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Comment Smug and NOT reducing his reliance on AC (Score 1) 335

Rhinehart is not substantially reducing his reliance on AC, all he is doing is passing it on to others in the service industries.

I gagged at the sentence in the conclusion "To me the real upside is the pleasure in being electrically self reliant." - I guess he could live off the land as long as there were supermarkets around.

I don't believe that going to a restaurant and letting them provide meals, lighting, heat/AC actually constitutes reducing the amount of AC consumed.

Comment Easy Conclusion If Perceived Costs & Range Ign (Score 1) 889

Nice to see that electric cars are seen as a viable alternative but I think we're a long way away from the "tipping point" which won't change until consumers attitudes change.

I can't see electric cars being at the same or less purchase price than gasoline powered cars for some time. Don't forget there is also the cost of the charger installation and this could be a very significant cost for people who live in (rented and owned) apartments.

Maybe this will change with the $35k Tesla in 2016/2017 but even that is significantly more expensive than a basic Corolla - if the cost difference is $10k and the car is driven 10k miles/year and gets 25 miles/gallon and gas costs $4/gallon and electricity was free, it would take 6.25 years to make up the difference. That extra $10k seems to be hard to justify.

When I talk to friends/family about electric cars, the issue that always comes up is range. These are people who maybe drive more than 100 miles in a day once or twice a year and this is a huge concern. I don't know what happened with Tesla's robotic replacement for battery packs, but until it is common place or cars can travel 1,000 miles on a charge (and can be charged in less than five minutes) or "Mr. Fusion" becomes a reality, I don't see this not being an issue with the public at large.

Maybe we could see the tipping point if the price of an electric car was comparable to a gas powered car but I think it will take lower costs and essentially infinite range for it to happen.

Comment Can't this be tested on a Cube Sat? (Score 4, Interesting) 516

Just thinking about this, how expensive would it be to create a small, simple satellite, with solar cells, some large LiPoly batteries, a transponder and an EM drive that fires up every time there is enough juice in the batteries to run it for a few minutes?

Sticking with the 50nN thrust level for 50W of input and assuming that a 1kg LiPol battery has 260Whr available (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_polymer_battery), that is approximately 5hr of running time and assuming that the satellite is 5kg, there will be a 10nm/s^2 acceleration.

5 hours is 18,000s so there should be a delta-V imparted on the satellite of 1.8(10^-4)m/s which is tiny (I did say this is a pretty useless drive at the current time right now) but should be measurable or at least noticeable to its relative position to a control satellite that was launched along with it.

Comment Interesting, but still a lot of hype (Score 1) 516

This is really amazing and hopefully it is turning into a window into parts of our universe that we've never imagined.

But, reading the articles, I think we're a long way off from understanding what this phenomena is and how to exploit it practically. Going back over the previous articles, the measured force was for 50 uN from 50W of power - this doesn't seem like a very practical application as yet; the claims of round trips to Mars in less than a year are very exaggerated.

On that point, I thought we could go to Mars in 3 months or so now; it just takes a nuclear rocket rather than chemical, plasma or EM drives.

Finally, in the hacked.com article, rather than expelling "propellant", aren't you expelling "reaction mass"?

Comment Should have left the crypt unopened (Score 1, Interesting) 109

I *loved* Bloom County and read it from when I first discovered it in 1982 while I was in university. It was funny, relevant and smart.

It continued to be right up until Mr. Breathed ended the strip. But it ended, I've (and I think most people have) moved on and, now that it's 25 years later, Mr. Breathed should be looking at new avenues for his considerable talents.

Now, having said that, the example panel is pretty vintage but I still think it's time for Mr. Breathed (and us) to move on.

Comment Rather than extra battery how about a power cord? (Score 2) 79

I use a laptop a lot for going out to customers and giving demonstrations and the ideal (for me) would be about 6 hours of so of battery life but I think I would be at the high end of the power curve (requiring active WiFi and Bluetooth as well as the processor/display fully up). For the average laptop, the life I get seems to be around 3.5hours. But, I can't see a larger/heavier laptop with more life would be an big advantage for me.

What would be an advantage to me would be reasonable life (and 3.5hours seems to fit that need for a single meeting/session) with the ability to plug into an outlet (there's always an outlet around where I am) and car would be of more use to me than a big honking battery that takes a long time to fully charge. This would make travel simpler (don't have to bring along the brick) as well as search into the depth of the bags in a meeting when the seven minute warning comes up on Windows.

Comment Is this a troll? (Score 1) 484

I'm asking because I can't think of a consistent set of features that I would want in "my" best OS. I don't think there's any hope in consensus among /.ers and I don't think that individuals could come up with a single system that encompasses the different uses they put a computer to.

I would want different things from the OS depending on the activity I'm doing on a computer at a given time:
- coding.
- business activities.
- playing games.
- playing media.

Maybe there are features that consistent between all of these activities, but I would think that for the most part different usages would dictate different features and functionality.

Comment At true "FrankenOS" would have... (Score 0) 484

I would expect that it would just have a big screen, continually scrolling messages like:
- Rush Limbaugh is the devil incarnate
- The Republicans are all owned by the Koch brothers
- The Bushes practice devil worship
- Donald Trump is ashamed of his Mexican heritage

Or, do you mean "FrankenOS" in terms of "Frankenstein" and not "Al Franken"?

Comment Re:Both the submitter and WSJ got it wrong (Score 3, Funny) 230

I would argue that the process we have gone through here is a demonstration true intelligence at work.

The original reporter looked at the article, didn't understand a piece of it and asked an intern specializing in technology what this was about.

The intern couldn't be bothered, saw that it was a computer responding to human input and said it was "Artificial Intelligence".

The submitter read the article and keyed on the comment about this being a machine learning, which they feel is impossible.

Most /.ers (me included) responded to the submision and railed on about the ignorance of the media and the great unwashed.

One poster actually read TFA and pointed out that it has nothing to do with the article, submission and most comments.

I don't know how the hell we expect to create software that follows a process like this.

Comment Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 1) 230


I was under the impression that visual operations in the brain were not understood at all. While we have a fairly good mapping of the visual areas of the brain and where things happen, we do not understand how images are stored or how we recognize (compare) images.

Could you educate us (assuming bachelors degree level education)? I'm very curious how this works and how we would implement it in a computer system.

The only person who always got his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.