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Comment Re:Efficiency (Score 1) 740 740

I'm actually a huge fan of the idea of an electric car with an external-combustion range extender under the hood. High-efficiency turbines (of the sort they use in industrial power generation, not the sort in aircraft and the M1 Abrams) are very durable, but also quite heavy. However, if we're talking about a 40 HP generator in a 400 HP car, it can afford to be 3x as heavy per HP as a normal car engine. Doubling the efficiency is worth something.

Comment Re:Jeremy clarkson does not approve (Score 1) 740 740

Not, dealers don't charge you for recalls - ever. That's why they're recalls. They charge the manufacturer, and usually make a bit of money in the process. Some things they won't fix unless you complain, but there's a list of things they'll fix the next time they see your car, if it needs them (because they're fast and the dealer makes a little money doing them). There's often a non-descriptive line buried in the invoice somewhere that lists some recall numbers or just mentions them obliquely, with no charge associated, so most people never notice.

How much this varies by brand, I don't know, but certainly the luxury dealers do this, and for safety-related recall everyone does (for the safety ones you'll probably get a postcard about the recall, but the dealer will still just do it automatically). It's not like they hide all this, they just don't call attention to it.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 740 740

Complaining about Whole Foods' prices is like complaining about the price of a Mercedes S-class.

Except that an S-class is actually good, while Whole Foods is explicitly a sort of scam designed by a conservative to separate foolish hippies from their money (this isn't a secret or anything). While WF didn't invent the "call it organic and charge twice as much" idea, they sure did capitalize on it.

They've really nailed the presentation of goods to fool hippies (well, more accurately, middle-class, middle-aged people who still think hippies are cool) into paying more for food. The model doesn't work so well for young hipsters though, which is why the corporation is creating a new chain of stores just to have a different presentation to target hipster suckers separately.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 740 740

At some point, the freeway system will go autonomous only with no set speed limit. That will be the day the last non-autonomous, non-just-for-fun car gets sold.

You live in a city, don't you. And anyhow:

I strip away the old debris that hides a shining car
A brilliant red Barchetta from a better vanished time
I fire up the willing engine, responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime

Wind in my hair
Shifting and drifting
Mechanical music
Adrenaline surge

Comment Re:Jeremy clarkson does not approve (Score 1) 740 740

Most cars get "automatic updates" from the dealer whenever you bring it into service. There's usually a long list of non-critical recalls that neither the manufacturer nor he dealer is keen to tell you about, but if you get service at the dealer all the fixes will be quietly applied. More and more, these are firmware patches.

So, to answer your question "so commonly that most people never realize there was an update". Tesla is somewhat unique in adding new features this way, but fixes are quite common.

Comment Re:Efficiency (Score 1) 740 740

They can potentially be powered by unicorn giggles, but there's still a lot of coal power in the US, and coal-powered cars aren't great by any measure. Worse, the only "renewable" (what a BS buzzword) power that scales is solar, and that's a poor choice for the mostly-nighttime load of charging cars.

There's no energy shortage in the first place to be worried about: the only good reason to buy an electric car is if it's a better car for the price. The Tesla Model S still isn't really, at the price, unless you're buying for 0-60 times (which I might well do), but for the first time it's close. The real test will be the Model 3 - potentially revolutionary, but so are a lot of things you can't actually buy.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 1) 500 500

No i am thinking of a warp drive. The Alcubierre drive or space time metric in particular. It the sort of metrics that lead to closed timelike space curvature or whatever (its been a while), ie time travel. In all these cases various things are not conserved that are wildly held to be conserved, requires negative energy etc.

Ah, sure, lots of things are called "warp drives" I guess. Yeah, that sort of drive seems wildly impractical for all sorts or reasons.

What I'm talking about is somewhat different: it's an asymmetric warping of spacetime in just the same (smooth and continuous) way that all mass distorts spacetime symmetrically, such that you "fall" in some chose direction. It doesn't require the same exotic material as a wormhole, but I think it requires soemthing equally exotic (it's been a while, but I vaguely remember there are 2 different kinds of negative mass).

Sure math can be predictive. But that leads you in the direction of a experiment, it is the experiment that matters.

No argument there. But if someone were really demonstrating a drive with unexpected properties, not just stage magic, that's an experiment worth repeating.

In otherwords we design the math to fit the universe we live in.

We do, but then we see what else that math predicts. Most of the really crazy-non-intuitive stuff in QM has come from very unexpected consequences of the math that later proved out in experiment.

Heck, the whole crazy idea that the universe once had an additional field that certain particles couple with, preventing change in spin polarity without energy input, but then that field "condensed:, and now those same particles can spontaneously change spin - that's all just seeing where the math led. Until the Higgs Boson was found, a big chunk of electroweak theory hadn't been directly confirmed by experiment.

Comment Re:Crooks are afraid of the dark, too (Score 3, Interesting) 214 214

I used to walk home through a park. Except on cloudless nights with no moon, you got enough reflected light to be able to see quite clearly across it. Then there some some hysteria about the potential for being attacked (triggered by a flasher, who only exposed himself to people in broad daylight) and they added a row of streetlights along the side of the path. If you stood about 10m from the path, you were completely invisible to someone walking along it, but they were clearly visible to you for their entire trip across the park (as were any potential witnesses on the path). If someone actually wanted to attack people crossing the park, the lights made it a lot easier. It would only take a few seconds to hit someone and drag them out of the visible area.

Comment Re:Truck Stops, Gas Stations, etc (Score 4, Interesting) 740 740

Randomly, the pump will display "please see register for receipt" upon selecting the print option. I've see it being random as the person after me (a friend), had his receipt print just fine. It's a fucking scam to lure people into the store and buy shit.

Comment Re:Streaming doesn't work (Score 1) 151 151

No, this lust for streaming is really for cloud content providers. The idea that you have a thin-client gaming console and the hardware is virtual to the player. Want to upgrade your experience with more CPU cycles and better video? Easy, make a one-time payment and add a virtual upgrade module. Or perhaps you can play different games at different "experience index levels" which really amps up the back-end hardware requirement. It's how the infrastructure gets paid for.

I don't mind the above model in some instances. Effectively, the console capability grows with the backend upgrades. But, let's not be under false understanding of what service model streaming is really for; and the consumer should be made aware of non-tangble upgrades and virtual hardware purchases.

A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"