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Comment Re:I like some parts (Score 1) 51

I would like to see a series of detailed plans that show, for example, the R Value of the insulation, especially with the broad window exposure, the kWh capacity of the panels, the storage capacity, and more.

You can see most of the construction documents on the Solar Decathlon site. They have to be published as part of the competition rules.

Also, it needs upscaling for real-world families. For a young couple with no kids and both working outside the home, who only need a place to sleep, it appears ideal. That ain't me or my family. Where's my office for my writing and programming? What would be the impact on the energy system of the five computers I use constantly, or the ones others in my family use? Where's my media room, the big screen for my movie enjoyment?

Where are the bedrooms for my kids and grandkids when they visit?

As part of the competition, they needed to specify who their target market is and they are limited to 1000 square feet no matter what they choose, so the house will be on the small side for a family.

PV Water heat sounds nice, but for how much water? How does it handle a real winter? Is there propane backup for winter use?

Still, there are some good ideas here. Maybe When I build the next house, I will use some of them.

That is the real purpose of the Solar Decathlon - to get people to think about energy usage and to spur development of better clean energy technology.

Comment Re:Okay, sounds good... (Score 1) 51

When I participated in this event in 2011 (I was on the University of Maryland team which won that year), the rule was that the estimated cost of the house - were it to be made as a regular building by regular contractors - could not exceed $200,000.
The rules have only changed a bit since then - the new limit is $250,000.

You can see the full rules here:
The affordability contest rules are at the bottom of page 25.

Submission + - FirefoxOS-based Matchstick project ends; all money to be refunded (

Kohenkatz writes: Matchstick, a project built on FirefoxOS that aimed to compete with Google's Chromecast, which was initally funded on Kickstarter, is shutting down and will be refunding all pledges. In a post to Kickstarter backers today, they announced that this decision was due to the difficulty of implementing the DRM components that are necessary for access to a lot of paid content. Rather than drag out the project on an unknown schedule, they have decided to end the project.

Submission + - Google is closing Google Code (

Kohenkatz writes: Citing increasing spam and abuse, as well as the rise of Github and Bitbucket, Google has announced the closure of Google Code. Effective today, Google Code is no longer accepting new projects, and it will become read-only in August. After that, tarballs of all project data will be available until June 2016. To help project owners migrate, Google has added an "Export to Github" button to every project.

Submission + - NIST to offer Accelerometer Calibration Service (

yakatz writes: While your games probably don't require this level of accuracy, the use of super-accurate accelerometers is growing in the Internet-of-Things. The US National Institutes of Standards and Technology is getting ready to offer a new calibration service, sensitive enough to detect motion over distances as small as a few nanometers and frequencies up to 50,000 Hz.

Comment Re:Hmmm (Score 1) 205

As for the "pull down mirror", that isn't even remotely new technology. Other vehicles have had those for a decade or more. But of course because America - and the American media especially - love Toyota with a great passion, we regard it as a technological marvel.

Toyota has had it also. Not sure why this implies it is new.

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard