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Comment: Re:Wet Dream (Score 1) 16

by PopeRatzo (#47738065) Attached to: The Tech Fixes the PS3 Still Needs, Eight Years On

That's a fanboy wishlist, not a well thought out, profit-oriented list of reasonable items that have any hope of getting added to a down-market, end of life console that's in cost-cutting, discount sales mode.

When you say "fanboy", I think you meant, "customer".

I know consumers are only supposed to accept what the corporation deigns to give them nowadays, but there was a time when companies used to say, "the customer is always right" and actually try to give them products that they wanted.

Today, it's "The customer needs to just STFU, accept the EULA and use our product the way we want them to use our product, until we decide to take that away too and force them to buy our next product, because corporations are people, my friend. People who happen to be your goddamn overlords. Now bow before, me, worm".

Comment: Metalocalypse (Score 2) 19

by PopeRatzo (#47737913) Attached to: Eruption Of Iceland's Bardarbunga Raises Travel Alert to Red

I don't know if any of you are fans of the magnificent cartoon "Metalocalypse", but if you are, it occurs to me that an active volcano named, "Bardarbunga" on the Dyngjujokull glacier in Iceland is exactly the kind of place Dethklok would hold one of their massive concerts where everything goes wrong and there's a total catastrophe with thousands of casualities.

Seriously, the first thing I thought of when I read the summary was Dethklock being lowered onto the stage by four armor-laden quadracopters being flown by their henchment and one of William Murderface's bass notes triggering the volcano, causing lava to burst forth over the audience. That show is friggin' hilarious.

Comment: Re:Cut the cable (Score 0) 285

by PopeRatzo (#47735455) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

It seems to me only with TV can there be this really common "Let me demonstrate how I don't watch TV by telling you how much I know about TV."

Well, you gotta think most of that is the fact that 63% of all news on the Internet is about TV. Seriously.

You can learn a ton about what's happening on TV without watching TV. For example, let's do a little experiment. I'm gonna pick a popular web site at random, say, "Buzzfeed" and go there right now. OK, hold on....

I'm back. Of the six top stories on Buzzfeed, three of them are about TV. Now this is the front page, where all the stories are aggregated, and I just looked at the top six stories without scrolling down.

There's a story about "Where has Jennifer Aniston been?" which I assume involves a significant amount of cosmetic surgery and possibly rehab. Next is (I shit you not), "How The TV Version Of “Clueless” Ruined Everything". I don't know what that could possibly be about, but the headline is tantalizing. I mean this TV show fucking ruined everything! Finally, the #6 headline is another story about television coverage of #Ferguson, of which there have now been more of than actual news stories about #Ferguson. This is an interesting phenomenon of it's own, with the media loving to talk about how the media is covering something, especially some horrible thing.

I didn't look, but I assume that if I were to scroll down there would be more headlines about people who play this "Game of Thorns" (which sounds painful) or one of the ubiquitous stories about how that guy on the reality show you don't watch turned out to really be a horrible person in real life.

Comment: Cut the cable (Score -1, Offtopic) 285

by PopeRatzo (#47734521) Attached to: "MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

What is this, a TV show or something?

I love not having cable. It's one of the most liberating things I've ever done. With the time I saved by not watching TV for the past seven or eight years, I've learned to play jazz pretty well, and my eyes don't burn in the morning from staring at stupid television for hours. I'm not a great player by any means, but I'm good enough to play out at clubs with professionals. It's not that I'm at a high level, but I can hold my own, and people like it. Learning to improvise jazz as an adult has really lit up parts of my brain that were sitting dormant for decades, and that's a good feeling. All because I decided to ditch TV.

From what I can tell, the past seven/eight years have been nothing but reality TV, dramas with titles that are acronyms, and shows where you pay a subscription AND get commercials. Really high quality stuff, like Deadwood or The Wire, I'll get when it comes to Netflix or via other means, but I'd have to be so interested in it that I'm willing to go look for it. The thing that was the killer for me was when I found myself flipping through channels looking for something to watch. There just seemed something really wrong about that.

Anyway, if this is some big show for nerds where they confirm your bias about the world, I hope the changes turn out to your satisfaction. Back in the day, I was an avid TV watcher I seem to recall something about a cartoon about a family where the father was stupid, the son a smart-ass who road a skateboard and the mom had big blue hair. It's probably not on any more, because the guy who did the voice for the really old rich guy who owned the nuclear plant where the stupid father worked would now be almost as old as, what was his name..."Mr Burns", I think. I don't look down on people who watch television, it's just not for me any more. I suppose it's something of a social hindrance though, because all I can do is have a quizzical expression when someone mentions some show like "Iron Chef", which I assume is about a super hero.

Comment: Re:Simulations are limited by imagination (Score 1) 164

by PopeRatzo (#47734119) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Real life is far more creative than any scenario designer.

Ain't that the truth.

This is why I don't see everyone in driverless cars in any of our lifetimes. I'm thinking it's at least 70 years out. And not least because a) who's going to pay for all the necessary infrastructure? and b) shared liability will make it a nightmare.

Maybe first let's see if we can have a driverless NASCAR race without crashes. And then I want to see the CEO of a driverless car company put his kids in the car and send them on a coast-to-coast road trip, including LA at rush hour, Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway Southbound at 3:30am and on small roads crossing the Appalachians.

Comment: Re:Lord, save us from corporatists (Score 1) 334

by PopeRatzo (#47728381) Attached to: FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

Yeah, that's what I want. Politicians who are so worried about what the other side might do in the future that they sit on their hands while a handful of powerful elite simply loot the country and peoples' wealth.

This is has been the operative policy for so long - both parties - that it's' become clear that's the plan.

Comment: Re:That's not quick? (Score 1) 179

by Rei (#47727763) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

I'm assuming that's not a 30 minute Tesla fast charge station, since that's only 50kW.

The two issues I have the most interest in are 1) whether they use some sort of battery buffer to balance loads on the grid connects (otherwise I think the utility company won't be very happy with the unpredictable megawatt drains ;) But maybe the utility company is handling balancing on their side), and 2) how cooling on the charger is handled. Just simple resistance calcs show that once you get to really high power chargers, you have to cool the wire to the car to keep its heating to an acceptable level at an acceptable cable mass, so I'm curious how they handle that. Personally I've felt that high power rapid chargers should provide coolant for the car itself as well via the charge port. Why should the car have to haul around such a major cooling system and coolant reservoir when the charger already has to have it and has to cool its cable all the way up to the car? However, I've never heard of anyone actually implementing such an approach.

Comment: Re:And how long does it take... (Score 1) 179

by Rei (#47727723) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

Not to mention that they can be a loss leader. 250Wh/mi at a commercial power rate of $0.08/kWh is two cents per mile. So a 150 mile charge is $3. There are lots of businesses that would pay $3 to keep a potential customer there for half an hour, esp. if said potential customer will likely feel appreciate and that "he owes them". Charging can also be "free with purchase", and businesses can limit the charge rate if $3 for a half hour chage is too steep of a loss leader for them.

All this ignoring the green cred / pr advantage of offering said charging in the first place.

Comment: Re:And how long does it take... (Score 1) 179

by Rei (#47727703) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

(in fact, that's another big problem with EVs in urban areas without private parking, but it's besides the point subject here).

It's also irrelevant. Even if everyone was suddenly sold on the concept of EVs, it would take decades first to be able to ramp up production to match that of gasoline cars, and then to phase out all of the gasoline cars on the road. It should be obvious, yet someone seems to pass right over EV opponents, that the first adopters are going to be those for whom it best suits their situation, and that it will only slowly migrate - over decades - down to an increasingly broad section of the population.

If humans are incapable of recognizing and responding to a slow, patently-obvious, decades-long-process by merely building power outlets, then the species unworthy of the term sentient.

(And just an extra FYI: The majority of people, in my experience, who live in urban areas without private parking take public transportation and don't own any car... but maybe you're referring to some other situation I'm not familiar with).

Comment: Re:And how long does it take... (Score 3, Insightful) 179

by Rei (#47727671) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

As for my other issues with your post.

1. Actually time yourself going down the highway when you're on a long trip, from the moment you begin to decelerate to begin to get gas, to the moment you're back on the road up to highway speeds, and don't leave out the things people often due during stops long trips (why long trips? more in a second), including bathroom breaks, buying something at the convenience store, cleaning the windshield, heading over to a nearby restaurant to grab a bite to eat, whatever. Time a number of different stops on a long trip and average them out. You'll find they're a lot more than 5 minutes. EVs have all of that extra stuff too, mind you, but a lot of them can be done while charging, and even for the other stuff, you're adding a constant overhead, which reduces the ratio of the non-constant aspect (the actual filling itself).

2. Why constrained to long trips? Simple - because people don't stop at charging stations when they're not on long trips. It's pointless. You charge at home, and maybe when parked at other places like work or a mall if there happens to be a plug near you. It's a great inconvenience of gasoline cars which EVs don't have that one must regularly waste time at gas stations in their daily lives regardless of how long trips are. Overall gasoline car drivers waste a lot more time "filling up" than EV drivers. (and if you disagree and think the mere act of plugging and unplugging gives the edge to gasoline drivers somehow, then that still doesn't help with the wireless EV charging that's getting a lot of focus now, where you merely have to park and you start getting charge)

3. The page you linked for dimethyl ether said nothing (that I noticed) about generation from just electricity and, say, air/water. It did say that in the lab it can be made from cellulosic biomass (although it should be noted that no cellulosic fuel techs have thusfar worked out at a commercial scale). Let's just say you can do that, and that you get the 1000 gallons per acre-year reported for switchgrass.That's 0,93 liters per square meter-year. It's reported at 19,3 MJ per liter, so we have 18MJ per square meter per year. Let's say we lose 5% of this to distribution, and then burn it in a car running at a typical 20% average efficiency (peak is significantly higher, but peak isn't what matters). We have 3,4 MJ per square meter per year.

Now what if we ran EVs on solar panels on the same land? Let's say the solar farm is 50% covered with solar panels and gets a capacity factor (clouds, night, etc) of 20% and a cell efficiency of 20%. 1000W/m, so 20W/m electricity is produced on average. That's 20 joules per square meter per second, so 631 MJ per square meter per year. We reduce it by the average US grid efficiency of 92% and an average wall-to-wheels EV efficiency of 80% and we get 465 MJ per square meter per year. 136 times as land-efficient as the biofuel alternative

Now let's say we leave out all of these lossy bioprocesses behind and generate some sort of biofuel straight from electricity at a very unrealistic 80% efficiency (most processes for realistic fuels are way lower), plus the same generous 5% distribution losses, and that it's afforable. And let's say that they all burn their fuel at an impressive 40% efficiency (even fuel cells, while higher in peak efficiency, generally can't do that tank-to-wheels in real-world vehicle usage). Thus we get 192 MJ per square meter per year, 41% that of the EV. Are you really comfortable with plastering 2.4 times as much of the earth's surface with solar panels? Or 2.4 times more wind turbines, 2.4 times more dammed rivers, 2.4 times more nuclear power plants and uranium mining, etc? Is that, in your view, an ideal solution, even in this comparison highly biased in favor of fuels versus electricity?

Electricity is the universal energy currency, and we shouldn't be wasting it converting it between different forms needlessly. Not only does it mean a dramatically worse impact on the planet, it also means that even if your electricity to fuel conversion process is practically free in terms of consumables and capital costs (the reality generally being anything-but), that you have to pay many times more per kilometer that you drive, as you're (indirectly) consuming many times more electricity.

Comment: Re:And how long does it take... (Score 3, Informative) 179

by Rei (#47727513) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

Now of course gas stations don't always have fully occupied pumps and that's the point, so that almost whenever you arrive, there's a free pump available.

That actually doesn't help your argument any. The longer it takes to fill up, the more you smooth out the random demand fluctuations.

Let's say the time per pump is 5 minutes and the time per charger is 30 minutes, so we have to build 6x more chargers to service the same number of vehicles (and that you have to build the charging stations more frequently due to the range). So we'll compare a 4 pump gas station with a 24 charger EV station. So let's say that we get the following rate of people arriving (picking some numbers at random):

1:00: 1
1:05: 0
1:10: 6
1:15: 7
1:20: 3
1:25: 0
1:30: 0
1:35: 2
1:40: 1
1:45: 8
1:50: 6
1:55: 0
2:00: 1

What happens in these scenarios? First, gasoline:

1:00: 1 pump in use
1:05: 0 pumps in use
1:10: 4 pumps in use, 2 people waiting
1:15: 4 pumps in use, 5 people waiting
1:20: 4 pumps in use, 4 people waiting
1:25: 4 pumps in use, 0 people waiting
1:30: 0 pumps in use
1:35: 2 pumps in use
1:40: 1 pump in use
1:45: 4 pumps in use, 4 people waiting
1:50: 4 pumps in use, 6 people waiting
1:55: 4 pumps in use, 2 people waiting
2:00: 3 pumps in use, 0 people waiting.

What about the charging station?

1:00: 1 charger in use
1:05: 1 chargers in use
1:10: 7 chargers in use
1:15: 14 chargers in use
1:20: 17 chargers in use
1:25: 17 chargers in use
1:30: 16 chargers in use
1:35: 18 chargers in use
1:40: 13 chargers in use
1:45: 14 chargers in use
1:50: 17 chargers in use
1:55: 17 chargers in use
2:00: 18 chargers in use

With the gas station, 23 people needed to wait, some of them for a rather long time. With the charging station, nobody needed to wait. Despite the fact that the charging is 1/6th the speed, that doesn't actually imply you need 6x more chargers. In the above example, we see that the gas station should have had 8 pumps while the charging station 18 chargers, or 2.25x more.

More on the other problems with your post in just a second - I just felt that this particular aspect deserved a whole post on its own.

Comment: Re:That's not quick? (Score 5, Insightful) 179

by Rei (#47727425) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

Not to mention that building a gas station takes a heck of a lot longer.

It's one thing I don't get about EV opponents. Not only are EVs supposed to not have any new inconveniences relative to gasoline vehicles, and not only do inconveniences that gasoline vehicles have that EVs don't have not count toward EVs, but EVs aren't even allow to have the inconveniences that gasoline vehicles have. It's always stuff like "EVs suck because it takes 11 days to build a fast charging station, but don't bother checking into how long it takes to build a gas station!" or "EVs suck because batteries are flammable (Ed: even though most EV battery types aren't particularly flammable), but don't bother asking about the flammability of gasoline!" or "EVs suck because batteries are heavy and bulky, but don't bother asking about the weight and size of internal combustion engines vs. electric motors!" or "EVs suck because batteries are toxic (Ed: Actually, most types nowadays have little toxicity), but don't bother asking about the toxicity of the several tonnes of gasoline the average driver puts into their car every year, their filling spills and fumes, their oil leaks, etc, and the massively dirty industry that produces all this!" Etc.

I don't get these people.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis