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Comment Re:Electric. (Score 1) 659

Why stop there? Why not also object to tire friction, air friction etc? Let's not be pedantic here, the initial discussion was raw efficiency of the power plant, ICE vs electric motor, which basically means shaft output. You can significantly improve the overall efficiency of a system with a hybrid turbo-diesel setup where the TD drives a generator directly in its optimum power band, thus also gaining regen braking advantages etc. The most efficient setup may very well end up being a consumer targeted KERS system with a battery just big enough to always run the car electrically and a TDI engine just big enough to always keep the battery topped up. Long term of course a micro gas turbine could be the bestr answer, but those are only just starting to leave the R&D stages at small companies and aren't yet tested in high production volumes.

Comment Re:Electric. (Score 2) 659

> a GMC Yukon SLT that is nicer inside than most of what BMW, Audi, and Mercedes sells at that price point, it rides better

"Nicer" is truly in the eye of the beholder. I have yet to see an American vehicle whose interior doesn't--to me--scream cheap and amateurish plastic, your particular truck included. And "better ride" is also highly subjective. For me a better ride means a good amount of road feel without being jarring, good road feel through the steering wheel, a low center of gravity and the ability to take tight turns reliably and without losing traction or lots of body roll, etc. IOW the types of things a Yukon or Denali don't have a prayer in ever giving me, yet my lowly Jetta has in spades. I'm really not interested in tons of power since it's mostly pointless with our ludicrous speed limits. But I do want a stick shift so I can get really good 0 - 35mph times at the lights, which is where--let's face it--the real fun is! :D

Comment Re:Electric. (Score 3, Informative) 659

Here is a Wikipedia excerpt regarding modern turbo diesels, currently the most efficient automotive ICEs:

"Modern turbo-diesel engines are using electronically controlled, common-rail fuel injection, that increases the efficiency up to 50% with the help of geometrically variable turbo-charging system; this also increases the engines' torque at low engine speeds (1200-1800RPM)."

A 50% efficiency is pretty amazing and testament to over a century of dogged, steady improvement. We're approaching the theoretical maximum efficiency of the ICE.

Comment Follow the money... (Score 4, Informative) 109

My gut instinct says that very rarely do people in the public eye follow totally altruistic agendas, particularly when it comes to issues like this that have little to do with the common good. If you dig deep enough you can find special interest trails that more often than not uncover these people's true motivators. Just follow the money.

Comment Re: follow the money (Score 2, Insightful) 334

You're exactly right! I've done tons of "exploratory" coding over the years myself, either using some new techniques or new products, just for the fun of it or to learn something new. But that would always be on small, low visibility projects where the consequences of potential poor performance or other issues would be insignificant. To tread new ground on something so big with national visibility is foolish. You'd want the most well established and known reliable and performant tools and techniques possible. I played around a bit with these object based databases in the early days, and for some uses such as simple dictionary type access to a serialized object they're good. But the query syntax is almost always XPath oriented and less than optimal for complex joins such as you would find in massive systems like this. I guess they've learned their lesson now.

Comment Re:That's fine and dandy (Score 1) 289

I was mainly addressing your jackass "you obviously don't..." response to the guy above. As you mentioned the article contains no technical details, so neither you nor I have any basis for a great debate. Fact is only that various technologies DO exist to dramatically increase the effective throughput of optical drives, the question is only if any of them will be used in this particular product.


Comment Re:That's fine and dandy (Score 1) 289

You obviously don't understand SATA3--that's 6GBits/s, which given the encoding used is 600MBytes/s. While I haven't seen the technical details of these 300GB disks, historically the bit density has increased in both dimensions with each new generation of technology. I would also assume that to reach such high capacities they will go multi-layer, which opens the door for parallel reading of all layers. Furthermore, there is a lot of research into multi-track reading and writing technology, where the laser is split into multiple beams which are read back by a linear sensor array. That way a number of adjacent tracks can be read in a single revolution and reconstructed in a buffer into a single data stream that's effectively N times faster, N being the number of tracks. That, plus the higher bit density and multiple layers could come close to saturating the SATA3 bus. I'm sure that the engineers working on 300GB disks haven't sheepishly missed the data transfer bottleneck elephant in the room.

Comment Re:iterative innovation (Score 2) 417

To put it another way, as time goes on we're running out of simple ways of arranging magnets in novel configurations to create some new machines never before seen, or variations on this metaphor. To create truly new things requires orders of magnitude more work and knowledge.Look at battery technology, where the most groundbreaking improvement of the last century has been the Li-Ion battery, and that's no panacea either. Or how about the PEM fuel cell, potentially the holy grail of electric power generation? Scientists have been tinkering for decades to come up with a better and more eficient membrane and cheaper catalysts, and considering the potential payoff yet still no revolutionary break-throughs this has to be considered seriously difficult stuff. Oh, and how about flat screen TVs? The stuff of science fiction for over a century they are finally here, common and cheap and almost mundane, and they replaced the CRT faster than anybody could have predicted, in a few short years. Yet nobody is blown away by them because they weren't suddenly revealed at some big event with pomp and circumstance. We witnessed their excruciatingly slow gestation from the crappy LCD watches of the early 80s to the passive monochrome LCDs of the first generations of laptops to the much, much better active matrix LCDs to the first ridiculously expensive TV sets, to finally today's $200 Walmart special. After over thirty years of familiarity they're just not that flash anymore. Yet if you brought someone from the 60s here today (s)he'd be mesmerized by this miraculous new technology.

Comment Re:Stallman bitches, film at eleven (Score 2, Insightful) 597

Holy crap, here's the actual extract from http://www.stallman.org/archives/2006-may-aug.html#05, specifically the entry at 05 June 2006:

"I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing."

So unless his domain was hacked and these aren't his actual views, let me just sat WOW!

Incidentally, the parent poster presents some pretty widely held and well founded views, and even backs them up with references to the actual words of the person he attacks, and he still gets modded down? Welcome to /. indeed...

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan