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Comment this will go nowhere (Score 1) 150

This is a lot of hype that the airline is using to get some publicity, and the idea is interesting, but will not take flight (hah). Taxiing is such a minimal part of the fuel burn, and of low relative cost, that the added complexity, not to mention certification hurdles, extra weight, etc. etc. of a new airworthy component will not be worth it.

You are carrying something with hydrogen (not a huge deal, but extra hurdles), heavy, and interacting with existing aircraft systems.I know of no example (or cannot easily think of one) where a fuel cell is currently certificated as an aircraft operating component (which I believe it would have to be, as described).

Richard Branson wanted to try something similar a decade ago for Virgin Atlantic, with a biofuel powered robotic mini-tugs that would clamp on to the wheels and tow aircraft to the runway. Even that idea went nowhere -- much less something that has to be a part of the airplane and fly. Funny how all the ideas get forgotten and tried again.

Comment it's not a story about blood (Score 5, Insightful) 66

The real story here is not about some medical device or a failed test.

The story, and reason we take pleasure in this downfall is because a charismatic, supposed prodigy, Stanford-privileged, everyone-wants-to-believe-in-successful-woman CEO, who was able to convince funders based on flashy visions and compelling talk, has been found out to have nothing behind the emperor's clothes. And that so many people who are purportedly expert at evaluating technology got collectively duped/brainwashed into believing a whole bunch of fluff based on no more than a TED talk-level technology pitch.

While others who are working on real demonstrable technology, and do not get the benefit of celebrity status, Silicon Valley connections, get passed over for grants / VC money / recognition because they're not connected or privileged in the same way.

Stop believing so much in the vision and hype. Ask for and act on real results more.

Comment vulnerable to challenge (Score 1) 353

Would this pass muster under challenge regarding the interstate commerce clause? Can New York restrict what phones are allowed for a manufacturer in a different state to sell in its state, based on these reasons?

I imagine this bill would fail for a number of reasons, before and after legislative passage...

Comment wrong classes (Score 4, Funny) 330

Oops, I was hoping that the article was about 3 different seating classes for the interstellar travel, as in:
  • -- 1st class (extra legroom, all-you-can-breathe oxygen, plus massages)
  • -- Business (minimum guarantee not to be ejected to space if energy concerns)
  • -- Economy frozen (we'll wake you up when you get there, though may incur extra $50 fee)

I dearly hope so. For those who can barely tolerate the rest in steerage, imagine decades with your fellow man!

Comment Re:why stockpiling? (Score 1) 292

After seeing peoples' replies below, I did a little math. SoCal residential uses about 244 billion cf gas each year (ref and ref ) and let's assume that is what this inventory is used for. 244 billion cf gas = 20.2 billion pounds (using 12.076 cf per pound of standard gas ref).

So according to the article, 150 million pounds have been leaked, or 0.7% of the above annual usage.

If the rate of 110,000 pounds per hour continues for 2 months, making some assumptions from the article, then 158 million pounds more will leak, or another 0.8% of the stockpile.

Why can't anyone put it in terms like this for people to better visualize the issue...

Comment piezoelectric effect (Score 4, Informative) 71

This has long been known, and as usual not super new news.

Even in 1975 ("Haicheng Earthquake" ), schoolchildren who had been given electrical measurement kits began to detect unusual fluctuations in ground voltage. This earthquake is one of the few that have reasonably legitimately been claimed to have been predicted on the order of days in advance, with significant population lives saved by concrete action beforehand (could be fortuitous coincidence, but they definitely saw the warning signs -- and note that this earthquake is one of the many documented where animals foretold the earthquake through unusual activity).

There have also been reports of the atmosphere turning purple/blue around the location of an impending earthquake, which is probably what led to the work here. What is new is some more consistent effort to try to detect the precursors.

My uninformed interpretation of the phenomenon is that geophysical / piezoelectric stress in the rocks induces voltages/currents in the ground, which in turn cause atmospheric electrical effects that can be detected.

Comment the new Swiss watch crisis (Score 3, Insightful) 86

Funny how things go round and round.

In the 1970s the Swiss makers found themselves under attack from the new cheaper quartz watches. (wikipedia for "quartz crisis") They could no longer plausibly claim that their handcrafted puffery resulted in more accurate timekeeping. So they had to change their marketing message from "accuracy" to "heirloom timepieces" bullshit (hence why you see messages like, "you don't just buy a Pat** Phi***, you only take care of it for the next generation." etc)

You would think that they (like religious science-deniers) would just accept that that is their niche, and stay with it. But now they have to catch up with the smart watch too, or risk losing the next generation of watch buyers.

So let's see how their message of "preserving an heirloom timepiece" stands up against the reality of a battery that lasts for 24 hours, and consumer electronics that get thrown out after 2 years... When the guts of your watch are indistinguishable from a $75 piece of crap, who's going to believe the marketing hype?

Comment so what method does he propose? (Score 1) 309

Lessig didn't even make the top 7 of the list of potential Democratic candidates. If anyone has a claim that they've been unfairly removed from the candidacy, it's the candidate at #4 or 5 who didn't get included in the debate -- yet no such claim has been made by any of those others.

*Some* method has to be used to gradually reduce the list of people to debate. What does Lessig propose? He could not even gather the support for that. Is that the fault of the process, or him?

Comment Google Fi project (Score 1) 190

The only reason I've been considering this phone is to let my family join the Google Fi project, because of the reasonable plan $ options ($20/month, and good data rates), and the ability to roam globally without extortionate fees. (and just to stick it to the major carriers assholishness).

However, regardless of how good the phone may be relative to past versions of Nexus, they're all familiar with iPhone and iOS now, and to break out of that is a big hurdle in itself. The tie-ins of iMessage, ease of using apps, user interface, etc, all conspire to keep us using iOS.

This is why it's hard to break up ecosystems... iPhone does most everything we want, but it just costs too much to switch.

Comment don't blame Apple for all this (Score 1) 117

Don't just blame Apple for all this. Blame the Australian government and their protectionist policies that enable companies to take advantage of customers because they have no alternatives.

Go to Australia and you will see ridiculously priced cars, books, food items, software, tons of other consumer items. All protected from imports in the name of "promoting Australian industry", i.e. protecting them from competition.

Software licenses that cost 2-3x in the US or 10x in India. And books? Are you kidding? Books? No -- it is real. Australian authors "protected" from competition by charging more for books from overseas. As if you can promote Australian writing by taxing foreign books more...

These are the idiots that we put in charge of our interests.

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