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Comment: Re:Highlander III did it already... (Score 2) 421

by taiwanjohn (#49115703) Attached to: What If We Lost the Sky?

Thanks for sharing, that's the first time I've seen a somewhat thoughtful and serious (if not rigorous) attempt to debunk Savory's claims. Unfortunately, it disappoints on several fronts. First it gets some key facts wrong. For example, Holistic Management is not a "livestock management system" it is applicable to any context, not just agriculture. The livestock management system used by Savory is called Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing (MIRG) or just "rotational grazing" for short. A minor distinction, perhaps, but one that Savory takes pains to make clear in numerous lectures. So, right out of the gate, it tells me that this author might not know as much as he thinks he does about Savory's methods.

In general, the entire piece is long on "common sense" or "everybody knows that..." claims, and short on actual scientific citations. (I counted zero throughout... maybe I missed one?) It also has some contradictions and logical failings. For example, "Most arid grasslands have low productivity, thus low ability to store new sources of carbon." This ignores the whole point of MIRG, which is to improve the health and productivity of marginal lands, thus increasing their ability to sequester carbon. I could go on, but I don't have all day.

Yes, before and after photos may just be "anecdotal" evidence, but at least they are evidence. I didn't see much in the way of superior or more-rigorous evidence in this article.

Meanwhile, folks like Joel Salatin and thousands of others continue to enjoy success with MIRG on 6 out of 7 continents, in virtually every type of climate where grazing is possible.

Comment: Re: They're pedaling as fast as they can... (Score 1) 257

by taiwanjohn (#49062061) Attached to: Tesla Factory Racing To Retool For New Models

Hm.. well... you pretty-much validate my point here. If you are buying TSLA as a "hot stock" investment, then you deserve to take your short-term loss. But if you instead had the "vision" to see this as a long-term opportunity, you might understand why we are still YEARS away from knowing how the TSLA gamble will play out. And you would not be perturbed by random fluctuations in the market.

Comment: Re: They're pedaling as fast as they can... (Score 4, Interesting) 257

by taiwanjohn (#49061157) Attached to: Tesla Factory Racing To Retool For New Models

And peddling too... ;-)

Seriously, we've heard this gripe before, and gotten over it just fine. They used to complain that it couldn't be done. Then the Roadster proved them wrong. Then they said it couldn't be repackaged for the "mainstream" luxury market, until Tesla started shipping the Model S. Then they said Tesla would never be able to ramp up Model S production to meet demand, until... well, they're still trying to catch up with the backlog of orders, but they are making progress.

And simultaneously they are also (finally) bringing the Model X to market and investing heavily in the Giga Factory to enable high-volume production of ALL electric vehicles, especially their own Model 3.

FTFA: "Tesla has lost its luster, he said, and could soon lose credibility."

Any investor who is so short-sighted as to sell off Tesla shares based on the incidental losses last quarter had no business buying those shares in the first place. Elon has been crystal clear about his plans for Tesla's development right from the beginning. If you're freaked out about strict GAAP losses at such an early stage of growth, then you don't have a realistic understanding of how such large (huge) capital-intensive enterprises bootstrap themselves. Such investors were just looking for a short-term capital gain, and wet their pants at the first sign of slow-down in Tesla's meteoric rise. Good riddance to them.

Bottom line: Tesla has a multi-thousand-customer waiting list for the Model S, and 20K reservations for the Model X... If you do the math, that's a couple BILLION in pent-up demand for a product that only Tesla currently provides. And lucky for them, they haven't even built those factories yet. So unlike the "major players" in the market, they don't have to "re-tool"... they're building from scratch, which gives them an advantage at least as big as the disadvantage you claim.

Comment: Re:Home battery power (Score 1) 131

If every home and business had a battery system capable of delivering 24 hours of average load, we could switch to 100% renewable energy sources virtually overnight. (It would still take several years, even under ideal conditions, I know.) I'd venture to say that enabling such a transition is Elon's primary impetus for bringing the "home battery" to market.

I'm just spitballin' here, but I bet they'll figure some way to integrate the battery pack with a solar installation in such a way as to satisfy the grid-tie requirements that some states have recently imposed, while still delivering "off-grid" functionality. If, for example, they only start feeding power back into the grid after the battery pack is fully charged, then they could still satisfy some of these local statutes while delivering "effectively" off-grid capability in times of need.

Comment: Re:Sounds like a business opportunity... (Score 1) 121

by taiwanjohn (#49050423) Attached to: Study: 8 Million Metric Tons of Plastic Dumped Into Oceans Annually

Interesting. Thanks for pointing that out. I admit I'd been misled by photographs of visible "floating islands" of debris, but after reading my own Wikipedia link I see that you are right. That is a bummer.

Why do people dump trash in the ocean, anyway? I've always found that puzzling.

Comment: Re:Sounds like a business opportunity... (Score 3, Interesting) 121

by taiwanjohn (#49049003) Attached to: Study: 8 Million Metric Tons of Plastic Dumped Into Oceans Annually

It's been over a decade since I first saw thermal polymerization mentioned here. I've often wondered if it would be economical to build a ship around such a contraption in order to trawl through the great ocean gyres, scooping up plastic garbage, squeezing out the water, and rendering it down into some kind of fuel. I reckon the process could be made energy-positive, but whether it would be enough to turn a profit is a tougher question.

Comment: Re:Animal, not plant (Score 1) 68

by taiwanjohn (#49032471) Attached to: Converting Sunlight Into Liquid Fuel With a Bionic Leaf

For actual artificial photosynthesis, check out Nate Lewis's work at Cal-Tech. In a nutshell: They note that natural photosynthesis is only about 2% efficient, so they are looking to improve on nature in this process, using off-the-shelf semiconductor printing processes. IIRC, they build a "forest" of upright conductive columns a few nano-meters apart, in order to mimic the band-gap of visible photons. He describes it in some detail in this lecture from a couple of years ago.

Comment: Re:SpaceX and India? (Score 1) 91

by taiwanjohn (#49012413) Attached to: DARPA's ALASA Could Pave Way For Cheaper, Faster Satellite Launches

If you've actually run the numbers, I'm happy to concede the point. but I think it's still an open possibility. And I think the larger point stands: This is all about convenience and flexibility, the ability to get eyes and/or ordnance onto any specific target on the globe in under an hour. If you have a different explanation, please share.

Comment: Re:SpaceX and India? (Score 1) 91

by taiwanjohn (#49011765) Attached to: DARPA's ALASA Could Pave Way For Cheaper, Faster Satellite Launches

It all depends on how much delta-V you can impart to your projectile, and by what means (and on what vector). Yes, it's a big push, but you've got 80lbs of reaction mass to work with (at least). It's not hard to imagine making this work with a very simple mechanical device. In particular, if you launch a spotter/sniper pair of satellites, they can both be optimized for their particular jobs.

For example, the spotter-sat could eject a small "hummingbird" reentry vehicle shortly after reaching orbit, in order to descend over the target area, and still be hovering on station a half-hour later when then "sniper-sat" comes into range.

IOW, yes that IS how orbital mechanics work, if you can generate enough delta-v, pointed in the right direction. Once you make interface with the upper atmosphere, you've got the ability to "steer" toward your target.

The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected. -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June 1972