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Comment Re:net metering != solar and 10% needs new physics (Score 1) 488

The utility can't give them back the power generated ten hours earlier, because there is no effective way to store power at utility scale.

As usual, there's a grain of truth in here, but, since realtime peak solar output is still not within TWO ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE of demand, this is still a bullshit argument.

Comment It's borderline disingenuous... (Score 1) 343

...to put those big scary "$4.4 billion" numbers in there without context. It sounds like a lot of money (especially to people unfamiliar with the industry) but that number is the retail value of approximately 18 months of electrical generation for units 2 & 3 at San Onofre.

Comment Re:First.... (Score 1) 288

$608 million decommissioning seem less ridiculous, this still seems much more expensive then it ought to be.

For perspective, that plant likely produced on the order of a quarter-million dollars worth of electricity EVERY HOUR, round the clock, for decades, so $608 million is not a very exciting figure, even if true.

This is actually great news. It means that decommissioning only costs the equivalent of 3 months worth of full-production output--a bargain.

Transportation

Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential" 360

cartechboy (2660665) writes "They say you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. Maybe it should go you shouldn't trash talk the company you partner with. U.S. head of Mercedes-Benz Steve Cannon was just quoted as saying future service of Tesla's vehicles could be 'limited,' and that while it's great, the market could be more attracted to other luxury automakers once their products hit the market. Cannon also suggests that the current infrastructure isn't up to maintaining and fueling electric vehicles, in particularly Tesla's stores and go-to servicing can't handle high demands. Naturally he said Mercedes has the 'whole network' to put customers minds' at ease. Sounds like fighting words to me. Hey Mercedes, where's your Model S competitor?" There is a reason that Jim Rogers drove around the world in a Mercedes.

Comment I can save Americans $4.3B/year (Score 3, Insightful) 218

Americans currently spend around $580 million replacing stolen phones each year and $4.8 billion paying for handset insurance.

At that factor of 8, folks, is why insurance is a bad investment. Americans could save $4.3B per year by not buying insurance with a poor ROI.

Media

Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose? 490

Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "Why do Netflix and a few other companies keep the DVD format alive, when streaming is more convenient for almost all users? The answer is not obvious, but my best theory is that it has to do with what economists call price discrimination. Netflix is still the cheapest legal way to watch a dozen recent releases every month — but only if you're willing to put up with those clunky DVDs." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks? 306

An anonymous reader writes "I have been programming in some fashion, for the last 18 years. I got my first job programming 15 years ago and have advanced my career programming, leading programmers and bringing my technical skill sets into operations and other areas of the business where problems can be solved with logical solutions. I learned to program on the Internet in the 90s.. scouring information where ever I could and reading the code others wrote. I learned to program in a very simple fashion, write a script and work your way to the desired outcome in a straight forward logical way. If I needed to save or reuse code, I created include files with functions. I could program my way through any problem, with limited bugs, but I never learned to use a framework or write modular, DRY code. Flash forward to today, there are hundreds of frameworks and thousands of online tutorials, but I just can't seem to take the tutorials and grasp the concepts and utilize them in a practical manner. Am I just too old and too set in my ways to learn something new? Does anyone have any recommendations for tutorials or books that could help a 'hacker' like me? Also, I originally learned to program in Perl, but moved onto C and eventually PHP and Python."

Comment Re: Add a range-extender engine, perhaps PV too (Score 1) 94

Unless you want to take kids on a field trip...

It doesn't make any sense to optimize for outlier trips like that, unless you have money to burn. Rather, you keep a few diesel buses around.

PV is better (economically, for efficiency, and for the grid) when it's stationary and grid-connected, and range extenders negate the benefits of the simple electric powertrain (bringing back ICE maintenance). A "range extended" EV embodies the complexity of both a full-power EV and a convention internal combustion powetrain.

Comment Re:Add a range-extender engine, perhaps PV too (Score 1) 94

PV could be installed, to also help with range

It doesn't need any "help with range". Fleet vehicles (like school buses) are already a near-ideal case for electrification; they follow well established routes and schedules. Range is either sufficient or not, and once sufficient, the marginal value of additional range is zero.

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