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Comment: Re:not just charge cycles (Score 2) 364

by ngg (#44965989) Attached to: Car Dealers Complain To DMV About Tesla's Website

> They lose 20% of their capacity every year in ideal temperatures. In Phoenix the nissan leaf was losing upwards of 50% of its capacity (read range) in the first year due to the heat

Yea, that's because Nissan was a little dopey and decided to put an air-cooled battery in first-generation Leafs (supposedly they are moving to a liquid cooling system in the next revision). Tesla uses a liquid cooling system for the battery for a reason, you know...

Any your numbers are off, by the way. A survey of Roadster owners found less than 20% battery capacity loss after four years of ownership.

Comment: Re:Why all the hate? (Score 1) 627

by ngg (#44624235) Attached to: NHTSA Gives the Model S Best Safety Rating of Any Car In History

But I mean who buys a car because of its safety rating?

Actually, I'd argue that most people who buy high-end cars are doing just that. All modern safety features (airbags, ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, adaptive cruise control, all the pre-crash stuff, auto-braking) originated on high end cars (most often the Mercedes S Class). A lot of that stuff is required on all cars now, and in every case the automakers argued that it was just too damned expensive to put in every car. But somehow, as if by magic, they were able to make it work every time.

What's really happening is that most people who own $100k cars aren't really buying them for the luxury and high-tech features. After all, you don't get rich by spending all your money. They spend $100k on a car because of safety features that are only available on car of that class, and because you start to worry about your mortality once you get to a certain level of wealth. You can also look at how the features trickle down, first to the "mid-luxury" cars, then "entry-luxury", then mass market cars: Those MB S Class-exclusive safety features magically appear on the E Class when the price of a used "certified pre-owned" S Class drops appreciably below that of a new E Class. The feature then appears on the C Class when used E Classes start to drop in price.

Comment: Re:Five Star (Score 1) 627

by ngg (#44623785) Attached to: NHTSA Gives the Model S Best Safety Rating of Any Car In History

Why would you compare it to BMW's cheapest entry level car?

This, a thousand times. Plus, I wonder if anyone here has actually priced out a BMW recently. The $33k base price doesn't even include a leather interior or a fold-down rear seat, for fsck's sake. It also doesn't include an engine that comes even close to touching the performance of a Model S: You're looking at a *starting* price of $37k for something in the same class (but still noticeably slower than a base Model S). Personally, I couldn't care less about leather--I'm just pointing out that it's an extra charge on this supposedly "luxury" brand. By the time you include the cost of upgrading a BMW to actual luxury standards (leather interior, upgrade from the cheap Civic-looking plastic trim, upgrade from the cheap Civic-looking black- or white-only paint, fold-down rear seat), you've increased the cost by almost 30%. And that's still with the small motor.

Comment: Re:Well that's vague. (Score 1) 138

by ngg (#43837799) Attached to: LibertyReserve.com Shuttered, Founder Arrested In Spain
On what basis do you disagree? The tax man don't care where your money came from as long as you pay your taxes. That's why there is that line for "other" income. In fact, I'd argue that's why money laundering was made a crime by statute (whereas previously it could be prosecuted as "accessory to X after the fact"): Criminals started paying their taxes so you couldn't nab them for tax evasion.

Comment: Re:Court cases (Score 1) 316

by ngg (#43363889) Attached to: WA State Bill Would Allow Bosses To Seek Facebook Passwords
Which is why it usually takes a couple review cycles to get someone fired. The parent didn't say they'd find something tomorrow! When they want someone gone, they start documenting every little thing the person does wrong. For example, does it really matter that Suzie wore mismatched socks when the big boss was in town or that Tom rolled into work sporting a 5 o'clock shadow last Tuesday? No, not really (at least in non-customer-facing jobs). But it's *technically* against dress code for them to do that. Likewise, everyone occasionally submits a late TPS report, but the boss usually lets it slide when it is only 5 minutes.

What you'll find is that Dick and Harry may come in unshaven just as often as Tom, but the boss doesn't want them gone, so he forgets to document it. Their performance reviews look stellar but Tom has trouble following the rules. Tom's late TPS reports fit a pattern and the boss has no choice but the let Tom go. Too bad, Tom!

Comment: Re:Problem with egos really (Score 1) 525

by ngg (#42920417) Attached to: CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

That's actually the weird thing; if you look at the graphs Tesla have released, it appears he did only lose about 5% of charge overnight, but for some reason this caused the available range - again from their graphs, not relying on anything Broder said - to plummet from a safe 90 miles to an oh-fuck-can't-reach-the-Supercharger 20 miles.

