Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Short-sighted view (Score 2) 396

I'm buying a new car, and just ran the numbers for a volt

Don't forget to factor in maintenance costs. EVs are much simpler with fewer moving parts.

A Volt isn't. It's more complex with more moving parts, since it has all the complexity of an ICEV, plus all of a battery EV, plus all of the complexity for transitioning between the two.

A BEV is much simpler, though. And can be *much* cheaper. I expect that my TCO for owning my originally factory-new Nissan LEAF for 200K miles will be about $20K, or $0.10 per mile.

Granted, I kind of lucked out on the cost of the car. I leased it in 2013. At the time, it was a $37K car ($30K after tax credits, which went to the lessor), compared to $40K for a Chevy Volt. But with all the new greater-range EVs coming out now, the value of those older LEAFs has dropped like a rock, so I was able to buy it off lease for $6K. Three years of lease payments added up to just under $7K, so my cost for the vehicle has been just under $13K, including the interest I paid on the lease (I paid cash when I bought it off lease).

I average 4.2 miles per kWh, and pay about $0.11 per kWh, so my energy cost is 2.6 cents per mile. Assuming $2.50 per gallon, I'd have to get 95 miles per gallon in an ICEV to get the same per-mile energy cost.

Then there's maintenance. Or not. I've put 50K miles on my car and the only maintenance I've had to do is $200 for a set of new tires. Oh, and refill the windshield wiper fluid reservoir. Brakes are still great (EV brakes last longer than ICEV brakes, because much braking is regenerative). Oil changes aren't a thing.

Looking into the future, I can expect to replace the tires at normal intervals, and eventually it'll need brake pads. There is no transmission. No clutch. There are no spark plugs or wires, no catalytic converter or other emissions system, no muffler. At some point I'll need to replace the 12V lead acid battery (normal auto battery).

Of course, eventually the big lithium ion battery will need to be replaced. So far, in 4 years and 50K miles my battery has lost 3% of its capacity. It's warrantied to maintain 80% for 100K miles, but judging by the experience of other LEAF owners in fairly cool climates like mine (very hot climates are a different story!), it's more likely that it'll go 200K miles before it falls to 80%.

When the battery does need to be replaced, I'll be looking at a cost of about $5K, which is pretty comparable to the cost of a new engine for a small car, and quite a bit less than the cost of a new engine & transmission. Plus, by the time I buy a new battery pack, the replacement will almost certainly be higher-capacity and longer-lasting.

Anyway, assuming I drive the car until the battery needs to be replaced at, say, 200K miles, and then junk the car, I'll have spent around $20K, which is a TCO of $0.10 per mile. To go beyond 200K I'll probably looking at CV joints and similar components in addition to a battery, but it seems reasonable that I could get another 200K miles for an additional $7K or so in repairs (incl. battery), plus another $5K in electricity, so about $0.06 per mile.

The downside, of course, is that this is not a road trip vehicle. It's great for running around town, though. And it's a lot more fun to drive than comparable ICEVs.

Comment Re:People Don't Remember (Score 1) 316

Nothing thwarts Darwin. In other words, change in allele frequency is happening in human populations all the time. There are still a few "Social Darwinists", who don't understand the first thing about evolutionary biology, who imagine certain types of medical intervention somehow magically defy nature, but these people are simply morons, and should be ignored, or treated with the contempt that vile halfwits earn.

Comment Re:Too confusing (Score 2) 155

Where they are starting to mess this up is with four, FOUR, different video modes.

Not really. Thunderbolt is external PCIe with DisplayPort as an alternate video mode, it's an alternative to USB data signaling not video. MHL is essentially HDMI squished to use fewer connectors + power supply, if you got USB-C out you have enough connectors for full HDMI and all MHL receptors are also HDMI ports. The problem is that if you use HDMI mode you don't get the power supply, the only way to get that from a USB-C device connected to a MHL-enabled TV is to fake MHL. That problem goes away if you got a USB-C receptor that can talk USBs power delivery standard.

