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Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 1) 387

Almost everyone on the planet would be driving an EV at today's energy densities if one factor was significantly improved, but that factor isn't energy density. It's cost per kilowatt hour.

Fair point, but now do the energy density math for an electric powered passenger jet. Because I want to live in a renewable-powered world where I can fly to Europe if I have to. (I don't expect it to be cheap...)

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 1) 387

Audi's statement is correct in every way that matters. Hydrocarbon synthesis is also going to create a complicated blend of molecules of various lengths, which would be distilled and cracked to create a substance with properties as similar to ordinary diesel as possible, to ensure compatibility with existing engines.

It might not be exactly the same mix of dodecane to naphthalene to whatever, but it'd be close enough.

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 5, Interesting) 387

You're right that we don't have enough renewable energy yet to make this a useful technology. But hopefully that day is coming.

Re synthetic diesel, it's like I've always said: screw the "hydrogen economy", hydrogen is cryogenic, low-density, and difficult to work with. You'd be better off joining those hydrogens to some nice stable carbon atoms to create a storable, pumpable, relatively safe room-temperature liquid fuel.

Is it more efficient than just using the electricity to charge up batteries in an electric car for example?

Maybe, maybe not, but I guarantee you it has a higher energy density than batteries, which is super important for vehicle applications.

Comment: I don't know what it is but I know what it costs (Score 1) 672

by goodmanj (#49513697) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Just for future reference, if you find yourself in a position of authority and someone comes to you with a solution to your pressing problem, and he doesn't know exactly what the solution is or how to make it happen, but he knows exactly how much it costs? You throw that guy out on the street, because that guy is at best a con artist, at worst utterly clueless. (Yes, in that order.)

Comment: Re:Don't establish a precedent. (Score 1) 700

by goodmanj (#49479607) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

The argument is that religious institutions are nonprofit charities whose goal is to serve the community rather than themselves, and that society benefits more by promoting these institutions than it would gain by taxing them.

Now, you can poke all kinds of holes in this argument for everything from Scientology to Catholicism to Jim and Tammy Bakker, but the fact is that the religious folks who came up with this argument and the religious folks who support it today aren't going to listen to you.

Comment: Don't establish a precedent. (Score 1) 700

by goodmanj (#49478965) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

If you do this, you'll establish a precedent saying that picking which religions deserve tax-exempt status is acceptable, and then the nightmare begins. Some will say the Catholic church should be non-exempt due to its handling of the pedophile priest scandal. The half of the Presbyterian church that opposes gay marriage will try to non-exempt the half that accepts it, and vice versa. Every religious controversy will lead to a demand to effectively de-churchify a denomination, and the federal government will be the final arbiter of who gets to be a church, in clear violation of the Establishment clause.

So if the scientologists can't be tax-exempt, nobody gets to be exempt. I know Slashdot is full of atheists (I'm one), so maybe a lot of us like this idea. But any politician who proposes it will be demonized by every priest, minister, rabbi, and imam in the country. If you think they believe atheists are assholes now, wait till we try to tax their faiths.

You've got to pick your battles, and this is a bad one. You can't carve this one sect out of the herd of religions without culling the whole herd, and you do not want to be face-to-face with a horde of enraged cattle with pointy horns.

Comment: Re:Libertarianism, the new face of the GOP? (Score 1) 441

by goodmanj (#49471605) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

That article is factually wrong about the order of events. Competing electrical firms collapsed into single monopolies *first*, and government came in to prevent the monopoly from running roughshod over the customer *second*.

The libertarian in this video at least gets the history right:
http://www.libertarianism.org/...

She phrases it as a grand bargain between government and the monopoly, in which the monopoly is protected in exchange for stability and reasonable prices. Which it is, but what matters to our discussion is that it's a grand bargain that was struck after the monopoly was fait accompli.

Comment: Re:Libertarianism, the new face of the GOP? (Score 1) 441

by goodmanj (#49471305) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

It's not a natural monopoly ISPs are not allowed to run fiber on the telephone poles

Oh, I see the problem. You think local government owns the telephone poles. Nope. The *electric power company* (or sometimes the phone company) owns the poles.

It's not the gubmint, it's a single private company with the power to control who gets to compete, because it owns the poles and there's no room on the street to put in more.

Comment: How the video industry works (Score 2) 152

by goodmanj (#49468975) Attached to: Sharp Announces 4K Smartphone Display

The video industry is the greatest planned obsolescence racket since the invention of the light bulb.

First you sell them a TV.
Then you sell them cable to watch on the TV.
Then you sell them a videotape player.
Then you sell them all their media on videotape.
Then you sell them a DVD player.
Then you sell them all their media on DVD.
Then you sell them a HDTV with a resolution just slightly higher than the DVD.
Then you sell them a Blu-Ray player so they can use that higher resolution.
Then you sell them all their media on Blu-Ray.
Then you sell them a 3d tv.
Then you sell them a 3d blu-ray player.
Then you sell them all their media on 3d blu-ray.
Then you sell them a 4k TV.
Then you sell them a 4k video player.
Then you sell them all their media for 4k.

And so on. The moment there's not a Next Big Thing You Have to Have, the whole industry goes belly up.

Comment: Re:Libertarianism, the new face of the GOP? (Score 2) 441

by goodmanj (#49468685) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

All domestic utility networks except water and sanitation were originally unregulated competitive markets which condensed into natural monopolies without government help: the value of a network increases dramatically with its size, so the biggest ones swallowed all the smallest ones. I'm sure you know about Westinghouse and Edison setting up parallel electricity networks in New York, but it was even more extreme for the telegraph. In 1850 there were 75 telegraph companies, ten of which served New York; in 1866 there was only one. Railroads are another example of a natural monopoly driven by network scaling.

The government mostly stepped in *after* these natural monopolies formed, to keep them from abusing their power, and its most prominent actions since have been to break them up (Ma Bell) and to prevent new ones from forming (blocking cell phone and cable mergers).

Of course I can't say that government *never* touched these networks as they were aggregating: government has touched everything humans have ever done since there were three of us, one to beat another with a stick and the third to say "stop that."

Comment: Re:Libertarianism, the new face of the GOP? (Score 1) 441

by goodmanj (#49466933) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

OK I did.

...the Internet marketplace can be analytically split into three categories: content providers... ISPs ..., and end-users. The end-users are consumers, whose consumption preferences ultimately determine the value of content. ISPs interact directly with consumers by selling the high-speed connections that allow their customers to access content.

They *define* the Internet as a one-way information transfer system like television, so of course any law that recognizes that the Internet is designed for two-way transfer between peers (some bigger than others) would be perceived as "breaking the Internet".

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