Ok, here goes:

There are two factors at work here. First, the battery does lose a little charge overnight. This has been documented by Model S owners, and the 5-7% decline is typical. However, the estimated range remaining dropped a lot more.

Here's the second: The battery was cold-soaking overnight because Broder (inadvisedly) "forgot" (or whatever the excuse-du-jour is) to plug in the car in Groton. When the car was started two things happened: The battery needed to warm itself to optimum operating temperature. This uses a lot of power, and gets factored into the car's range estimation. So for the first few minutes, the energy consumption is *really* high--like over a kWh per mile. The other thing is that until the battery was warm, the chemical kinetics were slower. This reduces the voltage, which reduces the total energy content of the battery, as calculated by the car. These two things (temporary high consumption due to the heater and temporary anomalously low calculated capacity) greatly reduce the estimated range.

So, Broder, being the idiot that he is, decided to drive ten miles in the wrong direction. By the time he called Tesla service, the battery was very likely already warmed up. He probably misrepresented to Tesla service how long the car had been warming up when he stopped at the Luncheonette to charge.

The real root of all of Broder's problems is that Tesla told him to do a full charge at all the Superchargers and he did not. If he had waited for a full standard charge, he would have made it to Groton and back without incident. If he had waited for a full max charge, he would have done that with a lead foot. He could have recovered from his mistake by plugging in overnight, but he chose not to do that either. Even an extension cord plugged in to a standard domestic wall outlet (technically a NEMA 5-15) would have gotten him home.

Comment: Re:Finally (Score 3, Insightful) 213

by ngg (#41745331) Attached to: US Patent Office Invalidates Apple's "Rubber Banding" Patent
Jason Chen was also stretching the concept of responsible journalism pretty thin. His methods (extortion and dealing in stolen property) might be defensible for an expose on, e.g., massive government corruption (where the public interest in stopping an ongoing crime vastly outweighs the crime of stealing documents). But let's not forget that the story he was breaking was what the next version of some company's fucking phone was going to look like. I may not agree with Apple's method of retrieving the phone, but let's not get carried away and act like Mr. Chen was some kind of folk hero. There were no angels in the Gawker/Apple saga.

Comment: Re:and then there's this (Score 1) 215

by ngg (#41529551) Attached to: Statistical Tools For Detecting Electoral Fraud

1. If no one can prove, or ask me to prove, that I'm not who I say I am, then what's the risk?

Are you dense? The risk is that the person you are trying to impersonate has already voted and the election officials call the cops. Or that that they will try to vote after you did. Like you say, most people carry ID all the time, so it will be easy for the person you are impersonating to prove who they are and for the election officials to do something about the false ballot. You may not have to provide an ID to the voting officials, but just try that when you're sitting in a jail cell.

If impersonation is such a serious problem, then why don't we ever hear about the little old lady who didn't get to vote because someone voted under her name earlier in the day? Why don't we ever hear about the sketchy homeless guy who sprinted out of the polling station when the election official looked at him funny after noticing that the name he was trying to use had already voted?

Here's the thing: The type of election fraud that voter ID is intended to prevent is REALLY FUCKING EASY to detect. And yet we never hear about it. Haven't you ever wondered why that is? Try applying Occam's Razor: Is this because it almost happens, even without voter ID, or because of some massive big media / big government / big whatever conspiracy to keep the plebs from finding out The Truth? With all the partisan media on both sides, you'd think that someone would have run a story about it by now (and how it's The Other Side who's committing election fraud).

Comment: Re:Liability (Score 4, Interesting) 625

by ngg (#40624797) Attached to: Why Ultra-Efficient 4,000 mph Vacuum-Tube Trains Aren't Being Built

Won't be under an hour, unless we're pulling .2g or so.

More like 80-90 minutes.

Your point stands, however - it would make a bloody mint if it existed. If only from people who rode it just so they could say they did it....

I'm not sure I buy that: Round-trip flights between LA and New York can be had for under $300 and take 7-8 hours, including time at the airport. So what price premium is the public willing to pay to get there in 1/3 the time (assuming it takes some time to get on and off the train)? I have trouble believing the capital costs of a vacu-mag-lev passing through two mountain ranges is going to have a lower per-mile cost than the current California HSR (currently ~$100 billion for ~500 miles, or $200 million / mile).