So really you have:
USB data - suitable for "devices" like printers, scanners, headsets, keyboard, mouse etc.
PCIe data - suitable for "extensions" like external GPUs, storage arrays etc. that could have been on the inside.
DisplayPort video
HDMI video
Bi-directional power delivery with negotiation of capabilities

Thunderbolt = PCIe data + DisplayPort
MHL = HDMI(-ish) + power

The only real redundancy there that is not there for compatibility reasons is DisplayPort and HDMI. As long as TVs mainly come with HDMI and monitors mainly with DisplayPort with no clear winner in sight that's probably not too stupid. In fact PCIe, DP and HDMI are now bundled in TB3 so in practice you have only two ports:

TB3: All of the above
USB3: USB data + power

using one connector, USB-C. You still have five support levels though, USB speed level, PCIe speed level, DP level, HDMI level, power level. It's hard to be everything for everyone...

Comment Re:Estrogen mimic plasticizers all over the enviro (Score 1) 411

Amen. Once you start thinking about where plastic is found, and the precious few places where it isn't found, plus as you say known estrogen mimic properties (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/), it's pretty hard not to see that as a the culprit.

Comment Re:wrong direction (Score 1) 155

having "unique" plug types for particular purposes is a *feature*, not a bug - simply by looking at the plug, we know what the cable and the port does

You're trying to make a virtue of a problem. The right solution is that the cable and port should do everything. There's no need to figure out what it does or doesn't do, because anything the devices in question are capable of doing can be done via that port and plug.

So you see a Type C plug - is it Thunderbolt or not? Is it a DisplayPort?

Yes, it's all of the above, assuming it makes sense that the device can be a source/sink of the relevant data.

What voltages/amps can it provide?

The cable (unless it's non-compliant crap; don't buy non-compliant crap) can handle the full range of voltages and amperages in the specification.

This is incredibly convenient. My laptop, phone and tablet all have USB-C ports, for both data and power. I now travel with only one power adapter, the one for my laptop, which I can also use for my phone and tablet. I also carry a USB-C to USB-C cable, which enables me to charge any of the devices from any other device. Charging my laptop from my phone would be silly, charging it from the tablet is slightly less so and I have actually had occasion to do exactly that. Charging tablet from phone or phone from tablet both make sense sometimes, and I do both often when traveling.

I also occasionally use my phone charger to power my laptop. It doesn't provide enough power to maintain the battery level while I'm using it, but it does stretch battery life, and will recharge the laptop if left connected overnight. I do this mainly because I have a phone charger plugged in next to my bed. I'm waiting for wall outlets like this one to become better and cheaper, and then I'll replace many of my home outlets with them, mostly eliminating the need for wall warts.

That will be a great day. Actually, I hope that before too long we start building DC power distribution networks in homes, the way data centers have gone. At moderate voltages (e.g. 48V) resistive line losses are easily offset by the power savings provided by larger, more efficient central converters. Then each wall outlet should have a couple of simple step-down transformers to provide 20V and 5V over USB, per the power delivery specification.

While we're at it, we should add network over USB as well. So any device plugged into any wall outlet with a simple USB-C to USB-C cable will have both power and data (with 802.1X authentication for security). 20 Gbps should be enough bandwidth for the next couple of decades.

just look at e.g. the many forum posts of people who connected "the wrong type" of USB-C-to-HDMI connectors because they didn't know their USB C wasn't the USB C that they thought USB C was supposed to be.

Yes, there is crap hardware being sold. The USB implementer's forum needs to start enforcing its trademark and shutting down sales of non-compliant crap. In the absence of that, just make sure that the stuff you're buying has been tested by someone who knows what they're doing (on Amazon, check for Benson Leung's comments). No, this state of affairs is not good, but it's an implementation problem, not a problem with the fundamental concept of one plug that does everything.

That fundamental concept is awesome.

Comment Re:Wild guess (Score 3, Informative) 411

Good points, notwithstanding the snark about hipsters being feminine (I mean, where do you go with lumberjack beard AND skinny jeans?).

Anyway, I think you're missing a huge culprit, possible the biggest one: PLASTIC.

It's in absolutely everything. These even if you're drinking raw tiger blood, if you're on Slashdot odds I daresay you're not out in the tundra killing it with your stone-tipped spear. That means organic or "conventional", vegan or meagan, it's been shipped in plastic, or you're consuming it in a plastic container, with plastic utensils.

Plastic is a known estrogen mimic:

I'd bet on plastic over soy any day.

Though to be fair, soy is found in a fair wider variety of foodstuffs than anyone had imagine. Plus, when you get into questions of diet and the effect of different foods it gets really hard to figure out what the "natural" human diet is.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Inquiry is fatal to certainty." -- Will Durant