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+ - How Silicon Valley got that way -- and why it will continue to rule.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Lots of places want to be "the next Silicon Valley." But the Valley's top historian looks back (even talks to Steve Jobs about his respect for the past!) to explain why SV is unique. While there are threats to continued dominance, she thinks its just too hard for another region to challenge SV's supremacy.
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Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 1) 499

by Jeremi (#49593271) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

2) Cloud... And the difference [between sunny-day production and cloudy-day production] is less than you'd think - it's about 90% of summer rather than the 25% or similar you might think.

That has not been my experience. For example, here is my system's output on April 25th (which was a cloudy day), and here is the output on April 26th (which was a sunny day). The cloudy-day output was about 10% of the the sunny-day output.

Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 2) 499

by Jeremi (#49593225) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

What would make solar energy viable would be panels that didn't cost $30,000 to buy and install. [...] I just don't happen to have $30K laying around.

This game changer has already occurred in many places. There are many locations where you can get a home solar array installed without paying any money for it, because the installing company is willing to pay for the equipment and installation in return for selling you the generated power. This is appealing to consumers because they get a significant reduction in their monthly power bill, they don't have to pay anything, and they don't have to take on the risk of not getting the expected return on their investment.

The fact that solar companies are willing to take the financial risk on the customer's behalf indicates that the risk/reward ratio of home solar installations is already low enough to be economically viable, and it will only improve over time.

Comment: How we do it in Canada (Score 5, Informative) 36

by spaceyhackerlady (#49581061) Attached to: World-First Remote Air Traffic Control System Lands In Sweden

In Canada we have an intermediate step between untowered uncontrolled airports and controlled airports with towers, Mandatory Frequency airports. They have a ground station with whom you must communicate for arrival and departure. They dispense information and coordinate activities, but do not give clearances. As pilot you make those decisions.

An example MF airport I've flown to is Kamloops, BC (CYKA). On initial contact the ground station told me the wind, altimeter setting and active runway, but also advised me of skydiving activity north of the airport. Since this might conflict on the usual left-hand circuit pattern, they suggested I fly a right hand circuit on approach. I did, and landed. This wasn't binding on me - the decision and responsibility were mine - but it was a good idea.


Comment: Re:Car analogy (Score 1) 125

Telling people they'll be okay once they know how to drive is the wrong idea.

The difference between driving and VR is that VR is supposed to simulate your being physically present inside a computer-generated environment. People already know how to physically exist in a location. If the VR system requires special training to interact with, then the V isn't doing a very good approximation of the R.

Comment: Re:The grid needs storage - not battery storage (Score 2) 329

by Jeremi (#49568889) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

A used car battery won't hold a charge, or deliver current. That's why they are replaced after all.

I think you might have a misconception here -- it sounds like you are thinking of the engine-starter batteries used in a gasoline-engine car. The used batteries the previous poster is referring to are the (much larger) battery packs from an electric car. Those batteries are typically swapped out when their capacity deteriorates to the point where the car's maximum range is no longer acceptable. In that state, the batteries are still perfectly capable of holding a charge and delivering current; just not as much charge as when they were new.

Comment: Re:But why? (Score 1) 634

by tylikcat (#49568755) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

And multiple effects might be in play. The content might be cool enough to encourage women to try out a field which is stereotyped as being unfriendly to women - but then, if they get there and there are enough women that the stereotype doesn't hold, that might be a large part of why they're staying there.

Comment: Re:Not enough resourcees (Score 4, Insightful) 480

by Jeremi (#49560283) Attached to: Audi Creates "Fuel of the Future" Using Just Carbon Dioxide and Water

There isn't enough CO2 in the atmosphere to make this work.

That's okay, because they are unlikely to be taking the CO2 out of the atmosphere anyway. It would be much cheaper and easier to capture and reuse the outputs of an existing CO2 source (e.g. a coal plant) than it would be to suck CO2 out of the ambient air.

Comment: No need to overthink this (Score 5, Insightful) 359

by Jeremi (#49557801) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Google's social networking features remain marginal for the same reason all of the other social networking sites remain marginal: the value of a social networking application is proportional to the number of people who are already using it. And Facebook hit critical mass first, which means that anyone who wants to "socialize" online with all of their buddies is going to want to do that on Facebook, because that's where all of their buddies are to be found online.

Asking people to also sign up for a second social-networking service is a losing proposition, because it inconveniences them (now they have to check two sites every day) without providing any compensating benefit (why talk to their friends on site B when they could already do that on site A?).

Comment: Re:Correctly incorrect units (Score 2) 172

by spaceyhackerlady (#49545459) Attached to: I spend most of my time ...

If they used reasonable numbers of significant figures I wouldn't mind so much. Since the altitude is specified to three significant figures (FL350), how about 10.7 km? The Air New Zealand system only did metric, BTW.

A later flight (Air Canada) had the bilingual in-flight thingy giving U.S.-bastardized units in English, and metric units (with, as usual, too many significant figures) in French.


Comment: Correctly incorrect units (Score 1) 172

by spaceyhackerlady (#49540963) Attached to: I spend most of my time ...

I just got back from a vacation in Australia, and was annoyed that the in-flight display thingy insisted on displaying everything in "correct" units.

Showing the plane's altitude as 10,668 meters is all well and good, but is missing the point. Even a pilot from New Zealand (I was flying Air New Zealand) would have given the altitude as 35,000 feet. Flight level 350, strictly speaking, but few non-aviators would know what that meant.

Yes, I know they use metric altitudes and flight levels in Russia and China...


FORTRAN rots the brain. -- John McQuillin