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Comment: Re:This has been played out before... (Score 1) 528

by swb (#49797529) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

The only problem with an electric auxillary motor is that it would take a ton of power and I'm not sure the battery size/weight to get any meaningful runtime out of it would be at all practical.

One thing that I have seen that seems 'new' and might make an electric motor work are variable-speed diesel DC generators. They feed some kind of DC-DC converter/charge controller to provide a fixed DC voltage that can charge batteries or feed an inverter and could probably supply DC to the motor, too, although I haven't seen the converters for 48vdc.

Supposedly they're extremely efficient as they have the electrical generation built into the flywheel, so there's no mechanical losses from a belt or shaft driven generator. Because the charge controller is setup to convert a wide range of DC voltage to a fixed voltage, the engine can be run at varying speeds depending on electrical need, rather than requiring a fixed RPM required to generate AC power. Battery charging can happen at low speeds for improved fuel efficiency. I think they also enable the use of very small diesel engines, saving space.

At least this way you could have one IC engine that does both generation and could act as a power source for a motor. With enough battery, docking and exiting marinas could be done on battery alone. And you'd only need one IC engine for electrical power and auxillary propulsion.

Comment: Re:You shortchange Mad Max 1 -- I want a prequel (Score 1) 230

by swb (#49792495) Attached to: In a 5-star rating scheme, the new Mad Max film ...

I guess it's a question of word choice.

  I think post-apocalyptic means after an apocalyptic event, usually a singular catastrophe like a nuclear war or other major event that has a massive scale and results in multiple and total systemic failures. TRW, MM3, MMFR are all literal post-apocalyptic because they imply or are directly the result of a war.

I think MM1 was "pre-apocalyptic" because there hadn't been a specific singular event yet there was something of a social, political and economic crisis happening concurrent with the storyline. Police service hadn't completely ended, just shrunk in scope and effectiveness. Fuel and other economic goods had become more scarce but not wholly unavailable and the social order was threatened but not totally broken down.

Probably not the greatest terminology, but it kind of seemed to fit better than "critical decline" or something similar, at least in comparison to films that mostly claimed to be sequels which took place after an apocalyptic crisis brought on by the declines seen in the first film.

Comment: Re:Corruption? In Russia? (Score 2) 94

by hawkfish (#49791697) Attached to: Russian Space Agency Misused $1.8 Billion, May Be Replaced

You don't like the numbers that have been published but have no facts to support what you would rather believe so you attack the reputation of the source of the numbers as your fallback. Have you considered pursuing a career as a lawyer or politician? You would fit right in.

My point is that you have no facts either, just the rantings of one of the most corrupt politicians in the House (which is ironic, given that we are talking about corruption...) You did not provide any sources for Mr. Issa's claim - and neither did the Post article you cited. In fact, the same article provided another (unsourced) number that was less than half what Mr. Issa claims.

Moreover, the article you linked was not written by the Post itself, but by some "senior principal analyst" at a company that specialises in government contracting! Do you think that maybe claiming that their competitors are missing billions of dollars in "waste, fraud and abuse" might just be a marketing ploy?

Comment: Re:This has been played out before... (Score 1) 528

by swb (#49791669) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

As a person who spends a significant amount of their time planning my fantasy boat, it looks like in terms of equipment selection, 12v and 24v seem to be kings with much less choice once you get to 48vdc.

Now this is mostly for recreational boats up to about 50'. The larger vessels seem to be more inclined to support 24v because they have the space for larger battery arrays and more flexibility to support 12v runs for the many accessories that only run on 12v.

The more run of the mill boats seem to be exclusively 12v because they have less space for battery arrays, their engines are default setup for 12v alternators.

But even when you get into larger trawler-type cruisers, they may have 24v or even 48v arrays, but that mostly seems to be because almost every appliance they have is 115vac and they're just looking for power efficiency when they're not running off the generator anyway.

Comment: Re:"low end" (Score 4, Insightful) 337

by swb (#49791267) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

No, I don't see it as in issue for anybody.

Every iPhone I buy has been used *hard* for two years by two busy professionals working as consultants, and then used continuously as a home telephone (we kept our landline number and ported it to a cell number because it was actually cheaper than the monthly taxfest that is a landline) and then used pretty hard by a 10 year old boy after that.

I may buy a new iPhone every year, but every one of those iPhones gets used for four years and by then it's not even a question of battery that's an issue, but of software and processor obsolescence for any kind of a serious tasks, and I don't think that's really all that different for Android users, either. The only hardware issue I've ever had was a volume up button on a 4S that crapped out six months in, and it was swapped out in store for a replacement phone in 10 minutes.

I really don't understand guys like you that are so angry about people who do buy a phone every year. Admittedly the biggest "feature" add on year on year is mostly CPU/RAM, although the screen size bump with the iPhone 6 Plus has been the main thing this year. It's a fucking tax writeoff for us and even if we bought 2-3 phones individually we'd be looking at upgrades every 18 months or so anyway, so one every 12-14 months doesn't seem outrageous.

I sometimes think the hostility is because you're too broke, too cheap or just flat-out jealous.

Comment: Re:You shortchange Mad Max 1 -- I want a prequel (Score 1) 230

by swb (#49791161) Attached to: In a 5-star rating scheme, the new Mad Max film ...

I don't know that I totally buy into that, but I guess far enough to see "Mad Max" as a character concept that George Miller keeps making a series of seemingly related movies about.

What seems unfortunate, though, is that there's never been any real narrative or story developed after Mad Max I. RW and FR are highly entertaining movies, but they're just chase movies with outlandish costuming. Fast and Furious has more character development.

Comment: Re:"low end" (Score 1) 337

by swb (#49790621) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

I'll be slightly less abrasive than above, but my experience with the "non replaceable" battery in every iPhone since 3GS is that battery failure has been a non-issue.

I buy a new iPhone every year, pass my old one to my wife, and her now "old" phone becomes our house phone, and the "old" house phone becomes an iPod for my son on trips.

So by the time it gets to iPod status it has been used as a daily phone with frequent charging (me), abusive charging (my wife lets hers get down to 10-20% constantly and doesn't charge in the car, etc), sitting in a charging dock, on, for a solid year as the house phone and then getting used intermittently by my son. It still seems to hold a reasonable charge -- he uses it constantly during a 3 hour plane ride and then more still after we get off the plane without any complaints of short battery life.

I don't really see the "non replaceable" battery as an issue. Even when I had a replaceable battery phone, I only just swapped batteries at home. The few times I decided to haul a battery around with me, I use it so infrequently that it was half discharged by the time I needed it.

If you suck down so much battery during normal use and can't charge off a computer or socket, any of the LiO USB chargers would be fine or even one of the battery cases.

Comment: Re:related news today re: Apple Car (Score 1) 75

by swb (#49789425) Attached to: GM To Offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto API In Most 2016 Vehicles

I don't think Apple wants to be in the car manufacturing business with a car of their own anymore than they want to be in the PC and smartphone manufacturing business. With consumer electronics, though, you only have to be in the design business (and only partially, since they buy a lot of technology from someone else -- AFAIK, they don't design display panels, radio chipsets, flash memory, RAM, etc).

With cars, though, there's not really a contract manufacturer who does the assembly, you have to do that yourself although you can buy a lot of parts from OEMs like Bosch and others.

I think Apple sees a way to become a marquis branded supplier to other car makers. Building an "Apple Car" is a design exercise, a way to see how what they do can be applied to electric cars and I'm sure it has a lot to do with dashboard electronics and "user interface" as much as it does with anything else. There may also be less sexy opportunities in terms of what they know about battery management.

Comment: You shortchange Mad Max 1 -- I want a prequel (Score 2) 230

by swb (#49789361) Attached to: In a 5-star rating scheme, the new Mad Max film ...

Mad Max 1 wasn't even a post apocalyptic movie. The director didn't have a lot of money so they just did some thing about a guy surviving gangs. He was surprised when he heard people uniformly fill in the blanks that it was post apocalyptic. Anyway, it isn't that great... but it isn't bad either. There is basically no plot period.

Mad Max 1 wasn't "post-apocalyptic" but I think it was more interesting than that -- it was *pre* apocalyptic. It was set in an era of severe social and economic decline. Petroleum was becoming very scarce. Government services were basically in tatters, law enforcement was marginal at best -- they had basically lost control of the countryside and rural areas -- there was basically no law enforcement in the small town where the biker gang picked up the Nightrider's coffin and terrorized the townspeople.

And of all four of the films, it has the most plot and narrative. It's characters were much more representative of real people and situations. It's true the social breakdown/decline weren't well fleshed out, though.

IMHO, this setting is actually more interesting than the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the Road Warrior. Road Warrior was a fun film, but it was really nothing more than an action film with an S&M wardrobe that recycled the character and car from Mad Max but made no coherent effort to conceptually link the two films.

I haven't seen Thunderdome in years, but in retrospect it was kind of a joke although I seem to remember being entertained by it. Fury Road was basically a reboot of Road Warrior -- highly enjoyable, but other than a name and a leather jacket it really had no connection with the other films.

Personally, I'd like to see a prequel to Mad Max 1 that traces the origin of the MFP, the rise of Max Rockatansky and does more to flesh out the decline of civilization. I think that setting is more interesting than the bizarre mythos of The Humongous from Road Warrior or the cartoon world of Fury Road.

There was a recent film with Guy Pearce called "The Rover" which was set in a modern, post-economic collapse Australia that would serve as a good inspiration for a Mad Max prequel. I think Guy Pearce would make a good Max Rockatansky, too.

Comment: Re:Corruption? In Russia? (Score 1) 94

by hawkfish (#49786967) Attached to: Russian Space Agency Misused $1.8 Billion, May Be Replaced

I would love to see your evidence of this as the GAO would be out of a job if they left that much waste.

Have you heard of this thing called a search engine? You should try it.

Here is just one article that came up as the first result on Google: Federal government continues to lose billions to waste, fraud and abuse

If you have any more questions you can ask Darrell Issa who chairs the House Oversight Committee whose committee was investigating said fraud and reported the numbers given.

I have serious doubts that Darrell "Benghazi!!!!" Issa would know corruption if it bit him in the nether regions. And before you go all partisan on me, you should note that the list of dishonorable mentions on the same page is balanced between the parties.

Comment: Re:Hobbit (Score 1) 275

by Black Parrot (#49780489) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

There's still a big killer lurking out in space that can't be easily avoided: radiation.

Except underground, which is the obvious solution but people are too fixated on making housing above the ground.

Except the article was talking about getting killed by the radiation exposure during the trip.

Presumably you aren't suggesting flying to Mars in a hobbit-hole. (Though if you could sneak a couple of tokes on Gandalf's pipe you might experience a good simulation.)

Disobedience: The silver lining to the cloud of servitude. -- Ambrose Bierce