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Comment Could have said the same about phones in 2006... (Score 1) 410

Most drivers have never experienced a car where tech makes the driving experience better, safer, and *less* cluttered and attention taking. Wait till most people have driven a Tesla or a future Apple car and see if they would choose to go back.

Pat

Comment Re:We the taxayer get screwed. (Score 5, Insightful) 356

and they go out of their way to hire veterans: http://www.military.com/vetera...

And they doing their best to insure that most of the battery production in the world will be done in the U.S. in the future: http://www.teslamotors.com/gig...

And oh by the way they are the future of the car industry... and perhaps getting the U.S. energy independent in a sustainable way...

But yah, let's bitch about giving them tax breaks... because we need to save those for more worthy industries (sarcasm).

Pat

Comment Transitional work as "co-pilots"... (Score 1) 615

What if we solve two problems at the same time by legislating that for some number of years self driving rigs have to have human co-pilots aboard (bear with me)... We'd still get most of the benefits of improved safety and 24 hour schedules and the humans could even do other work while on-board but they'd ostensibly be there to monitor the rig and take over in crazy situations (e.g. flat tire, fire, unexpected weather).

The flip side is that the public gets a (somewhat irrational but real) feeling of safety knowing that humans are on board... in the same way that I feel better about flying in a mostly auto-piloted aircraft because I know two people fully trained in the systems are trusting their lives to it.

So truck drivers turn into truck co-pilots for a few years, get an easier / safer job, and some of them retire during that time while we all get used to self-driving trucks on the road.
 

Comment Re:This guy has a better idea (Score 2) 221

The Tesla is fine in the cold (it's the most popular car in Norway). My point was just that there is lower hanging fruit to be had in terms of increasing car efficiency (another one is getting rid of side mirrors for aerodynamics) than waste heat in tires... I tend to agree with other posters that the tire heat thing sounds like nonsense.

Comment Re:This guy has a better idea (Score 3, Informative) 221

This is actually relevant to the OP because the biggest bang for the buck in capturing wasted energy in modern electric cars like the Tesla is the inability to do full regenerative braking in the winter when the battery is too cold to receive the full charge rate. When the temperature is low regen braking in the Tesla is limited (ranging from almost nothing up to the full 60kW) based on how cold the battery is. The car actually makes strategic decisions about when to spend power to *heat* the battery because the energy put into warming the (large) battery mass will at some point be more than outweighed by the gains in regen braking recouped energy.

It must be very frustrating for the Tesla engineers to have a 60kW "free" energy source and limit it because the batteries can't take the charge rate. It seems naively like that energy could be put directly into heating the battery, but I'm sure there are a lot of engineering issues (you probably can't just dump 60kW into a point heating source, etc.)

So, solving *that* problem would probably make Teslas 20% more efficient than they are now in the winter... and that would add up to a *lot* of energy.

Comment Re:Oh look, it's the Java killer... (Score 1) 253

It's a reflex - Those of us who live through the 90's haven't quite gotten over how Microsoft screwed over the world and tried to kill the Web in its infancy. Do you like HTML5? Well, we could have had the modern web ~20 years ago if Microsoft hadn't deliberately set out to destroy it by licensing Java and making sure a slightly incompatible, outdated version of it was on every desktop for a decade. They spent a billion dollars to create IE and drive Netscape out of business. During the DOJ lawsuit in 1998 they produced emails with people literally talking about how they had to "pollute Java" in order to ruin cross-platform apps and web browsers that threatened their desktop business model. I don't think most programmers who have grown up with JavaScript have any idea that it was designed as an afterthought - to be a glue language to bind HTML to Java applications and Java based browsers with real application and security models.

I am happy the Microsoft is turning over a new leaf and like C#, but I'm waiting for a big apology...

Comment Re:Wait a minute (Score 4, Informative) 248

In a normal hydraulic system there is a pump that re-pressurizes and returns the hydraulic fluid to a reservoir. To save weight and complexity here since the hydraulics are only used for a few minutes they instead use an "open" hydraulic system in which the pressure comes from a tank of compressed gas and the hydraulic fluid is expelled or burned up as it is used. (The fluid goes one way - out - as it is used).

After the pressurized gas or fluid was used up they no longer had control over the fins.

Comment Microcenter is the new Radio Shack... (Score 1) 314

I have a soft spot in my heart for Radio Shack having grown up with it as the source for so many amazing things, but it should have evolved years ago. Microcenter is a chain that is closer to the big box format - they have cheap computer and gaming stuff (kind of like the old CompUSA) but they also have a pretty big section way in the back dedicated to hackers/makers with real, modern components such as Arduinos and nice tools.

Radio Shack didn't have the floor space to sell useful stuff and keep their geek cred section... They want to be a boutique but people don't buy boutique stuff at strip malls anymore...

Comment Re:MORE SHIT??? (Score 1) 177

You'd rather have to rely on the Flash plugin? You realize you can now watch YouTube and other sites flash-free but you don't see that as reducing bloat?
Related - MP4 in Firefox fixes one of the most irritating bugs in the history of the web - the fact that browser shortcuts don't work while you are watching a flash video.

Pat

Comment Re:Battery tech is dead-end in cars (Score 1) 124

Hydrogen fuel cells cannot even compete with *current* battery technology much less future batteries in the labs. The process of creating hydrogen, compressing it, and distributing it is insanely inefficient and dangerous and the idea that we are going to create a whole new hydrogen infrastructure in the world when every home already has electricity is just nuts. You are never going to fill your vehicle or your lawn mower with hydrogen at home. You can charge a Tesla to half its rated range in 20 minutes (for free no less) at locations all over the country and that will only improve (Tesla has said they hope to get it down to 5-10 minutes.) And if there were some reason one needed super fast stop-and-go Tesla has demo'd swapping their batteries in 90 seconds gas station style.

It's clear that battery tech has won and the only people still talking about hydrogen are people who have lots of IP invested in hydrogen.

You scratch my tape, and I'll scratch yours.

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