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Comment Re:Balancing Act (Score 4, Insightful) 215 215

as well as whatever profits the company can get away with

Insurance companies are regulated by the states which cap their profits. It isn't about what they can get away with, they get what they are allowed. That is the devil's bargain they make for being the provider of a product required by law.

Comment Re:Electric is Evolution. Driverless is Revolution (Score 1) 869 869

The most efficient input source for hydrogen is methane. CH4 + O2 -> 2H2 + CO2 So now we will use hydrocarbons to make hydrogen. Alternately we could use hydrocarbons to first make solar cells but at the end of the day, CO2 is coming out somewhere.

Comment Re:Electric is Evolution. Driverless is Revolution (Score 3, Insightful) 869 869

The problem with battery power is that as a mobile storage device it absolutely sucks compared to liquid hydrocarbons. Diesel has an energy density of 35 MJ/L. A rechargeable lithium ion battery has a density that ranges from 0.9-2.63 MJ/L. If advances in technology doubled capacity and then double it again it would still only be 1/3 as good as diesel as a storage medium. Making matters worse, the individual batteries used in a Tesla weigh 2.64 kg/L, where Diesel weighs 0.899 kg/L. Even if the battery had the same energy density it would weigh three times as much. (Yes, I know the diesel engine has mass for which I didn't account. I am only pointing out the energy sources themselves.) Musk's plant may be able to bring down the cost to make a battery but scale doesn't make the battery itself better. I can also say with a high degree of confidence that if this much money is being sunk into a lithium ion plant then no significant alternative is on the horizon, unless the whole point of the factory is home batteries, not car batteries.

Proponents keep saying that advances in battery technology will make them competitive with hydrocarbons. What they don't say is that in a world wherein a 5% improvement is a big deal the advances required exist in the realm of science fiction.

Comment Re:It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permiss (Score 1) 368 368

It can't be that hard if it is in range. These things move much slower than a goose or duck and one high energy lead pellet to a propeller will probably put it out of service. These things are an awfully big target compared to the dove and quail people hunt.

Comment Re:The Keystone Pipeline already exists (Score 1) 437 437

In addition to the $5B GS got from Buffet, GS also got $10B from the US Treasury. For the use of the Treasury's money GS paid about 23%. For the use of Buffet's money the cost was around 100%. I don't know what Buffet did, but GS would not have paid four times as much to use Buffet's money unless it truly was a deal they could not refuse.

Comment Re:The Keystone Pipeline already exists (Score 4, Insightful) 437 437

The only reason people don't think Buffet is flashy is that they don't understand flashy. In these days of celebrity bling people think with his money Buffet should be driving a platinum plated bespoke Bentley driven by a staff of nude Swedish supermodels. What people don't understand is that the deal he made with Goldman Sachs for the preferred stock and warrants to bail them out in 2008 is the most ostentatious display of wealth in the history of mankind. He forced the so called Masters of the Universe to accept a deal that must have made the corpses of Marcus Goldman and Samuel Sachs puke in their graves. $5 BILLION in preferred stock with a 10% dividend and warrants to buy another $5B in GS stock at $115 a share. To put this in perspective, there are 12 countries in the world whose GDP is less than the amount GS had to pay Buffet in annual dividends on that preferred stock. The profit on the warrants rank Buffet as the 154th out of 194 biggest economy in the world. He used his wealth to perform the equivalent of anal rape with a spiked baseball bat in front of a live tv audience to the most powerful financial firm in history. It doesn't get flashier than that to those that understand what he did.

Comment Re:Parts (Score 1) 190 190

You've just explained the problems common to the manufacturing business cycle. As an economist, I am always amused when I see criminal enterprises have to start operating like a business because eventually the same issues come into play. Stealing one thing to sell is easy. Trying to make an ongoing living off it becomes real work.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis