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Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 304

As AC said it *can* come from clean sources. And even coal-fired power plants minus transmission and charging inefficiencies are pretty competitive with a horribly inefficient automobile engine. Really, the things are about the least efficient way possible to convert fossil fuels into energy while still being worth the effort.

Furthermore, in twenty years, when the coal plants have lost a lot of ground to solar and other renewables, all those second-hand EV clunkers driving around will have invisibly been upgraded right along with the grid infrastructure.

Comment Re:Why am I not surprised? (Score 1) 304

As much as I like concept of car mounted solar panels, the reality falls dismally short.

A Model X for example has a footprint of about 10 square meters. Cover the whole thing with solar panels, assume an impressive 20% efficiency, and average equivalent solar exposure of about 50%, and your generating potential is 10*.2*.5 = 1kW during peak sun.

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, pretty much the best solar location in the US, we average something like 5 hours peak sun equivalent per day. So our very impressive solar car would charge 5kWh per day, or enough for the more efficient 60kWh Model S to travel 208mile/60kWh*5kWh = 17 miles.

Sufficient to get to work and back in a smallish town if you can stay in the sun all day, and occasionally run some errands as well, but not really enough to be useful if you run out of charge on the side of the highway.

Granted towing a solar charging system could do better, but it comes with an additional range penalty, and probably only works effectively when deployed. Could be handy to have at the base station when doing field work in the middle of nowhere though...

Comment Re: Why am I not surprised? (Score 1) 304

Right - a large part is that they have so far only produced luxury vehicles, which by their nature will *never* sell to the mass market. Even the "affordable" Model 3 is targeting the upper ranges of the market, starting at $35k versus a low-end Toyota at $15k.

It may be appealing, but it takes a lot more than appeal to justify spending more than a year's take-home pay on a car - which is what $35k amounts to for the majority of Americans (median household income is ~51k, minus taxes, insurance, etc.)

Comment Re:bickering children (Score 3, Insightful) 172

>And what's the US's motivation?

Just off the top of my head...
The military-industrial complex still wields a lot of political clout, and a good enemy helps keep the defense contracts flowing.

We're also rapidly becoming an authoritarian surveillance state, and the "war on terror" is running out of steam as a distraction/justification for that. Having a more credible foreign threat helps keep that ball rolling as well.

Comment Re:$250K is the definition of the evil 1% (Score 2) 486

Close, but not quite - as another mentioned it doesn't matter how much value you provide, but how difficult/expensive you are to replace. As an example consider exactly how valuable is it to have working water, sewer, electric service, and other utilities. Then ask yourself, are the people actually on the ground maintaining those systems being paid more in line with the value they provide to society, or the ease with which they could be replaced?

And that is the heart of the discussion about the difference between the income you make (a market concept), and what you earn (an ethical/moral concept).

When those two concepts are deeply out of balance, as they are in the US, then it's appropriate for society to ask how, and to what degree, that imbalance should be corrected.

Comment Re:$250K is the definition of the evil 1% (Score 2, Interesting) 486

Did he work 5x longer or harder than the median Joe who only makes $51k? Or the guy working two full-time minimum wage jobs to make $32k?

Almost certainly not. He was in the right place at the right time, had the right connections, etc. Income in the US is based more on luck than effort or skill.

Comment Re:Doesn't work well with glasses (Score 2) 413

Not to mention that at this point most of the potential market are still firmly computer geeks, who are probably far more likely than average to need glasses.

Plus they're up against both the more comfortable and polished Playstation VR on the cheap end, and the far more versatile room scale HTC Vive on the high end.

Sadly, given that Luckey and the Rift were the ones to really start the ball rolling again, they just don't seem to be all that compelling an offering in an emerging market.

And that's even before you get into the whole "Do I really want an openly facebook-controlled camera in my living room?", to say nothing of the political stuff.

Comment Re:Vehicle Ban? (Score 1) 375

That's a lovely theory of government - too bad it's never existed on any scale larger than the city-state. (seriously - I'd *love* to see social technology advance to the point that real democracy could exist at a larger scale)

And I already explained why you need government to enforce things, even when the people agree it should be done - tragedy of the commons is a real and inevitable endpoint when rational personal behavior and diverges from rational collective behavior.

Comment Re:Reading thoughts vs Inputting thoughts (Score 1) 202

Actually they are. Well, fMRI machines anyway. There have been several studies released in the past few years that are improving the mapping of the brain and can apparently recreate (very crude) versions of what you're seeing, hearing, and even thinking.

As for telepathy - once you can read the information from one brain you're halfway there. Though perhaps the easy half. If they can then induce the image in a second brain, then you have the basis for telepathy - the ability to transmit information from one brain to another without using *any* of the body's senses.

Comment fMRI (Score 2) 202

No, I'm fairly certain she's talking fMRI - I remember watching a TED talk she gave several years ago, before Pixel Qi fell stagnant (this is the same woman that designed the low-power sunlight-readable LCD screens for the OLPC - which could be manufactured on a standard LCD assembly line)

She was talking about the extremely crude state of current MRI technologies, and her belief (as I recall) that she could miniaturize the basic technique to produce radically more affordable handheld medical imaging devices, and eventually non-invasive head-worn "mind-reading" machines.

Comment Re:Vehicle Ban? (Score 1) 375

Unfortunately, we don't have the time to wait until EVs become substantially more attractive "naturally", so we're stimulating the market instead. That means subsidies, and/or sin taxes on fossil-fuel burners, and/or announcing future bans to provide a deadline to motivate manufacturers.

And obviously nobody wants to pay more - that's always the case. Humans are, as a class, selfish, short-sighted animals. Everybody wants the benefits, but nobody wants to pay for them. That's also not an option,

Comment Re:Vehicle Ban? (Score 1) 375

Social recognition, maybe. Probably even. But quite often the change in law is necessary to change social behavior. We've had social recognition of the danger of climate change for decades - even the Republicans publicly recognized the problem until about 15 years ago when there was a change in party dirrection.

As for taxes, sure, they almost certainly wouldn't be spent solving the problem, but at least market prices would be closer to the true cost, rather than artificially low due to market externalities. That would make alternatives far more attractive within the market.

> make electric cars people want to buy.
How? Do you think there's a bunch of magical revolutions in technology just waiting in the wings to be deployed after the current rounds have been milked dry? I mean that totally resonates with my cynicism, but it truly seems as though the technology is advancing (and prices falling) just as fast as we can make that happen. And we still need to accelerate the process. Current EVs would would be a great deal for most people at half the price, but we can't yet deliver that unless we invoke massive subsidies (perhaps an imediate use for some of those carbon taxes?)

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