Do you think you can really charge a big enough price premium to cover the extra capital and operating costs of such a thing? I think the Concorde has your answer.

Comment: Re:Thousandth of an inch (Score 5, Informative) 307

by ngg (#40445209) Attached to: Sandia's Floating, Dust-Free, Spinning Heatsink

I would suggest that one of the major reasons that US still uses Standard measurements in engineering has to do with "network effects" that date to the two world wars. During the second world war, European factories were heavily bombed and after the war they needed to be re-tooled. In contrast, American industry tooled up for the war, (using standard measurements) but was never bombed, leaving a surplus of high quality tools, many of which are still serviceable to this day. When you are making a new mill or lathe, it doesn't really matter whether it is calibrated in standard or metric, but re-calibrating an existing machine for a different system of units is very costly.

On a typical manual mill, for example, turning the traverse handwheel a complete revolution moves the table by an integer number of thousandths of an inch (usually 100 or 200, which are 2.54 and 5.08 mm). To operate the mill in metric units requires either that the operator remember that a revolution is 2540 micrometers (awkward) or rebuild a significant precision part of the machine (the leadscrews and leadscrew nuts). You might think that this wouldn't be a problem with CNC mills, but many use stepper motors to turn the leadscrews. Those stepper motors might have only 200 or 400 steps per revolution (giving a resolution of 1 to 0.25 mils, or 0.0254 mm to 0.00635 mm) which can make it inconvenient to use metric units.

If that weren't bad enough, collets (basically an adapter to hold the "bit" in the mill) come in standard sizes to hold mills (what you call a mill "bit" used on a milling machine. yes, it is confusing) of standard sizes, which are typically fractions of an inch on US equipment. When you are machining a piece of metal, the finite diameter of the mill it usually important. The accessories that go with a milling machine can easily add up to more than the cost of the machine itself. So, to really operate a mill in metric units in a convenient way, you'd also need re-purchase all the little parts that go with the mill.

Someone is probably going to reply that these issues don't apply to modern CNC tools. I'm not familiar with those, but the point is that there are a significant number inexpensive and serviceable tools in the US that can only work with metric units in a very awkward way (or at great expense).

Comment: Re:Both true (Score 2) 95

by ngg (#39486519) Attached to: Blackboard Buys Moodlerooms and Netspot

break when you do normal things like click the back button, and seems to get worse with each new release.

Yes, but after (how many years?) the latest release finally fixes the race condition that would delete an entire class's worth of grades if two teaching assistants (who teach, say, different lab sections for a single lecture section) dared to upload grades at the same time! The same release forces you to triple-click on a cell to enter a grade, but hey, we've almost advanced to 1960's-era databases!

But in all seriousness, I don't know a single professor in the department who would use Blackboard if it weren't mandated for all courses by the university administration.

Comment: Re:Economies of scale (Score 1) 302

by ngg (#39486215) Attached to: Hoover Dams For Lilliput: Does Small Hydroelectric Power Have a Future?

The argument against breeder reactors is that you need a lot less nuclear fuel, so that's not good for the people who dig it up and sell it. I can't find another one, anyway. Follow the money.

That's one argument. Another is that they encourage nuclear proliferation because (in some designs) the spent fuel can be reprocessed into either new fuel or weapons-grade fissile material. Other nations might have a stronger desire to start a breeder program if they saw them being used in first-world countries. A rogue nation could, in principle, divert the output of a breeder reactor to a weapons program (which would be bad). Is this a good argument? Heck, I don't know. There are certainly other first-world countries with breeder programs, so I don't think it makes much sense. But, you should at least be aware that it's out there.

Comment: Re:Idea's don't die (Score 4, Interesting) 70

by ngg (#39371067) Attached to: LightSquared Satellite Disabled By Last Week's Solar Storm
There's no 'probably' about it. LS bought spectrum that was specifically earmarked for use in satellite to ground communications (which was why they got such a bargain on it in the first place: no other potential bidder could think of a profitable way to use it). Their problems only began when LS decided that they wanted to use this inexpensive spectrum for ground to ground communications, instead of using a more expensive band like everybody else. They attempted to exploit a loop-hole that the FCC created when it allowed "supplemental" ground stations for sat broadcasts (like for inside tunnels) by launching a sat for an ostensibly satellite-based broadband business (while actually transferring the bulk of the data from ground-based transmitters).

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