55% emissions cut by 2050. They were hoping that'd keep the world under 350 ppm. But not only does the world still hit 350 ppm in that scenario, but it continues to rise. Hence, the hypothesis that getting renewables as cheap as coal is sufficient to prevent major climate change is suggested to be wrong.

What that DOESN'T say in any way, shape or form:

1) Renewables "WON'T WORK"
2) Renewables "don't help prevent climate change"
3) There's no scenario in which renewables can prevent climate change

What they call for are several changes.

1) They feel that focusing on preventing emissions with renewables isn't enough, that you need active CO2 scrubbing as well.

2) They call for renewables investment to adopt the "Google Model": 70% core business, 20% related new business, 10% risky disruptive new technology. This is versus conventional investment which is 90% core business (aka incremental improvements), 9,9% related, and 0,1% disruptive. They think this provides better odds for renewables or other technologies to stop climate change because incrementally improving down to the price of coal - while it'd have a big impact on CO2 emissions rates - still won't keep levels down below 350 ppm.

Does this even resemble the Register article? Nope. Not even a little bit.

Comment: Re:As a side note, my own thoughts on future autos (Score 1) 134

by Rei (#48457251) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

One, if a person is willing to pay for parking, they should be allowed to. Secondly, not everyone lives in or anywhere near any place that will ever be some sort of supercity, regardless of whether you do or not. Third, even today's biggest megacities don't generally ban cars - why would the new ones of tomorrow? Fourth, if you're talking self-driving cars, you don't need parking everywhere, they can pick you up and drop you off, and they can head out to the boonies or to some inconveniently-located but space-efficient parking garage in the meantime. You just tell it with your cell phone app when you want it to arrive to get you.

Comment: Re:As a side note, my own thoughts on future autos (Score 1) 134

by Rei (#48457231) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

Here's the parts of your post that make no sense.

"city (or licensed companies) will maintain"

Why on earth would individuals not be allowed to also own personal self-driving cars? Why can a car not have two modes of operation, self-driving in self-driving areas and manual in other areas, if the user so wants? Why would everyone be just fine with not being allowed to have a personal vehicle that they can leave their stuff in between rides, meets their personal style preferences and transportation requirements, and wasn't beat up or graffitied or left smelling like a dumpster from the last unknown occupant? What's the logic in *making* everyone use shared vehicles if many individuals logically still want to own them and they meet all of the transportation requirements? None, that's what. It's a pointless exclusion and one which would render your system unacceptable to a large portion of the population.

you'd never use it living minutes from downtown anyway.

Right, so a guy with a degenerative muscle disease or a grandma who can barely walk to the mailbox are just going to walk? Sorry, but this "it works for me so it must work for everyone" attitude is ridiculous. And even for people who are in perfect shape it's not always a good option. I live in Reykjavík where we sometimes get surprise blizzards and hurricane-force winds happen usually a couple times a year. Am I supposed to walk to work every day?

Or if you mean "everyone's supposed to use these shared city-only cars": again, maybe that suits your life, but here in the real world, a large chunk of the population isn't so city-bound. I head out to the countryside about 5 times a week or so. Am I supposed to take a taxi every time?

Yes, an effective automated-driving system opens up great new beneficial opportunities for ride sharing and would be used by many people. But your "all cars in town must be city-owned public transportation" concept is ridiculous and would never be accepted by the general population. There's not even a point to your proposal, as privately-owned self-driving cars fit just as well into your scenario, it's simply a capricious exclusion on your part.

People use vehicles for all sorts of things. A number of times in the past several weeks I've used my car and my truck as a flashlight. I don't have good outdoor lighting at home and on my land in the countryside I don't have power yet, and daylight is in short supply this time of year, and so to work outside, it's the most logical solution.

My car is a 2-seat first-gen Honda Insight. Why? Because I don't like today's higher-drag trends and it's more than is needed for my daily commuting needs. A lot of people however would find my choice hideous and not want to be seen in it, and it doesn't even begin to met many needs that exist. I would be uncomfortable having to take a high-drag car to work every day however in order to meet these peoples' preferences and needs. There are so many thousands of types of cars in order to meet the general populations' many preferences and usage needs. That's not going to suddenly change. In many cases, people are indifferent. Good, automated rides from shared cars are perfect for them! In many cases they're anything but indifferent.

I use my truck to haul supplies around my without-roads land. And let me tell you, unless the algorithm is smarter than me, it *cannot* do that better, because it taxes experience to know where the ground is unstable or so marshy that it'd sink in. A mistake could require a thousand-USD crane rental or worse leave me crushed dead at the bottom of my canyon. I wouldn't even trust it on my driveway on my land, as it hasn't been fully built out yet and the bottom can scrape the undercarriage in places and is unstable in others. These sort of things aren't just simple decision making based on distance measures ultrasound sensors and transponders. They take image recognition, understanding, and complex reasoning.

My insight's engine is dying. I'm fine and used to it, but many people would be really ticked off if it just randomly showed up to give them a ride and struggled to get up a hill.

My pickup is loaded with stuff in its backseat. A lot of people would say, loaded with junk, and be really annoyed if it just showed up. But when I need various tools or parts, I have them. I can't simply do that with a shared vehicle.

I could go on, but you get the picture. There are perfectly rational reasons to still want to own private cars, even in a world where cars can drive themselves. Such a world makes it easier for people who don't want to to not have to own a car, but it absolutely doesn't mean people shouldn't be allowed to.

Comment: Re:Not so fancy. (Score 1) 134

by Rei (#48457043) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

Oh, come now, you act like today's gas engines are pointlessly overcomplicated in comparison to an electric motor.... ;)

The sad thing is, EV motors are still more expensive than equivalent-power gasoline engines today, simply due to volume. Even with the much greater complexitiy (and usually more sensitive tolerances and harsher operating environments), the huge volumes and long-refined production processes mean they're churned out amazingly cheaply in comparison to the challenge at hand.

Comment: Re: Autonomy is the killer-app... (Score 1) 134

by Rei (#48456983) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

It also deals with the parking issue. If you don't have to walk to / from parking then it doesn't matter if it's inconveniently far from where you need to go. So you can reclaim urban space. Also, automated driving would be a big time saver in many ways - for example, letting the car drive the kids to school or things of that nature. It'd also greatly facilitate shopping services - aka, if you want to buy a stack of plywood from a hardware, it's not like the store has to pay a courier to ship it to you, they just have to load it into the empty pickup truck. Rapid end-to-end personal delivery of goods would be expected to skyrocket. I'd expect that tiny automated delivery vehicles would then become common to meet the needs of small deliveries. Yes, there would be more vehicles on the move, but they'll be able to be on the move much more efficiently, with close convoying significantly increasing road throughput and decreasing aerodynamic drag. When all traffic is automated on public roads, you can even have roads automatically reconfigure themselves, with most roads being one-way but that way changing in accordance with need.

People will still own cars. Because you can't store things in other people's cars, you don't know if someone else's car will be beat to heck or smell bad or whatnot, etc, plus the certainty that you can have a vehicle that meets your needs on call right when you need it. But it'll be more of a luxury than it is today, not so much of a necessity. Also, people are still going to want to drive - for fun. Just like people boat for fun and fly for fun - lots of people quite simply enjoy driving and that's not just going to suddenly change. But this will come into conflict with everyone else's needs. The end result will vary from road to road, with most busy urban roads automatic-only but many rural roads, especially scenic ones allowing mixed traffic. However, the more automated traffic there is on the roads, the more one expects non-automated traffic to have to "play by the rules" - for example, in-vehicle transponders to help the automated vehicles know exactly what you're doing, potentially automated overrides if you try to do something crazy that would put automated drivers in undue risk, etc. People driving for fun aren't going to be allowed to endanger people going about their everyday lives any more than pilots on a joy ride are allowed to.

These things are just the logical evolution of the transportation system should self-driving vehicles prove themselves.

Comment: Re:Enceladus (Score 1) 57

It's not 100% certain that there's geysers on Europa, and if they exist it's likely that they're only sporadic. But it is 100% certain that they exist on Enceladus, and probably constantly.

Anyway, what I'm really wondering is: does this guy want to give extra funding to NASA for an Enceladus mission, or does he just want to rob other programs?

Comment: Re:Sounds reasonable (Score 1) 242

by Rei (#48433749) Attached to: Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

First off, get your facts straight. This is not an extradition case. It's a surrender case. Mixing up extradition rules and surrender rules is stupid because they're not the same.

Secondly, if you think Sweden's judicial system is so comparably terrible, you should complain to the peer-reviewers who passed the World Justice Project's methodology for ranking countries' judicial systems. Then you should complain to pre-charges-Assange for talking so highly of the Swedish system based on what he saw in the leaked cables. Then you should talk to the hundreds of US military deserters and other fugitives living in Sweden protected by Sweden's extradition law. For starters.

Concerning questioning, from the sworn statement of the prosecutor to the British courts: "Subject to any matters said by him, which undermine my present view that he should be indicted, an indictment will be launched with the court thereafter. It can therefore be seen that Assange is sought for the purpose of conducting criminal proceedings and that he is not sought merely to assist with our enquiries."

It's pointless. He can't be åtalad outside of Swedish custody, and the prosecutor is already ready to åtala him, and has the Svea Court of Appeals' formal court findings against Assange of probable cause for rape as backup. So yeah, she could do this little embassy stunt, but why?

Not to mention that the regular prosecutor dismissed all these charges, but they were then reopened by the current prosecutor who works at a national unit for exploring legal boundaries.

Surely you know that about one in 8 cases in Sweden are reopened in exactly the same manner as this one was. It's a very good thing that Sweden has a process for victims to appeal a decision not to prosecute to a higher prosecutor. And are you seriously going to claim that Finne's handling of the case was proper? Heck, I find it bloody hilarious to see Assange's defenders pointing to Finne as a defense of him when in the beginning they were the ones who were bloody furious at Finne, first the info about him being under investigation leaking on her watch, then her issuing a warrant for him when he hadn't yet refused to cooperate. And then just the opposite, she dropped the SW-rape charge (but I should add, the AA charges were *never* dropped) in order to cancel the warrant after the (very justifiable backlash). Not to mention that the victim statement wasn't even in the computer system yet when she did that. Do you really think her handling of the case was appropriate and didn't warrant review? That's a bloody stretch.

Then, a special prosecutor somehow gets wind of the case

This doesn't even remotely resemble the actuality. The case was brought to Ny via an appeal from Borgström.

Comment: Re:Moderator and AC are MORONS! (Score 1) 242

by Rei (#48433559) Attached to: Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Wow, if says it, then clearly it must be true!

It's a reprint of a Pilger article, Pilger being one of Assange's main misinformation spreaders. First off, there's not even rape charges (yes, they're on the EAW as charges, in the charges section, enumerated as charges, and ruled by the British court system to be equivalent to charges) concerning the "women" plural. There's a rape charge (singular) concerning one woman (SW) and three lesser charges concerning the other woman (AA). AA has said she was not raped, but there are no rape charges concerning her. She has however said that she was a victim of a sexual assault, and reaffirmed that on her blog earlier this year (after being silent since the incident). SW told several people she'd been raped, according to the testimony collected by the police, before she went to the police. The fact that her goal of going to the police was not to press charges doesn't translate to "she says she wasn't raped"; the testimony is quite clear to just the opposite, she had been telling close friends and confidants that she had been raped, right after the incident. Also frequently distorted is the end of her interview, which Assange fans often misstate as her "refusing to go on". It actually very clearly states that the interviewer thought she looked shaken and decided to terminate the interview (it was nearing the end of the shift anyway). SW is then asked if she wants a legal representative (not exactly an attorney, it's a state employee who pushes the case forward for you), and she said yes (her representative, Clæs Borgstrom, was very aggressive about pushing the case forward, although AA, who he initially also represented, felt that he was more in it for attention for himself later fired him and chose another). SW was also asked if she would do a rape kit and she also said yes.

There've been subsequent interviews since then, but they haven't leaked, so we don't know what they say.

Comment: Re:Stop hitting yourself! (Score 1) 242

by Rei (#48433485) Attached to: Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Every level of the UK court system up to and including the Supreme Court has affirmed the Swedish legal system's actions concerning Assange. So try again.

By the way, you apparently don't even know that what's being discussed here is surrender, not extradition. And if you think there's no difference, you're quite wrong, the two terms are absolutely not interchangeable.

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.