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Comment Re:Spontaneous combustion (Score 1) 54

I just read this, which could be total horseshit, but it looks reasonable:


Lithium only accounts for 3% of the cost of a battery. Recycled lithium is 5 times more expensive than 'new' lithium.

I think they said that recycling's biggest economic benefit is stabilizing the price fluctuation in lithium if demand for 'new' lithium exceeds resource output. I don't know if there's a point at which you don't need much new lithium for batteries because basically you will have built all the lithium batteries you will ever need and as you need new batteries you will just be using recycled lithium already mined.

I could see where battery storage gets good and cheap enough that, when coupled with solar, reaches the point where you get close enough to practical off-grid that the promise of free solar (minus capital investment) causes people to get more energy efficient.

If I could have 500kWh of lithium in my house and my daily solar production average was 5kw over my all day consumption, then having deep battery reserves would more than cover a run of bad weather. You could drop 10kWh negative for a couple of months and just draw down your battery to make up the difference and then slowly recharge back up in better weather.

Even with best case solar, I'd be under water by 10kWh now. My summer power bill tells me I'd need nearly 60kWh per day and I would bet that's a lot of periods of over 5kW when the central AC runs.

Comment Like it's sold in data centers (Score 1) 175

What you're describing for "unlimited" is what would be termed in a data center "unmetered". If I buy a 100 Mbit unmetered pipe, I can do exactly as you say, max out the 100 Mbit pipe 24x7 as I please.

What customers really want, most likely, is something like a "burstable" connection with reasonable limits. Let's say I buy a 100 Mbit "burstable" connection with a 10 Mbit commit. That means I can use up to 100 Mbits at any moment, but if the average is over 10 Mbit I pay more. (It's actually not average, it's 95th percentile, but we'll call it "average" for this conversation)

So there are limits! Fine. I'd happily go for an agreement that

1) states an average data rate,

2) Allows me to burst up to 4x or 5x that rate,

3) Throttles later in the month to maintain the average data rate or less.

4) As technology advances so that bits are cheaper/faster to send my average data rate climbs, or monthly price drops

I think the problem isn't with 1, 2, or 3, but with #4 It's much cheaper to send a GB of data now than it was 3-5 years ago. Why hasn't my usage cap gone up, or my monthly price dropped? Until that question is answered, all we're dealing with are lies and spin.

Comment What's the leading reason for jailbreaking at all? (Score 1) 131

There's lots of possible reasons, like sideloading or pirating apps, exposing features or customization hidden in the stock settings or apps, curiosity/technical/tinkering, or ideological reaons/free software advocacy.

Which is most common? I figure pirating might be kind of popular, but a lot of useful software is pretty inexpensive to begin with and how many people want a hacked candy crush that has free powerups?

I could see where customization/hidden features could be a big reason. Apple are kind of design fascists (I say that having owned all iPhones since 3G and 3 iPads) and there are some irritating hardware and software limitations imposed that rankle.

Like why can't you even pair a bluetooth mouse? Apple wouldn't even have to support it in the home screen or any of their applications or even UI as a touch source, just allow third party apps to utilize it. I could seriously see being able to do meaningful work via RDP with a HDMI display, BT keyboard and moue using just my iPhone as a computer and it would nearly replace a lot of my laptop use with my iPad.

It's hard to see "because it was there" tinkerers being that huge of a group and I'd bet a significant number just kind of go oh well and go back to stock out of sheer convenience.

I bet the philosophical/ideologicals don't add to too many, why would they buy an iPhone to begin with when they can get much further down the free road with Andoid.

Comment Re:For me, it will always remain the mountain... (Score 4, Interesting) 259

I can't remember who it was... it might have been Halldór Laxnes... who said that a piece of nature isn't really a piece of nature unless it doesn't have a name. That is, the first thing people do once they start interacting with an object or place is to give it a name, and so once something is named it starts to become about the history of people rather than the history of the land itself. And that if you want to establish a real connection with nature, you don't go sit on top of that well-known named peak that people climb... you go to that little nameless stream or that remote nameless cliff or whatnot - places which tell only their own story.

Comment Re:Tradeoffs (Score 1) 42

More to the point, the James Webb telescope is supposed to be launched in late 2018; this flyby isn't until 2019. With seven times the light collecting area as Hubble, it could be a nice addition to the arsenal for finding bodies along Pluto's projected route (especially now that we know better what that route is going to be :) ) Though it operates in mid-IR to low-frequency visible, while Hubble operates primarily in visible/UV... I'm not sure how that would affect the ability to find solid objects. I know that far-IR is very good for it, but James Webb doesn't go down that far.

Comment Re:"clearing the neighborhood" (Score 1) 42

It's even worse than that. Compare Neptune's Stern-Levison parameter to Mars's. Neptune has at least two bodies that are each around 2-3% the mass of Mars in its "neighborhood" (quite possibly even larger ones), yet it has 290 times greater ability to "clear its neighborhood" than Mars. The concept that planets like Mars cleared their own neighborhood of bodies this size is not only unsupported by the research, but blatantly silly on the face of it. The IAU is attributing Jupiter's work at clearing the inner solar system to the inner planets in order to force their definition. And this isn't exactly news - pretty much all orbital dynamics simulations for a long time have been showing this.

Comment Re:While we're on the topic... (Score 1) 42

Mars is more than capable of clearing its neighborhood on its own, as seen by measures like the Stern-Levison parameter and others that have been derived from dynamics and simulation scalings. It isn't even close to being marginal.

Jupiter's Stern-Levison parameter is 1,38 million times larger than Mars's. No, Mars would not have "cleared its neighborhood"; it's well recognized in the literature that the majority of "neighborhood clearing" in our solar system was done by Jupiter and Saturn. There's lots of niggling over the exact details (here's one scenario), but there's no reputable peer-reviewed source involving orbital dynamics simulations arguing that Mars did the majority of work to clear its neighborhood. Heck, Neptune has a Stern-Levison parameter 290 times higher than Mars and it still has at least two bodies with around 1/50th the mass of Mars each in its neighborhood (and possibly even larger ones). If a 290 times greater ability to clear its neighborhood couldn't do it, why do you think Mars stands a chance on its own?

The whole "cleared the neighborhood" concept for planets is built on a bare falsehood: that the majority of them are actually responsible for clearing their own neighborhoods. The science says exactly the opposite: that the gas giants cleared the majority of bodies from our solar system.

Because some people care more about the dynamics of the planets and their orbits than what is on/in the planets. Even in geology on Earth, there are classifications for what makes up a mineral, and classifications for structures and locations they are found in.

Are you seriously trying to claim that, say, stilbite will be classified as a different mineral based on whether it occurs in Iceland or the United States? Minerals are what they are. The individual structures minerals are found in may have names (for example, the "Bakken Shale"), but those are just names. You know, like "Kuiper Belt".

Some geologists don't care where it came from as long as the make up is similar, others very much care if samples come from near the same location, even if they are very different minerals.

What on Earth are you talking about? If you're trying to say "Some scientists want to study the variety of objects in the Kuiper Belt and compare them to each other", then you already have a word for that: KBO.

You can go on and on about how dissimilar you think Jupiter and Earth are, but that doesn't change that there are metrics where they are much more similar than other rocky planets are to Earth.

You can't be serious.

Comment Re:A-10 for the Win (Score 2) 344

You realize that in that evaluation, the F-35 being tested was AF-2, a flight science model, right? It had:

  * No situational awareness software
  * No advanced weapons targeting software
  * No stealth coating

It was not designed to be a combat evaluation of the full system, rather just an attempt to stress the system with visual combat maneuvers.

That said, the F-35 is not designed to be a visual dogfighter. It has dogfighting capabilities, but its main design principle is high situational awareness enabling kills from far away - seeing the enemy from long before it itself is seen.

Comment Re:A silly test (Score 1) 344

Was the primary mission of the A-10 general close air support of ground troops or more specifically anti-armor close air support against the waves of T-72s supposed to be flooding the Fulda Gap?

It's 30mm gun is impressive, but is that the end-all-be-all of close air support? It would seem like similar results could be had from attack helicopters or AC-135 gunships. A lot of Viet Nam close air support came from F4s.

Comment I want a font that looks like a VT102 looked (Score 1) 190

...on a real DEC VT102 display. A friend's dad had one and there were a few in some of the CompSci labs and I remember them being very readable, even in 132 column mode.

I don't think it would be a question of just making a font with the same dots in the same places in a matrix. It was like the character set was designed for the way the video display would render it, providing just the right amount of phosphor blur to create good looking text. Which is probably exactly how it worked.

Reproducing it for a modern computer would probably take having a real VT102 with a nearly new stock display and doing a lot of side by side comparisons to get it to look the same.

I've largely given up on a custom "programmer" font and just learned to be satisfied with Lucida Console, since it works more or less on every Windows system as well as in putty sessions to non-Windows systems.

Byte your tongue.