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Comment: Re:Known this forever (Score 1) 212

While I can see a need for putting together and rehearsing a plan for "after" I would like to see the cost-benefit analysis on hardening the infrastructure. There are a lot of things we *could* do in life, like making planes more protected from missile damage we don't do because the likelihood of the event being protected against is so low relative to the aggregate cost to implement said solution. Are we prepared to build EMP shielding into every electronic device, thereby increasing the cost of life in general to protect against a very unlikely event? (Note I am not advocating one way or the other, simply asking the question.)

Comment: Re:waste of time (Score 1) 380

by es330td (#47328271) Attached to: New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

There really is no excuse for 30 years of innovation... for gas mileage to have gone down.

The only way this works is if cars remain exactly the same while improving only the engine technology. In 1981, the Honda Accord was 175" long, 64: wide and weighed 2,083 lbs. The 1.8L engine made 75hp. A current Accord is 191" long, 72" wide and weighs 3,287 lbs. Its 2.0L engine makes 154hp. The power-displacement ratio of the engine went up by 84% but the weight went up by more than 50%. As long as people want faster/bigger/more we will eat up any efficiency gains to have more comfort. Only when forced will the average person use efficiency to decrease consumption.

Comment: Re:Nice to see. (Score 1) 216

by es330td (#47325875) Attached to: Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

Batteries are already good enough.

...for many applications. For a significant portion of people's driving needs battery powered vehicles are great. For the rest they absolutely fail. No amount of money will get me to trade the 4x4 diesel used at my family's ranch for existing electric car technology. The qualities that make liquid fuel attractive cannot be touched in this application. I can carry a whole Prius battery pack of energy in a couple external cans of diesel on my trailer.

Regarding emissions, I am going to have to argue that the jury is still out on that. While the battery powered car itself has zero emissions, the power had to be generated someplace. While some are quick to jump in to offer solar or wind power, iirc charging a Tesla S is the equivalent of adding half an average house's load on the power grid in off peak hours. Solar and wind work best when the sun is out, so other power sources will be required when it is dark out. That means coal, nat. gas or my favorite, nuclear. As of today, electric cars displace emissions, not eliminate them. Electric cars are part of our transportation future. A perfect alternative they are not.

Comment: Re:Nice to see. (Score 2) 216

by es330td (#47318727) Attached to: Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March
He doesn't have to work for an oil company to hold this opinion, though "always" is an awfully long time. Personal transportation presents one main problem to overcome, that the energy to power a vehicle must either be carried on the vehicle or delivered to it. Unless we want to all drive slot car racers, vehicles must carry their fuel, the optimal fuel being determined primarily by two factors. The first is the energy stored per unit of volume, the other is the amount of energy stored by weight. As of today, liquid petroleum is the optimal maximization point of the combination of these two factors. Lithium-ion batteries are very poor energy storage in comparison being beaten by a factor of 40 by weight and ten by volume. I certainly think that we will see improvements in both of these, but I hold the opinion that a different technology will be required to compete with liquid energy.

Comment: Re:20cm of stupidiy (Score 2) 174

by es330td (#47195463) Attached to: Greenland Is Getting Darker
Did you actually read the wiki article to which you linked? As stated in TFA, "...many of the "subsidies" available to the oil and gas industries are general business opportunity credits, available to all US businesses." The value of subsidies specifically targeting fossil fuels is only a small fraction of the total subsidies received. If you take away the subsidies available to all businesses we can just lower emissions by crushing the economy at large. I'm sure Silicon Valley would love to see the R&D expense credit go away in the name of eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.

+ - Doesn't all computing power help mine?->

Submitted by es330td
es330td (964170) writes "

"Mining BitCoins these days requires a specialist rig featuring graphic cards so using low-powered embedded systems is not terribly practical. "Kudos to camera DVRs hackers for finding something worse (ie, very ineffective cryptocurrency mining) to use them for than surveillance,"

While I recognize a low power system is not likely to find the next BitCoin, isn't there at least a non-zero chance of any system mining to be successful? Nobody in their right mind wanting to mine Bitcoins would start out by saying "let's design our engine using a 386SX CPU" but offered a bunch of them for free, wouldn't it still make sense to add their compute power to the big picture so long as it is capable of running the software?

If the odds truly are zero (not almost zero) then what these guys did is a complete waste of time. If not non-zero then using surveillance cameras to mine Bitcoins is a big middle finger to TPTB and hardly "dim witted.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Electric. (Score 1) 659

by es330td (#47002093) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

but it is just a matter of time before there is a breakthrough in battery or power supply technology

Why do you think this is true? Further, even if there is a breakthrough in storage technology, some other factor may make it unusable, e.g. toxicity, chemical instability, throughput, scalability, cost, etc. We have reached a point that we are pushing the limits of the elements themselves. The entire model for electric cars depends on the power to weight ratios available only with rare earth magnets. I am all for thinking about what could be possible, but if you bank on technological breakthrough you will find yourself broke.

Comment: Re:Just the cost of doing business. (Score 1) 311

by es330td (#46998647) Attached to: Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law
Limited liability is in respect to the owners of a corporation, not the employees and management. If a company goes belly up, no avenue exists to contact shareholders and say "You owe $50.82 per share to satisfy the obligations of the company." Until true A.I. exists, people still make all decisions and individuals should still be held responsible for their decisions, even if said decision was directing a corporate action.

Comment: Re:Just the cost of doing business. (Score 5, Insightful) 311

by es330td (#46908095) Attached to: Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law
The only way to fix this is for the people behind decisions to face penalties. Whether or not a corporation is considered an entity, a real person makes every decision, and only holding the people behind a decision to break the law responsible will fix this kind of behavior.

+ - Alternative energy is people!->

Submitted by es330td
es330td (964170) writes "From TFA: An Oregon county commission has ordered an incinerator to stop accepting boxed medical waste to generate electricity after learning the waste it's been burning may include tissue from aborted fetuses from British Columbia.

Sam Brentano, chairman of the Marion County board of commissioners, said "We thought our ordinance excluded this type of material at the waste-to-energy facility. We will take immediate action to ensure a process is developed to prohibit human tissue from future deliveries.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Making a Safer World... (Score 1) 342

by es330td (#46807965) Attached to: Women Increasingly Freezing Their Eggs To Pursue Their Careers
IIRC, when a woman is born she has all the egg cells she is ever going to have. When she ovulates one of them finishes developing and is released. Consequently, it only makes sense that the longer they stick around, the more likely an egg is to degrade. Men, on the other hand, make new sperm by the millions constantly, so the sperm he contributes are only recently created.

Comment: Re:Route for the Whalers (Score 0) 188

by es330td (#46620741) Attached to: UN Court: Japanese Whaling "Not Scientific"
When the activists boarded the whaling ship I was praying the people on the whaling ship would simply throw them overboard. I know the Sea Shepherd had Zodiacs deployed to pluck people from the water if needed, but I promise you anybody that went in that water will think very long and hard about risking having that happen a second time. It was obvious that many of the people on the Shepherd thought this was all fun and games but a quick dose of reality in the form of freezing water would probably change their attitude. I also thought the whaling ships needed someone on board with a 12 gauge shotgun to take out the bags of rancid butter being flung at the ship. Unlike most flying targets, those were large and slow moving and should have been easy to blow open.

There can be no twisted thought without a twisted molecule. -- R. W. Gerard