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Comment: Okay, I thought *I* took a long time... (Score 1) 128

by jeffb (2.718) (#49785497) Attached to: A Ph.D Thesis Defense Delayed By Injustice 77 Years

I just really enjoyed grad school too much to want to finish, and they eventually made it clear to me that I'd better defend soon or they'd kick me out. Of course, I also wasn't accomplishing nearly as much in the interim as the article's subject.

It's an inspiring story. All the same, my dissertation defense is something that I'm just as happy I won't have the opportunity to tackle later in life...

Comment: Re: Don't Mess With Taxes (Score 4, Funny) 379

The main one being I pay 4000 a year in taxes to send your to school and then spend another $8000 a year each to send of my 4 kids to a better school than the you get for "free".

If you're spending that much to send them to a "better" school, the least they could do in return is proofread your posts for you.

Comment: Yes! (Score 1) 116

by jeffb (2.718) (#49740889) Attached to: Hydrogen-Powered Drone Can Fly For 4 Hours at a Time

I remember sketching/doodling a hydrogen balloon with a fuel-cell panel stitched into it when I was in 9th grade. Of course, I didn't know much about the practicalities of fuel cells -- just that I probably couldn't afford the platinum it would require. And this was pre-TRS-80, so about the only thing it would have done autonomously was go up until it used up its hydrogen, then come down.

Comment: Re:Bigger scenes were impressive IMO (Score 2) 87

I don't know -- I'd say the character is well up the slope on the "realism" side of the valley.

As for the cost of hardware, well, an ATI video card that I installed about ten years ago came with some canned demos. It casually mentioned that one of the demos implemented a technique that was first displayed at SIGGRAPH in, I believe, 1995 or so -- some ten years earlier -- at which time each frame took several minutes to render on a large server farm. In the space of ten years, hardware advances took us from the render farm to real-time rendering on a sub-$1K card.

Now, maybe we're too close to the far end of the S-curve to see that kind of improvement over the next ten years. But I'm not convinced.

Comment: Re:Worlds Biggest Utility Battery (Score 1) 334

by jeffb (2.718) (#49568313) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

Okay, 26 MW for 15 min is about about 6.5 MWh, ignoring load scaling (total capacity tends to be higher if you don't draw it as quickly). $35 million for 6.5 MWh is about $5.40 per watt-hour.

The Tesla battery is 10KWh, with an initial retail price of $13K. That's $1.30 per watt hour, less than a quarter the price you quote for the ABB battery.

Does this mean the Tesla solution's cost is 1/4 that of the ABB solution? Hard to say. Building something at the ABB scale, with reliability guarantees suitable for a utility, surely adds expense. On the other hand, mass-production leads to economies of scale that ABB probably won't ever enjoy.

Thanks for the links!

Comment: Re:Ah the Z-80 (Score 4, Insightful) 124

by jeffb (2.718) (#49557831) Attached to: When Exxon Wanted To Be a Personal Computing Revolutionary

If you have a child in middle school, there's a very good chance they'll be required to use a TI calculator -- these days, a TI-84, most likely. Those calculators run on a Z80. If your child's ambitious, he/she can still tinker with Z80 assembly on an actual physical host.

This is a small tribute to the Z80 processor, and huge, scathing indictment of TI's lock on the education market. ~US$100 for a Z80-based calculator? In 2015? It was a sweet chip in 1977, and it's clearly still useful. But at this point the calculators should be selling for well under $10.

Comment: Re:Americentred worldview (Score 1) 164

Ah, so you think that the second story is silly -- never mind the first, straight-news story, which the doltish AC apparently missed.

So, overlooking the irony that you're here on a Web forum mocking people instead of Bringing Aid To The Victims yourself... no, I find that I can't actually overlook that irony. HAHAHAHA, as you say. But, for the sake of argument, what would you have people do on Facebook? Or here? Perhaps you'd prefer that people in the affected area refrain from tweeting, and restrict themselves to decorous registered post?

Nothing happens.