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Comment Re:Trucks will be hybrids, not pure EV (Score 1) 728 728

There have been electric delivery trucks for a long time - for example, Smith Electric Vehicles has been making li-ion trucks almost as long as Tesla has been around. And they follow up on a long history of electric delivery vehicles on a continuous line dating back to the early lead-acid days. But "existing" doesn't mean "having blown the market wide open". The big question is when that could happen.

You know, though, as ridiculous as it sounds, I almost wonder Tesla's efforts could evolve into a killer delivery vehicle. The Model S / Model X drivetrain is already starting to get into the power range of a big rig, and big rig budgets can afford their high prices. Combine that this potential solution to charging over long distances and you really could have a winner.

Comment Re:Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 1) 728 728

I wouldn't count on really powerful fast chargers ever getting really cheap. Cheaper than they are now, sure, but just ignoring all of the communication and high power conversion hardware you still have to have:

1) A powerful cooling system in your charger (for a really powerful connection, you even need to liquid-cool the charging cable)
2) A huge amount of copper (or aluminum, but that comes with a number of additional challenges) in your charger
3) A high power feed installed to your location
4) A high capacity and high power battery buffer to even out your charges if you want really fast charges / fast charges for big packs (say, 250+ kW)
5) A professional electrician to do the installs (and remember, we're not talking about home wiring here, we're talking about huge-current high-voltage connections). ... and so forth. These things will always add up. So maybe we'd not be talking about $100k to add one.... but I'd be shocked if even in mass production they could be manufactured, delivered and installed for under $10k. Probably several tens of thousands of USD per unit.

Comment Re:Not really (Score 1) 280 280

You need to stop confusing "ingredient list" with "chemical composition." As an ingredient, "sugar" means "refined sugar," but there's sugar in everything.

I know the difference between "ingredient list" and "chemical composition." Do you? All ingredients, even "processed" ones, have impurities. The label doesn't need to care about those impurities, but it should reflect the composition relatively accurately.

"Evaporated cane juice" is about 99% sucrose. It's not added to foods for its nutrients or for its flavor. it's usually a whitish powder that tastes just like sugar... because it IS sugar, with a few more impurities that aren't removed in processing compared to regular sugar. The ONLY reason anyone uses it is to disguise the fact that they are using sugar. If they want to call it "evaporated cane juice," I suppose that might be defended by the different processing. But adding an additional label like "no sugar added" is just bogus nonsense. A company deliberately added a processed product that is 99+% sugar to sweeten the result. Putting a big sign on the front saying "no sugar added" is incredibly deceptive... and we have laws in advertising to prevent this kind of weaseling deception. Same with "organic brown rice syrup." Yes, sometimes it can be used specifically for its maltose flavor. But again, it's basically sugar and used in place of sugar or HFCS or honey or whatever because it can have "organic" and "brown" in front of it.

Again, I'm not saying that the ingredient label should be a chemical analysis. My problem is more with companies that deliberately use these things and then claim that there are "no added sugars." That's definitely misleading. Ideally, obscure ingredients should be labeled when possible for their primary function in the food -- that would help a lot. We already see that a lot: "lecithin (an emulsifier)" or whatever.

(By the way, I'm not against sugar. I personally don't buy a lot of stuff with added sugar, because I cook and bake for myself. But if someone actually wants to try to avoid stuff with high doses of deliberately added sweetening agents, they should be able to determine that without seeing labels that say "no added sugar" when it's clearly there and deliberately added for only that purpose.)

Comment Re:Not really (Score 1) 280 280

you yanks need to learn that "caveat emptor" is supposed to be a warning, not a fucking business model.

Umm, you do realize that I wrote an entire post criticizing this business model, right?

I'm totally against this sort of nonsense, which is why I tried to inform people about it. But I'm also against natural foods wackoism, which is what drives companies to do this crap in the first place. "I'll buy anything that doesn't have sugar or HFCS in it" leads companies to come up with "evaporated cane juice" and "brown rice syrup" and all this other BS.

I'm NOT blaming consumers for a disgusting, dishonest business practice. But I am blaming them for being idiots and flocking to buy stuff that has meaningless labels saying something is "all natural," while often paying 2-5 times as much for the same old crap. They are DRIVING businesses to try this crap.

Instead -- if you really want less processed foods, well STOP BUYING CRAP WITH A LIST OF INGREDIENTS YOU NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE. If you look at a label and see "evaporated cane juice," your reaction shouldn't be, "Ah, well I don't see sugar or HFCS, so this must be healthy!" You should instead say to yourself, "Hmm, I've never seen 'cane juice' on the supermarket shelves, so maybe I shouldn't buy this, or at least I should look up what it is before eating it." If you see "concentrated celery juice" in your bacon and hot dogs, you should start to wonder, "Why are they putting celery in my bacon? And why is it concentrated?"

The vast majority of people (even fairly intelligent people) aren't willing to do the work to find out what's in the crap they are voluntarily buying and eating. That doesn't mean they are to blame for deceptive business practices, but they are partially to blame for what they eat when they mindlessly support that business model... even when the ingredients are listed on the bloody label.

Comment Re:a bit too harsh (Score 1) 142 142

Bugs happen. If you've got code that seems to work and then you investigate and it doesn't work on one particular brand of drive, it would be a reasonable suspicion that there is something funny with those drives.

It's hard to evaluate exactly what went on here. If you read the original report of the discovery (which I did last month and is still the first link in TFS), you see this explanation:

Poking around in the source code of the kernel looking for the trim related code, we came to the trim blacklist. This blacklist configures a specific behavior for certain SSD drives and identifies the drives based on the regexp of the model name. Our working SSDs were explicitly allowed full operation of the TRIM but some of the SSDs of our affected manufacturer were limited. Our affected drives did not match any pattern so they were implicitly allowed full operation.

In other words, they didn't know what was going on. Then they happened upon some code in the Linux kernel that explicitly blacklisted certain model segments from certain manufacturers. So, at some point someone made the assumption that this must be related to certain models from certain manufacturers, based on code in the Linux kernel.

This could easily have led to confirmation bias in a situation where errors were not occurring frequently. (Note the further explanation that when they first informed Samsung, Samsung was unable to reproduce the issue until they started using a custom "much more intensive script" to increase the error rate of the problem.)

So, I don't claim to know the full situation, but my guess is that Samsung wouldn't have been blamed for this at all if this blacklisting code hadn't already been seen in the Linux kernel.

I'm not trying to place the blame on anyone in particular. But in this case there were various reasons they probably started thinking manufacturers were the problem other than just simple logic, and the "aha" moment apparently was based on looking at code in the Linux kernel already, not on actual prior observation that certain brands of drives were failing. (Otherwise, they would have probably suspected a hardware problem earlier... but instead the post describes a lot of time searching for software issues before they discovered the blacklist.)

Comment Re: Wow (Score 3, Insightful) 60 60

I wouldn't be surprised if they could get some more specific clues on what water it's been in - for example, marine growth species types or isotopic ratios - to help pin it down better than just general drift calculations (lots of places could dump debris on Réunion). There are could also be potential clues on how much sun or what temperatures it's been exposed to, such as rates of plastic degradation, and perhaps that might also help give them better ideas of what areas it's been in based on weather patterns since the flight was lost.

There are so many potential clues... each one rather vague on its own, but all together, I imagine they'll get pointed in the right direction.

Comment Re:Trucking (Score 1) 728 728

While in general I think battery swapping is a stupid idea for cars (there's way too much need for different form factors, capacities, performance capabilities, etc, and it makes up such an integral part of the structure due to its size and mass and represents such a great amount of capital one would have to stockpile), I think it could actually work incredibly well for trucks. Rather than having them in the cab, I picture them slotting under the trailers (where various hardware is already often slotted), with a power connection to the cab. It would in such a situation be very easy to have a single form factor for the batteries and very easy to remove and reinstall them - you already have a standardized shape, easy undercarriage access, and the structural strength is already right where you need it. And whenever a truck picks up a new trailer that's been sitting around for a while, it could be already charged and ready to go. The cab would of course need its own batteries to haul itself around a good distance when not towing a load, but the trailers could basically hold the power for their own towing needs. And it would have little effect on an empty trailer's cost - it just needs the mounts for the batteries installed and the wiring to feed the cab, but would otherwise be a normal trailer haulable by any vehicle.

Comment Re:Error 1 (Score 1) 728 728

Indeed - and they can sell people on the concept pretty easily. Rather than saying "We're going to have you charge inside our store to tempt you to buy things", they'd sell the concept as "Remember back in the day when you used to have to fill up your car with gasoline out in the cold / heat / wind / rain / etc? Now we're enabling you to charge your car in comfort indoors in our stores because we love the environment so much and want to support people like you - you're welcome!"

Comment Re:Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 1) 728 728

Now, for electric cars to put them out of business, they'd have to be a relevant percentage of total vehicles - and overall, that will certainly take time. But the case becomes different in specialty markets. Different states and localities will (and already do) offer different EV incentives, and the natural use case for EVs varies between locations (urban/suburban/rural, mild vs. hot vs. cold climate, terrain, geography (isolated islands or areas without good road connects to the outside world, for example), areas with different driver profiles, and so forth). So an overall EV adoption rate of 1% might actually be 10%, 20% or more in certain areas. That could well be enough to start driving gas stations out of business in such areas, creating a potential contageon effect.

That said, business owners aren't stupid, and one expects them to adapt. For example, where appropriate one would expect gas stations to respond to increasing EV penetration by adding rapid charge stations. Electricity is cheap, but if someone needs a rapid charge (for a road trip or whatnot), they'll pay the going rate, even if it's similar to the cost of gasoline per unit distance traveled. They're not just going to say "meh, I'll just plug into a wall socket and wait overnight". So if you have an existing gas station with all of its capital costs of installing tanks and pumps already paid for, one would expect them to keep selling gasoline even as an increasing percentage of their customers switch over to electricity. Maybe they'll find it cheaper to remove broken pumps than fix them. Maybe they'll eventually hit a point where it's no longer cost effective to maintain their fuel tanks and have to stop selling gasoline altogether. But neither of these things are a "suddenly going out of business because EVs just showed up" scenario.

(Of course, there's a counter to what I just wrote, which is that - given that only a small percentage of EV charging will ever be fast charging - you're looking at a smaller potential market)

Comment Re:Our value is community. Not the broken site. (Score 1) 550 550

The problem with slashdot crowd-sourced comment moderation is that if you say something that the in-crowd disagrees with, you can be banned. By other users!

Only temporarily. Your post may be downvoted, and perhaps your karma will be hurt if you keep doing it repeatedly. If you build up a reputation as a complete jerk or shill, you may just have to abandon your uid and start over... and that's what you deserve if you end up that way.

It is not about spam. It is about groupthink.

Here's the reality: I've posted MANY things here that disagree with the normal "groupthink" of the Slashdot community, and I've gotten +5 insightful. Why? Because when I do so, I support my points. I explain my position. I often cite reputable sources, particularly when I'm addressing something that's particularly contentious.

You do that here, and people appreciate it. If you provide good information, you WILL get upvoted. Over the years, I've found this site to have some of the most open-minded mods anywhere, as long as you back up what you say. Sure, there have been a few times I've had such a post modded down into oblivion, but only a few. The vast majority of the time when I am reasonable (not a jerk), present rational arguments and evidence, etc., an informative post will get modded up, regardless of whether it agrees with the majority opinion here.

Does it get tiresome to keep having to explain myself and minority opinions or unknown facts over and over? Sure -- but that's what true discussion requires.

Comment Re:Not really (Score 3, Insightful) 280 280

companies use all sorts of tricks to hide stuff like that. Soup companies use yeast to put MSG in Soup without reporting it (it's a by product of the yeast, which serves no other purpose).

And recently there has been the phenomenon where companies try to hide things by using confusing nomenclature. E.g., "evaporated cane juice" in products with "no added sugar." Yeah -- "cane juice" -- it must be good for you, since they call it "juice"! Well, it's just another form of sugar... processed slightly differently, but still basically sucrose.

Basically, it's just a game... try to make things sound "natural" and "wholesome" when they're basically the same old crap. Same thing goes for "brown rice syrup" used as a sweetener in many things... basically sugar. But it's "brown rice"!! (Of course, brown rice also often has elevated levels of arsenic and other things... but hey, it's "natural" and "brown," so it must be good!)

You know how we found out sodium nitrate causes cancer?

Funny that you bring nitrates up, because that's one of my favorite examples of nonsense labeling. First, we get most of our nitrates from vegetables, so worrying about the small amounts in bacon and cured meats is probably not as big a deal as people make of it. (Yes, yes... cooking does other things to the nitrates and can make them bad, but proper curing also deactivates most of them too... we could argue this all day.)

But regardless of that, my favorite misleading labeling is all the "uncured" meats you see these days: "uncured bacon," "uncured salami," etc. Yeah, except these almost always contain huge amounts of "concentrated celery juice" (or sometimes another agent) which contains more nitrates than the standard salts used traditionally to cure meat. (And no -- to those natural foods wackos -- there's no evidence to support the idea that somehow those nitrates are better for you in the concentrated celery juice... basically because "natural" celery juice has unpredictable amounts of nitrates, they need to add more of them than they would for tradition curing salts.)

People just want stuff called "natural" with "juice" and "brown X" and "natural flavors" in it. It's almost all bogus nonsense, and often you end up paying a huge premium for something that could very well be worse for you.

Moral of the story: Labels frequently don't work to tell people what's actually better. Not saying we shouldn't try to use them, but companies will weasel their way around anything to appeal to customers.

(By the way, I'm all in favor of cooking for yourself with whole ingredients, using less "processed" foods, etc. But bogus "natural foods" nonsense is bogus nonsense.)

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 306 306

Instead of going through the draconian methods that would be required to maintain privacy, society will simple learn to accept a world without it.

Perhaps that will come to pass, but likely not for a couple generations.

Basically, for people to ignore all that stuff, you'll need the "people in power" to be okay with it. Most of the people in power are middle-aged or older. Social media stuff has only been the norm for about a decade, so I'd say we'll need to wait at least 20-30 years before most of the "people in power" will have grown up with it.

And then, guess what -- there's a filtering process for the "people in power" where the old "people in power" decide who the new ones will be. And so there will be an even greater lag, where the first generation of "social media natives" will still be shamed as they try to build careers, so in 20-30 years, the "people in power" will be "social media natives," but they'll mostly be selected by the previous generation and thus will hold a "higher standard" -- i.e., the kids who didn't do most of the "nasty stuff" when they where kids.

Maybe when you get about 40-50 years from now, you'll get a true transformation like you describe, assuming current trends continue (which, well... who would have predicted this current world 50 years ago?).

By the way, you can look for this sort of morality issue in various political campaigns, etc. What most of the "cool kids" were doing in the 60s (in terms of drugs, sexual practices, etc.) was definitely not acceptable even when that generation came to power in the 80s and 90s. Maybe in the past few years, we've finally started to see a majority of the public okay with some drugs, etc., but that's been a really slow transformation, as I described above.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss

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