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Comment: Re:Tolkien saw realistic trees in his imagination. (Score 1) 122

by hey! (#49614859) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

I'm not sure your information on general psychology is accurate, or appropriate.

I've taught tree identification to scouts and scout leaders. I can say from experience that people do not consciously see details, even if they're looking at a specimen right in front of them. It's as if their conscious perception stops as soon as their brain dredges up the word "tree". You can tell a typical person to look at a tree for a minute, then have them turn their back and describe it. What you get, even after you instructed them to look *carefully* at the tree, isn't much more specific than "green blob on a brown stick", and sometimes the stick is is really gray, not brown.

The power of verbal labels to shut down observation is profound. Anything that isn't broadleaf tends to be a "pine", even though pine, fir, spruce, etc. look a heck of a lot less like each other than a oak and Norway maple. It's like someone could't tell the difference between an opossum and a house cat. Most peoples' sense for the shape of a tree is extremely crude; they'll recall extreme shape like an arbor vitae, but they won't see the shape difference between a red maple (globular) and a Japanese maple (spreading).

You have to train yourself to actually see things. It takes conscious effort at first. Sketching or writing detailed verbal descriptions helps.

Comment: Re:Time (Score 2) 272

by DerekLyons (#49613887) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

It's cash-price is currently at the top-end of the luxury-sedan class

In among all your handwaving about TCO - the above quote is the single relevant fact.

Your example fails.

On the contrary - the grandparent is correct, electric cars are the plaything of the rich because you pay the cash price upfront. TCO is irrelevant to what the bank loans you.

Trust me, ten years from now the only ICEs that may still be on the roads will be classic cars and long-haul heavy-load delivery trucks.

Only if somebody comes out with a wide range of cost comparable electric vehicles fifteen or twenty years or so ago. (The average age of cars on the road in America generally hovers between 9 and 12 years - generally lower in good times, higher in bad times. Currently it's about 11 years and still trending up somewhat.) ICE automobiles are going to be on the road in significant numbers for a long time indeed - and that won't change until the lower income folks can pick up a "junker" electric vehicle for a couple of grand the same way they currently can an ICE vehicle.

Comment: Re:Batteries with Solar Systems = No Net-metering (Score 1) 272

by DerekLyons (#49613645) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Even the "leasing" option appears to be a contract to purchase power at a set rate. Going by the blurbs *every* option they offer, other than direct purchase of the panels, is a contract to purchase power. (I suspect that's because that allows SolarCity to keep the tax credits for themselves.)

Did you actually read the page? Or just jump on the word "lease"?

Comment: Tolkien saw realistic trees in his imagination. (Score 1) 122

by hey! (#49613635) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

By this I mean if you asked a typical person to picture a tree in his mind, he'd picture a green blob on a brown stick sticking up out of flat green space. Tolkien is the kind of person who'd picture an individual specimen of a specific species of tree growing in a place with unique and describable topography. And the concreteness with which he imagines this kind of thing shows in his writing.

When I was young I read and re-read Lord of the Rings for the magic. Forty years later, I re-read Lord of the Rings for the landscape. You can often orient yourself in a Tolkien scene; do a mental walk through imagining the slope of the land and smell kicked up by the damp grass and heather. There's nobody who writes landscape like Tolkien.

If you're a careful reader -- alright, an obsessive reader -- you can correlate scenes in different plot threads in time by the appearance of the sky and particularly by the phase of the moon. So you know what's happening to Merry and Pippin when we're in a Three Hunters scene, or how far along Frodo and Sam are inMordor during the Battle of the Pellenor Fields. That's a degree of attention lavished on detail beyond any reasonable marketing justification; it must have added years to the drafting of the manuscript. It's not even apparent until you've read the book a half dozen times or more.

That sense of exploring the details of a real scene in space and time would be familiar to any naturalist.

Comment: Re:Batteries with Solar Systems = No Net-metering (Score 2) 272

by DerekLyons (#49609191) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Companies like SolarCity basically install solar systems for no money up front, and then lease them back to you for a period. For many houses, even with these fees, the SolarCity systems will save the homeowner quite a bit of money.

No, SolarCity doesn't lease the panels back to you - they sell the power from the panels to you. And they control the rate you pay and have the ability to raise it annually (up to 2.9% per annum).

Comment: Re:Large herbivores were doomed from the start (Score 3, Insightful) 144

by hey! (#49608019) Attached to: Empty Landscape Looms, If Large Herbivores Continue to Die Out

Err... really? Sixty million American Bison disappeared from the Great Plains because they were big? Then why did the passenger pigeon over the same period go from the most numerous bird in the world to extinct? It's true that the largest baleen whale -- the Blue Whale, is listed as "threatened"; but the smallest baleen whale, the pygmy right whale is either extinct or very close to it.

It's not as simple as big == headed for extinction. Sometimes bigness is a factor in extinction, sometimes it's a factor in survival.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents