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Comment Re:So when are they making something we can AFFORD (Score 1) 321

Have you ever studied the history of industrial civilization ???
Pretty much EVERY new type of technology first comes to the market as a rich man's toy. As scale goes up, manufacturing investment pays off, processes get streamlined, you know, boring industrial engineering / economics things, price comes down.
Before the Ford Model T all cars were rich people's toys.
Then big cars were only affordable to the rich.
Then hybrids were only affordable to the upper middle class.
Although the fully loaded Tesla Model S is still very expensive, there is a 100% difference between the most basic and the top of the line Model S.
In 10-15 years I expect a Tesla Model S / X to sell for US$ 50k corrected for inflation.
The most expensive component is the battery pack, Li Ion prices will drop by half over a decade.
The other big ticket item is the electric motor, once Tesla is buying a million a yr (vs current less than 100k / yr) prices will drop substantially too.

And the more modest Tesla Model III should go for US$ 40k before incentives in 2018/2019. Should be a much better car than the Nissan LEAF, better performance, better range, at the same price.

Comment Nothing new, 10+ year old R&D area (Score 1) 163

There has been dozens of "promissing" solutions to make liquid fuels from sunlight.
Dates back to G.W.Bush mandate.
Celulosic ethanol enables making ethanol from grass and wood. Let the plants do it.
Use genetic engineering to make diesel / jet fuel like compounds from bacteria / algae.
Much like revolutionary batteries, 90% of announce techs never leads to anything commercial.
Let's focus on real technology like solar PV / solar CSP / wind turbines / improving Li Ion economics / breeder nuclear reactors.
Yes, I consider nuclear fusion another type of "promissing" technology that never gets anywhere.
However I'm always hopeful.

Comment Re: What happens when video is lost? (Score 1) 104

Nope, that's not how ATC works.
Aircraft can be re-routed.
ATC almost never looses radio.
And with the migration to ADS-B, while keeping the requirement for transponders, radar will have two completely independent parallel systems (the old transponder based and the new ADS-B/GPS based one).
ADS-B infrastructure is a LOT cheaper than secondary radar (the stuff that talk to transponders), so having everything 100% redundant is logical.
Also, secondary radar requires to be close to aircraft to allow for tight separation. ADS-B towers only need to have line of sight with aircraft to receive their signals.
But should radar fail, there are procedures to cope with that.
Throughput is greatly reduced, but aircraft can still land. In a busy airport should radar fail takeoffs might be greatly delayed.
ADS-B also allows aircraft to self separate, they see each other without need for radar. This should one day allow for much higher traffic density even in airports without towers.

Its not by accident that flying is the safest way to go. Everything is carefully though out. And technology is helping even further.
2020 ADS-B mandate is coming. ATC will know where aircraft are within a few meters, where they are going.

Comment Re:So not better just cheaper (Score 1) 104

I'm an actual private pilot with instrument privileges.
Having a tower is useful, and there are lots of airports with too little traffic to justify an tower full time or at all.
By adopting this type of remote presence it might be possible to staff airport towers full time, yielding an increase in safety instead.
It might be possible to have tower services at airports that have no tower at all today.
And there are plenty of airports with towers but with too little traffic to keep a single ATC professional busy most times.
This new approach can be used for good or just shaving jobs.
But the real problem is your ideological view that technology is always a force for irresponsible actions.

Comment Re:Mission accomplished (Score 1) 399

Even if we had a huge solar generation capacity, able to power 100% of North America's electricity need on a sunny summer day, that's still less than 1/3 of overall yearly electricity demands.
Even if we had enough wind generating capacity to power 100% of North America's peak electricity demand on a windy winter night, that's still FAR less than 1/3 of total yearly electricity demands.
That's assuming there's a massive electrical grid upgrade, enough to ship 100% of California's electricity needs from the east coast or NY state demands from the west coast.
Just look at Germany's energiewende, in the best sunny day of the year, they can produce 2/3 of their instantaneous electricity demand from solar, but that's like less than 25% of yearly electricity demands.
Solar+Wind creates a daunting energy storage problem. One we just don't have a solution in sight even 10-20 years from now.

Comment Re:Mission accomplished (Score 1) 399

That's right, cool, but uneconomical.
Even the guy working the hardest to drop the cost of space launches by an order of magnitude states solar in space is a fool's errand.
That's the problem with solar and wind, most of the people in favor are idiots when it comes down to economics and engineering.
Even with the state of the art in affordable technology we don't have an economical solution to have solar+wind do anything over 1/3 of the world's total power demands, maybe even that is an overstatement.
I'm pro solar, I'm pro wind, but I'm against the morons that think we don't need anything else in the future.
Even with technology projected to be affordable 15 years from now we still don't have the solution to power even 50% of the world's total energy demands.

Comment Just compare predictions with results (Score 1) 166

Chernobyl was estimated to cause millions of deaths.
So far including all past and future expected deaths its down to 10 thousand.
Fukushima killed 10 people (2 drowned, 8 industrial accidents in the cleanup), while the Tsunami killed 20 thousand. And most anti nuclear lunatics were sure Tokyo would be contaminated.
My conclusion is even disregarding the utter lunatics, all radiation models lead to at least an order of magnitude in people affected, in the case of Chernobyl two orders of magnitude.
People insist on thinking nuclear reactors are inherently dangerous, without studying one little bit about how they actually work.
Its time we stopped once and for all using future probabilities but rather use past statistics to analyze nuclear safety.
We've been using nuclear heavily in the world since the 80s. We know for a FACT nuclear is safe. Nuclear isn't causing cancers.
Studies that try to impinge cancers on nuclear reactors are done on reactors built in chemically contaminated areas, the cancers are due to past non nuclear industrial activity rather than radiation.
Coal is deadly.
First get rid of COAL worldwide.
Then we can talk about nuclear being safe or not.
Coal is paying most professional anti nuclear interests. Most of them have ZERO interest in attacking coal. Follow the money.

Comment Re:It's simple... (Score 1) 224

Nukes too dangerous ?
How many people died from nuclear power worldwide/US/whatever in the last 10 years, how about the last 20 years ?
The numbers are positively tiny.
For all the sensationalism, Fukushima killed a grand total of 10 people while the tsunami killed 20000.
In the meantime, coal is killing hundreds every day (200000 yearly worldwide) and natural gas is killing about 10000 yearly worldwide.
If we remove USSR nuclear accidents, nuclear power killed less people since its inception than natural gas kills yearly or coal kills every few weeks.
I suggest you go take a real free online class on the subject and educate yourself on nuclear facts instead of the nuclear fiction you seem to know.
The real problem with nuclear power is to make a comparison with airplanes we're still using the nuclear equivalent of large piston aircraft, rather than modern turbofans. We're using nuclear tech that was ideal for the US Navy in the 50s, and nobody wants to invest another US$ 10 billion on commercializing advanced (safer at a lower cost, much higher efficiency, quicker to build) nuclear tech. There are some limited efforts, but the US NRC regulation is so tied on outdated water cooled reactors it almost seem hopeless to design Gen IV reactors in the USA.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 327

Care to prove anything you said ???
It's been said that Solyndra's business plan was alright until the chinese started dumping solar panels bellow cost. So its BAD when the US govt subsidizes market inovation but we don't say a thing when the Chinese do subsidies on a massive scale ?
No, I don't have hard data.
Solyndra was probably trying to do what Solar City is doing right now, they (Solar City) bought a USA solar panel maker, and are investing big on making their products much more efficient. Solyndra was attempting the same thing while building a new factory.
If you have a big house, current solar panels aren't too bad, if you blanket just half of your roof space (the side that gets most of the solar radiation), you will produce more electricity than you can use on a yearly basis.
But if you move to commercial/industrial users, even blanketing every inch available that customer will still fall far short of breaking even kWh wise.
1km2 worth of land gets 1GW of raw solar radiation at its best hours of the year. But current solar parks manage to produce 10-15% of that radiation into useable AC electricity. So at 10% net efficiency your 1km2 will produce 100MW peak. At 20% 200MW peak. If we could eventually achieve 40% net efficiency (already available on labs, perhaps 5 years away at high cost and 10-15 years away from economical prices), then every house that invests seriously on solar panels will become a large net producer of electricity. With most non vertical commercial buildings able to achieve self sufficiency on a yearly average.
There are solar panels up to 35% efficiency available commercially but those are very expensive.
The most affordable solar panels are under 15% efficiency.
Solyndra was planning (and failed) and solar city will achieve is to increase solar panel efficiency to above 20%, perhaps enabling 20% net efficient solar farms without much of a cost premium.

Taking cheap shots are solyndra just shows how stupid you are.
The Republican plan is to make renewable energy never become viable.
Although I'm pro nuclear too, I hope solar can actually become a serious energy source by 2030. If we do it 100% free market, that will NEVER happen.

Comment Re:He's got company (Score 1) 442

The only way you get to read history by the loosing side is if they weren't decimated.
Plus its very likely that the truth is neither exactly what either side will say.
What we need to learn from history is lessons about how stupid powerful human beings can be.
Trump is prime example of someone that could destroy the future of millions of human beings.
Nope, I'm not a pacifist. I believe WWI, WWII and the first gulf war were the last bona fide justified wars (for the allied sides).
But if you hear out what the Neo Nazis will say about WWII I'm sure you will hear something very different from what the Allies tell us.
Military intervention is very different from an outright invasion.
2nd Gulf War was trumped up (pun intended). I was stupid enough to have believed it was justified, but it was flawed in every intent it had (getting rid of sadam was a bad idea if we thought we would get ISIS in exchange).
Wise leaders must think about long term consequences of wars.
I know NO modern republican politician that has that kind of Wisdom. NONE !

Comment Re: The authors found that batteries appear on tra (Score 1) 330

1 - $230/kWh is probably an upper bound for 2018 prices
2 - As the Li Ion market continues to grow aggressively, more and more Li Ion materials will be recycled from old batteries, recycling is cheaper than building with new raw materials
3 - There has been projections even lower than $200/kWh
4 - The math we should be doing is a 85kWh battery pack + a 20kW solar PV rooftop installation vs 25 years worth of gasoline + someone's electric bill, sunlight is free, the cost is the infraestructure to convert that into charge on a battery, 25 yrs worth of gasoline + 25 years worth of electric bill is typically upwards of US$ 50k
By 2020 there will be an excellent market for refurbished 85D Model S, the car will cost less than what you will save in gasoline (even with today's low gasoline prices).
The 85kWh pack is the upper model. There's also the 60kWh model with 200 mile range. A base 60kWh Model S can be purchased for less than $70k in some states with local incentives.

Comment Re:Stop using lithium! (Score 1) 185

Li Ion batteries can be recycled into new batteries once worn off.
Plus the raw materials in pure form inside batteries are very valuable (lithium, cobalt, and a majority of nickel).
So, the only reason there would be pollution is if the owners of the batteries trash them on purpose, discarding any recycling credits.
Its so much easier to separate the Lithium, Cobalt and Nickel from each other on a battery than purifying those for their respective raw ores. Everybody wins !

Comment Re:Politicians will be stupid but scientists/techn (Score 1) 356

That's a huge lie. The military has zero involvement with civilian powerplants for decades. That's typical of the anti nuclear types, they recycle lies through the decades. This was true in the 60s and 70s, the plutonium made was given credit for its military value, regardless of no operational nuclear weapons made with reactor grade plutonium (high Pu240 content, risking fizzle and/or spontaneous detonation).
Try again, this time with real data instead of made up lies.

Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.